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

You can follow BSG on Twitter via @BSGLtd

‘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
You can follow BSG on Twitter via @BSGLtd

Roofing bosses skip scaffold to speed up invoices

A roofing contractor and its two directors have been sentenced after admitting working unsafely at height on a hotel development in central Manchester during a major refurbishment job.

In 2015, a member of public witnessed and photographed unsafe work at a construction site in Manchester and reported it to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The Manchester Magistrates Court heard that the photograph showed Jake Clarke, one of a pair of directors from Enviroply Roofing Limited. Aaron Hepworth, his fellow director was also spotted walking along a beam to pass something to Clarke even though there was nothing to prevent or mitigate a fall from this beam. Continue reading