Tag Archives: WWT Working Well Together

Failings in formwork safety leads to further injuries and fines

Formwork safety continues to be an area in which many sites could improve.  There are a range of courses out there which give useful qualification and skills in the management of formwork and falsework risk.  A good example of this would be the Temporary Works Supervisor Training Course (TWSTC) available from CITB.
For more information on this course see this link; TWSTC

Erector fell 3m after access scaffold board failed under load

Sager Construction Limited (SCL) and Shaun Dixon Services Ltd (SDSL) have been fined when an employee fell more than 3m when a scaffold board he was standing on failed.

Southwark Crown Court heard SCL had been appointed Principal Contractor under the CDM 2007 Regulations for the construction of a shopping centre and residential units.

On the 19 February 2015 the 64-year old employee of formwork contractor SDSL was installing a primary beam in the basement when he fell from the top of the work platform.  He  suffered fractures to both of his feet and deep cuts to his head and arms as a result.

Dangerous boards and poor working practices

On investigation the Health and Safety Executive found that operatives worked from boards which were in a poor condition. It was also revealed that particularly poor practices took place in relation to work at height

Sager Construction Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, and was fined £34,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,577.

Shaun Dixon Services Ltd was also found guilty of breaching Regulation 13 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 at an earlier date.

The company has since entered liquidation but was fined £160,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,119.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Gabriella Dimitrov said:

“The worker is lucky to have not sustained more serious injuries as a result of this fall from height.

It is entirely foreseeable that accidents will occur where work at height is being carried out without suitable work platforms and other measures to prevent workers from falling.

HSE will take action to ensure that duty holders are held to account for any failings.”

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.

Temporary works: Deaths of four workers illustrate need for careful planning

Temporary works are an area where greater focus on safety is required.  Some confusion can still exist over who takes responsibility for these areas and risks can sometimes be underestimated.

The case above involved the construction of a foundation for a large steel structure as part of the foundation for a pressure test facility at Claxton Engineering in Great Yarmouth.

An excavation 23 metres long, 3 metres wide and 2 metres deep was filled with a horizontal steel cage estimated to have weighed around 32 tonnes when it was completed.  The picture below show the structure before and after its collapse;

 

 

 

 

A large-scale emergency response was undertaken to rescue the trapped workers. However, Adam Taylor, 28, 41-year-old Peter Johnson and brothers Thomas Hazelton, 26 and Daniel Hazelton, 30, were all pronounced dead at the scene. All of the men were working for Hazegood Construction

If you’d like to find out more about safely managing temporary works then please following this link; https://www.twforum.org.uk/media/70138/tw15.116_rebar_stability_safety_bulletin.pdf  or visit the website for more information on safety with temporary works.

HSE Construction Division Head of Operations Annette Hall said:

“Those sentenced today failed the four workers who died. They didn’t carry out their legal duties, leading to the events which caused their deaths.

This was a long term, large scale and complex civil engineering project which needed to be planned, designed, managed and monitored effectively. The tragedy here is that, in the months leading up to the accident, any one of these parties could and should have asked basic questions about building the structure safely.

Such an intervention could have avoided the tragic outcome of this entirely preventable accident.”

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.

Health and Safety Vs the Hipsters – are beards to be outlawed on site?

We’ve been carrying out face fit tests and advising our clients on the selection and use of RPE (face masks and similar) for many years now.

Our position as occupational hygiene specialists means that we have been more exposed to this issue more than many of our peers and it has always been a difficult one to address.

The issue surrounding beards lies in both their current popularity and their incompatibility with good practice when it comes to protecting workers from dusts.  A simple mantra we keep returning to in our toolbox talks and support work for clients across the UK is that you won’t see a fire fighter with a beard.

We’ve been reading about the case of  Mears and the response from Unite (the Union) recently and whilst we do have sympathy with each party, overall we have to side with Mears rather than Unite.  The simple truth is that beards and RPE don’t mix well, and whilst you can use air fed helmets they’re not always the right choice.

See below for comments from both Mears and from Unite.  If you have your own questions please contact us to discuss what you can do.

Unite National Health and Safety Adviser Susan Murray said:

“An employer should first assess the risks presented by exposure to hazardous substances, then identify the steps needed to adequately control the risks; put them into operation and ensure they remain effective.

The use of Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) may be one of the control measures, but the wearing of face masks should be a last resort and priority should always be given to eliminating the risk.

Before any policy is introduced there should be full and proper consultation. It is crucial that the policy recognises the diversity of the workforce and the principle that workers should be consulted and given a choice of several correctly specified types of RPE so they can choose the one they like.”

Seal not possible with beard or heavy stubble

Mark Elkington, Group Health and Safety Director of Mears Group responded as follow:

“We are pretty surprised that Unite, who claim to have the safety of workers at heart have taken this disappointing stance.

Every employer in the UK has a legal responsibility to ensure that employees working in dusty or otherwise potentially hazardous environments are properly protected and in recent years employers have been prosecuted for failing to fulfil this duty.

The simple fact is that no dust mask can work effectively unless it forms a seal against the skin. That is not possible with a beard or even heavy stubble. If the Health and Safety Executive did a spot site visit and found workers wearing dust masks that were not sealed against the face then we would be liable to prosecution.

The alternative to a dust mask is a full hood over the head, which brings its own risks. For example many of our operatives do not like wearing a full hood and it can affect hearing and line of sight. It can also be uncomfortable to wear and can raise concerns with our clients who do not like to see workers in such hoods because of how it looks to customers.

It is vital to note, however, that if a risk assessment shows that the hood is a better option for a job or a worker insisted on having one, then we will supply that hood so Unite’s reference to cost saving is absolute nonsense.

If one of our workers suffers respiratory illness as a result of a poor fitting mask then that is our responsibility and we place the safety of our workers at the top of the priority list. Finally it is worthy of note that this affects a very small percentage of our workers who would be in that environment.”

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.

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;

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.

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;

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.

Free Event on Working at Height, Barnstaple 20 Oct. 2016 WWT and HSE

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

The construction industry has taken huge strides forward in tackling risk and reducing injury rateOS Logo Emails over recent years but still has a significant opportunity to make our high-hazard industry safer still and to drive down the alarming rates of accident and ill health linked to construction work in particular to refurbishment projects.

Event Programme
08:30 – 09:00 REGISTRATION TEA/COFFEE
09:00 – 09:15 Welcome and introduction
09:15 – 12:30 The programme will consist of talks and demonstrations on:

  1. Asbestos Awareness
  2. Working at Height
  3. Scaffolding
  4. Dust and Face Fit Testing
  5. Manual Handing

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!

Petroc College of Further Education,
Old Sticklepath Hill,
Barnstaple,
EX31 2BQ

Parking facilities are available on site. The college currently  operate a pay and display system on the premises at a cost of £1.00 per day, per vehicle.

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;

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.

How did that accident happen? Motion induced blindness….

So, here you are.  Steadily driving your way home along a motorway, motion induced blindnessmile after mile and junction after junction, perhaps in kind of semi aware state casually glancing at the sat nav, speedo or rear view mirror.  Every now and then you find yourself simply gazing at the view ahead and seconds turn into minutes and then half an hour passes without you realising it.

Sound familiar?

It should do because almost everyone that I’ve spoken to has experienced it, particularly on long and familiar journeys with a steady pace and light traffic, the M5 heading past Bristol and into the Southwest is a good example on a weekday afternoon, clear of bank holiday traffic.

The truth is this drifting state is dangerous and its not just when you’re on a motorway.

Blindness in the workplace

We often wonder when we come to look at an accident just how it happened.  We are given the gift of 20/20 hindsight of course and its always hard to put yourself in that persons position to the extent that you can truly appreciate the thought processes they went through.  You are there to try and identify the root causes – that’s why its worth knowing about motion induced blindness as a principle and also raising it with your staff as an issue before these accidents have a chance to occur.

Visual and optical phenomena

So, how do we get this message out there to vehicle fleet drivers, fork lift truck operators, motorcyclists and a whole other raft of people who might benefit?  As usual, by training and education – and a very neat graphic courtesy of the internet.

Stare at the central yellow dot and keep looking, do the other three dots then start to disappear?  That’s motion induced blindness.

Now imagine yourself at a busy crossroads waiting to pull out with pedestrians and other waiting to cross – can you spot that motorbike approaching?

Or perhaps you’re a a forklift truck driver in a busy warehouse passing by aisles and with pallet movers and pedestrian pickers all around you.

What next?

Use the video above in your training sessions when you have fork lift truck refreshers or new driver training, hold a toolbox talks for those who drive as part of their job (road users or otherwise) or ask us to complete a toolbox talk on your behalf to raise awareness.

How to combat motion induced blindness

You may still be wondering, why the jet fighter image at the top of the page? Fighter pilots are taught a technique to overcome this weakness in the way we process our view of the world around us and its very simple but very effective – you keep you head moving.  Don’t believe me?  Keep moving your head whilst re-watching the video above and you’ll see the difference – make sure that’s a key part of your training session.

As always, we hope you’ve found the information above interesting and feel you can use it to make a positive change in how you actively manage risk in your workplace.

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

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;

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.

Is there a case for intuition in safety?

Sintuition safetyometimes you just feel that something isn’t right, you can’t explain exactly why but you have that feeling, your subconscious is telling you to look a little more closely or probe a bit deeper.

I read an interesting article recently by Dr Travis Bradberry which discusses the subconsciousnesses role in guiding our actions and asks us to use these  feelings more to guide us in our decision making, it contains in interesting quote;

“Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.” – Jonas Salk

In a study by the Salk Institute participants were asked to play a card game by pulling cards from two different decks, unknown to them the decks were rigged.  Its took around 50 cards for these participants to realise something was unequal and about 80 cards to realise what the actual difference was.

However, after just 10 cards most players starting to sweat slightly on their palms before pulling a card from the ‘losing’ deck, at about the same time they started subconsciously favouring the ‘winning’ deck.

The above study serves to demonstrate the power of intuition, something which comes from the primitive brain and which served us well in days where danger was all around us, and something which we should, perhaps, be happier to rely on more often in our modern lives.

Experiments in intuition

If you remain unconvinced why not try a little game, stare intently at the back of someone’s head in the office or walking down a corridor. Perhaps you’re sat across a table or hall from someone you know at lunch.  The wait and see how long it takes them to raise their head and search for the person looking at them, it might not work every time but I think you’ll be surprised at how often it does (and if you do know them don’t forget to at least nod a hello!).

So next time you’re completing a safety tour, audit or inspection don’t be afraid to slow down and listen to your gut feeling, it might lead to you in the right direction.

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

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;

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.

Construction pays HSE over £4m in fees under FFI

Despite HSE insisting that its Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme is HSEnot intended to plug the hole in its finances caused by the reduction of its government grant recent figures show a 13% decline in enforcement notices (improvement notices and prohibition notices).  At the same time a 26% increase in the charges made under FFI has been made against the construction sector with fees from April 2015 to March 2016 reaching a record £4.22m

Some may be rightly concerned whilst others may be grateful to avoid having an enforcement notice issued against their business and the subsequent need to admit this to their client base (as its presence in the HSE Hall of Shame).

Whatever your particular viewpoint it does show that Fee For Intervention is on the increase and that construction and contracting businesses are being targeted.  As you will probably be aware all FFI is ‘in the Inspectors opinion’ and so good practice is important and base legal compliance may not be enough to protect you from fines.

As always, if you need more advice please contact your retained consultant.

Notices of Contravention (FFI)

HSE issue invoices following a written Notice of Contravention sent to duty holders regarding ‘material breaches’ of the law found by HSE inspectors, HSE invoice data for the last three full year invoice is as follows:

April 2013 – March 2014 – 6960 invoices issued with a total value of £2,545,474. The average value of invoices issued is £366.

April 2014 – March 2015 – 6075 invoices issued with a total value of £3,1116,234. This represents a 21% increase in the total value of invoices issued over the previous period. The average value of invoices issued is £513 representing a 29% increase.

April 2015 – March 2016 – 6990 invoices issued with a total value of £4,220,972. This represents a 26% increase in the total value of invoices issued over the previous period. The average value of invoices issued is £604 representing 15% increase.

Enforcement Notices

Over the same period which shows that the number of enforcement notices issued in the construction sector has fallen.

April 2013 – March 2014 – the database shows 3625 prohibition and improvement notices issued by HSE construction teams.

April 2014 – March 2015 – the database shows 3244 prohibition and improvement notices issued by HSE construction teams. This represents a 11% fall in the number of notices issued.

April 2015 – March 2016 – the database shows 2713 prohibition and improvement notices issued by HSE construction teams. This represents a 13% fall in the number of notices issued.
Comment

The data suggest that the HSE Notice of Contravention and consequent inspection fee forms an increasingly important mechanism for HSE in securing compliance and improved standards of health and safety in the construction sector.

This is occurring at a time when use of formal Enforcement Notices (improvement and prohibition) is declining in the sector.

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.