Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to book places.
All necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and, particularly for the First Aid and CITB courses, relevant information clearly passed to candidates.
Please enquire about other courses available, both classroom and non-classroom based; the full range is also detailed on our website:
1-day Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; strict Covid-specific controls will still apply for the moment and will be advised within the joining instructions. Spaces are therefore limited and demand is always high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment:
Cost: £85 + VAT per person
A 3-day IOSH Managing Safely course:
Cost: £395 + VAT per person
It must be noted that CITB attendance rules are very strict; they must be understood and are reiterated here:
Please also note that start and finish times have had to be adjusted to suit current strict CITB rules. Candidates must arrive by 8.15*am for registration; all courses start at 8.30 am and finish at 4.30 pm.
* Please reiterate to all candidates the absolute need to make their way up to the WHS offices and log in immediately upon arrival to avoid being charged for parking. Parking is free for all WHS visitors but there is only a 20-minute window for our staff to register for vehicle and avoid the charges – therefore, candidates should avoid parking up too early with the intention of waiting in their vehicles!
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)
The following very recent HSE prosecution serves as a warning to anyone tempted not to report serious injuries or occurrences to the HSE as required under RIDDOR:
Site manager, Paul Adams, was jailed for 6 months for failing to report an accident on his site that resulted in an amputation. A 1.7-tonne excavator had been provided for site clearance for a new house build in Surrey, equipment that was totally unsuitable for the work; the operator’s request for a 3-tonne excavator was rejected and he was pressured by Adams to use the smaller machine. The excavator tipped whilst digging, crushing his leg which later had to be amputated.
As if the accident itself wasn’t bad enough, things were made worse by Adams, who had 50 years construction experience, failing to report the ‘major injury’ to the HSE or investigate the accident properly. This was a clear breach of the RIDDOR Regs and Adams was jailed for 24 weeks and ordered to pay costs of £2,033.
SITE WIDE Safe Systems of Work
Asbestos removal contractor, Enviraz (Scotland) Ltd, was fined £150,000 after causing a gas explosion which fatally injured one employee and left another with serious injuries. The Company was commissioned to remove a boiler and pipework at the former Pastoral Centre in Wishaw and overspray walls to remove asbestos residues prior to demolition. The plan was to cut the boiler and pipework into sections for easy removal; however, the Company had failed to ensure the gas supply had been isolated, with the result that the workers cut through a live gas outlet, causing an explosion.
The risk assessment and plan of work had identified that gas services were present but the Company failed to ensure the gas supply had been isolated and pipework purged before starting work. The Company had completely failed to adequately manage the SITE WIDE risks, concentrating on asbestos alone.
There are lessons to be learned from this case. ALL contractors and project managers are legally obliged to risk assess and plan for ALL risks related to their work and to all others issues affected by their work. And ALL site managers must ensure that risk assessments and method statements presented by their contractors actually do take these into account; ALL RAMS must relate to that particular site and must include all risks and site wide issues related to and affected by their work. Generics are NOT permitted.
CONSTRUCTION SECTOR STATISTICS
The HSE has now published an A3 poster which visualises key 2020 statistics for the construction industry and clearly demonstrates the consequences of ignoring poor health & safety practices, including:
The poster can be purchased from the HSE for just £8.33 + VAT:
WHS strongly recommends that the poster is displayed prominently on sites and head offices to remind everyone of the appalling waste still experienced by this industry in terms of both life, livelihoods, business efficiency and costs – all of which remain staggering.
THE HSE HAVE EYES EVERYWHERE!!
Just a reminder and warning that, yes, the HSE does have eyes and ears everywhere! Non-compliant and dangerous practices can be spotted by HSE inspectors going about their normal personal business and, as we have illustrated many times in our newsletters, the public are very good at reporting breaches to the HSE as well.
To illustrate the point, enforcement was recently placed on a contractor for using a Stihl saw without dust suppression; the HSE inspector was just wandering past to fetch his lunch from Tesco! If you are working, you are on show; if you are working non-compliantly, make no mistake, you can be spotted and enforcement will follow.
SERIOUS SAFETY ALERT
With thanks to www.gov.uk for the important illustration
The UK’s national product safety regulator, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), has issued a Safety Alert relating to a chainsaw disc attachment being incorrectly sold for use with angle grinders.
The attachments are not designed for this type of use and reports have been received of injuries caused by kick-back when the wheel grips the surface and, as a result, turns sharply.
Anyone who has purchased these attachments are urged to withdraw them from use immediately and return them to the seller if it is believed they were marketed as being compatible with angle grinders. WHS would also suggest that sellers be reported to the OPSS if they continue to market and sell them as suitable attachments; you may be saving someone from very serious injury or death.
Further information can be found on the Government website:
STIHL PRODUCT RECALL
Manufacturer Stihl has recalled a limited product range of cut-off equipment because of possible faulty assembly. The items in question are the TS 410 and TS 420 models but only if they are within the serial number ranges: 189442634 – 190001700
The fault relates to the possible over-tightening of the flywheel-to-crankshaft connections during assembly which may cause the flywheel to break apart during use. Anyone affected is urged to remove the item from use immediately and contact their local Stihl dealer as soon as possible for a free repair.
CUTTING EQUIPMENT SAFETY – A REMINDER
A relevant reminder to everyone who uses powered cutting equipment either on site or in workshops (or at home for that matter!). Effective guarding of blades is legally required for very good reasons – as is all health & safety legislation. The consequences of ignoring the legal requirement can, and still does, cause serious injury, misery and even death. As an example:
Borrowdale Construction Homes Ltd was fined a total of £32,567 after a worker’s hand was severed by an inadequately guarded mitre saw being used to cut skirting. The guard had been propped up, exposing the full front of the blade; during the work, the mitre saw fell forward severing part of the unfortunate worker’s hand.
This incident doesn’t bear thinking about and has obviously ruined the individual’s life. But, unbelievably in this day and age, it happens all too often that guards are removed or propped back, risking this type of accident again and again. Any worker found doing this on your site must be disciplined or removed; this cannot be tolerated – the risks are just too great for both the individual and, as this case demonstrates, to your company.
ALL EQUIPMENT WITH MOVING PARTS – ANOTHER REMINDER
The regulations and requirements do not just apply to cutting equipment; all equipment with moving parts is potentially lethal:
A worker narrowly escaped being strangled to death when his high-viz vest became entangled in an unguarded rotating spindle on a print machine. Only the quick action of a colleague saved the unconscious victim from death. The Company, Alfaplas Ltd was fined a total of over £164,000 for failing to guard dangerous parts of the equipment.
So, a reminder that the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, apply to ALL industries and require that the moving or hazardous parts of ALL work equipment MUST be properly guarded, or suitable alternative measures established to prevent any risk of contact during operation.
Another reminder, which really shouldn’t be necessary in 2021:
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 requires that falls be prevented by suitable means where injury may result. Previous legislation required that all falls >2m be prevented but the mention of 2m was removed in 2005 because so many deaths and injuries were occurring from falls of below 2m. A fall of 1.5m head-first onto a concrete slab can kill! So current legislation, quite rightly, centres around the need to risk assess the tasks to be carried out, the work environment and the prevailing circumstances; suitable fall prevention and/or protection measures must then be established.
None of this will be news to anyone reading this newsletter; after all, the current legislation has been in place since 2005 (and its origins go back to 1996 and beyond).
However, a lot of contractors still don’t seem to appreciate that falls are falls wherever they can occur; injury and death can occur anywhere. This includes internal edges during the construction of structures, and excavations where the depth or what is in the excavation can result in risk. For instance, a fall onto re-bar can result in nasty puncture injuries or worse, and a fall into a slab pit filled with concrete can result in ‘drowning’ or very serious burns.
Risk assessment and the establishment of suitable controls to prevent falls is legally required – no excuses!
WORK AT HEIGHT – SHOCKING STATISTICS
Following on from above, let’s just reinforce what falls from height actually mean to the construction industry and individuals every year.
10 million people work at height in some form or another each year, and each and every one of them deserves to be able to do their job and return home safely each night. But it is an inexcusable fact that work at height STILL accounts for more occupational deaths than any other cause. The shocking statistics speak for themselves; work at height accounts for:
Astonishing figures – but all contractors can all make a difference if we abide by the legislation and guidance that simply requires good risk assessment, selection of suitable equipment to access height and prevent falls, and adequate and appropriate training. But is that all?
No, designers and clients also have a huge part to play in ensuring work at height is considered from the outset and contractors are given the ability to work safely at height. CDM stresses that all risk situations on site are also the responsibility of designers and clients. It cannot be assumed that contractors will have to cope with whatever conditions are thrown at them, and let’s not forget that a key role of the Principal Designer is to ensure that this happens.
Health & safety must be (as is required by law) a partnership between all parties, from the client through the appointed designers, to the contractors and specialists – and one of the most important aspects of this is safe work at height.
Thankfully, the following accident is rare these days but is worth highlighting to illustrate that, again, legislation is there for good reason and compliance cannot be allowed to drop.
Logistex Ltd was fined a total of over £203,000 after an employee was electrocuted whilst servicing an air-compressor. The systems had not been tested or visually checked since installation and an incorrect isolation switch had not been identified. The Company had therefore failed in its duty to manage risk and were, therefore, found guilty of actually ‘creating’ the risk.
As a footnote to this awful incident, the victim wasn’t found for over an hour – an illustration of just how vital it is to ensure lone working is avoided, even in a live workshop or site environment.
FIRE RISK ASSESSMENTS
As you will all know no doubt, there is a legal requirement that all work premises (including all public buildings and sites) have suitable fire risk assessments (FRA). The level and detail to be included in the FRA will obviously vary according to the size and nature of the site or structure. However, we would remind businesses that the complexity of many structures and site circumstances may well require the assistance of suitably qualified health & safety professionals.
This is particularly true where the structures are large, have multiple occupancy, are open to the public or where fire risks may be introduced by the nature of the work being undertaken. It is not adequate in these situations (and we stress that this list is not exhaustive) for the owner or manager to do the FRA him/herself if untrained. Please contact WHS for further information.
SAFE KERB LIFTING
Everyone reading this newsletter should be using safe lifting devices for the laying of kerbs – if not, why not? The legislation has been around since 1992 and is a huge range of choice available to suit all situations. The legislation requires that kerbs, along with all other heavy items, should be lifted mechanically where at all possible and the use of manual lifters only permitted where the weight and nature of the item (plus the weight of the manual lifter) would not pose a manual handling risk. All lifting tasks must be risk assessed as usual and the choice of equipment justified.
However, the issue still arises of the safe mechanical lifting of radius kerbs. WHS has sought expert advice on this issue and been informed that much of the mechanical equipment can indeed safely lift radius kerbs, provided they are ‘front-to-back’ lifters. Users must check with the supplier that the product and set-up of the device is suitable for the intended use and the dimensions of the kerbs in question but, in general, the flexible or rubber grips can normally accommodate the radius profile. In summary, the equipment is available but the supplier must verify that it has been designed to accommodate the intended task.
With grateful thanks to the Interpave and the British Precast Concrete Federation for the expert advice given.
Having said that, lifting of all types is very much a design issue. As we’ve said earlier in this section, CDM states that all risk issues on site are not just a contractor issue but very much the responsibility of designers and clients. So maybe it’s about time that the issue is designed-out by both clients and designers not relying on standard detail but looking to innovative ideas.
A plea from WHS on behalf of neighbourhoods everywhere, and safety – please keep the noise down!
There is a natural temptation during summer months to allow radios to be used outside. However, this can result in, not only noise nuisance to neighbours but also a safety issue. Low noise levels are fine; however, WHS consultants have experienced such loud levels on some sites that it would compromise verbal emergency or safety instructions by simply not being heard! If radios are allowed on your sites, just check that they are located adjacent to the working areas so that levels can remain low and do not compromise either safety or cause a public nuisance.
And one more reminder, it is not permissible to use personal audio equipment as instructions then cannot be heard; this is stated in your inductions and must be enforced.
Summer may be here but the requirement to wear appropriate PPE never goes away, despite the sun shining! PPE is there for a reason, and the removal of any of it makes the risk of personal injury go sky high. High-viz vests are worn to ensure workers can be seen – so, if you really insist that it’s too hot to wear that skimpy yellow vest, you must write a sound risk assessment to justify why and how you intend to control the risks. A failure to do that would be a double breach of the law.
And taking it off to get a tan also exposes the worker to the very real risk of sunburn and/or skin cancer. So maybe that’s a treble breach! Not worth the risk.
POST-COVID RETURN TO WORK
There has been an element of both confusion and belligerence right across UK industry regarding the right of employers to require their employees to return to the workplace after working from home or isolating. Some has emanated from genuine concerns about individual safety, whilst others seem to stem from a rather selfish preference to continue working from home because it suits for a variety of reasons.
In a nutshell, unless there is a genuine concern about poor Covid-prevention measures at the workplace, i.e. it’s a definite legal ‘health & safety’ issue, then the employee has no right to refuse to come into work. The employee would have been employed on the basis of that work address, so the contract still stands.
This has already been tested in court with the very recent case brought by an employee of Leeds Laser Cutting Ltd, and the employee lost his case. In the judge’s opinion, adequate Covid-safety measures had been implemented by the Company and there was no reason for the employee to consider his return to work unsafe. The judge commented “I do not consider that any belief that there were circumstances of serious and imminent danger were objectively reasonable”.
Having said that, we must remind all businesses that, despite the removal of Covid restrictions by the Government, ALL businesses remain wholly responsible for the health, safety and welfare of all employees (and others affected by their business) so the implied implication that many of the controls should remain in place would be prudent.
The requirement to isolate is still in place so the removal of controls would risk the business being disrupted still further as infection rates climb. Our message would be to be very careful before dropping your guard.
Further information, including industry-specific guidance can be found on the Companies House website:
The use of ‘standing desks’ has been an issue for a while now as a significant number of offices use them to enable people to ‘move around’ more rather than being seated at a desk for 8 or more hours a day.
As with all work situations, the use of standing desks must be risk assessed, and with this particular issue, that risk assessment must relate to both the individual user (for obvious reasons), the suitability of the work to be undertaken in this way, and the total working environment. It must be borne in mind that standing for long periods is a risk in itself, quite apart from posture at the desk. Equally, DSE risk issues also come into play.
WHS can help with risk assessment; please contact the office. However, there is no one way to risk assess standing desks as each workplace and every employee will have different issues; therefore, your WHS will need to visit the premises to observe before an adequate assessment can be made.
This type of stupidity is all too common; when will people learn?! No wonder 99 people fall from height each day. And this was on a wet day too!
But we concentrated on work at height in the last newsletter so we’ll take a look at some of the issues which have resulted in prosecution recently.
The serious harm done by lead fume and particulates is often overlooked in construction, despite the fact that there are specific regulations (similar to the asbestos regs) requiring lead surveys, strict controls and health surveillance. Contractors dealing with lead flashings or lead paint, etc in refurbishments MUST make themselves familiar with the requirements; extensive information is contained in your WHS pack. Failure to do so may result in serious health issues or worse and prosecution; the following case relates to refurbishment.
The excavation had been left open for 5 days over a bank holiday weekend, protected only by plastic barriers with no suitable alternative for pedestrians. The HSE commented that a risk assessment would have identified the need for backfilling if the hole was to be left, or a minimum of secure barriers.
The following two recent cases clearly demonstrate that demolition and structural stability must be properly risk assessed and adequate controls established and competently managed even on small projects:
Holgate was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter because, although faulty brakes had been reported by the driver several times, he had failed to rectify the issue. The Court found a ‘shocking picture of a company culture with a complete disregard of safety and maintenance; Judge Mr Justice Fraser said that a replacement valve would have only cost £200 and that the crash was a ‘disaster waiting to happen’.
The Company was found to have both an inadequate fault reporting system and a poor and totally non-proactive maintenance regime.
ALL equipment, no matter when it is, is legally subject to regular PUWER checks and inspections. This particular equipment was a large static machine and there was no excuse at all for the lack of pro-active maintenance and thorough checks. However, PUWER applies to ALL work equipment because even small tools carry some level of risk; failure to carry out checks and inspections will result in enforcement.
And the last word…accidents happen at home as well!
Prof. Brennan has said that “It was the most unexpected and terrifying experience of my life. I didn’t think it could happen to me…… I sustained multiple injuries and fractures, including a swollen, bruised and cut face, fractured tooth, three broken ribs, knee-cap, tibial plateau and toe. I just feel lucky to be alive.” The Professor has since posted photos of his horrendous injuries on the No Falls Foundation website as a warning to others: https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/2021/04/14/shattered-lives-prof-peter-brennan/
RoSPA has stated that every year approximately 6,000 people die as a result of home accidents, falls being the most common cause. Health & safety is important at home as well as at work; BE CAREFUL!
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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