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.