It’s that time of year again so may we, at Wenlock Health & Safety, wish all our customers and colleagues a
very happy, healthy and safe Christmas, and New Year
In addition, please note that our office will close from 5pm on Friday 20 December 2019 and re-open at 8am on Thursday 2 January 2020.
Forthcoming dates and fees for courses for the remainder of 2019 and early 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.
Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses are as follows:
Duration: 1 day (6 hours)
Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Cost: £85 + VAT per person (please note the small price increase)
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
Dates: 28, 29 & 30 January 2020
Cost: £395 + VAT per person
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
Dates: PLEASE CONTACT WHS; no date currently confirmed
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)
As usual at this time of year, we like to recognise, in a small but significant way, the commendable efforts that some of our clients have made over the last year to tangibly ensure the health & safety of their personal, the public and others. Although we have already seen early but disturbing signs that some companies are becoming either complacent or cash-strapped and, thus, standards seem to be all too easily falling, others demonstrate an exemplary commitment to ensuring the well-being of their workforce and the safety of others. So this year we have two clear winners, both of which are shining examples of how things should be done – and how easy it can be if the commitment is there and personnel are valued.
Morris Property Ltd of Shrewsbury.
Working within the 150 year old Morris & Co Ltd group, Morris Property Ltd have expanded into commercial development and contracting over the last decade and, during that time, have shown continual improvement to health & safety and a commitment to ensuring legal compliance. Management are intrinsically involved with maintaining standards and have allowed us to recommend and do what we think is necessary to ensure that health & safety remains paramount throughout the Company’s operations.
Matt Kershaw, Health & Safety Co-Ordinator for Edgebourn Building Contracts Ltd of Stourbridge.
Matt has always shown commitment to improving standards through the Company’s systems in his role as Health & Safety Co-Ordinator, with a clear commitment to training the workforce. He has always worked with the mantra ‘if you wouldn’t do it yourself, then why ask others to do so?’, so has demonstrated a clear empathy. He has spear-headed compliant safe working systems, and personally monitors their effectiveness with a view to continual improvements where necessary.
Congratulations to both our winners; they set a benchmark of achievable construction-based health & safety. Photos will be included in the January 2020 newsletter – well done indeed!
Help with Dyslexia
Dyslexia can be a significantly debilitating condition which, with no obvious outward signs, can be hidden from employers and others, causing anxiety and suppressing confidence. It is a common issue within construction and can cause extreme stress when sufferers are required to write paperwork or undertake courses and tests.
WHS is well aware of the issues and we completely understand the reluctance of individuals to tell employers and, often, us as well. However, it is vital that those who need to know are told so that assistance can be offered. For example, WHS can offer assistance to those taking course and tests if we are informed beforehand – in confidence if necessary.
However, WHS has now taken a step to help both our subscribed employers and their employees to access appropriate government funded assistance. The Government’s ‘Access to Work’ scheme (established as a result of the 2010 Equality Act) is aimed at ensuring people can, not only work towards employment, but also stay in employment by offering practical help for all types of disabilities – including dyslexia. And the best thing about the scheme is that it’s free to employers who have less than 50 employees, and they only charge a nominal amount for larger employers.
The website gives details: https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work
but isn’t brilliant; it can be confusing and onerous when it comes to sorting what is actually available.
However, WHS now has access to a dyslexia specialist in the Telford area who can (free of charge) give first-hand assistance to help individuals through the process of accessing available help – which can include tailored software to help with the writing or understanding of paperwork.
Unfortunately, we can only offer the specialist’s service to those within the broad Telford area – but, if you are local and think you or your employees could benefit from this service, please do not hesitate to contact the WHS office. You don’t get much free these days – so take advantage!
COSHH Assessment Changes
Our COSHH assessment format is changing; the changes will come into effect (at no cost to you) as your documents are re-issued at renewal. The same information will be contained – but in a different order. The changes are primarily to make the documents more user-friendly so the information that must be known by workers is foremost, whilst other information required by management and emergency services (requiring technical details about substances) will be last.
So some timely reminders at this point:
Permits to Work Changes
Other templates are changing and, as highlighted in the cover letter when you receive your renewal pack, it is essential that you familiarise yourself with all documents and make the necessary changes internally.
One such change is to the permit-to-dig which has been required for ground disturbance for decades now. However, the industry standard terminology has changed from permit-to-dig to the (rather more accurate) ‘permit for ground disturbance’. You can carry on using the current format until such time as the new one is issued to you; but you must be aware that:
The permit-to-dig has always been intended to cover any ground disturbance at all (refer to your Health & Safety Manual) as it is just as likely that an underground service will be hit when banging in (e.g.) road pins or erecting fencing as when excavating. So be sure you are using the permit to ensure safety with all ground disturbance, no matter how shallow, brief or seemingly minor.
The Importance of Environmental Management
Environmental issues have hit the headlines recently as protestors try to ensure politicians actually do something about the current unsustainable use of our finite resources. However, when it comes to construction, there are a huge number of other day-to-day issues and legal requirements that we all need to be aware of, such as permits and exemptions, hazardous waste, allowable processes, siting of compounds, etc, etc.
Fines for breaches of environmental law can be enormous and prosecutions are frequent, often involving contractors who are either unaware of, or choose to ignore, legal requirements. Those of our customers who already hold a WHS Environmental Management System (EMS) are urged to ensure that all the information therein is read, understood and acted upon. Those customers who don’t yet have an EMS are strongly recommended to purchase one so that you know the facts before it’s too late! Even trades-people have legal requirements relating to (e.g.) disposing of and transporting waste, etc.
Our EMS comes at a bargain and one-off price of £150 + VAT for basic contractors (the fee may be a little more for unusual circumstances) and is reviewed and renewed each year free of charge upon re-subscription. It is worth this small outlay to have the information at your fingertips.
(With grateful thanks to the HSE for all photos; refer to https://bit.ly/2OPpuRV for further photos)
It’s pretty obvious why the following photos were subject to HSE enforcement….
But what about these?
If you are unsure of the answers, please contact WHS immediately!
Believe it or not, WHS still sees unsafe practices such as these during site inspections! And never forget that the Principal Contractor will be held liable by the HSE for any such unacceptable site conditions – because, even if the sub-contractor is proved to be adequately health & safety competent, the Principal Contractor’s site management MUST (by law) control who is working on site AND HOW THEY ARE WORKING! It’s fundamental and the HSE would always investigate the adequacy of site management first. For example:
Bowmer & Kirkland fined a total of over £356,000 after the director of the roofing contractor’s sub-contractor, JKW Roofing, was blown 11 metres off the roof of a school new-build in 2017 in the very high winds (in excess of 150km per hour) from Storm Doris. Roofing contractor, Advanced Roofing, was fined over £35,000 and the JKW director (and sole trader) given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay over £6000 costs. Yes, the roofer and the roofing sub-contractor should have refused to work – if they were competent roofers, they would have known that roof-work in significant (let alone high) winds should never happen. But neither should the Principal Contractor have ever allowed it to happen. Hence, the HSE found the Principal Contractor, PDR, had failed to plan, manage and monitor the work at height and was, thus, under CDM, almost totally liable for the serious injuries sustained; hence Bowmer & Kirkland was fined over 10 x that of Advanced Roofing.
And again, PDR Construction Ltd was fined a total of £233,000 and the roofing contractor, Metcalfe Roofing & Building Services Ltd, fined £2,000 after a roofer fell 3 metres through a fragile roof. The HSE found the Principal Contractor, PDR, had failed to plan, manage and monitor the work at height and was, thus, under CDM, almost totally liable for the serious injuries sustained.
An Important Reminder
Following on from the risks highlighted above related to high winds, WHS reminds contractors that the Work at Height Regs require competent recorded scaffold / access equipment inspections:
Events that could compromise the integrity and safety of work at height equipment certainly include high winds, flooding, ground instability, being hit by plant or vehicles, etc. The equipment MUST be inspected following such events BEFORE the next ascent BY LAW for obvious reasons, but WHS rarely sees this done.
Another Important Reminder
You may have seen on national news that Wood Flour Mill of Bosley (under the ownership of Wood Treatment Ltd) has been charged with Corporate Manslaughter, and a director and 2 manager charged with gross negligence, following the deaths of 4 employees in July 2015; the extensive uncontrolled wood dust exploded causing the mill to collapse and fires to break out: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-50349682
This was an appalling case resulting from management’s complete disregard for the safety of employees despite previous warnings. We await the outcome of the court case; the sentencing is likely to be considerable.
But a reminder – dusts can kill, and some airborne dusts resulting from flammable materials can kill by exploding. Significant concentrations (i.e. uncontrolled) wood, grain, dusts, sugars, even coffee and cocoa, can explode if there is an ignition source. And that ignition source could be as simple as heat from tools and static from mobiles. As stated above, COSHH assessments are legally required – for very valid reasons. And, in circumstances where flammable dusts are produced, they are absolutely vital. The COSHH assessment must dictate that airborne dusts are prevented as well as further appropriate controls, PPE, etc, something that certainly didn’t happen in this case, with the result that 4 innocent people lost their lives.
Safety on Forward Tipping Dumpers
Forward tipping dumpers are often fitted with cabs – but a word of warning here. The incorporated roll-bar has been a legally required safety feature for over 20 years; however, this does NOT make the cab a ‘safe place’ of work for the driver. The cab itself is not designed to protect the driver from falling materials; hence, the requirement to dismount whilst the dumper is being loaded STILL stands.
The presence of radon gas within both developing and existing sites in the UK is all too often overlooked. Many of you will have an appreciation of the very real risks to people living or working within affected regions (in a nutshell, radon is carcinogenic) and will know what has to be done to combat those risks. Others may be totally unaware of the risks and oblivious of the (often very simple) ways to control them.
WHS will be issuing a risk assessment for radon within your annual health & safety packs as from January 2020. Whether you are a developer, designer, contractor or, indeed, a business manager working from a static premises, please do make sure you read the risk assessment, digest what is required, and act on the recommendations. And don’t overlook the fact that your own house may be affected as well, so it’s doubly important that you act at home as well if you find your house may be affected.
As a starting point, everyone should make themselves familiar with the UK map from Public Health England, available on: https://www.ukradon.org/information/ukmaps which clearly shows areas of the country potentially affected or clear. Further information can be sought from: https://www.ukradon.org/
However, if anyone would like an email copy of the risk assessment in advance of your annual pack, please do feel free to ring the WHS office.
The following advice has been issued by the Utility Strike Avoidance Group (USAG), an invaluable resource for both groundworks and others who may make contact with utility services and is free to join; for detailed information, go to the website: https://www.utilitystrikeavoidancegroup.org/
To summarise the USAG advice:
However, WHS would also add:
These few simple practical rules issued by USAG can help you avoid contact with buried services – and the potential for serious injury and prosecution:
Refer also to the generic risk assessments for the voidance of both underground and overhead services.
Mental Health Awareness
WHS has covered mental wellbeing within the construction industry many times in recent years and offers specific courses to help identify and deal with mental health issues before it’s too late.
Additional industry-specific help is available free of charge on the Construction Industry Helpline App:
which is designed to give personal and confidential support to the individual,
or the 24/7 phone line: 0345-605 1956
Distribute this information to all your employees, give a tool box talk, and encourage them to download the App before, rather than when, the issue hits home.
Work at Height – Fall Arrest
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 require that, where scaffold and edge protection (fall prevention measures) are not practicable, fall arrest systems MUST be established to avoid injury through falls. Traditional fall arrest systems include bean bags and air bags, both of which have their problems, and crash decking which can be time-consuming and expensive to erect.
A good alternative to the conventional birdcage crash decking is Rhinodeck which is quick to erect, fully braced, economical system which can, in its steel format, be loaded to 600 kg/m2 (plastic up to 200 kg/m2 ). Edge protection can be incorporated where necessary. A 1-day training course is offered to ensure full competence for the erection of the system and (which is very good news) this is then suitable towards gaining a relevant CSCS card.
Go to: https://www.sayfasystems.co.uk/rhinodeck/ for full details and on-line tools to help you calculate your needs.
If bags are the preferred option, try Airdeck which are fire-rated/retardant, anti-static (ideal for the oil & gas industries), weather-resistant and long-lasting air bags which can prove very economical as they can be transported 50 bags to a pallet.
Go to: https://www.sayfasystems.co.uk/airdeck/ for full details.
Both products are manufactured and distributed by Sayfa Systems who have pioneered a number of excellent work at height safety access and fall protection products.
Go to: https://www.sayfasystems.co.uk/ for their full range of products.
Erection of any type of scaffold system, including crash decking, constitutes ‘temporary works’ and arrangements must, therefore, be made for competence, supervision and monitoring through both erection AND design. Contact WHS for assistance or further information.
Mobile Phones Whilst Driving
Many of you will have heard in the media that the Government is planning to close the loophole whereby drivers cannot be prosecuted for taking photos, scrolling social media or using their mobile phones for anything other than making calls or texting whilst driving: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-50250730
It never ceases to amaze us at WHS just how many people try to find loopholes to enable them to carry on doing what is clearly extremely dangerous – whether driving or whilst on site! Whether it’s illegal or not, driving without full concentration is dangerous!
Employers are reminded they are wholly responsible for the behaviour of their employees whilst at work – and this includes whilst driving for work. Those of you who haven’t yet put together a company driving policy should consider this a priority; lay down strict company rules about how you expect your employees to behave behind the wheel, including whether use of mobiles is allowable using blue-tooth (and under what circumstances) or banned completely whilst driving.
Remember, employers are liable for any fines emanating from employees’ breaches of road traffic law unless a sound driving policy is in place and signed by the driver. And prosecutions of employers do happen where accidents have happened as a result of bad driving, tiredness, poor vehicle maintenance, etc. If you need assistance putting a driving policy in place, do contact the WHS office.
Yet Another Victim of Asbestos
On 2 October 2019, father of 5, Phil Moreton passed away, becoming yet another victim of the killer asbestos-related disease mesothelioma. The thing to note about this case is that Phil evidently contracted the disease whilst playing on building sites as a youngster. 36 year old Phil had only been diagnosed 5 weeks before his death. He deteriorated very quickly, losing 5 stone in weight, and was unable to even hold his baby boy in his final days. Read the story and hear heart-rending testimony from Phil’s widow: https://dailym.ai/2WQGkBK
Can we just make yet another plea to everyone, whether you’re an employer or an individual doing DIY, please make absolutely sure you do NOT disturb asbestos. For the sake of your family, make sure you have an asbestos survey before you touch anything in buildings built or started before 2000. And, if you don’t know, don’t touch! Just imagine how bad Christmas will be for Phil’s wife and children.
With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs
First off this time, we highlight the consequences of, what can only be described as very poor site management. The Bowmer & Kirkland prosecution discussed above has already illustrated the points that the Principal Contractor is, under CDM, liable for safety in all work under their control, whether carried out directly or by sub-contractors. Here are a few more examples of the consequences of failing to properly manage sites – not only were contractors prosecuted but, more importantly, people got hurt. And do note also that management is just as likely to be held personally accountable these days as the businesses themselves.
WHS is continually pointing out that safety on all sites is the contractor’s responsibility, whether in a commercial or domestic situation. Just because the work in a domestic situation tends to be relatively minor, this does not mean that safety is secondary; indeed, as the occupants tend to be present, ensuring that everyone is kept protected and safe is even more of a priority as this case proves.
Work at height
In these last 3 cases, there had been no accident but the Companies were seen to be carrying out unsafe work at height without the necessary precautions; beware – the public are observant and the HSE are everywhere!!
Plant & vehicle segregation
STAY SAFE! IT’S THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT YOU CAN GIVE TO YOUR FAMILY
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
Get in touch today to discuss
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