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

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 4TH FEBRUARY 2016

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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