HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 6TH OCTOBER 2016

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

Roof work – contractor seriously injured in fragile skylight fall

A London exhibition venue firm and a building contractor have been fined for safety failings after a specialist contractor fell through a fragile skylight.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how the exhibition venue firm allowed workers to cross an unsafe roof, which contained three fragile skylights and open edges, and failed to prevent contractors crossing the same unsafe roof on a number of occasions.

The court also heard that the building contractor, who had been appointed by the exhibition venue firm to undertake repair work at the site, had led a specialist lead contractor over the unsafe roof in May 2015. As he walked over the unsafe roof the lead contractor fell through a skylight, falling 5.5m. He suffered serious injuries including a shattered pelvis, broken wrist, and a broken elbow.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that the exhibition venue firm failed to ensure that access to and from the areas of the roof which required repair was suitable and safe, and that sufficient measures were in place to protect against the risks of falling from height.

The building contractor failed to ensure that the job of accessing and then inspecting the auditorium roof was properly planned.

The exhibition venue firm pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2925.56

The building contractor pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1)(a) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and was fined £4,000 and also ordered to pay costs of £2925.56

Roof work

What you need to do

The law says you must organise and plan all roof work so it is carried out safely.

All work on roofs is highly dangerous, even if a job only takes a few minutes. Proper precautions are needed to control the risk.

Those carrying out the work must be trained, competent and instructed in use of the precautions required. A ‘method statement’ is the common way to help manage work on roofs and communicate the precautions to those involved.

On business premises contractors should work closely with the client and agree arrangements for managing the work.

Key issues are:

What you need to know

Everyone involved in managing or carrying out work on roofs should be aware of the following facts:

  • High risk: almost one in five deaths in construction work involve roof work. Some are specialist roofers, but many are just repairing and cleaning roofs.
  • Main causes: the main causes of death and injury are falling from roof edges or openings, through fragile roofs and through fragile rooflights.
  • Equipment and people: many accidents could be avoided if the most suitable equipment was used and those doing the work were given adequate information, instruction, training and supervision.

Safe access

Safe access to a roof requires careful planning, particularly where work progresses along the roof.

Typical methods to access roofs are:

  • general access scaffolds;
  • stair towers;
  • fixed or mobile scaffold towers;
  • mobile access equipment;
  • ladders; and
  • roof access hatches.

Roof edges and openings

Falls from roof edges occur on both commercial and domestic projects and on new build and refurbishment jobs. Many deaths occur each year involving smaller builders working on the roof of domestic dwellings

  • Sloping roofs: sloping roofs require scaffolding to prevent people or materials falling from the edge. You must also fit edge protection to the eaves of any roof and on terraced properties to the rear as well as the front. Where work is of short duration (tasks measured in minutes), properly secured ladders to access the roof and proper roof ladders may be used.
  • Flat roofs: falls from flat roof edges can be prevented by simple edge protection arrangements – a secure double guardrail and toeboard around the edge.

Fragile surfaces

Always follow a safe system of work using a platform beneath the roof where possible. Work on or near fragile roof surfaces requires a combination of stagings, guard rails, fall restraint, fall arrest and safety nets slung beneath and close to the roof.

  • Fragile roofs: all roofs should be treated as fragile until a competent person has confirmed they are not. Do not trust any sheeted roof, whatever the material, to bear a the weight of a person. This includes the roof ridge and purlins.
  • Fragile rooflights are a particular hazard. Some are difficult to see in certain light conditions and others may be hidden by paint. You must provide protection in these areas, either by using barriers or covers that are secured and labelled with a warning.

See Fragile surfaces  for more detailed information: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/fragile.htm

For more information visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/roofwork.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be 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 – 12TH MAY 2016

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

Structural stability during excavations – company fined after worker is fatally crushed in trench

A company has been fined £2.6 million after an employee was killed when the trench he was working in collapsed on him in Lancashire.

The 32-year-old worker was a sub-contractor working on behalf of a major utility solutions provider. In April 2010, he was working in a trench, laying ducting for new cable for an offshore windfarm that was being built off the coast in Lancashire. The trench was dug to a depth of 2.4 metres, without any shoring. He was killed when he became trapped in the trench after it collapsed on him.

The company pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court last week after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The Court heard that they failed to adequately risk assess the works or control the way in which the excavation took place.

Only last month a self employed contractor was given a six month custodial sentence after an employee was also killed when the trench he was working in collapsed on him.

Structural stability during excavations

What you need to do

The law says you must prevent danger to workers in or near excavations. To maintain the required precautions, a competent person must inspect excavation supports or battering at the start of the working shift and at other specified times. No work should take place until the excavation is safe.

Commercial clients must provide certain information to contractors before work begins. This should include relevant information on:

  • Ground conditions
  • underground structures or water courses; and
  • the location of existing services.
  • This information should be used to during the planning and preparation for excavation work.

Key issues are:

  • Collapse of excavations
  • Falling or dislodging material
  • Falling into excavations
  • Inspection

What you need to know

Every year people are killed or seriously injured by collapses and falling materials while working in excavations. They are at risk from:

  • Excavations collapsing and burying or injuring people working in them;
  • material falling from the sides into any excavation; and
  • people or plant falling into excavations.

Remember:

  • No ground can be relied upon to stand unsupported in all circumstances.
  • Depending on conditions, a cubic metre of soil can weigh in excess of 1.5 tonnnes.

Trenchless techniques should always be considered at the design stage as they replace the need for major excavations.

Underground and overhead services may also present a fire, explosion, electrical or other hazard and will need to be assessed and managed.

Collapse of excavations

Temporary support – Before digging any trench pit, tunnel, or other excavations, decide what temporary support will be required and plan the precautions to be taken.

Make sure the equipment and precautions needed (trench sheets, props, baulks etc) are available on site before work starts.

Battering the excavation sides – Battering the excavation sides to a safe angle of repose may also make the excavation safer.

In granular soils, the angle of slope should be less than the natural angle of repose of the material being excavated. In wet ground a considerably flatter slope will be required.

Falling or dislodging material

Loose materials – may fall from spoil heaps into the excavation. Edge protection should include toeboards or other means, such as projecting trench sheets or box sides to protect against falling materials. Head protection should be worn.

Undermining other structures – Check that excavations do not undermine scaffold footings, buried services or the foundations of nearby buildings or walls. Decide if extra support for the structure is needed before you start. Surveys of the foundations and the advice of a structural engineer may be required.

Effect of plant and vehicles – Do not park plant and vehicles close to the sides of excavations. The extra loadings can make the sides of excavations more likely to collapse.

Falling into excavations

Prevent people from falling – Edges of excavations should be protected with substantial barriers where people are liable to fall into them.

To achieve this, use:

  • Guard rails and toe boards inserted into the ground immediately next to the supported excavation side; or
  • fabricated guard rail assemblies that connect to the sides of the trench box
  • the support system itself, eg using trench box extensions or trench sheets longer than the trench depth.

Inspection

A competent person who fully understands the dangers and necessary precautions should inspect the excavation at the start of each shift.

Excavations should also be inspected after any event that may have affected their strength or stability, or after a fall of rock or earth.

A record of the inspections will be required and any faults that are found should be corrected immediately.

For more information visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/excavations.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be 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 – 26TH NOVEMBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

New construction guidance to stop workers dying each week from occupational disease

Structural stability during excavations – drainage company fined for excavation collapse

Tyre removal, replacement and inflation – worker suffers loss of eye in explosion while inflating tyre

Introduction

Following the recent HSE construction inspection initiative, during which 200 health related enforcement notices were issued, the construction industry has last week launched new guidance to encourage better management of occupational health risks. We open this week’s update with more information about the guide and how to access it.

Continuing along the theme of construction health and safety, a Slough drainage company has been fined £60,000 plus £39,506 costs after a worker was seriously injured when an unsafe excavation collapsed during work to lay new pipes. So we’re also sharing HSE guidance on structural stability during excavations.

And finally, we share HSE guidance on tyre removal, replacement and inflation, after reports that an Essex-based company which sells and services agricultural machinery has been fined £750,000 following an incident which left a worker permanently blind in one eye.

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

New construction guidance to stop workers dying each week from occupational disease

The construction industry has launched new guidance to encourage better management of occupational health risks. HSE is urging the industry to put an end to the hundreds of construction workers that die of occupational diseases every month.

Inspectors issued more than 200 health related enforcement notices during the recent Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) construction inspection initiative.

This highlighted the widespread misunderstanding of what ‘occupational health’ means in the construction sector and the employers’ misguided perception that health is more difficult to manage than safety.

The new guide ‘Occupational health risk management in construction’ (http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/meetings/iacs/coniac/coniac-oh-guidance.pdf) has been written by the Construction Industry Advisory Committee (ConIAC) Health Risks Working Group and formatted with the assistance of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

It gives practical advice on what ‘health risk’ means for the construction industry, and the role of occupational health service provision in preventing or controlling those risks.

Ian Strudley, Chair of the ConIAC Health Risks Working Group and HSE Principal Specialist Inspector said: ““The misunderstanding of occupational health within the construction sector means that whilst the industry focus on managing the more familiar safety issues, serious health risks get ignored. We cannot let this continue.

“When figures show that construction workers are at least 100 times more likely to die from a disease caused or made worse by their work as they are from a fatal accident, the industry must take action.”

Shelley Frost, Executive Director – Policy at IOSH, said: “There have been huge advances in improving safety in the construction sector over the last 15 years but the industry has yet to generate such advances in improving the picture in occupational health.

“Every week, 100 people die from construction-related ill health in the UK. Less than half of construction workers also stay employed in the industry until they are 60.

“This new guide raises awareness of the occupational health issues in construction, demystifies how to best manage them and provides information as to where firms can get help and assistance.

“Ultimately, if the advice is followed, it could help to lower incidence rates of occupational ill-health and transform the perception of working in construction to that of an attractive and respectful industry with great career choices.”

The guidance is freely available on HSE’s and IOSH’s website (click on the links):

http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/meetings/iacs/coniac/coniac-oh-guidance.pdf

http://www.iosh.co.uk/techguide

Structural stability during excavations – drainage company fined for excavation collapse

A Slough drainage company has been fined after a worker was seriously injured when an unsafe excavation collapsed during work to lay new pipes outside a home near Canterbury. He sustained multiple fractures to his left leg and was unable to work for six weeks before later resigning because of recurring pain and psychological trauma.

His employer was prosecuted, and fined a total of £60,000 plus £39,506 costs, by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the excavation pit was missing vital shoring.

Folkestone Magistrates’ Court heard the injured worker was cutting and cleaning a pipe for rejoining at a depth in excess of two metres when a side of the pit suddenly gave way, creating a slip of soil and debris.

The lower half of his body was completely buried, with the weight of the material buckling his leg as it crashed down. He was dug out by a colleague and taken to hospital.

HSE established that there was nothing in place to support the excavation and prevent the collapse, despite this being a clear and common risk for this kind of work. There was also no evidence of suitable planning or supervision.

What you need to do

The law says you must prevent danger to workers in or near excavations. To maintain the required precautions, a competent person must inspect excavation supports or battering at the start of the working shift and at other specified times. No work should take place until the excavation is safe.

Commercial clients must provide certain information to contractors before work begins. This should include relevant information on:

  • Ground conditions
  • underground structures or water courses; and
  • the location of existing services.
  • This information should be used during the planning and preparation for excavation work.

Key issues are:

  • Collapse of excavations
  • Falling or dislodging material
  • Falling into excavations
  • Inspection

What you need to know

Every year people are killed or seriously injured by collapses and falling materials while working in excavations. They are at risk from:

  • Excavations collapsing and burying or injuring people working in them;
  • material falling from the sides into any excavation; and
  • people or plant falling into excavations.

Remember:

  • No ground can be relied upon to stand unsupported in all circumstances.
  • Depending on conditions, a cubic metre of soil can weigh in excess of 1.5 tonnnes.

Trenchless techniques should always be considered at the design stage as they replace the need for major excavations.

Underground and overhead services may also present a fire, explosion, electrical or other hazard and will need to be assessed and managed.

Collapse of excavations

Temporary support – Before digging any trench pit, tunnel, or other excavations, decide what temporary support will be required and plan the precautions to be taken.

Make sure the equipment and precautions needed (trench sheets, props, baulks etc) are available on site before work starts.

Battering the excavation sides – Battering the excavation sides to a safe angle of repose may also make the excavation safer.

In granular soils, the angle of slope should be less than the natural angle of repose of the material being excavated. In wet ground a considerably flatter slope will be required.

Falling or dislodging material

Loose materials – may fall from spoil heaps into the excavation. Edge protection should include toeboards or other means, such as projecting trench sheets or box sides to protect against falling materials. Head protection should be worn.

Undermining other structures – Check that excavations do not undermine scaffold footings, buried services or the foundations of nearby buildings or walls. Decide if extra support for the structure is needed before you start. Surveys of the foundations and the advice of a structural engineer may be required.

Effect of plant and vehicles – Do not park plant and vehicles close to the sides of excavations. The extra loadings can make the sides of excavations more likely to collapse.

Falling into excavations

Prevent people from falling – Edges of excavations should be protected with substantial barriers where people are liable to fall into them.

To achieve this, use:

  • Guard rails and toe boards inserted into the ground immediately next to the supported excavation side; or
  • fabricated guard rail assemblies that connect to the sides of the trench box
  • the support system itself, eg using trench box extensions or trench sheets longer than the trench depth.

Inspection

A competent person who fully understands the dangers and necessary precautions should inspect the excavation at the start of each shift.

Excavations should also be inspected after any event that may have affected their strength or stability, or after a fall of rock or earth.

A record of the inspections will be required and any faults that are found should be corrected immediately.

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

Tyre removal, replacement and inflation – worker suffers loss of eye in explosion while inflating tyre

An Essex-based company which sells and services agricultural machinery has been fined £750,000 after an incident which left a worker permanently blind in one eye.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard how the tyre technician was working with a colleague to re-fit and re-inflate the tyres of a customers’ 4-wheel-drive agricultural vehicle. During re-inflation, one of these tyres exploded, causing him to be blown across the workshop, and to sustain severe injuries to his head and to the right side of his face.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated this incident, and found that the company failed to ensure that adequate instruction, training and supervision were provided to its tyre technicians. The company also failed to identify and remedy unsafe working practices that had been allowed to become the norm at its tyre depot.

Speaking for HSE after the hearing, Principal Inspector Norman Macritchie said: “This type of regrettable incident was entirely foreseeable considering the evidently unsafe working practices undertaken at the depot. A worker sustained serious and life-changing injuries which could easily have proven fatal.

“While all tyre technicians require suitable training, those inflating the large, higher-pressure tyres fitted to many agricultural, commercial, and construction vehicles need to implement key additional precautions – such as using a suitable inflation cage or bag.

“Employers undertaking this type of activity have a duty to ensure that staff are competent to inflate larger higher-risk tyres, to use a system of work that is safe, and to implement effective management systems to supervise and monitor such activities.”

Tyre removal, replacement and inflation should only be tackled by competent staff. The main hazards which can arise include:

  • manual handling injuries, which account for nearly a half of all tyre-related incidents reported;
  • tool-related injuries (which make up a quarter of incidents), particularly from handtools such as tyre levers; and
  • compressed-air accidents eg from a ruptured or burst tyre or violent separation of the component parts of the wheel. These accidents tend to result in serious injuries, including fatalities.

Safety during tyre inflation

Inflated tyres contain a large amount of stored energy, which varies according to the inflation pressure and the surface area of the tyre (eg the sidewall of a typical commercial vehicle tyre has to withstand over 34 tonnes of force from compressed air before additional carriage weight is taken into account).

If the tyre fails, an explosive force can be released at an angle of up to 45 degrees from the rupture (which is often, but not always, the face of the sidewall). This has resulted in numerous fatalities over the years. It is crucial that the airline hose between the clip-on chuck and the pressure gauge/control is long enough to allow the operator to stand outside the likely trajectory of any explosion during inflation. This will vary depending on the size of the tyre and its positioning.

Car tyres generally contain less energy than truck tyres and their size and profile make them less likely to fail catastrophically. Sensible precautions are still required, but a restraining device such as a safety cage is not normally necessary.

Light commercial tyres are now commonly found with pressures around 70psi, which may be sufficient to cause serious injury. If so, use enhanced safety measures such as those required for conventional truck/bus tyres. When inflating above 15psi this will include using a restraint such as (click on the link for illustrations):

Airlines should have quick-release couplings at both ends to allow the tyre to be deflated from outside the likely explosion trajectory if a fault (eg a potential ‘zipper’ failure of the sidewall) is detected. The valve connector should not require the operator to hold it place.

The pressure gauge/control valve should never be jammed in the open position, nor should ‘unrestricted’ airlines (ie without a gauge or pressure control device) be used to inflate any tyre.

The following YouTube video demonstrates the power of a tyre explosion resulting from inflating a damaged tyre (click on the link): https://youtu.be/294Wu6O0uW0

(HSE disclaimer (click on the link): http://www.hse.gov.uk/disclaimer.htm)

Special cases

Very large tyres such as those found in agriculture, quarries etc may be too big to fit into a restraint. Safe systems of work will need to be devised to ensure:

  • the wheel is restrained;
  • the effects of any explosion are contained safely; and
  • everyone stays outside the likely explosion trajectory

More information on safety in tyre inflation and deflation, tyre and wheel removal, repair and replacement (click on the links)

For more information visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/mvr/mechanical-repair/tyreremoval.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be 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 – 30TH JULY 2015

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

HSE Safety Alert

Poor design of scaffold loading bay gate, providing inadequate edge protection to prevent falls from height

HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel

Case 363 – Unable to open office windows

Case 357 – Consultants and Letting Agents misinterpreting the risks of exposure to legionella of their tenants

Case 355 – All tools on building sites need to be a maximum of 110V

Case 345 – Council erecting a barrier on sloping grass bank to prevent workers and the public falling onto concrete path below

News & Research

1.3 million tradespeople at risk from dangers of asbestos

HSE Research Report 1052 – The effect of wearer stubble on the protection given by Filtering Facepieces Class 3 (FFP3) and Half Masks

Face Fit testing of RPE (Respiratory Protective Equipment)

Introduction

Welcome to this week’s Health & Safety news update – our second since the launch of our new website. We’re settling into it quite nicely, and hope you are too. Don’t forget that comments and/or feedback are always welcome!

We experienced a few teething problems last week with subscription registrations, and apologise if you were affected by these. Fingers crossed they’ve now been solved, so if you want to receive email notifications of our updates, just click on “Register” (bottom-left), and you’ll be directed to a page where you can enter a user name of your choice, and your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time and each email will contain an unsubscription link for this purpose. If you experience any difficulties at all, please email us at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, or via the “Contact us” page on our website (http://www.eljay.co.uk/contact-eljay-risk-management.php)

This week, after bring your attention to this week’s HSE Safety Alert, we’re quashing a few Health & Safety myths via the ‘Myth Busters Challenge Panel’, and highlighting the HSE’s asbestos safety campaign, before leading into our new ‘Face Fit Testing’ service with some interesting research on the topic.

HSE Safety Alert

Extendable Scaffolding Loading Bay Gate – use of cable ties to secure loose mesh and unsafe means of operation

HSE has become aware that a number of manufacturers/suppliers are marketing an extendable scaffold loading bay gate that does not satisfy legal requirements or applicable standards when in some configurations. When extended the loading bay gate, which forms part of the edge protection on a scaffold, is not robust enough to fulfil this function and is therefore not suitable and sufficient to comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005. For more information click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/loading-bay-gate.htm?ebul=gd-cons/jul15&cr=1 or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel

‘Health and Safety’ is often incorrectly used as a convenient excuse to stop what are essentially sensible activities going ahead when instead, we should be using good health & safety principles and practice to ensure that work proceeds, but safely. The Health and Safety Executive has set up an independent panel – the Myth Busters Challenge Panel – to scrutinize such decisions.

Below are just a few of the cases that the panel have recently considered, and their findings.

Case 363 – Unable to open office windows

Issue

Enquirer’s office has been told that they cannot have the keys to open the windows in their office on the 3rd floor as this would breach health and safety. The windows run almost floor to ceiling with the top section opening inwards. Standing next to the window, the open section is just below the enquirer’s chest height (they are 6ft tall). With summer coming the office is getting hotter and they are unable to have any fresh air in the building.

Panel opinion

In some circumstances it may be appropriate to prohibit people from opening windows if there is a real risk of someone falling out; but where this is a concern, the problem can also be addressed by fitting controls to limit the extent to which the windows can be opened. In this particular case it seems more likely that “health and safety” has been used as a cover when the real reason is to do with concerns over the effectiveness of the air conditioning.

“Health and safety” should not be used simply to avoid having a discussion about the real concerns and what solutions might be possible.

Our comment

More information about the safe opening and closing of windows, etc, as well as glazing safety in relation to impact and cleaning, can be found in Building Regulations Approved Document N (http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/br/BR_PDF_ADN_1998.pdf) or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

Case 357 – Consultants and Letting Agents misinterpreting the risks of exposure to legionella of their tenants

Issue

Consultants and letting agents are i) using the revised L8 ACOP to infer there is new legislation regarding landlords responsibilities and ii) misrepresenting what the law requires of landlords of domestic rented properties in relation to assessing and controlling the risks of exposure to Legionella bacteria of their tenants, for financial gain.

Panel opinion

Health and Safety law does not require landlords to produce a ‘Legionnaires testing certificate’. Legionella testing is required only in exceptional circumstances and generally not in domestic hot and cold water systems. Such letting agents and consultants are scaremongering landlords, for financial gain, by misinterpreting and exaggerating the legal requirements to manage and control legionella in domestic premises.

HSE has published guidance for landlords, free to download from HSE’s website:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/faqs.htm – As a landlord, what are my duties?

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg274part2.pdf – PDF – Paragraphs 2.138-2.146

Our comment

Whilst Legionella testing is not always required, if you are an employer, or someone in control of premises, you need to take the right precautions to reduce the risks of exposure to Legionella by carrying out a risk assessment, which includes management and prevention or control of any risks, as well as keeping and maintain the correct records. For more information click on the link http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/what-you-must-do.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

Case 355 – All tools on building sites need to be a maximum of 110V

Issue

The enquirer was tasked with carrying out sound insulation tests in houses on a construction site. The site manager asked him if his equipment was battery operated to which his reply was “no, it will need to be plugged into a 230V socket”. He asked if there was 230V power in the plots and the site manager said yes it was available but all “tools” on site need to run off a maximum of 110V as this was the company policy.

Panel opinion

The enquirer appears to have been planning to work in a completed (or nearly) completed house with the electrical system installed and compliant with requirements for electrical installations. This is a significantly lower risk from when the house is under construction. Whilst health and safety law does not ban 230v tools on construction sites, HSE strongly advises that 110v tools are preferable given the wet, dirty and dusty nature of construction sites and the possibility of mechanical damage to cables and tools.

In this instance a standard which is reasonable for a live, temporary, construction site is being applied to a different (domestic) environment where the risks would be much lower and the electrical system permanent and compliant with the latest standards.  If a site or company decide to impose a higher (disproportionate) standard in this lower risk environment they can but it is not health and safety law that requires this.

Our comment

More information about this construction safety topic can be found on the HSE web page “Electricity – Systems in buildings”. Click on the link http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/systems.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

Case 345 – Council erecting a barrier on sloping grass bank to prevent workers and the public falling onto concrete path below

Issue

A sloping grassed bank, whose base is retained by a vertical wall, runs along behind social housing dwellings. The council has identified a risk of injury to workers from a fall from the top of the retaining wall when working on the bank above and also identified a similar risk of injury for residents and the public who access the bank. The council plans to install a barrier on top of the wall to reduce the risk of fall from height onto the concrete path below.

Panel opinion

The Council is taking a sensible approach to find a way of minimising various risks to its own employees and members of the public. They should continue to discuss with residents to find a suitable means of fencing/protection that reduces risk without restricting access unduly.

Our comment

If you manage or own property in which others live or work, it is your duty to ensure that the premises (inside and out) are in a satisfactory state from a health and safety perspective. Falls from height is just one of the many risks that need to be considered. We provide health & safety inspections of residential and commercial properties, as well as fire and Legionella risk assessments. For more information contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk.

News & Research

1.3 million tradespeople at risk from dangers of asbestos

Health and Safety Executive launches new safety campaign as an average of 20 tradespeople die every week from asbestos related disease

Tradespeople, including construction workers, carpenters and painters and decorators, could come into contact with deadly asbestos on average more than 100 times a year* according to a new survey commissioned by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)**.

As well as illustrating how often tradespeople can be exposed to asbestos, the survey revealed some common myths believed by those at risk, with 1 in seven (14 per cent) believing that drinking a glass of water will help protect them from the deadly dust and one in four (27 per cent) thinking that opening a window will help to keep them safe.

Only a third (30 per cent) of those asked, were able to identify all the correct measures for safe asbestos working, whilst more than half (57 per cent) made at least one potentially lethal mistake in trying to identify how to stay safe.

Twenty tradespeople, on average, die every week from asbestos related diseases.

Asbestos can be found in walls and ceilings, or the structure of a building, as well as a host of other places like floor tiles, boilers, toilet cisterns, guttering and soffits.

It can be disturbed by basic maintenance work like drilling holes and sanding and once disturbed, the microscopic fibres can prove lethal if breathed in, causing lung disease and cancer.

The research, undertaken by Censuswide in September 2014, shows that while more than half (53 per cent) knew that asbestos could be in old buildings built before 1970, only 15 per cent knew that it could still be found in buildings built up to the year 2000.

And although many of those surveyed could pinpoint some asbestos-containing materials, others were clueless, with only 19 per cent recognising it could also be hidden in common fixtures such as toilet seats and cisterns.

To encourage tradespeople to think about asbestos on every job so they are prepared to deal with the danger, HSE has launched a new safety campaign. A key feature of the campaign is the creation of a new web app for phones, tablets and laptops that helps tradespeople easily identify where they could come into contact with the deadly material as they go about their day-to-day work and gives them tailored help on how to deal with the risks.

Philip White, HSE’s Chief Inspector for Construction, said:

“Asbestos is still a very real danger and the survey findings suggest that the people who come into contact with it regularly often don’t know where it could be and worryingly don’t know how to deal with it correctly, which could put them in harm’s way. Our new campaign aims to help tradespeople understand some of the simple steps they can take to stay safe. Our new web app is designed for use on a job so workers can easily identify if they are likely to face danger and can then get straight forward advice to help them do the job safely.”

Former electrical consultant Simon Clark, who in 2012 was diagnosed with mesothelioma – the life-threatening and aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos – when he was just 52, said:

“When I was younger I didn’t think of the dangers of asbestos and I must have been exposed to it frequently. Since being diagnosed, I’ve had to give up my work and let some of my employees go – which is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It is vitally important that everybody knows when they might be exposed and takes the correct steps to protect themselves.”

To download the web app please visit www.beware-asbestos.info/news

For more information on asbestos safety please visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

HSE Research Report 1052 – The effect of wearer stubble on the protection given by Filtering Facepieces Class 3 (FFP3) and Half Masks

HSE Inspectors routinely come across workers with various degrees of stubble growth using respiratory protective masks, despite guidance to the contrary. This research studied the effect of 0-7 days stubble growth on the protection given by FFP3 filtering facepieces and half masks.

Fifteen male volunteers took part, each testing four masks. For most, three different design FFP3 and one half mask were tested, selected from seven models of FFP3 and 2 half masks. Fit tests were carried out immediately after shaving and repeated six times during the following week, without further shaving.

Results showed that the effect on protection was quite specific to the mask/wearer combination.

Protection could be significantly reduced where stubble was present, beginning within 24 hours from shaving, and generally worsening as facial hair grew. Statistical analysis predicted this could reach an unacceptable level for all of the masks tested.

While some individual wearers did grow some stubble without significantly reducing protection with some masks, this was unpredictable and it would not be practical to conduct the necessary testing to confirm this for every individual wearer.

The current guidance advising being clean-shaven in the area of the mask seal is justified.

Face Fit testing of RPE (Respiratory Protective Equipment)

As you will be aware you must ensure that any RPE you use provides adequate protection for individual wearers. RPE can’t protect the wearer if it leaks. A major cause of leaks is poor fit – tight-fitting face-pieces need to fit the wearer’s face to be effective. As people come in all sorts of shapes and sizes it is unlikely that one particular type or size of RPE face-piece will fit everyone. Fit testing will ensure that the equipment selected is suitable for the wearer and, importantly, will help ensure the safety of your workers.

RPE fit testing should be conducted by a competent person – you should take steps to ensure that person who carries out the fit test is appropriately trained, qualified and experienced, and is provided with appropriate information to undertake each particular task.

We can carry out your face fit testing, so if you need help selecting and fit testing RPE, contact us today on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk to discuss your requirements and we will provide you with a no-obligation quotation.

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

 

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