Turner Access Higher Safety Total Access
Total Access Ethentic Chipmunk Data
Chipmunk Data Turner Access Ethentic

HSE EXPLAINS THE REFURBISHMENT PROBLEM

Podcast and transcript of interview with HSE Construction Head

The latest HSE Podcast includes an interview with Mike Cross HSE Head of Construction for the NW and organiser of the recent UK wide HSE  intensive inspection campaign involving refurbishment projects.

You can listen to the podcast or read the transcript.

The interview transcript is reproduced below.

Transcript of interview with Mike Cross regarding HSE March 2010 initiative

“HSE conducted a series of unannounced visits to over two thousand construction sites in March, and one in four of those sites failed safety checks. During 2008/2009 there were fifty-three deaths in construction and over eleven thousand injuries. Mike Cross, head of construction for the North West, told us about the campaign.

In March, inspectors around the country were undertaking intensive inspections of refurbishment sites to check on standards and where necessary to enforce the law.

What is the point of this initiative?

The point is to bring home to the refurbishment sector that they must improve the standards that we see, they must take better care of their workers, and to prevent the toll of accidents that this sector is producing.

So you’re focusing on the refurbishment sector of construction?

Exactly, refurbishment is disproportionately poor by comparison with the sector as a whole.

And so just to sort of be clear about that, that’s things like redeveloping a property rather than starting from scratch basically.

Exactly, it’s working on existing buildings, it’s not down to the minor stuff such as painting and decorating, but pretty much everything else is, retiling a roof, rebuilding a damaged part of the building, adding an extension, whatever it may be, that may be commercial property, domestic property. So it’s a quite diffuse sector, quite a large sector of the industry.

So we have a real problem with refurbishment, typically smaller sites where the accident rate is much higher than on other sites, for example in house building or in new commercial projects like new hotels or new shopping centres, things like that. Smaller companies, less competent people running them, less organisational skill in managing health and safety compared to the larger contractors who have done a lot in recent years to improve their performance.

And when you were doing this, whereabouts did you go? Were you going all over the country?

Yes, this was a national initiative. We targeted specific areas, specific activities. but those were based on local decisions, based on local knowledge from the inspectors in the areas where they needed to be, what was going on etc.

And the people who work on these sites or the people who run the sites are made aware that this is happening, but obviously they’re meant to be unannounced visits, so how does that work?

Well they know where we’re going in terms of the towns or cities that we will be targeting and the dates we will be going there, but they won’t know which sites we will be visiting on a day-to-day basis. They should expect an inspector at any time, but during these particular initiatives we always put out press releases, both nationally and locally, to let people know we’re coming, because we actually want people to improve things, not to catch them out for doing things that are wrong.

So it’s kind of like a preventative measure in fact?

Exactly that, yes.

What you have found this year though is that one in four construction safety sites have failed the inspections, so that’s quite bad isn’t it? That’s quite a high figure.

We’re not undertaking a market research survey, we’re going out targeting poor performers. We’re looking at a poorly performing part of the construction sector, refurbishment, and we’re looking at particular sites where we can, where we know there might be problems. So this was not an initiative to measure performance, it was actually to go out and find where things were wrong and to put it right.

Can you give me an example of the kind of things that you’ve found this time around?

The main problem as always has been poor control of work at height, people working in unsafe places where from where they can fall and be killed or seriously injured, so for example we still find people working on domestic roofs doing retiling who haven’t got the basic precautions right, such as putting up a scaffolding.

So that has been one of the major things, but we’ve found the full range of problems, electrical safety, poor structural stability where people have been making structural alterations to buildings, poor site order, looking at housekeeping, looking at storage of materials.

So this is the third time, the third year that you’ve done this kind of blitz on construction sites, has there been a change? What’s the trend been over the years?

Well, as I said, we’re not doing these initiatives in order to take a statistical sample and find out what conditions are like, but over the last three years we have seen a slight improvement compared to the first year when we did this. When we were looking at one in three sites that were so poor inspectors had to take enforcement action, on this occasion we’re down to one in four sites where enforcement was needed.

What do you think is responsible for that change, is it because people are aware that this is what you do?

Well we hope it’s because the action that we’ve been taking, they have greater awareness of the standards that they were expecting to see, and that the messages that we’ve been putting out have been heeded.”

Latest Construction Health and Safety News

ROPE ACCESS WORKER FELL THROUGH FRAGILE ROOF

Prison sentence imposed on owner of rope access firm

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 24th April 2018

FIRMS FINED £2M OVER FALLING PIPE FATALITY

Incorrect stacking of pipes triggered fall and crushing of workman

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 20th April 2018

DOMESTIC PROJECT PC HANDED JAIL TERM

Workman fell from unprotected roof edge on dormer extension

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 20th April 2018

MAJOR CONTRACTOR ERRED ON FRAGILE ROOF RISK

Firms fine £965,000 after painter fell through waiting room roof

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 19th April 2018

HSE ENFORCEMENT UPDATE 19th APRIL 2018

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 19th April 2018

STRUCTURAL SAFETY BODY LATEST NEWSLETTER

CROSS publishes reports and expert comment on a range of issues

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 18th April 2018

NEW BIM SPEC FOR SHARING H&S INFORMATION

Specification for sharing health and safety info during construction projects

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 17th April 2018

MANAGERS FORGED ASBESTOS DOCUMENTATION

Removal licence obtained using fake training and medical certificates

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 17th April 2018

FINE OVER INCORRECT AND MISLEADING SURVEY

Specialist asbestos company failed to detect AIB on demolition project

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 17th April 2018

IGNORING HSE ADVICE PENALISED BY LARGE FINE

Contractor fined over £50k for persistent WAH and welfare failings

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 17th April 2018

PRISON OVER BASEMENT EXCAVATION AND COLLAPSE

Building contractor jailed after house collapsed in Brighton

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 17th April 2018

DEFEATING POWER INTERLOCK CAUSED FLASHOVER

Systems for managing electrical safety found to be inadequate

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 17th April 2018

LADDER SAFETY FAILURES ATTRACT MASSIVE FINE

National window firm left workers to ‘own devices’

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 12th April 2018

FALLING MATERIAL STRUCK WORKMAN IN EXCAVATION

Risks of working in and near excavations highlighted by incident

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 4th April 2018

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 4th APRIL 2018

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 4th April 2018

HOUSING ASSOCIATION FAILED ON VIBRATION RISK

Assessment, management and health surveillance all found wanting

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 3rd April 2018

OCCUPIER AND CONTRACTOR FINED OVER FALL

Employee assisting contractor fell through roof during re-roofing project

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 3rd April 2018

HSE FEARFUL OF GROWING ’BLUE TAPE’ BURDEN

hselogo1ISO 45001 could generate fresh business to business demands

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 3rd April 2018

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 21st MAR 2018

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 28th March 2018

INCIDENTS: PASSER-BY STRUCK BY BRICKS

Pack of bricks appear to have fallen from crane

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 28th March 2018

HSE RECONSIDER HOW TO INFLUENCE SMALLER FIRMS

hselogo1Regulator advice and messages are failing to chime with the SME businesses

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 27th March 2018

DANGEROUS REMOVAL OF ASBESTOS CEMENT

Workers smashed asbestos sheets with crowbars whilst at risk of falling

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 27th March 2018

HSE LAUNCH CONIAN SHARING AND SUPPORT PLATFORM

hselogo1New HSE web community now open to the public

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 27th March 2018

FIRM FAILING ON HAVS SURVEILLANCE FINED £50,000

Door manufacturer failed to manage sanding and buffing tool vibration

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 27th March 2018

PRE-CAST FIRM FINED OVER FINGER AMPUTATION

Lack of guarding and training triggered table saw injury

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 26th March 2018
Turner Access Chipmunk Data
Total Access Ethentic
Higher Safety Turner Access