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Construction Health and Safety News: 18-22 February 2008

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Prosecution Cases

Fall through fragile asbestos cement roof leads to fines contractors

Two contractors have been ordered to pay over £60k in fines and costs after workers fell through a fragile asbestos cement roof and suffered multiple fractures and spinal injuries. Falls through fragile roofs and rooflights account for around 25% of all fall related deaths in construction. Falls from ladders and working platforms account for a further 50% of such deaths. From 6 April 2008 where such deaths occur owners and occupiers of business premises may find themselves subject to a police investigation under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007. All parties therefore need to assess carefully any work on or near fragile roofs and implement the precautions required. Advice

Prosecutions added to the HSE database this week  

The above link finds prosecutions taken by HSE Construction Division which have been added to the database this week. The name of the defendant is shown and you can click on ‘Case Details’ to view the prosecution subject matter. The five cases added this week involve falls from ladders and one case where the contractor was fined £60k after a workman fell through a floor opening.

Designer Issues

Design decisions affect the health of those working in construction 

Designers can reduce health risks arising from construction work by their design decisions and assumptions. The new HSE occupational health in construction web pages advise that by identifying and assessing health issues, taking action to eliminate hazards, reduce risks, and share information, designers can avoid the need for costly redesign once the construction phase has started. Advice

HSE considering means of testing designer competence under CDM 2007

The Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) is considering how the competency of designers under CDM 2007 might be assessed. The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has been tasked to devise a CDM competency test for designers and BRE are presenting their latest ideas to CONIAC at a meeting on 4 March 2008. Advice

Asbestos

Poor awareness of risk from asbestos during building repair and maintenance

The British Lung Foundation and HSE are warning carpenters, joiners, plumbers and electricians of the ever-present health risk from asbestos in many existing buildings. Insulating board and ceiling tiles are the asbestos containing products that these trades are most likely to encounter. Building owners and occupiers are required to manage the presence of asbestos in buildings.  Clients for all construction work, however minor, must provide information on any asbestos present in the building. HSE have produced a free information pack to support this campaign. Advice

New Legislation

Bill proposes increase in fines for health and safety offences

A private members Bill has received a further reading in the House of Commons. If the Bill comes into law the effect will be to increase the penalties available in the magistrates court and possibly speed up the process of prosecution. Advice  

HSE Inspection Initiatives

Poor standards on refurbishment projects in the South West reflected across GB  

The HSE inspection blitz on falls and trips in construction has continued throughout February 2008 and has revealed poor standards on many refurbishment projects across Great Britain. A number of HSE press releases have been issued reporting a high incidence of enforcement action being taken. Advice

Enforcement Notices

Enforcement notices added to HSE database this week

The above link finds prohibition and improvement notices issued by HSE Construction Division that have been added to the database this week. A total of 32 notices have been added. The notices issued primarily concerned work at height including risk from fragile roofs, vehicles and pedestrian segregation, training in the use of mobile plant, excavation safety and lifting operations.

Other News

HSE moves to stop use of non-compliant machines

Construction Confederation launch pocket guide to construction health and safety

Long hours may impact on the health of construction managers

Fire safety professionals unaware of new regulations 

ODA announces employment and skills strategy for 2012 

Police act to improve safety for workers in roadworks

Fire risk for overcrowded migrants

And finally… 

Wembley stadium dispute shows the cost of litigation in construction

I hope you find our News Desk helpful and informative. Your feedback on the content and format is always much appreciated.

Best wishes

Philip Poynter

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