CDM 2015: Client fined £500k over lack of pre-construction information

A major supermarket chain has received a combined fine of over half HSEa million pounds after serious failings led to the fall of a worker through a fragile skylight 10 metres to the floor below.

Tesco Stores Ltd and Tesco Maintenance Ltd were both found guilty of the offence at Liverpool Crown Court with Judge Steven Everett  reported to have commented that it was “a minor miracle” the worker had not died or been seriously injured after landing on shelving in the soft drinks section.  He was then helped by customers and colleagues and taken to the nearby walk-in centre for treatment.

The judge also pointed out that customers could also have been hurt and although the workman was not seriously injured it was “the risk of harm that was the issue” adding, “it is astonishing that there wasn’t a fall of this nature on an earlier occasion.”

Half a million pound fine for Tesco

  • Tesco Stores Ltd – of Tesco House Welwyn Garden City, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 10 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £200,000 with £712.70 costs.

“What went wrong was that both companies failed to identify it had fragile roof panels. There were procedures but on this occasion they were not implemented.”

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

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Dusts in construction, their risks and how to manage them

dust RCS crystalline silicaHealth in construction is a big issue and HSE are pushing hard to get the message out to clients of all sizes that health in construction is a very high risk.  The latest figures show that as many as 100 staff per week die from ill health causes through their job – and that’s just the construction sector!

With this in mind we are working with our clients to address these risks, educate their staff through training courses and toolbox talks and also running free sessions on the risks associated with construction dusts and how to manage them – the next of which is running in November 2016 at our offices in Stroud.  Check out this link for the talk which we gave to WWT (an HSE and Construction industry partnership organisation)

These talks won’t just give you an understanding of the risk present, they’ll give you clear and workable advice on how to manage them through changes in working practices and tool selection, we’ll also have expert advice from Dust Control UK on what equipment you can use to clean up dusts without exposing your staff and your clients to cancer causing Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS).

We’ll update you on the free course and also put a booking link here as soon as its live on our Eventbrite page, in the meantime feel free to look at these Workers Stories from HSE to give you some useful resources to raise the issue of construction dusts with your staff and click here to see HSE’s latest Health in Construction – The Facts poster HSE;

 

The compensation (no win no fee) cases still keep coming… but why?

OS Logo EmailBack in 2013 we wrote a post informing you of the changes which were made  on strict liability; read our original post here

A number of changes were put together which aimed to cap the costs charged by solicitors and to remove the incentive to make speculative claims against businesses.  These changes included making  insurance costs against losing the case non recoverable by solicitors and any premiums payable by the claimant only, later that year were also saw the removal of strict liability in health and safety cases.

However, this has only had limited success and the claims adds and ambulance chasers are still out there and earning a very healthy living.

What can you do to protect your business?

Great question!  A few simple measures will help introduce some protection and don’t forget that insurers are now much less likely to concede a claim than they were a few years ago.  In fact, we know of insurers employing the services of specialists claims investigation teams of claims of under £10,000 – something which was unheard of a year or two ago.

Here’s a list of simple things you can do now with no real cost impact to give you protection in the event of one of these claims hitting your business;

  1. Consider CCTV; having evidence of what happened is liability gold dust and could see the case dismissed entirely, if you’re considering the cost benefit make sure you consider this benefit when talking to installers;
  2. Get savvy on accident recording and investigation; perhaps the biggest single change to to take photo (as many as you can) and gather signed witness statements from everyone on the day the accident happens and as close to the time of the event as is humanly possible;
  3. Look at your current arrangements for health surveillance – we can help you with this, issues such as occupational deafness are the new whiplash for the ambulance chasers (see our 2014 post warning you of this here);
  4. If you receive a claims letter don’t respond to it!  Contact your insurer and put it into their hands, no matter what the content, leave it to their legal team to handle in the best way possible to protect you;
  5. If you think you may have a claim against you from an employee contact your insurer, they may be able to deal directly with a claimant and save you thousands if you have had a genuine accident and one of your staff is injured.

We hope you’ve found the above useful, as always, if you have questions please do call your retained consultant or if you’re not yet a client please get in touch with us directly using the links below.

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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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.

HSE enforcement under review, could HSE cover offices, shops and small business?

HSEIn a move which we suspected might come to pass some years ago it has been announced that health and safety enforcement may change for smaller businesses.

During July 2016 the HSE ran a consultation on health and safety enforcement allocation.  Chiefly, it looked at the role of the local authorities.  A range of options were considered, ranging from completely absorbing the LAs’ regulatory powers for health and safety, to allocating them greater duties.

This is something which we discussed on our Breakfast Club sessions for clients and on this blog some years ago.  We believe that this is likely to come to pass and the reason will be to bring the lucrative Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme into play for smaller businesses.

Passing the enforcement role to HSE from overworked EHO’s achieves three goals of the government as we see it;

  1. It eases the burden on councils at a time when their budgets are under stress from central government funding;
  2. It enables the introduction of Fee for Intervention (fee based enforcement) for the remainder of UK workplaces enabling it to reach smaller businesses and drive in additional revenue;
  3. The current situation for sectors such as the motor trade / motor vehicle repair are split untidily between HSE and the LA’s, this change would enable a simpler co-ordinated approach to this type of business which currently falls between HSE and FFI fines and the LA EHO’s and no FFI.

Likely timescales

So, when is this likely to happen?  Well, nothing in government moves quickly and so we won’t see any update on the consultation until 2017 with any changes happening in late 2017.  However, we do think a change is on the way and HSE are recruiting, watch this space…

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;

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.