- Safety in Industry
- Fire Safety
- Quality Management
Forthcoming dates and fees for courses are as follows; all courses are held at the WHS training rooms. 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.
IOSH Managing Safely
Duration: 3 days
9, 10 & 11 July (Tuesday – Thursday)
22, 23 & 24 October (Tuesday – Thursday)
Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided
Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses for the remainder of 2019 (to enable you to plan well ahead) are as follows.
Duration: 1 day Emergency First Aid (6 hours)
26 June 2019
25 July 2019
21 August 2019
23 September 2019
25 October 2019
26 November 2019
18 December 2019
Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is NOT provided
First Aid for Mental Health
Duration: 1 day Level 2 RQF (6 hours)
15 August 2019 (Monday)
Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch and refreshments included
The first of these courses sold out immediately – so book early to avoid disappointment!
Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
28 June, 5, 12, 19 & 26 July 2019 (Fridays)
6, 13, 20, 27 September & 4 October 2019 (Fridays)
11, 18, 25 November, 2 & 9 December 2019 (Mondays)
Cost: £495 + VAT per person
Duration: 2 days
17 & 18 June 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
5 & 6 August 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
7 & 8 October 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
4 & 5 December 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
Duration: 2 days
12 & 13 June 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
19 & 20 August 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
16 & 17 October 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
11 & 12 December (Wednesday & Thursday)
Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
Duration: 1 day
16 August 2019 (Friday)
Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
Duration: 1 day
29 July 2019 (Monday)
9 September 2019 (Monday)
7 December 2019 (Thursday)
Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
All CITB course fees include lunch.
Please be aware that CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.
Site Security – Fencing
THIS IS A PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT ISSUE WITH SCHOOL SUMMER HOLIDAYS APPROACHING
There have been a number of recent accidents and prosecutions relating to poor site security, all of which were totally preventable and seemingly caused by sloppy site management. Consequently, the HSE issued a safety alert last year specifically detailing the fundamental practices and precautions that are required to meet acceptable standards.
For the full text, which must be read, understood and adhered to by all construction site management, refer to: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/ladders-and-scaffold-security.htm
The main issue is lax site security, predominantly poor standards of perimeter fencing. Contractors are totally responsible under CDM for site security; CDM 2015 Reg.18(2) states:
“Where necessary in the interests of health and safety, a construction site must, so far as is reasonably practicable, and in accordance with the level of risk posed … be fenced off.”
Obviously, where works are taking place within the public realm (over footpaths, on occupied flats, in the domestic environment, etc), the likelihood of trespass is extremely high and therefore the ‘level of risk’ mentioned in CDM and expected standards of risk prevention are correspondingly extremely high. There can be no excuses; perimeter fencing must be, as an absolute minimum:
The HSE will not fail to issue enforcement if CDM Reg.18(2) appears to have been breached so take another at your perimeter security NOW…then keep looking to ensure that it remains effective throughout the works.
However, there are other issues relating to fencing that need to be assessed in relation to public safety, mainly preventing trip hazards and fencing stability.
Where temporary fencing panels (typically Heras) are unavoidably used in or immediately next to public walkways, the feet will pose a trip hazard if placed in the traditional way at right angles to the panels. The HSE recommend turning the feet in line with the panels; however, this then poses the very real risk of instability.
Contractor, Fadil Adil, was fined a total of £22,000 after a 91 year old woman suffered broken bones when unstable Heras panels fell on her. HSE Inspector Bernardine Cooney said: “The law clearly states that all temporary works, including fences and hoardings, are properly designed, constructed and maintained by competent people to ensure they are safe.”
The HSE stresses that “The fence line must be double clipped and if necessary, braces are to be used to aid stability, particularly for areas of uneven ground to minimise the risk of the fence panel falling over. In the case where the fence panels are erected in a long line, braces or triangular sections are to be installed” (WHS emphasis)
And don’t overlook delivery! Even safety during the delivering of the temporary fencing, which is obviously the first operation on any site, is the responsibility of site management. Do make sure the panels are off-loaded and temporarily stored away from pubic walkways, and stack them safety to avoid them slipping or snagging passers-by.
Site Security – Ladders
The second main issue highlighted in the HSE safety alert is that of the security of the scaffold itself.
All contractors and scaffolders must be aware that all working platforms must be erected in such a way as to prevent public access. Site boundary fencing must sufficiently contain the scaffolding to prevent trespassers (particularly children who will fail to see the extreme danger of climbing onto the scaffold) being able to reach ladders, platforms, poles, etc. Never allow overhang beyond or very close to the site boundary, and ensure that all means of shinning up and onto the scaffold (e.g. trees, walls, pillar boxes, etc as highlighted above) are also included well within the perimeter fencing to prevent opportunistic access. As above, the contractor will be liable for any injury resulting from preventable trespass.
In addition, and this is particularly important when the site involves a domestic situation or where scaffold is erected in a public area and cannot be adequately fenced off (e.g. scaffolding over a public footpath):
However, if ladder guards are used, they MUST consist of a metal plate:
To illustrate the point, the HSE safety alert includes a photo of unacceptable practice. It is clear to see that the ladder guard is far too narrow to prevent little feet getting a foothold to one side of the plate, particularly as it would actually be possible to move the plate further to the right.
And here is an illustration of what can happen if contractors DON’T adhere to this advice. Westdale services Ltd was recently fined a total of over £182,000 after a 12 year old boy was able to gain access to scaffolding to a block of flats by placing his feet either side of an inadequate ladder guard and fell 10 metres to the ground, sustaining very serious life-changing injuries.
Sloppy site management almost caused the death of this young lad; he survived, albeit with horrendous injuries, but many do not. We repeat:
the contractor is ALWAYS responsible for the safety of the public
Site Security – could it be any worse??!!
This was spotted very recently in the Wirral…
We’ll leave this to you – how many breaches can you spot?! And all in a completely unfenced publicly accessible garden area surrounding the flats.
The HSE recently issued a safety alert concerning the use and maintenance of vertical lifting platforms which provide access between floors and are hydraulically or electrically powered.
These platforms typically operate at much slower speeds than conventional passenger lifts and, presumably to hasten operations or maintenance, the HSE has found the disabling of interlocking devices becoming all-too-common practice which has resulted, on several occasions, in workers falling down open lift wells or becoming trapped beneath platforms. For the full safety alert text refer to: https://bit.ly/2HMz5U7
We would remind ALL businesses, both in construction AND general industry, that the tampering with safety devices such as interlocks or guards is a serious breach of PUWER 1998 and will certainly result in enforcement should the HSE spot it, or prosecution if an accident results.
And a last HSE safety alert for this newsletter – the re-classification of welding fume, including mild steel, as a serious human carcinogen. Therefore, with immediate effect, the HSE is tightening up on control requirements and enforcement. For the full safety alert text refer to: https://bit.ly/2Wig1qe
As we have highlighted before, the demolition industry seems to have taken a step backwards in recent years, with more and more accidents, fatalities and injuries occurring through bad practice and cutting corners. Refer also to the incident detailed in the ‘And Finally’ section below.
Whether the increase in accidents is due to incompetent contractors joining the demolition industry (as has, again, been highlighted previously) or whether client pressures are being acceded to is debateable. The airing of Channel 5’s ‘When Demolition Goes Wrong’ brought the issue to public attention as it highlighted the impact, rather than the causes, of the incidents.
Subsequently, the HSE released a series of case studies of fatalities and multiple injuries resulting from demolition or major refurbishments. They demonstrate strongly that the failure to plan, manage, provide information, monitor performance and adequately control sites are the underlying common factors. To plan, manage and monitor all construction (which, unlike what some people seem to think, includes ‘demolition’!!) is a legal requirement because it is common sense, and these case studies clearly demonstrate the dreadful results of failing to do so.
The full text of all 12 case studies can be found on the HSE’s press website: https://bit.ly/2W2XzSh
Anyone reading this newsletter who is involved in the demolition and/or refurbishment industry should read them thoroughly. And please, NEVER be tempted to get involved in something for which you do not have the appropriate level of qualifications, experience and managerial competence; it could prove fatal.
Changes to the CITB Touch Screen Test – IMPORTANT
Following on from the changes to the CITB HS&E (touch screen) test that we highlighted in the April 2019 newsletter, CITB have been working hard to ensure that the new test puts the safety of our British Construction Industry first.
Do be aware that the new test comes into force on 26 June 2019 and the changes to the test format are significant. Therefore, those of you who are booked or about to book a test MUST make sure you have the correct test revision material. Refer to the information in the two enclosures with this newsletter (one of which is in poster format to bring the changes to the attention of your workforce) and on the CITB website:
We thought you might also like to know that we at WHS have been working alongside CITB in the build up to the changes to help ensure the test is far more meaningful (i.e. knowledge is retained rather than just learnt by rote for the test) and user-friendly (i.e. questions are more straightforward). Our link with CITB is set to become longer-term as we hope to put our depth of knowledge and experience to good practice for the benefit of all our contractors, designers, and project managers.
So you can be assured that the feedback and complaints we continually get about various aspects of our industry does not fall on deaf ears. WHS has, for many years, put a lot of effort in behind the scenes to help improve the construction industry, and we don’t intend to stop!!
In the health & safety packs we issue to our contractors, we now include a generic risk assessment for the use of compressed air. We have felt this necessary because of a horribly dangerous practice that seems be becoming more widespread, possibly spurred on by the poor example set by some DIY programmes on TV – that of cleaning dust off clothes using compressed air!
It is all too easy to resort to something that’s quick and easy when covered in dust or detritus – but this practice can be a killer as the pressure is so extreme that it can easily penetrate clothes and, of course, skin.
To illustrate the extreme danger, see what happened to a worker who was subject to totally unacceptable horseplay which resulted in severe internal injuries: https://dailym.ai/2YHVUPF
And, still worse, the same prank killed this worker: https://bit.ly/2w7JDIj
NEVER EVER DO THIS, OR ALLOW THIS TO BE DONE BY ANYONE ON YOUR SITE
Manual Handling of Kerbs
As you know (or certainly should know!), manual handling of loads exceeding 25kg is frowned upon by the HSE, with the Manual Handling Regs dictating that loads must be ‘reasonable’ in accordance with the capabilities of the individuals involved. So why are we still designing in, and manually handling, pre-cast concrete kerbs which can weigh in excess of 65kg?!
Many years ago, the HSE issued a warning to all bodies commissioning road-works that manual lifting of traditional PC kerbs is clearly unacceptable and alternatives must be found. And way back in 2005, HSE Construction Information Sheet No 57 ‘Handling kerbs: Reducing the risks of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)’ was issued which detailed acceptable and recommended practice:
But nothing seems to have changed.
As with ALL construction work since the advent of CDM in 1994, the emphasis is placed on ‘designing out risk’ where at all possible or, where not possible, reducing to a ‘reasonable’ level. However, in our recent experience, not only is the instruction from both CDM and the HSE being ignored, the industry seems to have taken a step backwards and is rarely actively exploring alternatives to PC kerbs.
There are many alternative products and methods of kerb laying out there. Under CDM, all parties (clients, designers and contractors) are responsible for designing out or reducing risk to those at the workface; if not, enforcement (and claims from injured employees) can surely be expected.
Temporary Works – so you have insurance?
As you should also all know, temporary works (which includes scaffolding, excavation shoring, falsework, etc) must always be properly designed, planned, managed and supervised (refer to your Health & Safety Manual) but how many contractors and designers think about checking their insurance for any restrictions? We have recently come across several sites where contractors’ insurance restrictions limit the height of the temporary works (i.e. the scaffolding in these cases) but this has not been noticed or has been ignored.
As with ALL insurance cover, do make sure it’s exactly what you need and takes into account both your roles on site and the nature of the work for which you are responsible. And never assume that sub-contractors’ insurance will cover you!
Trip Hazard – a Simple Solution
We all need to frequently plug in our mobiles to re-charge, and often (particularly in offices) this results in trip hazards with the only available sockets being near the floor. So how’s this for a very simple but ingenious solution?
To all designers who, don’t forget, have the duty to ‘design out’ or reduce even the more commonplace risks:
The Lisse range of plug sockets produced by Schneider Electrical not only looks good but vastly reduces the risk of trips by incorporating a small lip on which mobiles can sit snugly. Clever!
A Travel Warning
How many of us throw caution to the wind when we travel abroad and tend to accept situations that would most definitely be totally unacceptable at home? Because other countries, particularly those who are less developed, are lax with regard to health & safety, we (illogically) have a tendency to ignore hazards. But this can often result in serious injury, disease or death.
In April, a young Shropshire couple died when the buggy they had hired to explore Santorini plunged 200 metres into a ravine: https://bit.ly/2ZqU3jq
Another young Shropshire couple died whilst just taking a taxi in Mauritius: https://bbc.in/2JWw2M6
And we probably all remember the tragic case of the two young children who died from carbon monoxide fumes when on holiday in Corfu: https://bit.ly/2WX82fo
But here’s another equally tragic example of why we should never let our guard drop when it comes to our health & safety, even if we are in the midst enjoying some well-earned R&R in a beautiful holiday destination. In April, the girlfriend of British backpacker, Jason Lee, was horrified when she heard ‘an almighty bang’ and saw him fall several storeys to his death from a roof terrace at an Airbnb in Guatemala. His body was flown back to the UK where an autopsy found that Jason had, in all probability, touched a live high-voltage cable which threw him from the terrace. The full story can be read on: https://bit.ly/2VRdaFx
At the risk of sounding like a spoil sport, do check out your accommodation, transport, food, and local hazards as much as you can before you travel – or, better still, travel with a reputable agency. Jason and his girlfriend opted for Airbnb which, naturally, would be governed by nothing more than local regulations – and in Guatemala, it could be assumed that safety standards would be non-existent.
If you like to organise your own trips, do as much homework beforehand as possible BUT ALSO check everything out at the destination before you commit yourself; don’t just accept what could be potentially dangerous situations just because you feel obliged to. Don’t let that dream holiday turn into a nightmare.
Is There True Gender Equality with Safety?
We have certainly progressed with gender equality in the workplace since the advent of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. Our MD comments that, when she began working in the construction industry in1975, the only PPE available to her was size 7 safety shoes (she’s a size 4 and needed safety boots, not shoes!) and size 40 overalls (she is a 34!).
Now, we are able to choose from a huge variety of, often very stylish, PPE so seem to have that problem sorted. However, as the excellent Guardian Weekend article of 23 February 2019 clearly demonstrated, the world is still ‘built for men’ to the extent that women’s safety is still at risk.
The article entitled ‘The deadly trust about a world built for men – from stab vests to car crashes’ is shocking and certainly raises awareness that we still have a long way to go, not just regarding political correctness, but far more importantly reducing risks to women both in the workplace and our general lives. The opening sentence makes reference to crash-test dummies mimicking the average male build which typifies the problem, with one police officer having to resort to surgery to be able to wear body armour which is shocking!
The article is worth reading as it makes you realise just how deeply gender inequality still exists within the basics of life: https://bit.ly/2twVa2s
With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs
As always, we highlight below the still unacceptable number of fatalities and injuries resulting from falls from height. But we start with two high-risk issues that are still not being taken seriously by UK industry, let alone within construction:
Health issues – COSHH
The adhesive was found to contain dichloromethane; therefore, Altro was found not to have ensured so far as reasonably practicable that the product supplied was safe for use. T Brown Group had not properly assessed the risks of using this product in an enclosed space, nor had they supplied appropriate respiratory protection (RPE); the victim’s mask was found to be totally ineffectual.
Carpet fitters, floor layers, other similar trades who inevitably use potentially hazardous products and contractors who sub-contract to them still do not, in our experience, take the risks of fumes and vapours seriously. Most products these days will be safe for limited use provided there is good ventilation and appropriate RPE – but we continually see workers who fail to take even basic precautions such as opening a window.
COSHH assessments are LAW; they MUST be carried out to reflect the way a company typically works AND must also allow amendment on-site pre-start to ensure any unusual circumstances are taken into account. If companies fail to do this, and to provide appropriate control measures, they risk killing their own workers AND occupiers AND the companies themselves as fines will be so heavy. Be warned!!
Evidently, Farnell had failed to provide measures to prevent structural collapse, nor had he secured the site against entry by others. Clearly, Farnell was not capable of demolition or compliant site management and this case is a demonstration of why it is SO important, and legally required, to ensure appropriate competence both in terms of skills and health & safety compliant systems.
Work at height
Weiser Construction is now in liquidation – a reminder that safety breaches risk both lives and livelihoods
WHS has also recently come across similar serious carelessness; loose planks left by scaffolders fell onto a major road through Wolverhampton, causing serious risk and the road’s closure by the Police. Such carelessness CANNOT be tolerated, and it was just pure luck that nobody was travelling beneath when this happened.
We have previously highlighted the issue of the overloading of floors under construction and how important it is to (a) agree a safe method of construction and (b) take control on site to ensure that the system is followed to the letter. Floor construction systems are based on specific methodology and, to either cut corners or to allow others to ignore your requirements, risks lives.
The risks to the health & safety of workers apply just as much to the domestic situation as to commercial – AND SO DOES THE LAW!!!
Note that, yet again, no accident had happened (thank goodness) but the prosecution took place on the strength of the photo alone
This case is all the more disturbing because it took an employee to be concerned enough to ‘blow the whistle’, after which it became necessary for him to take the Trust to a tribunal to win his case for unfair dismissal. The Trust’s behaviour with this, as supposed guardians of the public’s health, was shameful.
The worker had been told by Wadhams that the electrical equipment had been isolated and, to reassure a colleague that the situation was safe, he threw a crowbar at it, causing a flashover, temperatures of up to 1000 degrees and a fire.
Obviously, both companies had failed to establish safe systems and provide written evidence of isolation. However, although it wasn’t covered in the HSE’s press release, clearly throwing a crowbar into electrical equipment was a gross failure of safety awareness and almost cost this worker his life. The only time anyone should ‘throw a spanner in the works’ is to refuse to proceed without conclusive evidence of isolation!
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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