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  • Tower Hamlets council charged over girl killed by rotting swing
    A council has been charged with health and safety breaches over the death of a five-year-old girl in a playground and faces a potential £2 million legal bill, the Evening Standard has reported.Schoolgirl Alexia Walenkaki died in Mile End Park a day prior to her sixth birthday, when a rotting log swing collapsed on her on 17 July 2015.According to reports, Tower Hamlets council has signed off a £2 million “extraordinary cost item” from its children’s services budget to pay a potential fine and its legal costs, as the HSE brings a prosecution.The authority has been charged with breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. A hearing is due to take place in October at Westminster magistrates’ court.According to the Standard, the borough’s Mayor John Biggs has said that the authority is planning to plead guilty.Two council employees and the contractor who designed and fitted the equipment in Mile End Park playground had been found to have “breached their duty of care” in a 2018 report, ordered by the CPS’s special crime division.The report found that annual inspections of the play equipment had not been carried out by the council and wood used to construct the swing was unsuitable.Although the report found “serious breaches” and a series of failings, it concluded no criminal charges would be brought against individuals or the local authority.The most serious breach was found to be the use of poplar or willow wood for the log which killed Alexia. Both have a lifespan of three years and the log was fitted four years before her death.A spokesperson for the council confirmed that urgent safety checks of equipment at all council run play facilities were carried out following Alexia’s death.

  • Hammersmith Bridge: Heatwave exacerbates ‘critical faults’ and closes bridge com...
    Hammersmith and Fulham Council have closed London’s Hammersmith Bridge indefinitely, to all traffic, after the recent heatwave was discovered to have caused further constructed in 1824, the bridge was waiting to undergo refurbishment when it was closed in 2019 as ‘critical faults’ were discovered. At the time, pedestrians and cyclists were still able to cross the bridge from Barnes to Hammersmith, but seven buses services were suspended.The latest discovery means that all traffic will now be blocked from using the bridge and no boats will be allowed to pass underneath it.Hammersmith & Fulham Council leader. Cllr Stephen Cowan said: “Safety is the number one priority. I’m absolutely sure that we averted a catastrophe by closing this 19th century suspension bridge to motor vehicles last year.“We have some of the best engineers in the world working on this scheme. They advise we now face a similar dilemma.“I appreciate how inconvenient this will be to thousands of people on both sides of the river and I am sorry about that, but we must follow the engineers’ advice which is why the bridge will be closed with immediate effect today.“We will update everyone as soon as engineers have investigated the scale of the recent damage. I have instructed them to find a plan to safely reopen it as quickly as they can.”Hammersmith and Fulham Council stated that the 123-year-old bridge’s structure was never designed for modern traffic and high volumes of heavy vehicles such as buses and Government budget cuts meant that TFL has been unable to keep up the repairs, which are now estimated to cost in excess of £140m.It was later reported that corrosion has been found on the bridge, which caused ‘hairline microfractures’, that can potentially become bigger cracks on the bridge’s footing, if heavy pressure is applied on top of it. The bridge was expected to be closed to traffic for up to three years.Buses were previously ordered by the council with a strict rule of only allowing one bus on the bridge at a time, but in 2016 Transport for London removed their bridge wardens, which were ensuring that this rule was enforced, leading to a breech of the agreement.It is estimated that up to 16,000 people used the bridge every day, before the original closure.

  • Abrasive materials and certain chemicals can ‘shorten the life of important comp...
    Is your site damaging your equipment? CFTS warns that work equipment used for heavy-duty operations may require more frequent Thorough Examinations than owners think.CFTS-Fork-Lift-Inspection-300x200.jpgCFTS, the body behind the national standard for lift truck Thorough Examinations, has said that certain industries are at higher risk of fault-related accidents if they do not arrange inspections often enough.“Operations like construction, metal manufacturing or aggregate processing use abrasive materials, which over time can damage equipment,” said CFTS Chairman, Geoff Martin.“Similarly, if a truck is used on a site where chemicals are present, corrosion is a serious hazard to look out for.“For example, chains are vulnerable, even though they have been made and tested for the stresses of day-to-day operations. A CFTS Thorough Examination will identify any signs of corrosive fatigue on your chains or other lift truck components.”As per LOLER and PUWER regulations, each lift truck must have a Thorough Examination at least once a year, but equipment could require a more frequent inspection schedule depending on the nature of the site, truck and tasks.According to CFTS, the type of truck and the use of attachments will affect when you book a Thorough Examination. If it has fitted attachments, an inspection must be arranged every 12 months. This changes to 6 months if attachments are not permanently fitted to the truck, or if the truck has an elevated operator position or working platform for lifting personnel.“The amount the truck is used also plays a significant role in determining how often an inspection is needed,” added Geoff Martin.“Get it checked every four months if it is used over 80 hours a week, every six months if it used 40 to 80 hours a week, or every 12 months if it is used under 40 hours a week.“If you are planning on making any changes to your work equipment or how it is used, then your Thorough Examination intervals might be affected. A CFTS-accredited Thorough Examination engineer can help you determine this.”

  • Engage people at work: From Coronation Street to culture change
    David Mansell, Creative Consultant at Tribe Culture Change shares the parallels between creating an engaging storyline on a soap opera and using stories to influence and engage people at work.David-Mansell-300x200.jpgDavid MansellWhen I changed my career from TV to culture change, I was delighted to have found a company that was as committed as I am to embrace the power of story to influence a positive shift in culture.Safety communications have come a long way over the years – the days of death by PowerPoint and finger wagging are (in the most part) a thing of the past. Whatever the message you are trying to communicate, the worst crime is ‘telling’ people what to do, rather than asking them questions and encouraging them to think. And, frankly, none of us like to be lectured, or told what to do.Storytelling is a great vehicle to get your message across, because it engages people at both a rational and emotional level.The human race, by and large, is a bright bunch, and we like to work things out. The brain is a fascinating squishy ball of fat and protein… and one of the things that it does exceedingly well is compel us to seek order and meaning from chaos.And this is where my background in storytelling and writing dovetails so neatly with Tribe’s ambition to ensure that employee awareness is as effective as it can be and engage people at work! I worked for both the BBC and ITV as a writer and script editor, and spent years working with writers developing their scripts, as well as writing my own. Our ambition was to always make the most engaging, moving, exciting story we could, and hopefully make it ‘mean something’ too. We wanted to affect people, to change people, take them on a journey, make them think (perhaps differently, sometimes) … sound familiar?

    Telling a story to engage people at work

    Coronation-Stree-300x225.jpgBoiled down to their simplest ingredients, the story pattern is as simple as this: there is a problem; the heroes go on a journey; they find the solution; overcome obstacles; they return; and, the problem is solved. In essence, the hero can do something at the end of the story that they can’t do at the beginning. How many safety and wellbeing stories can you think of that fit that pattern?Stories are recognisable patterns, and the human brain seeks order and meaning. We all know instinctively when a story isn’t working… how many times have you watched a film and moaned about a bad ending? That’s because the film-maker hasn’t followed the pattern, and subconsciously we understand that… even if we can’t always articulate what ‘feels wrong.’Human beings are natural storytellers – it’s in-built in our DNA. We simply can’t help ourselves. Everything – faith, science, love, politics, safety – needs a story for people to find it plausible. And if stories are memorable, then people re-tell those stories. What does that mean for safety and culture change? If your teams can remember the story, that’s half the battle already won.Soaps have long been considered by some as ‘shallow’, ‘trivial’ or ‘addictive’… but I see them as ‘agents of social change’. It’s wonderful that TV programmes can be credited for educating and informing the populace through entertainment – there are plenty of examples over the years where contentious and important issues have been tackled by soaps to critical acclaim, and have often changed the way we look at issues. For instance, I worked on the ‘Coronation Street’ episodes where Roy helped Hayley carry out her wish to die rather than suffer from pancreatic cancer.The constant battle on soaps is to keep audiences coming back week after week, to keep them engaged, and to keep them invested in the show. Ultimately, there’s no real difference between a ‘Coronation Street’ storyline and a successful culture change programme. Both are about getting people to connect with the ‘message’ and encouraging them to feel an emotional link to characters.If people ‘understand’ why characters in a soap do what they do, then they are more likely to empathise with them, invest in their characters, pay closer attention to what they do, and urge them to succeed. And that investment can drive word-of-mouth, publicity and sometimes can lead people to change their attitudes, values and beliefs – especially if they can see a story through another pair of eyes. Done well, soap can change the way audiences see the world and behave… and so can a well-crafted culture change programme.

  • Face coverings in the workplace
    To get some recommendations on face coverings in the workplace, for employers and employees, SHP spoke to Arco’s Director of QSHE UK and Asia, Neil Hewitt.

    Is a face covering and a face mask the same thing?

    corona-face-mask-300x200.jpgNeil Hewitt (NH): “No, it’s important to distinguish between face coverings, face masks and PPE such as respirators.“A face covering can be any covering of the mouth and nose, made of cloth or other textiles and through which an individual can breathe. Religious face coverings, a scarf, a snood or a bandana can count as face coverings.“Face coverings are not manufactured to a recognised standard and do not require CE marking. They are not the same as face masks which are manufactured to specifications for medical/surgical masks (which are deemed as medical devices in accordance with the EU Medical Device Regulations) and classified as Type I, Type II or Type IIR.“Importantly, they should not be used as an alternative to PPE which is used to manage risks in the workplace. Respirators or filter masks FFP2, FFP3 are manufactured to recognised standards for PPE and classified as category III personal protective equipment under the PPE Regulations.”

    What is the current government advice for face coverings in the workplace?

    (NH): “There is no one piece of guidance about face coverings in the workplace as there are so many different working environments. The Government Guidance series of documents ‘Working Safely’ provide links to ‘When and Where to Wear Face Coverings’.“The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) stresses the importance of undertaking a risk assessment to identify risks posed by COVID-19 and to use this to determine the correct control measures to introduce. It has provided guidance for specific industrial sectors.The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) makes similar recommendations, that if workers choose to wear a face covering, then they should be supported.”

    Should employers require employees to wear face coverings?

    (NH): “Employers have a duty to protect workers from harm to health which could happen as a result of a work related activity and therefore this includes taking reasonable steps to protect workers and others from COVID-19. Therefore, legally, employers are required take all reasonably practicable measures to protect employees and members of the public. However, for the workplace, the guidance does not recommend employees wear face masks, but for the risk to be managed through other control measures.“It is not compulsory for shop, supermarket, bank, post office or transport workers to wear face coverings, although guidance recommends that employers may consider their use where appropriate and where other mitigations are not in place, and this advice could be considered for other environments as well. There is increasing evidence to suggest that the wearing of face coverings will not only prevent the spread of the virus but can also go some way to protect the wearer. Therefore, it could be considered as additional protection alongside other control measures.”

    Can employers require employees to wear face masks?

    (NH): “Whilst it is not mandatory, there are some circumstances when wearing a face covering may be marginally beneficial. Employers should also note that the use of occupational workwear and PPE should continue to apply.”

    Do employers cover the costs of employee face coverings?

    (NH): “If a risk assessment identifies that face coverings are recommended, then an employer should provide these free of charge to workers who need them.”

    Do construction workers have to wear a face covering?

    (NH): “Where employers already issue PPE to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, then it is important that they continue to do so. The guidance states that additional PPE as a precautionary measure to protect against COVID-19 is not beneficial.”

    What if an employee declines to wear a face covering for medical reasons?

    PFS01_3-202x300.jpg(NH): “In some situations, there may be exemptions to wearing face coverings due to age, health or equality reasons or there may be a reasonable excuse not to wear them. Check local guidelines for information.“There are some people who should not wear a face covering, namely:
    • Those who have trouble breathing;
    • Anyone who finds it difficult to manage them correctly due to a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability;
    • Those who would suffer severe distress.
    “For those who are unable to wear face coverings, a face visor may be used, but it should cover the wearer’s nose and mouth completely.”

    If workers wear cloth face coverings, do employers still need to ensure social distancing measures in the workplace?

    (NH): “Face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk, including social distancing, hygiene, using fixed teams and partnering, and enhanced cleaning. These other measures remain the best ways of managing risk and it is not recommended that employers rely on face coverings as risk management.”

    How should employers choose appropriate face coverings?

    (NH): “Face coverings are neither PPE nor medical products and therefore do not conform to any official standards. Employers will need to use different criteria to choose a face covering that is suitable.“Employers should consider the performance efficiencies of the face covering including:
    • Filtration efficiency (FE);
    • Bacterial filtration efficiency;
    • Breathability.
    “These should be considered alongside other features that will affect the fit and the use of the mask, such as:
    • Shape;
    • Fastening;
    • Wash ability.”

    Where can employers obtain face coverings for their employees?

    (NH): “It is recommended that face coverings are purchased from a reputable supplier who understands their function and who is supplying a product that is fit for purpose. Ideally look for a supplier that can provide face coverings that have been tested to the relevant standards for face masks or respirators and can provide the filtration efficiency, bacterial filtration efficiency and breathability that is required.”

    How should you keep masks and face covers clean?

    (NH): “A face mask should be washed in line with manufacturer’s instructions. Choose a face covering that can be washed with other items of laundry, according to standard washing instructions. Make sure that the mask that can be dried without it being damaged. Do not dry clean masks as the dry-cleaning process uses solvents that can be extremely harmful and there is a risk that residual solvents could be inhaled.”

  • Worker sustained significant head injuries in a fall from height
    Building firm fined after self-employed subcontractor sustained multiple fractures and a brain injury following 15-foot fall.Brebner and Williamson Limited has been fined following an incident where John Niven, a self-employed subcontractor, fell 15 feet from a youngman board, which had been used to create a temporary platform. He sustained multiple fractures and a brain injury.On 29 July 2016 Mr Niven was working on a new build at Plot 1, Station Road, Crook of Devon, Kinross. A youngman board was used to create a temporary platform to give access to the roof in an area without scaffolding. Mr Niven was standing on the youngman board when it slipped, causing him to fall onto a concrete floor slab below.The HSE found that Brebner and Williamson failed to properly supervise the work at height, to ensure scaffold surrounded the full perimeter of the house under construction, and to ensure a suitable working platform and fall protection measures were in place.Brebner and Williamson of St David’s Drive, St David’s Business Park, Dalgety Bay, Fife pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005, Regulation 4 and Section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 and were fined £5,000.After the hearing, HSE Inspector Gillian Anderson said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities and severe injuries in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.”
  • RAIB to investigate Carmont train derailment
    The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has said it will investigate the fatal accident that occurred near Carmont on the national rail network in Scotland on 12 August 2020.Carmont-train-derailment-300x200.jpgAll six vehicles of a passenger train derailed after striking a landslip just over a mile north-east of Carmont in Aberdeenshire. There were nine people on the train at the time of the accident; three train crew (the driver, conductor and a second conductor travelling as a passenger) and six passengers.The driver of the train, the train’s conductor and one passenger suffered fatal injuries as a result of the incident. The remaining passengers and member of train crew were taken to hospital.RAIB have said that scope of the investigation is likely to include:
    • The sequence of events and the actions of those involved;
    • The operating procedures applied;
    • The management of earthworks and drainage in this area, including recent inspections and risk assessments;
    • The general management of earthworks and drainage and associated procedures designed to manage the risk of extreme weather events;
    • The behaviour of the train during, and following the derailment;
    • The consequences of the derailment and a review of the damage caused to the rolling stock
    • Underlying management factors;
    • Actions taken in response to previous safety recommendations.
    The findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, will be published at the conclusion of the investigation.

  • ‘A silent stressor’: Many pregnant workers say they risk their health, safety to...
    pregnant-worker.jpg?1571920845Photo: MaxRiesgo/iStockphotoVancouver, WA — Nearly 2 out of 3 pregnant workers say they stress about being stereotyped as weak or less committed to their job, leading many to conceal their pregnancies and overperform – in turn, risking their health and safety as well as that of their unborn child, according to a recent study.A pair of researchers from Washington State University surveyed pregnant workers in physically demanding jobs at three different times over a two-month span, starting with a group of more than 400. The respondents, who were all at different stages of pregnancy, worked in various industries, including health care, manufacturing and retail.Among the risky behaviors the women said they took part in to avoid being stereotyped were lifting heavy objects and standing for long periods of time. Further, women who reported a higher stereotype threat had almost three times as many work-related incidents at the end of the study period compared with those who felt a relatively low stereotype threat. Moreover, fears of confirming the stereotypes also increased.“The pregnancy stereotype is a silent stressor,” lead study author Lindsey Lavaysse said in a June 29 press release. “It is not always visible, but it really impacts women in the workplace.” Lavaysse and co-author Tahira Probst, a WSU psychology professor, noted that most workplaces have policies in place to accommodate pregnant workers. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission adds that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 “forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment.”Still, Lavaysse said, “if the organization’s culture suggests there will be retaliation or that workers will be looked upon differently, then women will shy away from using accommodations that are better for their health and safety.”Sign up for Safety+Health's free monthly email newsletters and get the news that's important to you. SUBSCRIBE NOWLavaysse and Probst recommend better social support for pregnant workers and following maternity leave policies. They also say further study is needed to investigate possible variables that might mitigate some of the negative stigma surrounding pregnancy while working.The study was published online June 5 in the journal Work and Stress.

  • ‘We need to do it’: CPWR webinar puts spotlight on contact tracing in constructi...
    contact-tracing.jpg?1595956351Photo: AlexLMX/iStockphotoSilver Spring, MD — Effective contact tracing can be a challenge on construction sites, where supervisors, contractors, workers, vendors and visitors may be onsite at any given time.Still, this disease control measure – used to identify, support and monitor individuals potentially exposed to an infected person – remains essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, experts say.“It is not a panacea. It’s not a perfect system,” said Travis Parsons, associate director of occupational safety and health for the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America. “But it does help curb the spread of the virus, and we need to do it.”Parsons spoke during a July 16 webinar on contact tracing basics and applications in construction hosted by CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training. His presentation followed remarks by NIOSH medical epidemiologist Sara Luckhaupt, who said that although the concept might be new to some, contact tracing has been part of the public health sphere for decades.The authority and responsibility for implementing contact tracing lies with state, tribal, local and territorial health departments, Luckhaupt said. As detailed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, contact tracing is recommended for anyone who has come within 6 feet of an individual with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more within 48 hours of diagnosis.In a hypothetical situation, a health department official would ask an individual with COVID-19 about the people with whom he or she recently has had close contact. Making sure not to share the name of the infected individual, the health department then would alert contacts and assess symptoms.Should a health department official conclude that a case of COVID-19 impacts a work environment, it would notify the employer. Luckhaupt and Parsons stress the importance of employer collaboration.“The sooner that you can get a case and a contact who may potentially become a case out of circulation to the general public, then the sooner you can stop the spread,” Luckhaupt said. “The greater chance you can prevent further cases.”Symptomatic or asymptomatic contacts who test positive for COVID-19 should be treated and managed as a confirmed case, CDC advises. CDC recommends COVID-19 testing for all close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients. The agency also recommends that:
    • Asymptomatic contacts who test negative should self-quarantine for 14 days from their most recent exposure.
    • Symptomatic contacts for whom testing isn’t available should self-isolate and be managed as a probable COVID-19 case.
    • Asymptomatic contacts for whom testing isn’t available should self-quarantine and be monitored for 14 days after their most recent exposure, with linkage to clinical care for those who develop symptoms.
    Luckhaupt outlined additional steps that CDC recommends employers take to prepare for a possible case investigation and contact tracing:
    • Identify a COVID-19 coordinator or team to oversee pandemic-related activities.
    • Identify and, if possible, contact or visit the health department website.
    • Create a COVID-19 preparedness, response and control plan.
    • Review CDC guidance on case investigation and contact tracing.
    • Encourage employees to cooperate with the health department.
    Additionally, Parsons said, workers shouldn’t feel a stigma about reporting symptoms, because contact tracing should be kept anonymous and confidential.Sign up for Safety+Health's free monthly email newsletters and get the news that's important to you. SUBSCRIBE NOW“We encourage our workers. They have a role in this. They need to report symptoms,” Parsons said. “They need to report if they’ve had exposures. Everybody needs to work on this together. And the intention is not to interrogate or pass judgment on any one worker whatsoever. It’s to curb the disease and to collect information to keep everyone safe.”CDC has developed a fact sheet for various digital contact tracing applications that may enhance contact tracing data management, daily temperature and symptom checks of patients during isolation and contacts during quarantine, and exposure notification using proximity apps.The National Safety Council recently released an issue paper on contact tracing as part of its SAFER: Safe Actions Employee Returns initiative.

  • OSHA revises rules on its access to employee medical records, adds new section o...
    Washington — OSHA has finalized amendments to its rules on accessing employee medical records.The agency often reviews employee medical records to carry out its statutory obligations, as well as when gathering information during agency rulemaking to develop or revise occupational safety and health standards, an agency press release states. According to a final rule published in the July 30 Federal Register, the rule revisions “transfer certain responsibilities from the assistant secretary to the OSHA medical records officer. Specifically, the MRO will now be responsible for the overall administration and implementation of the procedures contained in 1913.10.”
    OSHA adds in the press release: “The MRO is responsible for determining the transfer and public disclosure of personally identifiable employee medical information in OSHA’s possession.”Another significant change is the addition of paragraph (n) to 1913.10, covering the agency’s procedures for “access and safeguarding” electronic medical records. The principal OSHA investigator is charged with ensuring personally identifiable employee medical information is secure and properly used.The revisions include a clarification that medical access orders aren’t considered administrative subpoenas.

  • Company fined after an employee died and another worker was seriously injured
    Concrete manufacturer Treanor Pujol Ltd was sentenced for safety breaches following two separate incidents including the death of an employee and series injuries to a second worker.Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigators also identified several electrical safety failings.Leeds Crown Court heard how on 5 June 2014 Treanor employee Mathew Fulleylove, 30, was operating a mobile saw unit on Line 12 at the factory in Stourton, Leeds, while another employee was operating a mobile bed cleaner on Line 11. Mr Fulleylove was standing on the footwell of the saw unit as the other machine passed on the adjacent production line. As the bed cleaner came past, Matthew’s head was crushed between the frames of the two machines and he was killed instantly.An investigation by HSE found that it was the nature of production for machines to routinely pass each other on adjacent lines. On lines 11 and 12 the gap between the passing bed cleaner and saw machines was very small – between 65 and 93mm at different parts of the frames. It was identified that Treanor Pujol Ltd failed to identify the risk of crushing posed by the passing machines; failed to devise a safe system of work to control this risk and failed to provide adequate training in such a procedure to employees.On 12 April 2018, in a second incident, a 47-year-old employee was operating a hooks machine, which embeds hooks into precast concrete when a fault developed during the operation. While attempting to reset the machine his elbow leant on a concrete dispenser box and a metal shutter designed to close off the flow of concrete. The metal shutter closed, trapping his hand resulting in a fracture and partial de-gloving of his left hand.An investigation by HSE found that the machine was not fitted with working interlocks, meaning several of the machine doors could be opened to gain access to dangerous moving parts whilst the machine was operating.In the early stages of the investigation into the incident involving Mr Fulleylove, HSE inspectors also noticed several electrical safety concerns with the equipment in the manufacturing shed. Inspectors carried out numerous visits between 2014 and 2018 and discovered further failings, one of which related to electrical equipment not being suitably constructed or protected from the environment. It was left in wet, dirty, dusty and corrosive conditions, which resulted in rapid deterioration and safety features becoming inoperable over time. This exposed employees to a risk of serious personal injury or death.Treanor Pujol Ltd of former Bison Works site, Pontefract Road Leeds pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and breaching Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 by failing to comply with Regulation 6(c). The company has been fined £285,000 and ordered to pay costs of £56,324.97.After the hearing, HSE inspector Kate Dixon said: “Treanor Pujol Ltd should have identified the risk of crushing between passing machines on the production lines. The company should have taken steps to reduce and control the residual risk, organising production to minimise the likelihood of machines passing each other on adjacent lines, as well as devising and implementing a safe system of work.“This should have included a designated place of safety where operators were required to stand as a machine passed. The operator’s manual for the bed cleaning machine stated an exclusion zone around the machine at 655mm should be implemented. If this had been in place, it would have addressed the significant crushing hazard and prevented the death of Mr Fulleylove.”Ms Dixon added: “In regard to the second incident, the company should have ensured that the dangerous parts of the Hooks Machine could not be accessed by anyone whilst they were moving by way of suitable guarding arrangements.“Duty holders should ensure they carry out site specific risk assessments to identify any issues relevant to a particular location, task or piece of equipment. It is important to ensure where safe systems of work are required, employees are properly trained and monitored to ensure the correct way of working is followed.”

  • Fine after employee is burnt following explosion
    A plumbing and heating company has been fined after an employee suffered serious burns following an explosion at a domestic property in Preesall, Lancashire.John Leadley Limited had been replacing a gas boiler in the hallway of a bungalow. As part of this work, an employee was soldering new water pipes when there was a sudden explosion, which caused serious burn injuries. The homeowners were in the property at the time of the explosion, which happened on 13 March 2019, and were also put at risk of serious injury.The HSE’s investigation found that a flammable atmosphere had developed within the hallway of the property, which was subsequently ignited by a blow torch. A gas supply pipe has been cut prior to installation of the new boiler, but the open end of that pipe had not been sealed with an appropriate fitting. It was also identified that the gas supply had not been correctly isolated from the property, allowing gas to pass through the open-ended pipe into the hallway, creating the flammable atmosphere.The company, John Leadley Limited, of Victoria Road East, Thornton Cleveleys pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,756.35.Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Anthony Banks said: “The injuries sustained to this employee could so easily have been avoided, simply by John Leadley Limited carrying out the correct control measures and safe working practices.”

  • 3 technologies that drive safety innovation in site surveying
    Over the past years, technology has played an increasingly important role in a wide variety of trades, including construction and surveying. New software and equipment is available more and more to enable automation and simulated environments in a way that was never possible before. Here, we take a look at three significant technologies that have benefited and are now transforming many areas of activity within the surveying profession.

    UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)

    drone-1080844_1920-300x207.jpgYou won’t have failed to notice that drones have, quite literally, taken off. The surveying industry has seen a significant uptake in the use of drone-related technology. These clever little flying objects have a multitude of uses to access hard-to-reach places. With the help of drones, surveyors can now carry out aerial surveys and daily investigations with relative ease and much greater efficiency. Using drones not only reduces the risk of injury to personnel but it also provides a more cost-effective solution for tasks that were previously laborious and time-consuming.In particular, the mobility and verticality of drones mean that areas can now be inspected that were previously unsafe or impossible to reach. “Substantial improvements in camera drone technology in recent years means that it is now possible to take high-quality aerial photographs and high-resolution video footage to inspect building elements with astonishing accuracy,” explains Hutton + Rostron.By using the device’s autonomous controls, the surveyor is able to programme the drone to automatically take a large aerial map of a particular site, then return to base and upload the data to a secure server. The increase in mobility as well as in automation saves time during the actual inspection. More than that, it allows the surveyor to collect several high-res images for future reference. In some cases, images can be collated into detailed, photorealistic 3D maps. Overall, the data can be interpreted through an incredibly accurate visual, which not only eliminates the need for excessive jargon, but also significantly reduces the risk of potential inaccuracies and inconsistencies.Drones, it seems, are now considered so indispensable to the surveying world hat many firms have started to offer CPD training on drone use, though you also need a restricted or full CAA NQE qualification to be able to use a commercial drone.

    AI (Artificial Intelligence)

    There are several new technologies benefitting the surveying industry that are driven by Artificial Intelligence. Chief among them is Building Information Modelling (BIM), which provides a system to create a comprehensive digital description that is worked on collaboratively through each project stage. Exact 3D models contain a multitude of data that relate to each functional and physical element of the build.As regards AI, these systems have already been influenced by the ability to infuse human intelligence with machine learning. For example, the analysis of vast amounts of data requires greater practical applications for QC assessments. And by employing theoretical techniques, Artificial Intelligence can quickly optimise the process and effectively predict and solve any logistical issues well in good time. This, in turn, results in substantial savings for the project before it gets to the build phase.In the world of property surveying, combining Artificial Intelligence and Building Information Modelling has many important implications. Core responsibilities having been automated with BIM, surveyors can now focus on and carry out their day-to-day tasks more efficiently. By having access to a shared 3D visualisation of a site, for instance, process control and project management can be greatly enhanced.

    AR (Augmented Reality)

    GettyImages-1051617224-300x166.jpgAR technology augments a live view of a physical environment with computer-generated input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. In the world of surveying and construction, this could mean the overlay of a BIM construction model on a particular ground site. “The goal is to enrich what the operator knows about the environment he is charting or working in, and to improve both work quality and time to decision for business benefit,” says an expert in the field.The combination of 3D visualisations with AR creates effective reference resources for surveyors. What’s more, it can allow clients to see a realistic rendering of a building before it is actually constructed. This can be particularly useful for surveyors who assess future developments or buildings where repair works have been proposed but not yet carried out.It is clear that the world of construction and property surveying is set to benefit hugely from advances in technology. The so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution will affect the industry in significant ways, and further reading on the topic should include this RICS Insight Report: The Impact of Emerging Technologies on the Surveying profession.

  • Poor lighting leads to fire escape death and £80,000 fine
    Aberdeen Market has been fined £80,000 after admitting to safety failures, following the death of an 80-year-old man in June Frank Finnie was discovered at the bottom of a fire escape stairwell at the market, with poor lighting found to be the primary cause of the incident after an investigation was carried out. The operator has been prosecuted over a contravention of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005.The subsequent investigation found that the “Market Village Company Ltd failed to maintain the lighting in the stairwell”.Head of the Crown Office’s Health and Safety Management Unit, noted that the incident was “entirely forseeable”, and that “this conviction should serve as a reminder to other companies to adhere to the regulations and that failure to do so can have tragic consequences”.Firesafe advises: “emergency routes and fire exits must be well lit and indicated by appropriate signs”, while “in locations that require illumination, emergency lighting of adequate intensity must be provided in case the normal lighting fails”.In England and Wales, though not Scotland, Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, the maintenance and access to emergency/fire escapes come under the jurisdiction of the responsible person(s) of a non-domestic premises. They should form a crucial part of a property’s fire safety plan.

  • Mind responds to ‘huge demand’ for information about how to cope with your menta...
    Mental health charity Mind recently held an invite-only digital event, which SHP was proud to host and support. During the event Mind’s President, Stephen Fry, spoke about his own mental health during the coronavirus pandemic and CEO Paul Famer discussed Mind’s work and plans for the future.Stephen-Fry-300x200.jpgStephen Fry became Mind’s President in September 2011 and has been a tireless campaigner, supporter and advocate for everyone experiencing mental health problems. Stephen was speaking as part of a virtual Mind event to reflect on some of the work the charity has been doing during the coronavirus pandemic and its plans for the future. During his address, he reflected on how lockdown has affected him personally. He discussed the changes he has gone through in response to the virus and the effect social media can have on your mental health, especially when comparing yourself to what others were doing during lockdown.Mind CEO Paul Farmer opened proceedings by discussing the results of a recent survey, published in July, which polled more than 16,000 people to talk about their experiences with coronavirus and its effect on their mental health.The data highlighted that 65% of adults over 25 and 75% of young people aged 13-24 with an existing mental health problem reported worse mental health during lockdown, while 22% of adults  with no previous experience of poor mental health now say that their mental health is poor or very poor.Speaking on coping with the anxieties of living with coronavirus, Paul said: “Like all companies and individuals, Mind has had to adaptable and almost turn the way we work upside down. Our local Minds, which usually deliver face-to-face services, have gone digital and are running telephone-based services and we have sent out hundreds of postcards to support those people who may have been without digital access during the pandemic.“We’ve responded to a huge demand for information about how to cope with your mental health during coronavirus, with well over a million downloads of information from our website.”Paul shared that Mind’s digital peer support community, Elefriends, now has well over 100,000 active users and that a transmission into a new platform, Side by Side, is imminent, due to the scale of demand.