Demolition health and safety – company and contractor sentenced for uncontrolled collapse of building on high street

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

The owner of a building in Kent and the contractor employed to demolish it have been fined for safety failings after an uncontrolled collapse onto a high street.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the collapse, which occurred in November 2013, found that the contractor had failed to properly plan the work and then carried out unsafe demolition work.

The building owner did not make any enquiries into the suitability or competence of the contractor to undertake the demolition.

Neither the building owner nor the contractor applied for a road closure and members of the public were put at risk.

The building owner pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, and was fined £160,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9128.89.

The contractor pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 25(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, and has been sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended for two years.

HSE inspector Andrew Cousins said after the hearing: “Lives were put at risk when this structure uncontrollably collapsed. Clients have a responsibility to appoint competent contractors to undertake hazardous work such as demolition.

“Those in control of demolition have a responsibility to plan demolition work and to devise a safe way of working that protects both the workers and members of the public.

“The job could have been safely carried out by simply undertaking the demolition behind a substantial hoarding.”

Demolition

What you need to do

The law says that all demolition, dismantling and structural alteration must be carefully planned and carried out in a way that prevents danger by practitioners with the relevant skills, knowledge and experience. Key issues are:

  • Falls from height
  • Injury from falling materials
  • Uncontrolled collapse
  • Risks from connected services
  • Traffic management
  • Hazardous materials
  • Noise and vibration
  • Fire
  • Worker involvement

What you need to know

A systematic approach to demolition projects is a team effort between many people, who all have responsibilities:

  • Clients must appoint dutyholders who have the relevant skills, knowledge and experience and where organisations, the organisational capability, and are adequately resourced.
  • Clients, with the help of the principal designer must provide those who need it (eg, designers, contractors) with pre-construction information that can reasonably be obtained. A range of surveys and reports will be needed – for example, to check for presence of asbestos; structural stability of site and nearby structures; the location of above and below ground live services in the work area; etc. These should be done before work begins and not be left for the principal contractor to organise once the demolition work has started.
  • Principal designers must plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety issues in the pre-construction phase (i.e. before demolition starts) to give principal contractors as much information as possible to allow the principal contractor to keep people (site workers and the public) as far as possible from the risks.
  • Principal contractors must plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety issues during the demolition work.
  • Site managers must ensure workers are supervised and are following safe working practice.
  • Sub-contractors and site workers must follow the instructions and plans given to them by those in charge of the work and ensure that their colleagues do too.

Falls from height

During demolition and dismantling, workers can be injured falling from edges, through openings, fragile surfaces and partially demolished floors.

Dutyholders have a responsibility to assess, eliminate and control the risks of falls from height. Find out more about falls from height: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/workingatheight.htm.

Injury from falling materials

Workers and passers-by can be injured by the premature and uncontrolled collapse of structures, and by flying debris.

A safe system of work is one that keeps people as far as possible from the risks. This may include:

  • establishing exclusion zones and hard-hat areas, clearly marked and with barriers or hoardings if necessary
  • covered walkways
  • using high-reach machines
  • reinforcing machine cabs so that drivers are not injured
  • training and supervising site workers

Uncontrolled collapse

The structural survey should consider:

  • the age of the structure
  • its previous use
  • the type of construction
  • nearby buildings or structures
  • the weight of removed material or machinery on floors above ground level

The method statement for the demolition should identify the sequence required to prevent accidental collapse of the structure.

Risks from connected services

Gas, electricity, water and telecommunications services need to be isolated or disconnected before demolition work begins. If this is not possible, pipes and cables must be labelled clearly, to make sure they are not disturbed.

Traffic management

Effective traffic management systems are essential on site, to avoid putting workers at risk of being hit by vehicles turning, slewing, or reversing. Where possible, vision aids and zero tail swing machines should be used. Find out more about traffic management

Hazardous materials

Hazardous materials that should to be considered include dust, asbestos and respirable crystalline silica (RCS).There may also be material or contamination on site that has not been cleared, for example:

  • acids from industrial processes
  • paints
  • flammable liquids
  • unidentified drums
  • microbiological hazards (especially in old hospital buildings).

Find out more about the control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH): http://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/index.htm

Noise and vibration

Frequent exposure to loud noise can permanently damage a persons hearing. Noise can also create a safety risk if it makes it difficult for workers to communicate effectively or stops them hearing warning signals.

Vibrating hand tools used in demolition can cause hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).Workers exposure to vibration must be managed and reduced as far as possible.

Fire

Fire is a risk where hot work (using any tools that generate spark, flame or heat) is being done. During structural alteration, the fire plan must be kept up to date as the escape routes and fire points may alter. There must be an effective way to raise the alarm.

Worker involvement

Everyone involved must to know what precautions are to be taken on site. Workplaces where employees are involved in taking decisions about health and safety are safer and healthier. Your employees are often the best people to understand the risks in their workplace. Find out more about involving your workers in health and safety: http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement

Resources

Leaflets

Books

Useful links – other HSE sites

The law

For more information, visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/demolition.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 – 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 – 11TH FEBRUARY 2016

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Scrap and metal recycling – firm fined after fatality at waste recycling site

Tree work health and safety – college fined after tree felling injury

Construction work at height – company fined after carrying out dangerous window installation work eight-metres above a West End street

Introduction

It’s now 18 months since representatives from the waste management and recycling industry came together to form the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) forum, their aim being to identify, devise and promote activities to improve industry health and safety standards. At the same time (2014/15), the waste industry was one of the few sectors witnessing a rise in incidents of fatal injuries, with 11 reported from April 2014 to March 2015. This was a 120% increase on the previous year. We open this week’s update with HSE guidance on the topic, following news of a scrap metal recycling company being fined £120,000 plus £40,000 costs after the death of a worker.

Another industry classed as one of the most dangerous in Britain, is tree work. A college in Surrey has recently been fined £70,000 plus costs after a student was struck on the leg by a tree as it was being felled, so we’re also sharing guidance this week on tree work health and safety.

And finally, after news of a window manufacturing and installation company being fined £36,000 after carrying out work in the West End of London with no measures to prevent the workers falling eight metres (and after dropping part of a window onto the public area below), we close this week’s update with HSE guidance on working at height in construction.

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

Scrap and metal recycling – firm fined after fatality at waste recycling site

A scrap metal recycling company based in Sheffield has been fined £120,000 plus £40,000 costs for safety failings after a worker was killed when he was hit in the head by an exploding gas cylinder.

Sheffield Crown Court heard how the worker, aged 55, was working at the recycling site in June 2009 when a pressurised gas cylinder was put through a shearing machine causing it to explode. A large section of the cylinder hit him in the head causing fatal injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found a number of safety failures by the recycling company. They had no effective health and safety management system in place and failed to adequately assess the risks involved with processing different types of scrap material. The company also failed to put in place a range of measures to reduce the risks, for example by providing a blast wall.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Kirsty Storer commented: “Companies processing different materials should have good, documented systems to ensure materials such as pressurised cylinders are sorted and dealt with correctly. Workers also need to be properly trained and supervised.

“In addition where safeguards are provided they need to be well maintained, and an assessment should be carried out to determine any additional precautions that might be required, such as a pit or blast wall.”

Scrap and metal recycling

Introduction

The greater part of the scrap and metal recycling industry processes ferrous and non ferrous metal scrap into vital secondary raw material for the smelting of new metals.

The scrap and metal recycling industry has consistently had a poor fatal accident rate for several years.

The main risks include (click on the links for more information):

The main Trade Associations dealing with this industry include the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) and the Motor Vehicle Dismantlers Association

End of Life Vehicles (ELV)

The introduction of the End of Life Vehicle Regulations has resulted in a significant change to the make up of the scrap industry as every vehicle scrapped now has to be de-polluted and waste materials accounted for.

For more information see Motor vehicle dismantling (http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/dismantling.htm).

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

This is a rapidly growing and highly specialised part of the metals recycling industry. Large household appliances (e.g. ovens, fridges, washing machines) make up over 40% of WEEE but there are large volumes of other equipment such as IT equipment (mainly computers), televisions (cathode ray tube and flat screen), small household appliances (e.g. kettles and hair dryers), electrical tools, digital watches, electronic toys and medical devices.

Such items contain a wide variety of materials e.g. an average TV contains 6% metal and 50% glass, whereas a cooker is 89% metal and only 6% glass. Other materials found include plastics, ceramics and precious metals.

For more information see Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment recycling (http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/waste-electrical.htm).

Disposal of aerosols

Each year the UK uses around 600 million aerosols, which is equivalent to about ten cans per person. With approximately 65 per cent of aerosols made from tin-plated steel, and the rest from high-grade aluminium and this represents almost 30,000 tonnes of reclaimable metal that can be recycled each year.

Householders should only put empty used aerosols in can banks or kerbside collections. They should not be segregated or concentrated into batches as the best safest way for consumers to recycle aerosol cans is to mix in with other metal waste – this serves to  ‘dilute’ the proportion of aerosols in the total mix.  Householders should not pierce or squash aerosol cans before disposal.

Many local authorities are successfully including collection of aerosols in their kerbside or mixed waste collection schemes.

For mixed waste processed at a Material Recycling Facility (MRF), as far as is possible, only aerosols derived from the domestic waste stream should be handled by the MRF. At the MRF aerosols can be baled, flattened or shredded but this must only be done where appropriate precautions are in place

The British Aerosol Manufacturers Association (BAMA) provides guidance on the collection and processing of “empty” or “near empty” cans by local authorities when processed through MRFs. Advice on the recycling of empty post-consumer aerosols (http://www.bama.co.uk/pdf/recycling_post_consumer.pdf) recovered through MRFs is available on the BAMA website.

When disposing of full or partly full aerosol canisters in bulk then they need to be treated as hazardous waste and disposed of safely.  It is also recommended that aerosols from the commercial waste stream be directed to specialist recycling facilities

Further guidance on the safe disposal of aerosols can be found in the following sources (click on the links for more information):

Radioactive contamination in scrap in metal recycling

Click on the link for more information: http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/radioactive-contamination.htm

Scrap Metal Dealer Licence Applications

Under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 and related Regulations local authorities (councils) are responsible for determining the suitability of applicants and issuing of scrap metal dealers licences.

Information on health and safety enforcement action, both prosecutions and enforcement notices is publically available on HSE’s Register of prosecutions and notices (http://www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/prosecutions.htm) should councils wish to consider health and safety offences as part of the application.

HSE will not routinely respond to requests from councils about applicants.

Other HSE guidance and advice (click on the links for more information)

For more guidance on waste management and recycling visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/ or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

Tree work health and safety – college fined after tree felling injury

A college in Surrey has been fined £70,000 plus costs after a student was struck on the leg by a tree as it was being felled.

Redhill Magistrates’ Court heard how the campus supervisor at the college instructed an employee and part of the estates team, to take two work experience students to fell a tree.

While the tree was being cut two students arrived to observe the operation. The falling tree hit one of the students who was observing, causing fractures to one of his legs.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident, which occurred in May 2015, found that there was insufficient training given to fell the tree competently. There was inadequate supervision and the risk assessments were not sufficient and had not been followed.

Tree work health and safety

HSE’s Tree Work website allows those involved in forestry and arboriculture both high risk industries to find sector specific information on health and safety quickly.

It is most relevant to Arborists, tree surgeons and forestry workers and will help you find essential information and guidance on good practice including training and PPE which are essential.

See also the safety and health topic sections on managing risks: http://www.hse.gov.uk/treework/safety-topics/index.htm

Are you a…?

Tree work is carried out from time-to-time in many sectors but is particularly important in Forestry and Arboriculture. Clink on the links for more information:

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

Construction work at height – company fined after carrying out dangerous window installation work eight-metres above a West End street

A company which manufactured and installed windows has been fined £36,000 after carrying out work in the West End of London with no measures to prevent the workers falling eight metres and after dropping part of a window onto the public area below.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard the company carried out window installation work at a property on Park Street, London, in January 2015 that put their workers and members of the public at risk of suffering serious injuries or a fatality.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation into the work after a member of the public provided photos of workers leaning out of window openings eight meters above the ground. They also provided a video showing the workers dropping part of a window which fell to the ground and missed a nearby pedestrian.

The company had failed to provide equipment such as scaffolding which would have prevented the workers and window falling. None of the workers had received any formal training and no one was appointed to supervise the work.

The risks associated with the work had not been sufficiently assessed. The court heard the company had failed to invest in equipment for working at height and had a health and management system which relied entirely on the company’s managing director, despite his lack of relevant training and experience.

The work was halted when HSE served a Prohibition Notice (PN). The court heard the company had previously been given advice by HSE in connection with work at height and that an audit by their bank had previously identified a range of relevant health and safety failings. The court heard that neither written warning was heeded by the firm.

Construction work at height

Scaffold checklist

A guide for when scaffold design is required and what level of training and competence those erecting, dismantling, altering, inspecting and supervising scaffolding operations are expected to have obtained. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/scaffoldinginfo.htm

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.

Assessing work at height – Assess the risks, take precautions, and issue clear method statements for everyone who will work at height. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/assess.htm

Roof work – Plan safe access, and prevent falls from edges and openings. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/roofwork.htm

Fragile surfaces – The hierarchy of controls for working on or near fragile surfaces is avoid, control, communicate, co-operate. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/fragile.htm

Ladders – When it’s appropriate to use ladders – and the three key safety issues – position, condition and safe use. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/ladders.htm

Tower scaffolds – Select the right tower for the job; erect, use, move and dismantle the tower safely; ensure that it is stable; inspect it regularly; prevent falls. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/scaffold.htm

For more information visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/workingatheight.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 – 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