• Total Access Total Access Ethentic Ethentic
    Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data

    DESIGNERS FACE HSE INVOICES OVER NON-COMPLIANCE

    HSE call for design decisions justified by “risk rather than cost”

    An Open Letter from the HSE to the ‘structural timber industry’ has been published (29/10).

    The letter is intended for “all parties involved in the design, specification, procurement and construction of timber frame structures” explaining HSE expectations in relation to the management of fire risks prior to and during the construction of timber frame structures.

    The Structural Timber Association (STA), which represents the industry’s manufacturers and suppliers, has cooperated with HSE in producing the letter.

    HSE approach to off-site fire risks

    Fire precautions during the construction of timber frame structures fall within HSE remit. See the HSE published guidance on  Fire Safety in Construction.

    The regulator points out that duty holders have responsibility to ensure the safety and health of workers and those who might be affected by their work activities, including those arising from fire risks. Serious incidents have arisen where fires involving timber frame structures under construction have affected neighbouring buildings and HSE has therefore worked with the STA to produce the guidance.

    In summary HSE state:

    “All those making design and procurement decisions that significantly affect fire risk should consider and reduce the risk and consequences of fire during the construction phase through DESIGN. Failure so to do may constitute a material breach for which HSE will apply its Fee for Intervention scheme to those duty holders who have contributed to the breach.”

    Justify decisions in terms of risk rather than cost

    HSE state that CDM 2007 Regulation 11 requires risks to be considered and eliminated/reduced so far as is reasonably practicable through the design process adding:

    “The primary legal responsibility for assessing off-site fire risk rests with those making design and procurement decisions before work starts on site. Designers and manufacturers of timber frame structures duties under CDM Regulation 11 cannot be passed on to the Principal Contractor.

    The STA publication Design guide to separating distances during construction is intended to be used at the design and procurement stages of a project. HSE commends the STA for the substantial work carried out and make it freely available to all rather than being restricted to STA members.

    Following the guidance is “not compulsory” and if an alternative approach to the guidance is used, a competent person with fire engineering qualifications and experience will need to determine the risks and to identify appropriate controls. HSE go on to state:

    “The persons involved should justify their decisions and recommendations in terms of risk, rather than cost.”

    Design process to be followed

    The letter states that for a proposed structure, the STA guidance enables minimum separation distances to be determined. Where space does not provide the separation distances required for a Category A structure, it provides guidance on selecting alternative timber frame structures to provide an adequate level of fire protection to neighbours during the construction phase.

    If a Category B or C structure or alternative fire engineered solution is needed, then it should be specified when the timber frame is being procured. Everyone in the supply chain has a responsibility to work towards this end. In practical terms HSE expects:

    • An assessment of the particular site and its constraints when the method of construction is being considered;
    • For timber-framed structures, assessment can be undertaken using STA’s ‘Design guide to separating distances during construction’;
    • The assessment should identify that where there is insufficient separation distance to allow a Category A structure, the appropriate level of Category B or C to match the site constraints (unless an alternative fire engineered solution is developed by a competent person) should be recommended;
    • The appropriate category frame should be specified to the manufacturers;
    • Timber frame manufacturers, including non-STA members have a significant role to play in ensuring appropriate specification and procurement of frames. Manufacturers should be advising their customers of the guidance and requirements. Use of the STA audit checklist may assist manufacturers in compiling records to demonstrate the steps they have taken to discharge their obligations under CDM Regulation 11 and record who has made specific decisions;
    • Any specific information and instructions that must be followed to guarantee the specified category or approved solution to be achieved on site must be passed to the Principal Contractor;
    • The Principal Contractor must adhere to the conditions required to achieve the specified category of structure; and
    • The Principal Contractor must devise and apply appropriate fire precautions during the build, including control of hot works, provision of fire warning and extinguishing systems, provision of means of escape etc.

    Finally the letter states:

    “HSE inspectors expect duty holders to comply with CDM Regulation 11 using this guidance to assist. Where a duty holder chooses not to follow the STA guidance but to implement a fire-engineered solution, standards of the equivalence to the guidance should be adopted.

    Duty holders should expect that in the latter circumstances, if lower standards are adopted then HSE may consider there to have been a material breach of health and safety law attracting charges under our Fee for Intervention Scheme”

    Latest Construction Health and Safety News

    HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 11th JULY 2018

    hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices register latest version

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 11th July 2018

    SCAFFOLDER DEVELOPMENT EMBRACED BY INDUSTRY

    CPD training attracts over 2500 scaffolders during first year of operation

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 11th July 2018

    SECURITY PANELS FELL DESPITE EARLY WARNING

    Firm fined £1/4 million after worker crushed by falling fencing

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 10th July 2018

    VEHICLE STRIKE TRIGGERED FALL OF ROOF TRUSSES

    Manufacturer failed to identify a suitable safe system of work

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 10th July 2018

    INCIDENT: CHILD STRUCK BY FALLING OBJECT

    Wood falling from scaffold triggers arrest of two on construction site

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 10th July 2018

    IGNITION OF THINNERS VAPOUR CLAIMED TWO LIVES

    Refurbishment project director jailed over fatal use of flammable solvent

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 10th July 2018

    HSE LONDON REFURBISHMENT CAMPAIGN FINDINGS

    hselogo1Material breaches of law found at over 50% of London sites visited

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 4th July 2018

    CURFEW AND TAGGING FOR RECALCITRANT SCAFFOLDER

    Suspended jail sentence handed down after unsafe work at height

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 4th July 2018

    CONSTRUCTION SECTOR DEATHS RISE SHARPLY

    HSE report construction worker deaths increase by 27% during 2017/18

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 4th July 2018

    BUILD UK UPDATE KEY CONSTRUCTION H&S ADVICE

    Majors industry body endorses “go to” source of H&S information

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 2nd July 2018

    OXYGEN CYLINDER “FIRED” INTO WORKSHOP

    Violent discharge of gas bottle seriously injured two engineers

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 2nd July 2018

    PRISON SENTENCE OVER FAILURE TO MANAGE RISK

    Sole trader contractor ignored HSE advice once too often

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 2nd July 2018

    DEATH EXPOSED MINIMAL MEWP MAINTENANCE

    Court told about “almost complete” lack of MEWP maintenance

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 21st June 2018

    CONTRACTOR FAILED TO IDENTIFY ASBESTOS PRESENCE

    ACMs disturbed during works and firm failed to take suitable actions

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 21st June 2018

    FALL THROUGH ROOF ON LOCAL COUNCIL BUILDING

    Fragile rooflight fractured when workman ‘misplaced footing’

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 21st June 2018

    YOUNG WORKER POSED SPECIAL RISK TO CONTROL

    Conviction highlights duty to young persons and the vulnerable

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 21st June 2018

    TOWER DEFECTS AND UNSAFE SYSTEM CAUSED DEATH

    Maintenance supervisor fell to his death through roof opening

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 21st June 2018

    UK MAJOR FINED £1/2m OVER HAVS RISK FAILURES

    Danger caused by poor management of vibrating hand tool risk

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 21st June 2018

    DIRECTOR FAILED TO COMPLY WITH PROHIBITION

    Precautions not taken to prevent excavation collapse and falling

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 11th June 2018

    SCAFFOLD NOT TO INDUSTRY STANDARD OR DESIGN

    Specialist and contractor in court over unsafe work at height

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 7th June 2018

    ROAD WORKER RUN OVER BY ROAD ROLLER

    Reversing alarm not working and warning light not fitted

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 5th June 2018

    CLIENT AND SURVEYOR FINED OVER ASBESTOS SURVEY

    Refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey proved inadequate

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 5th June 2018

    FATALITY: ROAD WORKER DRAGGED ALONG ROAD

    Night shift worker loses life when struck by road sweeping vehicle

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 3rd June 2018

    CDM PRINCIPAL DESIGNERS AVOID HSE ENFORCEMENT

    Regulator enforcement database reveals few notices involve CDM PDs

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 3rd June 2018

    PROPERTY MANAGERS FINED WITH CONTRACTOR

    Defendants failed to check for asbestos during soffit replacement works

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 29th May 2018
    Total Access Total Access Ethentic Ethentic
    Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data