COMPANY NEWS

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) Seminar

You’ve probably seen news about upcoming changes in the Data Protection Regulations, and maybe just ignored it, but don’t worry, it’s not too complicated.

The new General Data Protection Regs come into force on 25 May 2018. There will be some additional security and accountability surrounding the usual details we all pass between us on a daily basis, such as employee details and home postal addresses etc; email addresses that begin with your name are also considered ‘personal’ regardless of whether it’s a company email address or not.

What about the necessity to share personal information when it comes to health and safety? For example, medical records, health monitoring, and accident reporting… especially when dealing with sub-contractors’ employees. Well we were asking that question too, so we’ve asked three experts in the new General Data Protection Regulations to hold an open seminar on how the changes will affect your business.

From your websites to your staff, and from your filing to accident reporting systems, we’ll aim to give you clarification on what you need to do next and how to comply with the regulations. It is very important that all our customers are clear about the GDPR requirements, so there is a real need for you to attend:

  • Date: 27 April 2018
  • Time: 9 am to 12 pm
  • Venue: Wenlock Health & Safety Training Room, Jackfield Tile Museum, TF8 7LJ
  • Cost: £30 + VAT per person

 

Please contact Vicki Brown at WHS on 01952-885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book your place/s as soon as possible; places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

CITB Training Courses

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU READ AND DIGEST THE ARTICLE ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO CITB GRANTS & LEVIES IN THE ‘INDUSTRY NEWS’ SECTION BELOW

Forthcoming 2018 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS training rooms 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.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 17 & 24 April and 1, 8 &15 May 2018 (all Tuesdays) – very limited space available
    6, 13, 20, 27 June & 4 July 2018 (all Wednesdays)
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 10 & 11 May 2018 (Thursday & Friday)
    19 & 20 July 2018 (Thursday & Friday)
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 3 & 4 May 2018 (Thursday & Friday)
    9 & !0 July 2018 (Monday & Tuesday)
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 7 June 2018 (Thursday)
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

First Aid Training

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

  • 24 May 2018
  • 25 June 2018
  • 24 July 2018
  • 23 August 2018
  • 26 September 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.

Out-of-Hours Contact

May we remind customers of the arrangements for any urgent and unavoidable (i.e. emergency) contact with Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) during evenings, weekend and public holiday or WHS shut-down periods.

WHS can be contacted on the MD’s mobile number 07866-605920 at any time. During periods of the MD’s unavailability, the mobile is always diverted to another member of staff so that calls can be picked up as reasonably possible. We do not necessarily monitor emails during out-of-hours periods; emails will be actioned as soon as possible on the next working day. Therefore, if very urgent assistance is required (i.e. the matter is serious and cannot wait until the next working day) please ring 07866-605920; the landline answer-phone message reiterates this.

Many thanks.

INDUSTRY NEWS

CITB Changes to Grant System

The CITB levy has been reduced from 0.5% to 0.35% of PAYE. However, the levy is not payable for companies whose PAYE bill is less than £80,000; companies with PAYE £80,001 to £399,000 pay 0.175% only. Note: CIS tax payers are required to contribute net 1.25%.

  • As from the beginning of April, the way in which CITB grants can be claimed is changing significantly, so please take note of the following. Of course, grants are only available to those companies who pay the CITB levy – and, if you do pay the levy, get your money’s worth and carry out adequate training, you’ve paid for it!!!
    Small companies who don’t have to pay the levy (i.e. <£80,000 PAYE) are still eligible for grants
  • The CITB Training Plans have gone
  • Grants can only be claimed if courses are undertaken by a CITB approved training body – an Approved Training Organisation or ATO; WHS is an ATO for the CITB courses we advertise
  • A National Training Directory will detail all ATOs – but there will be a bedding period of 12 months during which you are at liberty to request proof of the training provider that they are ‘applying for registration’
  • All grants will now be paid automatically following verification by the ATO that the course has been completed; you won’t have to do anything except provide your CITB registration number at the time of booking
  • There will be a National Register which logs all CITB attained qualifications for individuals; this can be used to verify or re-issue certification

 

Courses that now attract grants have changed:

  • You can no longer claim grants for first-aid or any other course that is not specifically construction based
  • Grants are payable for NVQs, HNCs, IOSH and other day or block release construction-related courses

 

Your local CITB representative can help, but please feel free to contact WHS if you have any queries

Apprentice Levy

This time last year, the new Apprenticeship Levy came into being for companies whose PAYE bill is greater than £3 million. The idea is to encourage larger companies to take on apprentices to help fill the long-term skill shortage. Grants are payable to off-set the costs of engaging apprentices but, as everyone reading this newsletter will know, receive of a grant goes nowhere need paying for the cost of employing an inexperienced, mostly young person which requires constant supervision and attention. The result?….

We are told that, of the £2 billion currently paid to the Treasury against this levy, only £108 million has been claimed back in grants. Plan for the future…what will be your needs in the coming years, how will you fill the skills gaps? Do you need to take on apprentice/s to train up for your company’s future business plan? There is a 24 month deadline to claiming grants; therefore, the message is…
USE IT OR LOSE IT!

An Important Note to Designers

Architects, Oxford Architects Partnership, and Principal Contractor, Express Park Construction Company (EPCC), were fines totals of £180,000 and £143,000 respectively after a flawed flat roof design led to a fatality. The roof was designed with a parapet which was too low to prevent a worker plunging 9 metres to his death.

This prosecution highlights that designers are totally responsible under CDM for safety in design. WHS would also remind designers that they must be totally up to date with safety duties placed on contractors for work on site; without that, they cannot design for safety.

Building Regs are assumed by designers to cover site and end-users safety requirements; this is not necessarily the case. Part K of the Building Regs specifies a minimum height of edge protection to be 900 mm in a lot of circumstances (although, in this case, a minimum height of 1100 mm would have applied as it was external); however, the minimum safe height for guard rails and other forms of edge protection was raised in the Work at Height Regs from 900 to 950 mm 13 years ago. Building Regs are not the be-all and end-all; all designers must be aware of site safety requirements or they cannot design out or reduce risks (as required by CDM). WHS provides all designers with ample background info about what contractors and end-users are (legally) obliged do for safety; designers must make themselves familiar. This includes work at height, site and end-use layouts, welfare provision, fire avoidance and escape, manual handling, vibration, COSHH, etc, etc

And, as regards the ‘Design of Guarding’ (Part K; section 3.2), our strong recommendation is that the limit of 950 mm should be incorporated into all design regardless of Building Regs’ saying that 900 mm is permissible in a lot of circumstances. The safe ‘work at height’ limit was raised to 950 mm in 2005 under instruction from Europe as we are all getting taller – people were tumbling over the top of 900 mm edge protection. As this was then incorporated into our Work at Height Regs, it follows that the minimum height stated in Part K could be construed as legally incorrect for ‘work’ circumstances, leaving end-users (the client-businesses) and designers open to enforcement.

Asbestos

We’ll say it again….asbestos was not completely banned in the UK until the year 2000. So anyone concerned with any structure built (or begun) pre-2000 runs the distinct risk of containing asbestos.

WHS is still coming across customers of ours and/or their employees who have no basic knowledge about asbestos. We have been running courses and hammering home the messages to our clients ever since we set up 16 years ago – so how is it that this still happens?

The law says that anyone who ‘may’ possibly encounter asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) at any point must carry out asbestos awareness training as a minimum. This includes (obviously) contractors and property owners or managers, but also designers as well; it’s vital that designers know about asbestos to (a) advise their clients and (b) design around any issues.

To all our customers, please: look long and hard at your training matrix and ensure that ALL those who need asbestos awareness have had it at least within the last 2 years (WHS can advise on HSE requirements; contractors are expected to have this annually)

And Another Reminder

WHS is continually still coming across projects where soft-strip, demolition and/or asbestos removal have not been carried out under a Construction Phase Plan or F10

A strong reminder…..ALL work is subject to CDM and you cannot divorce one element of the project from another just to avoid issuing the F10

The Construction Phase Plan MUST be, by law, in place before work starts in ANY SHAPE OF FORM! The F10 MUST be issued for ANY (total) project that may span more than 500 person days – or have more than 20 people on site at any one time.

No, it is not OK to do a bit of prep work without these things being in place; no, it is not OK to do a strip-out or asbestos removal without these things being in place; no, it is absolutely not OK to do any demolition at all without the necessary legal things being in place.

If you’re in doubt at all, ring WHS for clarification. Without these things being in place BEFORE WORK BEGINS, you risk HSE enforcement…and we won’t be able to help you!!

Fire Planning

The vital importance of proper planning to both avoid fire and to safely evacuate if fire should occur was illustrated yet again in February 2018 when a fire broke out in a multi-storey terraced building in Great Portland Street.

72 fire fighters were called to tackle the blaze which broke out during the refurbishment of the building into apartments by a developer. Obviously, an investigation is underway so we can only speculate as to the cause and indeed the controls (or lack of) to prevent the fire taking hold and spreading – potentially, in a situation like this, to neighbouring properties.

The insurance industry’s Joint Code of Practice (9th Edition) lays down strict procedures to both avoid and control fires on construction sites; non-compliance may result in the contractor being uninsured. The guidance is incorporated into the WHS Health & Safety Manual; you all have a copy, make sure you are familiar with the contents and lay down strict rules on site about fire control and evacuation planning.

Footnote:

To make matters worse, the building contained gas cylinders. Can we be clear on this – if you have to use bottled gas, there are strict controls for the use and storage of these things. And take note, fire fighters will not enter if the building contains gas bottles – it’s just too dangerous. Have you ever seen what happens to gas bottles in a fire? Skip the promo and just see how far those lethally hot and sharp projectiles fly see: https://bit.ly/2JnVB62 It wasn’t wise to stand and film from that distance!

Please make sure you contact your WHS consultant to discuss storage, handling and inspections of gas bottles, and how to carry out effective emergency planning for your sites.

Scaffolding Control
See ‘And Finally…’ sections for more prosecutions

It must be realised that anyone engaging scaffolders are totally responsible for safety during erection (etc). Yes, they are the specialists but, under CDM, the engaging party is responsible for (a) engaging competent contractors, and (b) their site – despite the fact that scaffolding may be erected on Sunday or other non-work periods.

WHS customers are supplied with a specific H&S competence questionnaire for scaffolders which is designed to assess whether the company has the very specific knowledge, experience and capabilities to carry out scaffold erection. If a scaffolders in plucked from the internet without sufficient competence checks, then the engaging party (client or contractor) will be liable for prosecution or HSE enforcement.

If the engaging party does not enforce good site-specific risk assessments and method statements from the scaffolders before work is permitted, and adherence to the agreed RAMSs during erection, removal or any alteration by the scaffolder, then the engaging party (client or contractor) will be liable for prosecution or HSE enforcement. And this means proper site management and supervision by the Principal Contractor at all working times, including scaffolding erection (etc).

So you want to erect on a Sunday? Your Site Manager can’t be there? So how will you accommodate this legal duty? Please speak to one of our consultants to ensure adequate arrangements are in place – before it’s too late.

Footnote

And, for those scaffolders reading this article – be warned – there is no excuse for ignoring procedures and safety controls, and the law will catch up with you:

In January 2018, scaffolder Terrance Murray was facing six months in jail after a member of the public photographed him recklessly putting himself and his apprentice working beneath him in danger. He was working at 60 feet up (and above massive void in the flat roof below!) with no harness and no edge protection; presumably he assumed he wouldn’t be spotted as it was to the rear of the office block but….it was overlooked the Crown Prosecution Service!! Never assume you won’t be spotted!!

See the story and tell-tale photo on: https://bit.ly/2uNOSiv

ALL Dusts are Dangerous!!

WHS has been stressing this for years – regardless of known specific, high-profile, high-risk dusts such as asbestos, silica, hard woods, etc, ALL dusts can be dangerous in one way or another, with the consequences ranging from severe health issues to explosion.

Just look at what happened in July 2017 in India when a collapsing grain silo ruptured a power cable:
https://bit.ly/2wlPs2V

The person filming certainly didn’t expect the explosion that followed! This is why awareness that combustible dusts are extremely hazardous is so important; if ignited, they can cause explosion or fire balls.

Unchecked wood dusts resulted in a huge fire and four deaths at Bosley Mill in July 2015: https://bbc.in/1h2z283

Footnote to all woodworking workshops:

So, you may not think that that little bit of wood dust on the floor is risky; you may think that wood dust in the air goes with the job. But think again. Not only does airborne dust severely damage health and risk serious HSE enforcement, it can also cause fire or explosion.

A tidy workplace is a safe workplace – get that dust suppressed or extracted at source!!

Another Illustration of the Perils of Leaving Asbestos in Place

This recent incident in Glasgow yet again demonstrates just how vital it is that all asbestos is removed from buildings: https://bit.ly/2IJg7Ob

Just like 9/11 and its effects on New York, how many people have been unwittingly exposed to asbestos fibres? How long will it take to clean up – can it ever be cleaned up in a city centre situation like this? It is a fact that there has been so much uncontrolled demolition (etc) over the years, particularly in cities, that there are now ever-present airborne asbestos fibres. The area around the Twin Towers has proved to actually be so many times over the legal limit that it’s ‘toxic’. So further instances like this in Glasgow only add to the public health misery.

A reminder that ALL commercial buildings should have had an asbestos survey carried out so that owners/occupiers are at least aware of ACMs that need to be removed or at least avoided. But, if you can, remove all ACMs so that the risk is gone for good … before something unforeseen happens.

Use of Mobiles Whilst Driving

In the US, 95% of drivers disapprove of distracted driving, yet an astonishing 71% admit to using mobiles devices whilst they are driving. Approximately 37,000 people die on US roads each year, a significant proportion of which are killed by drivers using mobiles.

There are no statistics for the UK but no doubt the percentages of those admitting to using mobiles would be the same; just look around you next time you’re behind the wheel to see just how many people ignore the law. And it shouldn’t need a law, it’s obvious…driving whilst distracted KILLS!!

The ‘It Can Wait’ campaign in the US currently has well over £23 million pledges:
https://www.itcanwait.com/pledge
We need a similar campaign in the UK; #itcanwaituk. And if you’re one of the culprits, just think…
Why can’t that call or message? You know it’s illegal, why risk a fine…or worse, why risk a life?

Code of Practice for Pre-Cast Flooring

The Precast Flooring Federation’s Code of Practice for the Safe Installation of Precast Concrete Flooring and Associated Components 4th Edition was published late 2017. With a foreword by the HSE and an accompanying pocket-sized abridged edition, the industry CoP will assist clients, contractors and designers to ensure safe specification of flooring. Information on this and many other industry publications and guidance can be found on the British Precast Flooring Association website: https://bit.ly/2q7qLFP

Use of Suction & Vacuum Excavators

Following a fatality, guidance has been released on the safe us of Suction & Vacuum Excavators (SAVE).

This publication aims to educate owners, operators, hirers, contractors and all others involved in the supply, operation and maintenance of this type of equipment, and covers all types of site circumstances including contaminated ground, lone working and clean-up after encountering asbestos. Essential reading!!
See: https://bit.ly/2GT2U7c for purchase and further information.

Hazardous Household Products

As we have been highlighting during our asbestos awareness training, due to the almost impossible task of checking every item imported into the UK, the potential for asbestos-containing materials to creep into our products is growing. The majority of the World is still involved in the mining of asbestos or production of goods containing asbestos e.g. South Korea, China, India, and other countries that we freely trade with.

But it doesn’t stop there….other hazardous substances are (or always have been?) creeping into our households too e.g. lead and arsenic, including into children’s toys: https://bbc.in/2DDuxfT. With this type of threat to public health, this is not the time for the Government to be cutting back on controls; we now need trading standards organisations even more than ever!

Working Time Regulations

May we add a reminder about the Working Time Regulations which, although a HR matter, also impact on a company’s health & safety for obvious reasons. There are exclusions and provisos but, in general, the law stipulates that employees should work a maximum of 48 hours per week unless an opt-out is agreed and signed by the employee.

In addition, the maximum length of working days, number and timing of breaks, and other issues which directly affect tiredness, well-being and the capabilities (and thus safety) of workers are covered so it’s vital that all employers abide by the rules in a reasonable manner. Find out more:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1998/1833/contents/made

HSE NEWS

Stricter PPE Regulations

On 21 April 2018, new and much stricter PPE regulations come into force across the EU, placing responsibility for standards compliance on, not just manufacturers, but also importers, distributers and any other involved in the supply chain. This may not affect you but a further requirement will:

Because of the raised importance placed on health issues, the level of conformity assessment and surveillance has been raised to the highest (Cat.3) possible. This, by implication, means that the HSE will be enforcing higher standards of PPE and health surveillance amongst users, including stricter risk assessment and wearer assessment – particularly face fit.

There is a bedding-in period permitted for manufacturers – they have until 21 April 2023 to prove (certify) compliance with new CE standards. However, in the meantime, we have already seen evidence that the HSE is enforcing health surveillance and the standards and maintenance of PPE.

Discuss your needs and current provision with your WHS consultant; as some of our customers have already found, you can’t afford to get this wrong!

AND FINALLY

As usual, it’s asbestos and work at height that account for most prosecutions – astonishing in this day and age! We have included another topical issue – site segregation. But, as always, these are just a snap-shot of recent prosecutions; there are many, many more per month!
Just note how many personal prosecutions are now being enacted.

And, before you start blaming the HSE for (what only amounts to) enforcing the law, just remember that the aim in this country when the HSE was first established was, and still is, to prevent accidents, deaths and injuries, before they happen. Hardly any other countries have this ethos and will only enforce or prosecute once an accident/death/injury has occurred…which is too late.

Asbestos
More evidence of how easy it is to release asbestos fibres into the atmosphere and endanger us all

  • RF Gardiner Ltd was fined a total of over £29,000 after carrying out asbestos removal work without license or adequate controls during the refurbishment of a school. Just imagine how much the de-contamination of the affected area/s would have cost the school – a lesson to all clients!
  • A business, Carter Brothers (Rochdale) Ltd, and contractor, Frank Allan (trading as Jet Blast & Maintenance), were fined totals of almost £12,000 and over £4,000 respectively after the jet washing of an asbestos cement roof which resulted in both asbestos debris being strewn about and asbestos fibres potentially becoming airborne. Yes, even jet washing is subject to the Asbestos at Work Regs!

 

Work at height

  • Bland Scaffolidng Ltd was fined a total of almost £101,000 after an apprentice joiner fell 4 metres fell under a single guard rail on a loading platform; he was lucky to survive a fall from such a height. This is a reminder that all areas of scaffolding must be properly designed and protected by adequate guard rails at all times – including loading bays
  • LS Scaffolding Ltd was fined a total of over £54,000 and its director, Lakhbir Kharh, personally fined £1,700 and given an 18 week jail sentence suspended for 12 months after a scaffolder fell and suffered serious injury during the dismantling a temporary roof structure. The ‘scaffolder’ was untrained and inexperienced.
  • Prior Homes Ltd was fined a total of almost £16,000 and its director, Paul Prior, given an 8 week jail sentence suspended for 12 months and undertake 100 hours of unpaid community work after a worker fell 5 metres through a fragile roof.
  • Advanced Industrial Roofing & Cladding Solutions Ltd was fined a total of over £12,000 and its director, Stephen Ball, £3,500 after a worker fell through an unprotected skylight during the installation of a new roof over existing asbestos cement roof sheeting.
  • Fine Dimensions Ltd was fined a total of over £8,000 after a worker was seriously injured when he fell through a fragile skylight during minor roof work on a farm building. Yes, the law applies to quick works too – the results can be just as catastrophic

 

Public protection

  • Martin McColl Ltd was fined a total of over £600,000 after two members of the public suffered injuries when they fell over construction work being carried out at a store. Work was being carried out during opening hours with wholly inadequate protection (barriers and signage) of the store’s patrons. The size of this fine demonstrates just how important public protection is in the eyes of the law.

 

Plant & vehicle segregation
Remember that segregation is required where at all possible by law – and, yes, it can be done on most sites with a little thought.

  • MV Kelly Ltd was fined a total of over £530,000 after a worker was struck by a tipper wagon on site, resulting in the amputation of his right leg. The worker had been on a haul road when struck; there had been insufficient and uncontrolled haul and walkways for delivery wagons to access off-loading areas.
  • Redrow Homes Ltd was fined a total of over £600,000 and contractor, WPI Civil Engineering Ltd £317,000 after a scaffolder was struck and killed by a reversing dumper truck. Traffic management across the site was found to be very poor, with no banksmen assisting vehicle movement (and no segregation?)
  • Principal Contractor, Bellway Homes, and its sub-contractor, AD Bly Construction, were fined totals of over £80,000 and £31,000 respectively after a worker was run over by a telehandler. He was not seriously hurt because, very luckily, he slid under the machine, not the wheels. The HSE still took a very dim view though about the lack of person/plant segregation; a reminder to all contractors that segregation is law – and, yes, it can be done on most sites with a little thought.

 

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

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) Seminar

You’ve probably seen news about upcoming changes in the Data Protection Regulations, and maybe just ignored it, but don’t worry, it’s not too complicated.

The new General Data Protection Regs come into force on 25 May 2018. There will be some additional security and accountability surrounding the usual details we all pass between us on a daily basis, such as employee details and home postal addresses etc; email addresses that begin with your name are also considered ‘personal’ regardless of whether it’s a company email address or not.

What about the necessity to share personal information when it comes to health and safety? For example, medical records and accident reporting… well we were asking that question too, so we’ve asked three experts in the new General Data Protection Regulations to hold a quick open seminar on how the changes will affect your business.

From your websites to your staff, and from your filing to accident reporting systems, we’ll aim to give you clarification on what you need to do next and how to comply with the regulations. It is very important that all our customers are clear about the GDPR requirements, so there is a real need for you to attend:

  • Date: 27 April 2018
  • Time: 9 am to 12 pm
  • Venue: Wenlock Health & Safety Training Room, Jackfield Tile Museum, TF8 7LJ
  • Cost: £30 + VAT per person

 

Please contact Vicki Brown at WHS on 01952-885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book your place/s as soon as possible; places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

First Aid Training

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

  • 24 May 2018
  • 25 June 2018
  • 24 July 2018
  • 23 August 2018
  • 26 September 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.

Out-of-Hours Contact

May we remind customers of the arrangements for any urgent and unavoidable (i.e. emergency) contact with Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) during evenings, weekend and public holiday or WHS shut-down periods.

WHS can be contacted on the MD’s mobile number 07866-605920 at any time. During periods of the MD’s unavailability, the mobile is always diverted to another member of staff so that calls can be picked up as reasonably possible. We do not necessarily monitor emails during out-of-hours periods; emails will be actioned as soon as possible on the next working day. Therefore, if very urgent assistance is required (i.e. the matter is serious and cannot wait until the next working day) please ring 07866-605920; the landline answer-phone message reiterates this.

Many thanks.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Asbestos

We’ll say it again….asbestos was not completely banned in the UK until the year 2000. So anyone concerned with any structure built (or begun) pre-2000 runs the distinct risk of containing asbestos.

WHS is still coming across customers of ours and/or their employees who have no basic knowledge about asbestos. We have been running courses and hammering home to messages to our clients ever since we set up 16 years ago – so how is it that this still happens?

The law says that anyone who ‘may’ possibly encounter asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) at any point must carry out asbestos awareness training as a minimum. This includes (obviously) contractors and designers, but also property owners or managers as well; it’s vital that businesses know about asbestos to (a) advise their employees what they can and can’t touch, and (b) protect or remove any ACMs

To all our customers, please: look long and hard at your training matrix and ensure that ALL those who need asbestos awareness have had it at least within the last 2 years (WHS can advise on HSE requirements; contractors are expected to have this annually)

Gas Bottles

The vital importance of proper planning to both avoid fire and to safely evacuate if fire should occur was illustrated yet again in February 2018 when a fire broke out in a multi-storey terraced building in Great Portland Street. 72 fire fighters were called to tackle the blaze. Obviously, an investigation is underway so we can only speculate as to the cause and indeed the controls (or lack of) to prevent the fire taking hold and spreading – potentially, in a situation like this, to neighbouring properties.

However, to make matters worse, the building contained gas cylinders. Can we be clear on this – if you have to use bottled gas, there are strict controls for the use and storage of these things. And take note, fire fighters will not enter if the building contains gas bottles – it’s just too dangerous.

Have you ever seen what happens to gas bottles in a fire? Skip the promo and just see how far those lethally hot and sharp projectiles fly see: https://bit.ly/2JnVB62 It wasn’t wise to stand and film from that distance!

Please make sure you contact your WHS consultant to discuss storage, handling and inspections of gas bottles, and how to carry out effective emergency planning for your sites.

Scaffolding Control

It must be realised that anyone engaging scaffolders are totally responsible for safety during erection (etc). Yes, they are the specialists but, under the Construction (Design & Management) Regs, the engaging party is responsible for (a) engaging competent contractors, and (b) safety on the site – despite the fact that scaffolding may be erected on Sunday or other non-work periods.

WHS customers are supplied with a specific H&S competence questionnaire for scaffolders which is designed to assess whether the company has the very specific knowledge, experience and capabilities to carry out scaffold erection. If a scaffolders in plucked from the internet without sufficient competence checks, then the engaging party (client or contractor) will be liable for prosecution or HSE enforcement.

If the engaging party does not enforce good site-specific risk assessments and method statements from the scaffolders before work is permitted, and adherence to the agreed RAMSs during erection, removal or any alteration by the scaffolder, then the engaging party could be liable for prosecution or HSE enforcement.

Please speak to one of our consultants before you next engage scaffolders to ensure that competency is proven and adequate arrangements are in place – before it’s too late.

ALL Dusts are Dangerous!!

WHS has been stressing this for years – regardless of known specific, high-profile, high-risk dusts such as asbestos, silica, hard woods, etc, ALL dusts can be dangerous in one way or another, with the consequences ranging from severe health issues to explosion.

Just look at what happened in July 2017 in India when a collapsing grain silo ruptured a power cable:
https://bit.ly/2wlPs2V
The person filming certainly didn’t expect the explosion that followed! This is why awareness that combustible dusts are extremely hazardous is so important; if ignited, they can cause explosion or fire balls.

Unchecked wood dusts resulted in a huge fire and four deaths at Bosley Mill in July 2015: https://bbc.in/1h2z283

Footnote to all woodworking workshops:

So, you may not think that that little bit of wood dust on the floor is risky; you may think that wood dust in the air goes with the job. But think again. Not only does airborne dust severely damage health and risk serious HSE enforcement, it can also cause fire or explosion.

A tidy workplace is a safe workplace – get that dust suppressed or extracted at source!!

Another Illustration of the Perils of Leaving Asbestos in Place

This recent incident in Glasgow yet again demonstrates just how vital it is that all asbestos is removed from buildings: https://bit.ly/2IJg7Ob

Just like 9/11 and its effects on New York, how many people have been unwittingly exposed to asbestos fibres? How long will it take to clean up – can it ever be cleaned up in a city centre situation like this? It is a fact that there has been so much uncontrolled demolition (etc) over the years, particularly in cities, that there are now ever-present airborne asbestos fibres. The area around the Twin Towers has proved to actually be so many times over the legal limit that it’s ‘toxic’. So further instances like this in Glasgow only add to the public health misery.

A reminder that ALL commercial buildings should have had an asbestos survey carried out so that owners/occupiers are at least aware of ACMs that need to be removed or at least avoided. But, if you can, remove all ACMs so that the risk is gone for good … before something unforeseen happens.

Use of Mobiles Whilst Driving

In the US, 95% of drivers disapprove of distracted driving, yet an astonishing 71% admit to using mobiles devices whilst they are driving. Approximately 37,000 people die on US roads each year, a significant proportion of which are killed by drivers using mobiles.

There are no statistics for the UK but no doubt the percentages of those admitting to using mobiles would be the same; just look around you next time you’re behind the wheel to see just how many people ignore the law. And it shouldn’t need a law, it’s obvious…driving whilst distracted KILLS!!

The ‘It Can Wait’ campaign in the US currently has well over £23 million pledges:
https://www.itcanwait.com/pledge

We need a similar campaign in the UK; #itcanwaituk. And if you’re one of the culprits, just think…
Why can’t that call or message? You know it’s illegal, why risk a fine…or worse, why risk a life?

Hazardous Household Products

As we have been highlighting during our asbestos awareness training, due to the almost impossible task of checking every item imported into the UK, the potential for asbestos-containing materials to creep into our products is growing. The majority of the World is still involved in the mining of asbestos or production of goods containing asbestos e.g. South Korea, China, India, and other countries that we freely trade with.

But it doesn’t stop there….other hazardous substances are (or always have been?) creeping into our households too e.g. lead and arsenic, including into children’s toys: https://bbc.in/2DDuxfT

With this type of threat to public health, this is not the time for the Government to be cutting back on controls; we now need trading standards organisations even more than ever!

Working Time Regulations

May we add a reminder about the Working Time Regulations which, although a HR matter, also impact on a company’s health & safety for obvious reasons. There are exclusions and provisos but, in general, the law stipulates that employees should work a maximum of 48 hours per week unless an opt-out is agreed and signed by the employee.

In addition, the maximum length of working days, number and timing of breaks, and other issues which directly affect tiredness, well-being and the capabilities (and thus safety) of workers are covered so it’s vital that all employers abide by the rules in a reasonable manner. Find out more:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1998/1833/contents/made

HSE NEWS

Stricter PPE Regulations

On 21 April 2018, new and much stricter PPE regulations come into force across the EU, placing responsibility for standards compliance on, not just manufacturers, but also importers, distributers and any other involved in the supply chain. This may not affect you but a further requirement will:

Because of the raised importance placed on health issues, the level of conformity assessment and surveillance has been raised to the highest (Cat.3) possible. This, by implication, means that the HSE will be enforcing higher standards of PPE and health surveillance amongst users, including stricter risk assessment and wearer assessment – particularly face fit.

There is a bedding-in period permitted for manufacturers – they have until 21 April 2023 to prove (certify) compliance with new CE standards. However, in the meantime, we have already seen evidence that the HSE is enforcing health surveillance and the standards and maintenance of PPE.

Discuss your needs and current provision with your WHS consultant; as some of our customers have already found, you can’t afford to get this wrong!

AND FINALLY

As usual, it’s asbestos and work at height that account for most prosecutions – astonishing in this day and age! We have included another topical issue – site segregation. But, as always, these are just a snap-shot of recent prosecutions; there are many, many more per month!

Just note how many personal prosecutions are now being enacted
And, before you start blaming the HSE for (what only amounts to) enforcing the law, just remember that the aim in this country when the HSE was first established was, and still is, to prevent accidents, deaths and injuries, before they happen. Hardly any other countries have this ethos and will only enforce or prosecute once an accident/death/injury has occurred. So stop moaning and just thank the HSE for being there!

Asbestos
More evidence of how easy it is to release asbestos fibres into the atmosphere and endanger us all

  • RF Gardiner Ltd was fined a total of over £29,000 after carrying out asbestos removal work without license or adequate controls during the refurbishment of a school. Just imagine how much the de-contamination of the affected area/s would have cost the school – a lesson to all clients!
  • A business, Carter Brothers (Rochdale) Ltd, and contractor, Frank Allan (trading as Jet Blast & Maintenance), were fined totals of almost £12,000 and over £4,000 respectively after the jet washing of an asbestos cement roof which resulted in both asbestos debris being strewn about and asbestos fibres potentially becoming airborne. Yes, even jet washing is subject to the Asbestos at Work Regs!
  • Quainton Logistics & Storage Ltd was fined a total of over £20,000 after failing to carry out their CDM duties to employ competent workers. The result? Asbestos roof sheets were being smashed, and there was no edge protection of welfare.

 

All businesses take note!!! As we have stressed time and time again, any construction-related work (including seemingly minor work such as decorating, installing cables, repairs and maintenance to structures or fixtures and fittings, etc) makes you a client under CDM (the Construction (Design & Management) Regs and placing legal duties on you to ‘manage the project or works properly. No excuses!!!

Work at height

  • Solar panel installation company, Sasie Ltd, was fined a total of over £16,000 and its director, Een Marsden, personally fined £500 for failing to allowing work on a roof without any edge protection. Marsden had failed to heed a previous Prohibition Notice; evidently, he would rather risk prosecution (and death or injury) by getting the work finished before the HSE came back!
  • Prior Homes Ltd was fined a total of almost £16,000 and its director, Paul Prior, given an 8 week jail sentence suspended for 12 months and undertake 100 hours of unpaid community work after a worker fell 5 metres through a fragile roof.
  • Advanced Industrial Roofing & Cladding Solutions Ltd was fined a total of over £12,000 and its director, Stephen Ball, £3,500 after a worker fell through an unprotected skylight during the installation of a new roof over existing asbestos cement roof sheeting.
  • Fine Dimensions Ltd was fined a total of over £8,000 after a worker was seriously injured when he fell through a fragile skylight during minor roof work on a farm building. Yes, the law applies to quick works too – the results can be just as catastrophic

 

Plant & vehicle segregation

  • MV Kelly Ltd was fined a total of over £530,000 after a worker was struck by a tipper wagon, resulting in the amputation of his right leg. There had been insufficient and uncontrolled walkways and arrangements for delivery wagons to access off-loading areas.
  • Excavator driver, Daividas Rupeika, was fined a total of over £600, sentenced to six month jail suspended for two years and ordered to undertake 40 hours of unpaid community work for causing serious injury to a pedestrian worker. Rupeika had evidently deliberately driven the excavator into another, pushing it uncontrollably and resulting in the pedestrian becoming crushed against a shed wall; the whole thing was caught on camera…unbelievably irresponsible: https://bit.ly/2H2kcyK

 

Safe use of equipment

  • WK West Ltd was fined a total of almost £121,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries when his hand was pulled into a circular saw. His supervisor had failed to use a push-stick when he demonstrated how to push cardboard sheets through the machine, then promptly left the inexperienced worker to his fate. There had been no risk assessment, no safe system of work and inadequate supervision.
  • Malcolm E Taylor Ltd was fined a total of almost £13,000 after a worker was pulled into a machine manufacturing cladding, resulting in serious arm injuries. Guarding was inadequate, allowing employees to reach hazardous parts of the moving machinery.
  • Lanharan Concrete Co Ltd was fined a total of almost £8,000 after an employee lost the tip of a finger when his glove became entangled in the moving blade of a table saw. The worker had been given no training, nor was there any risk assessment or safe system of work for this equipment.
  • Anglo Recycling Ltd was fined a total of £13,500 after an employee’s arm was dragged into an unguarded machine. The injured worker had brought the missing guard to the company’s attention but no action had been taken.
  • Mercury Specialist Frames Ltd was fined a total of over £12,000 after a worker lost several fingers and severed his palm when a chop saw blade fell on his right hand. Again, no risk assessment and no safe system of work.Mekufa (UK) Ltd was fined a total of over £17,000 after a worker lost his right thumb whilst working on a lathe. Another example of gloves becoming entangled in machinery plus, yet again, no risk assessment and no safe system of work.

 

Materials handling

  • Manufacturer, K Two Sales Ltd, was fined a total of almost £24,000 after a worker suffered two broken legs when a stack of metal sheets fell on him. The worker had tried to remove one of the 20 x 4 mm thick metal sheets, making the whole pile unstable. Safe storage and stacking applies to all industries; ensure stacks are of a safe height, placed tidily and secured adequately to prevent collapse.
  • Magna Exteriors (Banbury) Ltd was fined a total of almost £85,000 after a worker was struck by a falling pallet, resulting in the amputation of a leg. The worker had been moving a stack of pallets using a pump-truck when a pallet fell, seriously injuring his leg.

 

Vibration

  • Design & Supply Ltd was fined a total of almost £52,000 after an employee developed HAVS from the use of a hand-held buffing tool over a 15 year period. No vibration assessment had been undertaken and, consequently, no controls had been implemented to safeguard employees’ health.

 

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.

COMPANY NEWS

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) Seminar

You’ve probably seen news about upcoming changes in the Data Protection Regulations, and maybe just ignored it, but don’t worry, it’s not too complicated.

The new General Data Protection Regs come into force on 25 May 2018. There will be some additional security and accountability surrounding the usual details we all pass between us on a daily basis, such as employee details and home postal addresses etc; email addresses that begin with your name are also considered ‘personal’ regardless of whether it’s a company email address or not.

What about the necessity to share personal information when it comes to health and safety? For example, medical records, health monitoring, and accident reporting… especially when dealing with sub-contractors’ employees. Well we were asking that question too, so we’ve asked three experts in the new General Data Protection Regulations to hold a quick open seminar on how the changes will affect your business.

From your websites to your staff, and from your filing to accident reporting systems, we’ll aim to give you clarification on what you need to do next and how to comply with the regulations. It is very important that all our customers are clear about the GDPR requirements, so there is a real need for you to attend:

  • Date: 27 April 2018
  • Time: 9 am to 12 pm
  • Venue: Wenlock Health & Safety Training Room, Jackfield Tile Museum, TF8 7LJ
  • Cost: £30 + VAT per person

 

Please contact Vicki Brown at WHS on 01952-885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book your place/s as soon as possible; places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

CITB Training Courses

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU READ AND DIGEST THE ARTICLE ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO CITB GRANTS & LEVIES IN THE ‘INDUSTRY NEWS’ SECTION BELOW

Forthcoming 2018 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS training rooms 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.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 17 & 24 April and 1, 8 &15 May 2018 (all Tuesdays) – very limited space available
    6, 13, 20, 27 June & 4 July 2018 (all Wednesdays)
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 10 & 11 May 2018 (Thursday & Friday)
    19 & 20 July 2018 (Thursday & Friday)
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 3 & 4 May 2018 (Thursday & Friday)
    9 & !0 July 2018 (Monday & Tuesday)
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 7 June 2018 (Thursday)
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

First Aid Training

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

  • 24 May 2018
  • 25 June 2018
  • 24 July 2018
  • 23 August 2018
  • 26 September 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.

Out-of-Hours Contact

May we remind customers of the arrangements for any urgent and unavoidable (i.e. emergency) contact with Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) during evenings, weekend and public holiday or WHS shut-down periods.

WHS can be contacted on the MD’s mobile number 07866-605920 at any time. During periods of the MD’s unavailability, the mobile is always diverted to another member of staff so that calls can be picked up as reasonably possible. We do not necessarily monitor emails during out-of-hours periods; emails will be actioned as soon as possible on the next working day. Therefore, if very urgent assistance is required (i.e. the matter is serious and cannot wait until the next working day) please ring 07866-605920; the landline answer-phone message reiterates this.

Many thanks.

INDUSTRY NEWS

CITB Changes to Grant System

The CITB levy has been reduced from 0.5% to 0.35% of PAYE. However, the levy is not payable for companies whose PAYE bill is less than £80,000; companies with PAYE £80,001 to £399,000 pay 0.175% only. Note: CIS tax payers are required to contribute net 1.25%.

As from the beginning of April, the way in which CITB grants can be claimed is changing significantly, so please take note of the following. Of course, grants are only available to those companies who pay the CITB levy – and, if you do pay the levy, get your money’s worth and carry out adequate training, you’ve paid for it!!!

  • Small companies who don’t have to pay the levy (i.e. <£80,000 PAYE) are still eligible for grants
  • The CITB Training Plans have gone
  • Grants can only be claimed if courses are undertaken by a CITB approved training body – an Approved Training Organisation or ATO; WHS is an ATO for the CITB courses we advertise
  • A National Training Directory will detail all ATOs – but there will be a bedding period of 12 months during which you are at liberty to request proof of the training provider that they are ‘applying for registration’
  • All grants will now be paid automatically following verification by the ATO that the course has been completed; you won’t have to do anything except provide your CITB registration number at the time of booking.
  • There will be a National Register which logs all CITB attained qualifications for individuals; this can be used to verify or re-issue certification

 

Courses that now attract grants have changed:

  • You can no longer claim grants for first-aid or any other course that is not specifically construction based
  • Grants are payable for NVQs, HNCs, IOSH and other day or block release courses

 

Your local CITB representative can help, but please feel free to contact WHS if you have any queries

Apprentice Levy

This time last year, the new Apprenticeship Levy came into being for companies whose PAYE bill is greater than £3 million. The idea is to encourage larger companies to take on apprentices to help fill the long-term skill shortage. Grants are payable to off-set the costs of engaging apprentices but, as everyone reading this newsletter will know, receive of a grant goes nowhere need paying for the cost of employing an inexperienced, mostly young person which requires constant supervision and attention. The result?….

We are told that, of the £2 billion currently paid to the Treasury against this levy, only £108 million has been claimed back in grants. Plan for the future…what will be your needs in the coming years, how will you fill the skills gaps? Do you need to take on apprentice/s to train up for your company’s future business plan? There is a 24 month deadline to claiming grants; therefore, the message is…
USE IT OR LOSE IT!

Asbestos

We’ll say it again….asbestos was not completely banned in the UK until the year 2000. So anyone concerned with any structure built (or begun) pre-2000 runs the distinct risk of containing asbestos.

WHS is still coming across customers of ours and/or their employees who have no basic knowledge about asbestos. We have been running courses and hammering home to messages to our clients ever since we set up 16 years ago – so how is it that this still happens?

The law says that anyone who ‘may’ possibly encounter asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) at any point must carry out asbestos awareness training as a minimum.

To all our customers, please: look long and hard at your training matrix and ensure that ALL those who need asbestos awareness have had it at least within the last 2 years (WHS can advise on HSE requirements; contractors are expected to have this annually)

Fire Planning

The vital importance of proper planning to both avoid fire and to safely evacuate if fire should occur was illustrated yet again in February 2018 when a fire broke out in a multi-storey terraced building in Great Portland Street.
72 fire fighters were called to tackle the blaze which broke out during the refurbishment of the building into apartments by a developer. Obviously, an investigation is underway so we can only speculate as to the cause and indeed the controls (or lack of) to prevent the fire taking hold and spreading – potentially, in a situation like this, to neighbouring properties.

The insurance industry’s Joint Code of Practice (9th Edition) lays down strict procedures to both avoid and control fires on construction sites; non-compliance may result in the contractor being uninsured. The guidance is incorporated into the WHS Health & Safety Manual; you all have a copy, make sure you are familiar with the contents and lay down strict rules on site about fire control and evacuation planning.

Footnote:

To make matters worse, the building contained gas cylinders. Can we be clear on this – if you have to use bottled gas, there are strict controls for the use and storage of these things. And take note, fire fighters will not enter if the building contains gas bottles – it’s just too dangerous. Have you ever seen what happens to gas bottles in a fire? Skip the promo and just see how far those lethally hot and sharp projectiles fly see: https://bit.ly/2JnVB62 It wasn’t wise to stand and film from that distance!

Please make sure you contact your WHS consultant to discuss storage, handling and inspections of gas bottles, and how to carry out effective emergency planning for your sites.

Scaffolding Control
See ‘And Finally sections for more prosecutions

It must be realised that anyone engaging scaffolders are totally responsible for safety during erection (etc). Yes, they are the specialists but, under CDM, the engaging party is responsible for (a) engaging competent contractors, and (b) their site – despite the fact that scaffolding may be erected on Sunday or other non-work periods.

WHS customers are supplied with a specific H&S competence questionnaire for scaffolders which is designed to assess whether the company has the very specific knowledge, experience and capabilities to carry out scaffold erection. If a scaffolders in plucked from the internet without sufficient competence checks, then the engaging party (client or contractor) will be liable for prosecution or HSE enforcement.

If the engaging party does not enforce good site-specific risk assessments and method statements from the scaffolders before work is permitted, and adherence to the agreed RAMSs during erection, removal or any alteration by the scaffolder, then the engaging party (client or contractor) will be liable for prosecution or HSE enforcement. And this means proper site management and supervision by the Principal Contractor at all working times, including scaffolding erection (etc).

So you want to erect on a Sunday? Your Site Manager can’t be there? So how will you accommodate this legal duty? Please speak to one of our consultants to ensure adequate arrangements are in place – before it’s too late.

Another Illustration of the Perils of Leaving Asbestos in Place

This recent incident in Glasgow yet again demonstrates just how vital it is that all asbestos is removed from buildings: https://bit.ly/2IJg7Ob

Just like 9/11 and its effects on New York, how many people have been unwittingly exposed to asbestos fibres? How long will it take to clean up – can it ever be cleaned up in a city centre situation like this? It is a fact that there has been so much uncontrolled demolition (etc) over the years, particularly in cities, that there are now ever-present airborne asbestos fibres. The area around the Twin Towers has proved to actually be so many times over the legal limit that it’s ‘toxic’. So further instances like this in Glasgow only add to the public health misery.

A reminder that ALL commercial buildings should have had an asbestos survey carried out so that owners/occupiers are at least aware of ACMs that need to be removed or at least avoided. But, if you can, remove all ACMs so that the risk is gone for good … before something unforeseen happens.

Use of Mobiles Whilst Driving

In the US, 95% of drivers disapprove of distracted driving, yet an astonishing 71% admit to using mobiles devices whilst they are driving. Approximately 37,000 people die on US roads each year, a significant proportion of which are killed by drivers using mobiles.

There are no statistics for the UK but no doubt the percentages of those admitting to using mobiles would be the same; just look around you next time you’re behind the wheel to see just how many people ignore the law. And it shouldn’t need a law, it’s obvious…driving whilst distracted KILLS!!

The ‘It Can Wait’ campaign in the US currently has well over £23 million pledges:
https://www.itcanwait.com/pledge

We need a similar campaign in the UK; #itcanwaituk. And if you’re one of the culprits, just think…
Why can’t that call or message? You know it’s illegal, why risk a fine…or worse, why risk a life?

Hazardous Household Products

As we have been highlighting during our asbestos awareness training, due to the almost impossible task of checking every item imported into the UK, the potential for asbestos-containing materials to creep into our products is growing. The majority of the World is still involved in the mining of asbestos or production of goods containing asbestos e.g. South Korea, China, India, and other countries that we freely trade with.

But it doesn’t stop there….other hazardous substances are (or always have been?) creeping into our households too e.g. lead and arsenic, including into children’s toys: https://bbc.in/2DDuxfT

With this type of threat to public health, this is not the time for the Government to be cutting back on controls; we now need trading standards organisations even more than ever!

Working Time Regulations

May we add a reminder about the Working Time Regulations which, although a HR matter, also impact on a company’s health & safety for obvious reasons. There are exclusions and provisos but, in general, the law stipulates that employees should work a maximum of 48 hours per week unless an opt-out is agreed and signed by the employee.

In addition, the maximum length of working days, number and timing of breaks, and other issues which directly affect tiredness, well-being and the capabilities (and thus safety) of workers are covered so it’s vital that all employers abide by the rules in a reasonable manner. Find out more:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1998/1833/contents/made

HSE NEWS

Stricter PPE Regulations

On 21 April 2018, new and much stricter PPE regulations come into force across the EU, placing responsibility for standards compliance on, not just manufacturers, but also importers, distributers and any other involved in the supply chain. This may not affect you but a further requirement will:

Because of the raised importance placed on health issues, the level of conformity assessment and surveillance has been raised to the highest (Cat.3) possible. This, by implication, means that the HSE will be enforcing higher standards of PPE and health surveillance amongst users, including stricter risk assessment and wearer assessment – particularly face fit.

There is a bedding-in period permitted for manufacturers – they have until 21 April 2023 to prove (certify) compliance with new CE standards. However, in the meantime, we have already seen evidence that the HSE is enforcing health surveillance and the standards and maintenance of PPE.

Discuss your needs and current provision with your WHS consultant; as some of our customers have already found, you can’t afford to get this wrong!

AND FINALLY

As usual, it’s asbestos and work at height that account for most prosecutions – astonishing in this day and age! We have included another topical issue – site segregation. But, as always, these are just a snap-shot of recent prosecutions; there are many, many more per month!
Just note how many personal prosecutions are now being enacted

And, before you start blaming the HSE for (what only amounts to) enforcing the law, just remember that the aim in this country when the HSE was first established was, and still is, to prevent accidents, deaths and injuries, before they happen. Hardly any other countries have this ethos and will only enforce or prosecute once an accident/death/injury has occurred. So stop moaning and just thank the HSE for being there!

Asbestos
More evidence of how easy it is to release asbestos fibres into the atmosphere and endanger us all

  • RF Gardiner Ltd was fined a total of over £29,000 after carrying out asbestos removal work without license or adequate controls during the refurbishment of a school. Just imagine how much the de-contamination of the affected area/s would have cost the school – a lesson to all clients!

 

Work at height

  • Solar panel installation company, Sasie Ltd, was fined a total of over £16,000 and its director, Een Marsden, personally fined £500 for failing to allowing work on a roof without any edge protection. Marsden had failed to heed a previous Prohibition Notice; evidently, he would rather risk prosecution (and death or injury) by getting the work finished before the HSE came back!
  • Prior Homes Ltd was fined a total of almost £16,000 and its director, Paul Prior, given an 8 week jail sentence suspended for 12 months and undertake 100 hours of unpaid community work after a worker fell 5 metres through a fragile roof.
  • Advanced Industrial Roofing & Cladding Solutions Ltd was fined a total of over £12,000 and its director, Stephen Ball, £3,500 after a worker fell through an unprotected skylight.
  • Fine Dimensions Ltd was fined a total of over £8,000 after a worker was seriously injured when he fell through a fragile skylight during minor roof work. Yes, the law applies to quick works too – the results can be just as catastrophic

 

Public protection

  • Martin McColl Ltd was fined a total of over £600,000 after two members of the public suffered injuries when they fell over construction work being carried out at a store. Work was being carried out during opening hours with wholly inadequate protection (barriers and signage) of the store’s patrons. The size of this fine demonstrates just how important public protection is in the eyes of the law.

 

Vibration

  • Design & Supply Ltd was fined a total of almost £52,000 after an employee developed HAVS from the use of a hand-held buffing tool over a 15 year period. No vibration assessment had been undertaken and, consequently, no controls had been implemented to safeguard employees’ health.

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