Use of Plant on Construction Sites – New HSE guidance on Overturning

There have been more instances of tele-handlers and dumpers overturning on construction sites with often tragic consequences. These days we have trained operators and good site traffic management on most sites we see but in spite of this we are still seeing too many overturns.

This gave use cause to think and discuss this in the office and we have the following thoughts for you to consider which will be helpful when seeking to manage these risks;

  1. Are roll bars always in the upright position – staff sometimes do not put them into place following delivery;
  2. Seat belts are still not being worn and warning systems are being defeated as operators are still under the impression that they could somehow ‘jump free’ of the vehicle if it should overturn  this just isn’t the case;
  3. Training often does not teach good practice for using this machinery (in particular dumpers) on slopes, this is essential and should make up a toolbox talk and really should be part of any operators training – check your training satisfies this area;
  4. Some zones may not be suitable for dumpers and telehandlers – mark exclusions zones for soft ground and steeper slopes;
  5. Tyre pressures are crucial – make sure staff check pressures daily as a small change in pressure (as little as 5 psi) can have an enormous effect on load capacity.  Tyres must be check when cold at the start of each day.

Find out more about the safety of telehandlers here by reading the latest research report from HSE.  General information about plant safety can be found on the HSE website here.

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Estate agent fined £200,000 after house viewing fall

You may recall a national story regarding a viewing which went horribly wrong when a lady fell into a well within the properties garden.  The local estate agent, Strakers (Holdings) Ltd was showing the house to Mr and Mrs Driver and they were told to look around the grounds on arrival.

In the garden Mrs Driver stepped on a wooden board unaware that it was covering a deep well within the property, the board then gave way.  The board gave way and she plunged 30 feet into water below, initially being submerged in water before neighbours found a hosepipe which she managed to secure around her waist.

It was an hour before the emergency services managed to effect a rescue and she was let with head injuries, concussion and post traumatic stress disorder.

It was found in court that viewers were not warned of the presence of the well and a previous buyer had lifted the board and discovered the presence of the well.  An employee of the defendant had then visited the property and noted the wooden board but had assumed that a metal grill would had been beneath it but, crucially, had not checked this to be the case, in spite of the condition of the board which looked unsupportive.

Strakers (Holdings) Limited pleaded guilty to breaching s.3 (1)Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £200,000 plus costs of £2,474. The size of the fine reflected the fact that the accident could have been fatal and that a number of staff and visitors had been put at risk.

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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Risk Assessments: A joint venture

As an employer you have the duty to assess the risks to Health, Safety and Welfare of all persons in your employment and also to those not actually in your employment but entering your premises – members of the public or visitors to your site.

You have diligently carried out your work place risk assessments, but is this enough?   Have you considered who has been involved in the process of creating the risk assessments and how have these been communicated?

Staff engagement

This is where involvement from your employees and contractors is not only important, it can be critical as a recent case involving a major manufacturer shows (see our blog for more details).

As the person responsible for risk assessment you should consider that fact that your employees may be the ones best placed to identify the key hazards and risks from machinery and equipment, after all, they are the ones operating these machines on a daily basis.

As part of this they know the capability of equipment, the process of handling any raw materials, as well the short cuts which operators might be tempted to take to get the job done faster.  Their involvement gives added value and an insight which would otherwise be missing.

Contractor safety

Contractors attending your premises should provide their own risk assessments before they carry out non-standard and higher risk tasks such as electrical or mechanical maintenance, work at height or confined space operations.  This is typically submitted for review as method statements and risk assessments RAMS.

Don’t forget that you must then also play your role, particularly when the work site is not a segregated area but within your normal operating areas.  You should be checking these documents before they arrive and also making sure that they comply with what they have written down when on site.  You may also need to issue permits to work to ensure that the task can be carried out safely.

Plan Do Check Act

Ensuring you get “buy in“ to your risk assessment process, shows that as far as reasonably practicable, you are working towards best practice.  Your aim, whether for work by your in house team or external contractors, is to monitor and review activities to ensure effective requirements and standards continue to be met

Through keeping health and safety high on the agenda, your staff, shareholders and customers will all see a business which is safe, controlled and thoroughly professional – a benefit for all.

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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Clients receives huge fine after self employed contractor falls from MEWP

falls from heightYou are most probably aware of the duties you have as a client to select contractors which are competent and adequately resourced for safety.  Sometimes you will also need to convince others within your supply chain or business of the need to complete a thorough assessment and the case below may offer assistance.

In this case a major company had employed a self employed contractor to carry out work installing updated fire detection equipment at its Yate factory site. Due to a failure to plan and supervise the work correctly an overhead conveyor was started which ultimately led to a fall of over 5 metres for from the Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) which the contractor was using.

Maintenance workers employed by Whirlpool UK Appliances Ltd were unaware that starting the conveyor system would results in this tragedy as they had not been told that this work was taking place.  An HSE investigation found that there were no effective controls or supervision in place to prevent these conflicting work tasks from being undertaken at the same time.

The company pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to breaching section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £700,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,466.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Matt Tyler said:

“This is a tragic case where the incident could have been prevented if the company had planned and controlled the work properly.”

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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Jail sentence for both company directors and the main contractor following death

HSEHSE now has a policy of ‘looking beyond the garden gate’ in construction accidents.  in this particular case the directors of a roofing business, and also the director of the business which contracted this work out to them, have seen custodial sentences (see our earlier blog for another example of this type of prosecution).

HSE has made plain its intention to look further up the supply chain and drive home the message that contractors are responsible for decisions they make when subcontracting work.  The duty to ensure that the subcontractor is competent and adequately resourced for safety is becoming a recurring theme and is one which deserves further consideration for any construction based business.

The cases which will begin to filter through which occurred after the CDM 2015 changes will likely see this intensify with HSE able to look even further up the supply chain to target clients and designers more effectively in the coming years.

Read the story below to find out more details as report in Safety & Health Practitioner (link) and if you need support please click on Contact Us above

Three company bosses have been jailed following the death of 25-year-old father of one, Benjamin Edge, who fell from a roof he was working on, without safety equipment and in windy conditions.

Following the incident safety failings were covered up, a new risk assessment was written and an employee was “sent home to collect harnesses to make it look like the accident was Mr Edge’s fault, because he had not worn safety equipment” it was reported.

Credit: Greater Manchester Police

Credit: Greater Manchester Police

The fatal incident

On 10 December 2014, Mr Edge, fell from the roof of a metal structure he was helping to dismantle in Ramsbottom, Bury.

He died hours later at Salford Royal Hospital, after suffering catastrophic head injuries.

At the time of the fall, Mr Edge was working for SR and RJ Brown and was working on a site run by Marshalls Mono.

Investigation

A joint investigation by the Greater Manchester Police alongside the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) looked into the circumstances surrounding Mr Edge’s death.

It was heard in court how MA Excavations Ltd, contracted out the work to brothers Christopher and Robert ‘James’ Brown, directors at SR and RJ Brown Limited.

Mark Aspin, director at MA Excavations Ltd said he believed the Browns were ‘competent’ and could complete the job safely, but the court heard he did not check their qualifications.

Manchester Evening News reported that RobertJames’ Brown composed a ‘grossly inadequate’ risk assessment before the job which he did not show to anyone.

After Mr Edge was rushed to hospital he then typed up another risk assessment, which should have been done beforehand.

Peter Heap, 34, who had been working alongside Mr Edge was asked by Christopher Brown, 25, to go home and collect harnesses to make it look like the accident was Mr Edge’s fault, because he had not worn safety equipment.

“Foolishly, weakly and criminally – as he now realises – Peter Heap went along with what he was told to do,” Mr Justice Openshaw said.

The Browns maintained that the harnesses had been there before the incident, although they did admit falsifying the risk assessment.

Sentencing

During sentencing, addressing Christopher Brown and Robert ‘James’ Brown Ben’s mother said that when she saw her son’s coffin at the funeral she wanted to drag those responsible to the coffin so they could see what they had done.

She said: “Ben’s death was totally avoidable. He had everything to live for, but his future was stolen from him.”

Mrs Edge added: “Benjamin Edge, known affectionately as Ben, was my son and his father, Tim’s, son. We are so proud of Ben, not just what he achieved, but who he was.”

  • SR and RJ Brown Limited, of which brothers Christopher and Robert Brown are directors, was fined £300,000 at Manchester Crown Court after admitting corporate manslaughter.
  • Christopher Brown and Robert Brown pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and two counts of health and safety breaches. They were jailed for 20 months. A count of manslaughter for the brothers is to lie on file.
  • Mark Aspin, 37, was sentenced to a year in jail after admitting health and safety offences.
  • MA Excavations Ltd, of Garden Street, Ramsbottom, which contracted out the work – was fined £75,000 after pleading guilty to two health and safety breaches.
  • Employee Peter Heap, 34, was spared jail after he followed orders to bring safety harnesses to the site after his colleague had fallen to try to conceal what had happened. His four-month sentence for perverting the course of justice, which he had admitted, was suspended for two years.

Ben’s family have issued a tribute to their son, who leaves behind a three year-old daughter, a loving mother and father, twin brother, and partner.

“Ben was taken from us in tragic circumstances aged only 25, and our family and all of his friends are totally grief stricken by his loss.

“We miss him so very, very much.

“He was a loving, caring son, twin brother and family man. Ben was a much loved partner and father and will always remain a huge part of everyone’s lives”.

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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Toolbox Talks/Short Safety Briefings – A Powerful Health & Safety Tool

OS Logo EmailDid you know that Outsource Safety can work with you to implement an effective and productive safety briefing programme through the use of toolbox talks that also serves to  demonstrate the communication of key health & safety issues to employees within your company?

Although there is a time and a place for in-depth safety training, short safety briefings, otherwise known as toolbox talks are fast becoming an integral part of an employee’s training programme. It can be used flexibly on an ad-hoc or planned basis with employees across the construction, industrial and other sectors, as a means of
communicating key Health & Safety messages.

At Outsource Safety, our toolbox talks have been developed to achieve maximum impact on the audience. We recommend a structured toolbox talk plan to ensure that the relevant key health & safety issues are addressed, communicated and documented.

The benefits of an effective Toolbox Talk programme

The benefits of a toolbox talk tailored programme as opposed to longer training sessions are as follows:

  1. Short Safety meetings boost employee awareness of safety and its importance in the workplace;
  2. Toolbox Talks presented by experts from an external company reinforces the importance of this type of training;
  3. These sessions can be tailored to fit in with the working day without taking people out of the workplace for whole days or several days at a time;
  4. Toolbox sessions are intended to focus attention on important safety issues, frequently reminding employees why procedures and other safeguards are in place and why it is important to follow them;
  5. Less chance of information overload, boredom and dilution of important safety messages that commonly occur with longer sessions;
  6. Can be used to communicate new issues but also as refresher sessions for older ones.

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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HSE settles judicial review brought by OCS Group before High Court Hearing

HSEAt our recent round of breakfast clubs we discussed the Judicial Review being brought by OCS Group after the FFI fine imposed upon it by HSE linked to its operations at Heathrow Airport.

Key to the review was the HSE being able to act as a ‘judge in its own cause’ – something which was, unsurprisingly, at odds with others areas of review and something of a legal issue.

To complicate matters further, HSE is now headed by Mr Martin Temple, the same person who undertook an independent review of FFI when at the EEF and within that review called FFI a ‘dangerous model’.

Given the above and the arbitrary process of appeal it won’t come as too much of a surprise to see that HSE has chosen to settle the case early and also to withdraw the FFI imposed on OCS plus pay its costs.

Changes will be in place by 1st September 2017

Changes are now afoot to make the process of appeals completely independent of HSE by 1st September 2017.  More than this a consultation exercise should ensure that all stakeholders will now have the opportunity to voice their opinions on how that new process might operate.

Watch this space for more news.

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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Butler at historic home dies in lift accident due to lack of inspections

All lifts which carry goods or people should be checked on a regular basis, 12 monthly for those lifts carrying goods and 6 monthly for those which carry people.  These tests are required by law and must be completed – they’re known as statutory tests.

Burghley House Preservation Trust Limited in Stamford employed Arthur Mellar as a butler and he was crushed to death by a lift  in July 2014 when it became stuck after one of the bags became jammed.

The lift had not been fitted with a slack rope detector and this was identified by the competent person after its examination. Had the lift been examined by a competent person earlier the engineer should have identified that this needed to be fitted.

The Trust pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and were today fined £266,000 and ordered to pay costs of £16,863.

Speaking after the sentencing, HSE inspector Alison Ashworth said:

“Arthur Mellar was killed when a luggage lift descended on him while he was trying to free an item of luggage. This was a completely avoidable incident, and Burghley House admitted its role in it, but of course that will be little comfort for Mr Mellar’s family.

I would urge any business using lifts, particularly older lifts such as the one in this case, watching this case to ensure correct measures are taken in relation to maintenance of lifts and that competent lift engineers are employed when necessary to identify defects.”

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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£2m fine for a fall and injury at breadmaker

Warburtons Limited, a large national breadmaker has been fined £2 million plus costs of £19,609.28 after a worker carrying out routine mixing machine cleaning  lost his footing and fell nearly 2 metres to the floor below.falls from height

He was hospitalised and suffered a compression fracture to his spine and was unable to return to his work for several months. He was unable to return to his original role and was dismissed in December 2015 after a long period of sick leave.

An HSE investigation found that the firm routinely asked its employees to access the top of the mixers when they undertook cleaning tasks, in order to do this the workers had to access and then brace themselves to prevent themselves from falling.

It was found that supervision was not adequate and no training had taken place on how cleaning risks at height could be controlled.

HSE Inspector Mahesh Mahey commented;

“This case highlights how important it is for companies to fully assess the risks from work activities at height and to take appropriate action to prevent injury in the workplace.

This should have been prevented, falls from height is one of the biggest killers in the workplace and even falls from fairly low levels can be extremely dangerous. Mr Sears life has been changed forever but his injuries could have been more severe.”

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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Massive fine imposed at magistrates court £1m+

In a move which would have been unheard of just a year ago a magistrates court has handed a fine to DFS Trading Ltd of £1m plus costs of £15,099

On 2 July 2015 the worker was unloading wooden furniture frames at one of the firms upholstery sites when he was struck by an unsecured furniture arm which fell from an unstable load.  The impact knocked him unconscious and he suffered serious neck and head injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that DFS had failed to adequately manage the risks of heavy loads being moved between manufacturing sites.  The court also heard the company had failed to supervise the work taking place and that a number of near misses had also been reported from similar unsecured loads.

Fundamental and systemic failings

DFS pleaded guilty to breaching sections 3 of the Managing Health and Safety at Work Regulation and also section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and were fined £1,000,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,099.

Speaking after the case HSE inspector Lyn Spooner said:

“DFS is a large national organisation. The fundamental and systemic failings identified in their health and safety management systems is far from what would be expected from a company of their size who has the ability to deliver higher standards of safety.

Unfortunately DFS were unable to do that on this occasion and a preventable accident was allowed to occur.”

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