WENLOCK HEALTH & SAFETY LTD WISH ALL OUR CLIENTS
A VERY HAPPY, HEALTHY AND SAFE CHRISTMAS & 2022
Please note that the WHS office will be closed from 5pm on
Thursday 23rd December until 8am on Tuesday 4th January 2022
As mentioned in the October newsletter, we’re happy to have been able to retain our current hourly rates for a number of years now. However, due to various rising costs and increases planned by the Government from April 2022, we’ve had to make the decision to increase them just slightly for 2022. Nothing will change during the period of your current 2021/22 subscription, but the new hourly rates will begin to filter through subscription renewals from 1 January 2022; you’ll be notified in plenty of time prior to your renewal.
The rates per hour will be changing as follows:
Old Rate New Rate
Don’t worry though, your actual subscription cost won’t be changing, and all per person training costs for CITB, UKATA and First Aid will be remaining the same – which is all good news.
WHS SAFETY AWARDS
It’s that time of year again when it gives us great pleasure to recognise the health & safety commitment and achievements of our clients and, despite the extraordinary circumstances still in evidence throughout 2021, this year is no exception. We are therefore delighted to announce the following WHS awards for 2021:
Commitment to Site Safety – Darren Hands, Site Manager for the Shingler Group Ltd,
a long-established house builder based in Myddle, Shropshire
Commitment to Site Safety – Richard Rees, Site Manager for Fletcher Homes (Shropshire) Ltd,
another very long-established house builder, based in Shrewsbury
Well done to both our worthy award winners! Both serve as excellent examples of the high standards attainable in site management. The February newsletter will include photos of the winners and their awards.
Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com 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. And do please be sure to inform us ahead of the course date of any candidate who may require assistance in any way, especially with reading or writing; we need advance notice to be able to provide this help.
In addition to those below, please enquire about other courses available, both classroom and non-classroom based; the full range is also detailed on our website: https://wenlockhealthandsafety.co.uk/
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. Demand is always high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment:
Cost: £85 + VAT per person
MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID
1-day FAA Award in First Aid for Mental Health (Level 2 RQF), providing the knowledge to recognise a range of mental health conditions, start a supportive conversation and assist to seek professional help.
Cost: £85 + VAT per person
It must be noted that CITB attendance rules are very strict; they must be understood and are reiterated here:
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.
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)
Safety Alert – Plant / Pedestrian Safety
Whilst this HSE Safety Alert (https://bit.ly/3wMF0Sv ) relates to loading shovels used in waste and recycling industries, it is worth highlighting that the issues involved (lack of driver visibility) can also create the potential for fatalities within construction all too easily (or any industry that uses forward loading plant of any type).
With all plant designed to carry loads, it is absolutely essential to choose the right plant of the right capacity for the job so that there is never any need (or temptation) to overload and/or reduce visibility. In addition, other essential controls include:
N.B. A pertinent reminder here that segregation between plant/vehicles and pedestrians is a legal requirement regardless of the nature of the site or the type of plant/vehicles:
WHS still sees sites that lack sufficient (or any!) segregation, and this is even more worrying during the current prolonged periods of twilight and darkness. It is essential to make sure that segregation:
RPE & Face-fit Testing
As highlighted in the last newsletter, the HSE are actively targeting* the face-fit testing of respiratory protection (RPE) and beards.
* The HSE has visited a number of our clients’ sites already and several enforcement notices have been issued.
The general HSE guidance on RPE has subsequently been updated: https://bit.ly/3qFgmSQ
within which is stated the (mandatory) requirement for face-fit testing to ensure that RPE can actually do the job intended, i.e. to prevent inhalation of harmful substances:
You will see that the text in the guidance reinforces the message that beards inhibit the effectiveness of RPE and are not permitted if the task makes the wearing of RPE mandatory. To quote the HSE:
Facial hair – stubble and beards – make it impossible to get a good seal of the mask to the face.
If there are good reasons for having a beard (e.g. for religious reasons), alternative forms of RPE, that do not rely on a tight fit to the face, are available.
The text also reinforces several vital points:
The best time to do fit testing is at the initial selection stage, when individual users can be given a choice of adequate models of RPE.
If an employee wears more than one type of tight-fitting facepiece, then each type of facepiece should be fit tested.
You should ensure that the make, model, type and size of facepiece that they wore when they had their successful fit test is made available for their use.
Failure to carry out face-fit testing can hold serious implications; for example, Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust was fined a £100,000 plus £18,000 in costs for 3 breaches of health & safety law, including a failure to provide adequate face fit testing.
Face-fit testing is quick and easy to administer, and WHS is here to help. Contact the WHS office to book appointments.
How long has it been a legal requirement to have decent welfare on site? Do you know? The Construction (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations Schedule 6 stated that:
5. Washing facilities shall include—
(a) a supply of clean hot and cold, or warm, water (which shall be running water so far as is
reasonably practicable); and
(b) soap or other suitable means of cleaning; and
(c) towels or other suitable means of drying.
6. Rooms containing washing facilities shall be sufficiently ventilated and lit.
7. Washing facilities and the rooms containing them shall be kept in a clean and orderly condition.
8. …. separate washing facilities shall be provided for men and women, except where and so far as they
are provided in a room the door of which is capable of being secured from inside and the facilities
in each such room are intended to be used by only one person at a time.
And when did the Construction Regulations become effective? 1996!!! 25 years ago!!
Check it on: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1996/1592/schedule/6/made
These Regulations were superseded in 1994 by CDM, but the same provisions were included and have been ever since.
So why is it that we still see portaloos on site? They are illegal unless of the powered type, i.e. providing hot and cold water, heating and lighting, and of a sufficient number.
Consequently, the HSE is also actively targeting this issue when they visit – and WHS has seen ample evidence of enforcement being issued. Why? Because there is NO excuse after 25 years! And do note that welfare must be on site from Day 1; it is not permissible to wait until work has started, for obvious reasons.
N.B. Something else to note here too. Covid has not gone away; there is still the requirement to provide sanitiser throughout all workplaces and the HSE still includes this in their checks.
Also as highlighted previously, the HSE continues to actively target exposure to welding fume and metalworking fluids which, as everyone should know, can cause serious lung disease. The HSE will not hesitate to prosecute if businesses fail to protect their workers; for example, PYC Engineering was fined a total of almost £20,000 after a worker developed hypersensitive pneumonitis.
It is vital that any business where welding or metalworking is, or may be, undertaken reads and digests the specific HSE guidance on RPE protection:
Welding fume: https://bit.ly/3cfgeB2
We cannot emphasise too strongly, the devastating consequences of not protecting workers, not only for the business (as above) but, more to the point, for the individuals themselves. Just take a look at how Phil, a welder, has been affected; three very short videos clearly demonstrating the devastation and very personal consequences of welding without protection: https://bit.ly/30xKHrJ
N.B. Additional useful information about safety with welding and flame-cutting, particularly within repair work, can be found on: https://www.hse.gov.uk/mvr/mechanical-repair/welding.htm
Following on from the above articles, the HSE is also campaigning to raise awareness of the absolute need to see a doctor for those displaying any symptoms at all of potential cancers.
The predominant killer amongst occupational cancers is obviously lung cancer, the main symptom of which is a persistent cough. However, do be aware that occupational (and non-occupational) cancers can also manifest themselves in other symptoms and affect other organs, including the skin. Therefore, it is vital that you regularly check your body and, if you feel there may be any change at all, seek medical attention promptly.
General HSE advice can be found on: https://www.hse.gov.uk/cancer/about.htm#cancer-carcinogens
However, your best advisor on this occasion is your own doctor.
The HSE are continuing to spot-check businesses right across UK industry, looking at the general wellbeing of the workforce including stress. Work-related stress (WRS) has increased right across the board recently, partly related to the extreme conditions created by Covid, dealing with the post-Covid return to work, and possibly having to cope with the loss of work or the job itself. And the construction industry is suffering from this more than any other, particularly it seems within the younger age groups.
It’s worth reminding all businesses that the law requires adequate risk assessment to be carried out across all aspects of the work involved, and that includes the effects of pandemics, significant personal circumstances, health issues and how these issues affect the mental wellbeing of individuals. General HSE guidance on how to establish a good stress management programme can be found on:
However, you know (or you should know) your employees. Do make sure that you (or appropriate staff) engage with them to ensure an early warning when things may not be quite as they should be, and do treat each potential situation with sympathy and understanding. The personal issue may relate to something that’s happening at home, but this factor shouldn’t be a reason to ignore it; the individual may have nobody else to turn to, so you may well need to be that shoulder in a time of crisis.
To assist, the HSE has also teamed up with a number of organisations, including the construction-industry’s Mates in Mind and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, to launch a website called Working Minds:
The website offers additional help and guidance for a number of keys issues, including stress, and is certainly worth reading and signing up to the newsletter. For stress, it advises employers to ‘Make it Routine’ by:
Reaching out, Recognising, Responding and Reflecting – a simple and worthwhile mantra.
N.B. To assist our clients to be able to recognise and assist with stress and other mental issues, WHS regularly holds short open mental health awareness courses. Details of the next Mental Health First Aid course (7 March 2022) are given in the training section above.
The Status of Volunteers
Here we follow up another of our previous articles which highlighted the prosecution of an angling association fined a total of £83,500 after the death of a volunteer, and the status of volunteers in health & safety law.
The law clearly says that all businesses fall under the duty to manage risks related to all personnel, and that includes volunteers, persons carrying out work experience, and any person (paid or unpaid) at all working under, with or effected by the business. To quote the HSE:
This means you must protect your employees but also others, including volunteers, from any risks arising from your work activities.
The HSE has now updated its guidance on the management of volunteers:
https://bit.ly/3kznLPy and https://bit.ly/3wPNaJz
Driver Safety & the Working Day
Railway contractor, Renown Consulting, was fined £450,000 last year plus costs of £300,000 after one of their drivers fell asleep at the wheel, killing himself and a passenger. The driver had started his working day at 4.30am the day before, driving from Doncaster to Northumberland and returning later; he then left for an overnight job in Hertfordshire before leaving for home again at 3.40am.
We mention this again now as it’s becoming increasingly obvious that, because work with the construction industry has increased whilst many contractors are already at full stretch, some are asking still more of their employees, resulting in the increased likelihood that this sort of terrible accident will happen again. Working unreasonably (illegally) long hours has always been a safety issue in construction; however, the issue has become compounded as clients and contractors alike struggle with the current workload.
So the message here is that health & safety is a management issue from start to finish; the working day includes driving to and from site and there must (legally) be adequate rest periods between. The Working Time Regulations, for very good reason, govern the permissible working hours and mandatory rest periods throughout UK industry – but, more than this, it’s common sense. Long hours result in workers becoming less aware in general, with the potential for catastrophic consequences both at the workface and when driving home. The business itself is obviously the party responsible for the health & safety of all employees; it alone is responsible for ensuring working and driving hours are within the law and reasonable. Never be tempted to push your workers (or your sub-contractors) too far, no matter how tempting it may be to reap the financial benefits; there will be no financial benefits after prosecution, and workers and their families will have suffered.
Senior Management Responsibility in Law
Following on from the above, it is a fact that it is inevitably management who is targeted in an HSE prosecution; hardly ever is an individual worker prosecuted. The HSE and the law understands that, even if a worker could have avoided an accident or incident by refusing to carry out the task, he/she naturally feels under duress as an employee and is therefore disinclined to refuse.
The facts speak for themselves. In 2020 alone:
The legal responsibility for safe working, whatever the industry and whatever the work, is fairly and squarely on senior managements’ shoulders. So all those managers out there who assume they can avoid responsibility by delegating to others, think again.
A reminder to all developers, designers, project managers and contractors that there is an absolute need to do your homework before embarking on new build of any type. Full environment and ground surveys are vital to ensure that every aspect of the existing environment is taken into account before design even begins. Survey must include obvious issues such as utilities and ground conditions, and (depending on location) the not-so-obvious ones such as radon gas, the Tube network, ordnance … and mining.
As this article shows, an average of 15 old mine shafts collapse every year: https://bit.ly/30lcE5A
This figure is unsurprising as the Coal Authority records approximately 150,000 main shaft entrances representing 25,000 sq.km of tunnels across mainland Britain, whilst it is thought that many more went unrecorded for various reasons.
Usually, the reason for these collapses can be traced back to the type of capping used many decades ago. However, there is also the potential for collapse due to the failure of project management to do its homework. There is no excuse for this as there is ample help available as a starting point. Free information can be found on the Government website:
And more detailed information highlighting the predominant areas of concern in England (notably right across the West Midlands, including Telford), Scotland and Wales on:
Local authorities also hold their own detailed records so it’s vital to make specific contact with them.
For several years now, it has been mandatory for employers to prove the ‘right to work’ of their employees, i.e. that employees have a legal status to reside and work in the UK:
However, during Covid restrictions, it obviously became impossible for many businesses to obtain original copies of the necessary documents from new employees and a temporary dispensation was given by the Government that electronic copies may be accepted instead (including photographed or scanned documents via email or a mobile app). A further extension has now been granted until 5 April 2022. Retrospective person checks will not be required for those recruited from 30 March 2020 to 5 April 2022.
We start this time with the worst site photo and potentially catastrophically lethal situation we’ve seen for years! Can you believe this?! A mobile crane on a slope in a public area, propped on a makeshift ‘platform’! In the 21st Century!
Very luckily, this was reported to the HSE before any accident occurred, but the potential consequences don’t bear thinking about!
The HSE also found an incomplete scaffolding in use.
As a result of both health & safety failings, JF Wright were fined a total of almost £69,000 – quite rightly!!!
Work at height
This situation was totally inexcusable – all contractors know that scaffolding MUST be erected, altered and removed ONLY by a properly qualified scaffolder. Any contractor who does not strictly adhere to this deserves to be prosecuted as they are wilfully risking lives.
It is interesting to note that the Police were also involved in this incident because of its severity and nature.
This case demonstrates that any policy, protocol, work system or risk assessment is totally useless staff are properly trained in its requirements and all necessary controls (e.g. security of keys, as in this case) are established, maintained, regularly monitored and reviewed.
The HSE said that “Companies should be aware that if they fail to operate their businesses in a manner which protects the health and safety of those who work there, HSE will pursue those responsible to the highest possible level. The conditions seen at this site should not occur in 21st-century Britain.” See the disgusting conditions in the photo.
Can we reiterate what was said in a previous section; the legal requirement to ensure adequate welfare for workers includes construction. Any company failing to provide a good standard of clean, serviceable and well-stocked toilets on site (from Day 1) runs the risk of enforcement or prosecution, even more so now that it’s an HSE target issue.
HAVE A HAPPY, HEALTHY AND SAFE CHRISTMAS
AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO ASSISTING YOU ALL THROUGHOUT 2022
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
your Health & Safety needs.