HQN Health and Safety Network News

SAFETYnet-news

The Health and Safety Network (SAFETYnet) routinely looks over the biggest and most relevant news stories, reports and publications of the past few days for members, while providing relevant analysis and comment.

For more expert analysis, briefings and best practice for those involved in the safety of residents and employees, be sure to join SAFETYnet. You can find out more here.

Home Office call for evidence on the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

This call for evidence seeks views and evidence on the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 for England in workplaces and the parts used in common in multi-occupied residential buildings.

The government is seeking feedback on the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – the Fire Safety Order – which regulates fire safety in non-domestic premises.

This call for evidence is the first step to update the evidence base to ensure that the Fire Safety Order is fit for purpose for all regulated premises. We would like to hear from enforcing authorities, fire safety professionals, those who are regulated by the order and those whose safety must be considered under the order.

For workplaces, this includes employers and employees; for the parts used in common in residential buildings, this includes landlords, managing agents and residents.

The call for evidence complements the government’s consultation, Building a Safer Future: Proposals for reform in the building safety regulatory system. Both the consultation and call for evidence are important steps in the government’s programme of work to reform the building regulations and fire safety system, making sure that people are safe, and feel safe, now and in the future.

Responses to the call for evidence will be used to assess any changes that may be needed and how they may be best achieved to ensure high and proportionate standards of fire safety in all buildings covered by the order.

This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 31 July 2019

ALL information and documentation as well as the link for the online response can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-regulatory-reform-fire-safety-order-2005-call-for-evidence

Construction company and director fined for unsafe removal of asbestos

A construction company and its director have been fined after failing to ensure the safe removal of asbestos during demolition work.

Greater Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how Sherwood Homes Limited was the client responsible for the demolition of Crowton Mill in Northwich. Peter Kiely was a director of the company when the results of an asbestos survey conducted in January 2017 were received that identified the presence of asbestos containing materials on the site. The extra work required to remove the asbestos increased the estimated costs and timescale for the completion of the demolition.

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Sherwood Homes Limited failed to ensure suitable contractors were used to carry out the asbestos removal work and demolition of the mill in February 2017. No record of a notification to HSE to remove asbestos had been received for the site. No details of how the asbestos containing materials were removed or how they were disposed were provided to HSE.

Sherwood Homes Limited have had previous enforcement by HSE, including a prosecution in 2018 in relation to their role as a construction client.

Sherwood Homes Limited of Houldsworth Street, Stockport was found guilty to breaching regulation 4(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £170,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,406.

Company director Peter Kiely of Bolton, pleaded guilty to breaching section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, in relation to the company’s failing of regulation 4(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. Peter Kiely was fined £6,500 and ordered to pay costs of £7000.

Read the full story here.

Two companies fined after floor layer fatally exposed to toxic substance

A supplier and a flooring company have both been sentenced following the death of a floor layer in London.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that on 4 September 2015, 30-year-old Paul Tilcock was found deceased by the owner of house in Mitcham on the bathroom floor. The adhesive used to fix the flooring contained a large amount of toxic substance.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that T Brown Group Ltd had not implemented any systems or procedures adequately to control the risks to its employees from working in an enclosed space with a substance known to be hazardous to health, namely dichloromethane. The decision on whether to wear respiratory protection (face masks) or on what type of respiratory protection should be used was left up to employees. When Mr Tilcock’s body was found he was wearing a completely ineffectual face mask.

Altro Limited, the flooring company who supplied the adhesive, was found not to have ensured so far as reasonably practicable that the product supplied was safe to use at all times

T Brown Group Ltd of High Street, Ewell, Surrey pleaded guilty to a breach under Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £250,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £23,936.

Altro Limited of Works Road, Letchworth, Herts pleaded guilty to a breach under Section 6 (4) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £34,773.

Read the full story here.

Care Home fined after resident died from complications after eating chlorine tablets

A care home operator has been fined £270,000, after a resident of Lomond Court Care Home, Glenrothes, Fife (who suffered symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease) put chlorine tablets in his mouth and chewed them, leading to his death.

Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court heard how on 4 August 2015 a delivery of cleaning products was made to Lomond Court. These were left unattended in a corridor, in an unsealed box. In that box was a tub containing chlorine tablets which were unwrapped, about the size of a 10 pence piece, white and similar in appearance to mints. Staff found the resident, 72-year-old James McConnell, distressed and in pain, close to where the cleaning products had been left. There was a white tablet on the floor next to him and at least one tablet in his mouth. The tub of chlorine tablets was lying open and three of the 200 tablets were missing. Mr McDonnell sustained an injury to his mouth and tongue as well as vomiting. As a result, he developed aspiration pneumonia, complications of which led to his death.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that prior to Mr McConnell’s death, the company had failed to assess the risk posed by several chemical products (including the chlorine tablets). They also failed to have an adequate system of work to manage deliveries of chemical products or to have an appropriate review procedure in place for the delivery arrangements of the chemical products for a period of two years

HC-ONE Limited of Southgate House, Archer Street, Darlington, County Durham, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 3(1) and 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and fined £270,000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Garry Miller said “This distressing incident confirms the need for anyone handling potentially harmful substances to be extra vigilant in ensuring that they are not left unattended in circumstances where vulnerable people in their care can gain access to them.

“Suitable procedures need to be put in place and then regularly checked to ensure that they are being followed by everyone, not just for the use of such substances, but also for their delivery, storage and disposal.”

Read the full story here.

NHS Trust sentenced after employees and contractors exposed to Asbestos during refurbishment work

Whilst we appreciate that this is an NHS Trust there are similarities to the work that could be undertaken by those in the Social Housing Sector.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has been fined after refurbishment work undertaken in an accommodation block at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital exposed Trust employees and contractors to asbestos. Telford Magistrates’ Court heard how in June 2012 Trust employees were removing fixtures and fittings from the empty flat when they disturbed asbestos containing materials (ACMs). The Trust then failed to take adequate measures to deal with the initial release of asbestos, exposing other contractors who later worked in the flat.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the Trust did not properly record ACM on their estate; they had arrangements in place to manage asbestos, however, the overall management plan for dealing with asbestos was not recorded in a clear and concise manner or effectively communicated to its employees and contractors working on site.

The Trust had insufficient auditing procedures to ensure that the arrangements contained in the policy and management plan were fully implemented, working properly and effective. The procedures in place upon the discovery of asbestos were inadequate and the Trust failed to prevent re-entry into the contaminated area by other workers.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust Shrewsbury pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and fined £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £18,385.80.

The HSE commented that ‘This prosecution should act as a reminder, not just to Hospitals but to anyone in control of the repair and maintenance of non-domestic premises, of the need to ensure that correct control measures are put in place to ensure that exposure to asbestos is prevented, so far as is reasonably practicable.”

Read the full HSE press release here.

Contractor fined following illegal asbestos work

An Oldham building contractor has been fined following the uncontrolled removal of asbestos during a garage conversion.

Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court heard how in December 2017 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was notified by a member of the public of fibrous board outside the property in Chadderton, Oldham which looked like asbestos insulation board. Mr Mohammad Arshad, a contractor appointed by the home owner to carry out the work, had stripped the garage ceiling and removed the material, leaving debris on site. The material was tested during a site visit, and was confirmed as being licensable asbestos containing material.

The HSE investigation into the incident found Mr Arshad had carried out the removal of licensable asbestos containing materials without being licensed to do so and without suitable control measures for preventing exposure to and spread of asbestos fibres. A prohibition notice was issued and the area was sealed off before being cleaned by a licensed contractor under fully controlled conditions.

Mohammad Arshad pleaded guilty to breaches of Regulation 11 (1) (a), Regulation 8 (1) and Regulation 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £1200 and ordered to pay costs of £1000.

Read the full HSE press release here.

Legionnaires’ disease monthly surveillance reports: 2019

We thought you’d be interested to read the latest report from Public Health England (PHE).

The national surveillance scheme for Legionnaires’ disease in residents of England and Wales is co-ordinated by PHE and the main objectives of the scheme are to:

  • detect clusters and outbreaks of Legionella in England and Wales or abroad through the surveillance of all reported cases
  • identify sources of infection so that control measures can be assessed and where necessary improved upon, to prevent further cases
  • as a member state, collaborate with the European Legionnaires’ disease Surveillance Network (ELDSNet) in the detection, control and prevention of cases, clusters and outbreaks within European countries through the reporting of travel associated cases of Legionnaires’ disease

The report found here provides a summary of data extracted from the national Legionella database for confirmed and suspected cases of Legionellosis in residents of England and Wales, as reported to the national surveillance scheme during the month of February 2019.

Cases of legionella don’t tend to get reported that often, so we though you may find the information interesting.

Electrical contractor fined after two injured falling through uncovered floor hatch

An Aberdeen electrical company contracted to rewire and install new heating systems in Aberdeenshire Council properties has today been fined for failing to put in place adequate barriers and physical warning signs around open floor hatches in a residential property. As a consequence of this failure the resident of the property and her brother-in-law fell into one of the uncovered floor hatches and both sustained injuries.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that employees of the company were working at a residential property when they failed to put in place suitable and sufficient measures to prevent persons from falling into the uncovered floor hatches.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) concluded that there was nothing in place to prevent either the resident of the property or her brother-in-law from falling through the uncovered floor hatch at the rear of the property. If adequate barriers and physical warning signs had been in place around the uncovered floor hatch then these incidents would have been preventable.

R.B. Wilson (Electrical) Limited, of 1 East Craibstone Street, Aberdeen pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and were fined £24,000.

Read the full story here.

Revised British Standard BS 7974 on fire safety engineering published by BSI

The original British Standard for fire safety engineering, BS 7974, was published in 2001 and has been supplemented by a series of later guidance documents

Since 2001, there have been major changes within the fire and construction industry involving working practices and the regulatory framework, as well as new research, all of which prompted an update to the existing guidance framework. As a result, BSI has significantly revised the 2001 edition of BS 7974 and has published a new version entitled BS 7974:2019 – Application of Fire Safety Engineering Principles to the Design of Buildings.

What is this standard about?

This is the “go-to” document for fire safety engineering (FSE) in the UK. It provides a framework for an engineering approach to the fire safety of buildings, giving recommendations and guidance on applying scientific and engineering principles to the protection of people, property and the environment from fire. It applies to the design of new buildings and the appraisal of existing buildings.

Why should you use this standard?

The general approach to fire safety engineering (FSE) described in the standard can be applied to all types and uses of buildings or to facilities such as tunnels and process plants. When correctly implemented, its recommendations will help preserve life in an emergency situation and ensure the protection of buildings themselves. The standard can be applied to new or to existing buildings to show that regulatory requirements can be met.

What’s changed since the last update?

This is the first revision of the standard since being originally published in 2001.

It introduces the following principal changes:

  • Recommendations previously contained in PD 7974-0:2002 and PD 7974-8:2012 have now been incorporated to reduce repetition and improve usability
  • A greater emphasis is put on the competence of the fire engineer
  • Additional recommendations are included on the quality assurance and verification of fire engineering reports.

Read more…