COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is now holding our usual full complement of courses; however, due to the necessary Covid-19 restrictions, it is important to note the following:

  • Maximum 6 delegates per course
  • Lunch cannot be provided
  • Full details, of both the precautions we have taken and what is expected from the candidates, are issued with the joining instructions for each course

Please be reassured that we have established strict measures within the building and training room to reduce risks. As they have been kept fully informed of these measures, CITB and the awarding body for first aid courses have given full consent for all courses to take place in person.

In return, we would ask the following. As we are so severely limited to the number of places for the foreseeable future, it is important for WHS to ensure full attendance. We therefore ask please that, once booked, courses or places are not cancelled.

In addition, if any organisation requires attendance at their own premises for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date and time to suit provided that suitable Covid-specific precautions can be agreed at the point of booking.

First Aid

Please note that all certificates expiring on or after 16 March 2020 will have their expiry dates extended until 30 September 2020 to give everyone a fair chance to attend a course.

WHS 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work courses, run with very strict Covid-specific controls, are scheduled as follows; those who need to attain or renew first-aid certification are advised to book places as quickly as possible as, although we have included additional dates, demand will obviously be high.

Dates:

  • 28 July 2020 FULLY BOOKED
  • 27 August 2020 LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE
  • 24 September 2020
  • 27 October 2020
  • 25 November 2020
  • 18 December 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

As usual, please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places

CITB Courses

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 attendance is vital, not only because it affects the candidate personally, but also because it can seriously affect others. As highlighted in the previous newsletter, because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates don’t turn up.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 31 July, 7, 14, 21 & 28 August 2020 (Fridays) ADDITIONAL COURSE
  • 14, 21, 28 September, 5 & 12 October 2020 (Mondays)
  • 13, 20, 27 November, 4 & 11 December 2020 (Fridays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 24 & 25 August 2020 (Monday & Tuesday) FULLY BOOKED
  • 22 & 23 October 2020 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 7 & 8 December 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 7 & 8 September 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 2 & 3 November 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 25 September 2020 (Friday)

Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 17 September 2020 (Thursday)
  • 16 November 2020 (Monday)

Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days (Wednesday to Friday)
Dates:

  • 7, 8 & 9 October 2020

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

INDUSTRY NEWS

Covid-19 / Coronavirus

No, the serious and life-threatening issue of Covid-19 has not gone away, and is unlikely to disappear worldwide in the foreseeable future. So the message is: we must ALL get used to the ‘new normal’ and carry on taking sensible precautions, even though the infection rate is diminishing.

‘Necessity is the mother of invention’, as they say. And we have certainly seen some very innovative and pro-active systems established on site to reduce the risk of contracting Covid to a minimum. For example:

  • Bowmer & Kirkland have installed temperature sensors at entrances to turnstiles which are manned all day. If a person’s temperature reads above normal, he/she is asked to go back outside to cool down for a few minutes; if the reading is still high at the second check, the person is refused entry.

Others have set up stand-alone temperature check stations (an example of these was shown in the June newsletter)

Still more have linked them to doors and barriers to make sure entry is denied to anyone with an above-normal temperature

  • Redrow has extended its induction to include an excellent video on its Covid systems

In general, WHS has found a good 85% of contractors doing their best to comply with both the Government and industry guidelines, and seeking advice when they are unsure. Most have put the relevant paperwork in place including the legally required documents being risk assessments). However, our consultants have found the following tendencies to be increasingly prevalent on many sites:

  • Risk assessments are not site-specific, they tend to be generic. WHS has issued a short-form generic assessment, but this is only intended as a starting point. ALL risk assessments must, BY LAW, be site or operation-specific, and dealing with Covid is no exception. There has been ample guidance issued by WHS, HSE and the industry to help employers build on the generics, and WHS is here to help as always. But we repeat, anything short of specific is NOT adequate.
  • Risk assessments are often ignored on site (which is often the case, regardless of the Covid issue!). WHS has found complacency from top to bottom within companies and site staff, coupled with a degree of scepticism of the risks. The age-old attitude still prevails on many sites: ‘well we have to work, don’t we?’ The answer to that is, yes we all do; but no work will be done by those who die from Covid.
  • Deadlines are exacerbating this attitude as clients push for completions after several months of jobs being on hold. Remember, CDM states that time must be allowed to complete the job safely; this is a legal requirement for ALL circumstances, including during the Covid crisis. So challenge your clients if pressure is put on you to complete in unrealistic time-frames; Covid was unforeseen so clients must (legally) behave reasonably and responsibly by allowing adequate time for your work to be carried out without safety or health being compromised
  • Lack of monitoring and enforcement of the rules e.g. distancing, frequent use of sanitiser, making sure doors and windows are open for ventilation, the wearing of face masks, etc, particularly with the control of sub-contractors.
  • Social distancing not being enforced. The 1 metre distance can only be allowed when 2 metres isn’t possible, and then only if adequate alternative controls are implemented. The relaxing of the 2 metre rule was meant to be a pragmatic approach to impossible situations; it was NOT meant as a license to reduce controls.
  • Face masks and coverings; refer also to the HSE section below. Whatever the current rules say, these are meant as minimum precautions and NOT total solutions. As we in construction have had drummed into us over many years, face masks save lives – so why treat the current Covid threat any differently? If anyone out there has experienced the total devastation caused to the body of a loved one by Covid, they would certainly not be questioning the use of masks.
  • And another plea NOT to take any notice of the disinformation being posted on social media; this can only serve to harm us all by belittling the extreme seriousness of the virus.

FOOTNOTE

Just in case anyone reading this newsletter is still not convinced that Covid is or has been an issue at work:

On 11 May 2020, the very day that the Prime Minister stated that construction workers should be “actively encouraged to go to work”, the Office for National Statistics revealed that those very workers are more likely to die from the virus than ‘nursing assistants, care workers and ambulance drivers’. One industry campaigner even called this ‘social murder’.

WHS predicted that our industry would be hard hit from the beginning and we recommended lockdown of all sites – from a professional health & safety viewpoint totally unrelated to political persuasion. Our predictions have been proved to be horribly accurate. So, please, don’t listen to social media, don’t be misled by misinformation or bravado, but do listen to our professional advice. We have only the wellbeing of you and employees at heart.

Asbestos

The vast majority of contractors have done the right thing through the Covid pandemic; most have written risk assessments and trained their staff, at the very least via the induction process, into the dangers of the virus and necessary control systems – all for the well-being of their employees.

So why is it that we still don’t find the same level of effort and commitment in controlling the risks from asbestos? Covid is a pandemic that will eventually diminish, if not disappear completely. Asbestos is out there perennially and potentially kills up to 10,000 people a year in the UK alone; nothing short of an epidemic. Yet we still find employers of all types either paying lip-service to establishing controls or just ignoring the issue completely.

Wake up! Covid will pass; asbestos won’t for decades, if at all. You MUST train your employees and properly control the risks from asbestos as required by law. Contact WHS for advice and assistance.

Black Mould

Many old or unkempt buildings suffer from mould, generally due to damp (e.g. flooding or poor damp-proofing). All moulds have the capacity to harm, usually through the spores attacking the respiratory system, particularly those who are asthmatic or have respiratory issues. This is not uncommon (and suggests a possible cause for the so-called ‘sick building syndrome’ but does not detract from the necessity to ensure occupants’ (and others’) wellbeing by remedying the situation.

However, there are some moulds that can be extremely dangerous by producing mycotoxins, potentially causing serious damage to neurological systems and possibly death. There is also some suggestion that the mycotoxins can also cause cancers, but evidence for this is weak.

WHS will be issuing a full risk assessment in due course but, in the meantime, all clients designers and project managers should be aware that a full environmental (safety) survey will be required if there is any evidence of significant black mould, and possibly a specialist clean. And all project and site managers must alert senior management and/or the client should there be any sign of any mould. Most cases will be relatively harmless with a thorough clean and use of respiratory protection, but other cases may require a lot more; let the experts ascertain the degree of risk. Don’t take this issue lightly

HSE NEWS

Covid HSE news & guidance

The HSE has, over the months, built up a strong portfolio of information and guidance to assist businesses to control the risk of contracting Covid-19 whilst still being able to work. Some examples are as follows; these and many more can be found on www.hse.gov.uk:

  • Covid Q&As: https://bit.ly/2DNMJIF
  • Risk assessment: https://bit.ly/3h4UNTI
  • General advice: https://bit.ly/2OpRiKW
  • Social distancing: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/social-distancing/index.htm
  • Use of hand sanitiser and surface disinfectants: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/hand-sanitiser/index.htm

The HSE has also endorsed a great deal of industry-led guidance, such as:

Construction Leadership Council guidance (currently Version 4):
https://bit.ly/38VQbMI

Gov.uk:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening
https://bit.ly/3h2e08u (for construction)
https://bit.ly/390cml2 (for vehicles)
https://bit.ly/2DKSy9C (for offices)

Examples of best practice:
https://bit.ly/3eCDR5m

HSE Enforcement

As we have highlighted previously, and many of you will have heard through media, the HSE has been given additional funds with which to enforce Covid regulation in the workplace. A full press release was issued in early July drawing attention to the expectations of the HSE towards Covid-secure compliance, and the warning of enforcement for any transgressors:
https://press.hse.gov.uk/2020/07/02/hse-urges-businesses-to-become-covid-secure/

Face Masks & Coverings

The HSE has stated that ‘face coverings…are not an effective way to manage the risks from Covid-19 and you should not rely on them’. HSE stresses that face coverings ‘are not classified as PPE’ for obvious reasons, and therefore the risk of infection should be controlled by social distancing, hand washing and other means.

The HSE has also stated that ‘surgical face masks….are not generally considered to be PPE in non-healthcare situations’ as they are designed to ‘limit the spread of infection’ only.

WHS agrees with all these comments. Nothing short of the full FFP3 and other risk-appropriate masks are considered PPE, and face-fit testing is mandatory for the use of these to ensure a tight seal and their effectiveness. In addition, a reminder that ANY PPE is considered a ‘last resort’ in the hierarchy of controls in the workplace. Therefore, surgical face masks and face coverings cannot ever be considered the only solution to controlling the risk of infection in the workplace. Additional Covid-specific controls must be established such as distancing, one-way systems, hand washing, placing sanitisers close to hand, etc.

However, in exactly the same way as use of FFP3 masks are advantageous even where engineering controls are in place (damping down, particle collection, etc), our professional recommendation is that, unless employees are working by themselves or at some distance (2+ metres) in the open air, it is still wise to further protect them by the use of masks.

One word of warning though, improvised face coverings can present risks in themselves; any excess material (e.g. scarves tied around the face) may well present snagging hazards. Managers must ensure that there is no improvisation and that any face masks are worn correctly.

Accident Statistics

The HSE has issued the accident statistics for 2019/20 which show a very encouraging downward trend with UK industry as a whole: 111 workers were killed – a reduction of 24.5% on 2018/19

Further more detailed will obviously be issued once full analysis has been completed.

However, provisional figures for the number of fatalities in construction show a disturbing and dangerous trend upwards: 40 workers were killed 2019/20 compared to 31 the previous year – an increase of 29% and full 36% of the total number of UK workplace fatalities.

To be honest, the industry should be ashamed of itself. After 25 years of CDM and 45 years of the Health & Safety at Work Act, what is it going to take to get the message across that construction workers deserve (and are owed by law) the same standards of safety as any other industry?

And the current emphasis on Covid-19 will not, and cannot be allowed to, detract from the need for exemplary safety standards on site; do NOT let your guard down. You have legal duties against which you can, and will, be prosecuted after a fatality; but more importantly, you have a moral duty to ensure your employees go home safely at night. We are here to help; allow us to help.

Health & Safety – the Financial Case

And, if you’re still thinking about money over people’s wellbeing, the HSE has put the case for the financial health of businesses being a sound reason for complying with health & safety law in its HSG245 document:
https://bit.ly/2WmtA74

The document clearly shows that, for every £1 spent on insurance by a business, it stands to lose between £8 and £36 in uninsured costs. Take a look at your insurance documents and do the maths – commitment to health & safety makes economic as well as moral sense!

Work at Height

The Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) together with the Access Industry Forum have developed an excellent series of guidance documents to assist all parties involved with work at height to develop sound strategies. See https://bit.ly/2AZFr3d

Safety Steps has 5 parts, each written for a specific sector, and includes how to eliminate, plan, manage, monitor and train for work at height. Document/s relevant to you can be requested free of charge from:

  • Designer https://bit.ly/2Ch4IGT
  • Client https://bit.ly/3gZz3sa
  • Manager https://bit.ly/391c5xS
  • Supervisor https://bit.ly/2OucEa6
  • Operative https://bit.ly/3epRqF2

GENERAL NEWS

Stress & Anxiety

Claims have been made that the rate of suicides has increased by 200% during the Covid lockdown compared to previous years. Whilst this claim is completely unsubstantiated, there is no doubt that stress and anxiety levels have risen in general because of a wide variety of factors affecting people’s personal lives, and we should all be sensitive to the needs of those around us who may be finding current conditions difficult to cope with.

However, as the threat of redundancy looms ever larger for a significant proportion of the population, there is quite likely to be a repeat of the additional stresses experienced when so many lost their jobs in the economic crash of 2008. We all have a part to play in helping support family, friends and work colleagues experiencing hardship and mental distress during this time. Keep a watch at work and at home for tell-tale signs and lend a hand before, not as a result of, things going too far.

And a plea to employers – if redundancies are eventually unavoidable, do it with care not belligerence. It doesn’t take much to tip someone over the edge in normal times; in current circumstances, it will be worse. Please do contact WHS for advice on both mental awareness and HR at the first sign it may be needed.

AND FINALLY

Obviously, the number of cases going through court has been minimal over recent months because of Covid-19 restrictions. However, that doesn’t mean that there are fewer prosecutions in the pipeline; it just means that the agony of going through the investigation and waiting for the court appearance is prolonged!!

The following are a snapshot of recent cases:
(with thanks to the HSE for the photographs)

Work at height

  • Modus Workspace Ltd was fined £1.1 million with costs of over £68,000 after a worker was seriously injured falling 3 metres from a ladder. He had been inspecting a sprinkler system when the ladder slipped from under him.

This may have appeared to be a quick job so why go the expense of providing appropriate access equipment? Because there is no justification at all for risking a man’s life and costing the company well over £1.1 million, no matter how quick the work, that’s why!

  • JWB (Mersea) Ltd was fined £1,000 and Company Director, Jason Whitling, given a suspended 6-month prison sentence, ordered to do 240 hours of unpaid work and pay full HSE costs of £25,627 after a worker was seriously injured by a pack of roof trusses toppled over.

Not only was the work found to be un-assessed, unplanned and unmanaged, particularly the lifting of a pack of trusses rather than individually, the site was found to have absolutely no provision for working at height

  • Stan England Builders Ltd was fined £6,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries falling 2.5 metres from a platform to a first floor mezzanine.

So first floor level isn’t that high, is it? There’s no need to erect handrails to that platform, is there? Yes, there is a real need to erect fall protection in a situation like this, of course there is! That floor is hard and 2.5 metres is a long drop! Again, there is no justification at all for risking a man’s life and costing the company, what would have been to them, a significant fine, no matter what the height!

  • Phoenix Roofing & Cladding Ltd was fined £20,000 after a self-employed roofer was seriously injured falling through a roof-light to the suspended ceiling below.

It can be seen from the photo just how flimsy and degraded the roof-light was; it should have been evident to Phoenix that, regardless of the legal requirement to do so, covering or barriers were required to prevent falls through.

Equipment safety

  • Viridor Waste Management Ltd was fined £400,000 after a banksman was crushed by a 22.5 tonne loading shovel and suffered life changing injuries. The Company had failed to organise the workplace properly (no vehicle/person segregation) with the result that the machine reversed over the worker, knocking him to the ground and driving over the lower half of his body.
  • Metalart Fabrication Ltd was fined a total of over £20,000 after an 8 year old girl was crushed by a bespoke sliding gate that fell on her.

The investigation found that the design was poor; the mechanism to prevent the sliding gate from overrunning was insufficient for the purpose and there were no end-stops. Consequently, at the time of the incident, the gate had disengaged from the rollers; what the HSE called ‘an accident waiting to happen’.

A reminder to all designers and manufacturers of their legal duty to ensure safety through design.

  • IFG Drake Ltd was fined a total of over £390,000 after a worker became entangled in a synthetic fibre manufacturing machine, suffering fatal crush injuries; he had been attempting to remove materials from rollers.

The Company had failed to provide guarding to dangerous parts of the machine, costing a man his life.

  • Browns Manufacturing Ltd was fined £120,000 and £190,000 for two separate incidents (in 2016 and 2019) each resulting in workers’ fingers being amputated by insufficiently guarded machinery.

For a serious accident to happen once is bad enough; for the same thing to happen twice (i.e. management have demonstrated no commitment at all to the welfare of employees) is nothing short of indefensible.

News just in – crane collapse

A woman died and four people seriously injured when a 20 metre crane collapsed onto houses and a block of flats in Bow, London:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-53348366

A truly horrific incident and our hearts go out the families of the dead and injured.

STAY SAFE – STAY ALERT

FOLLOW THE RULES – DON’T IGNORE ADVICE

HELP SAFEGUARD THE LIVES OF THOSE YOU AFFECT

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

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is now holding our usual full complement of courses; however, due to the necessary Covid-19 restrictions, it is important to note the following:

  • Maximum 6 delegates per course
  • Lunch cannot be provided
  • Full details, of both the precautions we have taken and what is expected from the candidates, are issued with the joining instructions for each course

Please be reassured that we have established strict measures within the building and training room to reduce risks. As they have been kept fully informed of these measures, CITB and the awarding body for first aid courses have given full consent for all courses to take place in person.

In return, we would ask the following. As we are so severely limited to the number of places for the foreseeable future, it is important for WHS to ensure full attendance. We therefore ask please that, once booked, courses or places are not cancelled.

In addition, if any organisation requires attendance at their own premises for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date and time to suit provided that suitable Covid-specific precautions can be agreed at the point of booking.

First Aid

Please note that all certificates expiring on or after 16 March 2020 will have their expiry dates extended until 30 September 2020 to give everyone a fair chance to attend a course.

WHS 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work courses, run with very strict Covid-specific controls, are scheduled as follows; those who need to attain or renew first-aid certification are advised to book places as quickly as possible as, although we have included additional dates, demand will obviously be high.

Dates:

  • 28 July 2020 FULLY BOOKED
  • 27 August 2020 LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE
  • 24 September 2020
  • 27 October 2020
  • 25 November 2020
  • 18 December 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

As usual, please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places

CITB Courses

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 attendance is vital, not only because it affects the candidate personally, but also because it can seriously affect others. As highlighted in the previous newsletter, because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates don’t turn up.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 31 July, 7, 14, 21 & 28 August 2020 (Fridays) ADDITIONAL COURSE
  • 14, 21, 28 September, 5 & 12 October 2020 (Mondays)
  • 13, 20, 27 November, 4 & 11 December 2020 (Fridays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 24 & 25 August 2020 (Monday & Tuesday) FULLY BOOKED
  • 22 & 23 October 2020 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 7 & 8 December 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 7 & 8 September 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 2 & 3 November 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 25 September 2020 (Friday)

Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 17 September 2020 (Thursday)
  • 16 November 2020 (Monday)

Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days (Wednesday to Friday)
Dates:

  • 7, 8 & 9 October 2020

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

INDUSTRY NEWS

Covid-19 / Coronavirus

No, the serious and life-threatening issue of Covid-19 has not gone away, and is unlikely to disappear worldwide in the foreseeable future. So the message is: we must ALL get used to the ‘new normal’ and carry on taking sensible precautions, even though the infection rate is diminishing.

‘Necessity is the mother of invention’, as they say. And we have certainly seen some very innovative and pro-active systems established on site to reduce the risk of contracting Covid to a minimum. For example:

  • Bowmer & Kirkland have installed temperature sensors at entrances to turnstiles which are manned all day. If a person’s temperature reads above normal, he/she is asked to go back outside to cool down for a few minutes; if the reading is still high at the second check, the person is refused entry.

Others have set up stand-alone temperature check stations (an example of these was shown in the June newsletter)

Still more have linked them to doors and barriers to make sure entry is denied to anyone with an above-normal temperature

  • Redrow has extended its induction to include an excellent video on its Covid systems

In general, WHS has found a good 85% of contractors doing their best to comply with both the Government and industry guidelines, and seeking advice when they are unsure. Most have put the relevant paperwork in place including the legally required documents being risk assessments). However, our consultants have found the following tendencies to be increasingly prevalent on many sites:

  • Risk assessments are not site-specific, they tend to be generic. WHS has issued a short-form generic assessment, but this is only intended as a starting point. ALL risk assessments must, BY LAW, be site or operation-specific, and dealing with Covid is no exception. There has been ample guidance issued by WHS, HSE and the industry to help employers build on the generics, and WHS is here to help as always. But we repeat, anything short of specific is NOT adequate.
  • Risk assessments are often ignored on site (which is often the case, regardless of the Covid issue!). WHS has found complacency from top to bottom within companies and site staff, coupled with a degree of scepticism of the risks. The age-old attitude still prevails on many sites: ‘well we have to work, don’t we?’ The answer to that is, yes we all do; but no work will be done by those who die from Covid.
  • Deadlines are exacerbating this attitude as clients push for completions after several months of jobs being on hold. Remember, CDM states that time must be allowed to complete the job safely; this is a legal requirement for ALL circumstances, including during the Covid crisis. So challenge your clients if pressure is put on you to complete in unrealistic time-frames; Covid was unforeseen so clients must (legally) behave reasonably and responsibly by allowing adequate time for your work to be carried out without safety or health being compromised
  • Lack of monitoring and enforcement of the rules e.g. distancing, frequent use of sanitiser, making sure doors and windows are open for ventilation, the wearing of face masks, etc, particularly with the control of sub-contractors.
  • Social distancing not being enforced. The 1 metre distance can only be allowed when 2 metres isn’t possible, and then only if adequate alternative controls are implemented. The relaxing of the 2 metre rule was meant to be a pragmatic approach to impossible situations; it was NOT meant as a license to reduce controls.
  • Face masks and coverings; refer also to the HSE section below. Whatever the current rules say, these are meant as minimum precautions and NOT total solutions. As we in construction have had drummed into us over many years, face masks save lives – so why treat the current Covid threat any differently? If anyone out there has experienced the total devastation caused to the body of a loved one by Covid, they would certainly not be questioning the use of masks.
  • And another plea NOT to take any notice of the disinformation being posted on social media; this can only serve to harm us all by belittling the extreme seriousness of the virus.

FOOTNOTE

Just in case anyone reading this newsletter is still not convinced that Covid is or has been an issue at work:

On 11 May 2020, the very day that the Prime Minister stated that construction workers should be “actively encouraged to go to work”, the Office for National Statistics revealed that those very workers are more likely to die from the virus than ‘nursing assistants, care workers and ambulance drivers’. One industry campaigner even called this ‘social murder’.

WHS predicted that our industry would be hard hit from the beginning and we recommended lockdown of all sites – from a professional health & safety viewpoint totally unrelated to political persuasion. Our predictions have been proved to be horribly accurate. So, please, don’t listen to social media, don’t be misled by misinformation or bravado, but do listen to our professional advice. We have only the wellbeing of you and employees at heart.

Asbestos

The vast majority of contractors have done the right thing through the Covid pandemic; most have written risk assessments and trained their staff, at the very least via the induction process, into the dangers of the virus and necessary control systems – all for the well-being of their employees.

So why is it that we still don’t find the same level of effort and commitment in controlling the risks from asbestos? Covid is a pandemic that will eventually diminish, if not disappear completely. Asbestos is out there perennially and potentially kills up to 10,000 people a year in the UK alone; nothing short of an epidemic. Yet we still find employers of all types either paying lip-service to establishing controls or just ignoring the issue completely.

Wake up! Covid will pass; asbestos won’t for decades, if at all. You MUST train your employees and properly control the risks from asbestos as required by law. Contact WHS for advice and assistance.

Black Mould

Many old or unkempt buildings suffer from mould, generally due to damp (e.g. flooding or poor damp-proofing). All moulds have the capacity to harm, usually through the spores attacking the respiratory system, particularly those who are asthmatic or have respiratory issues. This is not uncommon (and suggests a possible cause for the so-called ‘sick building syndrome’ but does not detract from the necessity to ensure occupants’ (and others’) wellbeing by remedying the situation.

However, there are some moulds that can be extremely dangerous by producing mycotoxins, potentially causing serious damage to neurological systems and possibly death. There is also some suggestion that the mycotoxins can also cause cancers, but evidence for this is weak.

WHS will be issuing a full risk assessment in due course but, in the meantime, all clients designers and project managers should be aware that a full environmental (safety) survey will be required if there is any evidence of significant black mould, and possibly a specialist clean. And all project and site managers must alert senior management and/or the client should there be any sign of any mould. Most cases will be relatively harmless with a thorough clean and use of respiratory protection, but other cases may require a lot more; let the experts ascertain the degree of risk. Don’t take this issue lightly

HSE NEWS

Covid HSE news & guidance

The HSE has, over the months, built up a strong portfolio of information and guidance to assist businesses to control the risk of contracting Covid-19 whilst still being able to work. Some examples are as follows; these and many more can be found on www.hse.gov.uk:

  • Covid Q&As: https://bit.ly/2DNMJIF
  • Risk assessment: https://bit.ly/3h4UNTI
  • General advice: https://bit.ly/2OpRiKW
  • Social distancing: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/social-distancing/index.htm
  • Use of hand sanitiser and surface disinfectants: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/hand-sanitiser/index.htm

There is also specific guidance, as the procedure can be potentially extremely dangerous, on the restarting of pressure system after being left dormant: https://bit.ly/3ewizWS

The HSE has also endorsed a great deal of industry-led guidance, such as:

Construction Leadership Council guidance (currently Version 4):
https://bit.ly/38VQbMI

Gov.uk:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening
https://bit.ly/3h2e08u (for construction)
https://bit.ly/390cml2 (for vehicles)
https://bit.ly/2DKSy9C (for offices)

Examples of best practice:
https://bit.ly/3eCDR5m

HSE Enforcement

As we have highlighted previously, and many of you will have heard through media, the HSE has been given additional funds with which to enforce Covid regulation in the workplace. A full press release was issued in early July drawing attention to the expectations of the HSE towards Covid-secure compliance, and the warning of enforcement for any transgressors:
https://press.hse.gov.uk/2020/07/02/hse-urges-businesses-to-become-covid-secure/

Face Masks & Coverings

The HSE has stated that ‘face coverings…are not an effective way to manage the risks from Covid-19 and you should not rely on them’. HSE stresses that face coverings ‘are not classified as PPE’ for obvious reasons, and therefore the risk of infection should be controlled by social distancing, hand washing and other means.

The HSE has also stated that ‘surgical face masks….are not generally considered to be PPE in non-healthcare situations’ as they are designed to ‘limit the spread of infection’ only.

WHS agrees with all these comments. Nothing short of the full FFP3 and other risk-appropriate masks are considered PPE, and face-fit testing is mandatory for the use of these to ensure a tight seal and their effectiveness. In addition, a reminder that ANY PPE is considered a ‘last resort’ in the hierarchy of controls in the workplace. Therefore, surgical face masks and face coverings cannot ever be considered the only solution to controlling the risk of infection in the workplace. Additional Covid-specific controls must be established such as distancing, one-way systems, hand washing, placing sanitisers close to hand, etc.

However, in exactly the same way as use of FFP3 masks are advantageous even where engineering controls are in place (damping down, particle collection, etc), our professional recommendation is that, unless employees are working by themselves or at some distance (2+ metres) in the open air, it is still wise to further protect them by the use of masks.

One word of warning though, improvised face coverings can present risks in themselves; any excess material (e.g. scarves tied around the face) may well present snagging hazards. Managers must ensure that there is no improvisation and that any face masks are worn correctly.

Accident Statistics

The HSE has issued the accident statistics for 2019/20 which show a very encouraging downward trend with UK industry as a whole: 111 workers were killed – a reduction of 24.5% on 2018/19

Further more detailed will obviously be issued once full analysis has been completed.

However, provisional figures for the number of fatalities in construction show a disturbing and dangerous trend upwards: 40 workers were killed 2019/20 compared to 31 the previous year – an increase of 29% and full 36% of the total number of UK workplace fatalities.

To be honest, the industry should be ashamed of itself. After 25 years of CDM and 45 years of the Health & Safety at Work Act, what is it going to take to get the message across that construction workers deserve (and are owed by law) the same standards of safety as any other industry?

And the current emphasis on Covid-19 will not, and cannot be allowed to, detract from the need for exemplary safety standards on site; do NOT let your guard down. You have legal duties against which you can, and will, be prosecuted after a fatality; but more importantly, you have a moral duty to ensure your employees go home safely at night. We are here to help; allow us to help.

Health & Safety – the Financial Case

And, if you’re still thinking about money over people’s wellbeing, the HSE has put the case for the financial health of businesses being a sound reason for complying with health & safety law in its HSG245 document:
https://bit.ly/2WmtA74

The document clearly shows that, for every £1 spent on insurance by a business, it stands to lose between £8 and £36 in uninsured costs. Take a look at your insurance documents and do the maths – commitment to health & safety makes economic as well as moral sense!

Work at Height

The Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) together with the Access Industry Forum have developed an excellent series of guidance documents to assist all parties involved with work at height to develop sound strategies. See https://bit.ly/2AZFr3d

Safety Steps has 5 parts, each written for a specific sector, and includes how to eliminate, plan, manage, monitor and train for work at height. Document/s relevant to you can be requested free of charge from:

  • Designer https://bit.ly/2Ch4IGT
  • Client https://bit.ly/3gZz3sa
  • Manager https://bit.ly/391c5xS
  • Supervisor https://bit.ly/2OucEa6
  • Operative https://bit.ly/3epRqF2

GENERAL NEWS

Stress & Anxiety

Claims have been made that the rate of suicides has increased by 200% during the Covid lockdown compared to previous years. Whilst this claim is completely unsubstantiated, there is no doubt that stress and anxiety levels have risen in general because of a wide variety of factors affecting people’s personal lives, and we should all be sensitive to the needs of those around us who may be finding current conditions difficult to cope with.
However, as the threat of redundancy looms ever larger for a significant proportion of the population, there is quite likely to be a repeat of the additional stresses experienced when so many lost their jobs in the economic crash of 2008. We all have a part to play in helping support family, friends and work colleagues experiencing hardship and mental distress during this time. Keep a watch at work and at home for tell-tale signs and lend a hand before, not as a result of, things going too far.

And a plea to employers – if redundancies are eventually unavoidable, do it with care not belligerence. It doesn’t take much to tip someone over the edge in normal times; in current circumstances, it will be worse. Please do contact WHS for advice on both mental awareness and HR at the first sign it may be needed.

AND FINALLY

Obviously, the number of cases going through court has been minimal over recent months because of Covid-19 restrictions. However, that doesn’t mean that there are fewer prosecutions in the pipeline; it just means that the agony of going through the investigation and waiting for the court appearance is prolonged!! The following are a snapshot of recent cases:
(with thanks to the HSE for the photographs)

Work at height

  • Modus Workspace Ltd was fined £1.1 million with costs of over £68,000 after a worker was seriously injured falling 3 metres from a ladder. He had been inspecting a sprinkler system when the ladder slipped from under him.

This may have appeared to be a quick job so why go the expense of providing appropriate access equipment? Because there is no justification at all for risking a man’s life and costing the company well over £1.1 million, no matter how quick the work, that’s why!

  • Stan England Builders Ltd was fined £6,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries falling 2.5 metres from a platform to a first floor mezzanine.

So first floor level isn’t that high, is it? There’s no need to erect handrails to that platform, is there? Yes, there is a real need to erect fall protection in a situation like this, of course there is! That floor is hard and 2.5 metres is a long drop! Again, there is no justification for risking a man’s life and costing the company, what would have been to them, a significant fine, no matter what the height!

  • Phoenix Roofing & Cladding Ltd was fined £20,000 after a self-employed roofer was seriously injured falling through a roof-light to the suspended ceiling below.

It can be seen from the photo just how flimsy and degraded the roof-light was; it should have been evident that, regardless of the legal requirement to do so, covering or barriers were required to prevent falls through.

STAY SAFE – STAY ALERT

FOLLOW THE RULES – DON’T IGNORE ADVICE

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

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is now holding our usual full complement of courses; however, due to the necessary Covid-19 restrictions, it is important to note the following:

  • Maximum 6 delegates per course
  • Lunch cannot be provided
  • Full details, of both the precautions we have taken and what is expected from the candidates, are issued with the joining instructions for each course

Please be reassured that we have established strict measures within the building and training room to reduce risks. As they have been kept fully informed of these measures, awarding bodies have given full consent for all courses to take place in person.

In return, we would ask the following. As we are so severely limited to the number of places for the foreseeable future, it is important for WHS to ensure full attendance. We therefore ask please that, once booked, courses or places are not cancelled.

In addition, if any organisation requires attendance at their own premises for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date and time to suit provided that suitable Covid-specific precautions can be agreed at the point of booking.

First Aid

Please note that all certificates expiring on or after 16 March 2020 will have their expiry dates extended until 30 September 2020 to give everyone a fair chance to attend a course.

WHS 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work courses, run with very strict Covid-specific controls, are scheduled as follows; those who need to attain or renew first-aid certification are advised to book places as quickly as possible as, although we have included additional dates, demand will obviously be high.

Dates:

  • 28 July 2020 FULLY BOOKED
  • 27 August 2020 LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE
  • 24 September 2020
  • 27 October 2020
  • 25 November 2020
  • 18 December 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

As usual, please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days (Wednesday to Friday)
Dates: 7, 8 & 9 October 2020

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

INDUSTRY NEWS

Covid-19 / Coronavirus

No, the serious and life-threatening issue of Covid-19 has not gone away, and is unlikely to disappear worldwide in the foreseeable future. So the message is: we must ALL get used to the ‘new normal’ and carry on taking sensible precautions, even though the infection rate is diminishing.

‘Necessity is the mother of invention’, as they say. And we have certainly seen some very innovative and pro-active systems established on site to reduce the risk of contracting Covid to a minimum. For example:

  • Temperature sensors installed at entrances to premises which are manned all day. If a person’s temperature reads above normal, he/she is asked to go back outside to cool down for a few minutes; if the reading is still high at the second check, the person is refused entry.
  • Others have set up stand-alone temperature check stations (an example of these was shown in the June newsletter)
  • Still more have linked them to doors and barriers to make sure entry is denied to anyone with an above-normal temperature

In general, WHS has found a good 85% of our customers doing their best to comply with both the Government and industry guidelines, and seeking advice when they are unsure. Most have put the relevant paperwork in place including the legally required documents being risk assessments). However, our consultants have found the following tendencies to be increasingly prevalent:Risk assessments are not specific, they tend to be too generic. WHS has issued a short-form generic assessment, but this is only intended as a starting point. ALL risk assessments must, BY LAW, be operation- or premises-specific, and dealing with Covid is no exception. There has been ample guidance issued by WHS and the HSE to help employers build on the generics, and WHS is here to help as always. But we repeat, anything short of specific is NOT adequate

  • Risk assessments are often ignored at the workface (which is often the case, regardless of the Covid issue!). WHS has found complacency from top to bottom within companies and staff, coupled with a degree of scepticism of the risks. The age-old attitude still prevails in some cases: ‘well we have to work, don’t we?’ The answer to that is, yes we all do; but no work will be done by those who die from Covid.
  • Lack of monitoring and enforcement of the rules e.g. distancing, frequent use of sanitiser, making sure doors and windows are open for ventilation, the wearing of face masks, etc.
  • Social distancing not being enforced. The 1 metre distance can only be allowed when 2 metres isn’t possible, and then only if adequate alternative controls are implemented. The relaxing of the 2 metre rule was meant to be a pragmatic approach to impossible situations; it was NOT meant as a license to reduce controls.
  • Face masks and coverings; refer also to the HSE section below. Whatever the current rules say, these are meant as minimum precautions and NOT total solutions. As we have had drummed into us over many years, face masks save lives – so why treat the current Covid threat any differently? If anyone out there has experienced the total devastation caused to the body of a loved one by Covid, they would certainly not be questioning the use of masks.
  • And another plea NOT to take any notice of the disinformation being posted on social media; this can only serve to harm us all by belittling the extreme seriousness of the virus.

Asbestos

The vast majority of businesses have done the right thing through the Covid pandemic; most have written risk assessments and trained their staff into the dangers of the virus and necessary control systems – all for the well-being of their employees.

So why is it that we still don’t find the same level of effort and commitment in controlling the risks from asbestos? Covid is a pandemic that will eventually diminish, if not disappear completely. Asbestos is out there perennially and potentially kills up to 10,000 people a year in the UK alone; nothing short of an epidemic. Yet we still find employers of all types either paying lip-service to commissioning surveys and establishing controls, or just ignoring the issue completely.

Wake up! Covid will pass; asbestos won’t for decades, if at all. You MUST properly assess and control the risks from asbestos as required by law. Contact WHS for advice and assistance.

Black Mould

Many old or unkempt buildings suffer from mould, generally due to damp (e.g. flooding or poor damp-proofing). All moulds have the capacity to harm, usually through the spores attacking the respiratory system, particularly those who are asthmatic or have respiratory issues. This is not uncommon (and suggests a possible cause for the so-called ‘sick building syndrome’) but does not detract from the necessity to ensure occupants’ (and others’) wellbeing by remedying the situation.

However, there are some moulds that can be extremely dangerous by producing mycotoxins, potentially causing serious damage to neurological systems and possibly death. There is also some suggestion that the mycotoxins can also cause cancers, but evidence for this is weak.

WHS will be issuing a full risk assessment in due course but, in the meantime, all premises owners and managers should be aware that a full environmental (safety) survey will be required if there is any evidence of significant black mould, and possibly a specialist clean. Most cases will remain relatively harmless with a thorough clean and the use of respiratory protection, but other cases may require a lot more; let the experts ascertain the degree of risk. Don’t take this issue lightly

HSE NEWS

Covid HSE news & guidance

The HSE has, over the months, built up a strong portfolio of information and guidance to assist businesses to control the risk of contracting Covid-19 whilst still being able to work. Some examples are as follows; these and many more can be found on www.hse.gov.uk:

  • Covid Q&As: https://bit.ly/2DNMJIF
  • Risk assessment: https://bit.ly/3h4UNTI
  • General advice: https://bit.ly/2OpRiKW
  • Social distancing: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/social-distancing/index.htm
  • Use of hand sanitiser and surface disinfectants: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/hand-sanitiser/index.htm
  • In manufacturing: https://bit.ly/2ZxJdum

There is also specific guidance, as the procedure can be potentially extremely dangerous, on the restarting of pressure system after being left dormant: https://bit.ly/3ewizWS
See also the Government’s advice on Gov.uk:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening
https://bit.ly/390cml2 (for vehicles)
https://bit.ly/2DKSy9C (for offices)

HSE Enforcement

As we have highlighted previously, and many of you will have heard through media, the HSE has been given additional funds with which to enforce Covid-19 regulation in the workplace. A full press release was issued in early July drawing attention to the expectations of the HSE towards Covid-secure compliance, and the warning of enforcement for any transgressors:
https://press.hse.gov.uk/2020/07/02/hse-urges-businesses-to-become-covid-secure/

Face Masks & Coverings

The HSE has stated that ‘face coverings…are not an effective way to manage the risks from Covid-19 and you should not rely on them’. HSE stresses that face coverings ‘are not classified as PPE’ for obvious reasons, and therefore the risk of infection should be controlled by social distancing, hand washing and other means.

The HSE has also stated that ‘surgical face masks….are not generally considered to be PPE in non-healthcare situations’ as they are designed to ‘limit the spread of infection’ only.

WHS agrees with all these comments. Nothing short of the full FFP3 and other risk-appropriate masks are considered PPE, and face-fit testing is mandatory for the use of these to ensure a tight seal and their effectiveness. In addition, a reminder that ANY PPE is considered a ‘last resort’ in the hierarchy of controls in the workplace. Therefore, surgical face masks and face coverings cannot ever be considered the only solution to controlling the risk of infection in the workplace. Additional Covid-specific controls must be established such as distancing, one-way systems, hand washing, placing sanitisers close to hand, etc.

However, in exactly the same way as use of FFP3 masks are advantageous even where engineering controls are in place (damping down, particle collection, etc), our professional recommendation is that, unless employees are working by themselves or at some distance (2+ metres) in the open air, it is still wise to further protect them by the use of masks.

One word of warning though, improvised face coverings can present risks in themselves; any excess material (e.g. scarves tied around the face) may well present snagging hazards. Managers must ensure that there is no improvisation and that any face masks are worn correctly.

Accident Statistics

The HSE has issued the accident statistics for 2019/20 which show a very encouraging downward trend with UK industry as a whole: 111 workers were killed – a reduction of 24.5% on 2018/19

An A-Z of the latest statistics, to enable you to check your own industry, can be found on:
https://bit.ly/2OtPKQo
Further more detailed will obviously be issued once full analysis has been completed.

And the current emphasis on Covid-19 will not, and cannot be allowed to, detract from the need for exemplary safety standards on site; do NOT let your guard down. You have legal duties against which you can, and will, be prosecuted after a fatality; but more importantly, you have a moral duty to ensure your employees go home safely at night. We are here to help; allow us to help.

Health & Safety – the Financial Case

And, if you’re still thinking about money over people’s wellbeing, the HSE has put the case for the financial health of businesses being a sound reason for complying with health & safety law in its HSG245 document:
https://bit.ly/2WmtA74

The document clearly shows that, for every £1 spent on insurance by a business, it stands to lose between £8 and £36 in uninsured costs. Take a look at your insurance documents and do the maths – commitment to health & safety makes economic as well as moral sense!

GENERAL NEWS

Stress & Anxiety

Claims have been made that the rate of suicides has increased by 200% during the Covid lockdown compared to previous years. Whilst this claim is completely unsubstantiated, there is no doubt that stress and anxiety levels have risen in general because of a wide variety of factors affecting people’s personal lives, and we should all be sensitive to the needs of those around us who may be finding current conditions difficult to cope with.

However, as the threat of redundancy looms ever larger for a significant proportion of the population, there is quite likely to be a repeat of the additional stresses experienced when so many lost their jobs in the economic crash of 2008. We all have a part to play in helping support family, friends and work colleagues experiencing hardship and mental distress during this time. Keep a watch at work and at home for tell-tale signs and lend a hand before, not as a result of, things going too far.

And a plea to employers – if redundancies are eventually unavoidable, do it with care not belligerence. It doesn’t take much to tip someone over the edge in normal times; in current circumstances, it will be worse. Please do contact WHS for advice on both mental awareness and HR at the first sign it may be needed.

AND FINALLY

Obviously, the number of cases going through court has been minimal over recent months because of Covid-19 restrictions. However, that doesn’t mean that there are fewer prosecutions in the pipeline; it just means that the agony of going through the investigation and waiting for the court appearance is prolonged!! The following are a snapshot of recent cases:
(with thanks to the HSE for the photographs)

Work at height

  • Modus Workspace Ltd was fined £1.1 million with costs of over £68,000 after a worker was seriously injured falling 3 metres from a ladder. He had been inspecting a sprinkler system when the ladder slipped from under him.

This may have appeared to be a quick job so why go the expense of providing appropriate access equipment? Because there is no justification at all for risking a man’s life and costing the company well over £1.1 million, no matter how quick the work, that’s why!

  • Stan England Builders Ltd was fined £6,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries falling 2.5 metres from a platform to a first floor mezzanine.

So first floor level isn’t that high, is it? There’s no need to erect handrails to that platform, is there? Yes, there is a real need to erect fall protection in a situation like this, of course there is! That floor is hard and 2.5 metres is a long drop! Again, there is no justification at all for risking a man’s life and costing the company, what would have been to them, a significant fine, no matter what the height!

  • Phoenix Roofing & Cladding Ltd was fined £20,000 after a self-employed roofer was seriously injured falling through a roof-light to the suspended ceiling below.

It can be seen from the photo just how flimsy and degraded the roof-light was; it should have been evident to Phoenix that, regardless of the legal requirement to do so, covering or barriers were required to prevent falls through.

Equipment safety

  • De La Rue International Ltd was fined a total of over £311,000 after an employee suffered life-changing injuries, resulting in facial reconstruction surgery, when his head became trapped in a paper-making machine. There had been no safe system of work established for when paper was removed from the machine, just employees’ assumptions of usual practices.

A reminder that risk assessment is mandatory for ALL businesses, of sufficient detail and number to cover all aspects of their work.

  • Viridor Waste Management Ltd was fined £400,000 after a banksman was crushed by a 22.5 tonne loading shovel and suffered life changing injuries. The Company had failed to organise the workplace properly (no vehicle/person segregation) with the result that the machine reversed over the worker, knocking him to the ground and driving over the lower half of his body.
  • Metalart Fabrication Ltd was fined a total of over £20,000 after an 8 year old girl was crushed by a bespoke sliding gate that fell on her.

The investigation found that the design was poor; the mechanism to prevent the sliding gate from overrunning was insufficient for the purpose and there were no end-stops. Consequently, at the time of the incident, the gate had disengaged from the rollers; what the HSE called ‘an accident waiting to happen’.

A reminder to all designers and manufacturers of their legal duty to ensure safety through design.

  • IFG Drake Ltd was fined a total of over £390,000 after a worker became entangled in a synthetic fibre manufacturing machine, suffering fatal crush injuries; he had been attempting to remove materials from rollers.

The Company had failed to provide guarding to dangerous parts of the machine, costing a man his life.

  • Browns Manufacturing Ltd was fined £120,000 and £190,000 for two separate incidents (in 2016 and 2019) each resulting in workers’ fingers being amputated by insufficiently guarded machinery.

For a serious accident to happen once is bad enough; for the same thing to happen twice (i.e. management have demonstrated no commitment at all to the welfare of employees) is nothing short of indefensible.

STAY SAFE – STAY ALERT

FOLLOW THE RULES – DON’T IGNORE ADVICE

HELP SAFEGUARD THE LIVES OF THOSE YOU AFFECT

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

CORONAVIRUS / COVID-19

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd has previously issued advice and links to all clients to keep you abreast of industry guidance related to Covid-19; refer in particular to the interim short-form ‘newsletter’ issued in April and subsequent emails which gave further sound advice on how to approach Covid-19 risk assessment and management. It does appear (judging by phone calls received) that few clients are reading these communications; it is important that you take note of all past and future communications from WHS to ensure that you are completely up to date with what is expected of both employers and employees.

In addition, it is vital at this point that you also log into the ‘Clients Area’ of our website (using your specific company log-in details) to access the following very important Covid-related documents:

  • CITB Covid-specific documents

cc01: site operating procedures compliance checklist
cc03: tool-box talk for construction workers
cc04: weekly site operating procedures checklist

  • WHS Covid-specific documents:

Risk assessment and general advice
Generic short-form risk assessment

In addition, the link to the latest Construction Leadership Council (the overriding industry body) guidance is:
https://bit.ly/3da5faP

And a wealth of additional information and general guidance is available from the HSE on:
https://bit.ly/3gv8UCg
https://bit.ly/2Bbvvn5 (relating the use of PPE and face masks)
https://bit.ly/2ZQUTcd (relating to the use of hand sanitisers and surface cleaners)

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is available to advise on how to organise and run your sites in accordance with the current, very comprehensive, guidance issued by CITB and other industry bodies; please contact Laura Mort on 07791-670987.

However, as with all risk issues, we must remind all clients that we cannot advise on specific procedures unless we actually see the site and working areas for ourselves. During April and most of May, to ensure that we have not put our staff at risk during the peak of the epidemic, we have been carrying out ‘virtual site inspections’ only. We have now returned to carrying out actual site visits; again, please contact Laura.

Despite falling infection and death rates, the virus is still out there and will carry on killing people unless we are all careful. To this end, we will currently only agree to site inspections and/or visits to any premises if:

  • The WHS advisor or member of staff can drive to the site / premises; we are not yet permitting use of public transport; this will obviously be reviewed periodically as the epidemic subsides.
  • Adequate precautions have been established at your site/premises; we reserve the right to leave the site/premises should the member of WHS staff deem the situation at any place of work to potentially put him/herself at risk.
  • The site/premises is happy for us take our own precautions (as detailed below).

We respectfully ask for your co-operation in helping to reduce the risk of virus transmittal to WHS staff, as far as possible, by adhering to the following:

  • We will limit contact with others to the prescribed 2m distance, both on site and in office circumstances, where at all possible. Site inspections do not necessarily demand close contact; in most cases, we will be able to observe and comment easily from that distance.
  • We will write reports etc. using our own pens and only whilst sitting in our own vehicles or an unoccupied (or reasonably unoccupied) area. We will allow site management to read reports from a distance but will not require them to touch or sign reports if they prefer not to; rather, we will insert a name and ‘Covid-19’ in the signature space once we have their agreement to do so.
  • No member of staff experiencing, or even suspecting, they have Covid-19 symptoms will be permitted to visit any site or premises (including our own!) until the prescribed 14 days’ quarantine is complete and they declare themselves symptom-free.

And, before anyone comments that the risks are overblown and there’s no need for all these precautions, just take a look at this very sobering article from Building online magazine:
https://bit.ly/2ZJ4Sjz

The article starkly shows that construction workers have been amongst the worst hit by Covid-19, with more recorded deaths (particularly amongst tradesmen) than most other industries. The main reason is obvious – many sites did not shut down when the virus was at its peak, something we warned about and have been proved right. But we also think that there may be a second underlying reason – that many in the construction industry already have lung damage through inhalation of dusts (etc) and the predominance of smokers.

This is worth mentioning as it, yet again, suggests that not taking care of your health and the health of your employees may well have knock-on effects in the future. So employers – provide good, appropriate and face-fitted dust masks. And employees – wear those masks and stop smoking!!

And, on that note, use of dust masks still requires face-fit testing; contact WHS to arrange testing, under strictly controlled conditions, either on site or at our premises.

Important Footnotes

  • To assist with early recognition of the virus at the workplace, Contour Heating Products Ltd has developed a ‘Health Check Station’ which can be easily installed and used at any workplace. This is an excellent addition to any employer’s Covid controls systems. Full details and price request can be found on: https://www.contourheating.co.uk/health_check_station
  • In additon, many organisations have provided freely downloadable posters to assist with social distancing etc. For those in our local area, Telford & Wrekin Council, who have been extremely proactive throughout this crisis, have several available on: https://bit.ly/2zCFLnV
  • As we have said previously, health & safety law and industry best practice still applies, nobody is exempt because of the current crisis. Laws and regulations designed to ensure workers don’t fall from height, get crushed by plant or are subjected to health risks from dusts or fumes (etc) apply no matter what the circumstances, for very good reason. If businesses are operating, their workers MUST be able to work safely and there is no reason why this should be compromised by the current situation. In addition, the legislation regarding welfare still applies; full welfare facilities must be provided on each site regardless of size or nature. However, during this epidemic, site management must think carefully about how best to organise the use and cleaning of the facilities that can satisfy both the law and the current Covid-specific requirements; as they say – ‘necessity is the mother of invention’!
  • Please do contact WHS, either through Laura or when one of our staff visits your site or premises, should you need to discuss what is or isn’t acceptable. The HSE are out in force and have been given extra Government funds to carry out Covid-specific inspections; so don’t let your guard down, we are here to help as much as we can.

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

The Government has reiterated that businesses can organise online training for employees, whether furloughed or not, during the lock-down to ensure that valuable productive time isn’t lost to essential training once we’re all back at work.

CITB have already extended expiry dates to suit the current circumstances and are allowing WHS to run a limited number of essential courses, as detailed below.

Asbestos Awareness On-Line

In addition, and to ensure that companies can resume adherence to the law as closely and quickly as possible, WHS is running a further open on-line:

Asbestos Awareness course (2.5 – 3 hours)
Monday 22 June at 1pm
£40 + VAT per person

Please email enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places as soon as possible; places are obviously limited due to the logistics of online training.

First Aid

We are advised by our first-aid awarding body, Nuco, that we still cannot resume first-aid courses until the Government announces that the ‘Coronavirus Threat Level’ is at level 3 in England (expected early June if all goes well. However, Nuco have stated that all certificates that expire on or after 16 March 2020 will have their expiry dates extended until 30 September 2020 to give everyone a fair chance to attend a course.

To that end, WHS 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work courses, to be run with very strict Covid-specific controls, are scheduled as follows; those who need to attain or renew first-aid certification are advised to book places as quickly as possible as, although we have included additional dates, demand will obviously be high.

Dates:

  • 26 June 2020
  • 3 July 2020
  • 28 July 2020
  • 27 August 2020
  • 24 September 2020 (this is an amended date)
  • 27 October 2020
  • 25 November 2020
  • 18 December 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

As usual, please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places

Courses will be held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford. However, if any organisation requires attendance by 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit provided that suitable Covid-specific precautions can be agreed at the point of booking.

IOSH Managing Safely

Please note that the IOSH Managing Safely 3-day course due to take place 14-16 July 2020 has been postponed and will be re-scheduled at a later date.

CITB Courses

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 attendance is vital, not only because it affects the candidate personally, but also because it can seriously affect others. As highlighted in the previous newsletter, because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates don’t turn up.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 13, 20, 27 July, 3 & 10 August 2020 (Monday) NOTE: this SMSTS course will take place on-line unless circumstances change
  • 14, 21, 28 September, 5 & 12 October 2020 (Mondays)
  • 13, 20, 27 November, 4 & 11 December 2020 (Fridays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 24 & 25 August 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 22 & 23 October 2020 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 7 & 8 December 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 29 & 30 June 2020 (Monday & Tuesday) NOTE: this SSSTS course will take place on-line unless circumstances change
  • 7 & 8 September 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 2 & 3 November 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 17 July 2020 (Friday)

Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 8 July 2020 (Wednesday) NOTE: this H&SA course will take place on-line unless circumstances change
  • 17 September 2020 (Thursday)
  • 16 November 2020 (Monday)

Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

GENERAL NEWS

Legionella

Businesses (including landlords) may be unaware that Covid-19 can produce secondary effects such as a very real risk of legionella within premises or equipment not occupied or operated through the lockdown. Examples would include hot and cold water systems, air-conditioning units, water features, spas, hot tubs and showers.

As this is such as serious issue, the HSE has issued specific guidance to remind those responsible of their duties. The bulletins and advice must be read and followed, particularly if equipment has been shut down for a week or more, to avoid resultant health issues (and possible deaths) for which the business would be held fully responsible:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/legionella-risks-during-coronavirus-outbreak.htm
https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKHSE/bulletins/28c2163

HSE NEWS

COSHH – Isocyanates

We covered welding and welding fume in the April 2020 newsletter following the issue of updated of the HSE advice and guidance. The HSE and the HSE Science & Research Centre have now issued updated advice regarding the control of the very real risks from isocyanates:
https://bit.ly/3gvb6cR

The information covers, not just the facts about health risks and the required control measures, but also the consequences of cutting corners such as ‘visor flipping’ (https://bit.ly/2Acb74T) and the need to observe clearance times in spray booths (https://bit.ly/2TLkuiK).

And prosecutions can be severe, for example:

Car retailer Harwood Ltd was fined a total of almost £123,000 after an employee who worked in a spray booth developed occupational asthma. To quote the investigating HSE inspector:

“This serious health condition could so easily have been avoided by simply implementing correct control measures and appropriate working practices. Controlling employee exposure to hazardous substances is a legal requirement on employers and HSE provides guidance on how control can be achieved. “Appropriate controls could include use of a spray booth to carry out the paint spraying, use of a suitable air-fed respirator, checks to ensure equipment was adequately maintained and training provided to ensure the employee knew the risks and how to control them.”

EMPLOYMENT NEWS

Covid Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

On 26 May, the Government launched its Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, which allows employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments made to their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will allow small and medium-sized employers to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.

Employers are eligible to receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP (paid to current, or former employees) on or after 13 March 2020 if they operate a PAYE payroll scheme started before 28 February 2020 and had fewer than 250 employees at that point. The repayment can cover up to two weeks of SSP if an employee has been unable to work because they either have COVID-19 or are legitimately self-isolating.

Definitive information from gov.uk can be found on: https://bit.ly/3gxXxcs

ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

EA Annual Report

The latest Environment Agency’s (EA) annual Regulating for People, Environment and Growth (RPEG) report states that greenhouse gas emissions from industry have been cut by half in the last 10 years and compliance rates of energy efficiency and emissions trading schemes are above 98%: https://bit.ly/2ztx7rZ

However, waste crime (which seems to be endemic within a certain ‘cowboy’ sector in construction) continues to blight communities, cause environmental harm, and undercut legitimate business. The EA continues to target and prosecute those who flout the rules with enforcement action. The report highlights the need for businesses to do more, citing for 2018:

  • 533 serious pollution incidents, 14% fewer than 10 years ago, but 27% more than in 2017
  • 912 illegal waste sites closed down by the EA, a 12% increase on previous year
  • 896 new illegal waste sites discovered

Environmental Bill

A new Environmental Bill is currently going through Parliament although the current Covid crisis has postponed the Committee Stage report until late June 2020.

The Bill includes legally binding environmental improvements targets and a new independent Office for Environmental Protection which will scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action against public authorities, if necessary, to uphold our environmental standards. The office’s powers will cover all climate change legislation and hold the Government to account on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Brexit & 2020 Legislation Consultations

Various new pieces of legislation, mostly mirroring existing regulations, are currently sitting in the wings waiting to be triggered when we leave the EU. However, it is unclear as to exactly how changes will be achieved (if at all, given the current situation which has resulted in significant stalling); watch this space!

The Government has also said that there will be consultations on various legislation for England, such as WEEE, waste tracking and a new Waste Management Plan. We suspect that these have also stalled but will, no doubt, come to fruition in due course.

Environmental Prosecutions

The majority of environmental prosecutions during 2019 appear to have been waste management offences, and sentencing has been severe; for example:

  • Jamil Rehman, director at Electronic Waste Specialists Ltd (EWS), was sentenced to 5 years 4 months in prison and banned from being a director, and his brother, Saleem, given a 16 month suspended sentence after fraudulently generating £1.48 million in claims for 10,600 tonnes of fictitious electronic waste recycling.
  • Kennelpak Ltd paid over £75,000 to the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and the Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association (50/50) for its past failures to meet its packaging recycling obligations. The Company was unaware that, as they were handling over 50 tonnes of packaging waste, they had obligations under The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regs 2007.
  • Clifford Shee was fined a total of over £10,900 for failing to comply with legal requirements for 3 waste activities (storing mixed waste, storing hazardous waste and keeping detailed waste transfer documentation) and for storing 99 45-gallon drums of pollutant, combustible and hazardous waste near a potential water course and railway line
  • Shropshire farmer, Keith Wilson, was fined a total of £6,800 after illegally burying waste dust on his land near Market Drayton; no controls against local ground contamination had been taken and no environmental permit had been sought.

Yes, the UK waste management and permitting regulations apply to EVERYONE, not just big business; do NOT be tempted to bury or ‘manage’ any waste without knowing what you are doing!

If you don’t yet have a WHS Environmental Management System, now is the time to contact us; for the very reduced rate of £150 + VAT, you will be provided with everything you need to know about environmental law (including waste management and permitting, as well as the basis for sound environmental site management) and a policy to prove your commitment

AND FINALLY

And finally, we return to the Covid-19 virus. These photos were taken in, what must be described as, an exemplary site in Shropshire. Everything was laid out perfectly to keep workers apart, including some very new and effective ways of logging people in and out of work areas, so much so that social distancing seemed to be done naturally by everyone on site without a second thought.

The notice by the pedestrian gate tells workers to wait until the person in front is 2m away, and fencing and reminders are plentiful and well positioned:

To ensure that only one person enters a property at any one time, workers sign in and out on the board:

And, just to keep the public informed and prevent calls to the HSE (which has happened locally!):

STAY SAFE – STAY ALERT

FOLLOW THE RULES – DON’T IGNORE ADVICE

HELP SAFEGUARD THE LIVES OF THOSE YOU AFFECT
(after all – it is, and always has been, written into the Health & Safety at Work Act!!)

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

CORONAVIRUS / COVID-19

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd has previously issued advice and links to all clients to keep you abreast of industry guidance related to Covid-19; refer in particular to the interim short-form ‘newsletter’ issued in April and subsequent emails which gave further sound advice on how to approach Covid-19 risk assessment and management. It does appear (judging by phone calls received) that few clients are reading these communications; it is important that you take note of all past and future communications from WHS to ensure that you are completely up to date with what is expected of both employers and employees.

In addition, it is vital at this point that you also log into the ‘Clients Area’ of our website (using your specific company log-in details) to access the following very important Covid-related documents:

  • CITB Covid-specific documents:

cc01: site operating procedures compliance checklist
cc03: tool-box talk for construction workers
cc04: weekly site operating procedures checklist

  • WHS Covid-specific documents:

Risk assessment and general advice
Generic short-form risk assessment

In addition, the link to the latest Construction Leadership Council (the overriding industry body) guidance is:
https://bit.ly/3da5faP

And a wealth of additional information and general guidance is available from the HSE on:
https://bit.ly/3gv8UCg
https://bit.ly/2Bbvvn5 (relating the use of PPE and face masks)
https://bit.ly/2ZQUTcd (relating to the use of hand sanitisers and surface cleaners)

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is available to advise on how to organise and run your sites in accordance with the current, very comprehensive, guidance issued by CITB and other industry bodies; please contact Laura Mort on 07791-670987.

However, as with all risk issues, we must remind all clients that we cannot advise on specific procedures unless we actually see the site and working areas for ourselves. During April and most of May, to ensure that we have not put our staff at risk during the peak of the epidemic, we have been carrying out ‘virtual site inspections’ only. We have now returned to carrying out actual site visits; again, please contact Laura.

Despite falling infection and death rates, the virus is still out there and will carry on killing people unless we are all careful. To this end, we will currently only agree to site inspections and/or visits to any premises if:

  • The WHS advisor or member of staff can drive to the site / premises; we are not yet permitting use of public transport; this will obviously be reviewed periodically as the epidemic subsides.
  • Adequate precautions have been established at your site/premises; we reserve the right to leave the site/premises should the member of WHS staff deem the situation at any place of work to potentially put him/herself at risk.
  • The site/premises is happy for us take our own precautions (as detailed below).

We respectfully ask for your co-operation in helping to reduce the risk of virus transmittal to WHS staff, as far as possible, by adhering to the following:

  • We will limit contact with others to the prescribed 2m distance, both on site and in office circumstances, where at all possible. Site inspections do not necessarily demand close contact; in most cases, we will be able to observe and comment easily from that distance.
  • We will write reports etc. using our own pens and only whilst sitting in our own vehicles or an unoccupied (or reasonably unoccupied) area. We will allow site management to read reports from a distance but will not require them to touch or sign reports if they prefer not to; rather, we will insert a name and ‘Covid-19’ in the signature space once we have their agreement to do so.
  • No member of staff experiencing, or even suspecting, they have Covid-19 symptoms will be permitted to visit any site or premises (including our own!) until the prescribed 14 days’ quarantine is complete and they declare themselves symptom-free.

And, before anyone comments that the risks are overblown and there’s no need for all these precautions, just take a look at this very sobering article from Building online magazine:
https://bit.ly/2ZJ4Sjz

The article starkly shows that construction workers have been amongst the worst hit by Covid-19, with more recorded deaths (particularly amongst tradesmen) than most other industries. The main reason is obvious – many sites did not shut down when the virus was at its peak, something we warned about and have been proved right. But we also think that there may be a second underlying reason – that many in the construction industry already have lung damage through inhalation of dusts (etc) and the predominance of smokers.

This is worth mentioning as it, yet again, suggests that not taking care of your health and the health of your employees may well have knock-on effects in the future. So employers – provide good, appropriate and face-fitted dust masks. And employees – wear those masks and stop smoking!!

And, on that note, use of dust masks still requires face-fit testing; contact WHS to arrange testing, under strictly controlled conditions, either on site or at our premises.

Important Footnotes

  • To assist with early recognition of the virus at the workplace, Contour Heating Products Ltd has developed a ‘Health Check Station’ which can be easily installed and used at any workplace. This is an excellent addition to any employer’s Covid controls systems. Full details and price request can be found on: https://www.contourheating.co.uk/health_check_station
  • In additon, many organisations have provided freely downloadable posters to assist with social distancing etc. For those in our local area, Telford & Wrekin Council, who have been extremely proactive throughout this crisis, have several available on: https://bit.ly/2zCFLnV
  • As we have said previously, health & safety law and industry best practice still applies, nobody is exempt because of the current crisis. Laws and regulations designed to ensure workers don’t fall from height, get crushed by plant or are subjected to health risks from dusts or fumes (etc) apply no matter what the circumstances, for very good reason. If businesses are operating, their workers MUST be able to work safely and there is no reason why this should be compromised by the current situation. In addition, the legislation regarding welfare still applies; full welfare facilities must be provided on each site regardless of size or nature. However, during this epidemic, site management must think carefully about how best to organise the use and cleaning of the facilities that can satisfy both the law and the current Covid-specific requirements; as they say – ‘necessity is the mother of invention’!
  • Please do contact WHS, either through Laura or when one of our staff visits your site or premises, should you need to discuss what is or isn’t acceptable. The HSE are out in force and have been given extra Government funds to carry out Covid-specific inspections; so don’t let your guard down, we are here to help as much as we can.

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

The Government has reiterated that businesses can organise online training for employees, whether furloughed or not, during the lock-down to ensure that valuable productive time isn’t lost to essential training once we’re all back at work.

CITB have already extended expiry dates to suit the current circumstances and are allowing WHS to run a limited number of essential courses, as detailed below.

Asbestos Awareness On-Line

In addition, and to ensure that companies can resume adherence to the law as closely and quickly as possible, WHS is running a further open on-line:

Asbestos Awareness course (2.5 – 3 hours)
Monday 22 June at 1pm
£40 + VAT per person

Please email enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places as soon as possible; places are obviously limited due to the logistics of online training.

First Aid

We are advised by our first-aid awarding body, Nuco, that we still cannot resume first-aid courses until the Government announces that the ‘Coronavirus Threat Level’ is at level 3 in England (expected early June if all goes well.

However, Nuco have stated that all certificates that expire on or after 16 March 2020 will have their expiry dates extended until 30 September 2020 to give everyone a fair chance to attend a course.

To that end, WHS 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work courses, to be run with very strict Covid-specific controls, are scheduled as follows; those who need to attain or renew first-aid certification are advised to book places as quickly as possible as, although we have included additional dates, demand will obviously be high.

Dates:

  • 26 June 2020
  • 3 July 2020
  • 28 July 2020
  • 27 August 2020
  • 24 September 2020 (this is an amended
  • 27 October 2020
  • 25 November 2020
  • 18 December 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

As usual, please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places

Courses will be held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford. However, if any organisation requires attendance by 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit provided that suitable Covid-specific precautions can be agreed at the point of booking.

IOSH Managing Safely

Please note that the IOSH Managing Safely 3-day course due to take place 14-16 July 2020 has been postponed and will be re-scheduled at a later date.

CITB Courses

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 attendance is vital, not only because it affects the candidate personally, but also because it can seriously affect others. As highlighted in the previous newsletter, because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates don’t turn up.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 13, 20, 27 July, 3 & 10 August 2020 (Monday) NOTE: this SMSTS course will take place on-line unless circumstances change
  • 14, 21, 28 September, 5 & 12 October 2020 (Mondays)
  • 13, 20, 27 November, 4 & 11 December 2020 (Fridays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 24 & 25 August 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 22 & 23 October 2020 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 7 & 8 December 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 29 & 30 June 2020 (Monday & Tuesday) NOTE: this SSSTS course will take place on-line unless circumstances change
  • 7 & 8 September 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 2 & 3 November 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 17 July 2020 (Friday)

Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 8 July 2020 (Wednesday) NOTE: this H&SA course will take place on-line unless circumstances change
  • 17 September 2020 (Thursday)
  • 16 November 2020 (Monday)

Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

GENERAL NEWS

Legionella

Businesses (including landlords) may be unaware that Covid-19 can produce secondary effects such as a very real risk of legionella within premises or equipment not occupied or operated through the lockdown. Examples would include hot and cold water systems, air-conditioning units, water features, spas, hot tubs and showers.

As this is such as serious issue, the HSE has issued specific guidance to remind those responsible of their duties. The bulletins and advice must be read and followed, particularly if equipment has been shut down for a week or more, to avoid resultant health issues (and possible deaths) for which the business would be held fully responsible:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/legionella-risks-during-coronavirus-outbreak.htm
https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKHSE/bulletins/28c2163

HSE NEWS

COSHH – Isocyanates

We covered welding and welding fume in the April 2020 newsletter following the issue of updated of the HSE advice and guidance. The HSE and the HSE Science & Research Centre have now issued updated advice regarding the control of the very real risks from isocyanates:
https://bit.ly/3gvb6cR

The information covers, not just the facts about health risks and the required control measures, but also the consequences of cutting corners such as ‘visor flipping’ (https://bit.ly/2Acb74T) and the need to observe clearance times in spray booths (https://bit.ly/2TLkuiK).

And prosecutions can be severe, for example:

Car retailer Harwood Ltd was fined a total of almost £123,000 after an employee who worked in a spray booth developed occupational asthma. To quote the investigating HSE inspector:

“This serious health condition could so easily have been avoided by simply implementing correct control measures and appropriate working practices. Controlling employee exposure to hazardous substances is a legal requirement on employers and HSE provides guidance on how control can be achieved. “Appropriate controls could include use of a spray booth to carry out the paint spraying, use of a suitable air-fed respirator, checks to ensure equipment was adequately maintained and training provided to ensure the employee knew the risks and how to control them.”

EMPLOYMENT NEWS

Covid Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

On 26 May, the Government launched its Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, which allows employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments made to their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will allow small and medium-sized employers to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.

Employers are eligible to receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP (paid to current, or former employees) on or after 13 March 2020 if they operate a PAYE payroll scheme started before 28 February 2020 and had fewer than 250 employees at that point. The repayment can cover up to two weeks of SSP if an employee has been unable to work because they either have COVID-19 or are legitimately self-isolating.

Definitive information from gov.uk can be found on: https://bit.ly/3gxXxcs

ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

EA Annual Report

The latest Environment Agency’s (EA) annual Regulating for People, Environment and Growth (RPEG) report states that greenhouse gas emissions from industry have been cut by half in the last 10 years and compliance rates of energy efficiency and emissions trading schemes are above 98%: https://bit.ly/2ztx7rZ

However, waste crime (which seems to be endemic within a certain ‘cowboy’ sector in construction) continues to blight communities, cause environmental harm, and undercut legitimate business. The EA continues to target and prosecute those who flout the rules with enforcement action. The report highlights the need for businesses to do more, citing for 2018:

  • 533 serious pollution incidents, 14% fewer than 10 years ago, but 27% more than in 2017
  • 912 illegal waste sites closed down by the EA, a 12% increase on previous year
  • 896 new illegal waste sites discovered

Environmental Bill

A new Environmental Bill is currently going through Parliament although the current Covid crisis has postponed the Committee Stage report until late June 2020.

The Bill includes legally binding environmental improvements targets and a new independent Office for Environmental Protection which will scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action against public authorities, if necessary, to uphold our environmental standards. The office’s powers will cover all climate change legislation and hold the Government to account on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Brexit & 2020 Legislation Consultations

Various new pieces of legislation, mostly mirroring existing regulations, are currently sitting in the wings waiting to be triggered when we leave the EU. However, it is unclear as to exactly how changes will be achieved (if at all, given the current situation which has resulted in significant stalling); watch this space!

The Government has also said that there will be consultations on various legislation for England, such as WEEE, waste tracking, food waste collection, deposit return schemes and a new Waste Management Plan. We suspect that these have also stalled but will, no doubt, come to fruition in due course.

Environmental Prosecutions

The majority of environmental prosecutions during 2019 appear to have been waste management offences, and sentencing has been severe; for example:

  • Jamil Rehman, director at Electronic Waste Specialists Ltd (EWS), was sentenced to 5 years 4 months in prison and banned from being a director, and his brother, Saleem, given a 16 month suspended sentence after fraudulently generating £1.48 million in claims for 10,600 tonnes of fictitious electronic waste recycling.
  • Kennelpak Ltd paid over £75,000 to the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and the Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association (50/50) for its past failures to meet its packaging recycling obligations. The Company was unaware that, as they were handling over 50 tonnes of packaging waste, they had obligations under The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regs 2007.
  • Clifford Shee was fined a total of over £10,900 for failing to comply with legal requirements for 3 waste activities (storing mixed waste, storing hazardous waste and keeping detailed waste transfer documentation) and for storing 99 45-gallon drums of pollutant, combustible and hazardous waste near a potential water course and railway line
  • Shropshire farmer, Keith Wilson, was fined a total of £6,800 after illegally burying waste dust on his land near Market Drayton; no controls against local ground contamination had been taken and no environmental permit had been sought.

Yes, the UK waste management and permitting regulations apply to EVERYONE, not just big business; do NOT be tempted to bury or ‘manage’ any waste without knowing what you are doing!

If you don’t yet have a WHS Environmental Management System, now is the time to contact us; for the very reduced rate of £150 + VAT, you will be provided with everything you need to know about environmental law (including waste management and permitting, as well as the basis for sound environmental site management) and a policy to prove your commitment

AND FINALLY

And finally, we return to the Covid-19 virus. This photo was taken in, what must be described as, an exemplary site in Shropshire. Everything was laid out perfectly to keep workers apart, including some very new and effective ways of logging people in and out of work areas, so much so that social distancing seemed to be done naturally by everyone on site without a second thought. For instance, to ensure that only one person enters a property at any one time, workers sign in and out on the board:

STAY SAFE – STAY ALERT

FOLLOW THE RULES – DON’T IGNORE ADVICE

HELP SAFEGUARD THE LIVES OF THOSE YOU AFFECT
(after all – it is, and always has been, written into the Health & Safety at Work Act!!)

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

CORONAVIRUS / COVID-19

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd has previously issued advice and links to all clients to keep you abreast of industry guidance related to Covid-19; refer in particular to the interim short-form ‘newsletter’ issued in April and subsequent emails which gave further sound advice on how to approach Covid-19 risk assessment and management. It does appear (judging by phone calls received) that few clients are reading these communications; it is important that you take note of all past and future communications from WHS to ensure that you are completely up to date with what is expected of both employers and employees.

In addition, it is vital at this point that you also log into the ‘Clients Area’ of our website (using your specific company log-in details) to access the following very important Covid-related documents:

A wealth of additional information and general guidance is available from the HSE on:
https://bit.ly/3gv8UCg
https://bit.ly/2Bbvvn5 (relating the use of PPE and face masks)
https://bit.ly/2ZQUTcd (relating to the use of hand sanitisers and surface cleaners)

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is available to advise on how to organise and run your premises in accordance with the current, very comprehensive, guidance issued by industry bodies; please contact Laura Mort on 07791-670987.

However, as with all risk issues, we must remind all clients that we cannot advise on specific procedures unless we actually see the premises and working areas for ourselves. During April and most of May, to ensure that we have not put our staff at risk during the peak of the epidemic, we have been carrying out ‘virtual inspections’ only. We have now returned to carrying out actual premises visits; again, please contact Laura.

Despite falling infection and death rates, the virus is still out there and will carry on killing people unless we are all careful. To this end, we will currently only agree to inspections and/or visits to any premises if:

  • The WHS advisor or member of staff can drive to the premises; we are not yet permitting use of public transport; this will obviously be reviewed periodically as the epidemic subsides.
  • Adequate precautions have been established at your premises; we reserve the right to leave the premises should the member of WHS staff deem the situation at any place of work to potentially put him/herself at risk.
  • The site/premises is happy for us take our own precautions (as detailed below).

We respectfully ask for your co-operation in helping to reduce the risk of virus transmittal to WHS staff, as far as possible, by adhering to the following:

  • We will limit contact with others to the prescribed 2m distance where at all possible. Premises inspections do not necessarily demand close contact; in most cases, we will be able to observe and comment easily from that distance.
  • We will write reports etc. using our own pens and only whilst sitting in our own vehicles or an unoccupied (or reasonably unoccupied) area. We will allow management to read reports from a distance but will not require them to touch or sign reports if they prefer not to; rather, we will insert a name and ‘Covid-19’ in the signature space once we have their agreement to do so.
  • No member of staff experiencing, or even suspecting, they have Covid-19 symptoms will be permitted to visit any premises (including our own!) until the prescribed 14 days’ quarantine is complete and they declare themselves symptom-free.

This is worth re-emphasising the point that the virus produces a much greater risk of death in those who have previous respiratory issues. So this suggests, yet again, that failing to take care of your health and the health of your employees may well produce, not only the risks of occupational diseases, but also other knock-on effects in the future. So employers – provide good, appropriate and face-fitted masks for work with dusts and/or fumes. And employees – wear those masks and stop smoking!!

And, on that note, use of masks to help control dust/fume inhalation still requires face-fit testing; contact WHS to arrange testing, under strictly controlled conditions, either on site or at our premises.

Important Footnotes

  • To assist with early recognition of the virus at the workplace, Contour Heating Products Ltd has developed a ‘Health Check Station’ which can be easily installed and used at any workplace. This is an excellent addition to any employer’s Covid controls systems. Full details and price request can be found on: https://www.contourheating.co.uk/health_check_station
  • In addition, many organisations have provided freely downloadable posters to assist with social distancing etc. For those in our local area, Telford & Wrekin Council, who have been extremely proactive throughout this crisis, have several available on: https://bit.ly/2zCFLnV
  • As we have said previously, health & safety law and best practice still applies, despite this current crisis situation. Laws and regulations designed to ensure workers don’t fall from height, get crushed by plant or are subjected to health risks from dusts or fumes apply no matter what the circumstances, for very good reason. If businesses are operating, their workers MUST be able to work safely and there is no reason why this should be compromised. In addition, the legislation regarding welfare still applies; full welfare facilities must be provided at each premises regardless of size or nature. However, during this epidemic, management must think carefully about how best to organise the use and cleaning of the facilities that can satisfy both the law and the current Covid-specific requirements; as they say – ‘necessity is the mother of invention’!
  • Please do contact WHS, either through Laura or when one of our staff visits your premises, should you need to discuss what is or isn’t acceptable. The HSE are out in force and have been given extra Government funds to carry out Covid-specific inspections; so don’t let your guard down, we are here to help as much as we can.

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

The Government has reiterated that businesses can organise online training for employees, whether furloughed or not, during the lock-down to ensure that valuable productive time isn’t lost to essential training once we’re all back at work. To that end, WHS is running a number of essential courses, as detailed below.

Asbestos Awareness On-Line

Asbestos Awareness on-line course (2.5 – 3 hours)
Monday 22 June at 1pm; £40 + VAT per person

Please email enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places as soon as possible; places are obviously limited due to the logistics of online training.

First Aid

We are advised by our first-aid awarding body, Nuco, that we still cannot resume first-aid courses until the Government announces that the ‘Coronavirus Threat Level’ is at level 3 in England (expected early June if all goes well. However, Nuco have stated that all certificates that expire on or after 16 March 2020 will have their expiry dates extended until 30 September 2020 to give everyone a fair chance to attend a course.

To that end, WHS 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work courses, to be run with very strict Covid-specific controls, are scheduled as follows; those who need to attain or renew first-aid certification are advised to book places as quickly as possible as, although we have included additional dates, demand will obviously be high.

Dates:

  • 26 June 2020
  • 3 July 2020
  • 28 July 2020
  • 27 August 2020
  • 24 September 2020 (this is an amended date)
  • 27 October 2020
  • 25 November 2020
  • 18 December 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

As usual, please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places

Courses will be held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford. However, if any organisation requires attendance by 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit provided that suitable Covid-specific precautions can be agreed at the point of booking.

IOSH Managing Safely

Please note that the IOSH Managing Safely 3-day course due to take place 14-16 July 2020 has been postponed and will be re-scheduled at a later date.

GENERAL NEWS

Legionella

Businesses (including landlords) may be unaware that Covid-19 can produce secondary effects such as a very real risk of legionella within premises or equipment not occupied or operated through the lockdown. Examples would include hot and cold water systems, air-conditioning units, water features, spas, hot tubs and showers.

As this is such as serious issue, the HSE has issued specific guidance to remind those responsible of their duties. The bulletins and advice must be read and followed, particularly if equipment has been shut down for a week or more, to avoid resultant health issues (and possible deaths) for which the business would be held fully responsible:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/legionella-risks-during-coronavirus-outbreak.htm
https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKHSE/bulletins/28c2163

HSE NEWS

Safety Alert – Air Suspension Systems

Following several accidents, the HSE has issued a safety alert for the motor vehicle and roadside recovery industries concerning work on vehicle air suspension systems: https://bit.ly/3emrXwo

The very detailed alert concerns the potential collapse of vehicles during repair work, mainly due to the combination of unintended rupture or release of components from air suspension systems whilst the vehicle is inadequately supported. So the conclusion is obviously not to attempt such work unless the vehicle is in properly appointed workshop environment and appropriately supported; never by the roadside, and never without adequate supporting equipment for that type of vehicle.

COSHH – Isocyanates

We covered welding and welding fume in the April 2020 newsletter following the issue of updated of the HSE advice and guidance. The HSE and the HSE Science & Research Centre have now issued updated advice regarding the control of the very real risks from isocyanates:
https://bit.ly/3gvb6cR

The information covers, not just the facts about health risks and the required control measures, but also the consequences of cutting corners such as ‘visor flipping’ (https://bit.ly/2Acb74T) and the need to observe clearance times in spray booths (https://bit.ly/2TLkuiK).

And prosecutions can be severe, for example: Car retailer Harwood Ltd was fined a total of almost £123,000 after an employee who worked in a spray booth developed occupational asthma.

To quote the investigating HSE inspector: “This serious health condition could so easily have been avoided by simply implementing correct control measures and appropriate working practices. Controlling employee exposure to hazardous substances is a legal requirement on employers and HSE provides guidance on how control can be achieved. “Appropriate controls could include use of a spray booth to carry out the paint spraying, use of a suitable air-fed respirator, checks to ensure equipment was adequately maintained and training provided to ensure the employee knew the risks and how to control them.”

EMPLOYMENT NEWS

Covid Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

On 26 May, the Government launched its Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, which allows employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments made to their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will allow small and medium-sized employers to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.

Employers are eligible to receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP (paid to current, or former employees) on or after 13 March 2020 if they operate a PAYE payroll scheme started before 28 February 2020 and had fewer than 250 employees at that point. The repayment can cover up to two weeks of SSP if an employee has been unable to work because they either have COVID-19 or are legitimately self-isolating.
Definitive information from gov.uk can be found on: https://bit.ly/3gxXxcs

ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

EA Annual Report

The latest Environment Agency’s (EA) annual Regulating for People, Environment and Growth (RPEG) report states that greenhouse gas emissions from industry have been cut by half in the last 10 years and compliance rates of energy efficiency and emissions trading schemes are above 98%: https://bit.ly/2ztx7rZ

However, waste crime (which seems to be endemic within a certain ‘cowboy’ sector in construction) continues to blight communities, cause environmental harm, and undercut legitimate business. The EA continues to target and prosecute those who flout the rules with enforcement action. The report highlights the need for businesses to do more, citing for 2018:

  • 533 serious pollution incidents, 14% fewer than 10 years ago, but 27% more than in 2017
  • 912 illegal waste sites closed down by the EA, a 12% increase on previous year
  • 896 new illegal waste sites discovered

Brexit & 2020 Legislation

A new Environmental Bill is currently going through Parliament although the current Covid crisis has postponed the Committee Stage report until late June 2020. The Bill includes legally binding environmental improvements targets and a new independent Office for Environmental Protection which will scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action against public authorities, if necessary, to uphold our environmental standards. The office’s powers will cover all climate change legislation and hold the Government to account on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Other new pieces of legislation, mostly mirroring existing regulations, are currently sitting in the wings waiting to be triggered when we leave the EU. The Government has also said that there will be consultations on various legislation for England, such as WEEE, waste tracking, food waste collection, deposit return schemes and a new Waste Management Plan. We suspect that these have also stalled but will, no doubt, come to fruition in due course.

Environmental Prosecutions

The majority of environmental prosecutions during 2019 appear to have been waste management offences, and sentencing has been severe; for example:

  • Jamil Rehman, director at Electronic Waste Specialists Ltd was sentenced to 5 years 4 months in prison and banned from being a director, and his brother, Saleem, given a 16 month suspended sentence after fraudulently generating £1.48 million in claims for 10,600 tonnes of fictitious electronic waste recycling.
  • Kennelpak Ltd paid over £75,000 to the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and the Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association (50/50) for its past failures to meet its packaging recycling obligations. The Company was unaware that, as they were handling over 50 tonnes of packaging waste, they had obligations under The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regs 2007.
  • Clifford Shee was fined a total of over £10,900 for failing to comply with legal requirements for 3 waste activities (storing mixed waste, storing hazardous waste and keeping detailed waste transfer documentation) and for storing 99 45-gallon drums of pollutant, combustible and hazardous waste near a potential water course and railway line
  • Shropshire farmer, Keith Wilson, was fined a total of £6,800 after illegally burying waste dust on his land near Market Drayton; no controls against local ground contamination had been taken and no environmental permit had been sought.

Yes, the UK waste management and permitting regulations apply to EVERYONE, not just big business; do NOT be tempted to bury or ‘manage’ any waste without knowing what you are doing!

STAY SAFE – STAY ALERT

FOLLOW THE RULES – DON’T IGNORE ADVICE

HELP SAFEGUARD THE LIVES OF THOSE YOU AFFECT


(after all – it is, and always has been, written into the Health & Safety at Work Act!!)

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

CORONAVIRUS / COVID-19

This is a shortened newsletter to enable us to transmit our latest status to all clients as quickly as possible.

As at time of writing, the country is still functioning as best it can, in light of the instructions given by the Government and Public Health England in relation to Coronavirus (Covid-19) e.g:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

Wenlock Health & Safety, like almost all those working in the construction industry, are still operating as normal and we will do so as long as we possibly can to keep the economy moving – we certainly want to avoid a repeat of the devastation caused to the construction industry by the 2008 economic crash.

Rest assured we have already taken steps to protect ourselves and our clients during inspections and meetings, and we ask for your co-operation in helping to reduce the risk of virus transmittal as far as possible:

  • We will limit contact with others to a reasonable distance, both on site and in office circumstances. We are fortunate in our industry that the vast majority of tasks do not demand close contact, and our site inspections are no exception. We will be able to observe and comment easily from a reasonable distance.
  • We will write reports etc. using our own pens and only whilst sitting in our own vehicles or an unoccupied (or reasonably unoccupied) area. We will allow site management to read reports from a distance but will not require them to touch or sign reports if they prefer not to; rather, we will insert a name and ‘Covid-19’ in the signature space once we have their agreement to do so.
  • Welfare should be exemplary on all sites by law. We will expect to be allowed a high standard of washing facilities on all sites visited, complete with soap, hot and cold running water, and disposable paper towels or similar. Fabric towels are not recommended even under normal circumstances, as they can retain germs. Please remember also that hand sanitisers are NOT a substitute for good hand washing.
  • Our training programme is not being interrupted; when this current crisis dissipates, all contractors will still need to be legal and ready to deal with the challenges ahead. For classroom-based courses, we will position candidates as far as possible from each other (and from the trainer) and will adapt any exercises that normally require close contact and/or the sharing of materials.
  • We have received instruction from the awarding body for our first aid courses and can assure all participants that courses have been adapted to ensure that there will be no practical element for the time being, and no close contact or exposure to unsterilised equipment.
  • We will instruct any member of staff to immediately self-isolate if they experience any symptoms that may relate to Covid-19; you will not come into contact with any member of our staff who could be suffering from the virus

Don’t forget that as long as construction sites remain open, the risk of accidents has not diminished, and if anything, it may increase at this time due to distractions or adjustments in working practices. The law still applies and health and safety must still be considered outside of the risks posed by Covid-19. The HSE will still investigate and prosecute as necessary. Wenlock Health & Safety continue to support you so that we can all work together for both the health and safety of our personnel and for the longer term good of our industry.

Please be aware that Wenlock Health & Safety are not qualified to give any medical advice on Covid-19 beyond the comprehensive advice given and continually updated on the Government and Public Health England websites. However, our general approach as detailed above can act as a sensible basis for your own risk-based protocol. Please ensure that instructions are formulated and transmitted urgently to all personnel.

One last important point, both local and national media are continuing to issue a huge amount of information on a daily basis and can be useful resources. A warning though, do NOT listen to advice given on social media. For whatever reason, there is a lot of misunderstanding out there and a lot of deliberately misleading information, so following that type of advice could well be disastrous. Use trusted sources only please.

Forthcoming Courses

So, the current programme of training courses still stands until further notice and the forthcoming dates and fees are as follows. Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book.

Note that all courses are held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford. However, if any organisation requires attendance by 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 and agree costs.

All course fees below include tea & coffee and all course literature. However, lunch is included on some, but not all, courses; it is important to check the details below.

First Aid

Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses are as follows:

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

Dates:

  • 26 March 2020
  • 28 April 2020
  • 27 May 2020
  • 26 June 2020
  • 28 July 2020
  • 27 August 2020
  • 25 September 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

WHS can also run the full 4-day First Aid at Work course for companies who need additional skills and wish to send 4+ candidates; contact Vicki for fees. However, do initially discuss first aid requirements with your own WHS consultant to assess whether the 4-day course is actually appropriate for your circumstances.

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days (Tuesday to Thursday)
Dates:

  • 14, 15 & 16 July 2020

Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

CITB Courses

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 attendance is vital, not only because it affects the candidate personally, but also because it can seriously affect others. As highlighted in the previous newsletter, because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates don’t turn up.

Forthcoming course dates are as follows; all CITB course fees include lunch.

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 15, 22, 29 May, 5 & 12 June 2020 (Fridays)
  • 13, 20, 27 July, 3 & 10 August 2020 (Monday)
  • 14, 21, 28 September, 5 & 12 October 2020 (Mondays)
  • 13, 20, 27 November, 4 & 11 December 2020 (Fridays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 15 & 16 June 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 24 & 25 August 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 22 & 23 October 2020 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 7 & 8 December 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 20 & 21 April 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 29 & 30 June 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 7 & 8 September 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 2 & 3 November 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 11 May 2020 (Monday)

Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 4 May 2020 (Monday)
  • 8 July 2020 (Wednesday)
  • 17 September 2020 (Thursday)
  • 16 November 2020 (Monday)

Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

HSE NEWS

Welding

Following on from the item in the last newsletter regarding the revised HSE stance on welding and welding fume, the following HSE website provide further appropriate information and must be viewed by all companies involved in or commissioning welding at their premises:

New guidance https://bit.ly/2WxHt3b
HSE programme of inspections https://bit.ly/3a9smks

BOHS (the British Occupational Hygiene Society) has also issued a wealth of excellent information about welding controls and employee protection; guidance documents and management documents are freely downloadable from the foot of its ‘Breathe Freely’ site: https://www.breathefreely.org.uk/WST/

Leaving the EU

The following HSE press release explains how health & safety will NOT be affected in the near future by Britain’s departure from the European Union. It is a total misconception that we can depart from current legislation because it’s ‘European law – it is not. All health & safety laws followed due passage from our Parliament and are, thus, retained in their entirety until Parliament decides otherwise and follows due process.

LEAVING THE EU

From the 1st February the UK is no longer a member of the European Union.

During this transition period your duty to manage risk in the workplace will not change. Good health and safety is good for business and we want to help industry to manage risk well and proportionately. This will help maintain standards and keep people healthy and safe.

We will keep you updated on what you need to know during the transition period.
You can find out more on our Brexit webpages.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Importance of Contractor Management on Site

WHS continually stresses the importance of PC site management controlling ALL contractors on site and not assuming that the contractors’ own supervision if sufficient. The role of Principal Contractor has been enshrined in law and its functions clearly defined since 1994 (CDM of course). The PC has the legal duty to manage the WHOLE site, and that must include ALL contracts, sole traders, utilities, etc. Programmes MUST look at the total picture and NO contractor can be put at risk by the tasks being carried out by another.

Sadly, we see this misinterpreted or ignored time and time again; it is NOT sufficient to trust the contractors to control site risks themselves as they will only be looking at their own task, NOT the total picture. We came across a recent good example of this that sadly resulted in a fatality; refer to the Balfour Beatty safety alert: https://bit.ly/2U0xYHZ

Please take another look at your site management arrangements. Are your staff suitably qualified to control all works on that site, do they have enough time and resources to do so, is there sufficient engagement and pre-task information to be sure contractors are competent? If the answer to any of those questions is ‘no’, then the role of Principal Contractor cannot be carried our correctly and you risk lives and ultimate prosecution.

Changes to CITB Testing

The following has been issued by CITB and, as it contains vital information, employers and candidates should take note. We quote directly from CITB:

On Wednesday 1 April 2020, we will be changing the price of the CITB HS&E test(s) to £21.50 per test, and making some important changes to the CITB ID Policy.

Revised ID Policy

  • Candidates who will be taking their HS&E test on or after Wednesday 1 April 2020 will be asked to provide a valid form of ID from our revised ID Policy
  • You can view the revised ID Policy by clicking here: https://www.citb.co.uk/documents/cards2020/id_requirements.pdf
  • There will be a one month grace period from 1 April 2020 – 1 May 2020 for candidates who provide a form of ID which does not feature on the revised ID Policy. After 1 May 2020; candidates who provide a form of ID which does not appear on the revised ID Policy, will be required to provide the correct form of ID before sitting their test. This ensures that the revised ID Policy does not act as a barrier to candidates taking their test
  • We will be communicating this changes to candidates via the following methods:
    • Employer eNews content
    • Posters in ITC’s and Pearson VUE test centres
    • Booking confirmations
    • Test reschedule confirmation
    • CITB website updates
    • Social media
    • CSCS newsletter and website updates.

Price change (£21.50)

  • Candidates who book their test on or after Wednesday 1 April 2020, will pay £21.50 per test
  • The price of a mobile test will be £30.50 from Wednesday 1 April 2020.
  • Vouchers purchased before 1 April 2020 will still be valid, and candidates who book their test after the 1 April 2020 will still be able to use the voucher purchased with no additional cost incurred.
  • Candidates who purchase vouchers from 1 April 2020, will need to pay the new price of £21.50
  • Please can we ask you to share this information with your external networks via social media feeds, newsletters and website updates
  • We will be communicating this changes to candidates via the following methods:
    • Employer eNews content
    • Test reschedule confirmation
    • CITB website updates
    • CSCS newsletter and website updates.

EMPLOYMENT NEWS

Employment & Coronavirus

Although the laws are written to protect employees from unwarranted dismissal, etc., we are living in extraordinary times and employers and employees will have to work very much as one to enable companies to survive. Even the experts summoned to appear on TV and radio are having to admit that normal rules may well have to be bent to ensure the survival of businesses and livelihoods.

So the message is, yes we at WHS can help with employment law, but we should all do our best to be as understanding as possible because both employers and employees will be under huge strain.

GENERAL NEWS

‘Smart’ Devices

There has been a huge upsurge in the use of so-called ‘smart’ devices – home appliances, such as CCTV, lighting, heating, curtains, etc operated by Apps from mobile phones. Whilst these devices are undoubtedly a massive aid to home security and comfort, they come with a warning.

Many home appliances such as washing machines, tumble driers, cookers and microwaves come with a manufacturers’ warning that they should not be operated whilst the home is unoccupied or overnight because of the potential risk of fire. Indeed, many serious fires and loss of life have occurred for this very reason. So, before you’re tempted to buy a ‘smart’ appliance of this type, just ask yourself, do you really need to put it on when you’re not at home, can’t it wait for safety’s sake?

AND FINALLY


With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

Firstly, here are the statistics for prosecutions during February 2020, and they make sobering reading:

  • 25 companies fined – breaches ranged from poorly spray painting to dermatitis to being struck to forklifts to falling from heights.
  • 2 fatalities included
  • Total fines imposed £2.4 million – some as high as £400,000
  • Other court orders included a 16 month jail term and an 8 month suspended sentence

So, before you think of cutting corners or preventing WHS from visiting your sites, just ask yourself – which type of risk would be more prevalent on site, the risk of being killed or seriously injured in an accident and the demise of your company or the spread of a virus that can be controlled with commonsense?

Just a small sample of recent prosecutions follow:

 SPIE Ltd was fined £160,000 after pleading guilty to a truly appalling accident. A power pole delivered to a site in Scotland was left unsecured at the top of an embankment; it rolled down the embankment, trapping and killing a 12 year old child against a fence. A moment’s carelessness cost the life of a child.

  • Jevgenijs Sondors (JS Services) was fined a total of over £4,000 after failing to provide minimum welfare facilities at a residential refurbishment he was undertaking, despite previous Improvement Notices being served. The toilet provided wasn’t linked to a water supply and waste was caught in a bucket underneath (Third World standards, not UK!). It is worth noting that this was this a domestic property for 2 reasons:
  1. The HSE visit domestic sites just as much as commercial sites
  2. Domestic sites are covered by ALL health & safety legislation; just because it isn’t a commercial property, that does not mean standards are relaxed!
  • Fairhurst Stone Merchants Ltd was fined a total of almost £51,000 after a tipper wagon made contact with an 11kv power cable at the Company’s ready-mix plant. Despite information being given by the electricity supplier after a similar incident 2 years previously, the Company’s only action was to place 2 small warning signs which the driver failed to see. Luckily nobody was hurt with this incident but the heavy fine was imposed as the Company was clearly negligent in its approach to safety.
  • A 23 year old worker employed by Lindum Group was killed at a Lincolnshire site run by Melfort Construction Services in early January after being trapped under an overturned digger. One can only speculate at the causes; the HSE are currently investigating. However, this case prompts a few (repeat) reminders:
  1. ALL plant operators MUST the necessary proven competent for that machine
  2. Seat belts MUST be worn; this is not opinion, it is the law
  3. As discussed earlier, the PC MUST control and manage ALL contractors on site; it is the law
  • Mark Holland Group Ltd was fined over £55,600 after a 17 year old worker fell 3 metres through a roof-light. The roof-light had neither been protected nor marked out, nor had the youngster been appropriately instructed or supervised; he sustained serious injuries but could well have been killed. Another reminder:
  1. Employees under the age of 18 years MUST by law be covered by a specific risk assessment; refer to the template in your health & safety pack
  2. They MUST be supervised at all times
  3. They CANNOT be given any high risk tasks, as this clearly was
  • Principal Contractor E Manton Ltd was fined a total of almost £33,000, timber-frame designer, manufacturer and installer MTE (Leicester) Ltd over £26,000, and Principal Designer Thornton-Firkin Ltd over £15,000 for failing to establish adequate fire precautions for a timber-frame 3-storey extension being constructed at a residential home.

The risks of timber frame construction are obvious; however, the risks in this case were exacerbated as the extension was to an occupied elderly people’s home. Clearly the risks should have been recognised and managed at design stage and the prosecution of the Principal Designer reflects that.

  • B&S BM Ltd was fined a total of £27,000 and the property owner, Michael Cutmore, ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work and pay costs of £7,500 after they both stripped asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) from a former hotel ahead of its refurbishment.

An asbestos survey highlighted the presence of ACMs which should have been removed by specialists before refurbishment began; with a total disregard for their own safety or that of their workers and the public, the ACMs were stripped by both B&S BM Ltd and Cutmore himself!

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

CORONAVIRUS / COVID-19

This is a shortened newsletter to enable us to transmit our latest status to all clients as quickly as possible.

As at time of writing, the country is still functioning as best it can, in light of the instructions given by the Government and Public Health England in relation to Coronavirus (Covid-19) e.g:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

Wenlock Health & Safety, like almost all those working in the construction industry, are still operating as normal and we will do so as long as we possibly can to keep the economy moving – we certainly want to avoid a repeat of the devastation caused to the construction industry by the 2008 economic crash.

Rest assured we have already taken steps to protect ourselves and our clients during inspections and meetings, and we ask for your co-operation in helping to reduce the risk of virus transmittal as far as possible:

  • We will limit contact with others to a reasonable distance, both on site and in office circumstances. We are fortunate in our industry that the vast majority of tasks do not demand close contact, and our site inspections are no exception. We will be able to observe and comment easily from a reasonable distance.
  • We will write reports etc. using our own pens and only whilst sitting in our own vehicles or an unoccupied (or reasonably unoccupied) area. We will allow site management to read reports from a distance but will not require them to touch or sign reports if they prefer not to; rather, we will insert a name and ‘Covid-19’ in the signature space once we have their agreement to do so.
  • Welfare should be exemplary on all sites by law. We will expect to be allowed a high standard of washing facilities on all sites visited, complete with soap, hot and cold running water, and disposable paper towels or similar. Fabric towels are not recommended even under normal circumstances, as they can retain germs. Please remember also that hand sanitisers are NOT a substitute for good hand washing.
  • Our training programme is not being interrupted; when this current crisis dissipates, all contractors will still need to be legal and ready to deal with the challenges ahead. For classroom-based courses, we will position candidates as far as possible from each other (and from the trainer) and will adapt any exercises that normally require close contact and/or the sharing of materials.
  • We have received instruction from the awarding body for our first aid courses and can assure all participants that courses have been adapted to ensure that there will be no practical element for the time being, and no close contact or exposure to unsterilised equipment.
  • We will instruct any member of staff to immediately self-isolate if they experience any symptoms that may relate to Covid-19; you will not come into contact with any member of our staff who could be suffering from the virus
  • Don’t forget that as long as construction sites remain open, the risk of accidents has not diminished and, if anything, it may increase at this time due to distractions or adjustments in working practices. The law still applies and health and safety must still be considered outside of the risks posed by Covid-19. The HSE will still investigate and prosecute as necessary. Wenlock Health & Safety continue to support you so that we can all work together for both the health and safety of our personnel and for the longer term good of our industry.

Please be aware that Wenlock Health & Safety are not qualified to give any medical advice on Covid-19 beyond the comprehensive advice given and continually updated on the Government and Public Health England websites. However, our general approach as detailed above can act as a sensible basis for your own risk-based protocol. Please ensure that instructions are formulated and transmitted urgently to all personnel.

One last important point, both local and national media are continuing to issue a huge amount of information on a daily basis and can be useful resources. A warning though, do NOT listen to advice given on social media. For whatever reason, there is a lot of misunderstanding out there and a lot of deliberately misleading information, so following that type of advice could well be disastrous. Use trusted sources only please.

Forthcoming Courses

So, the current programme of training courses still stands until further notice and the forthcoming dates and fees are as follows. Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book.

Note that all courses are held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford. However, if any organisation requires attendance by 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 and agree costs.

All course fees below include tea & coffee and all course literature. However, lunch is included on some, but not all, courses; it is important to check the details below.

First Aid

Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses are as follows:

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

Dates:

  • 26 March 2020
  • 28 April 2020
  • 27 May 2020
  • 26 June 2020
  • 28 July 2020
  • 27 August 2020
  • 25 September 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

WHS can also run the full 4-day First Aid at Work course for companies who need additional skills and wish to send 4+ candidates; contact Vicki for fees. However, do initially discuss first aid requirements with your own WHS consultant to assess whether the 4-day course is actually appropriate for your circumstances.

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days (Tuesday to Thursday)
Dates:

  • 14, 15 & 16 July 2020

Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

CITB Courses

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 attendance is vital, not only because it affects the candidate personally, but also because it can seriously affect others. As highlighted in the previous newsletter, because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates don’t turn up.

Forthcoming course dates are as follows; all CITB course fees include lunch.

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 15, 22, 29 May, 5 & 12 June 2020 (Fridays)
  • 13, 20, 27 July, 3 & 10 August 2020 (Monday)
  • 14, 21, 28 September, 5 & 12 October 2020 (Mondays)
  • 13, 20, 27 November, 4 & 11 December 2020 (Fridays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 15 & 16 June 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 24 & 25 August 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 22 & 23 October 2020 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 7 & 8 December 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 20 & 21 April 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 29 & 30 June 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 7 & 8 September 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 2 & 3 November 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 11 May 2020 (Monday)

Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 4 May 2020 (Monday)
  • 8 July 2020 (Wednesday)
  • 17 September 2020 (Thursday)
  • 16 November 2020 (Monday)

Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

HSE NEWS

Leaving the EU

The following HSE press release explains how health & safety will NOT be affected in the near future by Britain’s departure from the European Union. It is a total misconception that we can depart from current legislation because it’s ‘European law – it is not. All health & safety laws followed due passage from our Parliament and are, thus, retained in their entirety until Parliament decides otherwise and follows due process.

LEAVING THE EU

From the 1st February the UK is no longer a member of the European Union.

During this transition period your duty to manage risk in the workplace will not change. Good health and safety is good for business and we want to help industry to manage risk well and proportionately. This will help maintain standards and keep people healthy and safe.

We will keep you updated on what you need to know during the transition period.
You can find out more on our Brexit webpages.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Importance of Contractor Management on Site

WHS continually stresses the importance of PC site management controlling ALL contractors on site and not assuming that the contractors’ own supervision if sufficient. The role of Principal Contractor has been enshrined in law and its functions clearly defined since 1994 (CDM of course). The PC has the legal duty to manage the WHOLE site, and that must include ALL contracts, sole traders, utilities, etc. Programmes MUST look at the total picture and NO contractor can be put at risk by the tasks being carried out by another.

Sadly, we see this misinterpreted or ignored time and time again; it is NOT sufficient to trust the contractors to control site risks themselves as they will only be looking at their own task, NOT the total picture. We came across a recent good example of this that sadly resulted in a fatality; refer to the Balfour Beatty safety alert: https://bit.ly/2U0xYHZ

Please take another look at your site management arrangements. Are your staff suitably qualified to control all works on that site, do they have enough time and resources to do so, is there sufficient engagement and pre-task information to be sure contractors are competent? If the answer to any of those questions is ‘no’, then the role of Principal Contractor cannot be carried our correctly and you risk lives and ultimate prosecution.

Changes to CITB Testing

The following has been issued by CITB and, as it contains vital information, employers and candidates should take note. We quote directly from CITB:

On Wednesday 1 April 2020, we will be changing the price of the CITB HS&E test(s) to £21.50 per test, and making some important changes to the CITB ID Policy.

Revised ID Policy

  • Candidates who will be taking their HS&E test on or after Wednesday 1 April 2020 will be asked to provide a valid form of ID from our revised ID Policy
  • You can view the revised ID Policy by clicking here: https://www.citb.co.uk/documents/cards2020/id_requirements.pdf
  • There will be a one month grace period from 1 April 2020 – 1 May 2020 for candidates who provide a form of ID which does not feature on the revised ID Policy. After 1 May 2020; candidates who provide a form of ID which does not appear on the revised ID Policy, will be required to provide the correct form of ID before sitting their test. This ensures that the revised ID Policy does not act as a barrier to candidates taking their test
  • We will be communicating this changes to candidates via the following methods:
  • Employer eNews content
  • Posters in ITC’s and Pearson VUE test centres
  • Booking confirmations
  • Test reschedule confirmation
  • CITB website updates
  • Social media
  • CSCS newsletter and website updates.

Price change (£21.50)

  • Candidates who book their test on or after Wednesday 1 April 2020, will pay £21.50 per test
  • The price of a mobile test will be £30.50 from Wednesday 1 April 2020.
  • Vouchers purchased before 1 April 2020 will still be valid, and candidates who book their test after the 1 April 2020 will still be able to use the voucher purchased with no additional cost incurred.
  • Candidates who purchase vouchers from 1 April 2020, will need to pay the new price of £21.50
  • Please can we ask you to share this information with your external networks via social media feeds, newsletters and website updates
  • We will be communicating this changes to candidates via the following methods:
  • Employer eNews content
  • Test reschedule confirmation
  • CITB website updates
  • CSCS newsletter and website updates.

EMPLOYMENT NEWS

Employment & Coronavirus

Although the laws are written to protect employees from unwarranted dismissal, etc., we are living in extraordinary times and employers and employees will have to work very much as one to enable companies to survive. Even the experts summoned to appear on TV and radio are having to admit that normal rules may well have to be bent to ensure the survival of businesses and livelihoods.

So the message is, yes we at WHS can help with employment law, but we should all do our best to be as understanding as possible because both employers and employees will be under huge strain.

GENERAL NEWS

‘Smart’ Devices

There has been a huge upsurge in the use of so-called ‘smart’ devices – home appliances, such as CCTV, lighting, heating, curtains, etc operated by Apps from mobile phones. Whilst these devices are undoubtedly a massive aid to home security and comfort, they come with a warning.

Many home appliances such as washing machines, tumble driers, cookers and microwaves come with a manufacturers’ warning that they should not be operated whilst the home is unoccupied or overnight because of the potential risk of fire. Indeed, many serious fires and loss of life have occurred for this very reason. So, before you’re tempted to buy a ‘smart’ appliance of this type, just ask yourself, do you really need to put it on when you’re not at home, can’t it wait for safety’s sake?

AND FINALLY


With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

Firstly, here are the statistics for prosecutions during February 2020, and they make sobering reading:

  • 25 companies fined – breaches ranged from poorly spray painting to dermatitis to being struck to forklifts to falling from heights.
  • 2 fatalities included
  • Total fines imposed £2.4 million – some as high as £400,000
  • Other court orders included a 16 month jail term and an 8 month suspended sentence

So, before you think of cutting corners or preventing WHS from visiting your sites, just ask yourself – which type of risk would be more prevalent on site, the risk of being killed or seriously injured in an accident and the demise of your company or the spread of a virus that can be controlled with commonsense?

Just a very small sample of recent prosecutions follow:

  • SPIE Ltd was fined £160,000 after pleading guilty to a truly appalling accident. A power pole delivered to a site in Scotland was left unsecured at the top of an embankment; it rolled down the embankment, trapping and killing a 12 year old child against a fence. A moment’s carelessness cost the life of a child.
  • Jevgenijs Sondors (JS Services) was fined a total of over £4,000 after failing to provide minimum welfare facilities at a residential refurbishment he was undertaking, despite previous Improvement Notices being served. The toilet provided wasn’t linked to a water supply and waste was caught in a bucket underneath (Third World standards, not UK!). It is worth noting that this was this a domestic property for 2 reasons:
  1. The HSE visit domestic sites just as much as commercial sites
  2. Domestic sites are covered by ALL health & safety legislation; just because it isn’t a commercial property, that does not mean standards are relaxed!
  • Mark Holland Group Ltd was fined over £55,600 after a 17 year old worker fell 3 metres through a roof-light. The roof-light had neither been protected nor marked out, nor had the youngster been appropriately instructed or supervised; he sustained serious injuries but could well have been killed. Another reminder:
  1. Employees under the age of 18 years MUST by law be covered by a specific risk assessment; refer to the template in your health & safety pack
  2. They MUST be supervised at all times
  3. They CANNOT be given any high risk tasks, as this clearly was

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

CORONAVIRUS / COVID-19

This is a shortened newsletter to enable us to transmit our latest status to all clients as quickly as possible.

As at time of writing, the country is still functioning as best it can, in light of the instructions given by the Government and Public Health England in relation to Coronavirus (Covid-19) e.g:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

Wenlock Health & Safety, like almost all those working in the construction industry, are still operating as normal and we will do so as long as we possibly can to keep the economy moving – we certainly want to avoid a repeat of the devastation caused to the construction industry by the 2008 economic crash.

Rest assured we have already taken steps to protect ourselves and our clients during inspections and meetings, and we ask for your co-operation in helping to reduce the risk of virus transmittal as far as possible:

  • We will limit contact with others to a reasonable distance, both on site and in office circumstances. We are fortunate in our industry that the vast majority of tasks do not demand close contact, and our site inspections are no exception. We will be able to observe and comment easily from a reasonable distance.
  • We will write reports etc. using our own pens and only whilst sitting in our own vehicles or an unoccupied (or reasonably unoccupied) area. We will allow site management to read reports from a distance but will not require them to touch or sign reports if they prefer not to; rather, we will insert a name and ‘Covid-19’ in the signature space once we have their agreement to do so.
  • Welfare should be exemplary on all sites by law. We will expect to be allowed a high standard of washing facilities on all sites visited, complete with soap, hot and cold running water, and disposable paper towels or similar. Fabric towels are not recommended even under normal circumstances, as they can retain germs. Please remember also that hand sanitisers are NOT a substitute for good hand washing.
  • Our training programme is not being interrupted; when this current crisis dissipates, all contractors will still need to be legal and ready to deal with the challenges ahead. For classroom-based courses, we will position candidates as far as possible from each other (and from the trainer) and will adapt any exercises that normally require close contact and/or the sharing of materials.
  • We have received instruction from the awarding body for our first aid courses and can assure all participants that courses have been adapted to ensure that there will be no practical element for the time being, and no close contact or exposure to unsterilised equipment.
  • We will instruct any member of staff to immediately self-isolate if they experience any symptoms that may relate to Covid-19; you will not come into contact with any member of our staff who could be suffering from the virus

Don’t forget that as long as construction sites remain open, the risk of accidents has not diminished, and if anything, it may increase at this time due to distractions or adjustments in working practices. The law still applies and health and safety must still be considered outside of the risks posed by Covid-19. The HSE will still investigate and prosecute as necessary. Wenlock Health & Safety continue to support you so that we can all work together for both the health and safety of our personnel and for the longer term good of our industry.

Please be aware that Wenlock Health & Safety are not qualified to give any medical advice on Covid-19 beyond the comprehensive advice given and continually updated on the Government and Public Health England websites. However, our general approach as detailed above can act as a sensible basis for your own risk-based protocol. Please ensure that instructions are formulated and transmitted urgently to all personnel.

One last important point, both local and national media are continuing to issue a huge amount of information on a daily basis and can be useful resources. A warning though, do NOT listen to advice given on social media. For whatever reason, there is a lot of misunderstanding out there and a lot of deliberately misleading information, so following that type of advice could well be disastrous. Use trusted sources only please.

Forthcoming Courses

So, the current programme of training courses still stands until further notice and the forthcoming dates and fees are as follows. Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book.

Note that all courses are held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford. However, if any organisation requires attendance by 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 and agree costs.

All course fees below include tea & coffee and all course literature. However, lunch is included on some, but not all, courses; it is important to check the details below.

First Aid

Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses are as follows:

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

Dates:

  • 26 March 2020
  • 28 April 2020
  • 27 May 2020
  • 26 June 2020
  • 28 July 2020
  • 27 August 2020
  • 25 September 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

WHS can also run the full 4-day First Aid at Work course for companies who need additional skills and wish to send 4+ candidates; contact Vicki for fees. However, do initially discuss first aid requirements with your own WHS consultant to assess whether the 4-day course is actually appropriate for your circumstances.

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days (Tuesday to Thursday)
Dates:

  • 14, 15 & 16 July 2020

Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

CITB Courses

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 attendance is vital, not only because it affects the candidate personally, but also because it can seriously affect others. As highlighted in the previous newsletter, because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates don’t turn up.

Forthcoming course dates are as follows; all CITB course fees include lunch.

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 15, 22, 29 May, 5 & 12 June 2020 (Fridays)
  • 13, 20, 27 July, 3 & 10 August 2020 (Monday)
  • 14, 21, 28 September, 5 & 12 October 2020 (Mondays)
  • 13, 20, 27 November, 4 & 11 December 2020 (Fridays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 15 & 16 June 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 24 & 25 August 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 22 & 23 October 2020 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 7 & 8 December 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 20 & 21 April 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 29 & 30 June 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 7 & 8 September 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 2 & 3 November 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 11 May 2020 (Monday)

Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 4 May 2020 (Monday)
  • 8 July 2020 (Wednesday)
  • 17 September 2020 (Thursday)
  • 16 November 2020 (Monday)

Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

HSE NEWS

Welding

Following on from the item in the last newsletter regarding the revised HSE stance on welding and welding fume, the following HSE website provide further appropriate information and must be viewed by all companies involved in or commissioning welding at their premises:

New guidance https://bit.ly/2WxHt3b
HSE programme of inspections https://bit.ly/3a9smks

BOHS (the British Occupational Hygiene Society) has also issued a wealth of excellent information about welding controls and employee protection; guidance documents and management documents are freely downloadable from the foot of its ‘Breathe Freely’ site: https://www.breathefreely.org.uk/WST/

Leaving the EU

The following HSE press release explains how health & safety will NOT be affected in the near future by Britain’s departure from the European Union. It is a total misconception that we can depart from current legislation because it’s ‘European law – it is not. All health & safety laws followed due passage from our Parliament and are, thus, retained in their entirety until Parliament decides otherwise and follows due process.

LEAVING THE EU

From the 1st February the UK is no longer a member of the European Union.

During this transition period your duty to manage risk in the workplace will not change. Good health and safety is good for business and we want to help industry to manage risk well and proportionately. This will help maintain standards and keep people healthy and safe.

We will keep you updated on what you need to know during the transition period.
You can find out more on our Brexit webpages.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Importance of Contractor Management on Site

WHS continually stresses the importance of PC site management controlling ALL contractors on site and not assuming that the contractors’ own supervision if sufficient. The role of Principal Contractor has been enshrined in law and its functions clearly defined since 1994 (CDM of course). The PC has the legal duty to manage the WHOLE site, and that must include ALL contracts, sole traders, utilities, etc. Programmes MUST look at the total picture and NO contractor can be put at risk by the tasks being carried out by another.

Sadly, we see this misinterpreted or ignored time and time again; it is NOT sufficient to trust the contractors to control site risks themselves as they will only be looking at their own task, NOT the total picture. We came across a recent good example of this that sadly resulted in a fatality; refer to the Balfour Beatty safety alert: https://bit.ly/2U0xYHZ

Please take another look at your site management arrangements. Are your staff suitably qualified to control all works on that site, do they have enough time and resources to do so, is there sufficient engagement and pre-task information to be sure contractors are competent? If the answer to any of those questions is ‘no’, then the role of Principal Contractor cannot be carried our correctly and you risk lives and ultimate prosecution.

Changes to CITB Testing

The following has been issued by CITB and, as it contains vital information, employers and candidates should take note. We quote directly from CITB:

On Wednesday 1 April 2020, we will be changing the price of the CITB HS&E test(s) to £21.50 per test, and making some important changes to the CITB ID Policy.

Revised ID Policy

  • Candidates who will be taking their HS&E test on or after Wednesday 1 April 2020 will be asked to provide a valid form of ID from our revised ID Policy
  • You can view the revised ID Policy by clicking here: https://www.citb.co.uk/documents/cards2020/id_requirements.pdf
  • There will be a one month grace period from 1 April 2020 – 1 May 2020 for candidates who provide a form of ID which does not feature on the revised ID Policy. After 1 May 2020; candidates who provide a form of ID which does not appear on the revised ID Policy, will be required to provide the correct form of ID before sitting their test. This ensures that the revised ID Policy does not act as a barrier to candidates taking their test
  • We will be communicating this changes to candidates via the following methods:
  • Employer eNews content
  • Posters in ITC’s and Pearson VUE test centres
  • Booking confirmations
  • Test reschedule confirmation
  • CITB website updates
  • Social media
  • CSCS newsletter and website updates.

Price change (£21.50)

  • Candidates who book their test on or after Wednesday 1 April 2020, will pay £21.50 per test
  • The price of a mobile test will be £30.50 from Wednesday 1 April 2020.
  • Vouchers purchased before 1 April 2020 will still be valid, and candidates who book their test after the 1 April 2020 will still be able to use the voucher purchased with no additional cost incurred.
  • Candidates who purchase vouchers from 1 April 2020, will need to pay the new price of £21.50
  • Please can we ask you to share this information with your external networks via social media feeds, newsletters and website updates
  • We will be communicating this changes to candidates via the following methods:
  • Employer eNews content
  • Test reschedule confirmation
  • CITB website updates
  • CSCS newsletter and website updates.

EMPLOYMENT NEWS

Employment & Coronavirus

Although the laws are written to protect employees from unwarranted dismissal, etc., we are living in extraordinary times and employers and employees will have to work very much as one to enable companies to survive. Even the experts summoned to appear on TV and radio are having to admit that normal rules may well have to be bent to ensure the survival of businesses and livelihoods.

So the message is, yes we at WHS can help with employment law, but we should all do our best to be as understanding as possible because both employers and employees will be under huge strain.

GENERAL NEWS

‘Smart’ Devices

There has been a huge upsurge in the use of so-called ‘smart’ devices – home appliances, such as CCTV, lighting, heating, curtains, etc operated by Apps from mobile phones. Whilst these devices are undoubtedly a massive aid to home security and comfort, they come with a warning.

Many home appliances such as washing machines, tumble driers, cookers and microwaves come with a manufacturers’ warning that they should not be operated whilst the home is unoccupied or overnight because of the potential risk of fire. Indeed, many serious fires and loss of life have occurred for this very reason. So, before you’re tempted to buy a ‘smart’ appliance of this type, just ask yourself, do you really need to put it on when you’re not at home, can’t it wait for safety’s sake?

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

Firstly, here are the statistics for prosecutions during February 2020, and they make sobering reading:

  • 25 companies fined – breaches ranged from poorly spray painting to dermatitis to being struck to forklifts to falling from heights.
  • 2 fatalities included
  • Total fines imposed £2.4 million – some as high as £400,000
  • Other court orders included a 16 month jail term and an 8 month suspended sentence

So, before you think of cutting corners or preventing WHS from visiting your sites, just ask yourself – which type of risk would be more prevalent on site, the risk of being killed or seriously injured in an accident and the demise of your company or the spread of a virus that can be controlled with commonsense?

Just a small sample of recent prosecutions follow:

  • SPIE Ltd was fined £160,000 after pleading guilty to a truly appalling accident. A power pole delivered to a site in Scotland was left unsecured at the top of an embankment; it rolled down the embankment, trapping and killing a 12 year old child against a fence. A moment’s carelessness cost the life of a child.
  • Jevgenijs Sondors (JS Services) was fined a total of over £4,000 after failing to provide minimum welfare facilities at a residential refurbishment he was undertaking, despite previous Improvement Notices being served. The toilet provided wasn’t linked to a water supply and waste was caught in a bucket underneath (Third World standards, not UK!). It is worth noting that this was this a domestic property for 2 reasons:
  1. The HSE visit domestic sites just as much as commercial sites
  2. Domestic sites are covered by ALL health & safety legislation; just because it isn’t a commercial property, that does not mean standards are relaxed!
  • Fairhurst Stone Merchants Ltd was fined a total of almost £51,000 after a tipper wagon made contact with an 11kv power cable at the Company’s ready-mix plant. Despite information being given by the electricity supplier after a similar incident 2 years previously, the Company’s only action was to place 2 small warning signs which the driver failed to see. Luckily nobody was hurt with this incident but the heavy fine was imposed as the Company was clearly negligent in its approach to safety.
  • A 23 year old worker employed by Lindum Group was killed at a Lincolnshire site run by Melfort Construction Services in early January after being trapped under an overturned digger. One can only speculate at the causes; the HSE are currently investigating. However, this case prompts a few (repeat) reminders:
  1. ALL plant operators MUST the necessary proven competent for that machine
  2. Seat belts MUST be worn; this is not opinion, it is the law
  3. As discussed earlier, the PC MUST control and manage ALL contractors on site; it is the law
  • Mark Holland Group Ltd was fined over £55,600 after a 17 year old worker fell 3 metres through a roof-light. The roof-light had neither been protected nor marked out, nor had the youngster been appropriately instructed or supervised; he sustained serious injuries but could well have been killed. Another reminder:
  1. Employees under the age of 18 years MUST by law be covered by a specific risk assessment; refer to the template in your health & safety pack
  2. They MUST be supervised at all times
  3. They CANNOT be given any high risk tasks, as this clearly was
  • Principal Contractor E Manton Ltd was fined a total of almost £33,000, timber-frame designer, manufacturer and installer MTE (Leicester) Ltd over £26,000, and Principal Designer Thornton-Firkin Ltd over £15,000 for failing to establish adequate fire precautions for a timber-frame 3-storey extension being constructed at a residential home.

The risks of timber frame construction are obvious; however, the risks in this case were exacerbated as the extension was to an occupied elderly people’s home. Clearly the risks should have been recognised and managed at design stage and the prosecution of the Principal Designer reflects that.

  • B&S BM Ltd was fined a total of £27,000 and the property owner, Michael Cutmore, ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work and pay costs of £7,500 after they both stripped asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) from a former hotel ahead of its refurbishment.

An asbestos survey highlighted the presence of ACMs which should have been removed by specialists before refurbishment began; with a total disregard for their own safety or that of their workers and the public, the ACMs were stripped by both B&S BM Ltd and Cutmore himself!

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

Forthcoming Courses

Forthcoming dates and fees for courses for 2020 are as follows. Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book.

Note that all courses will be held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford. However, if any organisation requires attendance by 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 and agree costs.

All course fees below include tea & coffee and all course literature. However, lunch is included on some, but not all, courses; it is important to check the details below.

First Aid

Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses are as follows:

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

Dates:

  • 25 February 2020
  • 26 March 2020
  • 28 April 2020
  • 27 May 2020
  • 26 June 2020
  • 28 July 2020
  • 27 August 2020
  • 25 September 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

WHS can also run the full 3-day First Aid at Work course for companies who need additional skills and wish to send 4+ candidates; contact Vicki for fees. However, do initially discuss first aid requirements with your own WHS consultant to assess whether the 3-day course is actually appropriate for your circumstances.

CITB Courses

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 attendance is vital, not only because it affects the candidate personally, but also because it can seriously affect others. As highlighted in the previous newsletter, because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates don’t turn up.

Forthcoming course dates are as follows; all CITB course fees include lunch.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 6, 13, 20, 27 March & 3 April 2020 (Fridays)
  • 15, 22, 29 May, 5 & 12 June 2020 (Fridays)
  • 13, 20, 27 July, 3 & 10 August 2020 (Monday)
  • 14, 21, 28 September, 5 & 12 October 2020 (Mondays)
  • 13, 20, 27 November, 4 & 11 December 2020 (Fridays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 3 & 4 February 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 1 & 2 April 2020 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 15 & 16 June 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 7 & 8 September 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 2 & 3 November 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 10 & 11 February 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 20 & 21 April 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 29 & 30 June 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 24 & 25 August 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 21 & 22 October 2020 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 7 & 8 December 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 2 March 2020 (Monday)
  • 11 May 2020 (Monday)

Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 16 March 2020 (Monday)
  • 4 May 2020 (Monday)
  • 8 July 2020 (Wednesday)
  • 17 September 2020 (Thursday)
  • 16 November 2020 (Monday)

Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

WHS Safety Awards

As announced in the last newsletter, we were delighted to recognise significant achievements in the field of health & safety during 2019 (within the WHS client base) by bestowing two awards. The responses from the two recipients since the announcement have been noteworthy in that, not only has internal company morale been boosted, but very positive responses have also been received from their own clients. So once again, we sincerely congratulate our winners:

  • Morris Property Ltd whose management have presided over a continuing year-on-year improvement to health & safety compliance, including an enviable record on training their workforce to the highest degree.

We see here James West and Steve Flavell accepting the award on behalf of Morris Property Ltd for Commitment to Safety from WHS Technical Director, Laura Mort.

  • Matt Kershaw of Edgebourn Building Contractors (Stourbridge) who has demonstrated a dedication to the wellbeing of Company employees, and also the safety of some of the most vulnerable members of the public with the Company’s work in social housing.

Matt is seen here accepting his award for Commitment to Continual Improvement from WHS Managing Director, Jackie Horsewood.

Hearty congratulations to both our winners! And to others we say, you too could receive an award if you can demonstrate the commitment to health & safety shown by these, and our past, winners.

Radon

WHS has issued a new generic risk assessment for Radon gas, covering the general risks, affects on health and essential controls. The generic risk assessment will filter through to all our customers over the coming months within your renewal packs; however, should anyone require a copy now, please contact the office and it can be emailed free of charge immediately.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can seep from rock strata, potentially causing cancers. Most architects and developers should already know the risks and requirements to prevent ill-health with new-builds; if you are unsure, request a copy of our risk assessment immediately! However, how many of us realise that this is a nationwide problem (indeed, a worldwide, problem) that can affect any of us both at work and/or at home with existing properties as well as new-builds?

The likelihood of Radon affecting our lives depends on where we work and live, and what controls are established within the building/s to prevent seepage. The information contained in the WHS risk assessment is invaluable to give you a heads-up on both the risk level in your area and how to proceed if you do find that you or your property may be at risk. In addition, go on-line for further information, particularly from Public Health England on: https://www.ukradon.org/

Keeping WHS Informed

May we reiterate once again just how important it is that we are kept informed of all accidents in or related to the workplace as soon as possible. We are still discovering instances of accidents that were either never notified to us or notified weeks or months after the event; where this happens, we cannot help you if the HSE become involved or if there is a claim made by the victim against your company.

We are here to help when there is an accident, including working out what are the possible contributory factors that led to the incident. But we cannot possibly do that if we are not allowed to see the working environment and/or persons involved or witnessing the event immediately (or at least within a short time); we cannot act on hearsay or corrupted evidence, i.e. where work has carried on and effectively over-ridden the facts on the ground.

Even if you are fully aware that health & safety on your site was not up to scratch on the day, believe us when we say that it’s best we know ahead of any HSE intervention or claim situation. We cannot assist in any shape of form in retrospect as we could never verify the facts.

N.B.
WHS issues comprehensive information about what to do when there is an accident and how to handle the aftermath. This is contained within your renewal packs.

HSE NEWS

Accident Statistics 2018/19

The HSE has issued a poster which displays, in very clear terms, the costs to both employees and employers of accidents and ill-health in the (UK) workplace during 2018/19. Displaying the poster can help to reinforce the message to employees that health & safety is everybody’s responsibility and any one of us can suffer if it’s ignored.

The cost is only £10, including VAT, and can be purchased on-line from:
https://bit.ly/302EgIn

In addition, the HSE has also issued a freely downloadable summary of the 2018/19, available on:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh1819.pdf

This summary is a must-see for all managers. The document breaks down each figure shown in the poster to give the full and shocking overall picture, including almost half a million new cases of work-related ill-health reported during 2018/19 – half a million, and that’s only the tip of the very large iceberg because many cases go unreported for various reasons. And the 1.4 million currently suffering from work-related ill-health resulted, during 2018/19 alone, in 23.5 million working days lost to UK industry – a phenomenal figure that results in both direct and hidden costs and losses to every business in this country.

So, as we have stressed so many times before, the HSE is right to target ill-health, and businesses must ensure they implement safeguards for the health and safety of all their employees, not just because the law says so, but because it makes economic sense.

It’s also disturbing to note that stress now accounts for 44% of all reported ill-health and 54% of working days lost. So again, apart from the legal (and moral) reasons for looking after your employees, it makes total economic sense to ensure their wellbeing is looked after both at work and, where at all possible, for their home life too. Whether you’re a contractor, an architect, an engineer, a developer or working within the multitude of other professions that go to make up ‘construction’, the same applies:

Get to know your employees; take notice of changes to their moods and productivity; show empathy to anxiety, particularly where a shoulder may be needed to help with personal issues; don’t bully and don’t enforce unrealistic workloads and deadlines. We must reduce the destructive stress that is a by-product of this industry.

Accident Statistics 2019/20

In addition, it is extremely disturbing to hear (direct from the HSE) that the fatality rate in construction is rapidly escalating. It was reported to us that, by the end of November 2018/19 (i.e. 8 months into the year), there had been 24 fatalities in construction set against, for the same period this year (2019/20), 34 reported fatalities – a whopping 42% increase!!

WHS is aware that there has been an upturn in work over the last few years – but also that this seems to have levelled off or, in some parts of the country, actually declined. Neither an increase in work nor a decrease (and subsequent tussle for work) is an excuse for allowing standards to slip. It’s not a matter of compliance with the law – we are talking about people’s lives here. And for each life lost, a family has also lost either a breadwinner or a loved one, usually both – and it could involve you or your company.

WHS is here to help; we are passionate about keeping people safe. So, for those of you who (still) don’t involve us as you should – start the new decade with a pledge to do so. And for those of you who do see us regularly – well done, keep up the contact, but also do listen to what we say because we say it for good reason.

Welding Fume

Any company involved in or commissioning welding on its site must take note that the HSE is tightening up on its policy towards what they consider as appropriate control measures to avoid the serious consequences on human health of welding fume.

All welding requires good ventilation as well as appropriate respiratory protection (RPE); however, ventilation alone is totally insufficient should welding be unavoidably carried out internally. In such cases, appropriately designed and properly maintained LEV (local exhaust ventilation) systems are required, along with the correct level of good quality and properly maintained RPE. Proactive planning must establish adequate maintenance and replacement regimes, and full records must be kept for both the LEV and RPE.

If welding takes place outside, good and properly maintained RPE alone may be acceptable, ensuring that the work takes place well away from others and wind conditions are accounted for. However, and this should be obvious to everyone, risk assessments are required for all welding work, whether internal or external. WHS issues a generic risk assessment for welding where there is adequate ventilation but, as with all WHS generics, this is only meant as a starting point. All companies are responsible for carrying out site or workplace specific risk assessment to reflect the facts on the ground – how and where the work will actually take place. If you require our assistance, please do contact the WHS office.

Further details of the HSE approach to welding can be found on:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/mild-steel-welding-fume.htm

And further in-depth information on how to manage welding fume can be found on the HSE’s website:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/welding/index.htm

INDUSTRY NEWS

Another Young Victim of Asbestos

This very recent report from the BBC (7 January 2020) highlights, yet again, that we can all become victims of asbestos-related diseases unless care is taken – even the very young:
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-51021204

Having achieved her ‘dream job’ as a bus driver in the West Midlands and, as a result of her passion and hard work, beaten 250 others to be named Bus Driver of the Year for 2018, poor Isobell Gall died on New Year’s Eve…at the age of just 29, having never worked in construction in her short life. What an awful for her family to start the new decade; may we extend our sincere sympathies.

Doctors believe Isobel may have contracted deadly mesothelioma when she was as young as 6. Although the most lethal types of asbestos were banned in the 1980s (when Isobel wouldn’t have even been a distant twinkle in her parents’ eyes) and all types finally banned completely at the turn of the century, her death is an all-too-poignant reminder that asbestos is still all around us in our daily lives, and ignoring the issue costs lives – young and old.

Transport services across the country are campaigning to raise awareness amongst the public through social media: #WeStandWithIsobel. There has always been an inexcusable lack of information presented to the general public about asbestos so they can be excused for not realising the extent of the deadly problem. But, we at WHS are still continually, quite frankly, disgusted at the general disregard for people’s safety demonstrated within a significant number of contractors and project managers alike in the UK construction industry, particularly those involved in domestic work.

So, sadly we need to start the new year – the new decade, a full 20 years after the total asbestos ban – by reminding everyone out there that asbestos is very real and very deadly and nobody, no matter who they are and what their function is, commercial or domestic, can afford to cut corners or ignore the issue. Isobel’s father asked ‘why my Isobel?’ Everyone must take this issue and the potential for exposure extremely seriously, both at work and at home, or you may be asking ‘why my child?’ yourself.

The Value of SSiP

Many of you will have gained a certificate under an SSiP awarding body such as CHAS, SMAS, Safe Contractor and the like. Well done, you have demonstrated that you have health & safety systems in place and can be legally compliant…but…

It must be realised that a certificate is only a snapshot in time of a company’s basic health & safety systems, and that the systems checked by SSiP relate to paperwork only. We are very aware that all too many contractors (and others) will complete paperwork just to get through SSiP, but will then not carry on using the necessary and legally required systems once the certificate is issued. This is unacceptable in the eyes of the law and, in fact, it can actually make things worse if there is an HSE intervention for any reason (an accident or a visit); the offending company will be sending out the message that it is wilfully ignoring compliant systems that they have in place and have been verified by SSiP.

If everyone did what they should do to keep employees safe, there would be no need for paperwork; the paperwork was established in law purely to ensure that adequate checks and records take place, and SSiP only checks the paperwork, not site safety itself. The certification and paperwork does not, in itself, prove commitment to health & safety. You can have all the checks, records and certification in the world but, if they do not relate to an adequate level of commitment on-site, they will not result in a safe site – and this has been proven in the courts on many occasions. A safe site is one where the right equipment, manpower, skills, security, time-frame, etc are provided in relation to the risks involved – nothing less.

In fact, this is now reflected in the ethos of the new ISO45001 standard which is replacing the old health & safety-related ISO18001. Previously, 18001 concentrated too much on establishing paperwork systems and adherence; it missed the point that safety at the workface is down to a multitude of other factors which result from a company’s commitment to a safe site, not just the documentation. ISO45001 now requires that safety be put into practice at the workface, and it is not reliant on paperwork alone – a massive improvement and one that WHS has been advocating for years.

So, to summarise:

  • Yes, you must get your paperwork in order; it’s legally required and you won’t get through any SSiP accreditation without it. But you must also…
  • Keep using the paperwork systems once you have your certificate, and
  • You MUST establish a safe site, regardless of whether you have a certificate or not – it is the LAW

And, if you need any further proof that SSiP does not help to keep you out of the courts, here are just 3 recent examples of ‘SSiP Approved’ contractors who were prosecuted:

  • Rose Builders Ltd was fined £225,000 + costs in October 2019 after a dumper driver was killed when the machine he was driving overturned whilst negotiating a spoil heap. Drivers had not been properly trained, instructed or supervised and, crucially, it was found to be common practice not to wear seat-belts on dumpers (as required by law).
  • Sulzer Electro Mechanical Services (UK) was fined £86,000 + costs in September 2019 after 2 workers were seriously injured by being thrown from the chuck of a large vertical boring machine. The HSE found that the interlocks on the perimeter access doors were not working and no safety checks were in place.
  • Rombalds Builders Ltd was fined £16,000 + an equal amount in costs in November after a worker fractured his spine in a staircase collapse. The staircase, which was the only means of access to the workface, was not properly supported but workers had not been notified that it should not be used.

In all these cases, paperwork (in place or lack of it) was not mentioned; in all cases, it was safety at the workface (definitely lack of it) was what counted.

So be warned, paperwork and SSiP certification is NOT the be-all and end-all of health & safety; commitment to the health & safety of employees at the workface is what counts – exactly as that demonstrated by our award winners above.

Seat Belts Must Be Worn!

As highlighted in the last prosecution case above, seat belts are essential for safety. They have been law since 1998 (over 20 years!) and are intended to hold the driver within the roll-bar (also law since 1998) and prevent him being thrown into the path of the roll.

WHS is continually seeing seat belts dangling to the sides or clipped together on the seat beneath the driver. This is totally illegal and lack of enforcement will result in the contractor being prosecuted (as above), not the driver.

To help site managers identify culprits easily and from a distance, green flashing beacons can easily be fitted to the plant; try https://www.htsspares.com/catalogue/electrical/beacons/led-seat-belt-kits A flashing green light indicates that the seat belt is engaged. However, the beacon cannot distinguish between whether the seat belt is properly engaged tight on the lap of the driver or engaged but being sat on. If an accident happens when the driver has wilfully engaged but not worn his belt, unless the practice is tolerated by site management, then the driver himself risks prosecution – assuming he lives long enough to answer for his misdemeanours!

So, yet another warning – seat belts must be worn by law (and for a very good reason), no excuses! Don’t wait till we (or the HSE) pick you up on the issue, it may be too late for a driver and for your company.

Changes to CPCS

Following on from the changes to the CSCS scheme previously mentioned, those of you who engage plant operators, either directly or indirectly, should be made aware of the following:

So-called ‘grandfather rights’ are being phased out for all CPCS categories from now on until 31 December 2024, with the intention that all plant operators must work towards an NVQ and hold it for renewals after the 2024 date. This has been in the pipeline for some while and has been highlighted previously in our newsletters.

However, there seems to have been a bit of a rebellion amongst older operators who, at their age, refuse to take a qualification when they are so close to retirement (!) so CSCS has relented somewhat and now require the minimum of a competence ‘interview’ with the operator at any test centre. The maximum charge for this (CSCS ensure us) is £160 but do note that the interview is in addition to the standard written CSCS touch screen test.

We have no further information on these changes, neither is there (currently) any information on the CSCS website. Our best advice at present is to contact CSCS direct if any of your employees are affected.

PAT & Insurance Implications

As the HSE and all other responsible health & safety-related organisations will agree, WHS strongly advocates that regular and competent PAT (portable appliance testing) is carried out on all your mobile electrical tools and equipment. The frequency will naturally depend upon the type of equipment, the frequency of use, the nature of use and the working environment; for example, we may advocate 3-month intervals for a heavy-use tool on site but may say that annual would be sufficient for the same tool in an infrequent-use and small workshop situation.

However, there is a misconception that PAT is law; it isn’t. In the same way that permits to work are not law but have become standard and accepted practice, PAT testing is a means to a (legal) end but is not law in itself. This is a very important point as it has come to our attention that some in the insurance industry may be implying it is legally required and that the insured would not be covered where the insurer’s interpretation of frequencies is not followed.

Where an insurance company dictates their terms for electrical safety and lays down in writing their required frequency for PAT testing, that obviously must be followed; it’s always vital that every business reads, understands and observes all restrictions within their insurance documents. However, where there is no such stipulation, you are quite within your rights to establish your own controls, which (and we would always advocate this) would be best to include an appropriate PAT testing regime.
What is legally required, however, is that all electrical equipment must be CE marked and non-defective when purchased, stored and handled appropriately, maintained in good working order and free from defects, checked visually before use each day with records made frequently to that effect, and withdrawn for use and repaired by suitable specialists when defects are found or suspected. Relevant regulations (so there is no excuse for not establishing proper controls) are:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974
  • The Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations of 1999

Specific information can be found on: https://www.pat.org.uk/is-pat-testing-a-legal-requirement/ To quote from the organisation’s website:

“Claims that PAT testing is required by law and that the client is breaking the law by not having it done are simply not true. The law does require however that employers, including self-employed, ensure that all electrical equipment that they provide in their business is safe and properly maintained. This means that PAT testing is a critical part of your company’s health and safety and should be considered part of a solution to your safety concerns.”

So, to summarise:

  • No, PAT is not law, but
  • Adequate controls to ensure all equipment is and remains safe for use are required by law and must be established and records established and maintained as proof
  • You will find yourself uninsured, not if you have failed to carry out PAT, but if you are in breach of the law by not ensuring your equipment is safe, so
  • It makes absolute sense to establish a PAT regime at frequencies that reflect the risks of the workplace.

Again, we are here to help; contact the WHS office for further advice and/or PAT testing itself.

EMPLOYMENT NEWS

National Minimum Wage

From 1 April 2020, the national minimum wage levels per hour for each age range are as follows:

  • 25+ £8.72
  • 21- 24 £8.20
  • 18 – 20 £6.45
  • 16-17 £4.55
  • Apprenticeships £4.15

National ‘living wage’ rates have not yet been set due to the December election.

Written Statement of Terms

From 6 April 2020, all new employees will have to the right to a ‘written statement of particulars’ from the first day of their employment.

Take note all those employers out there that don’t even give their employees proper contracts yet!! Proper and accurate employment contracts are required by law so, even if there is a delay in issuing that contract for whatever reason, from 6 April, employees must be clear about their terms of employment from day one.

Changes to Agency Workers’ Rights

From 6 April 2020, all agency workers will be (a) entitled to key information setting out their employment relationship with the employing agency and the terms & conditions of that employment.

In addition, all agency workers who have been in a company’s employment for 12 weeks or more will be entitled to the same pay as those on permanent contracts. And, all agency workers who are considered ‘employees’ will be protected against unfair dismissal.

Holiday Pay Calculations

From 6 April 2020, the reference period for calculating a week’s pay for holiday purposes will be extended from 12 to 52 weeks i.e. taking an entire year’s circumstances into account rather than a limited period.

Parental Bereavement Leave

From 6 April 2020, parents will have the right to 2 weeks leave if their child under the age of 18 dies or if they suffer a still birth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. This is a new and very welcome piece of legislation, aimed at giving parents time to grieve and reducing their stress.

GENERAL NEWS

Personal Safety

There is a very useful app for your iphone which can play a big part in ensuring your location can be immediately and accurately notified to emergency services. The ‘what3words’ app has allocated 3 specific words to each of every (yes every!) 3m x 3m square of the World so, by quoting those 3 unique words, emergency services can pinpoint your location exactly, even if you have no idea of the address.

The app is available in many different languages and can be used socially as well (find you friends, locate destinations, note where you parked your car, find your tent at Glastonbury!). However, it does tend to drain battery power as it’s operational continuously, for obvious reasons. But, despite this down-side, the app would be very useful for those of us who may visit greenfield and off-the beaten track sites, as well as densely populated areas where you may have no idea which street you’re in!

Go to the Apple app store or what3words to download.

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

Risk assess the WHOLE project!!

  • Mark Reski, trading as MR Roofwork & Leadwork was given a 6 months suspended prison sentence, fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 costs after carbon monoxide fumes leaked into the property of an elderly lady; fortunately, her life was saved by the sounding of a carbon monoxide alarm.

Reski was a roofer, not a gas engineer – so how did this happen? He had been contracted to remove and rebuild the chimney stack of the lady’s neighbour; he removed the shared stack but failed to assess the subsequent risks of not dealing with the (then) unsupported flue liner to the lady’s gas range. A flue liner left in this condition cannot function; as a result, the carbon monoxide emanating from the range entered her property. The HSE found that Reski had failed to make enquiries into what gas appliances would have been affected by his work, i.e. he had not thought further than his immediate work.

  • Unique Envelope Façade Solutions Ltd was fined a total of over £21,500 after two workers narrowed avoided electrocution but did receive serious burns by drilling into a cable while attempting to fix a pre-fabricated cowling.

The possibility of contact with existing cables housed in a cable tray had not been assessed, nor had alternative methods of fixing which did not require drilling been explored.

  • Thames Water Utilities Ltd was fined a total of almost £316,500 after three workers were swept along a sewer. None of them suffered more than minor injuries but all have been affected by traumatic stress – which is hardly surprising, they must have thought they would die.

Although pumps which controlled the level of sewage were in place as usual, nobody had considered the possibility of, and controls necessary, to prevent the workers being swept along the sewer should the worst happen and levels rise – which is exactly what happened when there was an unpredicted power cut and the pumps stopped working

N.B.
WHS is continually stressing just how vital it is to risk assess the entire project, not just individual tasks; risk assessment must take into account the whole picture, including how each task affects the others, and the effect on the works from external factors. NO EXCUSES; risk assessment must cover every aspect of the site, or serious accidents like those highlighted above will continue to happen.

Work at height

  • WD Cormack & Sons was fined £8,000 after a driver fell almost 3 metres from a trailer, sustaining severe injuries. The driver had been securing grain bags on the curtain-side trailer; no means of preventing falls from this considerable height had been considered. A reminder: ‘work at height’ relates to any work off the ground, not just confined to construction; the risks of harm are just the same.
  • Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd was fined a total of over £298,000 after a worker sustained very serious injuries falling 4.8 metres through an unprotected opening in a water tower at a property owned by Company Director, Richard McAlpine. Another reminder: health & safety controls are required whether the work is carried out at a commercial or domestic site; the risks of harm are just the same.
  • Light Power Grp Ltd was fined £80,000 and its director, Michael Webb, given a suspended 12-month sentence, and ordered to carry out 200 hours community work and pay costs of £15,000 after a worker was killed falling 7 metres through a fragile roof. The worker was Webb’s brother.
  • M&M Damproof Co. Ltd was fined a total of almost £21,000 after a worker received serious multiple fractures falling 5 metres head first from the corrugated roof of a motor vehicle workshop under repair. Two workers had accessed the pitched roof by ladder and no edge protection had been set up to prevent falls from the roof, or through the fragile sheeting or roof-lights. He was lucky not to have been killed.
  • Decorator, Ian Ramsey, was given a 12-month community order and ordered to carry out 160 hours unpaid work and pay costs of over £2,000 after one of his employees was paralysed from the waist down falling from a roof ladder. No edge protection had been set up to prevent falls, nor had adequate access equipment been provided.
  • Pearson Property Developments Ltd was fined total of almost £13,000 after a worker sustained serious eye injuries by being struck on the face by a loose tower scaffold platform. The platform had been overhanging the edge and, when the worker stepped on, it flicked up and struck him. The Company had failed to properly supervise, train workers to erect towers and ensure competent inspections were carried out before ascent. A catalogue of errors which could have cost the worker his life.

Demolition

  • Building development company, Balmonza Ltd was fined a total of £21,000 and its director, Kulvinder Singh a total of £6,000 after being observed ‘unsafely’ (or should that be recklessly?) demolishing a pub.

Just look at the incriminating video clip recorded by a member of the public:
https://youtu.be/guxU3rV6fxw
Unbelievable!!

This was a catalogue of totally irresponsible practices that could have, so easily, caused injury or death: the method of demolition, lack of public protection, services (gas and electric) had not been cut off, and who knows what was in there as regards asbestos because there was certainly no asbestos survey!

Non-compliance with enforcement

But non-compliance is only the tip of a very huge iceberg in this case!!

  • All Type Electrical & Building Ltd was fined over £65,000 and its director given an 18-week suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and pay over £5,000 in costs after failing to comply with 2 prohibition notices and 2 improvement notices served on a site in London.

The photos speak for themselves! There are too many serious faults to even begin to list them here!

N.B.
The conclusion has to be that, as with the demolition prosecution above, there are far too many people dabbling in construction who haven’t got a clue about safely. But, again, the law applies to everyone, no matter what the situation, for very good reason; the risks of harm are just the same.

Buried services

  • G&R Groundworks (South East) Ltd was fined a total of over £35,000 after a worker received serious burns to 50% of his body when he struck an 11kv cable with a pneumatic drill. The Company had failed to obtain service plans, nor had it provided a CAT detector and suitable training to locate electrical services.

And, yes, is just as important to do your homework for all ground disturbance; cables may be very near the surface, in unpredictable places and/or the jackhammer may slip and strike a cable nearby.

Vibration

  • Property developer and management company, Places for People Homes Ltd, was fined a total of almost £614,000 after five employees developed HAVS over a period of five years from the vibration emanating whilst using grounds maintenance equipment. The Company had failed to provide health surveillance or training, nor had it maintained and replaced tools to ensure vibration levels were reduced.

N.B.
The massive level of this fine demonstrates that vibration is not considered a minor issue by the HSE or the courts. HAVS and similar conditions are serious, debilitating and life-changing; they must be taken seriously or employees will continue to be harmed … employers will continue to end up in court.

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