Health and Safety Consultancy Services for SMEs in Birmingham, West Midlands and beyond

A Critical Variable In The World Of Health And Safety
Posted by David Cant on May 7, 2013

If there’s one factor that always needs to be considered when evaluating health and safety procedures and methods here in the UK, it’s the weather.

Often unpredictable, frequently surprising, the weather can very easily turn a straightforward and simple job into one fraught with dangers.

red white and blue umberellaWhether it’s floodwater, wind, rain or lightning, the British weather is a constant variable in the fight to ensure the safety and welfare of both those working on site, and members of the public who may be passing through. It’s our job to consider these highly variable variables, because failing to consider them can result in catastrophic problems which can easily result in injuries, compensation, and a bad public image.

One such tainted image now belongs to Gary Bluff Projects Ltd, of Sheffield, a company hired to refurbish a restaurant in Leicester last year.

The case was brought to court a few days ago, on 30th April, when the HSE informed magistrates that Gary Bluff Projects Ltd had fitted plywood hoarding around the restaurant during the refurbishments, but that although this hoarding had been attached to metal fencing around two metres in height, it hadn"t been fixed securely enough to withstand heavy winds.

Unfortunately heavy winds were what arrived in Leicester, blowing the hoarding apart, and hitting an elderly couple who needed treated for shock and injuries. The only good news is that the couple in question were not seriously hurt, and it could have so easily been tragic news.

As it happens though the company was fined £6,000, costs of £6,735 and compensation of £500 to the victims. That’s a hefty sum of money, and a very great deal less than it would have cost to hire the services of a company such as Veritas Consulting to identify the potential hazards and ensure appropriate measures were put in place immediately.

Strong Winds Represent A Regular Health & Safety Danger

This case reminds us of the Nuneaton storage and distribution firm fined £75,000 plus costs of £25,316 in April of this year when a tall stack of empty wooden pallets blew over in the wind, killing an employee who was working nearby.

Also we recall that in April 2011 seventy metres of sheet scaffold peeled away from a row of houses in Stoke-on-Trent, causing damage to property and resulting in over £25,000 fines and costs.

Make sure your business isn"t caught out in the wind or rain by calling one of our friendly expert advisors on 0800 1488 677. We’ll make sure that the British weather doesn"t end up with your company all washed up and hung out to dry.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting.

You can find him on - Twitter and Facebook also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Construction health and safety

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