July 18, 2018

Respirable crystalline silica health surveillance – are you compliant?

There's a huge amount being written about respirable crystalline silica of late.  We've been speaking about this for the past 22 years and have completed many monitoring and sampling programs for respirable crystalline silica (RCS) since our consultancy first started back in the early 90's and we think you need to know...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 16, 2018

Is your mask protecting you? Selecting and using dust masks

HSE have updated their guidance on selecting and using dust masks and can provide a helpful card which can then assist your staff in ensuring they get a good fit and the protection they need against dust. Many of us use dust masks everyday and its worth a recap on...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 9, 2018

Lyme disease and ticks – video; how ticks dig in

We've been talking about ticks and the risks of Lyme disease for years through this blog and on the talks which we provide for our Safety~net clients across the UK. At the weekend we came across the video below which might be useful for toolbox talks to remind your staff who...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 6, 2018

Fit testing for hearing protection

Join me on one of our visits to industrial and construction sites around the country and you'll see people wearing in-ear hearing protection badly.  Some might as well not be wearing it at all.  We'll walk past even when we're completing noise monitoring for a client and look across to...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 5, 2018

Hearing loss and ototoxic substances, chemicals damage hearing

I have to say this is an area which I can't help but find fascinating: hearing loss and ototoxic substances.  Ototoxic substances are those which can lead to hearing loss even without noise exposure, combine them with the noise exposure which we see in industry and construction and you have...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 4, 2018

Hardwood dust levels are reducing, how will you be affected?

We've monitored for soft and hardwood dust exposures for over 20 years now, carrying out dust monitoring in various workshops and factories across the country.  We think its unlikely you'll be aware that hardwood dust levels will be reduced in line with a European Directive (the EU Carcinogen and Mutagens...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 27, 2018

Audiometry (hearing tests) and why you should be doing these in your business

Hearing loss and the associated claims which have skyrocketed in the past 7 years are a major issue for all businesses.  Those within the construction and contracting sectors seem to be particularly targeted by claims and we've seen recent payout approach £30,000 for a single person.  What's important to note...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 27, 2018

Spirometry (lung function tests), a new service and why you might need it

It won't be news to any of our existing clients to say that occupational health surveillance is key in managing risk to your business.  We've long been involved in the monitoring and risk assessment of hazardous substances in the workplace and we've also been supporting our clients by recommending spirometry...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 25, 2018

Colour coding and labelling of gas cylinders

Many businesses have gas cylinders stored, and in use, within production and other areas but the labelling of gas cylinders is often less understood.  Each cylinder comes with its own markings and these are a valuable source of information, these are required by the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 21, 2018

Visualising harmful emissions (COSHH, Air monitoring and Occupational Hygienists)

As Occupational Hygienists we've been involved in air monitoring for hazardous substances for over 20 years and we've visited a vast array of business in that time. We've monitored construction dust such as wood and crystalline silica from cutting blocks and bricks, we've visited artists foundries and workshops and monitored...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 19, 2018

Key contractor and scaffolding specialist fined £63,000 for unsafe scaffolding

The current Work at Height Regulations were put into action in 2005 and we've been working with hundreds of our clients to put in place workable solutions to keep people safe at height since we started the business in 1994. Key amongst these risks is unsafe scaffolding. All contractors should have...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
May 15, 2018

Domestic Project Principal Contractor receives custodial sentence

With the CDM Regulations now in place since 2015 most people should have a pretty good understanding of what they are, how they affect them and what to do to comply with them...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
May 15, 2018

CDM Client and Contractor Together in Court

A CDM Client and what should have been their Principal Contractor have both been fined for failing to manage their responsibilities for safety. CDM Client and Contractor Prosecuted Stuart Barnes Ltd and the CDM Client Aster Property Ltd have been sentenced as a fall through fragile roofing.  Luke Maslen, 27 years old,...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
March 28, 2018

HSE Provides risk assessment training

Well then - who better to tell you about how provide a risk assessment training than an actual HSE Inspector! Or is it...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
March 27, 2018

Domestic Principal Contractor Fined under CDM

A domestic Principal Contractor (someone with Principal Contractor duties under CDM but working on a domestic rather than commercial project) has faced a significant fine.  This is one of the key changes with the 2015 CDM Regulations - they apply to domestic as well as commercial projects in contrast with...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
March 26, 2018

Wrist based HAVS risk assessment and risk reduction

When you're completing a HAVS risk assessment you follow the guidance laid down in the British Standard and apply a healthy dose of common sense.  You can't always position your measuring equipment in quite the right place, you also suspect people might use equipment differently under observation.  What you really...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
February 23, 2018

Working with Asbestos Cement (Asbestos Containing Materials)

Throughout the UK and Europe there are a multitude of workplaces still clad in asbestos cement from roofing to rainwater to any number of other similar items.  Back in the 50's and 60's this 'wonder material' was marketed as a solution to all building problems due to its characteristics for...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
February 2, 2018

Emergency First Aid Training: HSE updates First Aid guidance leaflet

Emergency first Aid Training: First aid leaflet revised for 2018 The HSE has updated some of its guidance material that covers first aid at work.   This is important information for anyone who has recently completed Emergency First Aid Training with us. See what has changed here; Updated leaflet INDG347 New material. The...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
January 31, 2018

Scaffolder faces up to 6 months in jail for failing to use harness – on a CPS Building!

Scaffolder Terrance Murray faces up to 6 months in jail after being photographed by a retired HSE Inspector working 60 feet up on a scaffold in Manchester.  Even more surprising is that the building he was working on housed the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) who are now involved in prosecuting...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
January 22, 2018

Controlling dusts in construction

Controlling construction dusts has really hit the headlines as a requirements in recent years - and with good reason.  Deaths related to dust inhalation through COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and the effects of exposure to RCS (respirable crystalline silica) are estimated to be in the thousands each year.  HSE...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
January 8, 2018

£100k fine for health surveillance failings leading to HAVS

Hand Arm Vibration (HAVS) is something which we have covered many times before but an area in which many still have a way to go.  The following prosecution illustrates just how many are still getting it wrong and the suffering which is resulting from this. If you're a safety advisor or...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
January 4, 2018

Changes to ISO Management Systems standards

I am sure that most of our clients are already familiar with the long established ISO.9001 as the Quality part of the ISO Management Systems standard, which has evolved to its latest version in 2015.  To many, these changes to the standard were quite dramatic and now require far more...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
December 11, 2017

CDM Principal Designer avoid HSE enforcement under CDM 2015

You might well find the following report of interest if you're in construction, particularly if you're CDM Principal Designer.  For those of you living in the South-west you might be interested to know that Bristol came second in the list for most enforcement notices issued under CDM 2015 (just behind...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
HSE
December 8, 2017

Q: What happens when HSE injures one of its own staff? A: Errr, not a lot…

With fines rising by orders of magnitude and custodial sentences being handed in more cases that ever before all businesses are feeling more exposed to risk from not managing safety effectively.  They are also conscious that with uncertainty, rising costs and tough marketing places they need to balance cost against...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
December 8, 2017

The clients duties under CDM 2015 – are you complying?

We've now had the first full calendar year of the updated CDM Regulations in place with some very big changes in terms of Clients duties.  Some things have changed and designers, architects in the main, have begun to feel the pinch of the regulations.  Contractors seem happy to proceed largely...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
November 15, 2017

Requirements for ‘Safety Critical Medicals’ hitting construction contractors

Safety Critical Medicals are an issue which is being raised by more and more clients since the beginning of this year. It is linked to a national scheme know as Constructing Better Health which is backed by the larger constructors in the construction industry. You can find out more about...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
HSE
November 13, 2017

HSE publishes their sector plans for 2018

The Health and Safety Executive has published its sector plans for the next 3-5 years following the draft it issued in March 2017. This earlier document saw HSE split the areas under its remit into 19 different sections rather than the, until now, traditional two sectors  Interestingly, manufacturing has been given...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
September 4, 2017

Utter failure to manage safety results in tragic death

Almost all the people we know and work with struggle with knowing the right mix of safety aspects and operational aspects when planning work.  We do have to get the job done, but let's do it safely is a common phrase through industry and construction.  However, every now and then...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
September 1, 2017

Client fails to appoint a Principal Contractor and receives £200,000 fine

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations and its requirement for a Client to appoint Principal Contractor are long established having been first issued in 1994 but more recent changes in the 2015 update are catching out some clients.  We think that as time progresses HSE will be looking to enforce...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
September 1, 2017

Bristol Construction firm receives £145,000 fine without an incident occurring

This recent case involving a Bristol construction firm highlights two common misconceptions; You have to have an accident to get prosecuted and fined by the HSE; Most inspections come through random HSE visits. This case disproves both of these assumptions.  Firstly, the case was prosecuted based on the risk of the...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
August 21, 2017

Time, not material goods, ‘raises happiness’

Bear with us for a moment or two...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
August 21, 2017

France launches ‘tick alert app’ in frantic bid to map Lyme disease explosion as blight ‘moves North’

Lyme disease and the danger from tick bites is something which we've been communicating for almost 10 years now. Each month we come across another news story which reminds us that the message still needs a lot more promotion.  This month alone we've seen two important stories. If you're a fan of...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 20, 2017

Welding of drums or other vessels – the potential for explosion

Lots of businesses which we visit have an oil drum or two lying around the workplace.  It may seems like a good idea to make use of one of these unwanted items and we've seen them made into bins and even barbecues through some simple welding. However, depending on what used...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 20, 2017

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...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 19, 2017

Hand arm vibration (HAV) – are you really managing the risk?

All of us have our pet subjects.  Some of us do tend to bury our heads in the sand for areas in which we're not as competent and Hand Arm Vibration (HAVS) is all too common an example.  You may, if you are honest with yourself, have a hit list...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 19, 2017

Focus on structural safety

Working in a safety role means that you come across a diverse range and issues and this does include structural safety.  We work with the whole range of construction site specialists and spotting risk is part of engaging in conversations with each stakeholder. If, like us, you're of the opinion that...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 14, 2017

Construction deaths hit a record low

It's great to be able to report some good news and I'm happy to be able to call it that.  We all qualify each improvement with an immediate caveat of 'but many others still suffered death or injury which could have been avoided.  Lets not be afraid to say well...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 10, 2017

Highly flammable liquids miss-management leads to spray booth fire

We have to be truthful and admit that we sometimes carry out tasks which in hindsight we could have done with far less risk.  It could be driving to work or what we do at home at the weekend away from the eyes of our colleagues and managers.  The spray...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 7, 2017

Could Health and Safety Fines rise even higher? Probably….

We have seen health and safety fines rise by 10-15 x  over their former levels since the Sentencing Guidelines were introduced in 2016 (see our earlier article for more information). In the past few months alone there have been a number of high value, high profile fines, including: Network Rail fined...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 7, 2017

Oxygen explosion causes worker severe injury and costs firm £1m fine

Oxygen is used throughout many sectors of industry and healthcare.  This common element can be taken for granted as we are so familiar with its name and its use. Are you aware that; increasing the concentration of oxygen in air from its normal 21% to just 24% can make an enormous...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 6, 2017

What’s the best advice for moving gas cylinders?

Moving gas cylinders in your workplace - the hazards We see gas cylinders in use across the wide range of clients we visit.  Some will use cylinders to power their MHE (Materials Handling Equipment) and some will be using gases to complete welding and cutting operations as part of their production...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 29, 2017

Case Law: Diversion of workers to maintenance tasks

It can be tempting to allow staff, particularly those who are helpful and keen, to undertake maintenance tasks within your workplace.  You can sometimes hear a staff member state "I could have sorted that for you!" When you have staff which have worked in other roles through  a diverse career and...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 29, 2017

Spa Pools; new legislation for commercial installations

You might be wondering why this post is here, if you are you're probably not aware of the wide range of clients which we work with! This post relates to the commercial rather than residential use of these spa's but if you're lucky enough to have one at home there are...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 21, 2017

Occupational Health Risks of Working in the Sun (UV) Rays

What are your legal obligations as an employer when staff are exposed to UV radiation? The Health and Safety at Work Act makes it clear that there is a legal duty on every employer to ensure, as far as reasonably practical, the health of their employees. It also says that employers must...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 12, 2017

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...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 12, 2017

Site Managers negligence leads to death of person passing construction site

Many construction site managers may remember hearing a statistic being talked about on past training courses that one person a month dies just walking past a  construction site, it often forms part of the CITB Site Managers Safety Training Course This statistic has been brought tragically to life by an accident...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 12, 2017

Routine HSE inspection leads directly to prosecution

We are all used to HSE visiting site and reviewing our arrangements on safety.  If these fall below expected standards we typically see Fee for Intervention costs (FFI) and the possibility of the serving of Improvement or even Prohibition notices.  What's unusual is when a HSE Inspection results directly in...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 12, 2017

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...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 12, 2017

CDM Client fined £160,000 after failure to appoint competent contractor

Both the building owner and the contractor they employed to demolish a structure have received heavy fines following safety failings which led to an uncontrolled collapse onto a high street in November 2013 and the CDM Client fined £160,000. It is a requirement of CDM 2007 (now replaced by CDM 2015)...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 12, 2017

Health and Safety Vs the Hipsters – having a beard 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 and often come across staff sporting a beard. Our position as occupational hygiene specialists means that we have been more exposed to this issue more...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
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