Letter from Melanie Dawes to owners, landlords and managers of private residential blocks about safety checks following the Grenfell Tower fire

We hope you find our news updates useful. If you know of anyone who may benefit from reading them, please encourage them to register at the bottom-left of our news page (http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/) and we’ll email them a link each time an update is published. If in the unlikely event any difficulties are experienced whilst registering we’ll be more than happy to help and can be contacted on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

Melanie Dawes, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), has written to owners, landlords and managers of private residential blocks about safety checks following the Grenfell Tower fire. The government is making available testing facilities for private owners of residential blocks that have cladding made of aluminium composite material, and the letter explains how to identify this cladding, and access the testing facilities.

The letter, and supporting documents, can be viewed by clicking on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safety-checks-on-private-residential-blocks and we have published the contents below. Queries should be directed to PRShousingchecks@communities.gsi.gov.uk, but if you require any general assistance regarding fire safety in blocks of flats, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Safety checks on private residential blocks

This letter is intended for owners, landlords and managers of private residential blocks in England. Representative bodies for the private residential sector have kindly agreed to disseminate this letter to their members, and we are grateful for their assistance.

Following the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington last week, we want to ensure you are aware of help that is available in checking your buildings.

There has been much public concern and comment about potential flaws in the cladding that was on Grenfell Tower. While the exact reasons for the speed of the spread of fire have yet to be determined, we have concluded that there are additional tests that can be undertaken with regard to the cladding. We have asked local authorities and social housing providers to identify whether any panels used in new build or refurbishment of their own housing stock are a particular type of cladding made of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM). These checks will be relevant to privately owned and managed residential buildings too, so please can you consider carrying out these checks on your buildings.

More details on how to identify this cladding are in Annex A below.  It is important to stress that ACM cladding is not of itself dangerous, but it is important that the right type is used. If you identify that cladding on any of your buildings is made of ACM, then a sample can be tested.

This testing facility is also being made available to blocks that are privately owned, and your local authority may already have been in touch to make you aware of this.  The procedures for taking up this offer of testing, which will be paid for by DCLG, are set out in the annex. We are prioritising buildings over six storeys or 18 metres high.  The offer is for the initial testing only and the cost of any remedial action will be the responsibility of the owner of the building. The information from the checks will be available to DCLG from BRE. Please contact us at PRShousingchecks@communities.gsi.gov.uk if you have any queries.

Where the entire block is not owned and managed by the same party, please ensure that only one sample is provided and that any necessary permissions are obtained for taking and sending off the sample. We would not expect individual leaseholders within a building to send off samples for testing.

As well as this work it is of course important that owners / landlords have robust fire assessments for their properties.

Thank you for your cooperation in this important work.

MELANIE DAWES

Annex A

Protocol for Sampling of Aluminium Composite Material Cladding

Identification of Aluminium Composite Material Cladding

Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) is a type of flat panel that consists of two thin aluminium sheets bonded to a non-aluminium core, typically between 3 and 7mm thick. The panels can have a painted or metallic finish (eg copper or zinc effects). It can be differentiated from solid aluminium sheet by looking at a cut edge whereby the lamination is visible. It may be necessary to cut a hole in a panel if a cut edge is not readily accessible.

On buildings with a floor over 18m above ground level, where ACM panels are identified, it is necessary to establish whether the panels are of a type that complies with the Building Regulations guidance ie the core material should be a material of limited combustibility or Class A2.

Testing of ACM

To allow for the identification of core materials, we are putting in place Government-funded testing capacity that will allow a small sample of the cladding to be tested and its type identified. If you wish to take up this offer, then you will need to submit samples for testing.

Where the surveyor undertaking assessment of a composite panel determines that it is necessary for cladding to be subjected to laboratory screening they should follow this procedure:

  1. Cut out two samples of at least 250x250mm in size from each location sampled. Take photographs as necessary to identify the location of the sample. You should take samples from above and below 18m above ground level as appropriate and check different multiple panels where you have concern that material specification varies.
  1. Using an indelible ink pen, note the building name / number, postcode and a unique identifier (i.e. name of building owner followed by unique sample number e.g. ABC/001) traceable to the specific location within the building of each sample. Add a direct dial telephone or mobile contact number to be used in the event that there are any queries on the sample.
  1. You must make good by closing the hole using a non-combustible sheet such as steel fixed with self-tapping screws or rivets.
  1. Complete the data return form attached to this letter (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/620798/Data_Return_Form_for_testing_of_ACM_-_private_residential.xlsx) and include a hard copy of it with the sample. You should provide as much information as is readily available, but not if this will delay submission of samples for testing.
  1. Place one of the samples from each location in a padded envelope with a copy of the data return form. Clearly mark the envelope URGENT – CLADDING TEST SAMPLE.
  1. Send the test samples by recorded delivery or courier to:

BRE, Bucknalls Lane, Garston, Watford, Herts, WD25 9XX

For any testing related queries please email material.screening@bre.co.uk

  1. Retain the second sample from each location for your own records or for testing in the event that samples are lost or misplaced in transit

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 12TH NOVEMBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 – landlords now required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties

Working safely with lead – roofing firm fined after workers are exposed

HSE and HMRC working together for you – growing your business

Introduction

Last month, as part of wider government moves to ensure that there are sufficient measures in place to protect public safety (while at the same time avoiding regulation which would push up rents and restrict the supply of homes – limiting choice for tenants), the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 took effect – requiring landlords to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties and, as a result, helping to prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year.

Last week, a roofing company was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £893.95 in costs after workers were put at risk of significant levels of exposure to lead. The company was found to have not assessed the risks of exposure to working with lead or implemented suitable controls to prevent that exposure. So this week, we share HSE guidance on working with safely with lead, and action required by employers to reduce lead risk to workers.

Is your business growing, and are you taking on new employees? Then you’re likely to be facing new issues and concerns – particularly with regard to health and safety. Whilst we encourage readers to contact us with any queries, we welcome the move by the HSE and HMRC in working together to deliver a live webinar which looks at some of the questions you may have and guides you through the answers. Details of webinar dates – the first of which is next week – and how to register are provided below.

We hope you find our news updates useful. If you know of anyone who may benefit from reading them, please encourage them to register at the bottom-left of our news page (http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/) and we’ll email them a link each time an update is published. If in the unlikely event any difficulties are experienced whilst registering we’ll be more than happy to help and can be contacted on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 – landlords now required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties

Landlords are now required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties, under measures announced by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis earlier this year.

The move will help prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year.

The measure took effect last month, and comes with strong support after a consultation on property condition in the private rented sector.

England’s 46 fire and rescue authorities are expected to support private landlords in their own areas to meet their new responsibilities with the provision of free alarms, with grant funding from government.

This is part of wider government moves to ensure there are sufficient measures in place to protect public safety, while at the same time avoiding regulation which would push up rents and restrict the supply of homes, limiting choice for tenants.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:

In 1988 just 8% of homes had a smoke alarm installed – now it’s over 90%.

The vast majority of landlords offer a good service and have installed smoke alarms in their homes, but I’m changing the law to ensure every tenant can be given this important protection.

But with working smoke alarms providing the vital seconds needed to escape a fire, I urge all tenants to make sure they regularly test their alarms to ensure they work when it counts. Testing regularly remains the tenant’s responsibility.

Communities Minister Stephen Williams said:

We’re determined to create a bigger, better and safer private rented sector – a key part of that is to ensure the safety of tenants with fire prevention and carbon monoxide warning.

People are at least 4 times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm.

That’s why we are proposing changes to the law that would require landlords to install working smoke alarms in their properties so tenants can give their families and those they care about a better chance of escaping a fire.

Ensuring the safety of tenants

Other measures to support the private rented sector include investing £1 billion in building newly-built homes specifically for private rent, giving tenants support against rogue landlords and publishing a How to rent guide so tenants and landlords alike are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

The changes to the law require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy.

Landlords also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.

Those who fail to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will face sanctions and could face up to a £5,000 civil penalty.

This will bring private rented properties into line with existing building regulations that already require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed.

And it’s in line with other measures the government has taken to improve standards in the private rented sector, without wrapping the industry up in red tape.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has published an explanatory booklet for landlords, ‘Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms’, free to download by clicking on the link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarms-explanatory-booklet-for-landlords. The booklet is designed to help landlords further understand and comply with the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.

For clarification or more information, please contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Working safely with lead – roofing firm fined after workers are exposed

A Gloucestershire roofing company has pleaded guilty to health and safety failings after workers were put at risk of significant levels of exposure to lead.

Last week, Worcester Magistrates’ Court was told that during a routine HSE inspection, the company was observed carrying out replacement lead work on a roof in Worcester.

The company was found to have not assessed the risks of exposure to working with lead or implemented suitable controls to prevent that exposure.

There were no known medical affects found in the two workers although significant levels of lead were found in their blood.

The roofing company pleaded guilty to Control of Lead at Work 6(1) and was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £893.95 in costs.

Working safely with lead

Working with lead can put your health at risk, causing symptoms including headaches, stomach pains and anaemia. Other serious health effects include kidney damage, nerve and brain damage and infertility.

Health effects from exposure to lead

The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 (CLAW) place a duty on employers to prevent, or where this is not reasonably practicable, to control employee exposure to lead.

The occupational exposure limit for lead in air set out in the Regulations is 0.15 mg/m3, and blood lead suspension levels for males and females are 60 and 30ug/dl, respectively.  For young workers (under 18) the blood lead suspension limit is 50 μg/dl.  However there is growing scientific evidence that employees’ health is at risk, even where exposure to lead is below the levels in CLAW, for example, above levels of 40ug/dl, the following health effects have been observed:

  • changes in the blood which might lead to anaemia
  • effects on the nervous system
  • effects on the kidney
  • altered functioning of the testicles which could lead to infertility

At exposures around 30ug/dl, elevated blood pressure in middle-aged males has been reported.

HSE is therefore reminding employers of good practice for controlling workers’ exposures to lead.

The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 (CLAW) place a duty on employers to prevent, or where this is not reasonably practicable, to control employee exposure to lead.

When are you most at risk?

Work processes

When you work in industrial processes which create lead dust, fume or vapour. These include:

  • blast removal and burning of old lead paint
  • stripping of old lead paint from doors, windows etc
  • hot cutting in demolition and dismantling operations
  • recovering lead from scrap and waste
  • lead smelting, refining, alloying and casting
  • lead-acid battery manufacture and breaking and recycling
  • manufacturing lead compounds
  • manufacturing leaded-glass
  • manufacturing and using pigments, colours and ceramic glazes
  • working with metallic lead and alloys containing lead, for example soldering
  • some painting of buildings
  • some spraying of vehicles
  • recycling of televisions or computer monitors which contain Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT’s)

Your body absorbs lead when you:

  • breathe in lead dust fume or vapour
  • swallow any lead for example if you eat, drink, smoke or bite you nails without washing your hands and face.

What you should do to protect your health

  • make sure you have all of the information and training you need to work safely with lead
  • use all of the equipment provided by your employer and follow the instructions for use
  • make sure all protective equipment fits correctly and is in good condition
  • keep your immediate work area clean and tidy
  • clear up and get rid of any lead waste at the end of the day
  • do not take home any protective clothing or footwear for washing or cleaning
  • wear any necessary protective equipment or clothing and return it to the proper place provided by your employer
  • report any damaged or defective equipment to your employer
  • only eat and drink in designated areas that are free from lead contamination
  • keep any medical appointments with the doctor where you work
  • practice a high standard of personal hygiene:
  • wash your hands and face and scrub your nails before eating
  • wash and/or shower before you go home

Action required by employers

  • Review work processes and workplaces for opportunities to reduce workers’ exposure to lead by reducing the number of people exposed, the amount of lead to which they are exposed and the length of time each worker is exposed.
  • Ensure you are using the right controls – check with industry good practice
  • Ensure the controls are always used when needed
  • Keep all controls in good working order. This means mechanical controls (eg extraction, respiratory protection), administrative controls (eg supervision, medical surveillance) and operator behaviour (following instructions).
  • Show that control is being sustained – keep good records.
  • You should consult an appointed doctor about the medical surveillance which is appropriate for your work activities and workplace.
  • If you are in doubt, seek expert help.

Personal decontamination and skin care

  • Provide clean facilities for separate storage of clean and contaminated work clothing.
  • Provide warm water, mild skin cleansers, and soft paper or fabric towels for drying. Avoid abrasive cleansers.
  • Provide pre-work skin creams, which will make it easier to wash dirt from the skin, and after-work creams to replace skin oils.

Caution: ‘Barrier creams’ are not ‘liquid gloves’ and they do not provide a full barrier.

Training and supervision

Train and supervise workers to make sure they are doing the job in the right way and using controls properly to reduce their exposure. Include supervisors and managers in health and safety training. Make sure your workers understand:

  • the hazards associated with working with lead
  • how to use dust controls, and how to check that they are working
  • how to maintain and clean equipment safely
  • how to look after personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • what to do if something goes wrong

Check workers:

  • use the controls provided
  • follow the correct work method
  • turn up for medical surveillance;
  • follow the rules on personal hygiene

For clarification or more information, please visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/lead/ or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

HSE and HMRC working together for you – growing your business

Find answers to typical questions for growing businesses on health and safety and taking on new employees in this live webinar (seminar conducted over the internet).

Webinar overview

As your business starts to grow or you take on more employees you’ll face new issues and concerns. HMRC and the Health and Safety Executive are working together to deliver a live webinar about the typical situations you are likely to face. It looks at some of the questions you may have and guides you through the answers.

Webinar dates

  • 17 November 2015, 10am – 11am, register by clicking on the below link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7646516601989812225
  • 15 December 2015, 10am – 11am, registration (TBA)
  • 12 January 2016, 10am – 11am, registration (TBA)
  • 9 February 2016, 10am – 11am, registration (TBA)
  • 8 March 2016, 10am – 11am, registration (TBA)

Once you have registered the webinar organizer will communicate with you regarding these events.

Alternatively, if you have any questions regarding any aspect of health and safety, contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Contains public sector information published by GOV.UK and the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 22ND OCTOBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Frequently asked questions – Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs) – assessment of repetitive tasks of the upper limbs (the ART tool)

PPE – are turban-wearing Sikhs exempt from the need to wear head protection in the workplace?

Introduction

Since The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) came into force on 6 April 2015, replacing CDM 2007, we have received a number of queries in relation to this major legislative development, so we thought it would be useful this week to open our update with the HSE’s latest answers to the most frequently asked questions on this topic.

Do your work tasks involve guiding or holding tools, keyboard work or heavy lifting? If so, these have been reported by GPs as being the most likely work-related causes of Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs), for which a prevalence rate of approximately 200,000 total cases was reported amongst people working in the 12 months between 2013/14, resulting in a total of 3.2 million lost working days – an average of almost 16 days per worker (see http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/musculoskeletal/msd.pdf). This week, we also share details of the HSE ART tool (assessment of repetitive tasks of the upper limbs) – available as a free download, allowing you to complete your own assessment of repetitive tasks in your workplace.

And finally, we close with news that turban-wearing Sikhs are now legally exempt from the need to wear head protection not only on construction sites, but also in the workplace of any industry (with limited exceptions).

We hope you find our news updates useful. If you know of anyone who may benefit from reading them, please encourage them to register at the bottom-left of our news page (http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/) and we’ll email them a link each time an update is published. If in the unlikely event any difficulties are experienced whilst registering we’ll be more than happy to help and can be contacted on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

Frequently asked questions – Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

Notifications – F10’s

When is a construction project ‘notifiable’?

A construction project is notifiable if the construction work is expected to:

  • last longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers working at the same time at any point on the project; or
  • exceed 500 person days.

Find out how to notify projects, and complete the f10 notification form (click on the link): https://www.hse.gov.uk/forms/notification/f10.htm

Does the 30 working days/500 person days on site include weekends, bank holidays etc?

Every day on which construction work is likely to be carried out should be counted, even if the work on that day is of a short duration. This includes holidays and weekends.

Who should notify a project?

The client has the duty to notify a construction project. In practice however, the client may ask someone else to notify on their behalf.

Maintenance

Does CDM 2015 apply to all maintenance work?

No. The definition of construction work has not changed under CDM 2015. The application to maintenance work remains the same as it was under CDM 2007.

Principal Designer (PD)

I was a CDM co-ordinator under CDM 2007. Can I now work as a principal designer (PD)?

No, not necessarily. To work as a PD, you must be a designer:

  • You might be an architect, consulting engineer, quantity surveyor or anyone who specifies and alters designs as part of their work.
  • You might also be a contractor/builder, commercial client, tradesperson or anyone who carries out design work, or arranges for or instructs people under your control to do so.

You must have the right mix of skills, knowledge, experience and (if an organisation) organisational capability to allow you to carry out all of the functions and responsibilities of a PD for the project in hand, and be in control of the pre-construction phase.

I was an architect/designer on the planning and Building Regulations stages of a project and I am no longer involved with the project. Who will take on the role of principal designer (PD)?

The client has the duty to appoint the PD. If you are no longer involved with the project, the client must appoint another PD. You will still be responsible for the design decisions you made in preparing the original plans. The new PD must then take responsibility for any design decisions made following their appointment.

If the client fails to appoint the PD, then the client assumes the role.

I’m a client, can I take on the Principal Designer (PD) role?

Yes. You can choose to take on the PD role yourself. If you do you must have the skills, knowledge, experience and(if an organisation) organisational capability, to carry out all the functions and responsibilities of the PD.

Small builder

I am a general builder who only works on small scale commercial and domestic projects, will CDM 2015 affect me?

Yes. CDM 2015 applies to all construction work including domestic projects.

You will have different responsibilities depending on whether you are (for example):

  • The only contractor working on the job;
  • The principal contractor;
  • One of the contactors workings for a PC.

For more information, please go to ‘Are You a small builder…’ (click on the link): http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/areyou/builder.htm

Construction Phase Plan (CPP)

As a general builder do I need a Construction Phase Plan (CPP) for any construction work I do?

Yes. If you are the only contactor or the principal contractor (PC), you must draw up a Construction Phase Plan (CPP): http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis80.pdf. However, it should be proportionate to the size and scale of the job.

A simple plan before the work starts is usually enough to show that you have thought about health and safety.

If you are a contractor working for a PC, it is the PC who must draw up the CPP.

To help you draw up a CPP for small scale projects, please go to the template CPP (click on the link): http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis80.pdf, or the CDM Wizard (click on the link): http://www.citb.co.uk/health-safety-and-other-topics/health-safety/construction-design-and-management-regulations/cdm-wizard-app/, a free to download smartphone app produced by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Self build

I want to build my own house, does CDM 2015 apply to me?

To find out, go to The Self Build Portal (click on the link): http://www.selfbuildportal.org.uk/healthandsafety.

Miscellaneous

Can I carry out the role of more than one CDM duty holder on a project?

Yes. Whether you are an individual or an organisation (client, designer, principal designer, contractor or principal contractor), you can carry out the role of more than one duty holder.  You must have the skills, knowledge, experience and (if an organisation) the organisational capability to carry out all of the functions and responsibilities of each role in a way that secures health and safety.

For further information, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/cdm/2015/index.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs) – assessment of repetitive tasks of the upper limbs (the ART tool)

The assessment of repetitive tasks (ART) tool is designed to help you risk assess tasks that require repetitive moving of the upper limbs (arms and hands). It helps you assess some of the common risk factors in repetitive work that contribute to the development of upper limb disorders (ULDs).

It is aimed at those responsible for designing, assessing, managing and inspecting repetitive work. It can help identify those tasks that involve significant risks and where to focus risk-reduction measures. It will be useful to employers, safety representatives, health and safety practitioners, consultants and ergonomists.

It includes an assessment guide, a flow chart, a task description form and a score sheet. Further information on ART, including online training on how to use the tool is also available (click on the link): http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/uld/art/index.htm

Free guidance for employers can be downloaded by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg438.pdf or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

PPE – are turban-wearing Sikhs exempt from the need to wear head protection in the workplace?

Yes. Sections 11 and 12 of the Employment Act 1989 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/38/section/11) as amended by Section 6 of the Deregulation Act 2015 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/20/section/6/enacted) exempts turban-wearing Sikhs from any legal requirement to wear head protection at a workplace. A workplace is defined broadly and means any place where work is undertaken including any private dwelling, vehicle, aircraft, installation or moveable structure (including construction sites).

There is a limited exception for particularly dangerous and hazardous tasks performed by individuals working in occupations which involve providing an urgent response to an emergency where a risk assessment has identified that head protection is essential for the protection of the individual eg such as a fire fighter entering a burning building, dealing with hazardous materials.

The exemption applies only to head protection and Sikhs are required to wear all other necessary personal protective equipment required under the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992. The exemption does not differentiate between employees and other turban-wearing Sikhs that may be in the workplace, eg visitors. However, it applies solely to members of the Sikh religion and only those Sikhs that wear a turban.

Employers are still required to take all necessary actions to avoid injury from falling objects by putting in place such safe systems of work, control measures and engineering solutions eg restricting access to areas where this may be an issue. Where a turban-wearing Sikh chooses not to wear the head protection provided, the exemption includes a limitation on the liability of the duty-holder should an incident occur.

For general guidance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/ppe.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 1ST OCTOBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Landlords required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms from 1st October

Selecting a first-aid training provider

Freight container safety – transport company fined after crate falls on worker

Working at height – engineering company fined for safety breaches

Introduction

Two important changes to health and safety legislation/regulations come into force today, one of which is the requirement for landlords to ensure that they have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms installed in their properties. The measures were announced in March of this year by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis, and have since received Parliamentary approval.

Another change which has come into force today is the requirement by the HSE for individuals delivering first aid training to hold recognised teaching and assessing qualifications, details of which are provided below, along with guidance on establishing whether or not first aid training is required.

In response to the fining last month of a transport company after a crate fell on a worker, we also highlight the importance of identifying relevant risks before any work tasks are carried out, and putting in place appropriate control measures to protect against them, particularly those involved in work with containers.

Finally, it’s no wonder that falls from height remain one of the biggest causes of deaths at work in the UK, after a member of the public witnessed workers on a fragile roof without any preventative measures to avoid risk of falling – either off the edge or through it. The incident was reported to the HSE and the engineering company employing the workers was fined last month £10,000 plus £4,782 costs, despite no injury occurring. We look at the hierarchy of controls that managing work at height should follow.

We hope you find our news updates useful. If you know of anyone who may benefit from reading them, please encourage them to register at the bottom-left of our news page (http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/) and we’ll email them a link each time an update is published. If in the unlikely event any difficulties are experienced whilst registering we’ll be more than happy to help and can be contacted on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

Landlords required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms from 1st October

From 1st October, landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties, under measures announced by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis in March of this year.

The move will help prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year.

The measure comes with strong support after a consultation on property condition in the private rented sector.

England’s 46 fire and rescue authorities are expected to support private landlords in their own areas to meet their new responsibilities with the provision of free alarms, with grant funding from government.

This is part of wider government moves to ensure there are sufficient measures in place to protect public safety, while at the same time avoiding regulation which would push up rents and restrict the supply of homes, limiting choice for tenants.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:

In 1988 just 8% of homes had a smoke alarm installed – now it’s over 90%.

The vast majority of landlords offer a good service and have installed smoke alarms in their homes, but I’m changing the law to ensure every tenant can be given this important protection.

But with working smoke alarms providing the vital seconds needed to escape a fire, I urge all tenants to make sure they regularly test their alarms to ensure they work when it counts. Testing regularly remains the tenant’s responsibility.

Communities Minister Stephen Williams said:

We’re determined to create a bigger, better and safer private rented sector – a key part of that is to ensure the safety of tenants with fire prevention and carbon monoxide warning.

People are at least 4 times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm.

That’s why we are proposing changes to the law that would require landlords to install working smoke alarms in their properties so tenants can give their families and those they care about a better chance of escaping a fire.

Ensuring the safety of tenants

Other measures to support the private rented sector include investing £1 billion in building newly-built homes specifically for private rent, giving tenants support against rogue landlords and publishing a How to rent guide so tenants and landlords alike are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

The changes to the law will require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy.

Landlords will also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.

Those who fail to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will face sanctions and could face up to a £5,000 civil penalty.

This will bring private rented properties into line with existing building regulations that already require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed.

And it’s in line with other measures the government has taken to improve standards in the private rented sector, without wrapping the industry up in red tape.

Free to download from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarms-explanatory-booklet-for-landlords, an explanatory booklet has been published, designed to help landlords further understand and comply with the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.

If you need clarification or further information about any aspect of property health and safety or fire safety, we undertake health & safety/fire risk assessments of commercial and residential properties and will be happy to advise accordingly. We can also provide a no-obligation quotation for the above upon request. Contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk.

Selecting a first-aid training provider

From 1st October 2015, HSE guidance to employers requires individuals delivering first aid training to hold recognised teaching and assessing qualifications. For more information about what to check when selecting a training provider, the HSE’s information sheet provides guidance for employers and is free to download by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/geis3.pdf

Do I need first-aid training?

HSE cannot tell you what provision you should make for first aid. You, as an employer, are best placed to understand the exact nature of your workplace and decide what you need to provide.

First aid provision must be ‘adequate and appropriate in the circumstances’. This means that you must provide sufficient first aid equipment (first aid kit), facilities and personnel at all times.

In order to decide what provision you need to make you should undertake a first-aid needs assessment. This assessment should consider the circumstances of your workplace, workforce and the hazards and risks that may be present. The findings will help you decide what first-aid arrangements you need to put in place.

In assessing your first-aid needs, you should consider:

  • the nature of the work you do
  • workplace hazards and risks (including specific hazards requiring special arrangements)
  • the nature and size of your workforce
  • the work patterns of your staff
  • holiday and other absences of those who will be first-aiders and appointed persons
  • your organisation’s history of accidents

You may also need to consider:

  • the needs of travelling, remote and lone workers
  • the distribution of your workforce
  • the remoteness of any of your sites from emergency medical services
  • whether your employees work on shared or multi-occupancy sites
  • first-aid provision for non-employees (eg members of the public).

HSE has published further guidance on all the factors above that will help you carry out your first-aid needs assessment. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l74.pdf#page=9

You may also wish to consider their suite of case studies, containing scenario-based examples of first-aid needs assessments for a variety of workplaces. They demonstrate the general principles involved in deciding on the provision you should make for first aid, but you should not assume the outcomes shown are directly transferable to your workplace. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/casestudy9.pdf

You do not need to record the findings of your needs assessment, but you may find it useful to do so, as it will demonstrate how you have decided on the first-aid provision that you make.

The minimum requirement in terms of personnel is to appoint a person to take charge of first-aid arrangements. The roles of this appointed person include looking after the first-aid equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when required. The appointed person can also provide emergency cover, within their role and competence, where a first-aider is absent due to unforeseen circumstances. An appointed person is not required to have any formal training.

If your workplace has more significant health and safety risks, for example you use machinery or hazardous materials then you are more likely to need a trained first-aider.

There are no hard and fast rules on exact numbers, and you will need to take into account all the relevant circumstances of your particular workplace.

If you need clarification or further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help. We also provide first-aid training and can provide a no-obligation quotation upon request.

Freight container safety – transport company fined after crate falls on worker

Last month, a transport company firm was fined £9,000 plus £917 costs for safety failings after a worker suffered serious injuries when a crate fell on him whilst he was unloading crates from a container.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard how on April 2013 the transport company employee was assisting to unload two containers which contained two tonne crates of glass mirrors. The second container had no fork pockets or lighting, so the worker had to closely guide the fork lift truck operator to ensure the forks were in position.

Some of the crates were jammed in place and as the fork lift truck operator attempted to dislodge them, one of the crates toppled onto the worker, pinning him to the side of the container. The incident has left him with life changing injuries and he will be unable to work for at least three years.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Corinne Godfrey said:

“This worker was employed by the company for less than three weeks as a Warehouse Foreman, and although he had previous job experience which involved the maintenance and repair of containers, he had never been involved with this type of unloading work known as ‘devanning’.

This incident was inevitable, neither worker had seen the procedures manual or any risk assessments/method statements relating to the unloading of containers.

The company failed to plan what should happen when it was identified that loads were not able to be readily offloaded by forklift truck.

It’s essential that before any work tasks are carried out, the relevant risks should be identified and appropriate control measures put in place to protect against them.

All participants in the logistics chain – from owner drivers with one vehicle to large fleet operators, to shippers and warehouse operators – are likely to work with containers on a daily basis as drivers, loaders or handlers.

Accidents may happen at any stage of a container’s journey; many of these will be serious or fatal, including crushing and falls from height. These accidents may be caused by human error or failure of technical items.

Typical hazards regarding freight containers in ports:

  • Structural failure due to lack of maintenance and wear and tear
  • Structural failure due to overloading, misdeclared weight, uneven or shifted loads
  • Falls from height while working with containers
  • Crush injuries during container manoeuvring and movements
  • Exposure to fumigants used during transit or chemicals given off by cargo that may build up during transit

How the risks can be reduced

All of these can be reduced by proper planning of work and training of workers. Before any work tasks are carried out, the relevant risks should be identified through risk assessment and appropriate control measures put in place to protect against them.

Port Skills and Safety (PSS) have produced a comprehensive ‘Health & Safety in Ports’ guidance document entitled SIP003 – Guidance on Container Handling that covers these issues in more detail. Click on the link: http://www.portskillsandsafety.co.uk/publications/safety_in_ports_guidance

This document has been produced by the ports industry, with assistance from HSE, to help dutyholders understand their duties under health and safety legislation and to identify key risks. This guidance also gives examples which dutyholders can use to inform their risk assessments and procedures.

Which laws apply? (click on the links for more information)

For clarification or further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Working at height – engineering company fined for safety breaches

Also last month, an engineering company firm was fined £10,000 plus £4,782 costs for safety failings after a member of the public witnessed workers on a fragile roof without any preventative measures to avoid risk of falling.

Redhill Magistrates’ Court heard how in September 2014, the engineering company employees were working on a fragile roof installing ventilation ducting. The risks were obvious, but nothing was in place to prevent either falling off the edge of the roof or through the roof.

Falls from height remain one of the biggest causes of deaths at work in the UK. Fortunately, no-one was injured in this incident.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Denis Bodger said: “It is essential that all roof work is properly planned by a competent person and competent workers are clearly instructed on how to carry out the work safely. It is not acceptable to simply rely on sending the workers to site and expecting that they will carry out the work safely, as was the case here.”

Managing work at height follows a hierarchy of controls – avoid, prevent, arrest – which begins with the question – can the work be done safely from the ground? Fall restraints and safety netting should only be considered as a last resort if other safety equipment cannot be used.

For clarification or further information please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

Contains public sector information published by GOV.UK and the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence