Building Safety Group reports 16% increase in Excavation work breaches on construction sites

The Building Safety Group (BSG) has reported a 16% rise in ‘Excavation work’ breaches on construction sites. BSG’s figure is based on approximately 11,000 independent inspections conducted for the construction industry over a six month period, comparing Q3 with Q4 in 2017.

Injuries resulting from excavation trench collapses can often be severe and at times fatal. Last year the director of a housing development company, Conquest Homes, was jailed for gross negligence manslaughter after a ground worker was crushed to death in a building site trench. Another company undertaking excavation work was fined for safety breaches when a worker was burned after striking underground electrical cables. Mason Construction (London) Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of CDM regulations 2015 and was fined £25,000.

The HSE advises that construction managers must ensure that excavations are made safe, by setting up trench supports, battering back, fencing or other equally effective measures. Companies should also provide training for staff, highlighting the risks of excavation work. In addition weekly trench inspections should take place, particularly after bad weather.

Paul Kimpton, Managing Director of the Building Safety Group commented: “These types of injuries can be prevented if companies implement safe methods of working, and provide the necessary information and training for workers. Excavations must be properly planned, managed and monitored to ensure no one enters an excavation deeper than 1.2m, without adequate controls in place to prevent a collapse”.

“Without suitable support, any face of an excavation will collapse; it’s just a matter of when. The steeper and deeper the face, the wetter the soil, the sooner the collapse.” Paul added: “Trenchless technologies are available which will help to avoid many of the hazards of excavation, but if a trench is required modern, approved systems can allow the ground support to be installed without the need to enter the excavation.”

Notes to Editor

About BSG

The Building Safety Group (BSG) is the UK’s largest construction safety group offering consultancy, training and non-compliance reporting services. We are a ‘not for profit’ organisation which has been in business for over 50 years. For more information, please visit www.bsgltd.co.uk

About BSG’s Non-Compliance Reporting Index (NCRI) BSG’s ‘Non-compliance Reporting Index’ (NCRI) is the only known real-time, reporting service which compiles high volume health & safety non-compliance data, collected for and on behalf of the construction industry through site inspections

BSG Awards 2017

BSG celebrated its third annual Health & Safety Awards Ceremony on the 18th October 2017 at Williams F1 Conference Centre. The ceremony was a national celebration of BSG members’ dedicated commitment to health and safety in the workplace.

To view the winners and the BSG Awards 2017 highlights video, please visit our BSG Awards 2017 page.

 

Building Safety Group reports 74% increase in Traffic Management breaches on construction sites

The Building Safety Group (BSG) the UK’s largest construction safety group, has reported a 74% rise in ‘Traffic Management’ breaches on construction sites. BSG’s figure is based on approximately 11,000 independent inspections conducted for the construction industry over a six month period, comparing Q2 with Q3 in 2017. The increase coincides with the HSE’s announcement that on average, 7 workers die every year as a result of accidents involving vehicles or mobile plant on construction sites. A further 93 are seriously injured.

According to BSG’s report, the majority of construction transport accidents result from the inadequate separation of pedestrians and vehicles. This can usually be avoided by careful planning, particularly at the design stage, and by controlling vehicle operations during construction work. Paul Kimpton, Managing Director for BSG commented: “The law says that you must organise a construction site so that vehicles and pedestrians using site routes can move around safely. Routes need to be suitable for the people or vehicles using them, in suitable positions and sufficient in number and size.” Paul added: “Our message is that vehicle accidents on site can and should be prevented by the effective management of transport operations throughout the construction process.”

The dangers of poor traffic management were recently made clear when an Essex-based road haulage firm, YCT Ltd, was fined £170,000 after an employee was crushed between two articulated vehicles and subsequently died from his injuries. A Wolverhampton-based demolition firm, LPD Demolition, was also fined £50,000 after one of its employees was crushed by a reversing excavator leaving him with punctured lungs, liver injuries and multiple fractures to his legs and pelvis.

Based on a report from the HSE, ‘being struck by a moving vehicle’ now accounts for 19% of worker fatalities, which is the second highest type of accident reported. The most common kind of fatal accident is still ‘Working at Height’ which accounts for 26%.

Note to Editors

About BSG The Building Safety Group (BSG) is the UK’s largest construction safety group offering consultancy, training and non-compliance reporting services. We are a ‘not for profit’ organisation which has been in business for over 50 years. For more information please visit www.bsgltd.co.uk

About BSG’s Non-Compliance Reporting Index (NCRI) BSG’s ‘Non-compliance Reporting Index’ (NCRI) is the only known real-time, reporting service which compiles high volume health & safety non-compliance data, collected for and on behalf of the construction industry through site inspections.

Lifting operations on site: what you need to know

BSG reports a 13% increase in the number of non-compliant lifting operations in the first six months of 2017

Any lifting equipment used at work – including employees’ own equipment – for lifting or lowering loads is subject to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER).

LOLER covers a wide range of equipment, including: cranes; fork-lift trucks; lifts; hoists; mobile elevating work platforms; and vehicle inspection platform hoists.

The regulations also cover lifting accessories, such as chains, slings, eyebolts etc. However, they do not extend to fixed anchor points that form part of a building or structure. And LOLER does not apply to escalators, which are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations.

Machinery and accessories for lifting loads must be clearly marked to indicate their safe working loads (SWL). Where the SWL depends on the configuration of the machinery for lifting loads, the machinery must be marked to indicate its SWL for each configuration, or provided with such information which is kept with the machinery.

On chain and wire slings, the SWL should be marked legibly and indelibly on a durable tag or label attached to the sling, or marked on the ferrule or master link.

Where it may not be possible for the marking to show the SWL, there are other ways of indicating the safe working criteria for the equipment. In some cases, a ‘surrogate’ marking may be acceptable, such as a capacity indicator on an excavator.

However, colour coding alone to denote SWL is not normally acceptable, but can be a useful additional feature (for example for textile slings) and may be a key element in the marking of some equipment, such as access and rescue ropes.

Individual lifting accessories forming part of a specific item of lifting equipment (that is not disassembled after use and so remains part of that equipment), do not need to be marked.

However, the lifting equipment must be marked with a SWL rating that is suitable for all items in its assembly. Further information is given in: Safe use of lifting equipment. ACOP and Guidance (see regulation 7 and paragraph 186 onwards).

Two South West-based companies were fined in June after a worker was struck by scaffolding. Weymouth Magistrates’ Court heard how employees of Carter Training Ltd were using a mobile crane on the building project in Queen Mothers Square, Poundbury, Dorchester, when the attachment holding 500 scaffolding fittings weighing 2kg each was turned on its side, emptying all contents onto workers and the concrete flooring 10.5 metres below.

The worker suffered two fractures to her left shoulder blade, a fracture to her left collar bone, a cut to her head and bruising.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the stillage attachment used on the crane was not suitable for lifting heavy and large amounts of scaffolding. Lifting the scaffolding directly above a number of contractors working below also put them at risk of harm.

It was also found that principal contractor Zero C Holdings failed to carry out an audit of all lifting plans and as a result failed to manage the risks associated with this lifting activity. Zero C Holdings did not have clear lines of communication between the lifting company Carter Training Ltd and contractors working on the site below.

Zero C Holdings Ltd of Armitage House, Poundbury, Dorchester, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £145,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,500.

Carter Training (Services) Ltd of Budleigh Hill, East Budleigh, Devon has pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8 (1) Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, and has been fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3500.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Nicole Buchanan said: “The worker is very lucky that her injuries were not life threatening. Both Zero C Holdings and Carter Training put a number of workers at risk of harm when they failed to plan or identify the risks of heavy lifting.

This case highlights the need for duty holders to properly plan all lifting operations before work is carried out to manage the risk of injury to workers. Lifting directly above workers is inherently unsafe and should be avoided wherever possible.”

Chris Chapman, technical support manager for the Building Safety Group, said: “The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 require all lifting operations to be properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised and carried out safely.

Any lifting equipment must be sufficiently strong, stable and suitable for the proposed use. Similarly, the load and anything attached (eg timber pallets, lifting points) must be suitable and positioned or installed to prevent the risk of injury from the equipment or the load falling and striking people.

It should be visibly marked with any appropriate information to be taken into account for its safe use, eg safe working loads. Accessories, for example slings and clamps, should be similarly marked.”

About BSG’s Non-Compliance Reporting Index (NCRI)

Non-compliance data is extracted from BSG’s ‘Non-compliance Reporting Index’ (NCRI). The index is used to support the only known real-time, reporting service which compiles high volume health & safety non-compliance data, collected for and on behalf of the construction industry through site inspections. More than 20,000 site inspections were conducted in 2016. Approximately 25,000 non-compliances were recorded in total.

This article has also been published in Construction Manager

No increase for BSG member subscription fees

Our members will be pleased to learn that BSG’s subscription fees remain unchanged for the next six monthly period from December until June 2018. This means that fees will stay the same as they were in 2017.

Commenting on the decision, Paul Kimpton said: “At BSG we have worked hard to make savings in our operations, whilst still delivering a high quality, value for money service to support our members. It is important that we do as much as possible to lift the financial burden from construction companies, and keeping fees frozen is one way in which BSG can help.”

BSG Autumn Training Newsletter

Download the latest issue
Released October 2017

BSG Autumn Training News 2017

This month’s issue includes:

  • Health and safety boring? Far from it mate! – Nebosh case study on Mark Stevens
  • EN131 ladder standards are being revised
  • Not enough being done to tackle work-related ill-health
  • New access scaffold and loading bay built for BSG training course
  • BSG achieves 83% pass rate for Nebosh course

HSE launches second phase of construction inspection campaign

Construction projects across Britain are being urged to act now to ensure the health and safety of their workers is protected as the second phase of a targeted inspection initiative gets underway from Monday 02 October 2017.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says 43 workers were fatally injured in 2015/16, and an estimated ten times that number died from construction related ill-health, with a further 65,000 self-reported non-fatal injuries.

HSE is now asking every construction contractor, client and designer to ensure they are not adding to this unacceptable toll of harm by failing to manage well-known risks.

In addition to things such as falls from height, the campaign will focus on control of harmful dusts including respirable silica from concrete, brick and stone, asbestos and wood dust, as well as work at height, structural safety, materials handling, good order and welfare provision.

HSE points to the mis-conception that health issues cannot be controlled in construction. It says harmful dust, whether silica or wood, is a serious issue and can be managed effectively with the right design, equipment and training. Health effects may not be immediate, but the ultimate impact on workers and their families can be devastating.

HSE carried out over 2000 inspections during the first phase of the initiative earlier this year with action being taken to address these issues in almost half of visits.

HSE’s Chief Inspector of Construction and Director of Construction Division Peter Baker commented: “In phase 1 of this campaign HSE’s inspectors found lots of good examples of small sites working safely and protecting workers health from exposure to harmful dusts, proving it can be done. My message to smaller businesses is don’t wait for an accident or a visit from an HSE inspector – learn from the success of others and act now.

“Nearly half of construction fatal accidents and injuries reported to HSE involved refurbishment work.

“Some small refurbishment sites continue to cut corners and not properly protect their workers resulting in an unacceptable number of deaths and injuries each year.”

Big Ben Silenced

BSG Comment piece by Chris Chapman, Technical Support Manager

On Monday 21 August 2017 following the 12 noon chimes Big Ben was silenced.

The Great Bell’s striking and chiming will be paused until 2021 to ensure the prolonged safety of those working on the project.

Parliament’s specialist clock mechanics will ensure that Big Ben can still bong for important national events such as New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday.

The move is part of a £29m three-year programme of essential works to conserve the Elizabeth Tower, the Great Clock and the Great Bell known as Big Ben.

As the Tower is 96 metres tall, scaffolding is needed to enable workers to reach high levels safely. Scaffolding will be dismantled as the work is completed from the top, and at least one clock face will be on show at all times.

The work to be carried out includes repairing problems which cannot be rectified whilst the clock is in action, conserving significant elements of the Tower, repairing and redecorating the interior, renewing the building services and carrying out work to improve health and safety and fire prevention and increasing the Tower’s energy efficiency to reduce environmental impact.

The most famous clock bell in the world stopped chiming to protect workers from its loud noise during the work. This is not the first time the bells have fallen silent, it happens quite often due to birds, faults and other issues and workers need to get it going again.

In 1976 the bell fell silent for a period of around nine months whilst the clock underwent a major overhaul. There was a major conservation project between 1983 and 1985, and it was silenced for a time during this period.

More recently in 2007 the bells were stopped for a period of 6 weeks, while essential maintenance works. These previous periods of silence were not to protect workers’ hearing though which makes the current restoration project unique. Big Ben’s chimes have been measured at 118 decibels. This makes it louder than most of the regularly used construction equipment.

Regulation 6 of The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 states “The employer shall ensure that risk from the exposure of his employees to noise is either eliminated at source or, where this is not reasonably practicable, reduced to as low a level as is reasonably practicable.

The “Elf n Safety gone mad” brigade will inevitably say ‘Why not just buy some wear ear defenders for the people working on site?’

The answer is simple

Clock mechanics who work on Big Ben currently get ear defenders, but are exposed to the ringing bells for only short periods of time each week but regular exposure of more than a minute to sounds in excess of 110 decibels would cause permanent hearing loss. Big Ben easily falls into this category.

People will be working on the scaffolding day-in day-out throughout the works and it is not a good idea for people working at height to have their hearing obscured as there is concern the ability to hear each other and any alarms could be affected.

BSG now accepts card payments

At BSG, we are always striving to make business as easy as possible for our members; therefore, we are pleased to announce that we now offer card payment facilities with most of the major card providers.

We regret that we are unable to accept payments made by American Express.

We will of course continue to accept payments by bank transfer and cheques. However, depending on your banks T&C’s, paying by card could also be cheaper than paying by BACS or cheque.

Please contact our accounts department if you would like more details about this service T: 0300 304 9060 E: CatherineB@BSGltd.co.uk

New Access scaffold and loading bay built for BSG training course

A new access scaffold and loading bay has been built by one of BSG’s members, Bryant Scaffolding Services. The scaffold will be used for our two day Scaffold Inspection and Appreciation (BSI) course at BSG’s training centre in Bristol.

The next course is running on 7th & 8th September with only three spaces remaining. For more information please visit our training page – Scaffold Inspection and Appreciation (BSI) course

Balfour Beatty fined £500,000 due to asbestos exposure in London school

A former trading division of contractor Balfour Beatty the client and demolition contractor have been fined £1.27m after exposing workers to asbestos during a project to create a new home for an expanding primary school.

The exposure happened in July 2012 at the site of the former Warwick School in Walthamstow, east London, which was being converted for St Mary’s Primary School in a £3m project. The school was partially occupied at the time, with pupils later having to be bussed to another site during remedial works. However, it’s said that no pupils were exposed to asbestos fibres.

Balfour Beatty was fined £500,000, while its client for the project, NPS London, was fined £370,000. The demolition contractor on the project was fined £400,000, plus another £175,000 in costs.

As Southwark Crown Court heard, the London Borough of Waltham Forest had a contract with NPS London, a property and development management company owned by Norfolk County Council, to oversee the works. NPS then appointed Mansell Construction Services – a former trading name for part of Balfour Beatty – as principal contractor. Demolition specialist Squibb Group was acting as Mansell’s subcontractor. On 24 July 2012, a worker removed part of a suspended ceiling in one of the ground floor class rooms and identified suspected asbestos containing materials.

Asbestos fibres were subsequently found in many areas in the school.

An HSE investigation found that although an asbestos survey had been completed, the document included multiple caveats and disclaimers, and Mansell had not appropriately checked or assessed it.

As a result, insufficient measures were taken to protect workers at risk of exposure.

The incident in 2012 came two years after the HSE had investigated failure to properly monitor or manage asbestos in several other Walthamstow schools, according to the East London and West Essex Guardian.

In June 2015, the London Borough of Waltham Forest was also fined £66,000 for failing to control employees’ exposure to asbestos in the basement of the town hall.

Balfour Beatty Regional Construction (previously Mansell Construction Services) of Canary Wharf, London was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £32,364 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

NPS London, of Business Park Norwich, Norfolk was fined £370,000 and ordered to pay £32,364 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Squibb Group, of Stanford Le Hope, Essex was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £175,000 after being found guilty after a trial of a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

HSE inspector Sarah Robinson said: “The principal contractor and contractors on site did not review the survey report in detail, and did not take into consideration the multitude of caveats.

“Therefore the work undertaken did not adopt the high standards of control expected for working where there was the potential to expose workers to asbestos.”

The Building Safety Group are aiming to bring the discussion of health and safety in the construction industry to the top of the agenda by working in partnership with construction firms to help them better manage all aspects of health and safety in the workplace.

Resource: Health and Safety at Work

Hinkley Point C Project

Construction has now begun on the Hinkley Point C Project, the biggest construction project in Europe. The project aims to be completed in 2027. Member companies who are involved in this project and require BSG site inspections may incur additional charges due to the extra time spent complying with security and accessing the site.

For more information about the additional charge, please contact our membership team E: info@bsgltd.co.uk T: 0300 304 9070

John Puck appointed as BSG’s new Membership Development Officer

The Building Safety Group (BSG) is pleased to announce the appointment of John Puck as its new Membership Development Officer. John will be responsible for formulating and implementing a new sales strategy that will help the company to achieve its aspirations for growth in the Midlands and Northern regions of the UK.

Commenting on the new appointment, Managing Director Paul Kimpton said: “John has joined us at an exciting time at BSG as we continue to grow the business and strengthen our position as a first class Health and Safety partner for hundreds of construction companies throughout the country.” Paul added; “John brings a wealth of experience having spent fifteen years working in the Health and Safety consultancy sector for Croner and EEF, as well as other membership based organisations.” “So we are of course delighted to have John on-board at BSG and extend him a warm welcome.”

John also remarked: “As the UK’s largest construction safety group I believe that BSG is unrivalled in its ability to offer a national health and safety service, provided by our locally based safety advisors .” John added: “I am therefore greatly looking forward to fresh challenges at BSG that will help the company to extend its reach into new territories.”

BSG recently reached a milestone in its history by becoming the first construction safety group to support over 800 companies across 3500 workplaces, employing over 25,000 operatives. BSG is a ‘not for profit organisation’ with over fifty years’ experience of providing specialist health and safety consultancy services for the construction industry.

Building Safety Group reports 18% increase in Occupational Health breaches

24/05/2017 The Building Safety Group (BSG), has reported an 18% increase in the number of Occupational Health breaches recorded during site inspections. The increase is based on over 10,000 independent inspections conducted for the construction industry over a six-month period which compares quarter four 2016 with the first quarter of 2017.

Key contributors to the rise in Occupational Health non-compliances were Dust Fume infringements (up 43%), breaches in Noise (up 23%) and COSHH violations (up 17%). Recent HSE blitzes have concentrated on violations in Occupational Health, frequently leading to FFI (Fees for Intervention) penalties being imposed. BSG’s announcement also coincides with the introduction of the HSE’s construction sector plan, which aims to reduce incidents of ill health with particular focus on occupational lung disease.

Noise at work can cause hearing damage that is permanent and disabling. This can be hearing loss that is gradual because of exposure to noise over time, but also damage caused by sudden, extremely loud noises. Of greater concern is the large rise in Dust Fume non-compliances, which can have a marked detrimental impact on health. Regularly breathing construction dust can cause diseases like lung cancer, asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and silicosis. Construction workers have a high risk of developing these diseases because many common construction tasks can create high dust levels. These diseases cause permanent disability and early death. Over 500 construction workers are believed to die from exposure to silica dust every year.

“Anyone who could potentially breathe in these dusts should know the health effects and damage they can do to the lungs and airways. Construction dust is not just a nuisance. It can seriously damage health and cause life changing lung diseases, which is why everyone involved in the industry has a responsibility for managing risks to health, and all parties must take ownership of their part of the process.” commented BSG’s Managing Director, Paul Kimpton.

Kimpton added: “A written health and safety policy is not enough. There must be efficient and effective implementation procedures for occupational health and safety programmes to be successful.”

BSG’s latest non-compliance statistics have been generated from the organisation’s ‘Non-Compliance Reporting Index (NCRI) and relates to the period 1st October 2016 to 31st March 2017.  For more information about how to reduce the risk of Occupational Health disorders, please visit the BSG website www.bsgltd.co.uk.

You can follow BSG on Twitter via @BSGLtd

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‘Working at Height’ remains the biggest danger for construction workers

Working at Height remains the biggest danger for construction workers according to the Building Safety Group (BSG).

The finding was based on a report which combined the results of over 20,000 site inspections conducted during 2016. Working at Height was found to be the most significant hazard identified during site visits, accounting for 19% of all breaches recorded. The second highest significant non-compliance was Dust/Fumes which accounted for 5%. A total of 24,634 non-compliances were logged by safety advisors throughout 2016.

BSG’s figures echo the latest construction sector statistics published by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). Despite an overall drop in fatalities, falls from height still remain the single biggest cause of fatalities on construction sites and in the workplace. Over the last five years they have killed 97 construction workers, accounting for 45% of all fatal injuries. They are also the largest single cause of non-fatal accident related injury, responsible for 33% all non-fatal injuries, including 11% of the injuries resulting in an absence of more than seven days.

The three main sources of falls from height injuries and fatalities are fragile roof lights, scaffolding and ladders, which are accidents that can be easily prevented according the Building Safety Group’s Technical Manager, Chris Chapman:

“Working at Height is clearly the most dangerous activity carried out in the construction sector. Everyone can do more to ensure that work is properly planned, supervised and conducted by qualified workers who have the required skills for the task in hand.” Chris added: “To significantly reduce the dangers of working at height, construction companies should always try to complete as much work as possible from the ground, ensure safe access and egress and importantly, make certain that any equipment used is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job.”

For further information about the risks of working at height and how to limit risk exposure, please visit the BSG website www.bsgltd.co.uk.
You can follow BSG on Twitter via @BSGLtd

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