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CONSTRUCTION HEALTH AND SAFETY NEWS: 26 MAY 2008

Complete the News Desk Updates box to be informed when the news changes. You can use the Search facility or browse our news Archives. Please alert your colleagues and supply chain partners to this FREE service and let us know of any news, developments or products that we might share with others. Many thanks.
  
Philip Poynter   

SCAFFOLD ERECTION DEVELOPMENTS

Fatal fall may prompt fresh interest in scaffolder collective protection

The quality of erected scaffolding has improved considerably in recent years. However, the methods of erecting and dismantling rely heavily on the use of fall arrest equipment to minimise injury, rather than measures to prevent falls in the first place.

Comment: The National Access and Scaffolding Confederation NASC has published SG4:05 “Preventing Falls in Scaffolding and Falsework” yet the industry has been slow to adopt solutions (e.g. Advanced Guardrail Systems) that prevent rather than arrest falls. A number of collective protection systems are now available on the market. In 2008/09 clients, principal and scaffolding contractors may find HSE placing an increasing emphasis on provision of such collective protection for scaffolders rather than reliance upon fall arrest.

EXCAVATION SAFETY

Construction prosecutions concluded last week included three cases of inadequate precautions during excavation work. The prosecutions were prompted by injury incidents that arose from: poor segregation of plant and pedestrians; inadequate roll-over protection and; open excavation edges. See further details below.

Comment: Excavators are involved in more fatal injuries than any other item of mobile plant and account for 34% of all mobile plant deaths in construction. Lift trucks and dumpers each account for 17% of such deaths. There have been 33 excavator related construction sector deaths since April 1999. The majority (40%) were caused when the workman was struck by the excavator bucket or arm. Other deaths occurred when the excavator was reversing (18%), going forward (15%), slewing (15%) or when it overturned (6%). 

Excavator related deaths occur across most construction sectors and are the second biggest cause of deaths in the homebuild sector (after lift trucks), causing more deaths than falls from height in that sector. HSE has indicated that inspectors will focus on the use excavators in the homebuild sector during 2008/09, particularly as regards segregation and the use of quick hitch devices.

Persons working near excavators are more likley to be injured than the operator. NIOSH has published useful guidance on control measures including advice on site set-up, equipment operators and other site worker issues.  

Case 1: Poor segregation causes serious injury and ends in prosecution

A construction company has been fined £10k after an incident in which a bricklayer suffered serious leg injuries when struck by an excavator. The HSE investigation found poor segregation between pedestrians and vehicles and inadequate traffic management.

Case 2: Lack of excavator roll-over protection leads to fine for plant hirer

A plant hire company has been ordered to pay over £8k in fines and costs after hiring out an excavator without suitable roll-over protection and failing to carry out pre and post-hire checks on equipment and hirers. The offence came to light when a hired excavator rolled over trapping and injuring the driver.

Case 3: Fall into open excavation lands contractor in court

A construction worker has been seriously injured after falling into an excavation during installation of a septic tank system. The company was ordered to pay £30k in fines and costs. The prosecution comes when HSE is running its “Shattered Lives” campaign aimed at reducing the number of slips, trips and falls across a range of industries, including construction.

HSE ENFORCEMENT

Prosecutions added to the HSE database in the last week  

The above link finds prosecutions taken by HSE Construction Division that have been added to the database in the last week. The three cases added resulted in total fines of almost £1/2 million and each case involved a fatal injury. Major national construction companies were involved in two of the cases.  

Enforcement notices added to the HSE database in the last week

The above link finds the 35 Prohibition and Improvement Notices issued by HSE Construction Division and added to the database in the last week.    

MANSLAUGHTER

Three and a half year sentence for roofing contractor

A roofing contractor has been found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter and of breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He has been sentenced to over 3 years imprisonment. Poor workmanship and failure to carry out basic checks on the correct operation of a flue directly led to a fatal incident.

FALLS FROM VEHICLES

Preventing falls from vehicles during loading and unloading

The above product provides an interesting approach to securing safety during the loading and unloading vehicles on construction projects.   

OTHER NEWS

Worker crushed under steel reinforcement

Building collapse on refurb project causes injury

HSE to appoint an extra 10 construction inspectors

New York City appoint an extra 63 construction inspectors after crane deaths

Egan slams house builders for not trying

Carbon monoxide causes death of young girl

AND FINALLY

Demolition contractors diversify

END

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