Monthly Archives: June 2015

Construction safety

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) came into force, as planned, on 6 April 2015. Clients who start projects after that date must appoint a principal designer.

The role of CDM Co-ordinator is abolished, except for pre-existing projects where there is a six-month transitional period.

Driving licences

From 8 June 2015, the paper counterpart driving licence is abolished. Penalty points will only be recorded electronically, by DVLA.

Employers seeking to check whether employees have committed a motoring offence can obtain real-time information via a free on-line DVLA Shared Driving Licence service, subject to consent from the employee. Individual drivers can readily access their own records at www.gov.uk/ view-driving-licence so a more practical way for employers to carry out the due diligence process is to request employees who drive for work purposes to supply a current print-out of their personal record, ideally not less than once a year.

Construction guidance

The Health and Safety Executive has release guidance book L153 to support CDM 2015. Although they are part of the “legal series” of publications, they do not have the status of an Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) and it is a moot point as to whether an ACoP will be forthcoming. A free copy can be downloaded at www. hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l153.pdf

As mentioned in the last edition of PHSC Safety News, the Construction Industry Advisory Committee has produced some sectorspecific guidance and copies can be accessed at the Construction Industry Training Board website www.citb.co.uk

Health and safety in food and drink manufacture

A new edition of booklet HSG252 “A recipe for safety” has been published, superseding the previous version that dated from 2005. This new document was revised by a partnership of HSE and a working group of the Food and Drink Manufacture Health and Safety Forum.

There is greater emphasis on the occupational health aspects of food manufacturing and some general updating and refocussing. As well as employees and management, the target audience for this practical advice includes, health and safety professionals and health and safety representatives. There is advice on management of risks, and various references to where more detailed guidance can be found. A free copy can be accessed at www.hse. gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg252.htm

Warning over lifting equipment examinations

The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) is concerned that some employers are being tempted to cut costs by not conducting thorough examinations as frequently as required by the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

Equipment for lifting persons or accessories for lifting must be thoroughly examined by a competent person every six months, and annually for other equipment. LEEA says that it has recently been made aware that some users of lifting equipment are being incorrectly advised that money can be saved by extending intervals to 12 months for all items.

Separately, the Safety Assessment Federation (SAFed) has been in dialogue with the Health and Safety Executive about the risk of employers deciding to use in-house personnel to carry out examinations. Guidance document INDG 339 specifically provides advice on selection of a competent person and states that ‘it is not advisable for the same person who performs routine maintenance to carry out the thorough examination”.

The regulator has advised that any employer who allows or permits a sub-standard examination will be putting profit over safety and will be held to account.

Noise claims on the rise

The insurance industry is reporting that Government efforts to clamp down on whiplash injury claims have led to large numbers of new actions related to noise-induced hearing loss. This is said to be driven by unscrupulous claims management companies who are seeking out additional revenue streams.

A source has advised Post Magazine, the insurers’ journal, that one law firm has £12m of claims in the pipeline. Insurance firm Allianz have reported a claims explosion, with an increase of over 250% since 2010.

Teachers in the dark over asbestos

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has reported the findings of a survey of its members which suggests that 44% of teachers are unaware of whether any asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are at their workplace.

NUT estimates that ACMs are present in 86% of schools. Only one in six teachers who knew there were ACMs at their school had been shown an asbestos management plan. Worryingly, of those teachers who knew there was asbestos at their particular school, a third of them reported at least one incident where there could have been exposure to airborne fibres. The Union reports that 22 teachers died of asbestos-related disease in 2012 alone.

N Ireland rejects RIDDOR changes

Following consultation, the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland has decided not to follow the lead of the rest of the UK with regard to accident reporting.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1997 will stay in force, leaving the over-three- day reporting criterion intact. Elsewhere the trigger point for reporting rose to over seven days back in 2013.

Mailing machine injury ends with prosecution

Stevenage Magistrates’ Court ordered Ampac Security Products Limited to pay a total of £10,000 in fines with £2,328 in costs after the company accepted that they had breached the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

A 20-year-old employee’s arm was pulled between a roller and belt on a poorly guarded mailing machine, resulting in the injured man requiring metal plates and screws inserted into his arm. At the time of the injury, he was trying to clean a moving belt on the machine, which turns rolls of plastic into sealable bags for mailing purposes.

HSE investigators reported that the employer had already identified the risk of entanglement but had not applied guarding to the area where the worker’s arm was drawn in. In addition to the lack of guarding, there had been no training given to the injured man on how he was supposed to clean excess glue from the underside of belts at this machine. The method he used was not normal practice for this equipment and that could have been made clear by giving adequate instructions.

Falling lift leads to prosecution

Temple Lifts Limited, of south London, were ordered to pay £100,000 in fines and costs by Southwark Crown Court after an incident at the Tower Bridge Exhibition. The incident involved a lift car falling three metres down a shaft due to the failure of a counterweight mechanism.

There were ten passengers in the lift and some sustained broken bones. It was found that there had been previous failures of components on the two lifts in service, but management only replaced parts instead of trying to discover why the failures had arisen. Health and Safety Executive inspector Michael la Rose urged all those in control of lifts to make sure that lifts are properly maintained and urgent action is taken where issues or concerns are identified.