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    JUNE 2008

    PROSECUTIONS AND OTHER ENFORCEMENT

    Substantial fine imposed after change in work process led to fatality

    The company involved in this case has been ordered to pay over £170k in fines and prosecution costs after an HGV driver died when he fell 4m from a trailer.The firm were about to start supplying metal poles as a new product line and the deceased (who was concerned about the height of the new product load) fell when he climbed onto the vehicle. Comment: This case highlights the importance of procedures to identify the impact that the introduction of new or changed products or processes might have on existing safety systems and levels of risks. Policy in this area needs to be driven by the Boardroom which is why the Institute of Directors/HSE Guide to Leadership (see page 4) refers specifically to this issue. If this death had occurred post April 2008 it may have been prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007 and the starting point for the fine imposed would have been around 5% of turnover. Every year some 2000 workers are seriously injured after falling from a vehicle and there a range of solutions are available to reduce the risk. See also Boardroom Leadership topic below.

    Scaffolding contractor jailed after failing to train and equip scaffolders

    The owner of a scaffolding firm has been jailed for 3 months after failing to provide adequate training and equipment. The prosecution followed an incident in which untrained workers were dismantling a scaffold that collapsed causing one man to fall 6m. The defendant was found guilty of contravening the requirements of a Prohibition Notice served by HSE after previous incidents. Comment: This case illustrates the importance of acting on clear established guidance and of ensuring compliance with the requirements of any notice etc served by an HSE Inspector.  The Courts take a very dim view of failure to follow HSE advice or well established written guidance. In this case the outcome was a prison sentence for the business owner.

    Excavator operator sentenced to 12 months imprisonment

    The defendant pleaded guilty to manslaughter after the excavator bucket became detached and struck a fellow worker causing fatal injuries. The safety pin was not inserted in the semi-automatic quick hitch. Comment: There have been a number of  deaths involving semi-automatic quick hitches in recent years and has HSE issued a safety alert explaining the problem and providing advice on the required precautions. The EC is considering quick hitches and it is possible that they may be banned on new machines. Meanwhile, there are many semi-automatic quick hitches still in use and it is vital that contractors follow the HSE advice contained in the safety alert.   

    Prosecutions added to the HSE database in the last 7 days

    The above link finds 4 prosecutions taken by HSE Construction Division which were added to the database in the last week.  These involved: reversing telehandler; overturning telehandler; fall from flat roof and; asbestos removal.

    Notices added to HSE database in the last 7 days

    The above link finds the 48 Prohibition and Improvement Notices issued by HSE Construction Division and added to the database in the last week.

    RECENT INCIDENTS

    Construction worker dies in possible excavator incident

    Police are are working with HSE to establish the full circumstances surrounding the death of a construction worker on 24 June 2008 near a rail bridge in Lincolnshire. Our enquiries suggest the incident may have involved an excavator. We are aware of a second construction fatality during the last week that occurred when a thatcher fell from the roof of a building on a farm.

    BOARDROOM LEADERSHIP

    HSE plan to promote Institute of Directors (IoD)/HSE leadership guidance

    The HSE Business Plan (page 10) has announced that HSE will undertake a programme of action to promote the IOD/HSE Guidance on Leadership during 2008/09. Directors and board members have a crucial role in leading their organisations to high standards of health and safety performance. The Guidance sets out what Boardrooms need to do to be effective and will be used as a benchmark should a death at work be investigated for the offence of Corporate Manslaughter. HSE will communicate and promote the guidance through:

    • conferences, house journals, trade press etc;
    • survey of director awareness to help shape further action that might be needed;
    • inspectors employing the guidance during inspection, investigation etc. and;
    • encouragement of benchmarking and practical workshops;

    Comment: The Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007 did not go far enough for those stakeholders who called for greater personal legal responsibility to be placed upon company directors. However, legislators were persuaded that the IoD/HSE Guidance would be sufficient to prompt effective action in UK Boardrooms. There is a commitment by HSE to review the impact of the Guidance and propose further regulation if required. The Boardrooms of construction clients and contractors will need to act swiftly if further legislation on director duties is to be avoided. A good starting point is to review how well your organisation measures up to the IOD/HSE Leadership Guidance test and then take action in any areas of weakness. 

    Boardrooms fail to recognise risk management

    A survey suggests that risk management has yet to be fully integrated into board-level decision-making.

    WORK AT HEIGHT

    Safety whilst working at height depends upon securing safe access to a safe place of work. The two industry organisations below are dedicated to this aim and one has just published a new Code of Practice on edge protection systems.

    Edge Protection Federation (EPF) publish new Code of Practice

    EPF aims to provide a single, authoritative body to act as a representative voice and ensure that high standards in manufacture, supply and application of edge protection systems are maintained and advanced. Their new Code covers use of all popular edge protection systems in typical site situations, including concrete and steel frame structures and provides information for those involved in the installation, use and control of modern edge protection systems. EPF members include CITB-Construction Skills and a number of other well known organisations.

    Access Industry Forum (AIF)

    AIF is an umbrella organisation for trade bodies and associations involved in the access industry. It is committed to: advancing safety and best practice; being a collective voice of the industry and; bringing together those organisations with an interest in all types of scaffolding and cradles, rope access, ladders and powered access. AIF support the HSE Work at Height Solutions database. Questions asked go to an AIF member organisation and enquirers can then choose from a range of solution that best fit their work at height problem.

    WORKPLACE TRANSPORT

    Workplace transport report published

    HSE have reported on an initiative involving audits of workplace transport (WPT) risks. The main findings are:

    • More could be done to reduce WPT risks but there are difficulties e.g. financial constraints and lack of management ‘buy in';
    • Cultural barriers exist to making WPT changes e.g. awareness, attitudes and behaviour of employees;
    • International drivers can lead to language confusion, differences in expectations of safe behaviours and inappropriate PPE. Prior use of multi-lingual instruction cards are one solution and;
    • Audits were seen as positive and a chance to work with HSE Inspectors in a cooperative rather than enforcement environment. The audits provided an opportunity to highlight WPT issues and gain or reaffirm management commitment.

    Road safety statistics show significant improvement

    The risk to those undertaking work related driving on public roads appears to be reducing. The National Statistics on road casualties in GB for 2007 show that the number of people killed in road accidents fell by 7 per cent from 3,172 in 2006 to 2,943 in 2007 and that 4% fewer people were killed or seriously injured in 2007 than in 2006. This is the first time since records began that road deaths have fallen below 3000 per year.

    CHILD SAFETY

    Construction companies advised to act as school holidays draw near

    HSE is alerting the construction industry and parents to the practical advice that needs to be followed by parents and workers so as to help keep children safe this summer.

    OTHER NEWS

    HSE refurbishment initiative in Newcastle reveals further problems

    MPs debate teenagers killed at work

    Corporate Social Responsibility is affecting supply chain relationships

    US Congressmen call for new Crane safety code to be published

    AND FINALLY…

    Bus takes crane into river…a scary incident that thankfully caused no injury.

    Latest Construction Health and Safety News

    HSE ENFORCEMENT DATABASE REMAINS OFFLINE

    hselogo1Access to HSE prosecutions and notices register mysteriously unavailable

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    Posted on 15th January 2019

    POOR LIFT MAINTENANCE CLAIMED LIFE OF CHILD

    Affordable housing business and contractor fined over £1.5m

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    Posted on 15th January 2019

    NEW CPA CRANE SAFETY GUIDANCE ISSUED

    Guide covers use of mobile lifting appliances beside railways

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    Posted on 14th January 2019

    RIBA CONDEMNS RISKIER PROCUREMENT OUTCOMES

    Holistic focus on safety is required and not just cost cutting

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    Posted on 8th January 2019

    DIRECTOR JAILED OVER PAINT STRIPPER ILLEGAL SALE

    Banned and restricted chemicals sold contrary to legal requirements

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    Posted on 5th January 2019

    CLIENT FAILED TO PROCURE ASBESTOS SURVEY

    Demolition work released large quantities of asbestos fibres

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    Posted on 2nd January 2019

    LIVE WORKING IGNITED CLOTHES OF ELECTRICIAN

    Spanner came into contact with live terminal causing life-changing burns

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    Posted on 31st December 2018

    WORKMEN FELL FROM ‘BIN’ ATTACHED TO EXCAVATOR

    Premature removal of scissor lift prompted unsafe system of work

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    Posted on 31st December 2018

    MANY SITES FAIL HSE HEALTH RISK CONTROL TEST

    HSE Construction site ‘blitz’ finds breaches at 43% of site visits

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    Posted on 31st December 2018

    MAKESHIFT FALL ARREST SYSTEM CAUGHT ON CAMERA

    Contactors fined for using harness not attached to suitable anchor

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    Posted on 31st December 2018

    HYDRAULIC RAM SEVERED HAND OF WORKMAN

    Major contractor failed to follow own policies and procedures

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    Posted on 31st December 2018

    ALL WORK AREAS NOT INCLUDED IN ASBESTOS SURVEY

    Company fined after asbestos containing materials were released

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    Posted on 31st December 2018

    FESTIVE GREETINGS TO ALL OUR READERS

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    Posted on 18th December 2018

    POSITIVE STORY ON FRAGILE SURFACE HAZARDS

    Major roofing contractor testifies to working from below roof

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    Posted on 18th December 2018

    LEISURE CENTRE USER FELL ILL AFTER SHOWER USE

    Legionella risk assessment and control measures found wanting

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    Posted on 18th December 2018

    STONE CUTTING MACHINE GUARDS FAILED HSE TEST

    Precautions taken following HSE enforcement fell into disuse

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    Posted on 18th December 2018

    ROOFWORK CREATED CARBON MONOXIDE RISK

    Falling rubble damaged and blocked home chimney flue

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    Posted on 18th December 2018

    HSE SAFETY ALERT: TOWER CRANE BRAKES

    Collapse of tower crane jib in high winds prompts HSE warning

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    Posted on 11th December 2018

    VISITING ENGINEER CRUSHED BY SCAFFOLD TUBES

    Principal contractor “signed off” contractor storage arrangements

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    Posted on 11th December 2018

    CONCRETE EJECTED BY PUMPING UNIT CLAIMED LIFE

    Company and director failed to train and supervise pumping operations

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    Posted on 5th December 2018

    REFRESHED GUIDANCE ON FITNESS TO OPERATE PLANT

    Construction plant medical fitness Good Practice Guide

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    Posted on 4th December 2018

    MAJOR CONTRACTOR & LUL USED UNSAFE SYSTEM

    Work method to eliminate moving vehicle hazard not adopted

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    Posted on 4th December 2018

    OVERTURNING LORRY CAUSED DEATH OF DRIVER

    Groundworks project stockpiling arrangements not properly managed

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    Posted on 3rd December 2018

    FORTH BRIDGE LIFTING OPERATION NOT PLANNED

    Major project PC failed to plan, supervise and carry out lift safely

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    Posted on 3rd December 2018

    DEVELOPER FAILED ON ASBESTOS ASSESSMENT

    HSE inspection revealed refurb works without asbestos survey

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    Posted on 28th November 2018
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