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

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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.

 

Gas boilers – flues in voids (HSE Safety Notice); housing association prosecuted for safety failings

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Housing association prosecuted for safety failings

A housing association has been prosecuted after allowing renovations to take place that put residents at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

A Sheriff Court heard that one of Scotland’s largest registered social landlords had allowed chimneys to be removed from properties on two separate occasions. It was later discovered during the annual gas checks that the chimneys acted as the necessary gas flue for adjacent properties.

HSE’s investigation into both incidents revealed that at the time the chimney removals took place not only was there was no procedure in place for the company’s workers to follow in respect of this type of work, neither were any risk assessments carried out in relation to the chimney removals which would have identified the risk to carbon monoxide poisoning for the residents.

The housing association pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974) and was fined £8,000.

Around seven people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated.

Gas boilers – flues in voids (updated 20th May 2013)

This Safety Notice provides updated information to that in the safety alert that was issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on 2nd October 2008 following a death earlier that year.

The purpose of the original Alert was to raise awareness of the potential dangers from certain types of flues connected to gas-fired central heating installations in some properties (particularly, but not exclusively, a large number of flats and apartments completed since about 2000) that may not have been installed properly, or may have fallen into disrepair.

Where boilers are located away from external walls, flues are more likely to run through ceiling (or wall) voids. In such cases when the gas appliance is serviced or maintained it can be difficult, or impossible, to determine whether the flue has been installed correctly or whether it is still in good condition.

Where a flue fault exists in combination with a boiler which is not operating correctly, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) could be released into the living accommodation. CO is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels. It stops the blood from bringing oxygen to cells, tissues, and organs and can kill quickly, without warning.

The 2008 Alert referred to the relevant gas industry technical guidance which gas engineers were expected to follow. A revised version of this guidance has now been published by Gas Safe Register. This changes the approach that Gas Safe registered engineers will take when they encounter relevant installations.

The purpose of this Safety Notice is to make homeowners, landlords and tenants aware of these changes as action might be required. It is not, however, the only means of communication. An industry working group (including representatives of the gas industry, home builders, home warranty providers and boiler manufacturers, assisted by HSE) will ensure that information is readily available to all those who may be affected.

Background

The introduction of fan-flued gas appliances in the mid 1990s allowed gas central heating boilers to be installed away from external walls. This meant that builders could design new-build and refurbishment properties with boilers being installed on internal walls to make better use of the available space. The flues to these boilers were, in some cases, routed through voids in the ceiling space (and through stud walls) between properties above.

This practice became progressively more popular from 2000 onwards and the vast majority of affected systems are thought to be located in new build flats and apartments completed since 2000. It is however possible that other types of home may have similar central heating systems installed.

Gas engineers are legally required to check the flue after carrying out any work on the boiler. This will include a visual inspection. Similarly, when an engineer installs a boiler they need to ensure that it can be used without constituting a danger to anyone; this would include checking whether the flue is safe. The original installer and every subsequent servicing or maintenance engineer need to be able to check that:

  • the flue is continuous throughout its length;
  • all joints are correctly assembled and are appropriately sealed; and
  • the flue is adequately supported throughout its length.

Unless the gas engineer can make these checks they cannot ensure that the flue from the boiler is safe in order to comply with their legal duties. This necessitates the provision of appropriate inspection hatches in the ceiling (and, where relevant, stud wall).

The original industry technical guidance (aimed at registered gas engineers) advised that where the flue to the boiler was concealed within a void and could not be visually inspected it should be assessed as “not to current standards” (NCS) in accordance with the Gas Industry Unsafe Situations Procedure (GIUSP – see Reference section for explanation). This was dependent on there being no other risks being present which may have made the boiler unsafe.

Revised guidance takes effect on 1st January 2011. This is the result of the industry working group who undertook a review of the original guidance and concluded that the potential risk from such systems, should it not be possible to inspect the flue, requires an alternative approach to ensure that the necessary remedial action is taken.

Action required

The revised technical guidance requires inspection hatches to be fitted in properties where the flue is concealed within voids and cannot be inspected. The homeowner (or landlord etc.) has until 31st December 2012 to arrange for inspection hatches to be installed. Any gas engineer working on affected systems after 1st January 2013 will advise the homeowner that the system is “at risk” (AR) in accordance with the GIUSP and, with the owner’s permission will turn off the gas supply to the boiler so it cannot be used.

In the interim period, where no inspection hatches are fitted, the registered gas engineers will carry out a simple risk assessment which should ensure that the risk from exposure to CO is managed in the short-term. This risk assessment includes:

  • looking for signs of leakage along the flue route; and
  • carrying out a flue combustion analysis check (and obtaining a satisfactory result); and
  • checking for the presence of suitable audible carbon monoxide (CO) alarms (and installing such alarms where they are not already fitted).

As long as this boiler passes the series of safety checks and the risk assessment does not identify any concerns about its safety, it can be left on. Suitable inspection hatches will however need to be fitted to the ceiling (or wall, as appropriate) by end 31st December 2012. Wherever possible it is recommended that inspection hatches are fitted before this date.

Once inspection hatches have been fitted, the gas engineer will be able to make sure that the flue is safe and was installed in line with the relevant standards and manufacturers instructions.

A simple explanation of the issue, the risks and how the matter can be resolved, as well as a number of frequently asked questions, have been developed for householders. The industry working group are looking at how best to target individual households that are most likely to be affected. In the meantime, further information is available on the Gas Safe Register website: http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/fluesinvoids

If you are unsure whether a property has concealed gas flues and think you might be at risk:

  • If you have your gas appliances checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer he/she will be able to advise whether this Notice applies to your property.
  • If you do NOT have your boiler regularly serviced arrange for a Gas Safe registered engineer to visit to check the appliances and flues. Show them this Notice.

If a property has concealed flues in voids and no inspection hatches:

  • If the property is less than 2 years old contact the original builder for assistance with the retrofitting of inspection hatches and repair of any flue defects.
  • If the property is between 2 and 10 years old contact the home warranty provider as you may be covered by them if there are defects in the flue. The main warranty providers (NHBC, Premier Guarantee and Zurich Building Guarantee) have however advised that cover is not provided for installing inspection hatches in homes over two years old.
  • If the property is 10 years or older you should contact a Gas Safe registered engineer. You or your landlord will have to meet the cost of the inspection hatches and any defects to the boiler or its flue. It may still be worth contacting the home builder who may be able to assist in some way, or be able to recommend reputable building services companies to carry out the work.

Having taken advice as above, arrange for a competent builder or building services company to fit inspection hatches as soon as you can and, in any case, by 31st December 2012. (If you don’t, from 1st January 2013 a Gas Safe registered engineer will advise you that the appliance is “at risk” and, with your permission, will turn off the appliance; they will tell you it should not be used until inspection hatches are fitted so that the flue can be checked for safety.)

Do not:

  • Attempt to check the flue system yourself (unless you are a Gas Safe registered engineer). You are likely to do more harm to the installation and place you and your family at greater risk.
  • Try to install inspection hatches yourself. You may damage other key functions of the ceiling, such as fire and noise proofing.

If you live in rented accommodation and think your property might be affected:

  • Bring this Notice to the attention of your landlord or managing agent. It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that inspection hatches are installed and that the boiler and flue are checked every year.

If you think you are suffering the symptoms of CO poisoning:

  • Turn the appliance off immediately and contact the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.
  • If you think you or your family experience any of the symptoms of CO poisoning you should seek urgent medical advice from either your GP or an accident and emergency department.

For more information visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/fluesinvoids.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

 

 

Passenger lifts and escalators – Bolton resident dies in lift shaft fall

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Bolton resident dies in lift shaft fall

A property management company has been fined after a resident of an apartment block in Bolton died after falling down a lift shaft.

Bolton Crown Court heard how the resident and a friend were trapped in a lift and unable to raise the alarm. They attempted a self-rescue by forcing the doors open and sliding out onto the floor below.

The resident slipped under the lift car and fell five stories down the lift shaft and died of multiple injuries. His friend escaped unhurt.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred in August 2014 found that the management company for the building failed to take suitable and sufficient steps to prevent the resident and his friend self-rescuing.

The management company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £45,000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Sarah Taylor said: “Those who manage lifts have a responsibility to ensure they are properly maintained but if people are trapped they have a way to raise the alarm and are not in a position to try and rescue themselves.

“The problems with this lift were well known and if [the management company] had fulfilled their health and safety responsibilities [the resident] would probably be around to celebrate Christmas with his family this weekend.”

Passenger lifts and escalators

Lifts provided for use by workers in workplaces are subject to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER). However, in most cases lifting equipment which is not provided for, or used by, people at work (eg stair lifts in private dwellings and platform lifts in shops used for customer access) will not be subject to either LOLER or PUWER. But businesses providing this equipment will have responsibilities for its safety (it will require routine maintenance and inspection).

LOLER does not apply to escalators or any travelators / moving walkways which transport people, even though they may ‘lift’ people from one level to another. Such equipment is covered by regulation 19 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations.

However, escalators and similar machines, platform and stair lifts, and all conventional passenger lifts must meet the requirements for safety and conformity of either the Machinery or Lift Directives in their design, construction and installation, when first brought into use. (Note: stair lifts, certain slow moving platform lifts (less that 0.15 m/s) and construction hoists come within scope of the Machinery Directive instead of the Lifts Directive).

Passenger lifts used by people at work

Passenger lifts and combined goods / passenger lifts in workplaces (eg offices and factories) which are primarily used by people at work, are subject to periodic thorough examination and inspection, as required by LOLER and PUWER. Guidance for lift owners and others responsible for the examination and testing of lifts is available in: Thorough examination and testing of lifts: Simple guidance for lift owners (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg339.htm)

Passenger lifts used by people who are not at work

LOLER (and PUWER) may not apply where a passenger lift is not used by people at work (eg in public areas of a shopping centre). However, if the lift is operated by – or to some extent under the control of – an employer or self-employed person in connection with their business, they still have some responsibility for the health and safety of people they don’t employ. This includes members of the public who use the lift and those people who may work on or inspect the lift.

Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act imposes these general responsibilities, so far as reasonably practicable. As the risks may be the same as when using lifts in connection with work, a similar regime of maintenance, inspection and examination to that required under LOLER and PUWER may be entirely ‘reasonably practicable’ in managing the risks. In any case, insurers may impose demands for similarly stringent levels of risk management to cover public liability.

Escalators and moving walkways

Guidelines for the safe operation of escalators and moving walks (walkways) have been prepared by the Safety Assessment Federation in consultation with HSE. This document provides considerable guidance on the duties and responsibilities of those who:

  • manufacture, supply and install escalators and moving walkways
  • design premises where they are to be installed
  • own or manage premises in which they are installed, and
  • inspect and examine escalators and moving walkways

Although not subject to LOLER, these detailed guidelines recommend thorough examination of escalators and moving walkways, normally at six-monthly intervals.

Stair lifts:

Where provided as work equipment for use by employees, stair lifts will be subject to the requirements of LOLER (thorough examination) and PUWER (maintenance and inspection). Where they are not, but are still provided in connection with an undertaking (eg in work environments where the public or visitors may use them), employers and the self-employed will have responsibilities for the safety of all users under Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. These may be adequately discharged by undertaking maintenance, and inspection, and 6 monthly thorough examination, even though PUWER & LOLER may not apply to the equipment.

However, all new stair lifts (either when first placed on the market, or first brought into use), as machinery are subject to the Machinery Directive / Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008. They must be constructed to be safe, supplied with Instructions, a Declaration of Conformity and CE marking. Those stair lifts which involve a hazard of falling from a vertical height of 3m or more are subject to Annex IV (item 17) of the Machinery Directive (so subject to conformity assessment as required by Article 12 (3) or 12 (4) of 2006/42/EC).

More information on LOLER can be found on the LOLER FAQ page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/faq-lifting.htm

For more information visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/passenger-lifts.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help. We carry out health and safety inspections (as well as fire/legionella risk assessments) of all types of residential and commercial properties and are happy to provide a no-obligation quotation on request.

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

 

 

Need building work done? A short guide for clients (building owners, users or managing agents) on the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

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

This guidance is aimed at you if you are a building owner, user or managing agent and are having maintenance, small-scale building work or other minor works carried out in connection with a business – as you will be a client with legal duties under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015).

Following the simple steps below will help you meet your responsibilities as a client and ensure construction work and repairs are undertaken safely and without damaging worker’s and other people’s health.

What does CDM 2015 do?

Complying with CDM 2015 will help ensure that no-one is harmed during the work, and that your building is safe to use and maintain while giving you good value. Effective planning will also help ensure that your work is well managed with fewer unexpected costs and problems.

What do clients need to do?

Many clients, particularly those who only occasionally have construction work done, are not experts in construction work. Although you are not expected to actively manage or supervise the work yourself, you have a big influence over the way the work is carried out. Whatever the size of your project, you decide which designer and contractor will carry out the work and how much money, time and resource is available. The decisions you make have an impact on the health, safety and welfare of workers and others affected by the work.

CDM 2015 is not about creating unnecessary and unhelpful processes and paperwork. It is about choosing the right team and helping them to work together to ensure health and safety.

As a client, you need to do the following.

  1. Appoint the right people at the right time

If more than one contractor will be involved, you will need to appoint (in writing) a principal designer and a principal contractor.

A principal designer is required to plan, manage and coordinate the planning and design work.  Appoint them as early as possible so they can help you gather information about the project and ensure that the designers have done all they can to check that it can be built safely.

A principal contractor is required to plan, manage and coordinate the construction work. Appoint them as early as possible so they are involved in discussions with the principal designer about the work.

Getting the right people for the right job means your designers and your contractors need to have the skills, knowledge and experience to identify, reduce and manage health and safety risks. This is also the case if they are a company (known as having ‘organisational capability’ for the job). The designers and the contractors should be able to give references from previous clients for similar work and explain to you how they will achieve this.

Professional bodies can help you choose your architect and other designers. The Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) website has lists of businesses which have been assessed on their health and safety management. A contractor may be a member of a trade association.

  1. Ensure there are arrangements in place for managing and organising the project

The work is more likely to be done without harming anyone and on time if it is properly planned and managed. Sometimes the work is complex and uses many different trades. Often it involves high-risk work such as the work listed in the bulleted list below. The principal designer should understand these types of risks and try to avoid them when designing your project. The principal contractor or builder should manage the risks on site.

These are the biggest causes of accidents and ill health in construction work, and your designer and contractor can manage the risks by doing the following.

Falls from height:

  • Make sure ladders are in good condition, at a 1:4 angle and tied or footed.
  • Prevent people and materials falling from roofs, gable ends, working platforms and open edges using guardrails, midrails and toeboards.
  • Make sure fragile roof surfaces are covered, or secure working platforms with guard rails are used on or below the roof.

Collapse of excavations:

  • Shore excavations; cover or barrier excavations to prevent people or vehicles from falling in.

Collapse of structures:

  • Support structures (such as walls, beams, chimney breasts and roofs) with props; ensure props are installed by a competent person.

Exposure to building dusts:

  • Prevent dust by using wet cutting and vacuum extraction on tools; use a vacuum cleaner rather than sweeping; use a suitable, well-fitting mask.

Exposure to asbestos:

  • Do not start work if it is suspected that asbestos may be present until a demolition/refurbishment survey has been carried out.

Electricity:

  • Turn the electricity supply and other services off before drilling into walls.
  • Do not use excavators or power tools near suspected buried services.

Protect members of the public, the client, and others:

  • Secure the site; net scaffolds and use rubbish chutes.

Discuss with your designer and builder before work starts and throughout the build how these risks are being managed.

  1. Allow adequate time

Work that is rushed is likely to be unsafe and of poor quality. Allow enough time for the design, planning and construction work to be undertaken properly.

  1. Provide information to your designer and contractor

Your designer and builder will need information about what you want built, the site and existing structures or hazards that may be present such as asbestos, overhead cables, and buried services. Providing this information at an early stage will help them to plan, budget and work around problems. Your principal designer can help you gather this information.

Putting together a ‘client brief’ at the earliest stages which includes as much information as you have about the project, along with the timescales and budget for the build and how you expect the project to be managed can help you to set the standards for managing health and safety.

  1. Communicate with your designer and building contractor

Your project will only run efficiently if everyone involved in the work communicates, cooperates and coordinates with each other.

During the design and planning stage, you, your designer and contractor need to discuss issues affecting what will be built, how it will be built, how it will be used and how it will be maintained when finished. This will avoid people being harmed or having unexpected costs because issues were not considered when design changes could still easily be made.

Meeting with your designer and contractor as the work progresses gives an opportunity to deal with problems that may arise and discuss health and safety. This will help to ensure that the work progresses as planned.

  1. Ensure adequate welfare facilities on site

Make sure that your contractor has made arrangements for adequate welfare facilities for their workers before the work starts. See the HSE publication Provision of welfare facilities during construction work (see ‘Further reading’).

  1. Ensure a construction phase plan is in place

The principal contractor (or contractor if there is only one contractor) has to draw up a plan explaining how health and safety risks will be managed. This should be proportionate to the scale of the work and associated risks and you should not allow work to start on site until there is a plan.

  1. Keep the health and safety file

At the end of the build the principal designer should give you a health and safety file. If the principal designer leaves before the end of the project, the principal contractor (or contractor if there is only one contractor) should do this. It is a record of useful information which will help you manage health and safety risks during any future maintenance, repair, construction work or demolition. You should keep the file, make it available to anyone who needs to alter or maintain the building, and update it if circumstances change.

  1. Protecting members of the public, including your employees

If you are an employer, or you have members of the public visiting your premises, you need to be sure that they are protected from the risks of construction work.

Discuss with your designer and contractor how the construction work may affect how you run your business, eg you may have to re-route pedestrian access; make sure signs to your entrance are clear; or change the way your deliveries operate.

  1. Ensure workplaces are designed correctly

If your project is for a new workplace or alterations to an existing workplace (eg a factory or office), it must meet the standards set out in the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (see ‘Further reading’).

Notifying construction projects

For some construction work (work lasting longer than 30 days with more than 20 workers working at the same time, or involving 500 person days of work), you need to notify HSE of the project as soon as possible before construction work starts. In practice, you may request someone else to do this on your behalf.

How can you find out more?

Your principal designer or principal contractor will be able to advise you on your duties.

Why you should comply with your duties as a client

If you do not comply with CDM 2015, you are likely to be failing to influence the management of health and safety on your project. This means that your project could be putting workers and others at risk of harm, and that the finished structure may not achieve good standards and be value for money.

If you don’t appoint a principal designer or principal contractor you will be responsible for the things that they should have done.

Serious breaches of health and safety legislation on your construction project could result in construction work being stopped by HSE or your local authority and additional work may be needed to put things right. In the most serious circumstances, you could be prosecuted.

Fee for Intervention

HSE now recovers the costs of time spent dealing with material breaches of health and safety law. This is known as Fee for Intervention (FFI). FFI applies when an inspector finds something wrong that they believe is serious enough for them to write to you about. A fee is charged for the time spent by the inspector in sorting it out. Following the simple guidance in this leaflet may help you to avoid having to pay a fee.

Further reading

CONIAC industry guides http://www.citb.co.uk/health-safety-and-other-topics/health-safety/construction-design-and-management-regulations/cdm-guidance-documents/

Construction phase plan (CDM 2015): What you need to know as a busy builder Construction Information Sheet CIS80 HSE Books 2015 www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis80.htm

Health and safety in construction HSG150 (Third edition) HSE Books 2006 ISBN 978 0 7176 6182 4 www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg150.htm

Managing health and safety in construction. Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. Guidance on regulations L153 HSE Books 2015 ISBN 978 0 7176 6626 3 www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l153.htm

Provision of welfare facilities during construction work Construction Information Sheet CIS59 HSE Books 2010 www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis59.htm

Workplace health, safety and welfare. Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Approved Code of Practice and guidance L24 (Second edition) HSE Books 2013 ISBN 978 0 7176 6583 9 www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l24.htm

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

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 25TH FEBRUARY 2016

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Young people at work – sixteen year old worker falls through skylight

Powered gates FAQs – firm fined after man struck by gate

Safe use of forklift trucks – scrap metal firm in court over worker’s severe forklift injuries

Introduction

Figures published last October by the Department for Education revealed that thousands more young people are working or learning after the age of 16. Many young people are likely to be new to the workplace and in some cases facing unfamiliar risks, from the job they are doing and from their surroundings. They need to be provided with clear and sufficient instruction, training and supervision to enable them to work without putting themselves and other people at risk. We open this week’s update with HSE guidance on employing under 18’s, following news of a roofing company being fined after a young worker fell through a skylight.

Also last October, we shared HSE guidance on powered door and gate safety (click on the link: http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/health-safety-news-update-8th-october-2015/) ahead of Gate Safety Week which, in the words of Powered Gate Group Chairman Neil Sampson, “is all about raising public awareness of the dangers of using a poorly installed or maintained powered gate, in the hope that we can prevent any further deaths or injuries”. (The risks associated with powered gates have been well documented by the HSE. The following safety notice was issued after two incidents that both led to the deaths of young children: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/electricgates2.htm) Only last week, news was released by the HSE, of company that produces and installs gate systems being fined after the leaf of a gate fell and struck a man, so this week we’re sharing HSE responses to some FAQs on the topic.

And finally, we share HSE guidance on the safe use of forklift trucks following news of a scrap metal firm being in court over a worker’s severe forklift injuries.

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

Young people at work – sixteen year old worker falls through skylight

A Stoke-on-Trent roofing company has been fined £14,000 plus £6,919 costs, after an employee suffered serious injury when he fell through a roof skylight at an address in Newcastle under Lyme.

Newcastle under Lyme Magistrates’ Court heard how the young worker accessed an unprotected roof and fell through the skylight. He was working during the summer vacation in July 2014 when the incident occurred. He suffered three cracked vertebrae.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that there was poor supervision and training.

Young people at work

When employing a young person under the age of 18, whether for work, work experience, or as an apprentice, employers have the same responsibilities for their health, safety and welfare as they do for other employees.

Guidance on the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/ will help young people and those employing them understand their responsibilities.

Work experience

Introducing young people to the world of work can help them understand the work environment, choose future careers or prepare for employment. We need young people to be offered opportunities to develop new skills and gain experience across the world of work. Click on the following links for more guidance:

Young people FAQs (visit HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/faqs.htm for answers):

  • Does an employer have to carry out a separate risk assessment for a young person?
  • What if a young person doesn’t feel confident about raising a health and safety concern with their employer?
  • Does an employer need to have Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI) in place before they employ a young person?
  • How does an employer avoid putting a young person at risk due to their physical limitations?
  • How do I assess a young person’s psychological capability?
  • What constitutes harmful exposure?
  • Can a young person be employed to work with ionising radiation?
  • How do I take account of a young person’s lack of maturity, lack of risk awareness, insufficient attention to safety and their lack of experience or training?
  • Are young people at more risk of exposure to extreme temperature, noise or vibration?
  • I understand there has been a change to the official statutory school leaving age, rising to age 17 in 2013, with a further rise to 18 from 2015. Is this correct and does this mean that the definition of a child has changed?

Common young people myths

“Under 18s cannot be employed on construction sites for work or work experience”

There is no reason why a young person under 18 could not be employed on a building site for work or work experience, provided the work was properly assessed and suitable controls put in place. Although there may be times when it would not be appropriate for an under 18 to be employed, these will be very much the exception rather than the rule.

“Schools and colleges, or those organising work experience placements on their behalf, such as Education Business Partnerships, have to carry out workplace checks before sending students on work experience placements and staff carrying out these checks must meet prescribed levels of occupational competence or qualification”

There are no health and safety regulations that require schools, colleges, or those organising placements on their behalf, to carry out workplace assessments for work experience placements. There is also no requirement for any prescribed level of occupational competence or qualification for education personnel, or others organising these placements.

However, schools, colleges and others organising placements do need to satisfy themselves that an employer has risk management arrangements for placements, including for higher risk environments. Find out what you need to do and how to keep it simple by visiting the following HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/workexperience/organiser.htm.

“A separate risk assessment is required for work experience students”

A separate risk assessment is not required specifically for work experience students, as long as your existing assessment already considers the specific factors for young people. Furthermore, there is no requirement to re-assess the risks each time an employer takes on a new work experience student, provided the new student has no particular needs.

“Schools, colleges and those organising work experience placements on their behalf, such as Education Business Partnerships, must visit all workplaces in advance of a student starting a work experience placement”

It is not for schools, colleges or those organising work experience placements on their behalf, to assess work places. The employer who is taking on the student for work experience has the primary responsibility for their health and safety. However, schools, colleges and others organising placements do need to take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that an employer is managing any significant risks. For many low risk premises a visit will not be necessary, there is no reason why this couldn’t be done over the phone, with placement organisers simply making a note of the discussion. A conversation with an employer could include finding out what the student will be doing, what the risks are and how they are managed.

It is about keeping checks in proportion to the environment and in many cases it is likely that a school, college, or other placement organiser will be familiar with employers they use regularly and will be aware of their track record. They may also know of other schools, colleges and placement organisers who have placed students with the same employers and can share information with them. Find out what you need to do and how to keep it simple by visiting the following HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/workexperience/organiser.htm.

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

Powered gates FAQs – firm fined after man struck by gate

A company that produces and installs gate systems has been fined £20,000 plus £5,000 costs after the leaf of a gate fell and struck a man.

Newport Magistrates’ Court heard how the company was contracted to manufacture and install a gate system at commercial premises in Caerphilly.

The gate consisted of two leaves; one of which was driven by a motor and connected to the second leaf by a chain and sprocket which provided the drive motion for the second leaf.

There was a failure of the gate mechanism and in September 2014 an employee at the premises went to manually close the gate. The leaf he was pulling came out of the runners and it collapsed on him. A vertical rail struck his leg and resulted in severe trauma to his leg with muscle and nerves torn away. He was hospitalised for ten days and off work for one year.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident found that the underlying failure of the gate mechanism was as a result of inadequate design, assessment and control measures to ensure the gate was safe for use.

HSE inspector Dean Baker said after the hearing: “Powered gates pose a risk to employees and members of the public. Those responsible for installing, maintaining and operating these gates need to make sure they are safe during installation and use. This accident could have been avoided if the clearly foreseeable risk of the gate falling had been identified and controlled.”

FAQs – Powered gates

What are the risks with powered (automatic) doors and gates, and how can they be controlled?

In recent years, a number of adults and children have been seriously injured or killed by this type of machinery (click on the link for more information: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/poweredgates.htm). The injuries were caused because people have been trapped or crushed by the moving door or gate. All powered doors and gates must be properly designed, installed and maintained to prevent possible injuries.

What if I think a gate is unsafe?

Unless you’ve been working on the gate, the ‘owner’ of the gate has to ensure that the gate is safe and without risks to others. The ‘owner’ here includes landlords or managing agents with responsibility for the gate. If the owner thinks the gate is unsafe, he should take steps to make it safe – for example, by engaging a competent person to install safety mechanisms or protective devices. Meanwhile, for safety, it should be switched off, or only used safely in a supervised way, eg under direct hold-to-run control.

If you’ve been working on the gate – eg installing, repairing, maintaining the gate – then you are responsible for ensuring it is left in a safe state. You should discuss your concerns with the gate owner so that they can take action to put things right.

I’m a domestic householder, do I have to do anything?

Health and safety law doesn’t apply to you. But it is a good idea to have regular checks carried out on the gates in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. This is particularly important where the gate may affect the safety of third parties – such as passers-by, children or visitors. As with other contractors, you’ll need to check that they are competent to carry out any work/inspections that you ask them to do.

Please note that anyone undertaking a ‘work activity’ on a domestic powered gate (eg repairs, checks, adjustments, servicing) will be subject to health and safety law. For further details see Powered Gates: Responsibilities (http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/powered-gates/responsibilities.htm)

I own commercial/industrial premises, what do I have to do?

You will have to ensure that powered doors and gates on the premises are safe. Existing powered doors and gates must be designed, constructed and maintained for safety. You will need to inspect them regularly to make sure they work properly and that protective devices are effective. In some cases, you may need to use a competent contractor to help you do this.

If you’re going to install a new powered door or gate – or ‘power-up’ an existing manually operated one – you should employ a competent installer who understands how these machines work, what the safety requirements are, how to do the work safely, and comply with the law concerning machinery supply. They should also provide you with user instructions and details on how to maintain the gates.

I install doors and gates, what must I do?

You must be competent. This means you must understand the risks associated with these products and the law concerning supply. You should ensure that they are installed according to the manufacturers’ instructions, making checks and adjustments as necessary so they are left safe. You must give user instructions to the client – whether domestic or commercial/industrial – on how to use and maintain the gates. If you have any concerns about the design of the gate, or its components, then you should discuss these with the manufacturer/supplier.

As a maintenance contractor, what do I have to do?

You must be competent to carry out maintenance or inspection work. This means understanding how the door or gate and its safety features work. If you find something wrong then you should talk to the owner about what you need to do to make it safe, particularly if there is a risk of injury. You need to leave the gate in a safe state. Where new components are fitted the user instructions may need to be updated.

HSE cannot get involved in civil disputes between owners or others with responsibility and contractors where there are disagreements about maintenance, repairs or upgrading work. In such cases, the owner and the contractor need to resolve the issues; both need to ensure that people are not put at risk of harm. Organisations such as Gate Safe® (http://gate-safe.org/) and the Door and Hardware Federation (http://www.dhfonline.org.uk/) may be able to help.

What are the main safety requirements for these machines?

Powered gates and doors

  • Must be properly designed, taking full account of the environment of use, the presence of vulnerable members of the population, and potential foreseeable misuse, as well as intended use;
  • Manufactured (including when assembled from components in situ) to the safety standards required by law, regardless of whether for use in connection with work, or located on private domestic premises;
  • Supplied with all relevant documentation, particularly the user instructions for the complete product, and where necessary of component parts;
  • Installed safely, and maintained for safety, by competent contractors;
  • If part of a workplace, be adequately inspected and maintained for safety;
  • If part of premises managed by a work undertaking (including landlords and managing agents of residential complexes), to meet the general duty for the safety of non-employed persons;
  • As necessary for on-going safety, regularly checked, which may require specific inspection, testing, and adjustment, so they remain safe; and
  • Where found to be dangerous, immediately taken out of use until all of the safety concerns have been adequately addressed.

What does the law say?

Powered (automatic) gates (barriers and doors) located in ‘workplaces’ are subject to a number of specific legal requirements. These will include requirements for:

  • design, manufacture, supply and installation under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008; and
  • inspection and maintenance under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

There will also be general requirements under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in relation to risks to third parties (non-employees).

Powered (automatic) gates for use on private domestic premises must comply with the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 when first installed.

Where can I get more information?

You can get more information about safe machinery and work equipment here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/index.htm. For more detailed information and guidance on this topic see the Powered Gate section: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/powered-gates/introduction.htm.

HSE has worked with Gate Safe® and the Door and Hardware Federation (DHF) to produce advice and guidance on powered gates. You can get specific information on powered doors and gates from their web sites.

Or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Safe use of forklift trucks – scrap metal firm in court over worker’s severe forklift injuries

A scrap metal firm and its director have been sentenced after a Manchester worker suffered severe injuries to his left arm when it became stuck in a forklift truck.

The 30 year old worker remained trapped for over two hours while the emergency services tried to free his arm from the vehicle’s mast at a Manchester trading estate in November 2013.

The company and its director were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after it emerged that the worker had been told to stand on the forks on the truck to help move scrap cars into the back of a shipping container.

He suffered severe crush injuries when his arm became trapped and it took the combined effort of three fire crews, a specialist major rescue unit, two air ambulances, a medical team from Manchester Royal Infirmary and three ambulance crews to rescue him.

He sustained nerve damage to his left arm which makes it difficult for him to grip or lift items, and was in hospital for nearly two months. He still needs to visit Manchester Royal Infirmary for treatment and has been unable to return to work due to the extent of his injuries.

The court was told the company failed to report the incident to HSE for nearly three months, despite being told on several occasions that this was a legal requirement.

The company director was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and ordered to pay costs of £750 after pleading guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The firm pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 4 (2) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

Managing lift trucks

Key messages

  • Lift trucks are particularly dangerous in the workplace.
  • On average, lift trucks are involved in about a quarter of all workplace transport accidents.
  • Accidents involving lift trucks are often due to poor supervision and a lack of training.

Safe working with lift trucks

HSE has published an Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) and guidance called Rider-operated lift trucks: Operator training and safe use. Click on the following link to download a free copy: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l117.htm

This sets the minimum standard of basic training people should receive before they are allowed to operate certain types of lift truck – even if they only operate the equipment occasionally. It also provides detailed guidance about how they can meet this standard.

The ACOP covers stacking rider-operated lift trucks, including articulated steering trucks. ‘Rider-operated’ means any truck that can carry an operator and includes trucks controlled from both seated and stand-on positions.

If you employ anyone to operate a lift truck covered by the ACOP, you should make sure that operators have been trained to the standards it sets out.

The ACOP also includes some sections taken from ‘Safety in working with lift trucks’ (now withdrawn).

More HSE guidance is available by clicking on the following links:

For more information on vehicles at work, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/ 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 – 4TH FEBRUARY 2016

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel Case 383 – Odd job person in managed block of flats not allowed to change light bulbs for health and safety reasons

HSE Health & Safety Bulletin – Use of Barrier Glands in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres to meet IEC 60079:14 2013 (Edition 5)

HSL/HSE CDM 2015 Training: the role of the Principal Designer

Introduction

‘Health and Safety’ is often incorrectly used as a convenient excuse to stop what are essentially sensible activities going ahead. The Health and Safety Executive has set up an independent panel – the Myth Busters Challenge Panel – to scrutinize such decisions. We open this week’s update with the panel’s response to a property management company citing health and safety as the reason for not allowing an odd job person to change light bulbs in a block of flats.

Electricity at work is also the theme of the HSE’s latest health & safety bulletin aimed at (amongst others) those designing, installing, inspecting and maintaining electrical equipment in potentially explosive atmospheres. Electrical (and non electrical) equipment and installations in potentially explosive atmospheres must be specially designed and constructed so that the risks of ignition are eliminated or reduced. The approach that the current IEC 60079-14: 2013 Standard allows duty holders to take, creates a fire and explosion risk, and this Notice provides information on what action to take.

Finally, we close this week’s update with details of a training event being delivered by HSL (the Health & Safety Executive’s Laboratory), aimed at designers, clients, contractors and/or individuals who may take on, or want to understand the Principal Designer function which replaced the role of CDM Co-ordinator under CDM 2015.

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

HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel Case 383 – Odd job person in managed block of flats not allowed to change light bulbs for health and safety reasons

‘Health and Safety’ is often incorrectly used as a convenient excuse to stop what are essentially sensible activities going ahead. The Health and Safety Executive has set up an independent panel – the Myth Busters Challenge Panel – to scrutinize such decisions.

The Panel is chaired by the HSE Chair Judith Hackitt, with HSE Board member Sarah Veale as the Vice-Chair and they are supported by a pool of independent members who represent a wide range of interests. This includes small businesses, public safety, trade union, the insurance industry and many outside interests where day-to-day common sense decisions on risk management are made.

This Panel will look into enquiries regarding the advice given by non-regulators such as insurance companies, health and safety consultants and employers and, quickly assess if a sensible and proportionate decision has been made. We want to make clear that “health and safety” is about managing real risks properly, not being risk averse and stopping people getting on with their lives.

If you think a decision or advice that you have been given in the name of health and safety is wrong, or disproportionate to what you are doing, you can contact the panel on the following web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/contact-myth-busting.htm. Guidance on how to raise a concern (http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/concerns.htm) or complaint (http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/complaints.htm) on workplace health and safety is also available.

Issue (Case 383)

A property management company advised that an odd job person is unable to change light bulbs as they would only be protected from negligence if a competent electrician carried out the job.

Panel opinion

Health and safety at work legislation does not require the use of a competent electrician to change light bulbs in a residential property. Confusing a perceived (but in all probability low) risk of being sued for negligence with the requirements of health and safety legislation is unhelpful, and can distort the aim of the legislation, which is to ensure a proportionate approach to managing risks.

An example risk assessment for the maintenance of flats is available on the following HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/casestudies/flats.htm and health and safety guidance is also available on the ARMA website (Association of Residential Managing Agents): http://arma.org.uk/leasehold-library/document/health-safety/pages/1 or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help. We carry out health and safety inspections and fire/legionella risk assessments of commercial and residential properties.

HSE Health & Safety Bulletin – Use of Barrier Glands in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres to meet IEC 60079:14 2013 (Edition 5)

Target Audience

  • Chemical processing and production
  • Engineering
  • Warehousing
  • Offshore
  • Others: Duty holders designing, installing, inspecting and maintaining electrical equipment in potentially explosive atmospheres
  • COMAH Duty Holders and operators installing and maintaining electrical equipment in explosive atmospheres

Key Issues

There is currently a key difference between the current IEC 60079-14: 2013 Standard and previous versions of BS EN 60079-14: 2008 & IEC 60079-14: 2007 for use of electrical equipment in potentially explosive atmospheres in that the IEC Standard currently allows the Duty Holder to use a ‘standard’ Ex certified flameproof gland as opposed to a Ex certified ‘barrier gland’ without the requirement to apply the previous flowchart used in the British Standard which identified glanding requirements based on gas group / zone / enclosure size. There is evidence that this approach creates a fire and explosion risk and this Notice provides Duty Holders with information on what action to take.

To read the bulletin click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/use-of-barrier-glands.htm

About safety notices

Aim of bulletin: A safety notice is usually issued to facilitate a change in procedure or it requires an action to be undertaken to improve the level of protection or instruction in a potentially dangerous situation. It must be acted upon within a reasonable time, if a time period is not stated. It is not as immediate as a safety alert.

Safety notices are issued where, under certain circumstances, an unsafe situation could arise. For example, where instructions or labelling for use are not clear, additional guarding may be required, operating parameters or procedures need to be changed, where this could, in some cases, lead to an injury. Action should be taken although it may not need to be immediate.

When potentially dangerous equipment, process, procedures or substances have been identified, and depending on the probability of the incident reoccurring and the possible severity of the injuries, HSE may want to inform all users and other stakeholders of the situation and the steps that should be taken to rectify the fault via a safety notice. Safety notices will be issued after consultation with stakeholders and may result in industry-led notices being issued at the same time.

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

HSL/HSE CDM 2015 Training: the role of the Principal Designer

Dates and locations

  • 16 February 2016, ETC Venues, Maple House, 150 Corporation Street, Birmingham B4 6TB
  • 26 April 2016, ETC Venues, Marble Arch, Garfield House, 86 Edgware Road, London W2 2EA

Event overview

This event provides an introduction to this new role and is aimed at designers, clients, contractors and/or individuals who may take on, or want to understand the PD function, particularly for small to medium size projects. The course will be delivered by an ex-HSE Principal Construction Inspector with almost 40 years’ experience.

It will include:

  • An introduction and overview to CDM 2015 and the duties of the Principal Designer
  • The role of the construction client
  • The Principal Designer’s role in supporting the client
  • Obtaining and using pre-construction information
  • Appointment of designers and contractors
  • The Principal Designer’s role in ensuring designers comply with their duties
  • Exploring through case study discussion the key health and safety risks construction workers can face during construction and maintenance
  • Coordinating the flow of health and safety information
  • The role of the Principal Contractor and liaison with the PD
  • Preparing the health and safety file

By the end of the course, delegates will:

  • Understand the changes introduced by CDM 2015, the policy objectives behind them, and how the Regulations enable proportionate compliance dependent on project complexity
  • Know the role and duties of the Client, Principal Designer, designers, Principal Contractor, and contractors and the relationships and interfaces with the Principal Designer
  • Know the key health and safety risks faced by construction workers and those maintaining a structure
  • Understand the importance of pre-construction information, its limitations and the need for interpretation and further investigation in some circumstances
  • Understand the importance of achieving the effective communication of and use of design information
  • Understand how effective management, coordination and monitoring during the pre-construction phase can help to eliminate or reduce risks during the construction and life of the structure
  • As PDs, be better placed to make decisions on the relevancy of pre-construction and design information they should provide to PCs for construction phase health & safety plans, and relevant information for health and safety file

Who should attend?

This training is aimed at individuals and employees of organisations who meet the definition of designer and could be appointed as PD to be in control of the pre-construction phase of a project, and those who want to understand the duties of a Principal Designer as defined in CDM 2015.

This course is intended to provide an introduction and overview only to this new role and help delegates understand the actions that need to be taken to discharge the Principal Designer’s duties. It is not aimed at those involved in major projects or designed to establish or evaluate competence.

Information and booking

For the Birmingham event, a full programme and online booking form can be found on the HSL/HSE CDM 2015 Training (Birmingham) event page: http://www.hsl.gov.uk/health-and-safety-training-courses/the-construction-%28design-and-management%29-regulations-2015-%28cdm-2015%29—an-introduction-to-the-role-of-the-principal-designer—birmingham

For the London event, a full programme and online booking form can be found on the HSL/HSE CDM 2015 Training (London) event page: http://www.hsl.gov.uk/health-and-safety-training-courses/the-construction-%28design-and-management%29-regulations-2015-%28cdm-2015%29—an-introduction-to-the-role-of-the-principal-designer—london

Alternatively, you can email HSL Training at training@hsl.gsi.gov.uk or call 01298 218806.

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

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 8TH OCTOBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Gate Safety Week: 12-18 October 2015

Planning and organising lifting operations (global firms sentenced after worker killed)

Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI)

Health and safety implications of pervasive computing (RFID)

Introduction

Next week is Gate Safety Week which, in the words of Powered Gate Group Chairman Neil Sampson, “is all about raising public awareness of the dangers of using a poorly installed or maintained powered gate, in the hope that we can prevent any further deaths or injuries”. The Door & Hardware Federation Powered Gate Group has published a number of documents which provide guidance on gate safety, and reference to these is made on the HSE website where the advice we share with you this week is also provided.

The need to ensure that relevant information is considered when lift plans are produced was highlighted this summer, when two global companies were sentenced after a worker was killed and another seriously injured during construction of an offshore wind farm. Lifting operations can often put people at great risk of injury, as well as incurring great costs when they go wrong. It is therefore important to properly resource, plan and organise lifting operations so they are carried out in a safe manner, and HSE guidance on this topic is provided below.

Not sure whether or not you need Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI)? Chances are, unless you have no employees, or are a family business and all employees are closely related to you, that you do. So this week we explain why you need it, and – more importantly – how to get it.

And finally, we look at the implications – positive and negative – of a technological concept that is becoming something of a “buzz word” in the world of health and safety. Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, is being successfully integrated into site safety procedures by warning pedestrians and machinery drivers of each others’ presence. However, while (as in the development of mobile telecommunications) no threat to human health has yet been proven from exposure to RF radiation, there is public concern about the nature and effects of signals from such technologies (NRPB – Mobile Phones and Health 2004).

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

 

Gate Safety Week: 12-18 October 2015

Next week is Gate Safety Week which, in the words of Powered Gate Group Chairman Neil Sampson, “is all about raising public awareness of the dangers of using a poorly installed or maintained powered gate, in the hope that we can prevent any further deaths or injuries”. The Door & Hardware Federation Powered Gate Group has published a number of documents which provide guidance on gate safety, and reference to these is made on the HSE website where the following advice is also provided:

Powered gates: Ensuring powered doors and gates are safe (click on the link for more information: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/powered-gates/safety.htm)

Powered door and gate safety is not just about the individual components making up the product, but about the way they are combined together to fit a particular set of circumstances, and what is done over time to maintain safety.

At all times a powered gate must respond in a safe way when any person interacts with it. Its design must take into account that foreseeable interactions may go well beyond normal use (eg children playing around or with / on the powered gate), as well as normal wear and tear, and adverse environmental influences, particular wind and rain / snow and other debris that can impair function.

Delivering safety by design and construction

Much is dependent on the way the various component parts (switches, sensors, safety devices, controllers, and motors) are assembled and connected together to respond to the particular environment of use. Safety is usually delivered by a combination of methods, including:

  • design to eliminate hazards such as: the gate running away down a slope, coming off tracks / falling over, closing gaps at hinges creating crushing points, access to parts of the mechanism or gaps between the moving leaf and other leaves (including secondary leaves on telescopic gates) or fixed parts (supports, walls, etc), gaps in railings in which heads may get stuck, etc
  • the stability and strength of mountings and foundations to adequately resist dynamic forces arising from the weight of the gate as it moves and the effects of wind loadings, so as to minimise adverse effects on actuators and sensing systems
  • fixed guarding to prevent / restrict access to drive gears, etc, fencing off the back of sliding gates to avoid shear hazards between the gate leaf and fixed parts, etc
  • speed control, including deceleration when nearing the end of travel / rotational movement where crushing hazards may arise
  • limitation of forces exerted by moving parts (which may be delivered within the gate motor itself), or in conjunction with external protective mechanisms, including pressure sensitive edges fixed to leading and other edges where crushing/impact hazards exist, to detect and cushion the impact with an obstruction
  • non-contact sensors:
  • many of these are only designed to prevent a gate closing on a vehicle (note, these beams are not usually high integrity safety devices, in fact they may need to avoid over-sensitive tripping from rain / snow and leaves, and can usually be easily circumnavigated, eg by stepping over)
  • safety beams, which as higher integrity ‘safety components’ may be deployed in some cases to avoid contact with the moving gate(s), but because of cost are less common than pressure sensitive edges
  • the way the gate is operated: hold-to-run or automatic (fully automatic or from a starting impulse), and
  • the overall behaviour of the system as delivered by the system controller (eg not just stopping when encountering an obstruction, but also backing off at least a short distance to avoid entrapment – because even being held but not crushed can still be hazardous if there is no rescue),
  • the way the system has been wired and set up during / after installation, including the quality and physical protection of wiring and the connections between all component parts, to resist damage, deterioration and water ingress that may cause the loss of the safety function (eg through short circuits), and
  • how it is subsequently maintained / set as parts wear and respond to environmental conditions (eg temperature and wind forces, particularly on close boarded hinged gates which may experience high wind loadings that the drive motors may not always be able to overcome).

All these factors must be considered as part of the initial design (through suitable risk assessment), specification and construction, and appropriate information provided in the User Instructions, including on routine maintenance and the nature and periodicity of safety checks. Lifetime product safety doesn’t just depend on design and construction, but the way it is used and looked after, often by others not involved in original design and construction.

Maintaining for safety

Component parts can wear and fail, sometimes catastrophically. Like most machinery, powered doors and gates need to be maintained to remain safe. Powered gates forming parts of workplaces or in common parts of residential complexes will be subject to health and safety law. Owners, occupiers, landlords and managing agents will have on-going responsibilities for the safety of all users and all those who may encounter the gate.

Those undertaking work on powered gates are responsible for what they do, and for leaving the machinery in a safe condition, which may include switching off and isolating from power if it needs to be left in an unsafe condition. Substantial modifications may require re-assessment, in some cases re-CE marking by the person undertaking the modifications.

Risk assessment, competence and training

Whilst there may be standard components, even final products, the huge range of locations in which they are installed and variable environmental conditions to which they are exposed mean that most powered gates will be unique products requiring some form of specific risk assessment, both for installation and subsequent use. It is therefore not possible to define standard solutions for safety: each powered gate must be considered individually and holistically, employing suitable risk assessment tools and knowledge / expertise to manage the risks on a case by case basis.

Many organisations offer general training on risk assessment, and within the UK powered gate industry both Gate Safe and the Door and Hardware Federation can provide specific powered gate awareness / competence training.

Those working with powered gates need various competencies depending on their role. Often different members of a team will bring different skills to the job, eg electricians for wiring up and checking the basic safety of the electrical components. In some cases to evaluate component performance specific equipment or instruments may be required. For example, where force limitation is the primary means of safety some form of objective force testing may be required to ensure the final product as delivered is within safe limits, and to subsequently check the product remains safe. This may require additional specific competencies, and suitable record keeping.

Use of standards for design, assessment and testing

There are a number of current standards which are relevant to powered gates, including:

  • BS EN 13241-1 the Product Standard for powered gates (and relevant to the CPR)
  • BS EN 12604 & BS EN 12605 on mechanical requirements and tests
  • BS EN 12453 & BS EN 12445 on requirements and test for powered gates
  • BS EN 12635 on installation and use
  • BS EN 12978 on safety devices for power operated doors and gates
  • BS EN 60335-2-103 on drives for household and similar gates
  • BS EN 60335-2-95 on drives for residential vertically moving garage doors

but at present adherence to these standards alone in many cases will not ensure that all of the mandatory requirements for safety (the EHSRs of the Machinery Directive) will be met.

In particular hazards may remain with regard to:

  • Hinges, because of the way forces measured as specified by the above standards are ‘amplified’ closer to the pivot point, especially where crushing / trapping hazards have not been removed by design / construction (which may be less easy to avoid when converting existing gates to powered operation). A child fatality incident in 2006 was in part attributed to the design of the hinge area of a hinged gate.
  • Shear gaps, especially on sliding gates between moving leaves and fixed parts (or in some cases where leaves pass each other, eg telescopic sliding gates.
  • Force limitation, because published research (Mewes & Mauser 2003)1 suggests that the maximum impact forces permitted by the standards may not always be appropriate for the most vulnerable members of society (children, etc) who may reasonable encounter powered gates.
  • Control systems, because the key standard (BS EN 12453) does not define minimum requirements for safety integrity and reliability in all cases.

The use of any of the above standards by manufacturers for product safety is not mandatory (although products in scope of EN 13241-1 may have to be issued with a Declaration of Performance under the Construction Products Regulation). And the use of the main safety requirements standard EN 12453 does not currently give a ‘presumption of conformity’ with the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC.

Therefore manufacturers will have to show in detail in the technical file for each powered gate how they have designed and constructed the gate to meet the EHSRs and be safe for the gate’s foreseeable lifetime, taking account of foreseeable misuse, as well as intended use.

If you require any clarification at all, 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.

 

Planning and organising lifting operations (global firms sentenced after worker killed)

The need to ensure that relevant information is considered when lift plans are produced (to ensure that all of the relevant risks are considered) was highlighted this summer, when two global companies were sentenced after a worker was killed and another seriously injured during construction of an offshore wind farm.

The incident happened in May 2010, when a team of engineers were loading wind turbine blades onto a sea barge for delivery to a wind farm off the Suffolk coast. During loading of the components, a 2.11 tonne part of the blade transport arrangement fell off, crushing and fatally injuring one worker and seriously injuring another.

The investigation carried out by HSE found serious safety failings in the two firms’ management systems for the loading operation, which allowed vital parts of equipment to go unchecked before being lifted.

Following a four-week trial in July, prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the two companies were ordered to pay fines and costs totalling in excess of £1 million between them.

Speaking after the hearing, an HSE Inspector said: “This incident could easily have been avoided had suitable systems and procedures been in place to ensure that all loads were properly connected whilst being lifted. Had the right questions been asked when the lift was being planned and had the bolt and two brackets holding the blade and frame together been checked before they were lifted, the death and serious injury of two workers could have been prevented.”

Planning and organising lifting operations

Lifting operations can often put people at great risk of injury, as well as incurring great costs when they go wrong. It is therefore important to properly resource, plan and organise lifting operations so they are carried out in a safe manner. Each of these elements requires a person or people with sufficient competence to be involved at each step. These people should have sufficient theoretical and practical knowledge of the work and equipment in question, as well as the requirements of the law, to be able to do this properly. For complex and high-risk operations, the planning and organisation should be extensive and meticulous.

Planning

The planning of individual routine lifting operations may be the responsibility of those who carry them out (eg a slinger or crane operator). But for much more complex lifting operations (eg a tandem lift using multiple cranes), a written plan should be developed by a person with significant and specific competencies – adequate training, knowledge, skills and expertise – suitable for the level of the task.

For straightforward, common lifting operations, a single initial generic plan may be all that is required (eg fork-lift trucks in a factory), which could be part of the normal risk assessment for the activity. However, from time to time it may be necessary to review the plan to make sure that nothing has changed and the plan remains valid. Routine lifting operations which are a little more complex may, depending on the circumstances, need to be planned each time the lifting operation is carried out.

The plan for any lifting operation must address the foreseeable risks involved in the work and identify the appropriate resources (including people) necessary for safe completion of the job. Factors to include may be any or all of the following:

  • working under suspended loads
  • visibility
  • attaching / detaching and securing loads
  • environment
  • location
  • overturning
  • proximity hazards
  • derating
  • lifting people
  • overload
  • pre-use checking
  • continuing integrity of the equipment

The plan should set out clearly the actions involved at each step of the operation and identify the responsibilities of those involved. The degree of planning and complexity of the plan will vary and should be proportionate to the foreseeable risks involved in the work.

Strength and stability

Lifting equipment must be of adequate strength for the proposed use. The assessment of this should recognise that there may be a combination of forces to which the lifting equipment, including the accessories, will be subjected. The lifting equipment used should provide an appropriate ‘factor of safety’ against all foreseeable types of failure. Where people are lifted, the factor of safety is often higher. Any lifting equipment selected should not be unduly susceptible to any of the foreseeable failure modes likely to arise in service, for example fracture, wear or fatigue.

Positioning and installation

The position of mobile lifting equipment or the location of fixed installations can have a dramatic effect on the risks involved in a lifting operation. It is vital to take all practical steps to avoid people being struck by loads or the equipment itself during use. The equipment should also be positioned to minimise the need to lift over people. Measures should be taken to reduce the risk of load drift (eg spinning, swinging, etc); and of the load falling freely or being released unintentionally. Many different methods have been developed to prevent falling loads, including the use of multiple ropes or chains, hydraulic check valves and nets for palletised loads.

Measures must be taken to ensure that people cannot fall down a shaft or hoistway. At access points to these areas, effective means to prevent access should be in place, such as gates, barriers or doors. Where access is required to enter the area, when a platform or car is present (eg a lift), the doors or gates should be interlocked to allow the gates to open only when the car is present.

When positioning lifting equipment, care must be exercised to avoid hazards arising from proximity, for example: coming into contact with overhead power lines, buildings or structures; coming too close to trenches, excavations or other operations; and coming into contact with buried underground services, such as drains and sewers.

Working under suspended loads

Where it can be avoided, loads should not be suspended over occupied areas. Where it cannot be avoided, the risks to people must be minimised by safe systems of work and appropriate precautions. Where loads are suspended for significant periods, the area below them should be classed as a danger zone, where access is restricted.

Supervision of lifting operations

Supervision should be proportionate to the risk, taking account of the competencies and experience of those undertaking the lift. Many everyday lifting operations do not require direct supervision (eg experienced fork-lift operators undertaking routine lifts), although there may be circumstances where supervisory assistance may be required to manage risk (eg lifting an unusual load, crossing a public road etc). From time to time, employers may need to monitor the competence of workers undertaking lifting operations to ensure they continue to be carried out safely.

Guidance on planning, organising and undertaking lifting operations

More detailed advice on the planning, organising and undertaking of lifting operations is provided in the LOLER Approved Code of Practice and guidance (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l113.htm). Particular guidance is given on:

  • competence of people planning lifting (regulation 8; ACOP para 210 onwards)
  • suitability, including strength and stability, of lifting equipment (regulation 4; ACOP para 98 onwards)
  • positioning of lifting equipment and visibility (regulation 6; ACOP paras 161 and 237 onwards)
  • working under suspended loads (regulation 8; ACOP para 230 onwards)
  • attaching / detaching and securing loads (regulation 8; ACOP para 244 onwards)
  • location, including access (ACOP paras 256 and 62 onwards)
  • environment of use, including operator protection, the effects of wind and mobility (regulation 8; ACOP paras 83, 253, 89 and 112 onwards)
  • overturning (regulation 8; ACOP para 258 onwards)
  • proximity to other hazards, such as overhead power lines and buried services (regulation 8; ACOP para 265 onwards)
  • derating (regulation 8; ACOP paras 111 and 274 onwards)
  • the lifting of people (regulation 5; ACOP para 127 onwards)
  • preventing overload (regulation 4; ACOP para 122 onwards)
  • pre-use checks (regulation 8; ACOP para 285 onwards)
  • the continued integrity of lifting equipment (regulation 8; ACOP para 289 onwards)

For more information, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/planning-organising-lifting-operations.htm (click on the link), or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

 

Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI)

A Woolwich restaurant owner has recently been fined £1,500 plus £1,779 costs for failing to provide Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI). Speaking after the hearing at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court, an HSE Inspector said: “Every employer needs to ensure that they have Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance in place, where such breaches, as in this case, are identified they will be pursued by the HSE.”

Get insurance for your business

If your business has employees you will probably need employers’ liability insurance.

If an employee is injured or becomes ill as a result of the work they do for you, they can claim compensation from you.

Meeting your health and safety duties is easier than you think. As long as you have taken reasonable steps to prevent accidents or harm to your employees (and the injury or illness was caused after 1 October 2013), you shouldn’t have to pay compensation. However, if a court finds you are liable, employers’ liability insurance will help you to pay any compensation for your employees’ injuries or illness.

Only a few businesses are not required to have employers’ liability insurance. If you have no employees, or are a family business and all employees are closely related to you, you may not need it. For further details see HSE leaflet Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969: A brief guide for employers (free to download by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hse40.htm).

How do you get employers’ liability insurance?

You can buy employers’ liability insurance through insurers or intermediaries like brokers or trade associations. You may find that it often comes as part of an insurance package designed to cover a range of business needs.

Your policy must be with an authorised insurer and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has a list of these. You can check their register on the FCA website (http://www.fca.org.uk/).

If you require any clarification at all, or further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

 

Health and safety implications of pervasive computing (RFID)

This describes the concept of embedding or integrating computers into the environment with a view to enabling people to interact with them in a more “natural” way. Also referred to amongst other descriptions as “ubiquitous computing” or “ambient intelligence”, current examples include the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags and GPS systems in vehicles. Wireless networking technology (WiFi) is a key enabler for many of the applications and there is a growing trend towards greater connectivity through the use of broadband. For example in Philadelphia, “officials view broadband as an essential social service” and plan to introduce web access for all their citizens via a city-wide wireless network by the end of 2006.

Extensions of pervasive computing, which are being investigated actively at the moment include devices which sense changes in their environment and adapt and act on these changes, through to work on human-computer interactions and artificial intelligence.

In the short term, rapid expansion is expected in the use of RFID technology, where a vast range of applications are envisaged, offering benefits such as increased productivity and improved resource utilisation, together with reduced cycle times and re-work. All elements of the supply chain from raw material input through to delivery of product to the customer are potentially amenable to some form of RFID control and monitoring. In addition to logistics and product tracking applications, examples of the implementation of RFID technologies are foreseen in areas as diverse as personal identification, anti-counterfeiting, payment systems, maintenance management and healthcare.

Implications:

  • Increased exposure of the workforce (and customers in retail environments) to RF radiation is likely to result from the extended use of WiFi and the more powerful/ longer range WiMax technologies. While, as in the development of mobile telecommunications, no threat to human health has yet been proven from such exposure, there is public concern about the nature and effects of signals from such technologies (NRPB – Mobile Phones and Health 2004).
  • As with other computer-based systems, there is the potential for malicious or accidental corruption of the data stored on RFID tags, which could pose a threat, particularly where safety-critical applications such as e.g. maintenance monitoring are involved.
  • It is possible that intensive tracking of personnel activity in the workplace may result in stressors that may in turn contribute to increased incidences of stress.

Click on the link to read the RFID Technology short form report: http://www.hse.gov.uk/horizons/assets/documents/rfidsfreport.pdf

Our comment

There are positive implications too, in the form of “wearable technology” which is being successfully integrated into site safety procedures by warning pedestrians and machinery drivers of each others’ presence. A small RFID transponder is worn on pedestrians’ hard hats or sleeves, and a small unit fitted to vehicles. Both pedestrian and driver receive a warning if they become close enough to each other to be at risk of accidental collision. Warnings are automatically logged as incidents and the information is used by managers to monitor safety training requirements.

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