COMPANY NEWS

CITB Training Courses

Forthcoming 2018 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS offices and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

IMPORTANT NOTES:
Please be aware that CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.

And don’t forget that CITB levy-payers can claim substantial grants against all these courses and more – which will help alleviate the cost considerably. Contact WHS for further details.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 28 February and 7, 14, 21 & 28 March 2018
    17 & 24 April and 1, 8 &15 May 2018
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 12 & 13 March 2018
    10 & 11 May 2018
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 22 & 23 March 2018
    3 & 4 May 2018
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 26 February 2018
    29 March 2018
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

If any organisation requires places for 6 or more employees, we can arrange a specific course at dates, times and a location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2018 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at our offices, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 19 February 2018
  • 26 March 2018
  • 25 April 2018
  • 24 May 2018
  • 25 June 2018

 

As with the CITB courses above, if any organisation requires first-aid for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

WHS Awards

Following the announcement in the December 2017 newsletter, we now take great pleasure in congratulating once again our very worthy 2017 WHS Safety Award winners:

Archway Products (UK) Ltd
Award for: Best Safety Culture

The Company designs, manufactures and operates its Roadmaster self-contained, very safe-to-operate, pot-hole repair vehicles throughout the UK.

Despite proving to be exemplary in its approach to health & safety last year and, thus, winning the 2016 WHS award for ‘Commitment Through Innovation’, Company management still continually shows an appetite for exploring further innovation towards improvement.

The award was accepted by Managing Director, Donal McNamee, and Training Manager, Mary Gildea.

Andy Collier of biT (Telford & Wrekin Council’s Architectural Design & Building Services)
Award for: Best Safety Manager

Over the 15 years that WHS has worked alongside and supported Andy, he has always proved to be totally resolute in his commitment to high standards of health & safety.

The award was accepted by Andy Collier, shown here with WHS Managing Director, Jackie Horsewood.

Richard Sherratt Builders Ltd
Award for: Best Small Contractor

Despite being a small contractor, Richard Sherratt Builders Ltd has consistently demonstrated total commitment to the wellbeing of its employees and the public, demonstrating that compliance is possible with just a bit of thought and effort rather than huge cash reserves.

Richard Sherratt himself is pictured here accepting the award from senior WHS consultant, Mark Roberts.

Morris Property Ltd
Award for: Commitment to Training

Contractor, Morris Property Ltd, (part of the prestigious Morris & Co group) has demonstrated extremely high standards of commitment to fully training their workforce at all levels; a commendable example to the industry of how much can be achieved.

The award was accepted on behalf of Morris Property Ltd by Construction Manager, Steve Flavell, and Office Manager, Trish Empson (who has been instrumental in the organisation of the Company’s training needs). Pictured here (centre) presenting the award is WHS Associate Director, Laura Mort.

Jake Edis of Edis Developments Ltd
Commendation for: High Standards of Site Management

Since being appointed site manager in 2017, Jake Edis has demonstrated his very competent managerial ability and commitment to operating a safe site for the family company, something that prompted praise from a visiting HSE inspector a couple of months ago.

Jake is pictured here again with WHS Associate Director, Laura Mort.

Hearty congratulations are extended to all our worthy award winners. May we thank you all for your efforts, and for so enthusiastically allowing WHS to work alongside you to help achieve these high standards.

Old First-Aid Supplies

A huge thank you to all our clients who have kindly responded to our request for old first-aid supplies. We have amassed a large suitcase-full already, but can always use more. So, don’t throw out-of-date first-aid supplies away – undeveloped countries are delighted to accept them if they are still wrapped and sterile.

Please can you either give any unused, but wrapped and sterile items, to your WHS consultant when you next meet, post them to us, or let Vicki in the office know that they are available to collect. They will all be going direct to a small nomadic clinic in Mongolia. Many thanks indeed in advance!

HSE NEWS

Proposals to Reduce Health Surveillance for Asbestos Work Dropped

The HSE proposals to reduce the legal frequency of medical checks for asbestos workers to 3 years has been dropped. The consolation conducted during late 2017 resulted in an overwhelming rejection of the proposed amendment to the Control of Asbestos Regs. Sense prevails! Asbestos is much too serious an issue to lower the standards.

A pertinent reminder here that any contractor carrying out low-key but NNLW (Notifiable Non-Licensed Work) is under a legal obligation to also undertake health surveillance for all workers carrying out those tasks. If you need further advice, please contact the WHS office as we have access to persons qualified to carry out health surveillance.

Corporate Manslaughter Considered for Didcot

A pre-inquest hearing into the deaths of four workers at Didcot Power Station in February 2016 heard that Corporate Manslaughter charges are being considered by the HSE against demolition contractor, Coleman & Co. Ltd., for gross negligence and other offences. The deaths resulted from the collapse of two of the four units in the boiler house.

The HSE consideration of the Corporate Manslaughter law (although no charges have yet been laid against the contractor) sends a message to the entire industry that senior management can, and will, be held accountable for serious transgressions of health & safety law.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Urgent Product Recall

B&Q has recalled two remote-controlled plug sets due to a potential fire risk; the sets were on sale in their stores between September 2014 until November 2017:

REMOTE CONTROL ON/OFF SET TRIPLE SET                                                                                         Product barcode number: 5052931395033

REMOTE CONTROL ON/OFF SET TWIN SET
Product barcode number: 4895130705675

The product label (batch codes will vary)

If you suspect you may have purchased or used one of these sets, B&Q advice is as follows:

  • Switch it off at the wall
  • Remove the plug
  • Return it to B&Q who will give a full refund

 

SSiP Accreditation – Fees

SMAS Worksafe will be increasing its fees for SSiP accreditation, so do take note that the following apply from 2 April 2018 (all figures quoted ex-VAT):

Contractor: £220
Principal Contractor: £260
Designer & Principal Designer: £260
‘Mutual recognition’ (i.e. gaining SMAS on the back of CHAS, etc) £80
If your SMAS is up for renewal shortly, or you’re thinking of applying for accreditation through SMAS, make sure you get your application in well before the April deadline to save a little money.

SMAS still have favourable rates if you employ 5 or more people (including sub-contractors don’t forget) and are far easier to communicate with that some of the other SSiP providers. However, if you are a very small company (less than 5 employees in total), the following price comparisons may be useful:

CHAS (all disciplines)

Contractors:
1 employee: £174
2-4 employees: £199
5-15 employees: £299
16 and above employees: £369 – £629
‘Mutual recognition’ Contractors & Principal Contractors: £140 – £399

Designer & Principal Designer: £355 – £425

An extra fee of £60 – £120 applies to all hard-copy submissions (i.e. not submitted on-line)

Safe Contractor (all disciplines)

1 employee: £229
1-4 employees: £329
5-15 employees: £439
16 and above employees: £569 – £1099

All submissions must be on-line

Asbestos

Those of you who have received asbestos awareness training from us will be familiar with our doubts as to whether it’s possible for asbestos to be creeping into, not only imported construction materials, but also normal household products as has already happened in the U.S. and Australia…..including Peppa Pig crayons!!
http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/officeworks-pulls-crayons-from-shelves-amidst-asbestos-fears-20150911-gjkpac.html

WHS asks…is enough being done to check the contents of materials from places such as China where the use of asbestos is still perfectly legal? Australia is leading the way in stringently checking imported materials – but are we following suit to the degree required? It costs very little for a material sample to be analysed for possible asbestos content so, if you’re importing materials from outside the E.U, it may be as well to check.

And, on the domestic front, just look at this appalling case recently reported in the U.K:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5234379/Woman-cancer-caused-asbestos-gets-clear.html

Poor Danielle is thought to have ingested asbestos fibres from her teddy bear 20 years ago when she was 3 years old. Admittedly, this may then have occurred (however inexcusably) before the blanket ban on the import and use of all types of asbestos which came into effect in January 2000, but it begs the question…how many of these potentially lethal children’s toys are still in circulation?

Asbestos – Memorials

Asbestos-related deaths are so prevalent that some areas of the country have set up their own memorials to highlight the issue and to ensure their deceased loved-ones are never forgotten. For example:

  • Clydesdale established Clydesdale Action on Asbestos many years ago and holds a memorial service every April
  • Rochdale erected an International Asbestos Memorial opposite the Town Hall; Rochdale has been particularly hard hit as asbestos-based products were manufactured in the area.
    Asbestos – Fake RPE Filters

 

We have highlighted the serious issue of fake PPE before – it has now come to light that there may be fake RPE (respiratory protective equipment) filters out there, something that would have very severe repercussions if they are being relied upon to protect against asbestos (or any other types of) dusts.

Always make sure that you purchase all your PPE and RPE from reputable suppliers. Never cut corners to save a few pounds; it doesn’t really make sense now, does it?

Dusts

And while we’re on the subject of exposure to ‘dusts’…

Principal Contractor, MY Construction & Carpentry, has been fined £40,000 plus costs for allowing workers on a refurbishment site to be exposed to Respirable Crystalline Silica (‘RCS’) found in brick dust. Workers were found to be dry-cutting bricks to shape a bay window surround; work had not been properly planned or assessed and workers had been given no information about the hazards of inhaling brick dusts.

It’s astonishing that, in this day and age, main contractors still flaunt the law. This is not a question of over-zealous legal requirements; laws such as this (COSHH) are there to protect everyone from harm. Well over 1 million workers are at risk of inhaling RCS within the construction industry alone and, although figures are difficult to verify, it has been estimated that up to 50 double-decker bus loads of people die every year from respiratory diseases – so any company that blatantly disregards the need to dust control, deserves everything it gets from the legal system.

Dust Prevention – Face-Fit Testing

ELIMINATE – REDUCE – CONTROL (the essence of the legal ‘general principles of prevention’)

Prevention of dusts is the key; good design (etc) can help ELIMINATE the need for cutting, shaping, abrading, etc. on site.

If that’s not possible, contractors must REDUCE airborne dusts by dust suppression or capture (damping down, filter attachments, etc)

A reminder that the use of RPE (respiratory protective equipment – dust masks) is only a CONTROL measure so is naturally (and in law) a last resort only, or an additional safeguard. And that, every time RPE is used, there is a legal; requirement to have face-fit testing (FFT) as we have stressed many, many times before.

An important note on ‘press-to-check’ masks

There is a dangerous misconception within the industry that the commonly used ‘press-to-check’ masks don’t require face-fit testing; this is NOT true.

The press-to-check essentially creates a vacuum; this is negative pressure when the filters are checked when first worn but this weakens over time, meaning that the mask may not fit as it should after a couple of hours (or less).

The press-to-check facility, although it does provide a valuable additional feature, is a marketing tool. It is being misinterpreted and now there is widespread belief that face-fit is not required. As most reputable RPE manufacturers stress on their websites (e.g. 3M), face-fit testing is still required by law for this type of mask.

Safety in Roadworks

To prevent this nightmare scenario (pictured left)….

….one of our surfacing contractors has recently taken delivery of a new state-of-the-art Impact Protection Vehicle to safeguard their traffic management staff.

Congratulations to CH Contracting (and thanks to joint MD, Andy Hoddinot, for the photo)…as they say “every little helps” and use of this latest, high-spec vehicle will certainly vastly reduce the risks from the unpredictable driving public!

AND FINALLY

A snap-shot of recent prosecutions:

Plant & vehicle segregation

  • South West Highways Ltd was fined a total of well over £500,000 after the death of a worker who had been struck by a vehicle. Adequate TM controls had not been implemented – speed limits, signage and (what would have been more appropriate) a temporary road closure.

TM requirements cost money and inconvenience, yes, but the failure to properly control the traffic can be devastating in terms of both life and livelihoods.

  • CAV Aerospace Ltd was fined a total of well over £800,000 after a worker suffered horrendous injuries when he fell into the path of a MEWP; he was dragged along the floor for the machine’s length before it came to a stop. Where were the safe systems and segregated walkways?
  • RMB Contractors Ltd was fined a total of well over £99,000 after a worker was crushed between a stationary dump truck and a moving excavator and killed.

 

Vibration

  • Charter Housing Association Ltd was fined a total of almost £110,000 after exposing maintenance workers to uncontrolled hand-arm vibration. Six workers have developed symptoms of early-stage HAVS.

 

COSHH

  • Rodent Service (East Anglia) Ltd was fined a total of over £110,000 after unsafe storage of hazardous products. Canisters of a toxic biocidal compound were found to be stored in a filing cabinet! And, before anyone questions where the filing cabinet was secure, no, it was left unlocked and open to everyone!

 

Public protection

  • Martin McColl Ltd (a chain of convenience stores) and contractor, JMS Retail Concept Ltd, were fined a totals of well over £600,000 and £40,000 respectively after two elderly members of the public tripped and fell on separate occasions, both suffering broken bones, during the construction of a ramp in a Powys store.
    Management liability
  • Both a construction company, House Design & Build Ltd, and its project manager, Neil Crow, were fined totals of over £100,000 and £15,000 respectively for multiple breaches of health & safety law. The prosecution resulted from HSE visits to two sites; there had been no accident.
  • Demolition contractor, S Evans & Sons Ltd, was fined totals of over £150,000 and its director, Samuel Evans, sentenced to 200 hours community work and a 10 month prison sentence suspended for 2 years, after a worker’s arm was trapped between two 10-tonne steel girders, resulting in amputation. Evans had been operating the machine to stack the girders and was, thus, found liable for both the choice of machinery and the method of working.

 

Sole trader liability

A misconception has crept into UK industry that sole traders are no longer liable for health & safety failings and won’t be prosecuted. As these cases demonstrate, this is not true.

  • Self-employed tree worker, Perry Regan, was fined over £2,000 and sentenced to 20 months (suspended) imprisonment after a branch he cut fell on a person helping below, resulting in severe head injuries.
  • Self-employed builder, David Guymer, was fined a total of almost £55,000 and ordered to complete 300 hours community work after installing an oven in a domestic property but without Gas Safe accreditation or safe systems. The result was an explosion that injured two occupants.

 

Just because you’re a sole trader, doesn’t mean that you don’t affect other people. So, in WHS’s humble opinion, it’s up to you whether you kill yourself or not (although we’d much rather you didn’t!), but if you injury others, you will be held liable.

And the last word is, as usual….work at height

  • BBC Studioworks Ltd was fined a total of well over £200,000, Elstree Film Studios Ltd £55,000 and Elstree Light & Power Ltd £69,000 after a contractor fell 10 metres and sustained life-changing multiple injuries during a de-rigging operation. No edge protection had been placed around hatches.

 

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

COMPANY NEWS

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2018 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at our offices, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 19 February 2018
  • 26 March 2018
  • 25 April 2018
  • 24 May 2018
  • 25 June 2018

 

As with the CITB courses above, if any organisation requires first-aid for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

WHS Awards

Following the announcement in the December 2017 newsletter, we now take great pleasure in congratulating once again our very worthy 2017 WHS Safety Award winners:

Archway Products (UK) Ltd
Award for: Best Safety Culture

The Company designs, manufactures and operates its Roadmaster self-contained, very safe-to-operate, pot-hole repair vehicles throughout the UK.

Despite proving to be exemplary in its approach to health & safety last year and, thus, winning the 2016 WHS award for ‘Commitment Through Innovation’, Company management still continually shows an appetite for exploring further innovation towards improvement.

The award was accepted by Managing Director, Donal McNamee, and Training Manager, Mary Gildea.

Andy Collier of biT (Telford & Wrekin Council’s Architectural Design & Building Services)
Award for: Best Safety Manager

Over the 15 years that WHS has worked alongside and supported Andy, he has always proved to be totally resolute in his commitment to high standards of health & safety.

The award was accepted by Andy Collier, shown here with WHS Managing Director, Jackie Horsewood.

Richard Sherratt Builders Ltd
Award for: Best Small Contractor

Despite being a small contractor, Richard Sherratt Builders Ltd has consistently demonstrated total commitment to the wellbeing of its employees and the public, demonstrating that compliance is possible with just a bit of thought and effort rather than huge cash reserves.

Richard Sherratt himself is pictured here accepting the award from senior WHS consultant, Mark Roberts.

Morris Property Ltd
Award for: Commitment to Training

Contractor, Morris Property Ltd, (part of the prestigious Morris & Co group) has demonstrated extremely high standards of commitment to fully training their workforce at all levels; a commendable example to the industry of how much can be achieved.

The award was accepted on behalf of Morris Property Ltd by Construction Manager, Steve Flavell, and Office Manager, Trish Empson (who has been instrumental in the organisation of the Company’s training needs). Pictured here (centre) presenting the award is WHS Associate Director, Laura Mort.

Jake Edis of Edis Developments Ltd
Commendation for: High Standards of Site Management

Since being appointed site manager in 2017, Jake Edis has demonstrated his very competent managerial ability and commitment to operating a safe site for the family company, something that prompted praise from a visiting HSE inspector a couple of months ago.

Jake is pictured here again with WHS Associate Director, Laura Mort.

Hearty congratulations are extended to all our worthy award winners. May we thank you all for your efforts, and for so enthusiastically allowing WHS to work alongside you to help achieve these high standards.

Old First-Aid Supplies

A huge thank you to all our clients who have kindly responded to our request for old first-aid supplies. We have amassed a large suitcase-full already, but can always use more. So, don’t throw out-of-date first-aid supplies away – undeveloped countries are delighted to accept them if they are still wrapped and sterile.

Please can you either give any unused, but wrapped and sterile items, to your WHS consultant when you next meet, post them to us, or let Vicki in the office know that they are available to collect. They will all be going direct to a small nomadic clinic in Mongolia. Many thanks indeed in advance!

HSE NEWS

Corporate Manslaughter Considered for Didcot

A pre-inquest hearing into the deaths of four workers at Didcot Power Station in February 2016 heard that Corporate Manslaughter charges are being considered by the HSE against demolition contractor, Coleman & Co. Ltd., for gross negligence and other offences. The deaths resulted from the collapse of two of the four units in the boiler house.

The HSE consideration of the Corporate Manslaughter law (although no charges have yet been laid against the contractor) sends a message to UK industry that senior management can, and will, be held accountable for serious transgressions of health & safety law.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Urgent Product Recall

B&Q has recalled two remote-controlled plug sets due to a potential fire risk; the sets were on sale in their stores between September 2014 until November 2017:

REMOTE CONTROL ON/OFF SET TRIPLE SET                                                                                        Product barcode number: 5052931395033

REMOTE CONTROL ON/OFF SET TWIN SET
Product barcode number: 4895130705675

The product label (batch codes will vary)

If you suspect you may have purchased or used one of these sets, B&Q advice is as follows:

  • Switch it off at the wall
  • Remove the plug
  • Return it to B&Q who will give a full refund

 

Asbestos

Those of you who have received asbestos awareness training from us will be familiar with our doubts as to whether it’s possible for asbestos to be creeping into, not only imported building materials, but also normal household products as has already happened in the U.S. and Australia…..including Peppa Pig crayons!!
http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/officeworks-pulls-crayons-from-shelves-amidst-asbestos-fears-20150911-gjkpac.html
WHS asks…is enough being done to check the contents of materials from places such as China where the use of asbestos is still perfectly legal? Australia is leading the way in stringently checking imported materials – but are we following suit to the degree required? It costs very little for a material sample to be analysed for possible asbestos content so, if you’re importing materials from outside the E.U, it may be as well to check.

And, on the domestic front, just look at this appalling case recently reported in the U.K:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5234379/Woman-cancer-caused-asbestos-gets-clear.html

Poor Danielle is thought to have ingested asbestos fibres from her teddy bear 20 years ago when she was 3 years old. Admittedly, this may then have occurred (however inexcusably) before the blanket ban on the import and use of all types of asbestos which came into effect in January 2000, but it begs the question…how many of these potentially lethal children’s toys are still in circulation?

Asbestos – Memorials

Asbestos-related deaths are so prevalent that some areas of the country have set up their own memorials to highlight the issue and to ensure their deceased loved-ones are never forgotten. For example:

  • Clydesdale established Clydesdale Action on Asbestos many years ago and holds a memorial service every April
  • Rochdale erected an International Asbestos Memorial opposite the Town Hall; Rochdale has been particularly hard hit as asbestos-based products were manufactured in the area.

 

Dusts

And while we’re on the subject of exposure to ‘dusts’…

Contractor, MY Construction & Carpentry, has been fined £40,000 plus costs for allowing workers on a refurbishment site to be exposed to Respirable Crystalline Silica (‘RCS’) found in brick dust. Workers were found to be dry-cutting bricks to shape a bay window surround; work had not been properly planned or assessed and workers had been given no information about the hazards of inhaling brick dusts.

It’s astonishing that, in this day and age, businesses still flaunt the law. This is not a question of over-zealous legal requirements; laws such as this (COSHH) are there to protect everyone from harm. Well over 1 million workers are at risk of inhaling RCS and, although figures are difficult to verify, it has been estimated that up to 50 double-decker bus loads of people die every year from respiratory diseases – so any company that blatantly disregards the need to dust control, deserves everything it gets from the legal system.

Dust Prevention – Face-Fit Testing

ELIMINATE – REDUCE – CONTROL (the essence of the legal ‘general principles of prevention’)

Prevention of dusts is the key; good design (etc) can help ELIMINATE the need for cutting, shaping, abrading, etc. on site.

If that’s not possible, contractors must REDUCE airborne dusts by dust suppression or capture (damping down, filter attachments, etc)

A reminder that the use of RPE (respiratory protective equipment – dust masks) is only a CONTROL measure so is naturally (and in law) a last resort only, or an additional safeguard. And that, every time RPE is used, there is a legal; requirement to have face-fit testing (FFT) as we have stressed many, many times before.

An important note on ‘press-to-check’ masks

There is a dangerous misconception within the industry that the commonly used ‘press-to-check’ masks don’t require face-fit testing; this is NOT true.

The press-to-check essentially creates a vacuum; this is negative pressure when the filters are checked when first worn but this weakens over time, meaning that the mask may not fit as it should after a couple of hours (or less).

The press-to-check facility, although it does provide a valuable additional feature, is a marketing tool. It is being misinterpreted and now there is widespread belief that face-fit is not required. As most reputable RPE manufacturers stress on their websites (e.g. 3M), face-fit testing is still required by law for this type of mask.

AND FINALLY

A snap-shot of recent prosecutions:

Asbestos

  • Utility services company, IQA Operations Group Ltd was fined for exposing four workers to asbestos during electrical works in a block of flats. The company had not questioned that the asbestos survey did not include the door transoms which resulted in drilling through asbestos during the fitting of new electrical cables to each of the 44 flats.

This serves as a warning to all electrical engineers; you do run a real risk of disturbing asbestos if there isn’t an in-depth refurbishment survey covering the affected area/s, something that happens all too often. It doesn’t matter that it may be ‘5 minutes work’ to drill a hole through a door frame, a panel or a skirting board, but ignoring the possibility of there being asbestos within will have repercussions.

Plant & vehicle segregation

  • CAV Aerospace Ltd was fined a total of well over £800,000 after a worker suffered horrendous injuries when he fell into the path of a MEWP; he was dragged along the floor for the machine’s length before it came to a stop. Where were the safe systems and segregated walkways?

 

Vibration

  • Charter Housing Association Ltd was fined a total of almost £110,000 after exposing maintenance workers to uncontrolled hand-arm vibration. Six workers have developed symptoms of early-stage HAVS.

 

COSHH

  • Rodent Service (East Anglia) Ltd was fined a total of over £110,000 after unsafe storage of hazardous products. Canisters of a toxic biocidal compound were found to be stored in a filing cabinet! And, before anyone questions where the filing cabinet was secure, no, it was left unlocked and open to everyone!

 

Safe systems of work

  • Associated British Ports was fined a total of well over £666,000 after a bag of fertiliser fell from a pallet and struck an employee, resulting in multiple fractures. The practice of stacking had not been assessed and did not meet industry best practice, causing loads to be unstable and the bag to fall.

 

Management liability

  • Both a construction company, House Design & Build Ltd, and its project manager, Neil Crow, were fined totals of over £100,000 and £15,000 respectively for multiple breaches of health & safety law. The prosecution resulted from HSE visits to two sites; there had been no accident.
  • Demolition contractor, S Evans & Sons Ltd, was fined totals of over £150,000 and its director, Samuel Evans, sentenced to 200 hours community work and a 10 month prison sentence suspended for 2 years, after a worker’s arm was trapped between two 10-tonne steel girders, resulting in amputation. Evans had been operating the machine to stack the girders and was, thus, found liable for both the choice of machinery and the method of working.

 

Sole trader liability

A misconception has crept into UK industry that sole traders are no longer liable for health & safety failings and won’t be prosecuted. As these cases demonstrate, this is not true.

  • Self-employed tree worker, Perry Regan, was fined over £2,000 and sentenced to 20 months in prison (suspended for 18 months) after a branch he cut fell on a person helping below, resulting in severe head injuries.
  • Self-employed builder, David Guymer, was fined a total of almost £55,000 and ordered to complete 300 hours community work after installing an oven in a domestic property but without Gas Safe accreditation or safe systems. The result was an explosion that injured two occupants.
  • Self-employed (but unregistered) gas fitter, Robert Ruszczak was sentenced to 12 months in prison after serving five gas appliances in a hotel and restaurant and leaving them in an unsafe state.

 

Just because you’re a sole trader, doesn’t mean that you don’t affect other people. So, in WHS’s humble opinion, it’s up to you whether you kill yourself or not (although we’d much rather you didn’t!), but if you injury others, you will be held liable.

And the last word is, as usual….work at height

  • BBC Studioworks Ltd was fined a total of well over £200,000, Elstree Film Studios Ltd £55,000 and Elstree Light & Power Ltd £69,000 after a contractor fell 10 metres and sustained life-changing multiple injuries during a de-rigging operation. No edge protection had been placed around hatches.

 

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

COMPANY NEWS

CITB Training Courses

Forthcoming 2018 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS offices and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

IMPORTANT NOTES:
Please be aware that CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.

And don’t forget that CITB levy-payers can claim substantial grants against all these courses and more – which will help alleviate the cost considerably. Contact WHS for further details.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 28 February and 7, 14, 21 & 28 March 2018
    17 & 24 April and 1, 8 &15 May 2018
    Cost: £495 + VAT per perso
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 12 & 13 March 2018
    10 & 11 May 2018
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 22 & 23 March 2018
    3 & 4 May 2018
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 26 February 2018
    29 March 2018
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

If any organisation requires places for 6 or more employees, we can arrange a specific course at dates, times and a location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2018 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at our offices, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 19 February 2018
  • 26 March 2018
  • 25 April 2018
  • 24 May 2018
  • 25 June 2018

 

As with the CITB courses above, if any organisation requires first-aid for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

WHS Awards

Following the announcement in the December 2017 newsletter, we now take great pleasure in congratulating once again our very worthy 2017 WHS Safety Award winners:

Archway Products (UK) Ltd
Award for: Best Safety Culture

The Company designs, manufactures and operates its Roadmaster self-contained, very safe-to-operate, pot-hole repair vehicles throughout the UK.

Despite proving to be exemplary in its approach to health & safety last year and, thus, winning the 2016 WHS award for ‘Commitment Through Innovation’, Company management still continually shows an appetite for exploring further innovation towards improvement.

The award was accepted by Managing Director, Donal McNamee, and Training Manager, Mary Gildea.

Andy Collier of biT (Telford & Wrekin Council’s Architectural Design & Building Services)
Award for: Best Safety Manager

Over the 15 years that WHS has worked alongside and supported Andy, he has always proved to be totally resolute in his commitment to high standards of health & safety.

The award was accepted by Andy Collier, shown here with WHS Managing Director, Jackie Horsewood.

Richard Sherratt Builders Ltd
Award for: Best Small Contractor

Despite being a small contractor, Richard Sherratt Builders Ltd has consistently demonstrated total commitment to the wellbeing of its employees and the public, demonstrating that compliance is possible with just a bit of thought and effort rather than huge cash reserves.

Richard Sherratt himself is pictured here accepting the award from senior WHS consultant, Mark Roberts.

Morris Property Ltd
Award for: Commitment to Training

Contractor, Morris Property Ltd, (part of the prestigious Morris & Co group) has demonstrated extremely high standards of commitment to fully training their workforce at all levels; a commendable example to the industry of how much can be achieved.

The award was accepted on behalf of Morris Property Ltd by Construction Manager, Steve Flavell, and Office Manager, Trish Empson (who has been instrumental in the organisation of the Company’s training needs). Pictured here (centre) presenting the award is WHS Associate Director, Laura Mort.

Jake Edis of Edis Developments Ltd
Commendation for: High Standards of Site Management

Since being appointed site manager in 2017, Jake Edis has demonstrated his very competent managerial ability and commitment to operating a safe site for the family company, something that prompted praise from a visiting HSE inspector a couple of months ago.

Jake is pictured here again with WHS Associate Director, Laura Mort.

Hearty congratulations are extended to all our worthy award winners. May we thank you all for your efforts, and for so enthusiastically allowing WHS to work alongside you to help achieve these high standards.

Old First-Aid Supplies

A huge thank you to all our clients who have kindly responded to our request for old first-aid supplies. We have amassed a large suitcase-full already, but can always use more. So, don’t throw out-of-date first-aid supplies away – undeveloped countries are delighted to accept them if they are still wrapped and sterile.

Please can you either give any unused, but wrapped and sterile items, to your WHS consultant when you next meet, post them to us, or let Vicki in the office know that they are available to collect. They will all be going direct to a small nomadic clinic in Mongolia. Many thanks indeed in advance!

HSE NEWS

Proposals to Reduce Health Surveillance for Asbestos Work Dropped

The HSE proposals to reduce the legal frequency of medical checks for asbestos workers to 3 years has been dropped. The consolation conducted during late 2017 resulted in an overwhelming rejection of the proposed amendment to the Control of Asbestos Regs. Sense prevails! Asbestos is much too serious an issue to lower the standards.

A pertinent reminder here that any contractor carrying out low-key but NNLW (Notifiable Non-Licensed Work) is under a legal obligation to also undertake health surveillance for all workers carrying out those tasks. If you need further advice, please contact the WHS office as we have access to persons qualified to carry out health surveillance.

Corporate Manslaughter Considered for Didcot

A pre-inquest hearing into the deaths of four workers at Didcot Power Station in February 2016 heard that Corporate Manslaughter charges are being considered by the HSE against demolition contractor, Coleman & Co. Ltd., for gross negligence and other offences. The deaths resulted from the collapse of two of the four units in the boiler house.

The HSE consideration of the Corporate Manslaughter law (although no charges have yet been laid against the contractor) sends a message to the entire industry that senior management can, and will, be held accountable for serious transgressions of health & safety law.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Urgent Product Recall

B&Q has recalled two remote-controlled plug sets due to a potential fire risk; the sets were on sale in their stores between September 2014 until November 2017:

REMOTE CONTROL ON/OFF SET TRIPLE SET                                                                                          Product barcode number: 5052931395033

REMOTE CONTROL ON/OFF SET TWIN SET
Product barcode number: 4895130705675

The product label (batch codes will vary)

If you suspect you may have purchased or used one of these sets, B&Q advice is as follows:

  • Switch it off at the wall
  • Remove the plug
  • Return it to B&Q who will give a full refund

 

Site-Specific Risk Assessment are VITAL!

This really awful case clearly demonstrates just why we (and the HSE) keep going on and on and on about how vital it is to write site-specific risk assessments:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-41526211

As we have said so many times before, risk assessments are not just a paper exercise; they are required by law for a very good reason – they assess the issues, prioritise the risks and formulate controls to prevent those risks.
So why is it that contractors cannot see that risks vary according to the prevailing work environment – so a generic assessment alone is totally insufficient? And, yes, just changing the site name and date is still only a generic assessment!

In this particular case, you can clearly see from the photo that a site-specific assessment should have easily picked up the extreme risk of arcing; there should have been no room at all for error, and that error resulted in ruining a man’s life and livelihood.

SSiP Accreditation – Fees

SMAS Worksafe will be increasing its fees for SSiP accreditation, so do take note that the following apply from 2 April 2018 (all figures quoted ex-VAT):

Contractor: £220
Principal Contractor: £260
Designer & Principal Designer: £260
‘Mutual recognition’ (i.e. gaining SMAS on the back of CHAS, etc) £80

If your SMAS is up for renewal shortly, or you’re thinking of applying for accreditation through SMAS, make sure you get your application in well before the April deadline to save a little money.

SMAS still have favourable rates if you employ 5 or more people (including sub-contractors don’t forget) and are far easier to communicate with that some of the other SSiP providers. However, if you are a very small company (less than 5 employees in total), the following price comparisons may be useful:

CHAS (all disciplines)

Contractors:
1 employee: £174
2-4 employees: £199
5-15 employees: £299
16 and above employees: £369 – £629
‘Mutual recognition’ Contractors & Principal Contractors: £140 – £399

Designer & Principal Designer: £355 – £425

An extra fee of £60 – £120 applies to all hard-copy submissions (i.e. not submitted on-line)

Safe Contractor (all disciplines)

1 employee: £229
1-4 employees: £329
5-15 employees: £439
16 and above employees: £569 – £1099

All submissions must be on-line

Asbestos

Those of you who have received asbestos awareness training from us will be familiar with our doubts as to whether it’s possible for asbestos to be creeping into, not only imported construction materials, but also normal household products as has already happened in the U.S. and Australia…..including Peppa Pig crayons!!
http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/officeworks-pulls-crayons-from-shelves-amidst-asbestos-fears-20150911-gjkpac.html

WHS asks…is enough being done to check the contents of materials from places such as China where the use of asbestos is still perfectly legal? Australia is leading the way in stringently checking imported materials – but are we following suit to the degree required? It costs very little for a material sample to be analysed for possible asbestos content so, if you’re importing materials from outside the E.U, it may be as well to check.

And, on the domestic front, just look at this appalling case recently reported in the U.K:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5234379/Woman-cancer-caused-asbestos-gets-clear.html

Poor Danielle is thought to have ingested asbestos fibres from her teddy bear 20 years ago when she was 3 years old. Admittedly, this may then have occurred (however inexcusably) before the blanket ban on the import and use of all types of asbestos which came into effect in January 2000, but it begs the question…how many of these potentially lethal children’s toys are still in circulation?

Asbestos – Memorials

Asbestos-related deaths are so prevalent that some areas of the country have set up their own memorials to highlight the issue and to ensure their deceased loved-ones are never forgotten. For example:

  • Clydesdale established Clydesdale Action on Asbestos many years ago and holds a memorial service every April
  • Rochdale erected an International Asbestos Memorial opposite the Town Hall; Rochdale has been particularly hard hit as asbestos-based products were manufactured in the area.

 

Asbestos – Fake RPE Filters

We have highlighted the serious issue of fake PPE before – it has now come to light that there may be fake RPE (respiratory protective equipment) filters out there, something that would have very severe repercussions if they are being relied upon to protect against asbestos (or any other types of) dusts.

Always make sure that you purchase all your PPE and RPE from reputable suppliers. Never cut corners to save a few pounds; it doesn’t really make sense now, does it?

Dusts

And while we’re on the subject of exposure to ‘dusts’…

Principal Contractor, MY Construction & Carpentry, has been fined £40,000 plus costs for allowing workers on a refurbishment site to be exposed to Respirable Crystalline Silica (‘RCS’) found in brick dust. Workers were found to be dry-cutting bricks to shape a bay window surround; work had not been properly planned or assessed and workers had been given no information about the hazards of inhaling brick dusts.

It’s astonishing that, in this day and age, main contractors still flaunt the law. This is not a question of over-zealous legal requirements; laws such as this (COSHH) are there to protect everyone from harm. Well over 1 million workers are at risk of inhaling RCS within the construction industry alone and, although figures are difficult to verify, it has been estimated that up to 50 double-decker bus loads of people die every year from respiratory diseases – so any company that blatantly disregards the need to dust control, deserves everything it gets from the legal system.

Dust Prevention – Face-Fit Testing

ELIMINATE – REDUCE – CONTROL (the essence of the legal ‘general principles of prevention’)

Prevention of dusts is the key; good design (etc) can help ELIMINATE the need for cutting, shaping, abrading, etc. on site.

If that’s not possible, contractors must REDUCE airborne dusts by dust suppression or capture (damping down, filter attachments, etc)

A reminder that the use of RPE (respiratory protective equipment – dust masks) is only a CONTROL measure so is naturally (and in law) a last resort only, or an additional safeguard. And that, every time RPE is used, there is a legal; requirement to have face-fit testing (FFT) as we have stressed many, many times before.

An important note on ‘press-to-check’ masks

There is a dangerous misconception within the industry that the commonly used ‘press-to-check’ masks don’t require face-fit testing; this is NOT true.

The press-to-check essentially creates a vacuum; this is negative pressure when the filters are checked when first worn but this weakens over time, meaning that the mask may not fit as it should after a couple of hours (or less).

The press-to-check facility, although it does provide a valuable additional feature, is a marketing tool. It is being misinterpreted and now there is widespread belief that face-fit is not required. As most reputable RPE manufacturers stress on their websites (e.g. 3M), face-fit testing is still required by law for this type of mask.

AND FINALLY

A snap-shot of recent prosecutions:

Asbestos

  • Utility services company, IQA Operations Group Ltd was fined for exposing four workers to asbestos during electrical works in a block of flats. The company had not questioned that the asbestos survey did not include the door transoms which resulted in drilling through asbestos during the fitting of new electrical cables to each of the 44 flats.

This serves as a warning to all electrical engineers; you do run a real risk of disturbing asbestos if there isn’t an in-depth refurbishment survey covering the affected area/s, something that happens all too often. It doesn’t matter that it may be ‘5 minutes work’ to drill a hole through a door frame, a panel or a skirting board, but ignoring the possibility of there being asbestos within will have repercussions.

Plant & vehicle segregation

  • CAV Aerospace Ltd was fined a total of well over £800,000 after a worker suffered horrendous injuries when he fell into the path of a MEWP; he was dragged along the floor for the machine’s length before it came to a stop. Where were the safe systems and segregated walkways?

 

Vibration

  • Charter Housing Association Ltd was fined a total of almost £110,000 after exposing maintenance workers to uncontrolled hand-arm vibration. Six workers have developed symptoms of early-stage HAVS.

 

Public protection

  • Martin McColl Ltd (a chain of convenience stores) and contractor, JMS Retail Concept Ltd, were fined a totals of well over £600,000 and £40,000 respectively after two elderly members of the public tripped and fell on separate occasions, both suffering broken bones, during the construction of a ramp in a Powys store.

 

Management liability

  • Both a construction company, House Design & Build Ltd, and its project manager, Neil Crow, were fined totals of over £100,000 and £15,000 respectively for multiple breaches of health & safety law. The prosecution resulted from HSE visits to two sites; there had been no accident.

 

Sole trader liability

A misconception has crept into UK industry that sole traders are no longer liable for health & safety failings and won’t be prosecuted. As these cases demonstrate, this is not true.

  • Self-employed tree worker, Perry Regan, was fined over £2,000 and sentenced to 20 months in prison (suspended for 18 months) after a branch he cut fell on a person helping below, resulting in severe head injuries.
  • Self-employed builder, David Guymer, was fined a total of almost £55,000 and ordered to complete 300 hours community work after installing an oven in a domestic property but without Gas Safe accreditation or safe systems. The result was an explosion that injured two occupants.
  • Self-employed (but unregistered) gas fitter, Robert Ruszczak was sentenced to 12 months in prison after serving five gas appliances in a hotel and restaurant and leaving them in an unsafe state.

 

Just because you’re a sole trader, doesn’t mean that you don’t affect other people. So, in WHS’s humble opinion, it’s up to you whether you kill yourself or not (although we’d much rather you didn’t!), but if you injury others, you will be held liable.

And the last word is, as usual….work at height

  • BBC Studioworks Ltd was fined a total of well over £200,000, Elstree Film Studios Ltd £55,000 and Elstree Light & Power Ltd £69,000 after a contractor fell 10 metres and sustained life-changing multiple injuries during a de-rigging operation. No edge protection had been placed around hatches.

 

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

Now that asbestos has moved a lot closer to the forefront of our minds in the construction industry as well as other industries, Asbestos Awareness training is a must for all who may come into contact with it during their working day.

Whether your a builder, electrician, plumber or install blinds, do you know where you could find asbestos?

For just £65 + VAT per person, attending our UKATA Asbestos Awareness course will give you the knowledge you need to ensure you’re aware of the basics and don’t get caught out.

12th January 2018
£65 + VAT per person
9am – 12.30pm
Held at our offices in Telford – address here

Please contact Vicki on 01952 885885 or vicki.brown@wenlockhs.co.uk to book your place.

 

This UKATA course that we are offering for sale, is sold under license from SB Asbestos Management Ltd who is the UKATA approved Professional Member UK1163A, and this company is not a UKATA Professional Member for this classification of training

WENLOCK HEALTH & SAFETY Ltd EXTENDS WARMEST CHRISTMAS WISHES TO ALL OUR CLIENTS;
WE TRUST THAT 2018 WILL BE BOTH PROSPEROUS
AND SAFE!

COMPANY NEWS

Christmas Closure

As usual, we at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) will be taking a well-earned break over the Christmas holiday period.

Please take note that our offices will be closing from midday on Friday 22 December 2017 and reopening at 8 am on Tuesday 2 January 2018. No consultants will be available during this period to provide normal services; however, if there is an emergency situation requiring immediate attention, please contact Jackie on 07866-605920 (emergencies only please!)

Additional Staff

We’re sure that you’ll join us in extending a warm welcome to our newest member of staff, Mr. Dave Copcutt.
Dave brings with him a wealth of experience, particularly in the field of construction-based training, and will contribute greatly to both the value and the range of our services over the coming months and years.

CDM Seminars

A reminder that we are holding two seminars at our premises on Tuesday, 23 January 2018, to assist our customers to understand and deal with the many issues and pitfalls that have become apparent since the advent of CDM 2015. Whether you’re a contractor, designer, developer or a one-off client, all duty holders may have experienced problems with the regulations; with the ‘holistic’ view of the developments taken by WHS, we can offer pragmatic solutions and approaches to the issues.

The cost for the seminars is: £60 + VAT per person per session or £100 per person for the full day:

  • 8.30 am to 12.30 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Clients, Developers and Designers’
  • 1.30 pm to 5 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Contractors’

 

Please refer to the flyer attached for both. Space is limited so book early

CITB Training Courses

In addition to the SMSTS & SSSTS courses below currently run on a one-day-per-week basis, and in order to accommodate client requests, we will soon be offering courses spanning single weeks. Availability will require a minimum of 6 persons (CITB rules, not ours!) so the more candidates you can muster for any one course, the better. Should this be your preferred option, please contact Vicki at WHS as soon as possible.

Forthcoming late 2017 and early 2018 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS offices and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

IMPORTANT NOTES:
Please be aware that CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.

And don’t forget that CITB levy-payers can claim substantial grants against all these courses and more – which will help alleviate the cost considerably. Contact WHS for further details.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 30 January & 6, 13, 20 & 27 February 2018
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 18 & 19 December 2017
    12 & 13 March 2018
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 8 & 9 January 2018
    22 & 23 March 2018
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 4 December 2017
    26 February 2018
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

If any organisation requires places for 6 or more employees, we can arrange a specific course at dates, times and a location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

New CITB Training Courses

Please note that WHS can now offer two new CITB-accredited courses:

  • Directors Role for Health and Safety
  • Achieving Behavioural Change (ABC)

 

Please ring Vicki at WHS on 01952-885885 for further information or to book courses. Do note that the same CITB rules apply (6 persons minimum per course) so courses may have to be aggregated.

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2017 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at our offices, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 11 December 2017
  • 18 January 2018
  • 20 January 2018
  • 26 March 2018

 

As with the CITB courses above, if any organisation requires first-aid for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

WHS Awards

Yes, it’s the time of year again when we take pride in recognising those clients who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to high standards of health & safety over the previous 12 months by presenting our 2017 WHS Health & Safety Awards. This is the first time in our 15 year history that we have made an award to a particular company two years running! Full details of our 2017 awards follows; we extend hearty congratulations to all winners:

Archway Products (UK) Ltd
Award for: Best Safety Culture

The Company designs, manufactures and operates its Roadmaster self-contained, very safe-to-operate, pot-hole repair vehicles throughout the UK. Despite proving to be exemplary in its approach to health & safety last year and, thus, winning a WHS award for ‘Commitment Through Innovation’, Company management still continually shows an appetite for exploring further innovation towards improvement. They have been more than willing to work with, and listen to advice given by, WHS – which is doubly important for a company based in the Republic of Ireland – and this has produced excellent results in a very short time.

Andy Collier of biT (Telford & Wrekin Council’s Architectural Design & Building Services)
Award for: Best Safety Manager

WHS has worked alongside Andy for 15 years. In his various TWC roles over those 15 years, he has always been resolute in his commitment to the health & safety. Now, in his latest role to manage the new biT Facilities Management Team, his commitment continues to be unwavering and exemplary. As with Archway, the willingness to work with, and listen to advice given by, WHS has produced excellent results in a very short time.

Richard Sherratt Builders Ltd
Award for: Best Small Contractor

Richard runs a small general building company based in Shrewsbury, mainly undertaking small projects and insurance work. His total commitment to the wellbeing of his employees, and the public he inevitably impacts as a result of his work, is highly commendable. This demonstrates that compliance is totally possible with just a bit of thought and effort, even within a small company. It also demonstrates that such commitment produces very positive effects – loyalty from both staff and clients.

Morris Property Ltd
Award for: Commitment to Training

Part of the prestigious Morris & Co group, contractor Morris Property Ltd has demonstrated total commitment to fully training their workforce at all levels. Their on-going efforts have produced huge improvements in the health & safety management and systems for both project and minor works, and is to be highly commended as an example to all parties within the industry.

Jake Edis of Edis Developments Ltd
Commendation for: High Standards of Site Management

Jake Edis was appointed site manager in July 2017 and has, since then, shown to be quick to understand requirements, strong to enforce site rules, willing to work alongside WHS and enthusiastic to implement improvements. Edis Developments Ltd, based in Shropshire, have certainly benefitted greatly by engaging Jake – particularly as the HSE was more than pleased with the site during a recent inspection!

Well done to all our worthy winners!! Can anyone else demonstrate such commitment over the next 12 months? The awards are there for the taking for those who deserve recognition.

Old First-Aid Supplies

Those WHS customers who have been with us for a while will know that periodically, we collect out-of-date but still wrapped and sterile first-aid items which Jackie then distributes in various needy locations.

Jackie has distributed supplies many times before to such needy places as Haiti, Nepal (following the earthquake), and various African countries. In July 2018, she will again be visiting clinics in far flung places so we’re asking now please that, if any of you have any out-of-date or unwanted but still sterile and usable first-aid supplies, please can you either give them to your WHS consultant when you next meet, post them to us, or let Vicki in the office know that they are available to collect.

Many thanks indeed in advance!

HSE NEWS

Fines Doubled in 12 Months

Despite the fall in the number of prosecutions reaching court, the fines levelled against those found guilty of health & safety offices has almost doubled in the last 12 months, and this is on top of a similar rise over the previous 12 month period.

For the same period during:

2014-15 £18 million in fines was collected
2015-16 £38.8 million collected
2016-17 £69.9 million collected – an effective rise of 388% in 2 years

The number of cases brought to court and resulting in conviction during 2016-17, at 554, was the lowest recorded in over 5 years. Of these, 206 (37%) were in construction – which is a sad reflection on the state of our industry as we only represent 5% of the total UK workforce.

So why is the increase in fines levied so high? Any recipients of this newsletter over the past 18 months will know the answer – new sentencing guidelines were introduced on 1 February 2016 which allowed for very much larger fines, the largest to date being £5 million (Merlin Entertainments – the Alton Towers accident). During 2016-17, 38 cases resulted in fines in excess of £500,000. And it must also be noted that several of those also resulted in imprisonment too.

Enforcement Increased

In addition to the above, HSE enforcement is steadily increasing year on year. 11,913 notices were issued by either the HSE or Local Authorities) during 2016-17, a 5% rise over the previous year.

And, as reported before, this is on top of the thousands of FFI (‘Fees For Intervention’) letters issued for lesser material breaches which attract no fines but fees of £129 per hour for all HSE work involved.

So…anyone not paying due attention to the law risks paying out far more than any savings made. Is it worth it? Does it really cost so much for a business to get its house in order? It will cost a lot more not to!

Breaches Relating to Plant Increased

And it’s disturbing that the Building Safety Group has reported a 74% rise in construction plant breaches in just 6 months mainly relating to poor planning and designation of person/plant segregation. In 2016-17, 23% of the total workplace fatalities resulted from pedestrians being struck by a moving vehicle. Considering the legal requirement to separate people from plant and vehicles has been in place for almost 20 years now, the lack of planning and control is inexcusable.

For example:
United Grab Hire was fined almost £506,000 after a reversing telehandler struck and killed a worker; no segregation had been established.
And see further cases at the end of this newsletter.

Stress – the Sad Facts

The HSE has issued latest figures regarding work place stress. And they demonstrate a worrying decline in the mental health of the UK workforce. It doesn’t take a genius to work out why in the current economic climate but it’s a sad fact that workplace stress has now overtaken musculoskeletal disorders as the most commonly reported work-related illness!

The number of new cases reported rose to 526,000 for the 2016-17 period, up 7% on the previous year and accounting for a massive 40.5% of the total number of work-related illness cases reported to the HSE. Food for thought…take care of your workforce, without them you have no business.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Lead – a Serious but Overlooked Risk Issue

We’re sure everyone is aware of the extremely hazardous nature of lead – the extreme effects on the nervous system which can lead to very unpleasant symptoms, total mental disablement or, worse case scenario, coma and death. The substance (whether in solid, particle or fume form) is so hazardous that, like asbestos, it warrants its own set of regulations, with very strict controls and continual health surveillance being necessary by law.

So why are we still building lead products into our new buildings without a thought for the possible consequences to those dealing with it both now and in the future? This is both a designer and a contractor issue. Both have a clear duty under CDM to eliminate risks where possible – so why are lead flashings, canopies, cladding, etc still being designed in when alternatives are available? It cannot be acceptable to rely on the contractor to ‘reduce the risk through appropriate controls’ when it is possible to design out the risk itself.

The ‘general principals of prevention’ are, as you know: eliminate – reduce – control
CDM clearly places the initial responsibility for the implementation of the general principals of prevention on the designer and more needs to be done to rid the industry of such serious, and unnecessary, health risks.

And the contractor spied recently by WHS advertising photographs of a ‘lead clad door canopy completed as an alternative to tiling’, pretty though it looked, clearly has no regard for safety or an understanding of the law.

For further information, refer to the WHS Health & Safety Manual, and generic COSHH and risk assessments relating to both lead and red lead: COSHH 024 & 025; lead removal 025.

Contact the WHS office on 01952-885885 for further information or to arrange a short lead awareness training course. The HSE is beginning to look hard at this issue so now is the time to make yourself fully aware.

Use of Gas Bottles on Site

The storage, handling and transporting of gas is becoming an ever-increasing issue with the HSE. Which is perfectly understandable as misuse and poor handling can have devastating consequences.

  • For construction sites, we need to have considered the following points:
    Where are the gas bottles going to be stored on site? Is this identified? What would happen to this storage in a fire?
  • How is the gas being moved around the site? Do workers know how to correctly move gas around the site – never rolled – always upright! Have they been trained?
  • Can a safe distance be maintained around the area when using gas? What about protection for other contractors and persons?
  • Is a necessary to use a hot works permit? Is there more than one person in attendance? Is the correct fire extinguisher provided?
  • Have those persons using the gas and all associated items (e.g. regulators) been properly trained. Just because the regulator fits, may not mean it’s the correct one to use. Does the user know the difference?
  • Have the weekly checks of plant and equipment been made? Does this include all mobile hoses?
  • Has the gas equipment been replaced within 5 years?
  • Has the site manager included gas/ hot works in the site fire risk assessment?
  • Is gas included in your emergency arrangements on site?

 

These are the minimum areas to consider and control when using gas and/or carrying out hot works on site. Failure to properly plan, assess and control may result in HSE enforcement or, worse still, serious incident causing serious injury, death or explosion.

For further information about controlling the risks and implications, consult the WHS Health & Safety Manual, and websites:

https://bfpa.co.uk/ (The British Fluid Power Association)
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pUbns/priced/l122.pdf (Pressure systems safety regulations 2000)
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg168.htm (HSG 168 – fire safety in construction)

Fire Protection with Timber Frame Construction

Believe it or not, 85% of all fires on construction sites are started by arson. Consequently, the HSE is increasingly pushing for all construction sites to have in place three fire emergency documents:

  • Fire risk assessment (on and off-site)
  • Fire plan
  • Fire emergency procedures and arrangements.

 

It is important to note that the fire risk assessment must address both on-site and off-site (beyond the site boundary) fire risk. This is particularly true for timber frames buildings, as the heat they radiant can cause significant damage to neighbouring properties. The radiant heat travels a much greater distance than most people realise. As a result, some control measures are insufficient to stop building damage and possible loss of life.

The on and off-site fire risk cannot only be considered, documented and communicated at construction phase; it is vital to also consider mitigated during the design stage. The guidance (parts 1 -3) from the Structural Timber Association is key in determining appropriate risk mitigation measures during the design phase, and must be referred to all timber frames designers and manufacturers. The category of timber frame selected has massive repercussions if a fire were to develop within the building.

Fire risk assessments and associated control measures must be site-specific and updated throughout the build. For example, as a timber-framed development grows, how will the spread of fire be affected? Additional temporary control measure, e.g. additional fire boarding over windows/ openings to halt the spread of fire, may well be required. Fire risk assessments must be viewed as ‘dynamic’ i.e. continually reviewed and developed as appropriate to site circumstances.

The HSE would always look to see higher fire mitigation arrangements (i.e. selection of Cat. B frame over A frame) over any other fire control method (i.e. fire-retardant cladding). These decisions are made at design stage; therefore, the HSE are increasingly prosecuting designers and principal designers for fires / fire damage / injury caused by timber framed construction. (Watch this space with respect to the repercussions of the Grenfell disaster.)

The obvious first step is to understand how heat travels and the distances. The guidance documents can help, but for larger scale developments, a fire specialist may need to be employed to analyse the design in relation to radiant heat travel distances and required segregation.

The Structural Timber Association is an obvious and very useful source for guidance documents, e.g:
http://www.structuraltimber.co.uk/ (STA home site)
http://www.structuraltimber.co.uk/assets/InformationCentre/eb6 (STA – design guide to separating distances (parts 1 – 4))
http://www.structuraltimber.co.uk/library/ (other STA guidance documents)

See also the WHS Health & safety Manual and other useful reference:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg168 (HSG168 Fire prevention on construction sites, with checklist)
http://bit.ly/2hMChCL (PAS 79: the standard for fire risk assessment)

Pay Attention to Environmental Care

The following recent prosecution demonstrates the necessity to pay due attention to legal environmental requirements; even site run-off is strictly illegal.

Harron Homes were fined a total of almost £129,000 after run-off from one of their construction sites polluted a local stream which fed the Grimescar Dyke in Huddersfield.

Settlement tanks had been installed to control silt run-off but the system proved woefully inadequate, resulting in significant discharge into, and pollution of, the watercourse.

It must be remembered that even run-off or discharge resulting from flood conditions are the responsibility of the contractor. Forward planning and a few simple measures can control such risks. But to be unfamiliar with requirements could risk a massive fine as this prosecution demonstrates.

Those WHS customers who don’t yet have our Environmental Management System (EMS) are strongly advised to purchase one now to ensure that they are fully aware of all legal requirements relating to the construction industry. The EMS is available for a one-off fee of just £150 + VAT, and will be reviewed and amended as necessary free of charge for all subsequent years following renewal of subscription. Contact WHS on 01952-885885 for further details or order an EMS.

Wood Dusts

We’ve been labouring the points about extraction and control of dusts for months (if not, years) now, an issue that is becoming ever more important as the HSE moves towards raising the risk level to that equal with work at height.

But, just to prove a point, Jackie was heartened to see just what can be achieved during a recent visit to the Marshall Amplification manufacturing facility at Bletchley, Milton Keynes.

For those of you who aren’t perhaps familiar with what Marshall do, they produce hundreds of amplifiers a week (mainly used in rock music), all of which are based on wooden cabinets.

But just take a look at this, not a hint of airborne wood dust anywhere (and, she searched as hard as she could to find some!). Absolutely clean – and it just proves what can be done when the health of employees is placed above profit.

Oh, and by the way, they don’t allow lead in any of their components either……!

Ladder Standards are Changing

We are (or should be!) familiar with the current standards for step-ladders and leaning ladders, but it is important to note that these changed in November 2017. The distinction between domestic and commercial use is being removed, as is that between light and heavy industrial use. From now on, the ‘EN131’ standard is to be harmonised through the EU and UK, and will apply as follows:

  • EN131 Professional – intended for use in any workplace; maximum total load 150kg
  • EN131 Non-Professional – for use in domestic situations only; maximum total load 125kg

 

There will be a transition period to allow previously classified ladders to be withdrawn. During that period, companies are advised that, provided equipment is chosen as appropriate for the job and the mandatory weekly checks are carried out, this should be sufficient.

Do note thought that EN131 only applies to step-ladders and leaning ladders; step-stools of various types and loft-ladders are covered by other EN standards.

GENERAL NEWS

Grant Funding for Small Businesses

Within the Marches region, £33 million of grant funding – yes, £33 million! – is currently up for grabs by small to medium sized businesses. The Business Growth Programme (BGP) is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (financial assistance such as this will obviously disappear post-Brexit!) with the aim of promoting business development and innovation within the small-medium business sector.

Eligible companies within the Telford & Wrekin area can apply through the Council’s Growth Hub. Ring 01952-567589 for further information about eligibility and application. Elsewhere within the Marches Region should contact Birmingham City Council’s Growth Programme Hotline on 0121-464 6456.

General Data Protection Regulation

As highlighted in the last newsletter, the General Data Protection Regulation (or ‘GDPR’) will come into effect on 25 May 2018 across Europe and will have a significant effect on most businesses.

WHS has had many enquiries already about implementing a new Data Protection Policy. Although information is available via government websites (see previous newsletter), little can be done at present to write a Policy until the full facts are known nearer the time. Therefore, WHS is recording those companies who have or may approach us to ask for assistance, and our colleague Kay Heald will be making contact in due course.

If you think the new regulations will, or may, affect you, please contact WHS now in readiness and we will be pleased to assist with updating systems and writing a new Policy in due course.

HR NEWS

The Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 came into force last year for organisations with a global turnover of £36 million.
If you’re a small to medium sized business, you may think that this doesn’t then apply to you. However, it must be noted that, in order for these companies to meet their legal obligations, they have to pass down responsibilities for tackling modern slavery through their entire supply chain. And this has only just filtered down to the smaller organisations.

Consequently, many smaller companies are now being asked for a Modern Slavery Policy…so what’s that?

A policy should reflect actual processes to avoid human rights abuses, accusations of human trafficking or labour exploitation. Contractors and, in particular, labour agencies must establish sound policies and procedures to demonstrate commitment to avoiding these types of human abuses which are, unfortunately, all too common in the construction industry.

Anything less than strong and enforceable policies will not stand up to scrutiny by larger organisations (clients or principal contractors). So don’t just look for a ‘quick fix’; contact WHS for assistance.

AND FINALLY

Before sighting recent prosecutions for work at height, here’s a sobering thought:

If you fall from a height of 6m, that’s equivalent to be hit by a car travelling at a speed of at least 25 mph. A fall of 10m = being hit by a car at 35 mph; 20m = 45-50 mph. And the heavier the person, the greater the impact.

When you consider that it’s the head that normally hits the ground first, what are the chances that a person would survive such a fall? This photo relates to a car being hit from the side (i.e. not direct) at 40 mph…would a person’s head survive such an impact?

Work at height

Notice that the first two prosecutions relate to clients having no regard at all to ensuring they employ competent contractors:

  • Greencore Grocery Ltd was fined a total of well over £1 million after a self-employed electrician fell from a step-ladder, suffering fatal injuries. Greencore Grocery itself had provided the step-ladder which was said to be unsuitable for wiring a motor at height.

 

The golden rule: Use the right tool for the right job. Clearly a step-ladder was totally unsuitable. And, yes you can die by falling a short distance from a step-ladder.

  • Othman Hussein was given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for 2 years, with a 3-month curfew after a self-employed worker fell through a ceiling to his death during building repair work. Hussien was found to have made no attempt to ensure a competent and properly equipped contractor was engaged.
  • Chris Smith, trading as C Smith Roofing, was given a suspended 8-month prison sentence, ordered to complete 200 hours of community work and to pay £5,800 on costs after 2 workers were observed carrying out work at height from partially incomplete and unprotected scaffolding.

 

Note that the case relates to an observed breach, not an accident. More evidence of stiffer sentencing.

  • Mager Homes Ltd was fined a total of almost £27,000 after a sub-contract joiner fell through a gap in the joists on the first floor of a new house, suffering life-changing injuries. There had been no attempt to prevent falls from height or mitigate the consequences.
  • Dufell Roofing Co. Ltd was fined a total of almost £50,000 after an employee suffered severe back injuries when he fell 4m through existing roof wood slabs during re-roofing. Again, no fall prevention measures were in place and the possibility of fragile roof materials had not been considered.
  • James Gibson was given a suspended 6-month prison sentence and ordered to pay costs of £8,442 after an employee fell through an unprotected 1.5 x 3m hole in the ground floor into the basement of a building being refurbished.
  • King Builders (Gloucester) Ltd was fined a total of over £48,000 after a worker fell through an unprotected skylight, suffering serious injuries.
  • Nicholas Birkin was fined a total of £3,240 after a worker under his supervision fell 5m from scaffolding where guard rails had been removed to facilitate the lifting of materials to a roof.

 

Overhead services

  • Boundary Scaffolding Ltd was fined a total of over £81,000 and its director, Jonathon Griffiths-Clark sentenced to a 6-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £1545 in costs after an employee was left with serious injuries when he came into contact with 33kV overhead cables. The scaffolding being erected was far too close to the power cables; no safe distances had been established.
  • BAM Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £269,000 and its sub-contractor, Shorelands Projects Ltd, over £30,000 after a worker suffered seriously burns when posts he was installing made contact with an 11kV overhead power line. No controls had been established to ensure safe travel and working beneath the power cables.

 

Pedestrian safety

  • Savanna Rags International Ltd was fined a total of over £653,000 after a worker was killed by a reversing delivery vehicle. The victim was walking from a weighbridge to a smoking shelter when the visiting vehicle reversed in that area. It had been commonplace for vehicles to reverse in that area, which was shared by employees accessing the factory; no segregation had been established despite it being entirely foreseeable that such an accident could happen.
  • LPD Demolition, was fined a total of almost £52,000 after a worker was crushed by a reversing excavator and was lucky to survive. He had been clearing debris around the machine when it started to reverse; inadequate planning had failed to segregate plant and pedestrians.

 

Asbestos

  • IQA Operations Group was fined £6,000 after exposing four electrical workers to ACMs when they drilled through door panels; the panes had not been tested for the presence of asbestos…until it was too late. Residents of the tower block had to move out whilst the clean-up was carried out.
  • Unlicensed contractor, Anthony McGrath, was fined a total of almost £8,000 after breaking up and removing asbestos insulation board from an occupied dwelling. The clean-up cost £12,000 and took a week, during which time the occupant needed to move out.
  • Waste removal contractor, Mark Gibson (trading as All-Gone Waste), was fined a total of over £4,000 after advertising an asbestos removal service for which he was not, and never had been, licensed.

 

Gas

  • SJW Joinery & Building Ltd was fined a total of over £10,000 and its director, Simon Wiley, sentenced to 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay over £4,000 in costs after a family of four was hospitalised due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The roof of an extension being built by SJW at the family’s home had blocked the boiler flue, causing the fumes to be vented internally.
  • Wates Construction Ltd was fined a total of almost £661,000 and sub-contractor, RJ Fitters Ltd, well over £40,000 after flues were blocked during a house refurbishment. Insufficient investigation had taken place regarding which flues were redundant and which were live, with the result that live flues were blocked up. It was only when carbon monoxide monitors alerted the home-owner that the situation came to light!
    Equipment safety
  • Acenta Steel Ltd was fined a total of over £410,000 after an employee’s leg was crushed by a vice of an industrial bandsaw before the emergency stop button could be pressed. Not only had a guard been removed but several modifications had been made to facilitate easier use and cleaning, including the blocking of a sensor. Investigations showed that the sensor would have activated 12 times in the recent life of the machine = the potential for 12 such incidents (which is ironic as Acenta’s website boasts its BS OHSAS18001 credentials!)
  • MTI Welding Technologies Ltd was fined a total of over £56,000 after an electrician lost two fingers in a high-friction welding machine. The machine had been modified to ‘defeat’ safety interlock systems and allow maintenance whilst operating.

 

NEVER be tempted to modify or adapt equipment, or over-ride safety features. And a word of warning:
The buyer is responsible for ensuring that equipment purchased is safe for use and incorporates all necessary safety features (e.g. guards, interlocks and emergency buttons). Often items purchased from abroad do not incorporate safety features legally required under UK law; all new items must be checked for UK compliance. And beware of purchasing second-hand items as well; check, check and check again.

Equipment safety – barriers

  • Installer, Robert Churchyard, has been jailed for three and a half years after being found guilty of manslaughter. A woman died when the powered gate installed by Churchyard fell on her; he had failed to install a bracket to stop the gate falling off its rails. To rub salt into the wounds, Churchyard tried to blame the victim’s family for removing the bracket – how cold-hearted can you be?

 

Believe it or not, serious accidents and fatalities occur frequently; all fixtures, fittings and moving appliances within your premises fall under PUWER and must be both maintained and checked regularly. And do note that the following three prosecutions went to court before fines were increased last year; the penalties would be much harsher now.

  • North Lincolnshire Council was fined a total of over £200,000 after a man died when his car was hit by an unsecured horizontal swing barrier at a sports ground. As the victim drove towards the barrier, it swung open, the end piercing the car’s windscreen and hit him on the head.
  • Asda was fined a total of £217,000 after a customer was killed by a barrier that swung open in a gust of wind. Nobody had been named as responsible for checking the barrier was locked open.
  • Morrisons was fined a total of over £266,000 after an employee lost half his face (!!) when a barrier at the store’s petrol station swung across, smashing into the victim’s car…and his face.

 

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

WENLOCK HEALTH & SAFETY Ltd EXTENDS WARMEST CHRISTMAS WISHES TO ALL OUR CLIENTS;
WE TRUST THAT 2018 WILL BE PROSPEROUS AND SAFE!

COMPANY NEWS

Christmas Closure

As usual, we at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) will be taking a well-earned break over the Christmas holiday period. Please take note that our offices will be closing from midday on Friday 22 December 2017 and reopening at 8 am on Tuesday 2 January 2018. No consultants will be available during this period to provide normal services; however, if there is an emergency situation requiring immediate attention, please contact Jackie on 07866-605920 (emergencies only please!)

Additional Staff

We’re sure that you’ll join us in extending a warm welcome to our newest member of staff, Mr. Dave Copcutt.
Dave brings with him a wealth of experience, particularly in the field of training, and will contribute greatly to both the value and the range of our services over the coming months and years.

CDM Seminars

A reminder that we are holding two seminars at our premises on Tuesday, 23 January 2018, to assist our customers to understand and deal with the many issues and pitfalls that have become apparent since the advent of the Construction* (Design & Management) Regulations 2015. Whether you’re a one-off client, developer or contractor, all duty holders may have experienced problems with the regulations; with the ‘holistic’ view of the developments taken by WHS, we can offer pragmatic solutions and approaches to the issues.

* Don’t forget that all types of refurbishment, decorating, electrical, IT, telecoms, heating, plumbing, and maintenance and repair of fixtures and fittings (and lots more related to the upkeep of your premises) is deemed ‘construction’ under the law – so these regulations apply to ALL businesses at some point.

The cost for the seminars is: £60 + VAT per person per session or £100 per person for the full day. Please refer to the flyer attached for both. Space is limited so book early.

  • 8.30 am to 12.30 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for all types of businesses
  • 1.30 pm to 5 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Contractors’

 

New Training Courses

Please note that WHS can now offer two new accredited courses; please ring Vicki at WHS on 01952-885885 for further information or to book courses.

  • Directors Role for Health and Safety
  • Achieving Behavioural Change (ABC)

 

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2017 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at our offices, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 11 December 2017
  • 18 January 2018
  • 20 January 2018
  • 26 March 2018

 

If any organisation requires first-aid for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

WHS Awards

Yes, it’s the time of year again when we take pride in recognising those clients who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to high standards of health & safety over the previous 12 months by presenting our 2017 WHS Health & Safety Awards. This is the first time in our 15 year history that we have made an award to a particular company two years running! Full details of our 2017 awards follows; we extend hearty congratulations to all winners:

Archway Products (UK) Ltd
Award for: Best Safety Culture
The Company designs, manufactures and operates its Roadmaster self-contained, very safe-to-operate, pot-hole repair vehicles throughout the UK. Despite proving to be exemplary in its approach to health & safety last year and, thus, winning a WHS award for ‘Commitment Through Innovation’, Company management still continually shows an appetite for exploring further innovation towards improvement. They have been more than willing to work with, and listen to advice given by, WHS – which is doubly important for a company based in the Republic of Ireland – and this has produced excellent results in a very short time.

Andy Collier of biT (Telford & Wrekin Council’s Architectural Design & Building Services)
Award for: Best Safety Manager
WHS has worked alongside Andy for 15 years. In his various TWC roles over those 15 years, he has always been resolute in his commitment to the health & safety. Now, in his latest role to manage the new biT Facilities Management Team, his commitment continues to be unwavering and exemplary. As with Archway, the willingness to work with, and listen to advice given by, WHS has produced excellent results in a very short time.

Morris Property Ltd
Award for: Commitment to Training
Part of the prestigious Morris & Co group, contractor Morris Property Ltd has demonstrated total commitment to fully training their workforce at all levels. Their on-going efforts have produced huge improvements in the health & safety management and systems for both project and minor works, and is to be highly commended as an example to all parties within the industry.

Richard Sherratt Builders Ltd
Award for: Best Small Contractor
Richard runs a small general building company based in Shrewsbury, mainly undertaking small projects and insurance work. His total commitment to the wellbeing of his employees, and the public he inevitably impacts as a result of his work, is highly commendable. This demonstrates that compliance is totally possible with just a bit of thought and effort, even within a small company. It also demonstrates that such commitment produces very positive effects – loyalty from both staff and clients.

Jake Edis of Edis Developments Ltd
Commendation for: High Standards of Site Management
Jake Edis was appointed site manager in July 2017 and has, since then, shown to be quick to understand requirements, strong to enforce site rules, willing to work alongside WHS and enthusiastic to implement improvements. Edis Developments Ltd, based in Shropshire, have certainly benefitted greatly by engaging Jake – particularly as the HSE was more than pleased with the site during a recent inspection!

Well done to all our worthy winners!! Can anyone else demonstrate such commitment over the next 12 months? The awards are there for the taking for those who deserve recognition.

Old First-Aid Supplies

Those WHS customers who have been with us for a while will know that periodically, we collect out-of-date but still wrapped and sterile first-aid items which Jackie then distributes in various needy locations.

Jackie has distributed supplies many times before to such needy places as Haiti, Cambodia, Nepal (following the earthquake), Papua, and various African countries. She will again be visiting clinics, this time in Mongolia during July 2018, so we’re asking now please that, if any of you have any out-of-date or unwanted but still sterile and usable first-aid supplies, can you either give them to your WHS consultant when you next meet, post them to us or let Vicki in the office know that they are available to collect. Many thanks indeed in advance!

HSE NEWS

Fines Doubled in 12 Months

Despite the fall in the number of prosecutions reaching court, the fines levelled against those found guilty of health & safety offices has almost doubled in the last 12 months, and this is on top of a similar rise over the previous 12 month period.

For the same period during:

2014-15 £18 million in fines was collected
2015-16 £38.8 million collected
2016-17 £69.9 million collected – an effective rise of 388% in 2 years

The number of cases brought to court and resulting in conviction during 2016-17, at 554, was the lowest recorded in over 5 years. Of these, 206 (37%) were in construction – which is a sad reflection on the state of our industry as we only represent 5% of the total UK workforce.

So why is the increase in fines levied so high? Any recipients of this newsletter over the past 18 months will know the answer – new sentencing guidelines were introduced on 1 February 2016 which allowed for very much larger fines, the largest to date being £5 million (Merlin Entertainments – the Alton Towers accident). During 2016-17, 38 cases resulted in fines in excess of £500,000. And it must also be noted that several of those also resulted in imprisonment too.

Enforcement Increased

In addition to the above, HSE enforcement is steadily increasing year on year. 11,913 notices were issued by either the HSE or Local Authorities) during 2016-17, a 5% rise over the previous year.

And, as reported before, this is on top of the thousands of FFI (‘Fees For Intervention’) letters issued for lesser material breaches which attract no fines but fees of £129 per hour for all HSE work involved.

So…anyone not paying due attention to the law risks paying out far more than any savings made. Is it worth it? Does it really cost so much for a business to get its house in order? It will cost a lot more not to!

Breaches Relating to Pedestrian Segregation Increased

And it’s disturbing that the Building Safety Group has reported a 74% rise in just 6 months relating to poor planning and designation of person/plant segregation. In 2016-17, 23% of the total workplace fatalities resulted from pedestrians being struck by a moving vehicle. Considering the legal requirement to separate people from plant and vehicles has been in place for almost 20 years now, the lack of planning and control is inexcusable.

Stress – the Sad Facts

The HSE has issued latest figures regarding work place stress. And they demonstrate a worrying decline in the mental health of the UK workforce. It doesn’t take a genius to work out why in the current economic climate but it’s a sad fact that workplace stress has now overtaken musculoskeletal disorders as the most commonly reported work-related illness!

The number of new cases reported rose to 526,000 for the 2016-17 period, up 7% on the previous year and accounting for a massive 40.5% of the total number of work-related illness cases reported to the HSE. Food for thought…take care of your workforce, without them you have no business.

GENERAL NEWS

Grant Funding for Small Businesses

Within the Marches region, £33 million of grant funding – yes, £33 million! – is currently up for grabs by small to medium sized businesses. The Business Growth Programme (BGP) is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (financial assistance such as this will obviously disappear post-Brexit!) with the aim of promoting business development and innovation within the small-medium business sector.

Eligible companies within the Telford & Wrekin area can apply through the Council’s Growth Hub. Ring 01952-567589 for further information about eligibility and application. Elsewhere within the Marches Region should contact Birmingham City Council’s Growth Programme Hotline on 0121-464 6456.

General Data Protection Regulation

As highlighted in the last newsletter, the General Data Protection Regulation (or ‘GDPR’) will come into effect on 25 May 2018 across Europe and will have a significant effect on most businesses.

WHS has had many enquiries already about implementing a new Data Protection Policy. Although information is available via government websites (see previous newsletter), little can be done at present to write a Policy until the full facts are known nearer the time. Therefore, WHS is recording those companies who have or may approach us to ask for assistance, and our colleague Kay Heald will be making contact in due course.

If you think the new regulations will, or may, affect you, please contact WHS now in readiness and we will be pleased to assist with updating systems and writing a new Policy in due course.

Pay Attention to Environmental Care

The following recent prosecution demonstrates the necessity to pay due attention to legal environmental requirements; even site run-off is strictly illegal.

Harron Homes were fined a total of almost £129,000 after run-off from one of their sites polluted a local stream which fed the Grimescar Dyke in Huddersfield.

Settlement tanks had been installed to control silt run-off but the system proved woefully inadequate, resulting in significant discharge into, and pollution of, the watercourse.

It must be remembered that even run-off or discharge resulting from flood conditions are the responsibility of the site owner. Forward planning and a few simple measures can control such risks. But to be unfamiliar with requirements could risk a massive fine as this prosecution demonstrates.

Those WHS customers who don’t yet have an Environmental Management System (EMS) are strongly advised to ensure that they are fully aware of all legal requirements relating to their industry. Contact WHS on 01952-885885 for further details and/or a quote.

Wood Dusts

We’ve been labouring the points about extraction and control of dusts for months (if not, years) now, an issue that is becoming ever more important as the HSE moves towards raising the risk level to that equal with work at height.

But, just to prove a point, Jackie was heartened to see just what can be achieved during a recent visit to the Marshall Amplification manufacturing facility at Milton Keynes.

For those of you who aren’t perhaps familiar with what Marshall do, they produce hundreds of amplifiers a week (mainly used in rock music), all of which are based on wooden cabinets.

But just take a look at this, not a hint of airborne wood dust anywhere (and, she searched as hard as she could to find some!). Absolutely clean – and it just proves what can be done when the health of employees is placed above profit.

Ladder Standards are Changing

We are (or should be!) familiar with the current standards for step-ladders and leaning ladders, but it is important to note that these changed in November 2017. The distinction between domestic and commercial use is being removed, as is that between light and heavy industrial use. From now on, the ‘EN131’ standard is to be harmonised through the EU and UK, and will apply as follows:

  • EN131 Professional – intended for use in any workplace; maximum total load 150kg
  • EN131 Non-Professional – for use in domestic situations only; maximum total load 125kg

 

There will be a transition period to allow previously classified ladders to be withdrawn. During that period, companies are advised that, provided equipment is chosen as appropriate for the job and the mandatory weekly checks are carried out, this should be sufficient.

Do note thought that EN131 only applies to step-ladders and leaning ladders; step-stools of various types and loft-ladders are covered by other EN standards.

HR NEWS

The Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 came into force last year for organisations with a global turnover of £36 million.

If you’re a small to medium sized business, you may think that this doesn’t then apply to you. However, it must be noted that, in order for these companies to meet their legal obligations, they have to pass down responsibilities for tackling modern slavery through their entire supply chain. And this has only just filtered down to the smaller organisations.

Consequently, many smaller companies are now being asked for a Modern Slavery Policy…so what’s that?

A policy should reflect actual processes to avoid human rights abuses, accusations of human trafficking or labour exploitation. Contractors and, in particular, labour agencies must establish sound policies and procedures to demonstrate commitment to avoiding these types of human abuses which are, unfortunately, all too common in the construction industry.

Anything less than strong and enforceable policies will not stand up to scrutiny by larger organisations (clients or principal contractors). So don’t just look for a ‘quick fix’; contact WHS for assistance.

AND FINALLY

Before sighting recent prosecutions for work at height, here’s a sobering thought:

If you fall from a height of 6m, that’s equivalent to be hit by a car travelling at a speed of at least 25 mph. A fall of 10m = being hit by a car at 35 mph; 20m = 45-50 mph. And the heavier the person, the greater the impact.

When you consider that it’s the head that normally hits the ground first, what are the chances that a person would survive such a fall? This photo relates to a car being hit from the side (i.e. not direct) at 40 mph…would a person’s head survive such an impact?

Work at height

Notice that the first two prosecutions relate to clients having no regard at all to ensuring they employ competent contractors:

  • Greencore Grocery Ltd was fined a total of well over £1 million after a self-employed electrician fell from a step-ladder, suffering fatal injuries. Greencore Grocery itself had provided the step-ladder which was said to be unsuitable for wiring a motor at height. The golden rule: Use the right tool for the right job. Clearly a step-ladder was totally unsuitable. And, yes you can die by falling a short distance from a step-ladder.
  • Othman Hussein was given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for 2 years, with a 3-month curfew after a self-employed worker fell through a ceiling to his death during building repair work. Hussien was found to have made no attempt to ensure a competent and properly equipped contractor was engaged.

 

Equipment safety

  • Acenta Steel Ltd was fined a total of over £410,000 after an employee’s leg was crushed by a vice of an industrial bandsaw before the emergency stop button could be pressed. Not only had a guard been removed but several modifications had been made to facilitate easier use and cleaning, including the blocking of a sensor. Investigations showed that the sensor would have activated 12 times in the recent life of the machine = the potential for 12 such incidents (which is ironic as Acenta’s website boasts its BS OHSAS18001 credentials!)
  • MTI Welding Technologies Ltd was fined a total of over £56,000 after an electrician lost two fingers in a high-friction welding machine. The machine had been modified to ‘defeat’ safety interlock systems and allow maintenance whilst operating.

 

NEVER be tempted to modify or adapt equipment, or over-ride safety features. And a word of warning:
The buyer is responsible for ensuring that equipment purchased is safe for use and incorporates all necessary safety features (e.g. guards, interlocks and emergency buttons). Often items purchased from abroad do not incorporate safety features legally required under UK law; all new items must be checked for UK compliance. And beware of purchasing second-hand items as well; check, check and check again.

Equipment safety – barriers

  • Installer, Robert Churchyard, has been jailed for three and a half years after being found guilty of manslaughter. A woman died when the powered gate installed by Churchyard fell on her; he had failed to install a bracket to stop the gate failing off its rails. To rub salt into the wounds, Churchyard tried to blame the victim’s family for removing the bracket – how cold-hearted can you be?

 

Believe it or not, serious accidents and fatalities occur frequently; all fixtures, fittings and moving appliances within your premises fall under PUWER and must be both maintained and checked regularly. And do note that the following three prosecutions went to court before fined were increased last year; the penalties would be much harsher now.

  • North Lincolnshire Council was fined a total of over £200,000 after a man died when his car was hit by an unsecured horizontal swing barrier at a sports ground. As the victim drove towards the barrier, it swung open, the end piercing the car’s windscreen and hit him on the head.
  • Asda was fined a total of £217,000 after a customer was killed by a barrier that swung open in a gust of wind. Nobody had been named as responsible for checking the barrier was locked open.
  • Morrisons was fined a total of over £266,000 after an employee lost half his face (!!) when a barrier at the store’s petrol station swung across, smashing into the victim’s car…and his face.

 

Fire

  • JS Sports were fined a total of over £67,000 after Christmas stock was found to be blocking fire exits in its Black Country Store, reducing the width of one corridor down to 30cms!

 

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

WENLOCK HEALTH & SAFETY Ltd EXTENDS WARMEST CHRISTMAS WISHES TO ALL OUR CLIENTS;
WE TRUST THAT 2018 WILL BE BOTH PROSPEROUS
AND SAFE!

COMPANY NEWS

Christmas Closure

As usual, we at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) will be taking a well-earned break over the Christmas holiday period.

Please take note that our offices will be closing from midday on Friday 22 December 2017 and reopening at 8 am on Tuesday 2 January 2018. No consultants will be available during this period to provide normal services; however, if there is an emergency situation requiring immediate attention, please contact Jackie on 07866-605920 (emergencies only please!)

Additional Staff

We’re sure that you’ll join us in extending a warm welcome to our newest member of staff, Mr. Dave Copcutt.
Dave brings with him a wealth of experience, particularly in the field of construction-based training, and will contribute greatly to both the value and the range of our services over the coming months and years.

CDM Seminars

A reminder that we are holding two seminars at our premises on Tuesday, 23 January 2018, to assist our customers to understand and deal with the many issues and pitfalls that have become apparent since the advent of CDM 2015. Whether you’re a contractor, designer, developer or a one-off client, all duty holders may have experienced problems with the regulations; with the ‘holistic’ view of the developments taken by WHS, we can offer pragmatic solutions and approaches to the issues.

The cost for the seminars is: £60 + VAT per person per session or £100 per person for the full day:

  • 8.30 am to 12.30 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Clients, Developers and Designers’
  • 1.30 pm to 5 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Contractors’

 

Please refer to the flyer attached for both. Space is limited so book early
CITB Training Courses

In addition to the SMSTS & SSSTS courses below currently run on a one-day-per-week basis, and in order to accommodate client requests, we will soon be offering courses spanning single weeks. Availability will require a minimum of 6 persons (CITB rules, not ours!) so the more candidates you can muster for any one course, the better. Should this be your preferred option, please contact Vicki at WHS as soon as possible.

Forthcoming late 2017 and early 2018 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS offices and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

IMPORTANT NOTES:
Please be aware that CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.

And don’t forget that CITB levy-payers can claim substantial grants against all these courses and more – which will help alleviate the cost considerably. Contact WHS for further details.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 30 January & 6, 13, 20 & 27 February 2018
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 18 & 19 December 2017
    12 & 13 March 2018
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 8 & 9 January 2018
    22 & 23 March 2018
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 4 December 2017
    26 February 2018
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

If any organisation requires places for 6 or more employees, we can arrange a specific course at dates, times and a location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

New CITB Training Courses

Please note that WHS can now offer two new CITB-accredited courses:

  • Directors Role for Health and Safety
  • Achieving Behavioural Change (ABC)

 

Please ring Vicki at WHS on 01952-885885 for further information or to book courses. Do note that the same CITB rules apply (6 persons minimum per course) so courses may have to be aggregated.

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2017 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at our offices, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 11 December 2017
  • 18 January 2018
  • 20 January 2018
  • 26 March 2018

 

As with the CITB courses above, if any organisation requires first-aid for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

WHS Awards

Yes, it’s the time of year again when we take pride in recognising those clients who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to high standards of health & safety over the previous 12 months by presenting our 2017 WHS Health & Safety Awards. This is the first time in our 15 year history that we have made an award to a particular company two years running! Full details of our 2017 awards follows; we extend hearty congratulations to all winners:

Archway Products (UK) Ltd
Award for: Best Safety Culture

The Company designs, manufactures and operates its Roadmaster self-contained, very safe-to-operate, pot-hole repair vehicles throughout the UK. Despite proving to be exemplary in its approach to health & safety last year and, thus, winning a WHS award for ‘Commitment Through Innovation’, Company management still continually shows an appetite for exploring further innovation towards improvement. They have been more than willing to work with, and listen to advice given by, WHS – which is doubly important for a company based in the Republic of Ireland – and this has produced excellent results in a very short time.

Andy Collier of biT (Telford & Wrekin Council’s Architectural Design & Building Services)
Award for: Best Safety Manager

WHS has worked alongside Andy for 15 years. In his various TWC roles over those 15 years, he has always been resolute in his commitment to the health & safety. Now, in his latest role to manage the new biT Facilities Management Team, his commitment continues to be unwavering and exemplary. As with Archway, the willingness to work with, and listen to advice given by, WHS has produced excellent results in a very short time.

Richard Sherratt Builders Ltd
Award for: Best Small Contractor

Richard runs a small general building company based in Shrewsbury, mainly undertaking small projects and insurance work. His total commitment to the wellbeing of his employees, and the public he inevitably impacts as a result of his work, is highly commendable. This demonstrates that compliance is totally possible with just a bit of thought and effort, even within a small company. It also demonstrates that such commitment produces very positive effects – loyalty from both staff and clients.

Morris Property Ltd
Award for: Commitment to Training

Part of the prestigious Morris & Co group, contractor Morris Property Ltd has demonstrated total commitment to fully training their workforce at all levels. Their on-going efforts have produced huge improvements in the health & safety management and systems for both project and minor works, and is to be highly commended as an example to all parties within the industry.

Jake Edis of Edis Developments Ltd
Commendation for: High Standards of Site Management

Jake Edis was appointed site manager in July 2017 and has, since then, shown to be quick to understand requirements, strong to enforce site rules, willing to work alongside WHS and enthusiastic to implement improvements. Edis Developments Ltd, based in Shropshire, have certainly benefitted greatly by engaging Jake – particularly as the HSE was more than pleased with the site during a recent inspection!
Well done to all our worthy winners!! Can anyone else demonstrate such commitment over the next 12 months? The awards are there for the taking for those who deserve recognition.

Old First-Aid Supplies

Those WHS customers who have been with us for a while will know that periodically, we collect out-of-date but still wrapped and sterile first-aid items which Jackie then distributes in various needy locations.

Jackie has distributed supplies many times before to such needy places as Haiti, Nepal (following the earthquake), and various African countries. In July 2018, she will again be visiting clinics in far flung places so we’re asking now please that, if any of you have any out-of-date or unwanted but still sterile and usable first-aid supplies, please can you either give them to your WHS consultant when you next meet, post them to us, or let Vicki in the office know that they are available to collect.

Many thanks indeed in advance!

HSE NEWS

Fines Doubled in 12 Months

Despite the fall in the number of prosecutions reaching court, the fines levelled against those found guilty of health & safety offices has almost doubled in the last 12 months, and this is on top of a similar rise over the previous 12 month period.

For the same period during:

2014-15 £18 million in fines was collected
2015-16 £38.8 million collected
2016-17 £69.9 million collected – an effective rise of 388% in 2 years

The number of cases brought to court and resulting in conviction during 2016-17, at 554, was the lowest recorded in over 5 years. Of these, 206 (37%) were in construction – which is a sad reflection on the state of our industry as we only represent 5% of the total UK workforce.

So why is the increase in fines levied so high? Any recipients of this newsletter over the past 18 months will know the answer – new sentencing guidelines were introduced on 1 February 2016 which allowed for very much larger fines, the largest to date being £5 million (Merlin Entertainments – the Alton Towers accident). During 2016-17, 38 cases resulted in fines in excess of £500,000. And it must also be noted that several of those also resulted in imprisonment too.

Enforcement Increased

In addition to the above, HSE enforcement is steadily increasing year on year. 11,913 notices were issued by either the HSE or Local Authorities) during 2016-17, a 5% rise over the previous year.

And, as reported before, this is on top of the thousands of FFI (‘Fees For Intervention’) letters issued for lesser material breaches which attract no fines but fees of £129 per hour for all HSE work involved.

So…anyone not paying due attention to the law risks paying out far more than any savings made. Is it worth it? Does it really cost so much for a business to get its house in order? It will cost a lot more not to!

Stress – the Sad Facts

The HSE has issued latest figures regarding work place stress. And they demonstrate a worrying decline in the mental health of the UK workforce. It doesn’t take a genius to work out why in the current economic climate but it’s a sad fact that workplace stress has now overtaken musculoskeletal disorders as the most commonly reported work-related illness!

The number of new cases reported rose to 526,000 for the 2016-17 period, up 7% on the previous year and accounting for a massive 40.5% of the total number of work-related illness cases reported to the HSE. Food for thought…take care of your workforce, without them you have no business.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Ladder Standards are Changing

We are (or should be!) familiar with the current standards for step-ladders and leaning ladders, but it is important to note that these changed in November 2017. The distinction between domestic and commercial use is being removed, as is that between light and heavy industrial use. From now on, the ‘EN131’ standard is to be harmonised through the EU and UK, and will apply as follows:

  • EN131 Professional – intended for use in any workplace; maximum total load 150kg
  • EN131 Non-Professional – for use in domestic situations only; maximum total load 125kg

 

There will be a transition period to allow previously classified ladders to be withdrawn. During that period, companies are advised that, provided equipment is chosen as appropriate for the job and the mandatory weekly checks are carried out, this should be sufficient.

Do note though that EN131 only applies to step-ladders and leaning ladders; step-stools of various types and loft-ladders are covered by other EN standards.

GENERAL NEWS

Grant Funding for Small Businesses

Within the Marches region, £33 million of grant funding – yes, £33 million! – is currently up for grabs by small to medium sized businesses. The Business Growth Programme (BGP) is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (financial assistance such as this will obviously disappear post-Brexit!) with the aim of promoting business development and innovation within the small-medium business sector.

Eligible companies within the Telford & Wrekin area can apply through the Council’s Growth Hub. Ring 01952-567589 for further information about eligibility and application. Elsewhere within the Marches Region should contact Birmingham City Council’s Growth Programme Hotline on 0121-464 6456.

General Data Protection Regulation

As highlighted in the last newsletter, the General Data Protection Regulation (or ‘GDPR’) will come into effect on 25 May 2018 across Europe and will have a significant effect on most businesses.

WHS has had many enquiries already about implementing a new Data Protection Policy. Although information is available via government websites (see previous newsletter), little can be done at present to write a Policy until the full facts are known nearer the time. Therefore, WHS is recording those companies who have or may approach us to ask for assistance, and our colleague Kay Heald will be making contact in due course.

If you think the new regulations will, or may, affect you, please contact WHS now in readiness and we will be pleased to assist with updating systems and writing a new Policy in due course.

HR NEWS

The Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 came into force last year for organisations with a global turnover of £36 million.
If you’re a small to medium sized business, you may think that this doesn’t then apply to you. However, it must be noted that, in order for these companies to meet their legal obligations, they have to pass down responsibilities for tackling modern slavery through their entire supply chain. And this has only just filtered down to the smaller organisations.

Consequently, many smaller companies are now being asked for a Modern Slavery Policy…so what’s that?

A policy should reflect actual processes to avoid human rights abuses, accusations of human trafficking or labour exploitation. Contractors and, in particular, labour agencies must establish sound policies and procedures to demonstrate commitment to avoiding these types of human abuses which are, unfortunately, all too common in the construction industry.

Anything less than strong and enforceable policies will not stand up to scrutiny by larger organisations (clients or principal contractors). So don’t just look for a ‘quick fix’; contact WHS for assistance.

AND FINALLY

Before sighting recent prosecutions for work at height, here’s a sobering thought:

If you fall from a height of 6m, that’s equivalent to be hit by a car travelling at a speed of at least 25 mph. A fall of 10m = being hit by a car at 35 mph; 20m = 45-50 mph. And the heavier the person, the greater the impact.

When you consider that it’s the head that normally hits the ground first, what are the chances that a person would survive such a fall? This photo relates to a car being hit from the side (i.e. not direct) at 40 mph…would a person’s head survive such an impact?

Work at height

Notice that the first two prosecutions relate to clients having no regard at all to ensuring they employ competent contractors:

  • Greencore Grocery Ltd was fined a total of well over £1 million after a self-employed electrician fell from a step-ladder, suffering fatal injuries. Greencore Grocery itself had provided the step-ladder which was said to be unsuitable for wiring a motor at height.

 

The golden rule: Use the right tool for the right job. Clearly a step-ladder was totally unsuitable. And, yes you can die by falling a short distance from a step-ladder.

  • Othman Hussein was given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for 2 years, with a 3-month curfew after a self-employed worker fell through a ceiling to his death during building repair work. Hussien was found to have made no attempt to ensure a competent and properly equipped contractor was engaged.
  • Chris Smith, trading as C Smith Roofing, was given a suspended 8-month prison sentence, ordered to complete 200 hours of community work and to pay £5,800 on costs after 2 workers were observed carrying out work at height from partially incomplete and unprotected scaffolding.

 

Note that the case relates to an observed breach, not an accident. More evidence of stiffer sentencing.

  • Mager Homes Ltd was fined a total of almost £27,000 after a sub-contract joiner fell through a gap in the joists on the first floor of a new house, suffering life-changing injuries. There had been no attempt to prevent falls from height or mitigate the consequences.
  • Dufell Roofing Co. Ltd was fined a total of almost £50,000 after an employee suffered severe back injuries when he fell 4m through existing roof wood slabs during re-roofing. Again, no fall prevention measures were in place and the possibility of fragile roof materials had not been considered.
  • James Gibson was given a suspended 6-month prison sentence and ordered to pay costs of £8,442 after an employee fell through an unprotected 1.5 x 3m hole in the ground floor into the basement of a building being refurbished.
  • King Builders (Gloucester) Ltd was fined a total of over £48,000 after a worker fell through an unprotected skylight, suffering serious injuries.
  • Nicholas Birkin was fined a total of £3,240 after a worker under his supervision fell 5m from scaffolding where guard rails had been removed to facilitate the lifting of materials to a roof.

 

Equipment safety

  • Acenta Steel Ltd was fined a total of over £410,000 after an employee’s leg was crushed by a vice of an industrial bandsaw before the emergency stop button could be pressed. Not only had a guard been removed but several modifications had been made to facilitate easier use and cleaning, including the blocking of a sensor. Investigations showed that the sensor would have activated 12 times in the recent life of the machine = the potential for 12 such incidents (which is ironic as Acenta’s website boasts its BS OHSAS18001 credentials!)
  • MTI Welding Technologies Ltd was fined a total of over £56,000 after an electrician lost two fingers in a high-friction welding machine. The machine had been modified to ‘defeat’ safety interlock systems and allow maintenance whilst operating.

 

NEVER be tempted to modify or adapt equipment, or over-ride safety features. And a word of warning:
The buyer is responsible for ensuring that equipment purchased is safe for use and incorporates all necessary safety features (e.g. guards, interlocks and emergency buttons). Often items purchased from abroad do not incorporate safety features legally required under UK law; all new items must be checked for UK compliance. And beware of purchasing second-hand items as well; check, check and check again.

Equipment safety – barriers

  • Installer, Robert Churchyard, has been jailed for three and a half years after being found guilty of manslaughter. A woman died when the powered gate installed by Churchyard fell on her; he had failed to install a bracket to stop the gate failing off its rails. To rub salt into the wounds, Churchyard tried to blame the victim’s family for removing the bracket – how cold-hearted can you be?

 

Believe it or not, serious accidents and fatalities occur frequently; all fixtures, fittings and moving appliances within your premises fall under PUWER and must be both maintained and checked regularly. And do note that the following three prosecutions went to court before fined were increased last year; the penalties would be much harsher now.

  • North Lincolnshire Council was fined a total of over £200,000 after a man died when his car was hit by an unsecured horizontal swing barrier at a sports ground. As the victim drove towards the barrier, it swung open, the end piercing the car’s windscreen and hit him on the head.
  • Asda was fined a total of £217,000 after a customer was killed by a barrier that swung open in a gust of wind. Nobody had been named as responsible for checking the barrier was locked open.
  • Morrisons was fined a total of over £266,000 after an employee lost half his face (!!) when a barrier at the store’s petrol station swung across, smashing into the victim’s car…and his face.

 

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

Construction Phase Plans

A Construction Phase Plan, or CPP, is a legal requirement under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 for any construction project. Its purpose is to plan in terms of health and safety on site, as well as act as a method of passing this information to other contractors involved and to demonstrate to the client that these items have been considered.

It’s important to note that the requirements have changed since the CDM Regulations 2007. A CPP must now be completed regardless of the size, duration or value of the work. Even if the job is only going to last for one day, even if it is a domestic project, a CPP is now compulsory.

For projects where more than one contractor is involved, a Principal Contractor should be appointed – and it is their role to write the CPP. If only one contractor is working on the job, then it is naturally their responsibility. The Plan must be drawn up prior to set-up of the construction site, and should be reviewed as work commences and progresses to ensure it is fully up-to-date at all times.

To assist with writing CPPs for small jobs, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) have developed a user-friendly app which guides the user through the creation of a very brief Plan – the CITB Wizard app (http://www.citb.co.uk/health-safety-and-other-topics/health-safety/construction-design-and-management-regulations/cdm-wizard-app/). It’s worth noting that CPPs can be in digital form – they do not have to be printed, so having it on your phone, tablet or other device is perfectly acceptable.

But don’t worry… for very small projects, it’s also possible to combine the CPP in the Risk Assessment/Method Statement, as long as the information included within is sufficient to cover all three documents.

So what exactly needs to be included in a Construction Phase Plan? Firstly it’s important that all details are specific to the works and are not just generic comments. For example, if there is reference to asbestos then there should also be details of the asbestos survey and the affected location(s). The actual content of the CPP will vary depending on the size and nature of the project.

For small jobs, it should contain:

  • Brief details of the work, the client, other parties involved, and dates
  • Site-specific risk assessments
  • Site-specific method statements
  • Other site specific information, e.g. circuit drawings, asbestos information etc

For larger works it should contain information on:

  • The project – description (what the project is, what the work may include), site location, CDM appointments (e.g. the Client, the Principal Designer, the health and safety consultants), duration, whether existing information provided is enough to be able to proceed with the work
  • Management arrangements – structure and responsibilities, details of regular liaison between parties on site/communication and consultation with the workforce/exchange of design information between parties/control of contractors, site security, welfare facilities and first aid, reporting and investigation of accidents/incidents/near misses, risk assessment, written safe systems of work, site rules
  • Arrangements for controlling significant risks – general risk issues (e.g. local restrictions, adjacent sites, site layout, deliveries, health issues)
  • The health and safety file – responsibility for collation, information required
  • Emergency procedures
  • Site induction literature
  • Contract risk assessment

Once in place, the CPP must be adhered to so that the site is safe and compliant with the law. It must be treated as a ‘live’ document and updated to reflect any changes as they happen. The document must be passed via the Principal Designer (if there is one) to the Client and must be passed down to all other contractors on the project.

Importantly, don’t be scared of CPPs! They are there to ensure the health and safety of all aspects of the job are considered and communicated to all involved. And please don’t leave them on a shelf!

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd. can assist with writing Construction Phase Plans and Contract Risk Assessments.  We also offer CDM 2015 training if you need to brush up or stay up-to-speed with the requirements and have a course running on 23rd January 2018. Please get in touch with Vicki Brown (vicki.brown@wenlockhs.co.uk 01952 885885) for more information.

TRAINING COURSES

CDM Seminars

The Construction (Design & Management) Regs 2015 are now over two years old and many developments, both positive and negative, have taken shape over that period. Because we, at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS), work with all types of organisations within the construction industry (client bodies, developers, designers, contractors, specialists, etc) we can take a holistic view of these developments and are very well placed to offer sound and practical advice to cater for all sorts of awkward situations.

To assist our clients to understand that most situations can have practical solutions, we are holding two seminars at our premises on Tuesday, 23 January 2018, at a cost of £60 + VAT per person per session or £100 per person for the full day:

  • 8.30 am to 12.30 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Clients, Developers and Designers’
  • 1.30 pm to 5 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Contractors’

 

Please refer to the flyer attached for both. Space is limited so book early

CITB Training Courses

In addition to the SMSTS & SSSTS courses below currently run on a one-day-per-week basis, and in order to accommodate client requests, we will soon be offering courses spanning single weeks. Availability will require a minimum of 6 persons (CITB rules, not ours!) so the more candidates you can muster for any one course, the better. Should this be your preferred option, please contact Vicki at WHS as soon as possible.

Forthcoming late 2017 and early 2018 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS offices and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

IMPORTANT NOTES:
Please be aware that CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.

And don’t forget that CITB levy-payers can claim substantial grants against all these courses and more – which will help alleviate the cost considerably. Contact WHS for further details.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 14, 21, 28 November & 5, 12 December 2017
    15, 22, 29 January & 5, 12 February 2018
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 18 & 19 December 2017
    12 & 13 March 2018
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 25 & 26 October 2017
    8 & 9 January 2018
    22 & 23 March 2018
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 4 December 2017
    26 February 2018
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

If any organisation requires places for 6 or more employees, we can arrange a specific course at dates, times and a location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2017 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at our offices, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 15 November 2017
  • 11 December 2017
  • 18 January 2018
  • 20 January 2018
  • 26 March 2018

 

As with the CITB courses above, if any organisation requires first-aid for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

HSE NEWS

10 years of Corporate Manslaughter

It’s very interesting to read the list of prosecutions made against the Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide Act since its advent in 2007; refer to the table issued by the Health & Safety at Work Magazine: http://bit.ly/2y8Yzbo

What’s interesting is how many of the companies prosecuted are no longer in business. Of the 25 companies prosecuted, 13 (approx. half) no longer trade. It’s a sad fact that, when we carry out training, businesses tend to focus on how much an accident will cost the company financially – rarely does anyone consider that we’re talking about killing someone and (more often than not) depriving a family of its livelihood. So, if money talks:

The result of a bad accident could, not only be the death of an employee or employees,
but also the death of the company

 

The HSE’s Blitz on Dusts

As we’ve discussed countless times before in these newsletters, a main HSE target issue is (and has been for some time) exposure to occupational dusts. Why? Within UK industry:

  • 400,000 working days lost each year in the UK due to lung disorders
  • 12,000 deaths each year from asbestos-related diseases, silicosis, alveolitis and other occupational lung diseases.
  • High risk jobs include electricians, plasterers, painters & decorators, plumbers, carpenters & joiners, bricklayers, roofers, demolition workers, stonemasons, flooring contractors, welders and solderers, paint sprayers, and general labourers.

 

To bring the message home, take a look at the short video recently released from the HSE:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/gohomehealthy/lungs.htm

Then note….

During October, the HSE is carrying out a ‘blitz’ across the country relating to dusts – and, as you know, during these ‘blitzes’ the HSE mean business! During a similar blitz earlier this year, the HSE issued enforcement against half of all sites visited!

So, if you’ve not done this before, thoroughly review all site work and ensure that:

(a) cutting, drilling, chasing etc are avoided where possible and/or
(b) all unavoidable dusts are suppressed or captured at source.

A reminder that the use of face-masks:

(a) is a ‘last resort only’ and will not be accepted by the HSE as the only control measure, and
(b) necessitates face-fit testing for all wearers

There’s no excuse; apart from the assistance and advice given by WHS, there is plenty of free guidance available from the HSE e.g. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis36.pdf

The HSE’s Campaign Targeting Refurbishments

The HSE has reported personally to WHS that its continuing campaign to target refurbishments is still uncovering widespread non-compliance and bad practice, and that the campaign is likely to continue nationwide for the foreseeable future until there is a marked improvement in standards.

As an example, during the first week of October (alone), 100 sites in parts of Cheshire and Greater Manchester were spot checked by the HSE and enforcement issued to a shocking 99 of those 100 sites:

  • 24 Prohibition Notices (PNs)
  • 31 Improvement Notices (INs)
  • 44 Notifications of Contravention/s (NoCs)

 

A reminder that ALL HSE enforcement of any type attracts a charge of £129 per hour, including NoCs, that both PNs and INs are listed on the HSE website for all to see, and that prosecutions (should it come to that) are not only listed on the website but are ‘advertised’ in all manner of H&S and construction-related press.

So the knock-on effect of receiving HSE enforcement cannot be underestimated and we, at WHS, can list contractors who we’ve seen suffer, or completely disappear, because of enforcement notices alone!

Asbestos Health Surveillance

The HSE is currently holding a consultation exercise on a proposal to change regulation 22 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. The proposed change involves increasing the interval by one year with which licensed asbestos workers are required to attend medical examination. The deadline for receipt of comments is 30 October 2017; refer to the HSE’s website for the consultative document and on-line questionnaire:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/consult/condocs/cd285.htm

 

INDUSTRY NEWS

The Importance of Transmitted Information Between Parties

It’s stressed time and time again throughout legislation, including CDM, that all parties must think about who may require information they hold and (conversely) who may be affected if that information is not passed on. The idea behind CDM, from its inception 23 years ago, is that we all work as a ‘team’ to ensure that everyone considers health & safety within everything they do, and that appropriate information is both obtained and transmitted to those who need it.

Sadly, it seems to be a common occurrence that the requirement to transmit the information is overlooked or not even considered. We recently heard of an incident which, very fortunately, didn’t result in injury but could so easily have resulted in death. It involved a high-voltage cable being hit because it lay in the most unexpected of places (where nobody should or would normally come across any buried service, let alone a high-voltage cable). OK, these things happen. However, what’s disturbing is that some people knew it was there but those individuals didn’t think to pass that information on or warn the contractor.

If that incident had resulted in severe injury or death, the HSE would have (quite rightly) placed 100% of the blame on those who knew the cable was there but failed to transmit the information to those who actually needed it. None of this is rocket science and it shouldn’t take legislation to make people realise this is essential. Everyone involved in the work, whether it’s the contractor or project management, has the legal duty to consider those they ‘affect by their acts or omissions’ (Health & Safety at Work Act 1974). If information isn’t transmitted, the individual could be held legally responsible for the consequences.

If you Weren’t Convinced About Asbestos-Related Diseases Before….

We all remember the 9/11 atrocity….it was one of those land-mark events that changed the World (for the worse) forever. Almost 3000 people were killed in one fell swoop, which was truly diabolical. But how many people consider those who have died since as a result of the dusts inhaled, which included 2000 tons of asbestos (the equivalent of 182 single-decker buses).

Figures released in a recent study are appalling, and serve to demonstrate the devastating effects of uncontrolled release of asbestos and masonry dusts:

  • Every ‘first-responder’ has suffered lung disorders or worse
  • 19% rise in lung cancers amongst fire-fighters alone
  • 204 first-responders have died since 9/11
  • $2.775 million set aside under a compensation scheme for 25,000 responders and 25,000 survivors; however, most claimants find they are not covered by the scheme which is a truly shocking situation
    And…
  • Tests have shown that the air around Ground Zero is 112,000 x the legal limit of airborne asbestos dusts; the area has now become toxic in itself

 

Vibration Assessment

You’ll be aware from past newsletters that, with 900 new claims per year (2015 figures) for vibration-related diseases, the HSE has good reason for focusing extensively on the vibration health issue. The Control of Vibration at Work Regs came out in 2005 and placed a duty on all employers to assess the risk to employees from equipment that produces vibration – but still very few employers do this.

WHS can assist by producing good vibration assessments for you, and these assessments will give you definitive maximum periods of use for each tool. Alternatively, a quick assessment can be done using the HSE’s Vibration Calculator and a screen shot taken as a record:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/vibrationcalc.htm

However, this is only part of the picture. Very rarely is one single tool used in isolation during one day; usually several tools will be used over the course of a working day. Therefore, the employer must, in some way, assess the total risk to workers from daily not individual use.

This can be done using personal monitoring devices; this is the ideal way but can be expensive to purchase. Or it can be done by logging usage of each tool by each individual (refer to the WHS vibration monitoring sheet on your H&S disk) but this can be laborious and time-consuming. A quicker and easier way to do this is by using the HSE’s Ready Reckoner: http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/readyreckoner.htm

Contact WHS on 01952-885885 for assistance or instruction on how to calculate exposure and then assess the overall risk. The aim is to reduce daily exposure to within the ‘green’ band (i.e. it’s within acceptable and legal limits).

So what’s the risk of not carrying out full vibration risk assessment?

  • Newfield Fabrications Ltd fined a total of over £127,000 for failing to control vibration risks from hand-held tools used for grinding and polishing
  • Taylor Engineering & Plastics Ltd was fined a total of £21,171 as ‘the company risk assessments relating to vibration were not suitable or sufficient’

And even worse…

  • Wrexham County Borough Council was fined a total of almost £161,000 for ignoring its own vibration assessments and procedures with the result that 11 employees (whose work included grass cutting, strimming and leaf-blowing) developed HAVS or carpal tunnel.

 

Vibration – Eliminate the Risks

Having said all that, vibration assessment only tries to reduce risk where hand-held or hand-controlled tools are used. However, what we should all being doing is trying to find ways of eliminating this health risk altogether! And some companies have done a sterling job over the years towards doing just that…

For example, East Midlands Diamond Drilling has been innovative in exploring all manner of alternative equipment to carry out diamond drilling, sawing and wire-cutting remotely (i.e. with no necessity at all to hand-hold or control the equipment in any way). For example, here is the powerful Brokk which is small enough to fit through a doorway!

 

How much would that cost, I hear you ask?! Yes, use of the equipment is more expensive but these operations are much, much quicker that traditional methods and, as time is money, are therefore very cost-effective. And there are many other benefits, not the least being the significant reduction in dusts produced.

Reducing health risks is not just a contractor issue – all parties can, and should, have an influence here. Bear in mind that, under CDM, consideration of risk reduction begins with clients and designer at the planning stage. Discussions must begin early; these issues cannot be left to contractors alone.

The Importance of Fabrication Off-Site

An interesting article in the IOSH Magazine entitled ‘Here’s one I prepared earlier’ goes into detail about how fabrication off-site and ‘pod’ design makes a massive contribution to improvements in both health and safety on site. Refer to: http://bit.ly/2fVi6BB
The Farmer Review ‘Modernise of Die’ (http://bit.ly/2xtucYV ) strongly recommends moving towards off-site manufacture, something that we here at WHS Have been emphasizing for years. In simple terms, off-site manufacture or fabrication eliminates or vastly reduces health issues, including all the higher-profile, HSE-targetted risks such as:

  • Dusts
  • Fumes
  • Manual handling
  • Noise
  • Vibration

 

Plant Segregation

Another interesting article from the IOSH Magazine ( http://bit.ly/2xtePjl ) concerning Carillion’s approach to seriously reducing the possibility of plant/pedestrian contact. It describes the Company’s 5-point plan for ensuring that all persons requiring to be in the immediate vicinity to operating plant are kept safe and all non-essential personnel are held well beyond harm’s way. Useful reading – and a reminder that this serious issue (which accounts for far too many deaths, both in construction and UK industry) can so easily be controlled.

100% Carded is Not Always 100% Right!

A sensible stance regarding CSCS cards; we quote from HSE on-line:

Most people are familiar with the role Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) cards perform in improving standards and safety on construction sites. However, not everyone realises that those people attending site to perform a non-construction related occupation should not be expected to carry a card.

The CSCS is challenging the industry to stop turning away non-construction related workers without CSCS cards.

WHS wholeheartedly backs this stance; sites should be organised in such a way that meetings can be attended without setting foot on site and unavoidable visits to view the site are fully accompanied (and therefore properly controlled) at all times.

Having said that, we would always advocate personal health & safety awareness training for any person needing to step beyond the site office and into any working area. Contact WHS for details.

GENERAL NEWS

Lone Working

Does anyone remember poor Stephanie Slater? This poor girl, who has recently died of cancer, survived a horrific ordeal when she was kidnapped in 1992 and held for 8 days in a ‘makeshift coffin’ before being released after a ransom was paid.

Stephanie had met the kidnapper whilst carrying out her work as an estate agent; he had been a potential buyer at a house-viewing in Great Barr. Some years earlier, in 1986, Suzie Lamplugh disappeared in similar circumstances. She too was an estate agent who regularly met potential purchasers at the properties. However, unlike Stephanie, Suzie has never been found. Suzie’s mother has devoted her life to spreading the message that lone working is a very real risk issue and the consideration of personal safety is vital:
https://www.suzylamplugh.org/

Stephanie’s recent death (see http://bit.ly/2y2pa9H) is a poignant reminder of the pitfalls that employees, particularly females, can so easily fall into when lone working is not considered. WHS has, over the years, done a lot of work and carried out many training sessions for our clients on the subject of lone working. We must all get on with our jobs, and sometimes lone working is unavoidable. But assessment of the risks for likely situations is essential and a few simple and sensible precautions can often go a long way to alleviating the majority of risks.

So if any of your employees, male or female, have need to work away from the office for any reason, do ask our assistance to both consider the lone working risk issues and train your employees into personal safety controls.

Lone Working – a Monitoring Solution

As you probably know, there are many companies out there offering various lone worker monitoring systems, some more practical or affordable than others. One such company that we, at WHS, have come across recently – which offers several very practical and affordable solutions – is Voice Connect Ltd:
http://www.voiceconnect.co.uk/sectors.html#

 

Voice Connect offers a variety of systems, from basic mobile phone apps to more sophisticated monitoring and discreet alarm systems (left) and ID badges (right – showing the emergency alarm button on the reverse which can be quickly used without arousing suspicion), all of which have GPS incorporated for pinpoint accuracy of the victim’s location. The Voice Connect monitoring centre operates 24/7 with immediate response (we have seen proof of this) and emergency service contact if necessary. And one of the best things about these systems is that they are affordable, ranging from around £7 to £23 per person per month once the units are purchased. Bespoke systems and price packages are available.

So, whether your lone working issues relate to public aggression, malicious intent, injury or, indeed, personal health, there will be a system that exactly suits the situation and pocket. Contact Liz Kerr of Voice Connect direct on: 0116-232 2622 or liz.kerr@voiceconnect.co.uk

Unscrupulous Manufacturers’ Data

It’s come to our attention that, when manufacturers quote the weight of items purchased, the data may be somewhat less than accurate!

One of our clients had a suspicion this may be the case and took the precaution of weighing the items before he carried out manual handling assessments. The results were shocking – the actual weights of the items were almost twice those quoted!

Whether this is now slipping through because standards aren’t sufficiently monitored (particularly with imports) or for any other reason, this could have serious implications for industry. Businesses will naturally use the data provided for manual handling assessments but the question must be raised as to who would be liable should an incorrect assessment be made using this (incorrect) data. In most similar situations, the ‘user’ is liable, so does this mean that all significantly heavy items purchased (and unavoidably requiring manual handling) should actually be weighed by the purchaser? We think this would be wise!

General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (or ‘GDPR’) comes into effect on 25 May 2018 and will be enforced across Europe – including the UK post-Brexit. The Regulation aims to give people more control over their personal data and to create uniformity of rules across Europe.

The definition of ‘personal data’ will cover everything relating to an individual’s professional or personal life, including names, photos, email IDs, bank details, social networking posts, medical information, or computer IP addresses.

May 2018 isn’t that far off now so do a bit of homework now in preparation. Very useful information can be can be found on the Information Commission’s Office website: https://ico.org.uk/
particularly, http://bit.ly/2uw9Fop
and http://bit.ly/29lxF0U

Work-Related Road Traffic Accidents

The Department for Transport has released figures for road traffic accident as and fatalities related to journeys made for work purposes – so this is also a timely reminder that all employers would be wise to establish a sound Driving Policy to cover all such journeys. Bear in mind that all employers must risk assess all work-related activities (which, by inference, would obviously include travel), it follows that work-related travel must be properly assessed and suitable rules requirements and/or procedures established to ensure all employees are clear about both legal and company requirements.

Believe it or not, almost 30% of the 1792 road traffic fatalities (529 in total) happened on work-related journeys. Serious injuries on work-related journeys have risen by 24% since 2011, which is quite shocking. What’s even more shocking is that 33,506 commercial cars, buses, coaches, vans and heavy goods vehicles crashed last year!

So, when carrying out a travel risk assessment and formulating your driving policy, aim to reduce the need to rush to appointments or travel too far without breaks. So ensure appointments are reasonably spaced, deadlines are realistic and rest periods and/or overnight stops are programmed into the equation. We know it all costs money but it actually increases productivity as employees are properly rested … and it’s far better than killing someone!

And don’t forget that the HSE can, and do, investigate serious work-related driving accidents and employers are often prosecuted. Be prepared, and be realistic. Employees shouldn’t feel pressured into speeding or driving dangerously.

HR NEWS

Public Sector IR35

IR35 tax changes have caused huge disruption to public sector contractors, who now have their tax status determined by the organisations hiring them. If they are treated as ‘employees’ for tax purposes, they have tax and NI deducted at source, resulting in significant pay cuts for many. However, they are not currently automatically treated as employees under employment law.

HMRC has produced its own online checking tool:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-employment-status-for-tax

It should be noted that the government has confirmed the IR35 tax rules will be extended to the private sector within the next 2 years. It is likely that costs will escalate as a result, particularly for highly skilled contractors.

The Cost of Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare and the provision of 30 Hours Free Childcare are two separate government schemes designed to help parents with the cost of childcare. Parents can apply for both through one online application via the Childcare Service.

However, parents need to decide if the new tax-free childcare scheme is better for them than the existing Childcare voucher scheme which is currently administered by employers.
Full information can be found on: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/

AND FINALLY

Prosecutions under CDM15

  • In House Design & Build was fined a total of £115,000 and its site manager, Neil Crow, personally fined £15,000 after the public raised concerns about health & safety standards on a site in London. The Company had a turnover of £62 million but were apparently unable to find funds to ensure safe work at height and excavations. The Company was prosecuted under CDM for a failure to plan, manage and monitor a safe site.
  • Claxton Engineering Services (Client) and contractor, Encompass Project Management (Principal Contractor), were fined totals of £600,000 and £250,000 respectively after a steel reinforced cage in a 2 metre deep trench collapsed on, and killed, two workers from sub-contractor, Hazegood Construction Ltd. Claxton was prosecuted under CDM for not ensuring work could be carried out safely and Encompass for not planning, managing and monitoring a safe site.
  • Developer, Meadows WR LLP was fined a total of £20,000 after a worker died falling from a ladder during house conversion work. Yet again, a company prosecuted under CDM for the failure to plan, manage and monitor a safe site.
  • Principal contractor, Sager Construction Ltd, was fined a total of almost £41,000 for breaches of CDM after a worker suffered fractures falling from formwork. Sub-contractor, Shaun Dixon Services had been prosecuted previously, fined a total of over £175,000 and since gone into liquidation.
  • LPD Demolition Ltd was fined a total of almost £52,000 after a worker was run over by a reversing excavator and left with punctured lungs, liver injuries and multiple fractures. The Company was prosecuted under CDM for a failure to ensure a safe site.
  • BFK, a joint venture between BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman and Kier Infrastructure, has been fined a total £807,000 with a £1 million penalty for breaches of CDM after the deaths of two workers during completely separate operations on their Crossrail sites. The Company was also fined £300,000 for breaches of the Work at Height Regs

 

Asbestos
Please take note of the 2 important notes in this section; these issues are full too often overlooked

  • Two contractors and a project management company have been fined a total of well over £1 million for illegally removing AIB. Principal contractor Mansell Construction Services, sub-contractor Squibb Group and project manager NPS London Ltd were fined totals of over £532,000, £175,000 and £402,000 respectively after a worker removed AIB ceiling tiles during a school refurbishment; the available survey information was subsequently found to be woefully inadequate, with numerous caveats and disclaimers that had not been appropriately checked or challenged.

 

N.B. WHS has seen far too many poor asbestos surveys where too many areas within a building are left un-surveyed with notes that say either ‘presumed’ or ‘no access possible’. Whilst there are instances where an asbestos surveyor can genuinely not gain entry into an area (e.g. it was locked), many such comments seem to be the result of laziness on the part of the surveyor. If a surveyor has been commissioned to carry out a Refurbishment Survey, he must expect to access and take samples from all areas, including (unless there is a genuine and uncontrollable risk to the surveyors safety) working at height. It is unacceptable to leave a client with insufficient information because the surveyor refuses to (under normal circumstances) work at height; surveyors should be suitably trained for such situations. Nor is it acceptable to thence ‘presume’ materials will be asbestos-containing materials and possibly incur major costs for the client which may actually be unfounded. Clients pay a lot of money for asbestos surveyors; it’s not unreasonable to expect, and insist upon, thorough and meaningful reports.

 

Having said that, where there are obvious areas that have not been surveyed, that is NOT an excuse to ignore the fact. Further survey work MUST be carried out before any disturbance. This prosecution is inexcusable in this day and age, particularly as it involved large reputable companies.

 

  • Anthony McGrath, a Wigan house builder, was ordered to pay almost £8,000 (in fines and compensation) after being found guilty of demolishing and removing AIB without license. In addition – and this is a warning to all builders who may be tempted to ‘risk it’ – McGrath had to pay more than £12,000 in clean up costs to make the house re-habitable.

 

N.B. Yet another reminder that the domestic market is absolutely no different from the commercial market:
• Although it’s unlikely that the occupant would be in possession of an asbestos survey, this is NOT an excuse for the contractor to ignore the issue; a survey is still legally required.
• And, just because safe removal will cost more, this is NOT an excuse to cut corners and ignore the law in order to win work.
The law will come down hard on contractors who ignore the law for ANY reason.

 

Work at height

  • Pyeroy was fined a total of over £144,000 after they had failed to train personnel into rapid emergency rescue from MEWP work in restricted overhead areas. Ensuing delays resulted in the death of an employee who became trapped between a roof beam and the controls of his MEWP.

 

N.B. This prosecution serves as a warning to all companies using MEWPs or any other equipment where rapid rescue is vital; emergency provision must always be included in the risk assessment process and procedural information passed to the workforce or appointed emergency rescue team.

  • Tesco was fined a total of almost £310,000 after an employee of contractor, Tesco Maintenance, fell through a skylight at a Tesco store, sustaining multiple injuries.

 

N.B. A clear reminder to all large businesses who employ either internal maintenance engineers or ‘favoured’ repeat contractors. ‘Maintenance’ is deemed to be ‘construction’ under CDM and all employers must ensure that the principles of CDM are established for the safety of all such workers. Clearly, in this case, the work at height had not been properly risk assessed nor planned nor adequate control measures established.

  • Mager Homes Ltd was fined a total of almost £27,000 after a worker suffered life-changing injuries when he fell through floor joists during a house-build. There had been no provision made for a suitable working platform where gaps clearly existed wide enough to fall through.
  • Wessexmoor Ltd was fined a total of almost £168,000 after the death of a worker who fell 2-storeys onto a concrete floor. The victim fell from an unguarded rear roof; a totally unacceptable situation which is reflected in the huge fine levelled against the contractor.

 

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

TRAINING COURSES

CDM Seminars

Yes, this does apply to you! The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations apply to any business who commission any type of construction, electrical, plumbing, heating, air-con, decorating, repair, maintenance, strip-out, cabling, IT installation….the list goes on. So, yes the regulations will apply to you at some point; how much do you know about your duties? Read on…

Although the Construction (Design & Management) Regs (or CDM) have been in place since 1994, major changes took place when the regs were updated in 2015. Over the last two years old, many developments, both positive and negative, have taken shape. Because we, at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS), work with all types of organisations throughout industry (client bodies, developers, designers, contractors, specialists, etc) we can take a holistic view of these developments and are very well placed to offer sound and practical advice to cater for all sorts of awkward situations.

To assist our clients to understand that most situations can have practical solutions, we are holding two seminars at our premises on Tuesday, 23 January 2018, the first of which will be essential for all businesses who may not realise either that CDM applies to them or the extent to which they do apply.

  • 8.30 am to 12.30 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Clients, Developers and Designers’

 

The second (afternoon) seminar will also be essential for those businesses who have their own in-house maintenance team

  • 1.30 pm to 5 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Contractors’

 

The cost of the seminars is £60 + VAT per person per session or £100 per person for the full day:

Please refer to the flyer attached for both. Space is limited so book early

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2017 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at our offices, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 15 November 2017
  • 11 December 2017
  • 18 January 2018
  • 20 January 2018
  • 26 March 2018

 

If any organisation requires first-aid for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

Of course, we can also offer the full 3-day First Aid course; again there is a minimum requirement of 6 persons but, if this course is what you require, please do contact Vicki at WHS on 01952-885885.

HSE NEWS

10 years of Corporate Manslaughter

It’s very interesting to read the list of prosecutions made against the Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide Act since its advent in 2007; refer to the table issued by the Health & Safety at Work Magazine: http://bit.ly/2y8Yzbo

What’s interesting is how many of the companies prosecuted are no longer in business. Of the 25 companies prosecuted, 13 (approx. half) no longer trade. It’s a sad fact that, when we carry out training, businesses tend to focus on how much an accident will cost the company financially – rarely does anyone consider that we’re talking about killing someone and (more often than not) depriving a family of its livelihood. So, if money talks:

The result of a bad accident could, not only be the death of an employee or employees,
but also the death of the company

The HSE’s Blitz on Dusts

As we’ve discussed countless times before in these newsletters, a main HSE target issue is (and has been for some time) exposure to occupational dusts. Why? Within UK industry:

  • 400,000 working days lost each year in the UK due to lung disorders
  • 12,000 deaths each year from asbestos-related diseases, silicosis, alveolitis and other occupational lung diseases.
  • High risk jobs include bakers, agriculture employees working with grain, electricians, plasterers, painters & decorators, plumbers, carpenters & joiners, stonemasons, welders and solderers, paint sprayers, and general labourers.

 

To bring the message home, take a look at the short video recently released from the HSE:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/gohomehealthy/lungs.htm

Then note….

During October, the HSE is carrying out a ‘blitz’ across the country relating to dusts – and, as you know, during these ‘blitzes’ the HSE mean business! During a similar blitz earlier this year, the HSE issued enforcement against half of all sites visited!

So, if you’ve not done this before, thoroughly review all site work and ensure that:

(a) cutting, drilling, chasing etc are avoided where possible and/or
(b) all unavoidable dusts are suppressed or captured at source.

A reminder that the use of face-masks:

(a) is a ‘last resort only’ and will not be accepted by the HSE as the only control measure, and
(b) necessitates face-fit testing for all wearers

There’s no excuse; apart from the assistance and advice given by WHS, there is plenty of free guidance available from the HSE e.g. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis36.pdf

INDUSTRY NEWS

If you Weren’t Convinced About Asbestos-Related Diseases Before….

We all remember the 9/11 atrocity….it was one of those land-mark events that changed the World (for the worse) forever. Almost 3000 people were killed in one fell swoop, which was truly diabolical. But how many people consider those who have died since as a result of the dusts inhaled, which included 2000 tons of asbestos (the equivalent of 182 single-decker buses).

Figures released in a recent study are appalling, and serve to demonstrate the devastating effects of uncontrolled release of asbestos and masonry dusts:

  • Every ‘first-responder’ has suffered lung disorders or worse
  • 19% rise in lung cancers amongst fire-fighters alone
  • 204 first-responders have died since 9/11
  • $2.775 million set aside under a compensation scheme for 25,000 responders and 25,000 survivors; however, most claimants find they are not covered by the scheme which is a truly shocking situation
    And…
  • Tests have shown that the air around Ground Zero is 112,000 x the legal limit of airborne asbestos dusts; the area has now become toxic in itself

 

Vibration Assessment

You’ll be aware from past newsletters that, with 900 new claims per year (2015 figures) for vibration-related diseases, the HSE has good reason for focusing extensively on the vibration health issue. The Control of Vibration at Work Regs came out in 2005 and placed a duty on all employers to assess the risk to employees from equipment that produces vibration – but still very few employers do this.

WHS can assist by producing good vibration assessments for you, and these assessments will give you definitive maximum periods of use for each tool. Alternatively, a quick assessment can be done using the HSE’s Vibration Calculator and a screen shot taken as a record:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/vibrationcalc.htm

However, this is only part of the picture. Very rarely is one single tool used in isolation during one day; usually several tools will be used over the course of a working day. Therefore, the employer must, in some way, assess the total risk to workers from daily not individual use.

This can be done using personal monitoring devices; this is the ideal way but can be expensive to purchase. Or it can be done by logging usage of each tool by each individual (refer to the WHS vibration monitoring sheet on your H&S disk) but this can be laborious and time-consuming. A quicker and easier way to do this is by using the HSE’s Ready Reckoner: http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/readyreckoner.htm

Contact WHS on 01952-885885 for assistance or instruction on how to calculate exposure and then assess the overall risk. The aim is to reduce daily exposure to within the ‘green’ band (i.e. it’s within acceptable and legal limits).

So what’s the risk of not carrying out full vibration risk assessment?

  • Newfield Fabrications Ltd fined a total of over £127,000 for failing to control vibration risks from hand-held tools used for grinding and polishing
  • Taylor Engineering & Plastics Ltd was fined a total of £21,171 as ‘the company risk assessments relating to vibration were not suitable or sufficient’

 

And even worse…

  • Wrexham County Borough Council was fined a total of almost £161,000 for ignoring its own vibration assessments and procedures with the result that 11 employees (whose work included grass cutting, strimming and leaf-blowing) developed HAVS or carpal tunnel.

 

Vibration – Eliminate the Risks

Having said all that, vibration assessment only tries to reduce risk where hand-held or hand-controlled tools are used. However, what we should all being doing is trying to find ways of eliminating this health risk altogether!

Machine Safety – a Useful Guide

Schneider Electrical has produced very useful guidance on the basics of machine safety; the Safe Machinery Handbook can be found on: http://bit.ly/2fXcl6v

Schneider Electrical can be a very useful source of information, both specific and general; if you’re an electrical contractor, or a contractor whose work includes electrical systems, contact the Company via their website for related queries or to register for their information portal: https://www.schneider-electric.co.uk/en/

New Qualification for Process Industries

NEBOSH, in close collaboration with the HSE, have developed a new H&S qualification specifically designed for process industries.

NEBOSH currently deliver both the General Certificate and the specialist Construction Certificate; the NEBOSH HSE Certificate in Process Safety Management is a valuable addition to their portfolio. Full details:
https://www.nebosh.org.uk/qualifications/certificate/default.asp?cref=1717

GENERAL NEWS

Lone Working

Does anyone remember poor Stephanie Slater? This poor girl, who has recently died of cancer, survived a horrific ordeal when she was kidnapped in 1992 and held for 8 days in a ‘makeshift coffin’ before being released after a ransom was paid.

Stephanie had met the kidnapper whilst carrying out her work as an estate agent; he had been a potential buyer at a house-viewing in Great Barr. Some years earlier, in 1986, Suzie Lamplugh disappeared in similar circumstances. She too was an estate agent who regularly met potential purchasers at the properties. However, unlike Stephanie, Suzie has never been found. Suzie’s mother has devoted her life to spreading the message that lone working is a very real risk issue and the consideration of personal safety is vital:
https://www.suzylamplugh.org/

Stephanie’s recent death (see http://bit.ly/2y2pa9H) is a poignant reminder of the pitfalls that employees, particularly females, can so easily fall into when lone working is not considered. WHS has, over the years, done a lot of work and carried out many training sessions for our clients on the subject of lone working. We must all get on with our jobs, and sometimes lone working is unavoidable. But assessment of the risks for likely situations is essential and a few simple and sensible precautions can often go a long way to alleviating the majority of risks.

So if any of your employees, male or female, have need to work away from the office for any reason, do ask our assistance to both consider the lone working risk issues and train your employees into personal safety controls.

Lone Working – a Monitoring Solution

As you probably know, there are many companies out there offering various lone worker monitoring systems, some more practical or affordable than others. One such company that we, at WHS, have come across recently – which offers several very practical and affordable solutions – is Voice Connect Ltd:
http://www.voiceconnect.co.uk/sectors.html#

Voice Connect offers a variety of systems, from basic mobile phone apps to more sophisticated monitoring and discreet alarm systems (photo overleaf, left) and ID badges (right – showing the emergency alarm button on the reverse which can be quickly used without arousing suspicion), all of which have GPS incorporated for pinpoint accuracy of the victim’s location. The Voice Connect monitoring centre operates 24/7 with immediate response (we have seen proof of this) and emergency service contact if necessary. And one of the best things about these systems is that they are affordable, ranging from around £7 to £23 per person per month once the units are purchased. Bespoke systems and price packages are available.

So, whether your lone working issues relate to public aggression, malicious intent, injury or, indeed, personal health, there will be a system that exactly suits the situation and pocket. Contact Liz Kerr of Voice Connect direct on: 0116-232 2622 or liz.kerr@voiceconnect.co.uk

Public Safety

All businesses who interact with the public in any way must ensure that the safety of all members of the public is held paramount in their attitude to safety. This is illustrated by the recent prosecution of a restaurant when a member of the public lost the tip of a finger in a hand drier.

Nocaz Ltd, which runs the Dragon King restaurant in Shrewsbury, was fined a total of almost £17,000 after a woman, who sufferers with learning difficulties, placed her finger in the unguarded outlet of the drier and made contact with the rotating fan blade inside. This fact that the grill/guard was missing may have seemed trivial to those who run the restaurant but all manner of situations must be considered when organising the health & safety of both staff and patrons alike, particularly those from vulnerable sections of society.

It is LAW to carry out frequent inspections of all work and public places under the jurisdiction of the business involved; nothing should be overlooked

Nothing is too trivial to be made safe; nothing is too important that safety can be ignored.

Public Safety – Trespassers Included

And never overlook trespassers; it is a legal requirement that ALL businesses and premises must be kept secure against intrusion. The recent case of a 12 year old boy who was air-lifted to hospital having fallen 50 feet through a fragile factory roof in Holmfirth illustrates, again, that all possible eventualities must be factored into a company’s safe systems where the pubic are concerned:
http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/boy-12-airlifted-hospital-after-12892128

We all know that children can often put themselves in some horribly dangerous situations; however, this is largely due to, not only their inflated capacity for thrills and devilment, but also their immature perception of safety. Therefore, it is incumbent on all businesses to eliminate, or at least reduce as far as reasonable, the possibility that children, youths and others who haven’t quite matured yet (!) can enter the premises unnoticed by properly securing the perimeter against entry.

Simple tips that can prevent a devastating accident:

  • Ensure your perimeter fencing is at least 2 metres high, regularly check the condition of the fencing; double check before holiday shut-down periods
  • Remove exterior objects that may compromise the effectiveness of fencing (walls, trees, post boxes, etc)
  • Plug any dips or voids beneath fencing to prevent little people slipping underneath

 

Unscrupulous Manufacturers’ Data

It’s come to our attention that, when manufacturers quote the weight of items purchased, the data may be somewhat less than accurate!
One of our clients had a suspicion this may be the case and took the precaution of weighing the items before he carried out manual handling assessments. The results were shocking – the actual weights of the items were almost twice those quoted!

Whether this is now slipping through because standards aren’t sufficiently monitored (particularly with imports) or for any other reason, this could have serious implications for industry. Businesses will naturally use the data provided for manual handling assessments but the question must be raised as to who would be liable should an incorrect assessment be made using this (incorrect) data. In most similar situations, the ‘user’ is liable, so does this mean that all significantly heavy items purchased (and unavoidably requiring manual handling) should actually be weighed by the purchaser? We think this would be wise!

General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (or ‘GDPR’) comes into effect on 25 May 2018 and will be enforced across Europe – including the UK post-Brexit. The Regulation aims to give people more control over their personal data and to create uniformity of rules across Europe.

The definition of ‘personal data’ will cover everything relating to an individual’s professional or personal life, including names, photos, email IDs, bank details, social networking posts, medical information, or computer IP addresses.

May 2018 isn’t that far off now so do a bit of homework now in preparation. Very useful information can be can be found on the Information Commission’s Office website: https://ico.org.uk/
particularly, http://bit.ly/2uw9Fop
and http://bit.ly/29lxF0U

Work-Related Road Traffic Accidents

The Department for Transport has released figures for road traffic accident as and fatalities related to journeys made for work purposes – so this is also a timely reminder that all employers would be wise to establish a sound Driving Policy to cover all such journeys. Bear in mind that all employers must risk assess all work-related activities (which, by inference, would obviously include travel), it follows that work-related travel must be properly assessed and suitable rules requirements and/or procedures established to ensure all employees are clear about both legal and company requirements.

Believe it or not, almost 30% of the 1792 road traffic fatalities (529 in total) happened on work-related journeys. Serious injuries on work-related journeys have risen by 24% since 2011, which is quite shocking. What’s even more shocking is that 33,506 commercial cars, buses, coaches, vans and heavy goods vehicles crashed last year!

So, when carrying out a travel risk assessment and formulating your driving policy, aim to reduce the need to rush to appointments or travel too far without breaks. So ensure appointments are reasonably spaced, deadlines are realistic and rest periods and/or overnight stops are programmed into the equation. We know it all costs money but it actually increases productivity as employees are properly rested … and it’s far better than killing someone!

And don’t forget that the HSE can, and do, investigate serious work-related driving accidents and employers are often prosecuted. Be prepared, and be realistic. Employees shouldn’t feel pressured into speeding or driving dangerously.

Hidden Dangers on the High Street

It’s become commonplace these days ladies to visit nail bars – but how many of us consider the hazards we may be putting ourselves through when we do so? And how many employees are properly trained and the working environment adequately controlled? We only have to walk past some nail bars to realise that not all such businesses place enough emphasis on the health & safety of both employees and the public. Risk issues include chemical sensitisation, contact dermatitis, poor hygiene, acrylic bonding methods that damage the nails, lung irritation from both chemicals and, believe it or not, the dust inhaled when filing umpteen sets of nails through the working day!

In addition, apparently, nail bars are often a cloak behind which a shady world of ‘modern slavery’ operates and the HSE is stepping up their enforcement regime to combat this type of organised crime. Often the workers in these establishments are oriental; many have found themselves locked into a cycle of debt from which there seems no way out. Because a lot of these nail bars pop up within shopping centres but without actual premises, it’s relatively easy for unscrupulous bosses to side step rules and regulations.

Who would have thought that a visit to a beauty establishment would have been so fraught with danger?!

HR NEWS

The Cost of Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare and the provision of 30 Hours Free Childcare are two separate government schemes designed to help parents with the cost of childcare. Parents can apply for both through one online application via the Childcare Service. However, parents need to decide if the new tax-free childcare scheme is better for them than the existing Childcare voucher scheme which is currently administered by employers.
Full information can be found on: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/

AND FINALLY

Prosecutions under Construction (Design & Management) Regs 2015
A reminder that (as above) all businesses commissioning any type of work fall under CDM

  • Claxton Engineering Services (Client) and contractor, Encompass Project Management (Principal Contractor), were fined totals of £600,000 and £250,000 respectively after a steel reinforced cage in a 2 metre deep trench collapsed on, and killed, two workers from sub-contractor, Hazegood Construction Ltd. Claxton was prosecuted under CDM for not ensuring work could be carried out safely and Encompass for not planning, managing and monitoring a safe site.
  • Developer, Meadows WR LLP was fined a total of £20,000 after a worker died falling from a ladder during house conversion work. Yet again, a company prosecuted under CDM for the failure to plan, manage and monitor a safe site.

 

Asbestos

  • A project management company and two contractors have been fined a total of well over £1 million for illegally removing AIB. Principal contractor Mansell Construction Services, sub-contractor Squibb Group and project manager NPS London Ltd were fined totals of over £532,000, £175,000 and £402,000 respectively after a worker removed AIB ceiling tiles during a school refurbishment; the available survey information was subsequently found to be woefully inadequate, with numerous caveats and disclaimers that had not been appropriately checked or challenged.

 

N.B. WHS has seen far too many poor asbestos surveys where too many areas within a building are left un-surveyed with notes that say either ‘presumed’ or ‘no access possible’. Whilst there are instances where an asbestos surveyor can genuinely not gain entry into an area (e.g. it was locked), many such comments seem to be the result of laziness on the part of the surveyor. If a surveyor has been commissioned to carry out a Refurbishment Survey, he must expect to access and take samples from all areas, including (unless there is a genuine and uncontrollable risk to the surveyors safety) working at height. It is unacceptable to leave a client with insufficient information because the surveyor refuses to (under normal circumstances) work at height; surveyors should be suitably trained for such situations. Nor is it acceptable to thence ‘presume’ materials will be asbestos-containing materials and possibly incur major costs for the client which may actually be unfounded. Clients pay a lot of money for asbestos surveyors; it’s not unreasonable to expect, and insist upon, thorough and meaningful reports.

Having said that, where there are obvious areas that have not been surveyed, that is NOT an excuse to ignore the fact. Further survey work MUST be carried out before any disturbance. This prosecution is inexcusable in this day and age, particularly as it involved large reputable companies.

Work at height

  • Tesco was fined a total of almost £310,000 after an employee of contractor, Tesco Maintenance, fell through a skylight at a Tesco store, sustaining multiple injuries.

 

N.B. A clear reminder to all large businesses who employ either internal maintenance engineers or ‘favoured’ repeat contractors. ‘Maintenance’ is deemed to be ‘construction’ under CDM and all employers must ensure that the principles of CDM are established for the safety of all such workers. Clearly, in this case, the work at height had not been properly risk assessed nor planned nor adequate control measures established.

  • And similarly…coach fabrication company, Bespoke Bodies Ltd, was fined a total of over £23,000 after a worker was injured falling 10 metres through a sky-light during the cleaning of valley gutters on the company’s roof. CDM applied here also but, quite apart from that, the Company had paid absolutely no heed to the risks of fragile materials on the roof or to the need for the training and supervision required for this type of task.
  • Farming family concern, Maurice Mason, was fined a total of £72,000 after the death by asphyxiation of a young employee in a grain silo. The 21-year-old had been cleaning the grain bins with a broom as the grain emptied slowly through sluices. He had been using a harness secured to a fixed ladder to prevent a fall; however, the fall-arrest component of the lanyard extended allowing the worker to sink into the grain which then engulfed him as he sank ever deeper (grain behaves as quick-sand in these circumstances).

 

N.B. Clearly, although the Company knew this might happen and had, thus, provided a fall-arrest harness to prevent it, management were not in full possession of the facts, had not been properly trained in work at height and, thus, had neglected to properly assess what type of harness and lanyard was necessary. This went against the golden rule:

 

The right tool for the right job always; NO exceptions!

 

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885