Forthcoming dates and fees for courses for 2020 are as follows. Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses are as follows:
Duration: 1 day (6 hours)
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.
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.
Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Cost: £495 + VAT per person
Duration: 2 days
Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
Duration: 2 days
Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
Duration: 1 day
Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
Duration: 1 day
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
In addition, the HSE has also issued a freely downloadable summary of the 2018/19, available on:
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.
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:
And further in-depth information on how to manage welding fume can be found on the HSE’s website:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
Again, we are here to help; contact the WHS office for further advice and/or PAT testing itself.
National Minimum Wage
From 1 April 2020, the national minimum wage levels per hour for each age range are as follows:
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.
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.
With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs
Risk assess the WHOLE project!!
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.
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.
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
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
Just look at the incriminating video clip recorded by a member of the public:
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!!
The photos speak for themselves! There are too many serious faults to even begin to list them here!
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.
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.
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
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