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CONSTRUCTION HEALTH AND SAFETY NEWS: 25-29 FEBRUARY 2008

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PROSECUTION CASES

Fall from height highlights the role of the designer in health and safety

Fines of £40k have been imposed on a contractor and building occupier after a worker suffered serious head injuries when he fell from height whilst carrying out repairs to a building air conditioning system. There were no fixed means of access or edge protection provided to prevent a fall. If the CDM Regulations had been in place at the time the building was constructed the enforcing authority would also have investigated the role of the designer. CDM 2007 requires designers to design with a view to avoiding foreseeable risks e.g. by siting building services in safe positions or by inclusion of permanent safe access within the design. Advice

Artist, District Council and Development Director face serious charges after deaths

Two women died and 13 others were hurt when a temporary artwork structure lifted into the air in July 2006. The creator of the piece faces manslaughter charges and a charge under health and safety laws. The local District Council and the Council Director of Development have also been charged with breaching the HSW Act 1974. Directors and managers can be convicted of an offence under HSW Act S37 where an offence by a corporate body is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of or attributable to any neglect on the part of any director or manager. Advice 

Prosecutions added to the HSE database this week  

The above link finds prosecutions taken by HSE Construction Division that have been added to the database this week. In each record you can click on ‘Case Details’ to view the prosecution subject matter. The five cases added this week involve the death of a member of the public who was struck by a falling wall, a crane incident, a poorly maintained piling rig and two cases involving unsafe work at height.    

INCIDENTS AND ACCIDENTS

 

 

Workman seriously injured in roof fall during dismantling of building 

A workman has suffered serious head injuries after falling from the roof of a storage building during dismantling operations. He fell onto a concrete floor below and his condition is described as “poorly”. Deaths and injuries during demolition work have reduced over the last 25 years as a result of the increasing use of remote demolition by machine. However, building dismantling and material salvage work remains one of the highest risk activities particularly as regards the hazard of falling through fragile surfaces at height. Advice

Mobile crane crashes through new home

A mobile crane has overturned and fallen onto a new home under construction. There were no injuries and HSE are investigating. Whilst tower cranes have featured prominently in recent deaths and incidents (see below) it is mobile crane incidents that have historically occurred more frequently. The majority of mobile crane incidents arise when the ground beneath the crane outriggers fails to support the loads imposed during use. A systematic assessment of ground conditions and provision of appropriate bearing pads is essential. Advice   

CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILIITY  

How health and safety should be covered in company annual reports  

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 comes into force on 6th April 2008 and many organisations are following Government advice and taking the opportunity to think again about how risks are managed so as to be satisfied that their systems and processes are adequate. One aspect of good health and safety management and Corporate Social Responsibility concerns reporting health and safety information in published reports. This demonstrates company commitment to effective health and safety risk management and shows alertness to the need to monitor and improve health and safety performance. HSC has published advice on the minimum health and safety content of reports. Advice 

TOWER CRAMES

Construction safety chiefs explain how crane safety is to be improved 

John Spanswick, Bovis Lend Lease Chairman and Head of the UK Strategic Forum for Construction has been interviewed by Cranes Today about the process of improving safety in the tower crane industry. His comments include the observation that “we are not trying to reinvent practices, but to make sure that people understand what they are and are competent to understand them. Supervision comes into this” he goes on to say “there is a lot of good practice in the industry. The question is how to share it.”. Advice

Consultation period on tower crane safety code extended

It has been reported that the UK’s Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) has extended the consultation period for its new guide to the thorough examination and maintenance of tower cranes. The new deadline for comment is 18 March 2008. Interested parties can download the guide from the CPA Website

Three die in Singapore tower crane incident

ROADWORKS AND DRIVING FOR WORK

New training arrangements for roadworkers to improve safety and efficiency  

The Transport Department has announced proposals to help reduce road disruption by ensuring that roadworks are carried out efficiently, safely and to the highest standards. The proposals will see qualified workers being reassessed every five years to ensure their knowledge of the latest requirements and best practice is up-to-date. The new proposals would also introduce new registerable qualifications for workers and supervisors involved in signing, lighting and guarding of road works. Advice

Useful guidance on managing driving for work

The Department for Transport website has pages dedicated to the management of driving for work. The pages illustrate the business case and why and how driving for work can be managed. Employers also have responsibility under Health and Safety legislation to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their employees and others who may be affected by their work activities. This includes the activity of driving on public roads. Advice  

Attitudes to mobile phones and driving are changing

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 lower than usual number of notices (28) have been added this week. The notices primarily concern work at height, excavation safety and training. One notice issued involved two youth aged 16 and 14 felting a roof with no edge protection or supervision. The work was causing burning material to fall to the ground below. A further notice prohibited use of a crane across GB.  

AASBESTOS THE HIDDEN KILLER  

HSE launches new powerful video on the hidden risks from asbestos today  

HSE has produced a short video that explains the hidden risks to electricians, carpenters, joiners and plumbers from asbestos that is present in many existing buildings. Advice  

OTHER NEWS

Bovis Lend Lease fined for safety breaches in New York

Fork truck fatality on Belfast construction project

Venue announced for public enquiry into building explosion which killed nine people 

Government spending on HSE drops by 10%

Olympic workforce needs look to be stretching

AND FINALLY… 

Children must sit down to remain safe! 

Yet another “health and safety madness” story.  You can also read the HSE response. A study of such stories usually reveals that the problem is often a failure of individuals to make sensible decisions when assessing risk. Too much playing safe and alleging “it’s been banned by the Government” in order to hide poor judgements!    

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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