Minutes: 24th of January 2019 – Legal Update: Pinsent Masons

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There were 33 members and guests present. Robert Bradford introduced Charlotte O’Kane an associate with Pinsent Masons who was giving an update.

Charlotte mainly works mainly on health and safety law dealing with HSE investigations, appeals, accident investigations and reviews policies and procedures as well as working on commercial litigation.

Fee for intervention (FfI) is applied by the HSE when a material breach of health and safety law occurs in an inspectors opinion. The appeals process has changed after a review in March 2017 due to the original process being legally challenged by a company called OCS who had their notice withdrawn and expenses paid. This has resulted in an improved process not relying totally on HSE personnel hearing the appeal with the main changes being that the appeal is heard by a lay panel with an HSE Chairperson, there is an improved process for disclosure of information, the panel only considers information available to the inspector at the time, HSE arranges the time and place for the review, the panel can arrange a meeting with witnesses which is not a hearing, the HSE can add costs to the FfI if they win, the decision is non-binding (if the company still doesn’t pay the case can be heard through the courts.

There is a 21 day period to challenge the FfI notice. Always ensure that your accounts department discuss any invoice from the HSE.

The HSE has never agreed that payment of the FfI is not an admission of guilt therefore companies should always state they are paying the costs but that it is not an admission of guilt.

Enforcement notices. In the case HSE v Chevron. In April 2013 the HSE visited an offshore drilling rig and found corrosion in a staircase, they then carried out an impromptu test using fire axe and as a result of the findings served a notice. Chevron then tested the staircase using the relevant British Standard and the staircase passed. Chevron challenged the notice and the tribunal had to consider whether they should take in to account evidence not known by the inspector. They looked at the information and cancelled the notice. HSE appealed and were unsuccessful. This conflicted with another case in England and the HSE then went to the Supreme court who agreed all information should be considered. It has still not decided who is paying the costs for this.
For notices there is a 21 day appeals process, from a question asked we were advised that at a tribunal the challenger can win his case against the HSE but the HSE, or tribunal can amend the wording of the notice.


An 86 year old died from Legionnaires disease and it was found that the taps in the care home bathroom were the culprit. The company were charged under Section 3 of the HSWA and were fined £13 million as they had a turnover of £198 million and pre-tax profit of £51 million costs of £151,000 were also awarded.

Costain and Galliford Try each with a turnover in excess of £1 billion whilst upgrading a water treatment works had personnel trapped in a rotating screen resulting in a court appearance with a fine of £1.4 million each. They had systems in place but had neglected to take in to account concerns raised by the worker to his supervision. The court wanted to create an impact as the work was easily managed.

Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions failed to keep HAVS exposure as low as reasonably practicable and had no risk assessments. They reported a significant number of cases. They were fined £500,000 under section 2 of the HSWA and regulation 5 of RIDDOR (not reporting cases as they had no knowledge). They had carried out health surveillance but had not acted on the early warnings given by this.

A Tesco driver reversing in to a loading bay hit a person. Their turnover is £38.6 billion and profit £1 billion were fined £1.6 million with £50,000 costs under section 3 of the HSWA and regulation 3 of the Management regulations as they had not followed their own procedure. Since the incident Tesco has redesigned the parking arrangement as well as installing barriers.

A worker was crushed by a reversing lorry as a dock leveller had become stuck and they had known about this. They were fined £2 million.

There have been a number of recent personal prosecutions including;
Jonathan Gaskell who was imprisoned for 8 months after a worker was killed in an inadequately guarded baling machine. The guarding was still inadequate 5 years later. The company was fined £700,000 with £100,000 costs.

Michael Allen whose company was fined £267,000 after a worker fell whilst repairing a barn roof. The company was put in to liquidation and started a new company so that the fine was not paid. The case was investigated by the Insolvency Service and Michael Allan was banned from being a company director for six years.

There have been changes to the Sentencing Council Guidelines in England and Wales with new guidance being issued regarding sentences for manslaughter offences. For example a one to eight year sentence will apply if the defendants at the Hillsborough case are found guilty.

HSE inspectors are overstretched as a result investigations are taking far longer. There have been a lot of changes in the Procurator Fiscals office. The head left last year and the replacement has now moved on resulting in a temporary head being in charge. The Clutha Vaults enquiry will tie up the PF office for a long time. Decisions on cases is now taking far longer.

Robert thanked Charlotte for her presentation.

There was one other item of business

The Coniac Workplace Health Safety and Welfare regs refer tot the size of sinks does anybody know where this size came from.

Minutes: 18th of October 2018 – Hilti

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There were 15 members and guests present. Robert Bradford introduced Kirstie Boyle wh works on the building and construction sectors covering Glasgow and Falkirk areas and Isabelle McShane the regional manager form Hilti who were giving a presentation on advancements on tools.

Hilti are a family owned business who work in partnership with many other businesses so that they can provide what the industry needs and wants. This takes the form of providing advice on tools, dust, vibration and noise with respect to health and topics such as work at height in relation to safety. Vibration levels depend on the type of work being carried out, the tool used, the way the tool is used and maintenance. The tools now come with anti-vibration and anti-torque controls and many have an indicator to show when maintenance is required. The anti-vibration element consists of a damper between the tool and the handle and the anti-torque causes the tool to cut-out after a quarter rotation. Using the TE60 it initially appears to be heavy but when compared with tools from other manufacturers it is at the lighter end and due to the speed efficiency more holes can be drilled in a given period; the vibration level on the worst axis is 6.4m/s2 when chiselling concrete. A number of tools were demonstrated which resulted in some additional discussion. Hilti drill bits are fitted with an indicator to identify when they are past their wear point to further aid n vibration reduction.

Full vibration information can be found on the Hilti website. K values are found in the operators manual.

Many of the tools are now fitted with dust extraction which takes the dust directly in to a bag and others allow an attachment to be fitted which connects to a vacuum cleaner although there are no warnings to tell when the extract system is full. Hollow drill bits also help with dust extraction as these can be connected directly to a vacuum cleaner. There was a discussion around thorough examination of dust extraction systems and the presenters advised that this was checked during maintenance but they were unsure about compliance with the 14 monthly thorough examination. There was also a discussion around the hire of tools as many hire companies do not realise that the systems aren’t all compatible (not a problem solely related to Hilti as the hire companies appear to mix and match parts from different manufacturers.

Hilti now have a cordless breaker to reduce trip hazards and are also working on a cordless cut-off saw, a number of members suggested this should have a standard size blade as this meets the industry needs. There was a discussion on guarding of coring rigs and Hilti are following the HSE guidance which can be seen at http://www.hse.gov.uk/foi/internalops/og/og-00055-appendix3.pdf Hilti have a tool selector on their website.

Robert thanked the presenters before moving on to a presentation from Adrian Tinson of the HSE.

Adrian has returned to the HSE after working in industry for a number of years and was giving an update on the recent construction health campaign. There are approximately ten times the number of deaths as a result of poor health in the construction industry compared to those related to safety. There are almost two million days lost to poor health compared to 400,000 for injuries. Stress is also on the increase. Many sections of industry have a very poor record with health and the HSE, for the last five years, has been working with industry to give a better focus. Health is a large topic and industry should also give some recognition to topics other than occupational health.

The recent initiative looked at topics such as respiratory risks such as working with asbestos (non-licensed work) and silica and wood dusts. The initiative examined wellbeing, HAVS, noise, manual handling as well as the more common features such as work at height, transport management, competence etc. There was some discussion around competence and discussions the HSE had had with organisations around the SMSTS safety management course. There was then a discussion around photographic slides shown and the poor standards still being found on sites. There was a discussion around the need for face fit testing and the need to remove the hazard rather than using PPE another part of this discussion revolved around the correct removal of work clothing and when to remove it e.g. at breaks. We should not just look at immediate risks but should examine the root causes using available sources of guidance to assist.

Robert thanked Adrian before moving on to other business.

The Scottish Drugs Forum is giving free training on the identification of personnel who may be using substances.

Minutes: 20th of September 2018 – Building and Civil Engineering

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There were 18 members and guests present. Roddie McLean introduced Nicola Sinclair and Andrew Percy Business Development from Building and Civil Engineering (B&CE).

B&CE have been around since 1972 and are familiar to the Construction industry for their work with holiday pay and the Peoples Pension. A not-for-profit organisation B&CE believe they are saving time and effort for workers as well as organisations. Each employee pays a bit into a pension pot, employers pay in some more and tax relief is added too.  B&CE then invest it. Lots of changes over the years with the removal of National insurance concessions which assisted with access to pensions, accident and life insurance and NI free holidays (old stamp Card).

Holiday stamps and cards were revoked with the Government introduction of the Working Time Directive (WTD) because they couldn’t have stamps for all the different rates of pay that everybody was on; i.e. if you were a labourer taking holidays you were benefiting, and craftsmen were losing out because the stamp was one value. NI Concessions were revoked because of the introduction of Automatic enrolment on Pension Schemes in 2012/2013. When the WTD was introduced B&CE went computer based and work with the system they have now.

B&CE are now moving into the OH area with the ethos being to protect individual workers through ensuring they have access to occupational health services.

B&CE is working to improve the health of the construction industry by developing a new product to make it easier for employers to comply with health and safety legislation and identify work-related illnesses earlier. They are finding it difficult to explain to the Industry the difference between Occupational Health, Health Surveillance and general Wellbeing and are keen to hear the view of the Group to help to better explain this to the industry and help in the development of the system to help build a better OH solution.

In 2016 B&CE acquired Constructing Better Health (CBH) and to understand what the construction industry required, they engaged with employers, construction workers, industry representatives and occupational health service providers and found a lack of understanding about what occupational health is and how it should be managed.

Safety would seem to be shouted about and Health is whispered about and particularly in our industry, B&CE want Health to be equal to safety.

Occupational Health Surveillance – The effect of work on health, things people are exposed to i.e. HAVs, noise induced hearing loss, asthma, eczema, dermatitis, cancers i.e. Mesothelioma and silicosis.

The effect of health on work; People that come to work with health issues e.g. diabetes and epilepsy these need to be advised on to assist companies in managing the work they do. A pocket of employers do Health Assessments with everybody and in some cases, this is not required, some employers do assessments with some people but it’s not consistent and some employers do nothing. Some employers are putting everyone through face to face assessments annually, but this also is not necessarily required on a face to face basis annually. Duplicate medicals and the lack of a health records means that workers aren’t getting a consistent and effective overview of their health. This has not been helped by the CBH Matrix which was based on a role-based model and not the risk the individual is exposed to. Occupational health surveillance framework research has found the role-based approach is very confusing and means workers’ get repeat medicals unnecessarily. This needs to change

The B&CE occupational health management scheme will catch the symptoms of ill health earlier and make it easier for employers to understand and comply with health and safety legislation by developing a simple end-to-end solution for managing occupational health in construction. An overview of an individual’s health via Apps ensures each worker can keep in touch with their own health over their working lives and carry their records with them from job to job.

This section of the meeting raised several questions and good discussions with the group and the presenters. Primarily dealing with the worker not being totally honest with their answers in fear that they could loses their position/job.

Data Security – Under the new occupational health management scheme, the employer will only have access to the information they need to see to comply with their obligations under legislation and not necessarily what they want to see as it is not relevant to the employer therefore employers will not be able to see all details of an individual’s health data. Permissions will vary dependant on role, i.e. OHP will be able to see more than employers, the BIG plus is for the individual concerned who owns their complete record.

The current CBH scheme will still operate while B&CE build the new occupational health scheme. Its believed the aims and principles of CBH were right, but it didn’t achieve what the industry required, and the fee structure wasn’t representing good value for money. B&CE intend to offer a price reduction as the new occupational health scheme is developed. Existing members will be eligible for the reduced rate at their next renewal.

B&CE has launched a pilot group of 18 companies to help develop the new product and are keen for any company wishing to participate to contact them. A new pilot group will commence in 2019.

Download the BCE presentation (pdf)

Roddy McLean thanked Nicola and Andrew for their presentation before moving on to other business.

Any Other Business

Nothing raised.

Next Meeting

18th October 2018


Minutes: 24th of May 2018 – HSE Update

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There were 18 members and guests present.

Roddy introduced Robbie Clark a visiting officer from the HSE who showed a short video presentation covering the following prosecutions:

A dumper overturned resulting in a fatality due to the lack of a stop block to prevent the vehicle going over the edge. Some of the material had been removed leaving a vertical face. There should have been better supervision, a bunded edge and stop blocks.

HSE had visited premises on a number of occasions and found inadequate control of hardwood dust which causes lung disease in many employees every year.

A scaffold contractor did not address falling through a fragile roof, no guard rails were in place.

An investigation is ongoing after a section of a multi-storey car park collapsed during repair work.

A panel struck a workman during a lifting operation as the stability of the panel had not been adequately considered.

A director was prosecuted after he was seen working from a pallet suspended from a forklift whilst he and another were stripping a roof.

The video then listed the recent prosecutions relating to the construction industry where sentences ranged from fines to imprisonment.

Visiting officers have since the 3rd of April been empowered to apply fee for intervention charges on identification of a material breach as well as any follow up work such as taking statements, site visits etc. The visiting officer will not be making the decision about the material breach and will not write the notice of contravention.

Roddy thanked Robbie before introducing Mark Carroll a Construction Inspector from Glasgow who gave a presentation on the action plan for the year. The focus will be on:

  • promoting broader ownership of H&S in the UK by leading and engaging with others
  • supporting small employers
  • tackling ill health
  • simplifying risk
  • keeping pace with change and
  • sharing success throughout the world

There will be around 9,000 risk based pro-active inspections; a refurbishment campaign at the end of June beginning of July; a health campaign in October; two London inspection campaigns looking at refurbishment with assistance for inspectors from all over the UK; 240 asbestos licence assessments as well as 1,000 asbestos site inspections; 20 inspections of architects who offer Principal Designer services and effective tracking back to clients, Principal Designers and Designers.

The HSE will also be driving operational efficiency and effectiveness as well as investing in their people and capability to help them sustain regulatory excellence whilst growing their commercial and externally funded activities. They will be carrying out assurance /inspection audit for the Dubai Expo 2000. Assistance will be provided to Police Scotland and other bodies. Construction guidance documents are being reviewed and updated and a report will be produced based on the MSD in construction inspection programme. A research programme in to potential issues relating to off site construction methods is being carried out.

A target has been set to ensure 90% of fatal and non- fatal investigations are completed within 12 months of the incident and 75% of concerns raised will be followed up within 21 days or investigated within 4 months. Visiting Officers will have 60 visits using the CHeRT toolkit as well as continuing their work with SHAD’s. Two SHAD’s are programmed for this year the first in September will focus on dust suppression techniques, people / plant interface. MSD and HAVS as well as stress. The second SHAD will be in Lochgilphead on the 17th of October where the focus will be on work at height, construction dust, asbestos, stress and manual handling.

During site visits the following problems which appear every year were found:

  • Unsafe excavations with poor support
  • Poor people plant interfaces
  • Untidy sites
  • Access and scaffold issues
  • Unsafe work at height
  • Lack of suitable welfare facilities
  • COSHH with respect to powered cutting of timber, tiles and stone

Mark then showed photographs firstly of workmen in an unsupported excavation followed by a slide showing the supported work which generated a lot of discussion but did demonstrate the breaches of reg 22 of CDM. Secondly of poor order on site demonstrating breaches of reg 18 of CDM and finally of an incident where roof trusses fell from a lorry whilst being unloaded. The trusses had been secured on the lorry the previous day before being delivered to site. It is thought that as there was a strong overnight wind and the transport to site had caused the trusses to move cutting through one of the straps.

Minutes: 19th of April 2018 – Workplace Drug Screening

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There were 24 members and guests present. Bob introduced Professor Nick Bateman from the University of Edinburgh who practiced as a medical toxicologist.

The UK National Poisons Information Service (UK- NPIS) gathers information on poisonings in the UK and provides information on antidotes through TOXBASE. The organisation has undergone a number of reviews over the years and provides a 24 hour on call service for hospitals etc. The database has approximately 600,000 accesses per annum, 50,000 of which are via telephone. Most poisonings are deliberate and are one of the commonest reasons for attendance at hospital.The most common drugs giving problems are Paracetamol (99584), Ibuprofen (27675), Sertraline (25524) and Diazepam ((23913) compared with the top queries on drugs of misuse being Cocaine (11662), MDMA (10421) Cannabis (5317) and Unknown drugs (4080). Contacts relating to codeine are increasing and those for heroin are falling with contacts for MDMA being generally static. Contacts relating to branded products such as bath slats and plant food are falling although it is amazing what people buy.

UK-NPIS breaks drugs in to various classifications

  • Drugs of misuse – controlled by the Home Office
  • Prescription only drugs – controlled by European law and licenced by the UK MHRA
  • Over the counter drugs sold in pharmacies and supermarkets etc.
  • Chemicals with actions e.g. legal ethanol although this is tightly controlled but not under drug abuse legislation
  • Herbs and mushrooms with actions on the brain

Internet sales allow the purchase of some products from outside the UK

There are three sub-categories of drugs of abuse, these are stimulants (uppers) such as amphetamines, cocaine and MDMA; depressants (downers) such as opiates, benzodiazepines and GHB and hallucinogens (mind benders) such as phenycyclidine (PCP) and LSD. These all work on different receptors by either stimulation or inhibition of the receptors. The drugs react and change in the body e.g. codeine changes to form morphine in the body dependent on blood concentration. The best medium for measuring for drugs is the blood. To work in the body drugs have to be fat soluble and it takes time for them to act as they are absorbed via the small bowel. They then go through a change process to form metabolites in the liver before excretion through the kidneys. The elimination rate depends on the chemical complexity of the drug with for example ethanol being a far simpler compound than THC. The complexity of the drug allows checks to be carried out for longer on some substances. Some graphs deteriorate in a linear fashion whilst others break down based on a doubling of time with it generally being accepted that after five half-lives the drug is gone. One unit of alcohol contains 10ml (8g) of ethanol and equates to 25ml of 40% whisky. The breakdown of ethanol is based on you and your size and can vary by a factor of four. For a man weighing 100kg the legal amount of alcohol (Scotland) equates to 30g or 37.5ml in the blood, for women and smaller men the amount is less. The blood alcohol rate is easiest to compare as the urine limit is a threshold based on water consumption.

Accident rates at different BAC levels

State Normal BAC = 0.03% =40mg/l BAC+0.06% = 80mg/l BAC =0.09%
Accident rate 1.51% 5.22% 6.96% 8.7%

Alcohol can effect attention levels and different personality types can also change the effects. The effects of some drugs last for longer.

Drug screening can detect the drugs for longer for example in urine testing heroin can be detected for 2 days, cannabinoids single use 2 – 7 days; prolonged chronic use more than 1 month; methadone 3 days, methamphetamine up to 2 days. Drug testing of employees requires their consent and is normally a contract condition. Employers should limit the testing to those that need testing, carry out random testing and not single out individuals. Problems relating to testing include that it does not demonstrate loss of competence e.g. during the Second World War pilots were given amphetamines. Multiple agents may have been taken which are not screened for in particular prescription drugs and GHB cannot be detected. Most of the screening kits test for a set of chemicals which are indicated at above a certain level and all need back-up samples to confirm the result. Assessing competence of individuals requires a separate set of tools.

To contact Nick the email address is email hidden; JavaScript is required


Bob thanked Nick for the presentation before moving on to other business.

Billy O’Hare of Caledonian University is carrying out an IOSH funded research project in to designers understanding of issues relating to CDM. He requires pictures or video clips of relevant subjects. The information can be anonymised. Any other information on designers issues would be useful.

More information can be found on the Group website http://www.scottishconstructionsafetygroup.org.uk/ .

Dates of forthcoming meetings are

24/5/18 HSE review of the year and general information

Minutes: 22nd of March 2018 – Loading Low Loaders

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There were 12 members and guests present. Bob Introduced Stephen Forde of Forde Training Services who was presenting on the topic of CPCS Loader Securer A50 category.

Stephen described how he would be covering the theory, testing and observing of the requisite skills related to loading and securing of construction plant for transportation. Whilst regrettable, it is Stephen’s experience that there is very poor application of adequate securing during transportation and it causes him some considerable concern to see inadequate securing down of plant when being driven on the public roads. This despite there being knowledgeable regulators for road transportation in the form of Traffic Police officers and Vehicle Operators and Standards Agency (VOSA) enforcement. The penalty for the transport driver having an unsecured or lost load will likely result in a fine and 6 points on their license.

The category loader securer does not include the driving on to a vehicle or trailer of the items of plant – there are a number of categories developed (A68*) for Plant driving – non-operational (for fitters etc.) and Loading /Unloading. The positioning of the item of plant on to the vehicle can be carried out by the transport driver or by the plant operator. In some respects it may be preferable for the plant operator to do so but the vehicle or trailer needs to be correctly positioned by the driver and suitable for the item being loaded.

There is a requirement to complete the VQ to gain the full CPCS Competent Operator Card (Blue) for Loader/Securer A50/A49.

To receive the initial Red CPCS Trained Operator Card candidates must pass both the CITB H&S Test (within the last 2 years) and the CPCS Theory Test and the Practical Test.

There are theory tests for A50 Loader Securer STGO [Special Types General Order – relates to vehicles with outsize loads etc.] and A49 Loader Securer (non STGO). A50 comprises 86 questions and A49 has 79**.

To carry out the training / assessment there are resources required which would include multiple items of plant, sufficient space and a vehicle on to which the items of plant can be loaded. The space required needs to be sufficient for the vehicle in use to safely manoeuvre and be parked and deploy ramps etc. as well as allowing space for the items of plant to be operated and driven onto the transport vehicle. There will need to be a trained operator for the items of plant – either full category or A68 Plant Driving and there may be requirement for a Plant and Vehicle Marshal dependent on the size of the item of plant and the visibility for the operator – many items of plant may not allow sight of vehicle access ramps nor position on trailer bed etc.

Chains and accessories etc. suitable for securing the items of plant to the transport vehicle are required. The candidate must demonstrate the ability to secure different types of plant to the transport vehicle – including positioning and securing hydraulic booms, rigid or articulated chassis plant (articulated must be witnessed to be locked for transportation), tracked and wheeled items as well as folding away of roll bars (ROPS) on dumpers. The number and type of securing chains / attachments needs to be compatible with the item of plant and the vehicle it is being secured to. Attachments points on items of plant are identified in the manufacturers’ information which must be available to the securer. The attachment points on the transport vehicle also need to be clearly understood. Any winches and remote controls need to be functional and certificated. A candidate cannot be assessed unless witnessed successfully and correctly securing different items of plant. Loading and securing of multiple items on one vehicle is also assessed and all items need to be properly loaded and secured for transportation on the road. For the A50 category the items to be witnessed include a tracked and wheeled items of plant over 10t and a roller over 10t.

The overall content includes:- Understanding their role and responsibilities as a loader/securer; types of transporter vehicles  controls and terminology; requirements of the operator’s handbook and other information; relevant regulations and legislation; understand legislative requirements for transporting loads on the highway / Road Traffic Act; route planning – access or height restrictions; pre-use checks including ascertaining height of load, overhangs and warnings etc.; preparing for public road use, loaded and unloaded; preparing for plant loading and unloading; deploy vehicle access ramps and edge protection (where fitted); understanding hazard controls; communication; load or direct the loading of different items of plant; secure and prepare for travel on the public highway; move the transporter loaded and unloaded; unload or direct the unloading of items of plant; check and stow securing equipment; stow access ramps; park the transporter.

Common hazards associated with loading and unloading and securing plant include the movements which can occur when ascending a vehicle ramp(s) and reaching the break point and the potential for tracked items to lurch. The potential for metal to metal allowing slips when loading metal tracked items or steel drummed rollers. The angle of incline of the access ramp in the context of the operational parameters of the item of plant – beaver tail type vehicles may have ramps steeper than a ride on twin drum roller can ascend. The means of getting from the operators position on the item of plant down to ground level. Interface with site operations or interface with the public when loading at the roadside.

*A68 Plant driving – non-operational driving categories

  • E: Tracked boom equipped – all sizes – non-operational only
  • F: Tracked boom equipped – all sizes – loading/ unloading
  • I: Tracked (blade/ shovel) – all sizes – non-operational only
  • J: Tracked (blade/ shovel) – all sizes – loading/ unloading
  • M: Wheeled articulated chassis – all sizes – non-operational only
  • N: Wheeled articulated chassis – all sizes – loading/ unloading
  • Q: Wheeled rigid chassis – all sizes – non-operational only
  • R: Wheeled rigid chassis – all sizes – loading/ unloading
  • S: Non-operational ride on roller
  • T: Loading/ unloading ride on roller

Loading / Unloading endorsement has the higher status, the test for these categories include 72 questions & Non-Operational 48 questions.

** https://www.citb.co.uk/documents/cards_and_testing/cpcs/support_materials/category_specific/cpcs_theory_test_question_a41_to_a78_inc_d90_to_d92.pdf

The group thanked Stephen for his presentation and information.

Bob highlighted Workers Memorial Day on 28th April and CECA’s Stop Make A Change campaign.  The next meeting will be on 19th April.

Minutes: 15th of February 2018 – CITB Update

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Plant Driving Information

There were 31 members and guests present. Roddy McLean introduced Ritchie McRae from the HSE who was giving a short update.

Ritchie began by advising that the Asbestos Licencing Group memo 03/12 gives guidance on the removal of soffits which advises that where practicable full negative pressure enclosures should be used when removing AIB.  Where this is not reasonably practicable, and of short duration or low level work, then work can be done under partial enclosure.  However, the minutes of a recent ALG Technical Working Group meeting appears to indicate that full enclosure will be expected for single or low level buildings and/or any building where the soffit will be difficult to remove or will break up.  The emergence of this second document is causing some confusion within the industry.  Ritchie advised that the existing ALG memo remains as the recognised guidance, and the Technical Working Group minutes appears to be up for further discussion.

The fatal accident inquiry has been concluded in to the fatality at the Queensferry Crossing where a fly jib on a crawler crane became detached whilst trying to repair a leaking hydraulic hose and crushed an employee of the project. The crane was hired and the hire company were making a repair but the fitter who had been with the company for 18 months had no experience with fly jibs. The employee, a foreman, who was killed had a lot of experience in general mechanical maintenance but not with cranes or fly jibs. The hose was the bottom one in a bank of three and was very close to the one immediately above it. The fly jib prevented access to the connection. The foreman went to assist the fitter and they, together with the crane operator lowered the crane’s telescopic boom in order to move the fly jib which obstructed access to the hose couplings, this caused a major hydraulic leak. The crane driver then went to clean up the hydraulic oil. The fly jib is held in position by two pins.  To swing the jib the pins have to be released and reinstalled in sequence and it was during this operation that the fly jib dropped killing the foreman. The pins should have been 25mm dia in 26mm holes however the central pin which was slightly bent was 19mm dia in a 23mm dia hole.

The inquiry was advised that the method of moving the fly jib was an industry standard operation but this standard was not followed. The inquiry looked at who had removed the pin out of sequence and concluded it could only have been the foreman, that the fitter played no part in this activity and that his lack of training and experience were therefore irrelevant.  The inquiry was also satisfied that the dimensions and condition of the central pin was not a contributory factor. The inquiry recommended that the BSI should be advised of the incident so that a warning could be given and a warning should be attached to the pins.

Roddy thanked Ritchie before introducing John Bissett who was giving an update on the CITB.

John began by advising the meeting that the final decision on details had not yet been made but his presentation had a high probability of being generally correct. 2018 Grant information has already been sent to companies. The systems being adopted will take the CITB back to its roots in promoting careers, providing standards and qualifications and encouraging training and development through targeted funding. The changes will hopefully simplify the system. It will continue with apprentice support, research work and to influence and engage on the industries behalf.

The CITB has always had to balance many topics to satisfy the industry and initially was only intended to provide training where it wasn’t otherwise available. The direct delivery of training had become part of the core but this is being re-evaluated and will be pulled back over the coming years. It is hoped that the training centres will be sold off as going concerns or others will be able to take on the training done there.

In other areas of CITB, Cskills Awards has been successfully sold off with no hitches. CITB is now looking to outsource various administrative functions including HR and marketing. The administration of the card schemes will also move away from the CITB.

CITB will work with providers and contractors to set up a quality assessed network of Approved Training Providers delivering standardised programmes through an online course Directory. Training will also be recorded on a new Construction Training Register.

Cskills Awards has been successfully sold off with no hitches. CITB is now looking to outsource various administrative functions including HR and marketing. The administration of the card schemes will also move away from the CITB.

Development of the training standards is well underway. There was a consultation which closed in December which delivered the first batch of courses, this consultation covered the content, tutor capabilities etc. to ensure a constant standard. To ensure that the standards are maintained will probably require a new management scheme. Approved Training Organisations ATO’s (either in-house or external providers) will be audited by the CITB although generally this audit will be a desktop exercise but there will be some site visits.

Short duration training grants rates will also be changing and will only be paid for approved courses. In general, only courses directly related to construction will be funded e.g. first aid course (standard for all industries) will not be funded. There will be a transition period before only ATO’s and approved courses will be able to be grant funded, a flow chart is available to explain grant levels. The overall grant scheme will have a strong focus on the long term upskilling of the industry and new entrant.


The Site Safe suite will continue as they are. – It is hoped that may be focus groups in Scotland to assist in future development.

Is consultation still ongoing – closed for released courses but welcome on others and future. Info on CITB Website.

There are CITB Employer Forums running in March

  • 27/3 Dundee
  • 28/3 Glasgow
  • 29/3 Inverness

The cost to become an ATO is £750 per commercial organisation. There is no charge for companies wishing to apply for ATO status for internal training but will also require a management system to ensure training standards are met.

Additional Resources

Download CITB Weblinks Document

A68 Plant Driving Information

Did you know about A68 Plant Driving Category as part of the CPCS Scheme??

This category is ideal for Mechanics/Fitters and Low Loader Operators. By obtaining a CPCS card for category A68 they can demonstrate their competence in the safe operation of the plant machinery for a limited number of no load activities such as basic moving, loading and unloading plant from the transport vehicle including movement of the plant on slopes and over rough terrain.

Once the Red card is achieved within the two year life span of the card all they need to do is fill in the Competence Assessment Form to prove the minimum 30hours of operating and they can apply for the blue card. No EWPAR/OSAT is required.

Further details about the tests itself can be found Here

We at the National Construction College can offer these tests at our facilities or the comfort of your own site providing you meet the requirements at just £500 per delegate. (This offer limited to the theory element and up to four practical’s)

Grant is available providing you are eligible click Here for further details


Minutes: 18 of January 2018 – Legal Update

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There were 21 members and guests present.

Roddy McLean introduced Katherine Metcalfe a Senior Associate with Pinsent Masons who was giving a legal update.

Katherine began by advising the meeting that she works with the health and safety team and has worked with Pinsent Masons for five years with a two year break when she worked for the fire brigade.

The sentencing guidelines for E&W apply to organisations and individuals in the H&S and food sectors, the guidelines also apply to corporate manslaughter. They are based on turnover, culpability and level of harm risked and since coming in to force the number of fines over £1 million has increased to 23 with the average being just under £700,000. Levels of fines are set out for varying sizes of company however for those companies with a turnover in excess of £50 million the courts have to decide on the level of fine. In Scotland the recent case appealed by Scottish Power Generation showed that the guidelines could be used in Scotland but “not in a mechanistic or formulaic fashion” and that the “guidelines… will often produce a useful check”. Courts in Scotland should make their own assessment based on precedent. As the procurator fiscal and defence teams don’t mention categories the Courts need to make their own decision.

In E&W there is a consultation document examining the reduction in sentences for early guilty pleas although only minor changes are expected. In Scotland any reduction is based on the sheriff or judges discretion although guidelines would be useful. A further consultation is examining the sentences for gross negligence manslaughter where it is expected that sentences would increase e.g. in the Siday case where a director was sentenced to 3 years and 3 months and a safety advisor was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment sentences are likely to increase to 8 and 5 years respectively. The maximum sentence proposed is 18 years for the most serious offences. This change may impact on Section 37 prosecutions as well as impacting on Scottish sentences.

In Scotland the Principles and Purposes of Consultation document was posted; this document was prepared after extensive research and is based on fairness and proportionality. Initially this is examining death by driving and environmental crime although it can be expected to examine health and safety in the future. Similar offences should be treated equally and sentences should be no more severe than necessary with guidance being given on why the sentence was applied.

Katherine then went on to review some recent cases including that against G4S where an employee contracted legionella although it could not be shown that the disease was caused by G4S. The company had inadequate policies, monitoring and testing with poorly trained staff together with badly damaged water systems. Resulting in a £1.8 million pound fine. Kier were prosecuted for an incident near Lidgate where a worker was found lying in the road during a planing operation where the normal traffic was controlled by traffic lights. The cause of the accident was unclear however Kier were fined £1.8 million plus costs of £12,000 for failing to design and plan the roadworks (no safety zone or speed limit). Sean Hegarty (sub-contractor) was fined £75,000 plus £12,000 costs.

Tata Steel was fined £1.9 million for two offences of failing to guard machinery and failing to comply with an Improvement Notice. The fine was reduced to £1.5 million due to wrong categorisation and it was found that the Court was entitled to take account of the support being provided by the parent company. Tesco were fined £5 million for a H&S offence and £3 million for an environmental offence when it was found that 23,500 litres of petrol had leaked and entered the sewage system due to issues with fuel delivery and emergency procedures. Nearby residents had suffered from headaches and sickness which influenced the level of fine. A tipper driver was given 240 hours community service after reversing over a worker sealing joints on the M8 the driver had also reversed in to a live traffic lane.

Fee for Intervention was covered in the presentation where Katherine explained the process and advised the meeting that the amount of money recovered wasn’t as high as expected. The most recent figures are that the recovery was £14.6 million with the HSE receiving £11 million although administration costs were very high despite most companies paying. OCS challenged the process due to the lack of independence during the appeals process and a judicial review was to be held but before the case came to court the HSE outlined plans to consult on the appeal process, settled out of court with OCS, withdrew the notices served and paid expenses. The new process has a disputes panel consisting of a lawyer as chair and two lay persons as members. The HSE chooses the chair and organises the meeting date with only written submissions being permitted. If there is no resolution the HSE will take the case to court where all the evidence can be heard. There is no cost associated with the initial dispute process.

Chevron recently appealed a prohibition Notice serviced on an offshore installation when an inspector identified corrosion on the treads of a stairway. He carried out a test using a fire axe which penetrated the steel. After receipt of the notice Chevron tested the stairway and all sections passed the BS test. At the appeal the tribunal found that they could take in to account evidence not available to the inspector at the time. HSE further appealed and lost and the case is now with the Supreme Court.

Fire safety post Grenfell has a number of reviews ongoing that will likely make revisions to standards in E&W which are likely to impact on Scottish standards. It is possible that the E&W regulations will based on the process laid out in the CDM regulations. It would appear that a competence gap has been identified around those carrying out fire risk assessments.

Roddy thanked Katherine for her presentation before introducing the acting Principal Inspector of the HSE Kerry Elliot.

Kerry advised the meeting that Isabelle Martin has now joined the hazardous Installations division. Sarah Shore has taken over from Iain Brodie who is now the Regional Director, Sarah is based in Leeds. In Edinburgh there are now 2 inspectors and two trainees who mainly focus on reactive work, however other FOD inspectors are supplementing the construction sector. The work plan is similar to last year with small sites being a particular area of attention.

There was no other business.

Minutes: 23rd of November 2017 – Data Protection Update from Information Commissioners Office

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There were 19 members and guests present.

Robert Bradford introduced David Freeland a senior policy officer with the Information Commissioners office (ICO) who has been employed by the ICO for almost 5 years. David was giving a presentation on the management of personal and sensitive data due to the changes being implemented by the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) as laid down by the EU.

David began by advising that ICO is based in Manchester and has around 500 staff, there role is mainly to provide guidance, deal with data subject complaints and monitor, enforce and enforce data protection law. They can carry out audits, issue reprimands, order compliance, ban or limit processing and have powers of access. Results of audits are posted on the ICO website however the report is only posted with the written approval of the auditee. If approval is not given then this is stated on the web site. After the introduction of GDPR in May fines will increase to £20,000,000 or 4% of global turnover whichever is greater, although it should be noted that currently very few cases are taken to court.

The GDPR will be adopted by the UK and that the UK regulations were currently going through parliament. The new GDPR is an evolution on the existing Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) which was a development of the 1984 Act. The changes mainly relate to the control of online personal information. If companies are following the practices set out in the DPA there should be little change required but they should regularly review the ICO web pages for further information and guidance. The regulations deal with personal information whether in manual or electronic form; personal information is any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person. Special categories of personal information include race / ethnicity, political opinion, religious or philosophical belief, trade union membership, physical or mental health, genetic or biometric, and sexual life or orientation. Criminal convictions are also covered but not as a special category.

The management of data is the responsibility of the data controller, this post may be an organisation. The data controller is the person / organisation that decides on the purpose and means of processing the information. The data processors are people / companies employed by the data controller to do something with the personal data (the data controller makes all decisions on the actions, an example would be the outsourcing of payroll runs).

There are now six data protection principles (down from eight although the topics are all still covered.

  1. Personal data shall be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner see https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/privacy-notices-transparency-and-control/
  2. Collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes. There can be more than one purpose and anonymised information can be used e.g. for research purposes
  3. Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed, make sure what is being asked is all relevant. If the information is not accurate then it should either be deleted or updated
  4. Accurate and where necessary kept up to date. If the purpose has been fulfilled then the information should no longer be kept but consider insurance, legal and best practice requirements.
  5. Kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which personal data are processed. It may be necessary to make a business case for keeping information longer than necessary e.g. for keeping health information for research purposes.
  6. Processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data. The security arrangements will be based on the nature of the data, harm level, amount etc. Security should be provided for paper records and personnel should be trained in all security arrangements based on company procedures. If the information is required for a statutory purpose then consent is not required e.g. for health surveillance.

See https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/ for full information.

Consent to gather the information must be freely given, this can be broken down in to two parts:

  • Personal data – may be given verbally but a clear process must be followed
  • Sensitive data – explicit consent must be given

Further information can be found at https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-reform/overview-of-the-gdpr/key-areas-to-consider/ The processing must be necessary. The data controller must be responsible for and be able to demonstrate compliance with the regulations. When systems are being designed or updated the principles and problems should be considered, this planning must be formalized in to a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) Guidance can be found at : https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1595/pia-code-of-practice.pdf based on the DPA and at http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/document.cfm?doc_id=47711 for the GDPR it should be noted that the ICO will be publishing their own guidance on PIA’s in due course. (When preparing a PIA I would recommend telephoning the ICO for information they provide clear information and are very helpful RJ) The ICO produce various types of guidance generally in the form of Codes of Practice some of which have legal standing – check the initial pages for information.

When hiring a data processor a full audit should be undertaken to ensure that they are managing everything to meet the legal requirements, do not rely solely on compliance with certain standards. Draft guidance is available at https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/ico-and-stakeholder-consultations/consultation-on-gdpr-guidance-on-contracts-and-liabilities-between-controllers-and-processors/

Organisations with more than 250 employees must keep a record of their processing activities. Smaller organisations must do so if their data processing activities present a risk to individuals, is not occasional or includes special categories of data or criminal conviction data. It may be necessary to carry out an informal audit to determine what information you hold.

The record must include:

  • the name and contact details of the data controller (and the Data Protection Officer if one has been appointed)
  • A description of the categories of data subjects and the categories of personal data
  • The categories of recipients to whom the data have been or will be disclosed
  • Details of any transfers to countries outside the EEA or to international organisations
  • The time limits for erasure of the different categories of personal data
  • A general description of the security measures

Any significant security breach should be reported to the ICO within 72 hours; this time includes weekends and holidays and the document can be completed online. The ICO will provide guidance on notification of a breach and may investigate formally. A Data Protection Officer (DPO) is required where the core activities of the organisation include regular and systematic monitoring of a large number of people, or the core activities consist of the processing of a large amount of special category data (including criminal conviction data). A DPO can be a member of staff or could be a contracted service. But they must have a good working knowledge of data protection and how it applies to the business. The position would be inappropriate for IT or HR personnel

Companies should check that Data Processors hold their information in the European Economic Area or if they are working outside the EA ensure that additional precautions are in place for security. Thes additional controls should also apply to back up information. Some countries such as Norway, New Zealand etc. are exempt from the requirements due to the standards that they apply. See https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-reform/overview-of-the-gdpr/transfer-of-data/

Individuals have the right to know why the information is being gathered; have access to the information; right to data portability; right to have the information erased, restricted or rectified if incorrect; prevent automated decision making. If a request for a copy of the information is made it should be provided within one month.

There are many guidance documents on the ICO website https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guidance-index/data-protection-and-privacy-and-electronic-communications and they can be contacted by telephone on 0303 123 1113 (Manchester) or 0131 244 9001 (Edinburgh). A monthly newsletter containing updates can be found at https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-and-events/e-newsletter/

Download Presentation: Preparing for the New General Data Protection Regulations [PDF]

Download Presentation: Preparing for the New General Data Protection Regulations [PowerPoint]

Bob thanked David for his presentation. There was no other business.

Dates of forthcoming meetings are
18/1/18 Pinsent Mason – legal update
15/2/18 22/3/18 19/4/18 24/5/18
Topics including – lifting, occupational health (physicians view), toxicological information on drug and alcohol testing and fire risk assessment, will be matched to dates shortly.

Minutes: 19th of October 2017 – Mast Climbers

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There were 19 members and guests present.

Roddy Introduced Dennis O’Neill of SGB who was presenting on the topic of mast climbers (Download a copy of mast climbing work platforms presentation).
Dennis provided some background on the company of SGB which had been formed in 1916 as a scaffolding specialist and had grown and increased its range of access offerings to eventually include mast climbers. SGB is now an operating company within Harsco which is a global organisation.

Mast climbers are available as temporary or permanent installations and can be powered or manually operated. Available height is limited to 100m in the UK. Mast climbing work platforms have increased in popularity and usage with a particular increase in use for bricklaying operations due, in part, to recognition of the platform being well suited to providing an optimal working height for bricklayers as the height of the work increases thus reducing potential for Musculo Skeletal Disorders and Work Related Upper Limb Disorders. Aside from bricklaying mast climbers are also very well suited to cladding tasks; Rain screen installation and glazing operations.

The main configurations available are Single mast, double mast, mobile chassis and freestanding. Freestanding types are limited to 20m. For fixed mast types, the masts are fixed at predetermined intervals – typically at the floor slabs of the building. The loadings likely to be placed on the building are calculated and these loadings need to be acceptable to the building owner. Where the façade of the building steps in and out, ties of various lengths can be utilised to provide the necessary securing to the structure. In calculating the likely imposed loads the type of platform required will be dictated by a number of factors such as proposed task(s) and methodology. Available platform lengths are 3 to 13m for single mast, 8 to 30m for double masts although 30m is not commonly seen or used. Safe working loads range from 500 to 2000kg and 2 workers for single masts and 1000 to 5000kg and up to 4 workers for double masts. Vertical distances between ties can vary with first floor level typically being the first location and then can increase in spacing up to a likely maximum of 15m between ties. In relation to fixings to the structure, significant factors of safety are included in the design calculations and fixing specification and pull tests are carried out on additional redundant ties to a representative ten percent of the total number required. Operation in wind speeds of up to 28mph for single mast devices and 38.5mph for doubles. However there are some platforms which can operate beyond these speeds. There is considerable communication and site visits to ensure appropriate planning and selection of equipment.

In relation to point loadings on the platform, the greatest bearing capacity for these is close to the mast but must always be considered in the initial design and specification. It is vital to consider the bearing area at the base of the mast which is relatively small and the potential for services below ground which may be affected. Typical applications for mast climbers include multi storey buildings and bridges where traditional scaffold solutions may be prohibitively expensive or represent significantly increased time scales for assembly and removal. Novel solutions have been developed where there was no possibility of bearing onto adjacent structures or to the ground. Cantilevered brackets were designed and connected to the structure being worked upon and then the mast climber was installed above, and bearing onto these.

Masts can be inclined or declined where the structure is not vertical and the working platform be canted to maintain a level footing. The minimum clearance between the platform and the structure is 150mm and this is not considered a fall risk for personnel. Any gap of 250mm would need additional fall protection measures. For all mast climbing operations it is necessary to implement and maintain an exclusion zone below and extending 3m beyond the footprint of the platform. Where the platform is operating above accesses into buildings it is necessary to construct crash decks to protect those passing below the work area.

There are stringent training requirements for those assembling and installing mast climbing platforms to a formally documented scheme. There is also training for mast climber operators and users, in the UK this is typically IPAF. This training is supplemented by induction / familiarisation training for users at handover, additional visits can be arranged for subsequent users although these may be charged for. After installation and in use the platform represents a safe working platform with edge protection and therefore there is no requirement for harness wearing and use by those working from the platform. However some locations or premise controllers may have their own specific requirements which must be observed. In respect of routine checking there is a requirement for daily (user) checks pre use which will include edge protection, controls, ties etc. which will be visual or functional checks; Weekly more thorough checks may include checking tie fixings for security. It is considered good practice to record daily checks but is a requirement for weekly checks to be formally recorded and copies retained.

Routine and periodic maintenance can be at intervals determined by the likely exposure and possible deterioration of the installation – likely to be considerably shorter e.g. coastal locations where winds and salt air may cause issue. These factors will be considered during the specification / design stages and intervals will be specified by the manufacturer or supplier. This period is typically 6 weekly for SGB equipment. Thorough examinations will be carried out at intervals not exceeding 6 months. For thorough examinations at the installed location, there will be a handwritten handover certificate which will be followed up within 30 days of the full test certificate. All mast climbers are thoroughly examined when returned to the depot from hire locations.

Golden rules for mast climbers include – checking before every use – visual and functional; Always have a minimum of two workers on any platform to ensure ability for descent should one worker become unwell; Ensure that the safe working load is never exceeded; Always check there are no obstructions to operation – projections from the building etc.; Ensure that power supply cables are not snagged. Where manually controlled descent or brake release is required, care must be taken to lower slowly. Otherwise the over speed descent auto brake will engage which cannot be released by users. Mast climbers must not be used to transfer people from mast to structure or vice versa and must not be used as a hoist for materials other than those being installed directly from the platform. For larger components such as cladding and glazing, attachments are available which can assist in reducing manual handling.

Roddy thanked Dennis and introduced Nicola Mulvenna of the HSE who presented on some findings from the recent refurbishment intensive inspection campaign which took place between the 2nd and 13th of October (Download a copy of refurbishment inspection initiative presentation). The main locations visited by construction inspectors from the East of Scotland office included Edinburgh, Dunfermline, Dundee and Perth. Concentration was on smaller sites which typically were not notified via F10 and the campaign focussed significantly on health hazards. Some of the standards encountered varied from disappointing to shocking. 44 sites were visited by 3 inspectors and 66% of these received enforcement action.

Many instances of work at height were encountered where there were inadequate fall protection measures with instances of access ladders not secured, complete lack of edge protection / guard rails, no toeboards, inappropriate boards as work platforms, incomplete alloy towers and unprotected gaps between scaffold and the building. There were instances where there was no suitable access to sites and work areas for those working there. A question was asked from the floor about confirmation of corrective action, Nicola advised that there can be follow up checks but it is fairly simple in this day and age to have photographs submitted which show that issues have been corrected and that compliance has been demonstrated.

It appears clear from the concerns identified and practices observed that there seems to be a considerable lack of skills, knowledge, experience, and training in the small scale section of the industry.
The issue of Improvement notices appeared to be most common in relation to welfare issues including lack of provision of washing facilities. INs were also issued in relation to lack of supervision and management of works, lack of appropriate segregation between pedestrian and vehicles / plant. There was at least one Prohibition Notice issued due to a required asbestos survey not being available.

On some sites there was a lack of clarity or knowledge as to who was in charge or how to contact those in charge when they were known. There were some sites encountered where the attitude was actually ‘thank goodness you’ve turned up’. Overall there were some very low standards encountered and it appears that smaller sites are seriously in need of improvement. The next specific intensive inspection refurbishment campaign is planned for May 2018.

Roddy thanked Nicola and introduced Chris Steel a noise and vibration inspector of the HSE. Chris described his role as including providing information for field inspectors on the various aspects of recognising and controlling noise and vibration and guidance on what type of action should be taken when controls were not being effectively implemented. Hand breaking rather than pile cropping will likely result in a Prohibition Notice being issued. Under protection due to in-ear plugs not being properly inserted or lack of available hearing protection equipment could result in an Improvement Notice.

As with other hazards the aim in relation to noise and vibration should be to apply the hierarchy of controls with elimination of the hazard being the most favoured control. This can be by means such as ensuring good design information and being in possession of it early enough – BIM may help in terms of reducing potential for subsequent need to cut or break out; ensuring consideration of alternate methods – ensure you get what you specify such as surface mount rather than chasing out; cast in holes / inserts to reduce need for drilled fixings; alternative work methods such as chemical bursting rather than breaking.

The HSE expect there to have been consideration of alternative equipment or processes to reduce noise or vibration production. Purchasing policy will demonstrate an aim to replace equipment with better equipment in terms of noise and / or vibration and to place greater expectations on suppliers such as specifying built in isolation between the engine and the handle(s) to prevent users being subject to vibration or finding alternatives which don’t require the user to hold the tool directly – remote control equipment or jig or machine mounted tools.

Specific to noise the rule of thumb of having to shout at 2m distant or 1m distant were a reasonable indicator of the need to provide or enforce the use of hearing protection. Over ear protection may not necessarily be better than in-ear as seals can be compromised by the legs of glasses etc. If using protection then employers also need to carry out OH surveillance to ensure that the equipment is protecting the worker(s).

In relation to Hand Arm Vibration, employers should be estimating usage and considering probable magnitudes based on available information and making reasonable estimation as to whether the supplied information is credible. HSE have some online resources which can assist.

Tool maintenance and job rotation are important controls to protect workers. Whilst there are some claimed protections available via anti vibration gloves it is a complex area to try and prove what protection might be given, gloves do however help circulation by assisting in keeping hands warm.
Dates of forthcoming meetings are
23/11/17 Information Commissioners Office – Data Protection
18/1/18 15/2/18 22/3/18 19/4/18 24/5/18
Topics including – lifting, legal update, occupational health (physicians view), toxicological information on drug and alcohol testing and fire risk assessment, will be matched to dates shortly.