HSE Fee For Intervention has been served on an individual worker

HSEWith almost 12 months elapsed since the introduction of Fee For Intervention we have heard for the first time of an individual being fined under the scheme.

The individual was employed as a scaffolder working on a Carey Housing project.  The HSE Inspector was driving by the site when he noticed the scaffolder working without edge protection, or any other method that might prevent him from failing.

The Inspector spoke directly to the scaffolder and explaining what he had observed regarding the material breach which the scaffolder had made. The result was that the scaffolder was personally issued with an Enforcement Notice and fined £400.

The Project Manager was next to be interviewed and discussions took place with regard to the role of the Principle Contractor under CDM, training requirements, competency, safe systems ofwork (including review of the sub-contractor’s method statements and risk assessments).

Perhaps not surprisingly the Inspector’s opinion was that the method statement submitted needed to be made more site specific. The detail which was omitted was the method of protection the scaffolder would be using — this should not be “generic” or left entirely to the scaffolder to decide upon but specified in writing.

No action taken against Careys, as the Principal Contractor, on this occasion, as the Inspector was, in general, pleased with what he had seen at site. However, the Inspector warned that individuals are being targeted and will continue to receive fines and an Enforcement Notice from the HSE if they break the law.

Examples of material breaches could include but are not limited to; failing to wear PPE, operating plant and equipment without the relevant training, failing to adhere to the method statement and risk assessments (RAMs), or for altering scaffolds if you are not trained.

The lesson?  Use your RAMS as working documents – this is how our documents have always been produced.  If you need help updating your own please call us for a clear and competitive cost.

About: Roger Hart  is Managing Director of Outsource Safety Ltd, a consultancy specialising in ISO9001, ISO14001 and OHSAS18001 Management Systems.  The company employs 10 staff and works for hundreds of retained clients across the UK in all sectors from Defence and Aerospace to Education and Museums with a specialism in the contracting, construction and renewables sectors, www.outsource-safety.co.uk

 

BT FFI blitz on construction see’s half of all sites failing

hseAs we reported earlier this month, HSE have blitzed sites thorugh the UK and the latest news is that just under 50% of those visited have fallen below expected standards.  This i, of course another way of saying that there has been some ‘material breach’ which in turn means FFI at £124 per hour.

Around 1,000 sites have already been visite and the drive will continue until September 27th, just a few days before the end of the first 12 months since Fee For Intervention (FFI) began in October 2012.

Meanwhile UCATT has renewed its own call for greater funding for construction inspections with UCATT general secretary Steve Murphy said:

“While these initiatives by the HSE are very welcome, inspectors are only visiting a small percentage of all the construction sites in the country.

“These findings demonstrate why the HSE needs more resources to conduct this type of inspection in all parts of the country throughout the year.”

If you need help or advice on  any aspect of health and safety then please use the links below to contact us or request a call back – or call and speak directly to a friendly construction safety consultant or on 01453 800100. You can become a member of our Safety~net support service over the phone and get help right away, whatever your problem.  Contact us using the links below to find out more;

Duty of care and fleet risk management

http://www.247airporttransfer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/our-fleet.jpgEmployers must take every precaution to protect employees driving fleet vehicles as legislation looms large as John Sennett, safety consultant and logistics and transport specialist at C&G explains:

Fleet Legislation

There are a range of laws and fleet legislation that fleet managers and their drivers need to adhere to. These range from road safety laws such as speed limit regulations, anti-drink driving legislation and minimum vehicle standards rules to health and safety regulations in the workplace and even anti-smoking laws that apply in company vehicles.

In 2008 the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act became statute law and even though up to now no prosecutions under this act have been brought this is still the ultimate piece of legislation to be fearful of.

The Act means that an organisation is guilty of the offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a death and amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care to the deceased. A substantial part of the breach must have been in the way activities were managed by senior management.

Companies and organisations that take their obligations under health and safety law seriously are not likely to be in breach of the new provisions. Nonetheless, companies and organisations should keep their health and safety management systems under review, in particular, the way in which their activities are managed or organised by senior management and this includes all aspects of fleet management and driving for work and on company business.

Requirements of the Board

The board should set the direction for effective health and safety management. Board members need to establish a health and safety policy (which includes fleet management and driving at work) that is much more than a document – it should be an integral part of your organisation’s culture, of its values and performance standards.

All board members should take the lead in ensuring the communication of health and safety duties and benefits throughout the organisation. Executive directors must develop policies to avoid health and safety problems and must respond quickly where difficulties arise or new risks are introduced; non-executives must make sure that health and safety is properly addressed.

Lifetime costs

The true costs of accidents to organisations are nearly always higher than just the costs of repairs and insurance claims. The consequences of an accident on the self-employed and small businesses are likely to be proportionately greater than on a larger business with greater resources. The benefits to a business from managing work-related road safety can be considerable, no matter the size of the business.

It allows a business to exercise better control over costs, such as wear and tear and fuel, insurance premiums and legal fees and claims from employees and third parties. It also allows management to make informed decisions about matters such as driver training and vehicle purchase, and helps identify where health and safety improvements can be made.

In summary

Case studies and research have shown that benefits from managing work-related road safety and reducing crashes include: fewer days lost due to injury; reduced risk of work-related ill health; reduced stress and improved morale; less need for investigation and paperwork; less lost time due to work rescheduling; fewer vehicles off the road for repair; reduced running costs through better driving standards; fewer missed orders and business opportunities so reduced risk of losing the goodwill of customers.

Promoting sound health and safety driving practices and a good safety culture at work may well spill over into private driving, which could reduce the chances of staff being injured in a crash outside work.

If you need help or advice on fleet risk management or any aspect of health and safety then please use the links below to contact us or request a call back – or call and speak directly to a friendly consultant or occupational hygienist on 01453 800100. You can become a member of our Safety~net support service over the phone and get help right away, whatever your problem.  Contact us using the links below to find out more;

Company fined after man seriously injured on Cheltenham building site

A Swindon civil engineering company, John O’Flynn Developments Limited, has been fined after a worker was seriously injured by a reversing tipper truck at a Cheltenham building site.

The groundworker, who does not wish to be identified, was struck from behind by the vehicle as it delivered aggregates to a development off Tommy Taylor’s Lane on 7 August 2012.  He suffered serious injuries to his left leg, including a severed artery, a severely damaged thigh muscle and a large puncture wound. He was airlifted to hospital, and was unable to work for seven weeks.

Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court heard today (6 September) that his employer, Swindon-based John O’Flynn Developments Limited, failed to put adequate safety measures in place to prevent the incident.

The firm was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found that not enough was done to segregate workers on the ground from moving vehicles.

The injured working was using a noisy floor saw to cut a channel in a roadway when he was struck. The road should have been closed to site traffic, or vehicle movements closely supervised and monitored to ensure there was no risk.

John O’Flynn Developments Limited, of Bramble Road, Swindon, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay a further £3,892 in costs after pleading guilty to beaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE inspector James Lucas said:

“Despite the known risks of allowing vehicles unrestricted access on construction sites, numerous vehicles had to pass through the area where the injured worker and others were positioned in order to make deliveries.

“There were no measures were in place to safely segregate workers from vehicles, and as the worker had his back to the reversing vehicle as he used a noisy floor saw he did not see or hear it approach.

“John O’Flynn Developments failed to implement basic safety measures and an employee was seriously injured as a result.”

Further information on safely managing vehicle movements on construction sites can be found on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/vehiclestrafficmanagement.htm

If you need help or advice on COSHH, dust exposure, health surveillance or any aspect of health and safety then please use the links below to contact us or request a call back – or call and speak directly to a friendly consultant or occupational hygienist on 01453 800100. You can become a member of our Safety~net support service over the phone and get help right away, whatever your problem.  Contact us using the links below to find out more;

Freight company fined £50,000 after worker hit by falling pallets

Lift truck accident

A Suffolk-based freight company has been sentenced for a series of safety breaches after a forklift truck toppled and spilled its load onto a worker, breaking his back.

Neil Jennings, 56, of Ipswich, was waiting for his trailer to be loaded in the yard of Eagle Freight Terminal Ltd at its Great Blakenham premises when one of the forklifts doing the loading hit a pothole. The vehicle lurched sideways, shedding its pallets and boxes, one of which hit Mr Jennings.

He suffered multiple fractures to the vertebrae of his upper and middle back and was unable to work for several weeks. Mr Jennings can now only undertake light duties and can no longer carry out everyday tasks without pain and discomfort.

HSE found that the freight yard road surface was pitted with potholes and had been the subject of complaints by the company’s employees over a significant period. There was little management of traffic movements and no instructions provided regarding segregation of workplace transport and pedestrians.

The court was told that two Improvement Notices were served by HSE on Eagle Freight after the incident requiring them to remedy the condition of the yard’s surface and to introduce systems of control which would allow vehicles and pedestrians to circulate safely at the site. Despite two extensions of time to allow the remedial work to be completed, an inspection carried out in September 2012 revealed no work had been completed and neither of the Notices had been complied with.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard that the company had been subject to similar enforcement action by HSE as far back as 2002/3 about the lack of control of workplace transport.

Eagle Freight Terminal Ltd of Lodge Lane, Great Blakenham, Ipswich, was fined a total of £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,501.23 plus £120 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Regulation 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace [Health, Safety and Welfare] Regulations 1992 and for failing to comply with two Improvement Notices.

After the case, HSE Inspector Paul Grover, said:

“This was an entirely preventable injury caused by persistent disregard by Eagle Freight of basic safety measures. The company allowed the yard’s surface to deteriorate so badly that forklift trucks were regularly destabilised when carrying loads.

“There was also no system to allow vehicles and pedestrians to move safely around each other and the forklift truck driver had not been given suitable training which resulted in him using unsafe work practices where the truck was driven with the forks and load lifted.

“The company’s subsequent repeated failure to meet the requirements of the two improvement notices demonstrated their complete disregard for their legal responsibility to keep their employees, and non-employees visiting the site, safe.

“The risks of serious injury and, all too frequently, death, resulting from the failure to control the safe movement of vehicles and pedestrians are widely recognised.

“Putting safe working practices in place is often simple and inexpensive and where this doesn’t happen the costs, both financial and personal, can be immense.”

If you need help or advice on fork lift trucks, logistics or warehouse risk management or any aspect of health and safety then please use the links below to contact us or request a call back – or call and speak directly to a friendly consultant on 01453 800100. You can become a member of our Safety~net support service over the phone and get help right away, whatever your problem.  Contact us using the links below to find out more;

Controlling dust from construction work, common sense advice from the safety geeks

Occupational hygienistWe, as health and safety consultants, could be described as a bit geeky.  We try not to be but it’s hard!  Beyond this is the Occupational Hygienist specialising in air monitoring and health at work, the ‘geeks geek’.

As a result many people working in businesses do well in managing their everyday risks but often stop short from getting a handling on protecting employee health when the truth is that it’s really relatively straightforward.  Beyond this, with FFI now biting almost every sector you need to be aware that not managing employee health means rich pickings for HSE when they quote Regulation 11 of COSHH, Health Surveillance – enough to strike fear into all but the most hardened safety manager.

The good news is that some of the geekiness is disappearing and giving way to common sense.  We have always advised our construction clients that YES, we are very competent and equipped to carry out any kind of air test for dust exposure but, NO, we don’t think that paying us to come in and report on dust exposure for your workers at site is a good use of your money.

The reason for this is twofold;

  • Firstly, if you control risks using simple good practice such as water mist to suppress dust we simply won’t have anything to measure, and;
  • Secondly, we’re we still to measure our results would be applicable to that site of work – changes in location, process, substrate and so on would make the report of dubious value for the next site.

Of course, there are sometimes exceptions to the above but they are few and far between for most in the construction industry.  The good news is that our common sense has now been enshrined in the latest guidance on the subject from HSE – very handy when we’re speaking to an inspector, client, safety manager or insurer on your behalf; Construction Information Sheet 36

Now, this is not to make light of the matter.  Look at the facts:  500 construction workers die each year from dust inhalation related diseases, so what should you do?

  1. Instead of opting for cut-off saws, look at tools such as block splitters and laminate guillotines. Not only do they produce less dust, you may even find them more efficient…
  2. Silica-free abrasives must always be used for what used to be called “sand blasting” and don’t rely on the fact they abrasives are used wet, exposure to RCS can still occur if you’re high pressure water jetting;
  3. Select tools which have wetting systems or at the least built in extraction. We would regard these systems as pretty much compulsory when cutting kerbs, blocks and paving with a cut-off saw – water suppression must be used along with respiratory protection.
  4. If using the wetting system, make sure enough water is supplied for it to be effective. Wetting beforehand just won’t work.
  5. If on-tool extraction is being used, you’ll need a proper extraction unit, not just a general commercial vacuum cleaner.

Take a look at your site today concentrating in particular on the following;

  1. cutting kerb stones and concrete blocks;
  2. raking mortar;
  3. cutting roof tiles;
  4. grinding;
  5. drilling for 15 to 30 minutes in total; and
  6. abrasive pressure blasting

If you need help or advice on COSHH, dust exposure, health surveillance or any aspect of health and safety then please use the links below to contact us or request a call back – or call and speak directly to a friendly consultant or occupational hygienist on 01453 800100. You can become a member of our Safety~net support service over the phone and get help right away, whatever your problem.  Contact us using the links below to find out more;

Kidde Fire Protection fined £165,000 following fatality due to very poor gas cylinder storage

This is another topic close to our hearts.  Much like the pillar drill issue raised in July, the securing of gas cylinders is a near constant part of our audits and advice for new clients.

The accident below illustrates exactly why we always make time to speak to new clients about the need for good practice, the consequences can be fatal

Three companies involved in a project failed to identify and manage the risk associated with the storage of gas cylinders.  80 cylinders, each two metres high and weighing 142kg we’re stored without their safety citical proection caps.  Beyond this, they weren’t even stored in secure racks.

The accident occured because one of more were most probably knocked over and this sheared the unprotected valve from the body.  The sudden release of energy catapulted each cylinder into another causing a total of 66 cylinders to become damaged and turned into missiles which flew through the air with such force that they went through walls and ceilings and anything and any one which stood in their path.

More surprising still is just who was involved as they should most certainly have known better.  Kidde Products Ltd (fined £165,000 with £59,696.72 in costs for breaches of the CDM Regulations 6 and 13) and Kidde Fire Protection Services Ltd (fined £165,000 with £59,696.72 in costs for breaches s.2-3 of the HSWA) and also Crown House Technologies (fined £117,000 with £119,393.65 in costs for breaches s.2-3 of the HSWA).

Guidelines for safe storage of gas cylinders

  1. Ensure cylinders are fitted with protection caps. These prevent damage to the valve if it’s knocked over and your gas supplier should be able to provide these;
  2. Store cylinders away from sources of ignition and external heat (including direct sunlight) that may affect their physical integrity;
  3. Rotate cylinders stocks to prevent them being stored for excessive periods. Also, don’t order too many – keep numbers to an absolute minimum;
  4. Properly restrain cylinders – unless they’re designed to be free-standing. In most instances, this means strapping them to a trolley, chaining to the wall when upright and in use, or keeping them in a specially designed storage cage;
  5. Check that any storage area is adequately ventilated. The ideal location is a dry, flat spot in the open air;
  6. Don’t store oxygen together with fuel, for example, oxygen and LPG should never be stored next to each other.

If you need help or advice on storage of gas cylinders or any aspect of health and safety then please use the links below to contact us or request a call back – or call and speak directly to a friendly consultant on 01453 800100. You can become a member of our Safety~net support service over the phone and get help right away, whatever your problem.  Contact us using the links below to find out more;

New guidance clarifies insurance position on safety

Hhttp://www.insuranceage.co.uk/IMG/697/181697/abi-logo-230x142.jpg?1308740646ealth and safety has long been classified as a ‘burden on business in the popular press and amongst many business owners.  However, a little probing by the government has revealed that the crux of the issue isn’t the health and safety people themselves (good news for us!) but rests largely with the application of insurance and how claims are covered.

Issues emerged during government led reviews which showed health and safety being used as an excuse for lack of service, events being cancelled and for business not offering young people much needs work experience.  A contributing factor to this was that some insurance companies were asking for more than was necessary.

In response the ABI (Association of British Insurers) has issued some clear and very welcome guidance on what business can expect from their members and what they in turn expect from the insured, a copy of which can be down loaded here; Health and safety for small/medium sized businesses

Note:  ABI members make up 90% of insurance policies in the UK but its good practice to make sure your insurer is an ABI member by visiting; https://www.abi.org.uk/

Your insurer;

  1. expects you to take reasonable steps to comply with health and safety law;
  2. will not refuse to pay a claim purely because of a breach of health and safety regulations;
  3. will not withdraw cover mid-term simply because of a breach of health and safety regulations; and;
  4. only expects you to hire a health and safety consultant if you lack in-house expertise and need the help due to the complexity or nature of the business.

You, as the insured;

  1. Don’t have to have annual PAT inspections unless it’s in conformance with HSE guidance;
  2. Should have good record keeping if you want to be able to defend a claim;
  3. Should check the guidance defining what is an employee (usually work experience students, apprentices, operators hired or borrowed from another employer, labour-only sub-contractors and home workers);
  4. Should complete inductions, training courses, workplace inspections and risk assessments;
  5. Should have access to a competent consultant on health and safety if your business doesn’t have the necessary expertise in house.

In summary, this is nothing but common sense and hopefully the start of something good.  Working together with industry we’d hope to see a tightening of defences against claims, a reduction in premium for well managed business (think OHSAS 18000) and the return of apprentices and younger work placement staff to job sites.

If you need help or advice on health and safety then please use the links below to contact us or request a call back – or call and speak directly to a friendly consultant on 01453 800100. You can become a member of our Safety~net support service over the phone and get help right away, whatever your problem.  Contact us using the links below to find out more;

HSE releases Construction Division plans for 2013/14

hseWith 60% of all HSE visits now resulting in a Fee for Intervention invoice (currently £124 per hour) its clear that you need to be aware of what priorities the HSE is setting for the next 12 months.
It’s clear that the focus has shifted away from strategic issues and projects to freeing up resources for more inspections – which in turn will mean more fee’s from intervention invoicing.
Key areas being targeted are;
  1. asbestos removal work;
  2. small sites/projects;
  3. refurbishment;
  4. major projects/large contractors and clients;
  5. other local priorities

Please note: smaller sites contributed 70% of the 50 fatalities in 2011/12 and HSE will now commit 35% of its resources to be put into inspecting smaller projects

  1. Once on site Inspectors will review any evident risk to life before considering the following five generic issues;

  2. work at height;

  3. asbestos risks;

  4. provision of welfare facilities;

  5. site conditions (good order);

  6. respiratory risks and adequacy of PPE use.

Poor standards in any of these areas is almost certain to land you with a bill for the inspector’s time under FFI so make sure your staff are updated with this information.

One word of warning on hard hats too.   The Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989 have recently been repealed and HSE will  be keen to ensure that use of protective helmets is not affected, the requirement of the regulation is still there, its covered under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 .

Don’t forget the basics and also the role of management in making adequate arrangements for health and safety.

HSE will also be looking at the following;

  1. the effectiveness of leadership by directors and senior managers;
  2. the management of health risks;
  3. involving workers in site safety;
  4. the competency of organisations and individuals;
  5. the management of temporary works including a focus on how the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 are being applied

If you need help or advice on health and safety or assistance in managing construction safety then please use the links below to contact us or request a call back – or call and speak directly to a friendly consultant on 01453 800100. You can become a member of our Safety~net support service over the phone and get help right away, whatever your problem.  Contact us using the links below to find out more;

Construction sites to face HSE’s Fee For Intervention blitz in September

hseConstruction sites across the midlands will come under scrutiny from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) this month as part of a national push to reduce death, injury and ill health within the industry with refurbishment projects being particularly targeted as the Fee for Intervention scheme bites hard on construction.

Inspectors from the HSE will make more than 2,000 unannounced visits to ensure high risk activities, such as working at height and the potential exposure to harmful dusts, are correctly managed.  Clients should also expect increased checks to welfare facilities and employee health surveillance arrangements.

HSE statistics have revealed that those working in construction are four times as likely to be killed at work compared to the average worker, with an estimated 70,000 suffering ill health as a result of their work, despite a reduction in fatalities within the workplace in 2012/13.

Richard Lockwood, HSE Construction Principal Inspector said:

“Too many people die every year on Britain’s construction sites as a result of entirely avoidable incidents. Just as importantly, the cause of ill health, such as unnecessary exposure to asbestos or silica dust can also have fatal or debilitating consequences.

“Often we find it is smaller companies working on refurbishment and repair work who are failing to protect their workers through a lack of awareness and poor control of risks.

“This initiative provides a chance to engage with these firms to help them understand what they need to do, so they can put in place practical measures needed to keep people safe.”

He added: “However if we find evidence that workers are being unnecessarily and irresponsibly put at risk we will not hesitate to take robust action.

“Companies who deliberately cut corners and put their workers or others at risk will feel the full weight of the law.”

If you need help or advice on health and safety or assistance in managing construction safety then please use the links below to contact us or request a call back – or call and speak directly to a friendly consultant on 01453 800100. You can become a member of our Safety~net support service over the phone and get help right away, whatever your problem.  Contact us using the links below to find out more;