Archive for October 2008

FALL FROM HEIGHT PROSECUTION

Posted on 31st October 2008
Construction companies to pay £190k after fatal fall 

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APPEAL COURT RULES ON STRESS

Posted on 31st October 2008
Time is of the essence in dealing with stress at work 

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BEHAVIOUR CHANGE & WORKER ENGAGEMENT

Posted on 31st October 2008
New research suggests way forward for BCWE in construction  

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LIFT FALL IN CHINA

Posted on 30th October 2008
Twelve die on construction site lift plunge

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HAVS TRAINING

Posted on 30th October 2008
HSL provide HAVS training for construction sector 

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DRIVING FOR WORK

Posted on 30th October 2008
Research into safety of young persons driving for work    

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FATAL INJURY STATISTICS 2007/08

Posted on 29th October 2008
Construction fatal injuries now falling 

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INDUSTRY SAFETY FORUM

Posted on 29th October 2008
CONIAC may be drinking at last chance saloon

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HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE

Posted on 29th October 2008
Prosecution Cases added to Register

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FIRE AND EXPLOSION

Posted on 28th October 2008
Excavator catches fire after gas pipe struck

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GAS SAFETY

Posted on 28th October 2008
New gas installer registration system from April 2009

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FALLS FROM HEIGHT

Posted on 28th October 2008
HSE checklist highlights areas of likely enforcement

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STRESS AT WORK

Posted on 27th October 2008
Stress Awareness Day on 5th November

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JUST A BIT OF FUN

Posted on 27th October 2008
Spot the construction hazards! 

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MOBILE PLANT DRIVER PROSECUTION

Posted on 24th October 2008
Excavator operator prosecuted after pedestrian death

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PIPE STOPPER PROSECUTION

Posted on 24th October 2008
Over-inflated pipe stopper explodes injuring workman

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RAIL CRASH REPORT

Posted on 23rd October 2008
Track maintenance failures contributed Cumbrian crash

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LEADERSHIP IN HEALTH AND SAFETY

Posted on 23rd October 2008
ODA Chairman calls from leadership from the top

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ELECTRICAL FATALITY PROSECUTION

Posted on 22nd October 2008
Contractor fined £300k after workman electrocuted

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HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE

Posted on 22nd October 2008
Prosecution Cases added to Register

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ASBESTOS CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED

Posted on 22nd October 2008
New webpages alert construction trades to ongoing asbestos risk

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CRANE INCIDENT USA

Posted on 21st October 2008
Mobile crane overturn results in death of welder  

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SCAFFOLDING STANDARDS

Posted on 21st October 2008
NASC issue guidance on collective protection 

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WORKFORCE INVOLVEMENT

Posted on 21st October 2008
TUC launch charter to enhance the role of workplace safety rep

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FALL FROM HEIGHT PROSECUTION

Posted on 20th October 2008
Steel erection fall leaves workman paralysed

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RISK ASSESSMENT EURO CAMPAIGN

Posted on 20th October 2008
Euro Campaign for H&S for 2008-09 focuses on risk assessment

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ASBESTOS SCARE IN MAJOR STORE

Posted on 20th October 2008
Selfridges replace display window after asbestos found

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ROOF FALL FATALITY

Posted on 20th October 2008
Window fitter dies after fall from house roof

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STRUCTURAL COLLAPSE

Posted on 20th October 2008
Bridge under construction collapses in Indian capital

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ASBESTOS PROSECUTION

Posted on 17th October 2008
Asbestos survey company failures put contractors at risk
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CRANE FATALITY

Posted on 17th October 2008
No prosecution arising from Liverpool crane collapse 

Investigators have decided not to institute legal proceedings following the death of a worker after a tower crane collapsed in Liverpool on 15th January 2007. HSE have announced that there is insufficient evidence to bring proceedings against any of the parties investigated. The crane collapsed when the slew ring bolts failed and the slew ring fractured, allowing the main crane assembly to fall from its tower and land on the building being constructed. A Polish site worker was killed and the crane driver was injured.

HSE Head of Construction Operations for the North West said we have: “written to all tower crane hirers and suppliers in GB providing them with HSE’s technical conclusions as to the cause of the incident. We have asked them to consider what, if anything, they need to do in the light of these findings. The companies have been asked to consult with tower crane manufacturers (none of which are GB-based) as necessary to inform their considerations and communicate the message to the users of their cranes. HSE is monitoring their responses and stands ready to take any necessary follow-up action.”

Comment:  Regulator decisions on prosecution are based upon an assessment of the extent and strength of (1) evidence and (2) public interest factors. In this case HSE judge that the evidence is insufficient to support legal proceedings. Some may find this conclusion fits uncomfortably with the HSE technical report conclusion that: “the design of the protective device on the fixed block – the single bar – was not adequate to prevent the rope from coming off the pulleys and jump into the gaps between them.” We must assume that HSE did not regard it as reasonably practicable for any party to have foreseen and dealt with this inadequacy prior to the incident.


MANSLAUGHTER INVESTIGATIONS

Posted on 17th October 2008
Mock investigation and interview event in Wales  

The Welsh construction industry Working Well Together Group is holding a mock manslaughter investigation interview on 4th November 2008 at the Welsh Assembly offices in Swansea. These ‘mock’ events are very popular as they bring home clearly the importance of managing H&S and the personal tragedies and worry that can arise when things go wrong. 


HEALTH AND SAFETY OFFENCES ACT 2008

Posted on 17th October 2008
New legislation on penalties now on statute book 

The Health and Safety Offences Act 2008, which will increase penalties and provide courts with greater sentencing powers has received Royal Assent and is welcomed by Government Ministers and HSE. The Act raises the maximum penalties that can be imposed for breaching H&S regulations in the lower courts from £5,000 to £20,000 and the range of offences for which an individual can be imprisoned has also been broadened. The Act amends Section 33 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and will come into force in January 2009.

DWP Minister Lord McKenzie said: “These changes will ensure that sentences can now be more easily set at a level to deter businesses that do not take their health and safety management responsibilities seriously and further encourage employers and others to comply with the law. Furthermore, by extending the £20,000 maximum fine to the lower courts and making imprisonment an option, more cases will be resolved in the lower courts and justice will be faster, less costly and more efficient.”


BRITISH SAFETY COUNCIL

Posted on 16th October 2008
BSC and UCATT meet to discuss key construction safety issues

The British Safety Council CEO met recently with UCATT (Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians), to discuss a range of health and safety issues facing the construction industry and identify areas where the two organisations could work together to drive improvements and shape the direction of future policy. The meeting covered: construction safety record, extension of gangmaster legislation, duties on directors, crane safety and worker involvement.

Brian Nimick expressed BSC’s appreciation of the work of UCATT in protecting the health and safety of all construction workers. “If the BSC and UCATT, by working more closely, can help raise awareness as to what needs to be done to tackle the unacceptable and avoidable toll of injury and ill-health, then our time will have been well spent,” added Nimick.

Alan Ritchie, UCATT general secretary, welcomed the discussions. “I am very pleased that our meeting with the BSC has identified areas of common interest,” he said. “We have always sought to build strong links with organisations who can achieve positive change in the area of health and safety and the BSC is ideally positioned to do just that.”


CONSULTATION FOR THE SMALLER BUSINESS

Posted on 16th October 2008
Short guide on consulting employees on H&S

HSE has published new guidance on employee consultation aimed mainly at employers in workplaces with fewer than 25 employees. Key points in the guide include:

  • Talk and listen – the simplest way to involve employees is to talk and listen;

  • Involve everyone – from managers to individual employees;

  • Employees often know best – about your health and safety issues;

  • Better H&S standards – productivity and more motivated workforce;

  • Fear not consultation – it can simply mean talking and considering their views;

  • Keep it simple – introduce a simple consultation process and;

  • Right to manage – consultation does not remove an employer right to manage.


ELECTRICAL FATALITY PROSECUTION

Posted on 15th October 2008
Company facing substantial fine following death of electrician

Mitie Engineering Services (Edinburgh) Ltd has been found guilty of breaching H&S legislation after an electrician died while working on a live conductor that had been marked “not in use” at new retail unit in 2005. The company will be sentenced in 7 days. At an earlier hearing charges against three senior employees were dismissed after the court found there was no case to answer.


HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE

Posted on 15th October 2008
Prosecution Cases added to Register

Twelve (12) records relating to four construction sector prosecution cases were added to the HSE Register on 15/10/2008. The cases (penalties in brackets) involved: 

  • Fall 9m from tower, fatality (£40k)
  • Unsafe work at height (£1.5k)
  • Uncontrolled work with asbestos (70k and 60k)
  • Fall through fragile roof (£800)
Enforcement Notices added to Register 

Fifty-one records relating to construction sector enforcement notices were added to the HSE Register on 15/10/2008. 

Comment: The above links enable you to review HSE construction sector prosecutions and enforcement notices as soon as they are added to the Register. The information gives an insight into HSE priorities and provides contractors and clients with additional information on the performance of current or potential supply chain partners. The Enforcement Register is updated each week. To account for the appeals process, and quality assurance, HSE allow 9 weeks to elapse following conviction or issue of a notice before the prosecution or notices is added to the Register.


STRUCTURAL COLLAPSE INCIDENT

Posted on 15th October 2008
Builder trapped by falling concrete beam

A two tonne concrete beam collapsed causing leg injuries on a mixed residential and retail project at Kitkam, Lancs. The emergency services used high pressure air bags to lift the debris from the workman before treating his injuries and the 24-year-old flooring sub-contractor was taken hospital suffering from a broken leg. Fire Brigade Watch manager Graham Knowles, of St Annes fire station said: “It was quite a dangerous situation for our crews as the structure was not safe. He was under a lot of building blocks and debris.”


GAS SAFETY

Posted on 15th October 2008
Landlords warned after carbon monoxide poisoning 

HSE is warning landlords to ensure gas appliances are safe for tenants after two people were poisoned by carbon monoxide (CO) from a boiler that had not been maintained. The landlord of an apartment block was fined £4k and ordered to pay £1.5 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. Residents and paramedics (13 people in total) were treated for the effects of CO poisoning after the landlord failed to ensure that three separate boilers and flues were checked for safety in the previous 12 months.

HSE Inspector Gavin Pugh said: “It is the responsibility of every landlord to maintain gas appliances in a safe condition and have them safety checked by a registered gas installer at least once a year, and it is not difficult to arrange for a registered installer to carry out the annual checks. Also, it is essential for any new gas appliances, which includes flues and ventilation systems to be installed by a registered gas installer”.


WORKFORCE INVOLVEMENT IN H&S

Posted on 14th October 2008
New guidance launched on effective workforce involvement 

HSE has launched new guidance for involving employees in managing workplace health and safety. The guidance has been updated to reflect the current diversity of working arrangements. HSE Chair Judith Hackitt has highlighted evidence that organisations with good worker involvement deliver better performance on health and safety. 

Comment: It is clear that leadership from the top of organisations and involvement of workers in managing health and safety are major HSE priorities in coming moths. This guidance will help those involved with construction projects decide how to best implement a culture that values and harnesses employee contributions.


US CRANE SAFETY STANDARDS

Posted on 14th October 2008
US publish proposed new crane rules after recent fatal incidents

It is reported by Cranes Today that OSHA has finally published the proposed crane safety Rules in a formal public consultation process that will run until 8 December 2008.  It appears that the tower crane accident in New York that killed seven people and a second high profile accident in May brought the rule changes to the top of the agenda. The proposed new rules are contained in a 1110 page document. The Rules themselves are from page 857 onwards!


DIRECTOR TRAINING

Posted on 14th October 2008
Training course for directors and senior managers in the East

A course is being run by the East Anglia Construction Safety Group for directors, senior managers and others who have company wide responsibility for health & safety or who are key decision makers in your organisation. The event will take place on Thursday 30th October in Ipswich. There will be time to ask questions and raise issues on construction health and safety. Full course notes will be available. 


CDM TRAINING FOR DESIGNERS

Posted on 14th October 2008
Training in CDM Regulations 2007 available from CIRIA 

CIRIA are running two CDM 2007 courses for designers on 28th October (London) and 27th November (Birmingham). The one day courses examine the duties of designers and explain the requirement for consideration of workplace ‘in-use’ risks. The difficult health and safety issues faced by designers will be discussed with practical examples used to illustrate the points being made. There will be a team exercise to enable designers to apply the knowledge and questions arising dealt with in an open manner. The course includes free copies of CIRIA’s newly updated work sector guidance for designers and the new workplace in use guidance for designers.


CRANE DISASTER IN CHINA

Posted on 14th October 2008
Crane collapse causes death of four children in China 

Four children and one other person have died after a crane collapsed onto a school in southern China. Almost 100 other people were injured in the accident. Nineteen are in hospital and three are critical.  The crane is reported to have been unloading materials when it collapsed and landed on the roof of the school.  


MOBILE PLANT FATALITY

Posted on 14th October 2008
Workman dies after becoming trapped beneath mobile plant  Read the rest of this article »

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE

Posted on 10th October 2008
Prosecution Cases added to Register

Four records relating to two construction sector prosecution cases were added to the HSE Register on 08/10/2008. The cases both involved fatalities (penalties in brackets) involved: 

  • Fall 17m from oil storage tank edge (£75k)
  • Suspended access cradle collapsed (£115k and £25k)
Enforcement Notices added to Register 

Forty-one records relating to construction sector enforcement notices were added to the HSE Register on 08/10/2008. 

Comment: The above links enable you to review HSE construction sector prosecutions and enforcement notices as soon as they are added to the Register. The information gives an insight into HSE priorities and provides contractors and clients with additional information on the performance of current or potential supply chain partners. The Enforcement Register is updated each week. To account for the appeals process, and quality assurance, HSE allow 9 weeks to elapse following conviction or issue of a notice before the prosecution or notices is added to the Register.


NIOSH FATALITY REPORT

Posted on 9th October 2008
Bricklayer electrocuted whilst working on scaffold 

The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health publish reports on fatal accident investigations undertaken by US regulators. The latest incident report released concerns a bricklayer electrocuted whilst attempting to insert a rod in a brick wall when he contacted a powerline.

Comment: These reports have a distinctive US flavour but nevertheless do provide more detail and insight than is made publicly available on fatal injury investigations by UK regulators.


DOMESTIC REFURBISHMENT SAFETY

Posted on 9th October 2008
HSE blitz on domestic refurb work reveals standards below par  

Construction work on 40% of domestic refurbishment sites visited was stopped during a recent blitz by HSE Inspectors in three London boroughs. Problems encountered included:

  • unsupported basement excavation undermining adjacent property
  • scaffolding at serious risk of collapse and endangering the public
  • freestanding scaffold propped on bricks.

HSE Construction Inspector Simon Hester said: “The standards found at a significant proportion of the sites inspected were worryingly low, and put workers, homeowners, members of the public and the buildings themselves at significant risk.”

Comment: Some 22% of all construction sector fatalities during the last three years have involved work by contractors on private domestic property. This is the second largest category after refurbishment work on commercial property. The worsening economic situation is not likely to help the situation as hard pressed home owners look to cut costs and smaller contractors compete for work. Perhaps now is the time for more innovative joined up working between HSE and local authority building control and planning departments?


LIFTING OPERATION PROSECUTION

Posted on 9th October 2008
Fines exceed £1m after death during lifting operation 

Talisman Energy UK Ltd and Aker Kvaerner Offshore Partner Ltd have been fined a combined sum of £1.2m following the death of one man and the injury of another who were struck by falling steel clamps on a floating installation when a lifting operation went wrong. The fines include a discount of 25% for tendering guilty pleas.

HSE Principal Inspector Colin Richards said that the incident should remind “everyone in the offshore industry and elsewhere that lifting operations are hazardous and must be carried out in a safe manner. The system of work must include methods to prohibit personnel from entering the danger zone while the lifting operation is taking place. It must also include an effective and agreed system of communication among the personnel involved.”

Comment: These are significant fines although they will have taken in account the ability of the defendants to pay. The incident is typical of what can, and sadly still does, occur during lifting operations in the construction industry. It is a reminder of how hazardous lifting operations are and of the need for detailed planning and careful implementation of precautions at all times.  


ASBESTOS AND CONSTRUCTION

Posted on 9th October 2008
National asbestos campaign about to be launched

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WASTE DISPOSAL PROSECUTION

Posted on 9th October 2008
Failure to dispose of waste properly lands contractor in court 

A Hampshire construction company has been required to pay £35k in fines and costs after dumping waste illegally and failing to provide correct documentation as requested. Swanwick Construction Group Ltd pleaded not guilty to a charge brought by the Environment Agency (EA) but have been convicted by Lyndhurst Magistrates.

An EA spokesperson said: “We are very pleased with the outcome of the case. The legislation exists to protect the environment and this result highlights why companies need to comply with the relevant legal requirements when disposing of waste. We have already prosecuted the landowner in June for allowing the contractors to dump waste on his site. This case should serve as a deterrent to other criminal activity and show that the Environment Agency takes these offences extremely seriously.”


PROGRESS WITH INDUSTRY INITIATIVES

Posted on 8th October 2008
Strategic Forum for Construction reviews industry H&S initiatives

The Strategic Forum for Construction (SFfC) met recently with the Rt.Hon. Nick Raynsford MP in the Chair. The focus of the meeting was on the Health and Safety Task Group second report to Government outlining the actions taken to improve health and safety within the industry. The report is said to confirm industry action in delivering the commitments outlined in the Framework for Action arising from the DWP Secretary of State’s Construction Forum in September 2007. Recent initiatives include:

  • creation of a process for sharing information on incidents and best practice;
  • taking forward ideas to improve competency within the industry;
  • working towards improving support mechanisms for smaller builders and;
  • tower crane guidance and the safe crane campaign.

The next report will be produced at the beginning of 2009. John Spanswick, Chair of the Health and Safety Group said ‘The health and safety record of the construction industry continues to be a source of much concern for the industry.  I believe that this report shows that the industry is not complacent about addressing the issues and has already taken positive action.’


LOADER CRANE SAFETY

Posted on 8th October 2008
Revision of UK loader crane standard BS 7121 Part 4  

Cranes Today reports that Ian Simpson, an HSE specialist inspector, spoke recently at a Construction Plant-hire Association open meeting on revision of UK crane standard BS 7121 Part 4. He has told Cranes Today that the revision seeks to bring greater risk based proportionality to the planning of lifting operations. He went on to say “the problem is that Part 4 is not risk based. It includes a distinction between basic and complex lifts, but these are not well defined, and what needs to be done in each case is not specified.”

Comment: This article contains a useful insight into the current thinking surrounding revision of the BS.


CDM 2007 AND DESIGN QUALITY

Posted on 8th October 2008
Design Quality Indicator (DQI) now licensed in US 

The Construction Industry Council (CIC) has announced licensing of DQI in the US for development and distribution in North America. DQI was launched in 2006 and is a process for evaluating design quality of buildings for use by everyone involved in the development process. It is a generic toolkit that can be used with all types of building and there is a version specifically aimed at school buildings. DQI can be used throughout the life of a project and there are four versions:

  • Briefing tool – enables project stakeholders to form and record a consensus about priorities and ambitions for the building
  • Mid-design assessment – allows the client and design teams check aspirations are being met throughout the design
  • Ready for occupation assessment – to check whether original intentions are achieved at occupation and set benchmarks for later assessment
  • In-use assessment – to receive feedback from the project team and building users to help make improvements for this and future projects

Comment: The DQI tool fits well with the design requirements of CDM regarding the elimination of hazards and reduction of risk during the design process. Health and safety considerations can easily be included in all four versions of the tool.


HEIGHT SAFETY AND RISK MANAGEMENT

Posted on 7th October 2008
Combisafe host International Construction Height Safety Symposium

A meeting of minds is being hosted by Combisafe in Åre, Sweden between 29th Jan – 1st Feb 2009. This international symposium is dedicated solely to construction height safety and risk management and will look at the current situation across a range of markets and activities. 

The event will be attended by several high profile figures within the construction industry and the programme speakers include stuntman Johan Torén and explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes who will share their experiences and emphasise the importance of early, detailed planning. An exhibition on the theme of construction height safety will be open to delegates with exhibitors from across the industry displaying their latest innovations. Further information and booking details


FALL FROM HEIGHT PROSECUTION

Posted on 7th October 2008
Contractor prosecuted for allowing unsafe industrial roofwork

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BUNCEFIELD EXPLOSION AND FIRE

Posted on 7th October 2008
Major litigation party accepts liability beyond a 451m radius circle

Total has told the High Court that it now accepts liability for losses that occurred irrespective of the distance from the Buncefield site. A spokesperson said it “hopes these developments will reduce both the costs and time involved for all parties in this complex civil litigation case.” The hearing in London will now focus on who should pay the property damage bills outside the perimeter fence. 

Comment: This development is in stark contrast to reports of construction litigation arising from the Wembly stadium project where photocopying costs alone were reported as topping £1m!


HEALTH RISK LEAD PAINT

Posted on 6th October 2008
Refurbishment project suspected of causing poisoning

The refurbishment of a Perthshire mansion was halted after workers were suspected of suffering from lead poisoning. Some required hospital treatment. A spokesman for HSE said “Work activities ceased while we carried out an investigation on the site. A number of construction workers appeared to have raised levels of lead absorption. They had been working with lead paint”. James Woolnough, managing director of Blairish Restorations said “Our guys were sanding down paint finishes and ingested the dust from the sandings. Unfortunately some became ill,” 

Comment: This incident highlights the health risks that can arise during work on older structures. It is vital that the CDM-Coordinator brings together a pre-construction information package that considers the presence of existing hazardous materials and substances. On buildings of this age lead containing surface coatings is always a possibility thereby making sanding operations a high risk process requiring a full COSHH assessment.    


MOBILE CRANE TESTING

Posted on 6th October 2008
BS on crane testing comes under scrutiny from UK expert 

Contract Journal have reported that a consultant working with the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) believes the mobile crane industry must leave behind a dependence on four-yearly testing of mobile cranes at 125% SWL. Consultant Tim Watson told CJ “Manufacturers don’t recommend overloading modern cranes except under very specific circumstances and some insurers actually ban the practice”

Mr Watson is working on a CPA best-practice guide on the maintenance and thorough examination of mobile cranes that will inform revision of BS7121 Part 2. The revision is reported as possibly including measures such as data logging, oil analysis.


DESIGNERS AND CDM

Posted on 6th October 2008
World Architecture Day is also a day for health and safety

The first Monday of October each year is World Architecture Day and this year HSE in Scotland used the day to remind designers to plan health and safety as well as creativity and innovation when working on new projects. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007) consolidated existing designer obligations for safety and provide a powerful and compelling focus for change. Architects need to consider the health and safety of those who construct, use, repair, clean and maintain a structure throughout its life.

Clients were also encouraged to play a major part in improving health and safety performance and benefit from reduced project costs, time and quality control. HSE Principal Construction Inspector Jim Skilling said: “World Architecture Day is held to encourage and inspire better more creative architecture, and an improved built environment for future generations. CDM 2007 aims to encourage and develop this innovative thinking, so that health and safety is incorporated in all new buildings, from construction to eventual demolition. HSE hope that safety can be incorporated into all of Scotland’s new buildings and structures without stifling great design or innovation.”


SUPPLY OF MACHINERY PROSECUTION

Posted on 6th October 2008
Prosecutions follow death of  boy crushed by electric gate

A nine-year old boy died when he became trapped between the gate and a pillar at the entrance to flats in Poole, Dorset in 2006. It has now been revealed that Pearlview Estates Ltd and Faulkner Gates Ltd will be prosecuted under the HSW Act 1974 and Electric Gate Services Ltd subject to proceedings brought under The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992. The local authority in Poole is bringing the charges. The cases are due to be heard at Wimborne Magistrates’ Court in November 2008 following an inquest in 2006 where a verdict of accidental death was recorded.


BUILDING COLLAPSE

Posted on 6th October 2008
Man died after refurbishment work triggers building collapse

An inquest has heard how building work carried on without planning permission caused the death of the man undertaking the work . He died from suffocation in the incident in June 2008. No other tenants were injured by the building collapse although two men were rescued by firefighters.

Comment: It appears no ‘work activity’ was being undertaken and hence health and safety legislation did not apply. However, the incident illustrates how, without proper assessment, structural integrity can be compromised when minor refurbishment work is being undertaken. 


SAFER WORK AT HEIGHT BY DESIGN

Posted on 3rd October 2008
Advance notice of work at height event for designers 

CIRIA is hosting a work at height CPD event for designers organised in conjunction with the Construction Industry Council in London on 6th November 2008. Designers need to be well informed if they are to make sensible and proportionate decisions about eliminating the hazard or reducing risk during work at height during construction work.


RECENT CONSTRUCTION FATALITIES

Posted on 2nd October 2008
HSE details of construction fatalities during August 2008

The initial notifications concerning fatal injuries reported to HSE are published each month in a Board report by the CEO. Notifications that appear to be construction related during August 2008 are listed (verbatim) below:

  1. Cheshire – “DP employed by sub-contractor on a water distribution project fell down a hole 16m into an underground tank whilst collecting bricks”
  2. Inverness – “Guardrails in 2 rows along a flatbed lorry stood on far side of lorry during unloading. Fork lift truck forks extended beyond nearside guardrails and caught far side guardrails causing them to topple onto lorry driver”
  3. Oxfordshire – “DP operating cherry picker which oveturned trapping them (sic) between the basket and the roof structure”

GAS SAFETY

Posted on 2nd October 2008
Alert for builders and developers on carbon monoxide risk

HSE have issued a safety alert for builders, developers, agents, landlords and occupiers of residential properties with gas central heating boilers sited on internal walls. If the flue is not in good condition this may lead to high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) that could enter the ceiling void and place occupants at risk of CO poisoning. The safety alert gives advice on potential warning signs; what owners or tenants should do if they think they may be at risk; relevant legal requirements; key actions for property developers and sources of further information.


STRUCTURAL SAFETY

Posted on 2nd October 2008
Concrete car park closed due to risk of collapse

A hospital multi-storey car park in Nottingham has been closed after a survey revealed the 1970s’ structure had become dangerously weak. Major disruption is expected as the the car park provides 750 patient and visitor spaces used by 2,000 people per day. Staff have been told to make urgent alternative arrangements.

A hospital spokesperson explained that the building was at risk of collapsing if it was left as it was. There have been concerns over the weakness of the concrete for years. A specialist surveyor examined the building over the weekend before a decision was made to shut the car park immediately.


EXCAVATOR SAFETY STANDARDS

Posted on 2nd October 2008
Manufacturers agree to cease supply of semi-automatic quick hitches

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SITE TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT PROSECUTION

Posted on 1st October 2008
Property developer fined after failing to manage site traffic 

A developer has been ordered to pay over £10k in fines and costs after failing to act on a series of warnings about poor security and lack of systems for managing site traffic. Chelford Properties Ltd failed to organise the construction site to allow the safe movement of pedestrians and vehicles.  HSE Inspector Alasdair Green said:  “This is a company that has repeatedly put the safety of both the public and its own workforce at risk by not securing sites and by failing to manage pedestrian and vehicle movements. Putting these matters right was neither expensive or technically difficult.”


H&S OFFENCES BILL

Posted on 1st October 2008
Update on proposals to introduce tougher penalties 

The House of Lords will consider this Bill for the last time on 10th October 2008 and it is expected to be confirmed without major amendment. The Bill will then become law in 2009. Penalties for healthy and safety offences will rise and more offences will attract the possibility of imprisonment for individuals involved in a corporate breach of health and safety law. Solicitors Eversheds have produced a useful summary of what is proposed and the implications.


SCAFFOLDING STANDARDS

Posted on 1st October 2008
Concern over poor scaffolding leads to NW initiative

HSE has issued more than 30 scaffolding enforcement notices across Lancashire and Cumbria since April 2008 is therefore holding a special safety awareness event on Tuesday October 7 for scaffolding company managers. The event is designed to provide the latest advice and guidance for those in the industry and will cover issues such as scaffold design requirements, tying patterns, issues with drilling fixings, and selection and use of harnesses as well as inspection of equipment and rescue planning.


NON-FATAL INJURY STATISTICS

Posted on 1st October 2008
Construction workplace injuries rising significantly

HSE has published data giving an early indication of the latest trends in workplace injury. The statistics reveal that construction is exhibiting large rises. Headlines for the construction sector are:

  • Major injuries in construction changed little between 2006/07 and 2007/08. However, in the latest quarter, seasonally adjusted data shows a 4.9% increase in construction. The industry usually sees a large seasonal fall in quarter 1 which has not occurred to the same extent this year. 
  • Non-Fatal injury numbers and rates fell in all main industries except construction between 2006/07 and 2007/08. The construction sector saw a 3.5% increase in the rate of non-fatal injury over the year.

Comment: These are worrying trends especially as the construction injury statistics exhibit large rises whilst injury numbers for other sectors are stable or rising more slowly.


FATAL INJURY STATISTICS

Posted on 1st October 2008
HSE publish first quarter fatal injury stats April-June 2008 

There were 18 construction sector fatalites in the first quarter of 2008/2009. In many cases the deaths are still under investigation and HSE stress that the figures may be subject to revision as more relevant information becomes available. A total of 16 construction workers died during the period and two members of the public lost their lives in construction sector incidents.


HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE

Posted on 1st October 2008
Prosecution Cases added to Register

Two records relating to construction sector prosecution cases were added to the HSE Register on 01/10/2008. The cases (penalty in brackets) involved: 

  • Scaffolder fatal fall – contracts manager failed to take reasonable care for H&S of others (£5k)
  • Unsafe work at height – employer failed to take measures to prevent falls (£2k)  
Enforcement Notices added to Register 

Fifty-four (54) records relating to construction sector enforcement notices were added to the HSE Register on 01/10/2008. 

Comment: The above links enable you to review HSE construction sector prosecutions and enforcement notices as soon as they are added to the Register. The information gives an insight into HSE priorities and provides contractors and clients with additional information on the performance of current or potential supply chain partners. The Enforcement Register is updated each week. To account for the appeals process, and quality assurance, HSE allow 9 weeks to elapse following conviction or issue of a notice before the prosecution or notices is added to the Register.