• Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data

    ICE AND COSTAIN HEALTH AND SAFETY LECTURE 2013

    HSE Chair questions architects’ contribution to inherent safety

    Judith Hackitt CBE and Chair of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has delivered the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and Costain Health and Safety Lecture at the ICE London HQ.

    The lecture makes the distinction between Occupational Safety and Operational Safety and identifies two “very simple principles” at the heart of Operational Safety which are applicable to industries beyond the chemicals sector. These principles identified are:

    • Inherently safer design; and
    • Prevention of catastrophic incidents.

    The lecture goes on to draw out the implications for the construction sector. Key points are repeated below. Click here for the full text.

    Inherently safer design

    Ms Hackitt reminded her audiance that inherently safer design is a principle which can be applied during certain “windows of opportunity” in the life of any project or facility.

    Trevor Kletz is remembered by chemical engineers as a leader on process safety who coined the maxim “What you don’t have can’t leak”. In design terms to chemical engineers this means eliminating inventories of hazardous materials within the process. Ms Hackitt added:

    “In civil engineering terms the principle of inherent safety in design lies at the heart of the Construction Design and Management Regulations. One of the intentions of these regulations is to get people involved in projects to consider safety issues beyond the construction phase and to build into the design the means for the facility to be used, operated, maintained and ultimately demolished more safely.

    I have to say that despite the many successes we can attribute to the introduction of CDM, I have yet to see overwhelming evidence that Architects pay sufficient attention to the practical risks of changing light bulbs and other such mundane maintenance tasks in some of the undoubtedly eye-catching and often beautiful structures which they develop.

    Inherently safer design is of course not limited to conceptual grass roots design. There will be many other opportunities during the life span of any project to make a difference and reduce inherent levels of risk. The recent breakthrough, thanks to chemistry of course – which has painted the Forth railway bridge with a long lasting corrosion resistant paint will eliminate the customary reference to painting the bridge as being a continuous operation.

    But inherently safer design may also require some different thinking to take place in companies and organisations who commission major projects. All too often competitive bids for projects are assessed on price alone and by “price” what is actually meant is the capital expenditure required to build the facility without sufficient if any regard to ongoing operating cost.

    It may well be the case that an inherently safer design will cost incrementally more to build, but the case must look at the full life cycle costs and the potential for massive savings in operating expense over the life cycle of the project which could potentially dwarf the increased Capex outlay.”

    Prevention of catastrophes

    The HSE Chair pointed out that her main theme was preventing catastrophe and looking at what lessons can be learned from other industries to apply to the construction sector. She stressed:

    Never assume that the worst can’t happen and that you have “nailed” the problem. Whilst it is true that we have made significant advances in safety systems, remember that those new systems that we have introduced can also fail. We may have added layers of protection but if those layers are not maintained they can provide a false comfort blanket.

    Catastrophes can only be prevented if the potential for them to happen is recognised throughout the organisation from the very top to the very bottom- and if that recognition creates a feeling of constant unease and vulnerability, not a sense of complacency.”

    Catastrophe prevention / Operational safety indicators must be predominantly leading not lagging. The absence of a major incident for several years is not a good measure of performance. Ms Hackitt suggests some such measures which could be widely applicable:

    • how many safety critical systems are overdue for test and maintenance?
    • do you know what your safety critical layers of protection are?
    • how do you know they are working?
    • do your employees feel empowered to stop work if they feel there is a potential problem?
    • do you praise or blame them when they do?

    Ms Hackitt concluded:

    “Process Safety / Catastrophe prevention is not easy. It requires the asking of searching questions. What you need to measure is likely to be specific to your business / process so it’s hard to simply copy what others do – but you can still learn from others.

    Every branch of engineering which builds and operates facilities on a large scale has the capacity for catastrophic events to occur which could not only claim lives but destroy the business itself. Operational safety – catastrophe prevention is an essential part of a comprehensive and effective safety management system.”

    Latest Construction Health and Safety News

    HSE TO OVERSEE NEW BUILDING SAFETY REGIME

    Government to deliver biggest change in building safety for a generation

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 21st January 2020

    CONTRACTS MANAGER HANDED TWO YEAR PRISON TERM

    Safety fall arrest netting would have saved life of deceased workman

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 15th January 2020

    WORKER FATALLY INJURED BY CONCRETE BEAM

    Lifting operation not properly planned, managed and supervised

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 15th January 2020

    TREE FELLING OPERATIONS LACKED DEFINED COMMS

    Workman struck by falling tree inside “normal” exclusion zone

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 14th January 2020

    CONTRACTOR ARRESTED OVER WELFARE FAILINGS

    Recalcitrant sole trader failed to attend court hearing

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 14th January 2020

    MAJOR DEMOLITION CONTRACTOR FINED £500,000

    Collapse of concrete slab caused death of worker and excavator fall

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 14th January 2020

    FALL FROM LADDER WHILST CARRYING BUCKET

    Contractor failed to provide basic safe lifting aids

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 14th January 2020

    FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH HSE NOTICE PROVES COSTLY

    Director given suspended jail term and company fined £60,000

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 14th January 2020

    DEVELOPER FAILED TO PLAN AND CHECK COMPETENCE

    Fall caused by ad-hoc working methods and lack of monitoring

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 14th January 2020

    CYLINDER LEAK TEST CAUSED FATAL INJURIES

    Corrosion inhibitor triggered failure and shrapnel ejection

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 14th January 2020

    FESTIVE GREETINGS TO ALL OUR READERS

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 20th December 2019

    JAIL TERM FOLLOWS ROUTINE HSE SPOT CHECK

    Director of a roofing firm handed a suspended prison sentence

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 19th December 2019

    TEENAGER FELL 3M DURING BLOCK AND BEAM WORK

    Workers uninstructed and left to devise own safe system of work

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 19th December 2019

    PARCEL CARRIER FINED HEAVILY OVER FLT INCIDENT

    Reversing fork lift lacked segregation from pedestrians

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th December 2019

    CONTRACTOR FINED OVER FLOOR OPENING FALL

    Thorough risk assessment and edge protection were both inadequate

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th December 2019

    THREE WORKERS “CARRIED ALONG” IN SEWER INCIDENT

    Mentally affected and one man treated for long-term traumatic stress

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 11th December 2019

    SOLAR FIRM AND DIRECTOR SENTENCED OVER DEATH

    Brother of business owner died in fall during panel installation

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 10th December 2019

    DIRECTOR AND COMPANY FINED FOR ASBESTOS RISK

    HSE refurbishment campaign inspection revealed asbestos offences

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 10th December 2019

    BULK BAG COLLAPSE CAUSED BY UNSAFE STACKING

    Bulk bag collapsed onto workman when struck by fork lift

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 9th December 2019

    INTERLOCKED GUARD NOT WORKING TO ISOLATE POWER

    Two workmen seriously injured when plant started unexpectedly

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 9th December 2019

    STREET FURNITURE RISK TO PUBLIC FINED £1.4M

    Council prosecuted following injury to child playing on hinged bollard

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 9th December 2019

    WORKMEN SUFFER SERIOUS BURNS FROM CABLE STRIKE

    Assessment and system of work failed to appreciate electrical risk

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 29th November 2019

    LADDERS WERE INAPPROPRIATE FOR WORK ON ROOF

    Workman paralysed after falling whilst installing roof ladder

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 28th November 2019

    FIRM FAILED TO MANAGE EXHAUST VENTILATION

    HSE enforcement notices on wood dust and welding fume ignored

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 27th November 2019

    RECALCITRANT DIRECTOR BARRED FROM OFFICE

    Dangerous telehandler used despite earlier fatality and enforcement

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 25th November 2019
  • Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data