Tag Archives: Improvement Notice

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.

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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Occupational Health: Alveolitis in Metal Working

Health is becoming the central thrust of any HSE visit and with good reason, health causes a huge impact on individuals and a massive strain on our NHS. However, not all safety professionals are aware of these risks well enough to control them and that’s where expert, external, independent advice can be invaluable.

Alveolitis is a condition of the lung caused by the inhalation of the mist created by metal working fluid when machining – particularly at higher speeds.

The Hazards of Metal Working Fluids (MWF)

Exposure to MWF can be hazardous in several ways but dermatitis from skin contact and lung problems from inhalation are the two major issues.  Biocides are often introduced into MWF’s to stop bacterial growth and this gives the clue about what can happen to the lungs when a fine mist is inhaled by workers.

Over a period of time workers may develop a number of ill health conditions including;

  • bronchitis;
  • irritation of the upper respiratory tract;
  • occupational asthma;
  • or, most seriously, extrinsic allergic alveolitis (EEA).

If you use MWF then seek to control exposure by minimising the volume and rate of delivery at the cutting point or seek to capture mist or enclose it within CNC machines.  If you use a small bright torch with a focusing beam you may be able to seek where and how mist is rising from the process – we issue these torches for free to our clients so if you need one please ask – we’ve helped many businesses with this simple tool.

Consider also your current health surveillance provision – if you need any help and support we can provide skilled practitioners to help you put a robust health surveillance plan in place – just call us on 01453 800100 for more detail and read here for a case study involving a major aerospace company which was recently fined £800,000

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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Major aerospace company receives £800,000 fine for occupational ill health

Martin Baker Aircraft Company has been fined £800,000 after three of its workers developed Extrinsic Allergic Alveolitis (EEA).

EEA is often caused when workers inhale contaminated metal working fluids as a mist when high speed machining is taking place, these fluids can provide a home for bacteria and other organisms to breed and lead to serious and ongoing illness.

Extrinsic Allergic Alveolitis

EEA is a condition which causes the small air scacs within the lungs (alveoli) to become inflamed in an allergic reaction. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath and joint pain.

The three workers suffering from the condition had been exposed to MWF mist for three years and were among a group of 60 staff which the HSE found to have been put at risk. One of the workers was said to have become virtually paralysed by the illness and the two others have become restricted in the types of work they can undertake in future as they must now avoid contact with the substance.

HSE investigation leads to massive fine

The HSE investigated and found that Martin Baker Aircraft Company (MBAC) had not done enough to reduce the risk with no system of cleaning away the excess fluid and a lack of extraction to prevent the build-up of MWF mist. In addition, they found that there was also a lack of health surveillance (required under Regulation 11 of COSHH.

In court MBAC pleaded guilty to breaching s.2 (1)Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Reg 6(1) Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 . It was fined £800,000 with £36,912 in costs – one of the highest ever penalties for occupational health offences.

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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Precast Concrete: ‘Barring’ of floor units causes major injuries and £33k fine

The use of pinch or crowbars to move components is a common practice in precast concrete erection.  Components should be positioned as close as possible to minimise the need for it but there is often a need for some adjustment whether to ensure that the component reaches the right position or to tighten up a floor after laying.

If you have any questions on barring we would recommend you read the Precast flooring Federations Code of Practice for the Safety Installation of Precast Concrete Floors and Associated Components available here.

The incident to which the title refers occurred in December 2014 when Walter Thompson (Contractors) Limited, a construction company from Northallerton, was engaged as Principal Contractor for a 47 bedroom extension of the Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham.

£33,000 fine under CDM Regulations

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that the company had failed to adequately plan and manage the installation of the two-floor slabs.

The defendants pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £33,000 with £12,552.81 costs.

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.

CDM Client and their Contractors fined more than £1.5m

A local authority and its two contractors have been fined in excess of HSE£1.5 million following two incidents involving roadworks on a busy Liverpool city centre road. A man died and another was seriously injured while attempting to cross Queens Drive in Liverpool during major resurfacing works which happened in the summer of 2012.

In the case, heard at Liverpool Crown Court, it was reported that on the 3 July 2012 a 74-year-old man suffered head injuries after he was hit by a car while using a crossing at temporary lights. One side of the Queen’s Drive dual carriageway had been put into a contraflow to allow vehicles to travel in both directions but temporary pedestrian lights were not working and no alternative was provided.

The Court also heard that on the 19th August 2012, 69-year-old Ernest Haughton died when he was struck by a car whilst crossing a single lane of traffic on the same road using a temporary pedestrian crossing.

Following complaints from motorists changes were made to the traffic control lights to alleviate congestion but this  resulted in the removal of the natural break in traffic flow needed to allow pedestrians to safely cross the carriageway.

When Mr Haughton died the temporary lights were removed but no alternative control measures were put in place to enable pedestrians to cross. In addition, a large A-frame sign was placed on the crossing which obscured the view of both pedestrians and motorists.

Liverpool City Council pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) and were fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £100,000 costs.

HSE investigators found that Liverpool City Council had failed to ensure that the arrangements for managing the roadworks were suitable, including failing to appoint a suitable co-ordinator for the work. Instead the council sought to delegate responsibilities to Enterprise Liverpool Limited who pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) and were fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £80,000 costs.

HSE found that Enterprise Liverpool Limited failed to ensure the designs for the traffic management were checked or approved and failed to check that the construction plan for pedestrian routes and provision of barriers was being followed.  At the time of the incidents they were found not to have provided a safe means of pedestrians crossing the works area or the carriageway.

Tarmac Trading Limited of Solihull, pleaded guilty to Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act, 1974 and were fined £1.3 million and ordered to pay £130,000 costs.

Tarmac Trading Limited, who were responsible for the provision and installation of the traffic and pedestrian management, failed to provide alternative assistance for pedestrians at the time of the first incident despite it being known that the temporary lights were broken. A temporary bus stop had also been placed in the middle of the road at the crossing.

HSE Inspector Jacqueline Western commented:

“The risks associated with road works are well known in the industry and specific guidance is available to assist with the planning and implementation. It is not unreasonable to expect that those who regularly engage in this type of construction work should be well aware of their roles and responsibilities.

The combined failure of all three dutyholders to comply with their duties on more than one occasion during the Queens Drive resurfacing project, led to one man losing his life and another suffering serious injury. It could quite easily have been two fatal incidents.

By engaging with the entire project team at the very start of a project, clients like Liverpool City Council, can ensure that a good health and safety culture is embodied throughout the life of the project. Ongoing communication and cooperation between the principal contractors and sub-contractors ensures that the project is being adequately planned, managed and monitored.”

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 fines increase by 43 percent

HSEBetween February 2016 and August 2016, health and safety fines totalled £20.6 million, compared to £14.4 million in February 2015 to August 2015 (please note that these costs may in fact be significantly higher as the data does not include sentences imposed in cases prosecuted by local authorities).

In the past few weeks alone there have been a number of high value, high profile fines, including:

It seems that for medium sized businesses fines are now routinely hitting the £1m point, indeed it has been argued that under the new Sentencing Guidelines ‘very large businesses’ (those with a turnover in excess of £50m) may see fines as high as £100m becoming common place.

Now may be the time to review your current board level arrangements for health and safety, ensure that you are treating it with the importance it deserves and documenting the good practice you have in place.  Consider a Gap Analysis from one of our experts as a good place to start.

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.

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;

 

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;

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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.

Brexit and its effects on safety

The news is full of Brexit and the likelihood is that your sick of hearing about it!

In that case sorry, but I couldn’t resist responding to a few clients who have raised questions on how it might affect safety laws and regulation over the coming months and years.

In truth I think most people are agreed that its impact will be minimal, the UK has always been a leader in global safety and our progress with HS(G)65 and BS8800 leading into OHSAS18001 has cemented this.  However, there are a few areas which we might see some movement in as we move into a more independent regulatory stance…

Oh, and Brexit has already been used in a legal defence!  More on that below.

Brexit and Safety Legislation

As we said we do feel that there are some areas which may be affected by Brexit and these are the three key areas where we feel a change may occur;

  1. CDM 2015 (application to domestic projects)
  2. Working Time Directive (extension of opt outs)
  3. REACH regulations

I think the most likely and the most impactful of these three will be the CDM Regulations 2015.  The truth is that application of these regulations to the domestic sector was largely forced upon us by the EU, we’ve never applied HASAWA to domestic situations and were reluctant to do so at the time of the first mobile sites Directive in 1994.

Our subsequent failure to incorporate the domestic element of the European Directive into UK CDM Legislation is telling and is a good example of the UK not ‘gold plating’ EU Directives.  It also aligns with the governments red tape push and is an area where smaller builders and tradesmen could return to a position where they have less H&S legislative burden (as some might put it).

Will this actually happen?  Its very hard to say as so much remains unanswered at this stage but as we approach an election in 2020 its not unlikely – so watch this space.

Brexit used as defence in HSE Prosecution

Hard to believe but Brexit has already made its first appearance as part of the defence in a prosecution by HSE with Stone Superstore Ltd pleading that the fine sought by the prosecution of £250,000 for the death of one of their employees who will killed in an accident involving an overturned fork lift truck in 2010.

Claiming that the company would be struggling financially post Brexit the judge agreed to reduce the fine imposing a £40,000 instead.

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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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.