New SG4:15 Preventing falls in scaffold operations

Falls from height account for almost half of the fatal accidents in the construction sector. Falling from height is a significant risk faced by scaffolders when erecting, altering or dismantling scaffolding during most scaffolding operations.
The NASC (National Access & Scaffolding Confederation) and HSE (Health & Safety Awareness) acknowledges that scaffolders have to work in hazardous situations, and this guidance note accepts that employers have a responsibility to ensure that adequate measures are provided for employees during scaffolding operations to eliminate or minimise those risks.
In recognition of the significant hazards and risks that scaffolders are exposed to day to day, the NASC have produced this edition of Safety Guidance Number 4 (SG4) as ‘scaffolding industry good practice’ for work at height. This updated guidance reflects the challenges facing our industry through new fall protection technology, Technical Guidance (TG20) and changing methods of construction and maintenance. read more

COSHH – The basics

What is COSHH?

COSHH is a law that is a requirement for employers to control substances that are hazardous to health. To prevent or reduce your employees exposure to hazardous substances you can do this by:

  • Find out what the health hazards are.
  • Deciding how to prevent harm to health (done by risk assessment).
  • Providing control measures to reduce harm to health.
  • Making sure they are used.
  • Keeping all control measures in good working order.
  • Providing information, instruction and training for employees.
  • Providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases.
  • Planning for emergencies.

Most businesses use substances or products that are a mixture of substances. Some of the processes also create substances which could cause harm to employees, contractors and other people.

Sometimes substances are easily recognised as harmful. Common substances such as paint, bleach or dust from natural materials may also be harmful. read more

Man fined for exposure of asbestos

A man from County Durham has been fined for potentially exposing members of the public to asbestos fibres during the refurbishment of a residential property on South Parade, Croft on Tees, County Durham.

Darlington Magistrates’ Court heard how the culprit of Staindrop, was converting an integrated garage into a bedroom at the property. While he was visiting the property for a quote, the home owners mentioned the possibility of asbestos in the garage.

While working in the loft space of the garage, the garage ceiling collapsed and the man proceeded to pull the remainder of the ceiling down, break it up and place in waste bags. It was not until he removed the material that he discovered it contained asbestos. read more

Truth or myth? Laptop charging in library


A Council run library will not let users plug their laptops into electrical outlets because of a risk of tripping or in case of faulty laptop charger plugs.

Panel opinion

The council and library seem to have got their wires well and truly crossed in this case as both the potential problems appear to have been well under control.  Restricting the charging of the laptop can’t be justified on health and safety grounds in these circumstances.

Source: HSE

Why is asbestos dangerous?

Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals used in certain products, such as building materials and vehicle brakes, to resist heat and corrosion. This includes chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite and any of these materials that have been chemically treated and/or altered.

  • Asbestos still kills around 5000 workers each year, this is  more than the number of people killed on the road.
  • Around 20 tradesman die each week as a result of past exposure
  • However, asbestos is not just a problem of the past. It can be present today in any building built or refurbished before the year 2000.

When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air. When these fibres are inhaled they can cause serious diseases. These diseases will not affect you immediately; they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything. This is why it is important that you protect yourself now.Asbestos can cause the following fatal and serious diseases:
read more

Fines issued after worker fell through roof

Two companies based in Northamptonshire have been fined after a worker died following a fall through a roof.

Northampton Crown Court heard how an employee of a crane hire company, who had been hired by the roofing company to provide them with a crane to lift roofing sheets onto a factory roof at Virani Foods Limited in Wellingborough. Whilst the sheets were being lifted onto the roof, the employee fell through an unprotected skylight and died as a result of his injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred on 9 August 2013 found that preventative measures to allow operatives to work safely on the roof were not put in place. read more

Roofer fined for unsafe roof work

A roofer has been fined for safety failings after a complaint has been made to the HSE (Health & Safety Executive) regarding unsafe roof work.

No one was injured by the incident, however  members of the public were endangered by the potential for falling objects.

Magistrates court heard that the roofing company had been contracted to undertake roof repairs to the property.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that the roofer undertook the work for £650. The price of a scaffold would have been between £1400 and £1500. read more

HSE Business Plan 2016/17

Great Britain has a health and safety record we can be proud of which means we are one of the safest countries in the world to work in. But there is still room for improvement. We want to continue to lead the way and establish a 21st-century, world-class occupational health and safety system. That is why we have talked to stakeholders across the system to develop real ownership of the ‘Helping Great Britain work well’ strategy, so everyone involved can play their part.

HSE will continue to take its responsibility as the prime mover, working with co-regulators, colleagues across government and other stakeholders to deliver healthier, safer workplaces. This plan outlines what HSE, in our role as the national regulator and catalyst in the system, will deliver in 2016/17. read more

Construction co-director jailed for 6 years

The owner of a construction firm has recently been sent down for a six year prison sentence for gross negligence manslaughter after a worker was killed and another had been seriously injured at a demolition site. The director of a second company also jailed for eight months.

The Builder had been contracted to demolish the structure which had initially housed a Carpet store. The building was due to be demolished remotely with construction plant as this had initially posed the least risk to workers. However between winning the contract. However between winning the contract and working onsite, the company’s owner decided the structure should be dismantled piece by piece instead. read more

HSE to prosecute Alton towers’ owners after incident

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today informed Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd that it will be prosecuted over an incident in which five people were seriously injured on a rollercoaster ride at Alton Towers in Staffordshire.

Two female passengers on the ‘Smiler’ ride suffered leg amputations and three others were also seriously injured when their carriage collided with a stationary carriage on the same track. The incident happened on 2 June 2015.

Merlin Attractions Operation Ltd based in Poole, Dorset, will appear at North Staffordshire Justice Centre, Newcastle-under-Lyme on 22 April 2016 to face a charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act etc, 1974. read more