Renewables – Solar PV installer prosecuted for health and safety failings by HSE

Solar PV installer prosecuted by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after worker suffers fractured skull just weeks after being employed

A Yorkshire roofing company has appeared in court for safety failings after a young worker suffered a fractured skull just weeks after being hired.

The worker, who does not wish to be named, was 20 years old and had started his job with Dodds Roofing Services Ltd barely a month before the incident on 29 September 2011.

He was one of four employees installing 25 solar panels on the roof of a farm in Tibthorpe, East Yorkshire, when he fell through a rooflight and hit the concrete floor three metres below. He suffered a fractured skull and temporary partial hearing loss, but has since made a good recovery and returned to work.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and today (21 Oct) prosecuted Dodds Roofing Services Ltd at Bridlington Magistrates’ Court.

The court was told that the firm had provided a scaffold and crawling boards on the outside of the farm building, but had failed to act to adequately prevent a fall or to provide safety measures internally, such as nets or a scaffold, to mitigate the effects of a fall.

Dodds Roofing Services Ltd, of The Renewable Energy Centre, Bainton, Driffield, East Yorkshire, was fined £9,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Alan Sheldon said:

“This young man could very easily have sustained even worse injuries. Falls from height are a well-recognised hazard in the construction industry and falls through fragile rooflights are an all-too-common occurrence, and becoming more so with the advent of solar panels.

“This was an incident that could have been prevented had Dodds Roofing Services put recognised safety measures in place that were suitable and sufficient to protect their workers from the risks they faced. This could have included work equipment to prevent the fall and/or providing nets or a scaffold within the building in order to mitigate the effects of a fall.”

The latest HSE statistics show that 40 workers were killed and more than 3,400 were seriously injured in falls from height in 2011/12. Further information on safe working at height can be found online at www.hse.gov.uk/falls

If you’ve got questions or need support on safety in the industrial, contracting or construction sectors please contact us for sensible and proportionate advice on 01453 800100

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Working at height on an excavator – new requirements or best practice

Work at height on an excavatorExcavator work at height

We’ve heard tale recently of the issue of new legislative requirements for the protection of staff, maintenance fitters in particular, regarding falls from height when working on excavators.

Whilst you may have experience of larger contractors insisting that edge protection is fitted this isn’t a statutory requirement.  It is, however, good practice as the result of a fall can be significant.

The real story

Whilst it’s not written in stone a Principal Contractor would be well within his rights to insist that you have measures to prevent these falls in place, this could be guard rails or some other means such as fall arrest or bags to cushion any fall.  For most of us this means applying the best practice of edge protection will become the norm in the coming months.

In simple terms you must comply with the site operators  / owners requirement and if this means edge protection then that’s what will have to happen.  Don’t be too resistant to this as there is good sense behind this and its you and your staff who are being protected, we know you might have a grumble but better safe than sorry!

If you’ve got questions or need support on safety in the industrial, contracting or construction sectors please contact us for sensible and proportionate advice on 01453 800100

Contact form

Please complete the form below and we promise to respond within 24 hrs. If you need more urgent help just call 01453 800109 and ask for Andrea.

Road Safety Week 18 – 24 November 2013

Occupational road riskRoad Safety Week is coordinated by the road safety charity Brake and involves thousands of organisations, schools and communities promoting road safety. This year the week focuses on the theme tune in, urging everyone to stay focused when using roads and avoid distractions – a key message for employers to communicate.

To register to take part and get a free email action pack go to www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk

We’re all human: we daydream, get side-tracked, run late and make mistakes. But on roads, distractions can be fatal.

road safetyWhen using roads, we all need to tune in to road safety and give it our full attention – particularly if we’re at the wheel, but also when we’re walking, cycling, skating, running, you name it – to keep ourselves and each other safe.

Road Safety Week 2013 (18-24 Nov) focuses on the theme of tuning in to road safety and avoiding distractions, and we’re appealing to communities and organisations around the UK to register now to help get this life-saving message out.

The facts
Driver distraction is a major cause of death and serious injury in the UK [1]. Driving is the most dangerous thing that most of us do on a daily basis and requires your full attention, but many drivers have a sense of over-confidence and feel cocooned in their vehicles, so attempting to multi-task is common.

While it’s illegal to use a hand-held phone to text or call at the wheel, around a third of drivers flout this law [2], and many others use a hands-free kit, despite both activities causing a dangerous distraction [3]. Other distracting activities such as eating or smoking at the wheel have been shown to increase your risk of crashing [4], yet lots of drivers own up to it [5].

But distraction isn’t just an issue for drivers. For people on foot and bicycle, being sidetracked by your mobile, or not being able to hear due to listening to music, or forgetting to hold a child’s hand, can be lethal [6]; negotiating roads needs your full care and attention.

Our main messages
This year, we’re asking everyone to pledge to tune in to road safety – that means promising to do your best to keep focused on the task at hand, and never putting yourself and others in danger for the sake of a call, text or other activity that can wait.

During the Week, we’ll be particularly appealing to drivers to turn off their phones and never attempt to multi-task at the wheel. But this is also about all of us looking out for ourselves and each other, however we’re using roads, by not speaking to someone else on the phone who’s driving, and taking care to stay focused while on foot or bike: including getting off the phone, taking out headphones and following the good old green cross code to get across roads safely.

Get involved
There are countless ways you can promote this message and life-saving road safety awareness in your community or organisation during Road Safety Week and year-round. It’s up to you whether you tie in with our ‘tune in’ theme or focus on other road safety issues that are important in your area.

Check out the menu above for ideas for community groups, schools, organisations and road safety professionals about how you can get involved, and register now to get a free e-action pack with guidance and resources in advance of the Week.

Notes:
[1] Reported road casualties Great Britain annual reports 2011, Department for Transport, 2012 and Police Recorded Injury Road Traffic Collisions and Casualties Northern Ireland annual report 2011, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2012
[2] Direct Line report on safe driving PART FIVE Driven to distraction, Brake and Direct Line, 2011
[3] Using a hands-free mobile whilst driving can be more dangerous than drink driving, Transport Research Laboratory, 2009
[4] Driving with one hand on the wheel – a fatal distraction, The University of Leeds, 2012
[5] Direct Line report on safe driving PART FIVE Driven to distraction, Brake and Direct Line, 2011
[6] The effects of mobile phone use on pedestrian crossing behaviour at signalised and unsignalised intersections, The University of New South Wales, 2007; and Mobile phone use while cycling: Incidence and effects on behaviour and safety, University of Groningen, 2010; and MP3 players and traffic safety; “State of the art”, Belgian Road Safety Institute, 2009; and Mobile telephones, distracted attention, and pedestrian safety, The Ohio State University, 2008

Help is at hand

If you need help contact us using the links below to find out more;

CAA announces ‘Approved Training Organisation’ requirements

CAA Approved Training OrganisationThe UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced details designed to inform flight training schools of the transition process they will need to follow to achieve ‘Approved Training Organisation’ status.

Something which was of great interest to us as we are expanding our services in this area and will be putting to gether a document to satisfy these needs before loking for partners who will work with us to develop it.

Around 188 training schools that are currently referred to as Registered Training Facilities (RTF) will have to become Approved Training Organisations (ATO) over the next two years to be able to continue providing flying lessons – part of a package of Europe-wide changes in the aviation pilot training industry.

To become ATOs, flying schools will be required to develop operating, safety and compliance manuals, and also undergo periodic audits.

Each Registered Training Facility (RTF) that wishes to continue to provide flight training for the issue of a Private Pilot Licence (PPL), for aeroplanes or helicopters, or for the Single Engine Piston Class Rating or Night Rating for aeroplanes, must become an Approved Training Organisation (ATO) by no later than the 8 April 2015. In addition, anyone intending to provide training for any Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL) for any category of aircraft must become an ATO before offering that training. However, ATO status does not, by itself, allow an organisation to begin LAPL training.

Structure of a safety management system

The universally accepted framework includes four main components and twelve elements, representing the minimum requirements for SMS. These ‘capabilities’ apply regardless of the aviation context. The four main components are;

  1. Safety policy and objectives
  2. Safety risk management
  3. Safety assurance
  4. Safety promotion

What a safety management system is

Managing safety is really about managing safety risk, which means trying to prevent bad things from happening, or if something does go wrong, or slips through the cracks, trying to minimise the consequences of the event.

Safety management is about accepting that things will go wrong and about reactively, proactively and predictively controlling risks to a level that is acceptable.

It can help you predict potential risks, take appropriate action and measure how well risk controls are working. It can give you the business information you would want to manage risks in other areas such as finance or productivity.

Help is at hand

If you need help developing documentation for Approved Training Organisations (ATO) status contact us using the links below to find out more;

Contact form

Please complete the form below and we promise to respond within 24 hrs. If you need more urgent help just call 01453 800109 and ask for Andrea.