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

Newsletter Issue – July 09

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Every Newsletter provides practical information which will help you comply with rules and regulations and run a profitable, healthy and safe business.

In this issue

Articles from the Blog

How to apply for a CSCS Card and Health and Safety Test

The CSCS Card Scheme is recognised as an industry standard for contractors wanting to join the construction industry and is constantly in demand from many clients as a basic understanding of Health and Safety – here is the fastest route to obtaining your CSCS Card.

Read more > >

Tips before Buying a House with Deadly Asbestos Present

Do you whether you have Asbestos in your home – When buying or selling a house, or even contemplating renovation or DIY tasks, you should be fully aware of the potential harmful risks posed by any deadly Asbestos-Containing materials that may be present.

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Asbestos Survey Types and Asbestos Management

Asbestos is a deadly dust and kills quickly the following explains the new methods of surveying for asbestos proposed for August 2009.

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A Managers Responsibility and Liability in Health and Safety

Managers can be held personaly liable for failures in Health and Safety – The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HASAWA), and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR) lay down some of the main responsibilities and duties of persons at work.

Read more > >

Legislation Update

 

The Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations (HSIER)

As from 6 April 2009, HSE is publishing new versions of its approved health and safety law poster and leaflet.

The new versions are modern, eye-catching and easy to read. They set out in simple terms, using numbered lists of basic points, what employers and workers must do, and tell you what to do if there is a problem.

Employers can, if they wish, continue to use their existing versions of poster and leaflet until 5 April 2014, as long as they are readable and the addresses of the enforcing authority and the Employment Medical Advisory Service up to date.

Who’s been in Court

Here follows some recent HSE prosecutions and enforcement action.

Work at height

Work at Height remains the single biggest cause of workplace deaths and one of the main causes of major injury.

3 July 2009 – Employers are being warned by HSE to ensure they assess the risks of falling from height in the workplace and provide safe systems of work.

This follows HSE’s prosecution of Veolia Environmental Services Birmingham Ltd (VESB), of, Birmingham and its contractor Hansen Transmissions Ltd (HTL) of, Huddersfield.

On 5 July 2007, an employee of HTL was working to replace a gearbox within a condenser unit at VESB’s premises when he fell more than 10 metres. Fortunately, he landed on a pallet of bundled narrow bore copper pipes which broke his fall. However, he suffered serious injuries including broken ribs, a punctured lung and a hernia.

HTL was fined a total of £70,000 and ordered to pay £22,000 costs by Birmingham Crown Court after the company pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. VESB was fined a total of £100,000 and ordered to pay £22,000 costs after pleading guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

3 June 2009 – HSE is urging construction companies to prevent falls from height after a carpenter fell over five metres while attempting to secure concrete shutters. The incident occurred during the construction of a new school in Waltham Forest in October 2007.

Bouygues (UK) Limited, based in London was fined £ 18,000 with costs of £ 2,796 after pleading guilty to Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The organisation was also ordered to pay the worker £5,000 compensation.

5 June 2009 – HSE is urging employers to ensure proper safety procedures are in place to prevent workers falling from height.

The call follows the prosecution of Heathrow Airport Ltd at City of London Magistrates Court after a contractor fell into a 2.2 metre deep gully whilst working from height on the roof of Terminal 1 at Heathrow Airport.

Heathrow Airport Ltd, based in London, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The court fined the company £10,000 and ordered them to pay costs of £3,130.

8 June 2009 – A Scottish construction company and one of its directors have been convicted of failing to ensure proper health and safety standards after the death of an employee.

Andrezej Freitag, a 53-year-old from Poland, fell nearly three metres down an exhaust shaft at a block of flats being built on Arbroath Road, Dundee. The incident happened because there was not a robust barrier on the edge of the shaft. Mr Freitag later died from his injuries.

At Dundee Sheriff Court, Discovery Homes (Scotland) Limited of Kinross, was fined £5,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Mr Richard Lionel John Pratt, a Director of the same company, who also performed the duties of site manager, was fined £4,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. This is only the second successful prosecution of a company director in Scotland in six years for a breach of health and safety legislation.

Safe systems of work

9 July 2009 – Construction company fined £150,000 after worker dies and another is seriously injured at Wembley stadium

HSE warns employers to ensure proper procedures are in place to keep staff safe when working on construction sites.

The warning follows the prosecution of PC Harrington Contractors Ltd after an employee died and another was seriously injured during construction works carried out at Wembley Stadium. PC Harrington Contractors Ltd, based in Grays Inn Road, London, pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The court fined the company £150,000 and ordered them to pay full costs of £25,203.

The investigation followed an incident on 15 January 2004, when a platform became dislodged during a lifting operation, causing it to fall and hit two workers. This resulted in the death of one worker, Patrick O’ Sullivan and seriously injured another. Both men were working on the building of the concrete superstructure of the stadium at the time.

14 July 2009 – 15-year-old labourer crushed to death by wall collapse Builder Colin Holtom and contractor Darren Fowler were convicted at the Old Bailey of offences following the death of Adam Gosling aged 15 years.

The court heard that Adam had been doing some casual work for Colin Holtom, who traded as Maldon Groundworks. Holtom was sub-contracted to Romford-based Soneca Systems Ltd to carry out a large garden landscaping and refurbishment project at a private address in Hadley Wood. The project manager for the site was Darren Fowler. The work centred around an outdoor swimming pool. The existing pool-house had been demolished exposing a 22-foot long wall which was seven-foot high and had a large crack running almost down its centre. The wall was deemed unsafe and required demolition. There was no proper discussion or instruction on how the wall was to be removed before work started and Adam and his brother began demolition with no supervision.

Simon Hester, HSE investigating inspector said: ‘The management and set-up of this small construction project was appalling. Adam Gosling should never have been there at all as 15 year olds have been banned from working on construction sites since 1920.’

Holtom, of Latchindon, Essex pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Fowler, of Upminster, Essex, had previously pleaded guilty to working while disqualified from being a company manager and failure to discharge a duty imposed by Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 contrary to Section 33 (1a) of the said Act. They will be sentenced on Monday 20 July 2009.

Workplace Transport

2 June 2009 – HSE is warning employers to ensure the effective management of the safe movement of pedestrians and vehicles around the workplace, after a man was reversed over by a forklift truck at the new £22.5m shopping complex at Willow Place, Corby.

The advice comes after BAM Construction Limited (formerly HBG Construction Limited) was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £13,540.90 costs. The company pleaded guilty to Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work act 1974. The charges relate to the failure to effectively plan, organise, control, monitor and review traffic on site. This includes a failure to maintain and manage traffic routes.

8 June 2009 – HSE is urging employers to ensure proper safety procedures are in place to make certain staff are kept safe when working on construction sites.

The call follows the prosecution of Bouygues (UK) Ltd after an employee was struck by a reversing vehicle as he crossed a one-way vehicular traffic route within a construction site. The worker died at the scene.

Bouygues (UK) Ltd, based in East London, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 (1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The court fined the company £160,000 and ordered them to pay costs of £21,698.20 and victim surcharge of £15.

Quick Hitches

29 April 2009 – HSE is reminding construction companies and operators of excavators of the need to ensure the safety pin is correctly fitted in semi automatic quick hitches.

The reminder follows a serious accident on 29 November 2007 at the Sandyholm Garden Centre, Crossford, South Lanarkshire in which an architect suffered fatal injuries after being struck by the digging bucket which had detached from the semi automatic quick hitch of an excavator. The digging bucket was able to detach and fall because the safety pin, a vital safety feature on semi automatic quick hitches, which holds the bucket in place, had not been fitted.

Shaun McDowall of Lea Park, Carclui Road by Ayr, the self-employed operator of the excavator, was fined £3500 on Tuesday (28 April) at Lanark Sheriff Court after he pled guilty to a charge under Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

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