Tag Archives: Principal Contractor

Public Tip Off leads to Prosecution and £52,000 fine

HSE often attends sites which have been reported as dangerous by members of the public.  In fact, we hear of these visits quite regularly and they can be as a result of genuine concerns or perhaps as a result of noise, dust and other disturbances causes nuisance to neighbours.

The case below relates to a North London site at which safety management and edge protection were sadly lacking.  Malik Contractors and Engineers Ltd were fined a total of £52,000  plus £4,415 costs after pleading guilty under Reg 13(1) of The Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015.

In response to concerns from members of the public HSE carried out three separate inspections and each time found numerous breaches of health and safety legislation. These included electrical systems, unsafe work at height and no fire detection of fire fighting equipment despite workers sleeping on site.

 

 

 

 

HSE inspector David King commented:

“This case highlights the importance complying with enforcement action. Duty holders have the responsibility to provide their workers with appropriate training and equipment so they can work safely. In this case Malik Contractors failed to do so.

It is essential those responsible for construction work understand they are also responsible for the health and safety of those on and around the construction site, and ensure suitable and sufficient arrangements are in place to plan.”

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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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Lack of experience leads to Principal Contractor being fined £360k

Both a Principal Contractor and other contractors have been fined following a worker falling over 7 metres through a fragile roof which was being replaced.

Our belief is that the client was lucky not to be prosecuted as a key requirement on them is to ensure that those they appoint are competent and adequately resourced – a point of note for all clients.  If the case had been heard under the 2015 Regs the client would also be likely to have been found guilty.

Rafal Myslimm was standing on a asbestos sheeting when this gave way and he fell to the concrete floor below, as he fell he hit a number of metal pipes – no safety netting or other fall protection had been provided, he suffered a haematoma to the brain.

HSE found that three companies were at fault, Dengie Crops Ltd had contracted Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd, an agricultural machinery supplier, to help the company replace their roof.  However, they recognised that they themselves lacked the appropriate experience and subcontracted the work to Balsham ( Buildings) Ltd.

Balsham assessed the requirements and subsequently subcontracted the replacement work to Strong Clad Ltd.. However, Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd remained the Principal Contractor under the CDM Regulations but were unable to perform this role effectively due to their lack of experience in construction, it shoudl be noted that Balsham had highlighted to them the risk of a fall.

Outcomes

None of the three parties involved put in place safety measures for the 40% of the roof which was not protected with safety netting and relied too heavily on the verbal briefings to workers regarding where the netting was situated, rather than simply putting in place these measures for the whole roof.

  • Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd – of Ulting, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and were fined £360,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000
  • Balsham (Buildings) Ltd – of Balsham, Cambridge, pleaded guilty to breaching 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005. They were fined £45,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,000
  • Strong Clad Ltd – of Castle Hedingham, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005. They were fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000

HSE inspector Adam Hills said:

“The dangers of working on fragile roofs are well documented. Every year too many people are killed or seriously injured due to falls from height while carrying out this work.

Work at height requires adequate planning, organisation and communication between all parties. This incident was entirely preventable and Mr Myslim is lucky to be alive.”

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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Shockingly Good Advice; Free Event from WWT Southwest

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from experts on exactly how to HSEkeep you staff safe when working with electricity. To secure a place(s) please complete the registration page at: Book your free place now!

Topics covered will include:

  • Electrical safety;
  • Management and planning of Asbestos & Non-licensed removal;
  • Introduction to HAVCR safety;cropped-OS-Logo-Email.jpg
  • Managing stress and behavior in the workplace;
  • Cable detection – a practical approach.

The event will consist of talks and demonstrations with the opportunity to ask questions from those within the industry. Whether you are a self-employed jobbing builder or run a small building company this free event is a must.

Programme

The Event will run from 08:00am to 12:00 noon

  • 8.00 a.m. – 9.00 a.m. – Registration/breakfast rolls & tea/coffee
  • 9.00 a.m – 9.05 a.m. – Welcome & Introduction – Chair WWT SW
  • 9.05 a.m. – 12.00 noon- The programme will consist of talks and demonstrations on:-
    • Electrical Awareness, including Electrical Safe Isolation, Accidental Procedures, Complacency, Water with Electrics, PAT Testing
    • Asbestos Awareness & Non-licensed removal overview management and planning
    • HVAC Service & Maintenance in the Building Services industry – features and benefits
    • CAT & Genny – practical demonstration
    • Stress in the workplace – Signs of stress and how to manage

You will be asked to complete a feedback form in return for a attendance certificate.

For further information contact Tina Smith T: 01453 828555 Email: tsmith@sanctustraining.co.uk

Mid-morning Break will include Tea/Coffee with Breakfast Roll. You will be asked to complete a feedback form in return for an  attendance certificate.

The event will consist of talks and demonstrations with the opportunity to ask questions from those within the industry as well as an HSE inspector.

Whether you are a self-employed jobbing builder or run a small building company this free event is a must. Places at this event are limited and it is likely to be highly popular – BOOK NOW!

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above of 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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Solar panel installer falls through fragile asbestos roof, company fined more than £20,000

solar_farm_imageNorwich-based Durrant Electrical and Mechanical Ltd, trading as Green Home Energy Solutions, had admitted a single charge of breaching working at height regulations on September 26, 2013.

The accident occurred when employee Chris Eldon was measuring up an asbestos roof on a tractor shed at Woodland Farm, near Watton.  He was completing this work without the use of crawling boards.

Klentiana Mahmutaj, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said Mr Eldon suffered severe concussion, a fractured wrist and bruising to the base of his spine when it gave way and he fell 2m to the ground.

An HSE investigation had found the company had carried out an inadequate risk assessment and planning for working on an inadequate roof.  The HSE Inspector added no-one from Durrant Electrical and Mechanical had been on site to brief Mr Eldon before he and apprentice Kyll Staff had started work.

“What should have happened was for the roof to be assessed by a competent person, who would have concluded it was fragile,” she said, adding falling from a roof could often lead to death or serious injuries.

Julia Kendrick, defending the firm, said Mr Eldon had worked for the company since 2011 and had been been given training in health and safety and working at heights. She added: “He was very experienced and he had significant training to make him aware of the risks which were inherent in the kind of work he was undertaking.

“The injured person had completed more than 100 installations. He was a supervisor on some jobs and they considered him extremely competent. Systems were in place but were not sufficiently adhered to or implemented.”

Durrant Electrical and Mechanical had had to lay off workers after a downturn in the renewables sector, the court was told. After making a £95,000 profit in 2015, it had so far lost £25,000 this year.

“They are struggling to pay their workers and stay afloat,” said Miss Kendrick, adding the company had no previous accidents or convictions.

Under the new sentencing guidelines firms can be fined between £14,000 and £250,000 for breaches. Judge Sell ordered it to pay £14,000, with £7,000 costs, commenting: “I’ve certainly not seen any evidence of serious or systemic failings to assess risks to health and safety.”

Durrent Electrical and Mechanical was given two years to pay.

After the hearing directors Kerry and Debbie Durrant, who were present in court, declined to comment.

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above of 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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Client prosecuted under CDM 2015 for failing to appoint a Principal Contractor

A company which failed to appoint a Principal Contractor under the CDM Regulations 2015 has been prosecuted and fined £50,000cdm-2015

Any client who has building work completed which falls under CDM must appoint a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor in writing – this is one of the key requirements placed on any client under the regulations.

The company was developing the New York Hotel in Porth when an investigation found that the company had failed to put in place appropriate measures to control risks from risk on site including fire, asbestos and falls from height.  To compound matters Ziman Trading also failed to co-operate with the investigation and to comply with the enforcement action taken by HSE.

Ziman Trading Limited, of Cefn Coed Road, Cyncoed, Cardiff, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and Section 33(1)(G) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,478.

Detail of breaches;

  • Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015  – Regulation 13(1) which requires principal contractor to plan, manage and monitor the construction phase and coordinate matters relating to health and safety during the construction phase to ensure the construction work is carried out without risks to health or safety.
  • Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 – Section 33(1)(G) which is an offence to contravene any requirement or prohibition imposed by an improvement notice or a prohibition notice.

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