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

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

LORRY SHEETING ARRANGEMENTS PROVED FATAL

Driver fell 4m to death during unsafe un-sheeting of lorry

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 16th November 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 15th NOV 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 16th November 2017

NEW CPA GUIDANCE ON FORWARD TIPPING DUMPERS

Industry aims to help prevent overturns and collision with workers

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 13th November 2017

DEMOLITION WORKER LOST BALANCE IN FATAL FALL

Lack of measures in place to prevent fall from mezzanine floor

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 13th November 2017

GROUNDWORKER SET ON FIRE BY CABLE STRIKE

RAMS requirement for underground service checks not followed

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 13th November 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 8th NOV 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 9th November 2017

RARE SUPPLIER PROSECUTION OVER FATAL CRUSHING

Vehicle manufacturer design and unsafe user practice caused death

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 9th November 2017

ASBESTOS SURVEY FAILED TO COVER ALL WORK AREAS

Utilities firm fined after electricians exposed to drilled asbestos

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 8th November 2017

METAL GRID FELL FROM FLT DURING PAINTING

Steel fabricator could have used sling to safely suspend grids

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 7th November 2017

DRIVER ESCAPES WITH LIFE AFTER POWER STRIKE

Director given suspended sentence over lorry 132kV line contact

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 7th November 2017

SCAFFOLDER FELL ON TEMPORARY ROOF WORKS

Injured workman lacked training and fall arrest equipment

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 7th November 2017

FALLING CONTROL PANEL CRUSHED WORKMAN

Planning lacking on how to safely move heavy electrical equipment

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 7th November 2017

POWER DOOR INSTALLER JAILED FOR THREE YEARS

Falling electrically powered gate claimed life of resident

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 3rd November 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 2nd NOV 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 2nd November 2017

STEEL FIRM REMOVED BAND SAW SAFETY GUARD

Leg of worker crushed in the vice of an industrial band saw

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 2nd November 2017

WORKMAN FELL AFTER RAIL REMOVED FOR ACCESS

Small builder failed to allow for missing guard-rail

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 2nd November 2017

FINES RISE RAPIDLY ALONGSIDE HARM TO HEALTH

hselogo1HSE confirm lowest number of construction fatalities on record

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 2nd November 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE OCT 25th 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 25th October 2017

GIRDERS FELL DURING UNSAFE USE OF DEMO PLANT

Workman crushed and trapped by steel moved by company MD

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 25th October 2017

FRAGILE ROOFLIGHT HAZARD LEFT UNCONTROLLED

Principal Contractor failed ensure covers or effective scaffolding installed

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 25th October 2017

WORKING PLATFORM FELL FROM TELEHANDLER

Manufacturer instructions for safe platform attachment not followed

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 25th October 2017

MAJOR CONTRACTOR FINED £640K OVER CO RISK

Simple marking required to control carbon monoxide gas

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 23rd October 2017

PRISON TERM FOR SOLE TRADER CONTRACTOR

Small contractor pays the price for failing to manage work at height hazards

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 19th October 2017

WORKMAN FELL THROUGH ROOF OPENING

Waterproof membrane concealed conservatory roof hazard

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 19th October 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 18th OCT 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 19th October 2017
Turner Access Chipmunk Data
Total Access Ethentic
Higher Safety Turner Access