News & Views - Tetra Consulting Ltd

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Water Training

Tetra Consulting have now announced dates in 2017 for the return of their new Water Hygiene and Legionella training courses in Stevenage. These courses help people manage the risk of Legionella & Water Hygiene successfully and cost-effectively. Click here for more information.

What you should do in the event of a Terrorist Attack

A short film explaining what you should do in the event of a terrorist attack is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/stay-safe-film. The citizenAID app is also available via this link which will guide you step-by-step through the various type of threats

Working at Height Training Centre

Adding to our nationwide spread of training facilities, we have completed the construction of a new working at height training centre in Reading.

Manage Legionella & Water Hygiene successfully

Tetra’s new Water Hygiene course helps people manage the risk of Legionella and Water Hygiene successfully and cost-effectively: 17th and 18th May at Stevenage Novotel (City and Guilds accredited) Management of Hot and Cold Water Systems (two days) Risk control is successful and cost-effective when managed properly. Day two of this course can be ran […]

Taking the lead on health in construction

Tetra Consulting Ltd. has become a member of the Health in Construction Leadership Group, a recently established collaborative group comprising contractors, clients, the Health and Safety Executive, professional bodies, trade associations and trade unions. Together, the group will unite the construction industry to eradicate ill health and disease caused by exposures to health hazards on building […]

Spas & Hot Tubs linked to Legionnaires’

Spas & Hot Tubs are linked to diseases including Legionnaires’ Disease There have been outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease and fatalities linked to spa pools, so we are helping organisations understand their legal responsibilities and implement good risk management practice. Spa pools and hot tubs are now widely recognised as a potential source of several different […]

Site manager imprisoned for fatal fall

The manager of a building site has been imprisoned for 30 months after a jury convicted him of the manslaughter of a window fitter, who was killed in a three-metre fall. The incident occurred on a former warehouse site in St Saviour’s Hill, Leicester. Faruk Patel had bought the site with the intention of building […]

New safety management standard slated for summer 2017

The first internationally agreed standard for occupational health and safety management systems is due to come into force in June 2017. The new standard, which is being developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation Standard (ISO) will be known as ISO 45001 and will replace the current British Standard, OHSAS 18001. The ISO claims that […]

Animal renderer’s confined spaces fines top £1.3 million

John Pointon & Sons Ltd has been fined £250,000 after hydrogen sulphide, which is produced by rotting carcasses, overcame a worker inside an animal waste trailer. Two of the worker’s colleagues were also overcome as they attempted to rescue him. The fine amounts to one fifth of the company’s 2014 operating profit of almost £1.2 […]

BT receives second significant fall fine in 17 days

British Telecommunications plc (BT) has been fined £1/2 million and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £98,913 after an engineer was seriously injured in a fall from a loft in a tower block in East London. The penalty came just 17 days after BT was fined £600,000 following two falls from stepladders (see Tetra news, […]

Asbestos elimination demands grow

The pressure to eliminate asbestos from the UK, rather than manage it in place, is increasing. Last year, an all-party group of MPs called for new legislation to ensure “the safe, phased and planned removal of all the asbestos” in Britain by 2035, with removal from schools and all other public buildings by 2028 (see […]

BT fined £600,000 following stepladder falls

British Telecommunications plc has been fined £600,000 after two of its employees were seriously injured in falls from stepladders while working close to a dangerous electrical system in a telephone exchange in Darlington. Both incidents occurred on 1 April 2010 during work to install a cable through a hole on the first floor of the […]

Fatal fall ends in manslaughter jail term

A landlord and businessman has received a 40-month prison sentence for the manslaughter of a worker who fell from scaffolding at his house. Steven Weedon fell to his death on 26 March 2014 while painting a house owned by Anthony Mineham. The scaffolding had been erected for an earlier job, which had been completed, and […]

Shop leaseholder face threat of prison for fire failures

The leaseholder of a London food shop has received a suspended prison sentence for fire safety offences. The case highlights the need for leaseholders of mixed-use premises to ensure fire precautions throughout a building. In August 2013, fire safety inspectors from the London Fire Brigade (LFB) visited the premises of SN Food & Wine in […]

Trench death results in record fine

Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions (BBUS) has been fined £2.6 million after the collapse of a trench killed a worker. The fine is the highest that has been imposed under the Sentencing Council’s guideline on health and safety offences, which came into force on 1 February. Sentencing, the judge based the company’s turnover – which determines […]

Travis Perkins fined £2 million after lorry kills customer

Travis Perkins Trading Company Ltd has been fined £2 million for failures that led to the death of a tradesman at its Milton Keynes branch. The fine is the largest imposed for a workplace that is enforced by a local authority. It is also a clear warning that very large organisations can expect to face […]

Trench collapse ends in prison for contractor

A construction contractor has been imprisoned for six months for safety offences that led to the death of an employee in a trench collapse. The case is a reminder of the dangers of poorly planned excavation work in the construction sector, as well as another indication that the Sentencing Council’s February 2016 guideline for courts […]

HSE uses private investigator to track down demolition contractor

A demolition contractor has received a suspended four-month prison sentence for dangerous work at two sites in southeast England. Although no one was injured during the demolition, the disturbance of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) means that any long-term health effects are unknown. The first incident took place during the demolition of the former Chesham Community […]

HSE rejects construction code

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has decided that it will not, after all, produce an Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The main reason is, ostensibly, that a case had not been made that an ACoP was “needed”. Any further “clarification” about how dutyholders can comply with […]

Firm fined £160,000 for near miss

A metalwork casting and machining company has been fined £160,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £5,767 after one of it employees almost fell through the roof of its workshop on an industrial estate in Ashford, Kent. On 19 September 2014, MJ Allen Holdings Ltd sent a supervisor and two other employees onto the […]

Company boss imprisoned for six years for manslaughter

Two directors of a demolition company and a roofing firm have been imprisoned after a worker plunged through a roof to his death. The victim had almost fallen the previous day and, just seven hours before the fatal incident, a second worker had sustained life-changing injuries when he fell from the same roof. The incidents […]

HSE set to review asbestos regime

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is to review legislation governing asbestos and chemicals as part of its work over the next 12 months. The UK’s health and safety regulator announced the reviews as part of its Business Plan for 2016/17, which also shows that government funding of the HSE will continue to decrease every […]

Firm fined 42% of profits following non-fatal fall

A supplier and installer of domestic solar panel electrical systems has been fined £153,000 after a worker fell through a fragile roof light and fractured his shin and a vertebra. The fine is a further indication of the effect of the new health and safety offences sentencing guideline, which came into force on 1 February […]

Crane company fined £¾ million

Falcon Crane Hire Ltd has been fined a total of £750,000 for failures that led to the deaths of two men in a crane collapse in south London in 2006. The sentence is the first involving multiple fatalities to be imposed under new sentencing guidelines for safety offences, which came into force on 1 February […]

Construction body revokes thousands of skills cards

The chief executive of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) has urged construction companies to check the validity of all CSCS cards used on their sites. The request follows the revocation of 4,615 CSCS cards following investigations into fraudulent activity at five test centres. The action by the CSCS and the Construction Industry Training Board […]

A new health and safety strategy for all

A renewed focus on occupational ill health, small firms and the business case are three of the six “themes” underpinning the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) new five-year strategy. Although the strategy lacks detail, it is an important document because it sets out how the HSE will approach health and safety at work until 2020. […]

Magistrates impose maximum asbestos fine on FM firm

Magistrates have fined a facilities management (FM) company £20,000 for failures that led to the disturbance of asbestos fibres at a primary school. The fine is the maximum that is available to magistrates for a breach of health and safety regulations, including those covering construction work. The prosecution is the latest reminder of longstanding concerns […]

Scaffolding firm penalised £132,596 following life-changing fall injuries

A scaffolding firm has been fined £110,000 and ordered to pay £22,596 in prosecution costs after its failures resulted in one of its employees sustaining appalling injuries in a fall from the roof of a barn. The incident occurred near Hemel Hempstead on 25 July 2013 at Gaddesden Home Farm, where Hemel Hempstead Scaffolding Ltd […]

Government flags up CDM in house building red tape review

The government is once again looking at the health and safety legislation governing the construction industry. Just 18 months after it introduced the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM), the government has said that it is “keen to look at the changes” that the legislation introduced, as part of a red tape review of […]

Balfour Beatty fined £1 million for basic failures

Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering Ltd has been fined £1 million after a worker was killed while helping repair a central reservation barrier on the A2 in Kent in 2012. The fine is one of seven of at least £1 million that courts have imposed on companies since December 2015. To put this in perspective, the […]

Firms fined £165,000 for asbestos failures

The failure to carry out an asbestos survey and appoint a licensed asbestos removal contractor has cost a food company and its contractor £183,118 in court in penalties. The total of the fines alone – £165,000 – is one of the highest imposed for asbestos breaches and a further indication that courts are now recognising […]

Council faces £120,000 court bill for legionella failures

A council has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,000 for failures to control risks from legionella that came to light during an investigation into the death of a pensioner who had contracted Legionnaire’s disease. The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) centred on a care facility operated by Reading […]

HSE warns about maintenance in properties for let

A court has imposed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, on a man who carried out work for a property maintenance company that resulted in a fatal ladder fall. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector involved in the case, Frank Flannery, said the sentence “should send a message to all involved in […]

Construction boss admits manslaughter of roofer

The owner of a construction company has received a suspended prison sentence for the gross negligence manslaughter of an employee. Robert Bird, who was aged 57, was working for MT Construction on a barn roof in Kennett, near Newmarket, on 20 May 2014 when he fell 30 feet through the roof and died. The joint […]

Firm fined following failure to produce written asbestos plan

A recent fine imposed on a precision machining and fabrication firm has highlighted the need for organisations to act on the results of their asbestos surveys. Blue Diamond Engineering Ltd was notified of the presence of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) during a survey at is factory in Shildon, County Durham in 2006. Although subsequent work […]

Demolition death highlights need for planning

Two members of the 777 group of companies have been ordered to pay fines and prosecution costs totalling £382,857 after falling concrete joists killed a worker during a demolition project in south London in 2007. Dominic Elliss, a principal inspector with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said he hoped that the case would “spark […]

“Don’t wait” for an inspector to call

Around half of almost 2,000 refurbishment sites visited by inspectors from the Health and Safety Executives (HSE) in a recent UK-wide initiative had health and safety failings that necessitated enforcement action. The situation has led the HSE’s chief inspector of construction, Peter Baker, to challenge smaller companies to follow the examples of larger companies in […]

Care provider fined for demolition failures

A provider of nursing and rehabilitation services has been fined £35,000 for construction offences relating to the demolition of an old hospital. Although Chesham Care Ltd was the client for the project, it failed to appoint in writing a principal contractor (PC) or construction design and management coordinator (CDM-C). As such, in law it had […]

Average ill health and injury absence lasts 15 days

New official statistics offer a stark reminder to employers of the impact that occupational ill health can have on their businesses. Alongside the 76,196 reported injuries to workers in 2014/15, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that two million people were suffering from a work-related illness, of whom 516,000 were new cases that developed […]

MPs call for eradication of asbestos by 2035

An all-party group of MPs has called for new legislation that would require “the safe, phased and planned removal of all the asbestos” in Britain by 2035. Although the government can ignore all-party reports, the MPs’ call for a different approach to asbestos management is likely to spark significant debate over the coming months. In […]

Corporate manslaughter convictions reach 16

Two more companies have been sentenced in recent weeks for the corporate manslaughter of workers. Both companies were small and pleaded guilty to the offence. There have now been 16 convictions for corporate manslaughter since the offence was introduced in 2007. At Preston Crown Court on 12 October 2015, Kings Scaffolding was fined £300,000 after […]

EU court rules travel time can be working time

A September 2015 judgment from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has important implications for employers of some workers who do not have a fixed place of work, for example those who send out home-based maintenance engineers to clients’ sites. The CJEU decided that the time such workers spend travelling in company […]

Employers likely to face fine hike in 2016

Courts are likely to impose significantly increased fines for many health and safety offences in 2016 as a result of a new “definitive guideline” from the Sentencing Council. The impact is likely to be particularly significant for larger organisations and for the most serious offences, and should generally result in fines that are more proportionate […]

Scaffolder faces threat of prison

A scaffolder has received two suspended prison sentences for allowing unsafe work at height on a busy street in Central London. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had warned the scaffolder at least three times of the risks that he was running. The work of Greg Pearson, who traded from Enfield, North London as Pearsons […]

Self-employed exemption starts on 1 October

Around 1.7 million self-employed workers will no longer be covered by health and safety legislation from 1 October 2015. Currently, all self-employed workers are required by law to conduct their undertakings in a way that ensures, so far as is reasonably practicable, that they expose neither themselves nor other persons to risks. From 1 October, […]

Fatal fall costs loft firm over £1/3 million in court

A loft conversion company has been fined £325,000 and ordered to pay costs of almost £20,000 for failures that ended with a 16-year-old apprentice labourer falling to his death. Alfie Perrin was working for Rooftop Rooms Ltd when he fell from a two-storey house in Leytonstone, east London on 14 November 2012. He died in […]

Legionella failures costs firm £187,000 in court

An international engineering firm has been fined £110,000 for failing to manage risks from legionella bacteria for over a year. Sentencing came one day after a steel coating company was fined £75,000 in a separate case involving legionella and cooling towers (see Tetra news item, 1 September 2015). The incident occurred at Chromalloy UK Ltd’s […]

Worker lost forearm after director removed shredder guard

A company director has received a suspended prison sentence after one of his workers lost part of his arm in an unguarded tyre-shredding machine. The incident occurred on 27 November 2013 while Nathan Johnson was feeding tyres by hand into the shredder at the premises of Cartwright Projects Ltd in Ashford, Kent. When the machine’s […]

Legionella penalties exceed £100,000

A leading steal coating company has been fined £75,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £28,393 after it admitted failing to manage legionella risks at two cooling towers. The company, Coilcolor Ltd, is located next to a housing estate in Newport, less than a mile from the Royal Gwent Hospital. The Health and Safety […]

Death statistics offer timely asbestos warning

New official statistics on the death toll from mesothelioma provide a timely reminder for employers, workers and those responsible for premises of the importance of managing asbestos, particularly during construction and refurbishment work. The analysis of death certificates by National Statistics and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reveals that there were 2,538 deaths from […]

Survey shows need to check construction skills cards

Up to one in six construction personnel responsible for checking skills cards have seen at least one fake card on site in the previous 12 months, according to a new survey by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). The survey is part of an initiative to persuade construction […]

Parent company convicted of corporate manslaughter

A producer of aerospace components has become the 12th company to be convicted of corporate manslaughter. The case is particularly noteworthy because it involved, for the first time, a parent company and also resulted in the highest fine yet imposed for the offence. The incident occurred on 26 January 2013 in CAV Cambridge Ltd’s warehouse […]

Director faces prison threat for trench death

The director of a construction company has received a suspended prison sentence for failures that ended in the death of a 24-year-old banksman in a trench collapse. The incident occurred on 7 April 2011 in Whitstable, Kent where Cooper Services Ltd was connecting new build bungalows to mains drainage, water and gas supplies. On the […]

The importance of planning work at height

A logistics and haulage firm has been fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £29,351 prosecution costs after a worker suffered life-changing injuries in a fall through a roof. The case highlights the need for employers to plan work at height and provide appropriate fall prevention and arrest equipment. The incident occurred on 31 August 2012 […]

Workers urged to stand up for two hours a day

Leading academics have advised desk-based workers to spend a minimum of two hours of each working day on their feet for health reasons. Ideally, the amount of standing time should rise to four hours as staff become accustomed to working on their feet. Standing still for long periods of time, however, may be just as […]

Shisha bar managers put profit before fire safety

Three men have been imprisoned for serious fire safety offences at a Manchester shisha bar. The Oasis Lounge remained open even after the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) issued a prohibition notice banning anyone from entering the property. Following one of the most significant fire safety prosecutions held in the UK, the GMFRS’s […]

Unlicensed asbestos removal ends in prison

A builder has been imprisoned for working with asbestos without a licence. His negligence exposed himself and three men who were working for him to the risk of inhaling asbestos fibres. The client for the project was fined earlier this year. The exposure occurred in September 2012 at a commercial unit in Mochdre Business Park […]

Welsh magistrates impose record fire fine

A waste recycler has received the largest penalty handed out by a Welsh court for fire safety offences. Although the fine of £45,000 was the maximum amount that was available to magistrates at the time the offences were committed, a subsequent change in the law has removed the limit, so businesses that commit similar offences […]

NHS Trust failed to control Legionella

An NHS Trust has been fined £50,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £38,705 for failures to control Legionella over a protracted period of time. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust following a joint investigation with Sussex Police into the death of a patient at […]

Council ignored asbestos exposures for 10 years

The London Borough of Waltham Forest has been fined £66,000 and ordered to pay £16,862 prosecution costs after it admitted a 10-year failure to manage asbestos in the basement of its Town Hall in Walthamstow. Although a survey commissioned by the council identified the presence of the asbestos in 2002, the council failed to act […]

Fatal fall highlights need to check contractor’s competence

A timber supplier that hired a roofing contractor to repair a leak has been fined £93,750 after the contractor’s worker was killed in a fall through a roof. The contractor was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for one year. The Health and Safety Executive’s investigating inspector said that the incident would not have […]

The need to check for old electrical cabling

A leading UK manufacturer of fresh food produce has been fined and ordered to pay costs of more than £200,000 after a sub-contractor was killed by a live electrical cable. The case is a stark reminder to organisations to check the status of their old electrical cabling and remove it where necessary. The incident occurred […]

Cutting corners ends in fatal fall and prison

A fatal fall during the conversion of an old mill has resulted in the imprisonment of the businessman in charge of the work, as well as a suspended custodial sentence for the mill’s owner and client for the project. The incident occurred on 29 January 2012 at a former canal works building in Blackburn. The […]

CDM 2015: the principal designer

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) came into force on 6 April 2015, replacing CDM 2007 (Tetra news, 17 March 2015). In the second of our briefings on CDM 2015, we look at the new role of the “principal designer”, which is one of the most significant changes introduced by the 2015 […]

New asbestos medical duty comes fully into force

From 1 May 2015, employers have had to ensure that all workers who carry out notifiable non-licensed work (NNLW) with asbestos for the first time have undergone a medical examination before starting the work. Anyone carrying out NNLW before 30 April 2015 was required to have received an examination by that date. Work with asbestos […]

Prison terms are a reminder of need for construction competence

Two brothers have been imprisoned and ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £182,000 after a building that they were refurbishing collapsed. Two residents and a builder suffered minor injuries, 20 individuals were left temporarily homeless and nearby properties were evacuated. Sentencing, the judge said: “A statement needs to be made to people undertaking such […]

A fatal failure to check contractor competence

A significant fine recently imposed on the UK’s largest independent designer and manufacturer of children’s toys is a salient reminder to organisations to check the competence of contractors they employ to work on their premises. The prosecution followed a fatal incident on 19 July 2012 at the Fleetwood, Lancashire premises of Halsall Toys Europe Ltd. […]

Asbestos campaign changes workers’ behaviour

The early results of the Health and Safety Executive’s recent asbestos behaviour change campaign are so promising that the HSE is already planning on running another initiative later this year. The six-month campaign, which ran until the end of March 2015, aimed to persuade tradespeople that asbestos was a risk that affected them, and then […]

HSE sets out legionella “interventions” for 2014/15

Organisations with plant and processes that give rise to risks from legionella will face regulatory “interventions” over the next 12 months that build on those of the past two years. The decision by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) follows a review of the approach it adopted in April 2013 of concentrating its interventions on […]

Manufacturer fined £200,000 for corporate manslaughter

A kayak and canoe manufacturer has been fined £200,000 for the corporate manslaughter of an employee who died inside an industrial oven. Pyranha Mouldings Ltd is the 11th company to be sentenced for corporate manslaughter and, like the other 10, is relatively small in size. The company’s technical director, Peter Mackereth, received a nine-month prison […]

Hotelier receives record fire fine

An Old Bailey judge has fined a London hotel owner £200,000 after a routine fire brigade inspection uncovered significant shortcomings in a Bayswater Hotel’s fire safety arrangements. The judge also imposed a four-month prison sentence on the hotelier, suspended for 18 months, and ordered him to pay £29,922 costs. The fine is the largest secured […]

CDM 2015: The client

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) are due to come into force on 6 April 2015, replacing CDM 2007. The Regulations apply from the conception of a construction project through to its completion, including maintenance and demolition. The approach and many of the duties will be familiar from CDM 2007; the 2015 […]

NHS Trust ignored asbestos survey

An NHS Trust has been ordered to pay fines and prosecution costs totalling £10,696 after its failure to act on the results of an asbestos survey left workers in a Liverpool office at risk of exposure to the potentially deadly fibres. The failure occurred at the Derwent House offices of the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen […]

Language barriers played role in fatal fall

A Scottish butchery business has been fined £60,000 for failures that ended with a Latvian worker falling to his death through a fragile roof. The prosecution highlights the need to plan and supervise work at height, use correct equipment and ensure that instructions are clearly understood, particularly where the workers understand little English. “The difficulties […]

Fatal fall firms “should have been experts”

Three firms have been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £213,473 after a worker was killed in a seven-metre fall while fitting solar panels on a building at an industrial estate in Warwickshire. The case highlights work at height failures that occur all too frequently during building improvements as well as the need to […]

Workers used baby wipes for asbestos cleanup

A building company has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,365 for removing asbestos insulation board without a licence and for putting its workers at risk of exposure to asbestos and falls from height. The failures occurred during the refurbishment of a farm building in Waltham, Essex that was carried out by […]

Two more firms sentenced for corporate manslaughter

A building firm has been fined £200,000 after it pleaded guilty to the corporate manslaughter of an employee who fell through a skylight. The firm, Peter Mawson Ltd, was fined a further £20,000 for failing to ensure its employees’ safety, and its owner was imprisoned for eight months, suspended for two years, because this failure […]

Jury convicts MD for guillotine crush manslaughter

The owner of a metalworking company has received a suspended prison sentence for the manslaughter of an employee who was crushed while helping to move machinery on a North London trading estate. The metalworking company and the firm that owned the estate were fined a total of £400,000, and an estate forklift truck driver received […]

Failure to wait exposed workers to asbestos

A social housing provider has been fined for asbestos failures during the refurbishment of its properties in Devon. The contractor that carried out the work was also fined after two of its workers were exposed to the deadly fibres. North Devon Homes Ltd (NDHL) is a “register provider” and not-for-profit organisation that was formed in […]

First look at the new CDM regime

A draft version of the official guidance to the forthcoming Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) is now available to download. Although the CDM Regulations 2015 will not come into force until 6 April 2015, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) wants the construction industry and its clients to have sufficient lead-in time to […]

Dumper death leaves two directors facing prison threat

The death of a young man just hours into his first day at work for a construction company has resulted in two of the firm’s directors receiving suspended prison sentences. Although the case involved a vehicle that overturned, the lessons – including the need to ensure new and young workers are adequately trained and supervised […]

Director and safety consultant imprisoned

The director of a construction firm has been imprisoned for the manslaughter of an employee crushed in a building trench collapse. An independent safety consultant who advised the company was also imprisoned for failures that led to the collapse. The incident occurred during the 2010 renovation of a Victorian semi-detached house in Fulham, London for […]

Scaffold fall followed basic failures

Two firms, a director and a roofer have been ordered to pay fines and costs totaling £154,700 for failures that led to a fatal fall from scaffolding. The director also received a suspended prison sentence. The incident occurred on 29 December 2010 while Phillip Lonergan, an experienced roofer, was installing the roof on a new […]

Lift planning failures end in corporate manslaughter

Six months after it was convicted of corporate manslaughter, Cavendish Masonry has finally been sentenced. Fining the stonemasonry company £150,000 at Oxford Crown Court, Judge Eccles acknowledged that while a fine for such an offence should rarely fall below £500,000, he believed the “public interest” in this case necessitated a fine that allowed the small […]

Safety fines set to rise significantly

Employers are likely to face significant increases in levels of fines for work-related health and safety offences. The Sentencing Council, which develops guidelines for all courts in England and Wales, is consulting on its radical proposals until February 2015 before publishing a definitive guideline. The guideline will mean in particular that larger organisations will face […]

Waste firm fined £1/2 million for corporate manslaughter

The eighth company to be convicted of corporate manslaughter has been fined £500,000, which is the highest fine imposed for the offence. The month-long trial provided the most important airing yet of the senior management test that underpins the offence, with the aggregated failures of the company’s senior managers playing a far greater role than […]

The value of soap and water

Government-funded research has ranked the efficacy of different hand-cleaning methods for workers at outdoor sites that lack permanent welfare facilities. The findings will be of particular interest to the construction and waste sectors, but are also relevant to anyone who attends an outdoor event or animal visitor attraction. Sitting atop the hierarchy, according to the […]

Injury improvement may be slowing down

“There may be signs the downward trend” over the past decade in non-fatal injuries at work “is slowing down”. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) acknowledged the disappointing possibility at the end of October when it released injury and ill-health figures for the year to 31 March 2014. Although there were improvements in all reportable […]

Property managers face widespread asbestos ignorance

Seven in 10 tradespersons are unable to identify all the measures they need in order to work safely with asbestos, according to a survey commissioned by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The survey also reveals worrying levels of ignorance about where asbestos can be found and misconceptions about alleged protective measures. Based on the […]

Fire safety enforcement in 2013/14

Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) audited one in five “non-domestic” premises in England during the year to 1 April 2014, according to new government statistics. The proportion was similar to that of the previous year. Standards were unsatisfactory at around a third of the premises, with risk assessment failures the most common cause of enforcement […]

Fire brigade warns care homes about fire risk assessments

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has warned care homes to ensure their fire risk assessments take account of the needs of individual residents. The reminder followed the prosecution of England’s largest not-for-profit provider of housing and care for the over-55s, Anchor Trust, which resulted in fines and costs totalling £170,622. Paula Parle, who suffered from […]

Asbestos Behaviour Campaign gets underway

B&Q TradePoint will distribute up to 200,000 free safety kits over the next six months to tradespersons whose work is likely to bring them into contact with asbestos. The kits are a central part of a major new Asbestos Behaviour Campaign that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched on 9 October 2014, although TradePoint […]

Director fined for obstructing fatality investigation

A scrap metal firm and its director have been fined £150,000 for failures that led to an employee’s death. The case is noteworthy because the director was penalised for obstructing the investigating inspector and the fine is high for a local authority prosecution. Although the incident occurred in a scrap yard, the shortcomings – in […]

Construction employers face HSE health focus

Health conditions at construction sites are so poor that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has instructed its inspectors to look at health, as well as safety, hazards during their site visits until April 2015. The HSE will, warned its outgoing Chief Inspector of Construction, Heather Bryant, “make sure the construction industry ‘thinks health’ as […]

HSE may expand, not scrap, cost-recovery scheme

The Health and Safety Executive has confirmed that it will retain its controversial Fee For Intervention (FFI) scheme, following an independent review that concluded it had proved effective and that there was, in any case, no viable replacement. Under FFI, an employer must pay all HSE enforcement costs where an inspector finds a “material breach” […]

Scaffolder imprisoned for fatal fall failures

The owner of a Kent scaffolding business has been imprisoned for 15 months after an employee was killed in a fall from a tower scaffold in London’s Notting Hill. The owner, Mark Hayes, is the tenth recipient of a custodial sentence for health and safety failures in the past two months. Given that, prior to […]

The new look CDM regime

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has given the go-ahead for a new version of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM), which will come into force on 6 April next year. The details of CDM 2015 are largely as consulted on earlier this year but, in a notable U-turn, the HSE will retain […]

Brothers imprisoned for asbestos offences

Two brothers have been imprisoned for exposing workers to asbestos during the refurbishment of a building, despite having been repeatedly warned about their failures by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The case, according to the HSE, shows that it is “essential at the outset of a building refurbishment to first seek specialist advice regarding […]

Housing management firm fined for walkway collapse

A housing company has been fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £27,821 in prosecution costs following the collapse of a second-floor walkway at a block of flats in Lancashire. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company, Blackpool Coastal Housing Ltd (BCH), had known for several years that the block’s walkways were dangerous […]

Developer jailed for work at height failures

A developer has been imprisoned for ignoring prohibition notices issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and risking the safety of his workers and members of the public during the redevelopment of a former office block in Essex. The HSE visited the site in Parkeston on 28 February 2013 after local residents complained that […]

Managing agent fined for fire failures

A managing agent has been ordered to pay fines and costs exceeding £38,000 for fire safety failures at two properties. Following sentencing, Richard Fowler, the Head of Business Safety for the enforcing authority, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service (ESFRS), said the case should “remind all managing agents and others with responsibilities for property management, […]

Self-employed face safety law exemptions

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has proposed 20 work activities and sectors where self-employed workers will continue to be covered by health and safety legislation. The public consultation is important not just for the workers themselves, but for any organisation that uses self-employed workers – either directly, or indirectly in its supply chain. Currently, […]

Deaths at work reach record low

The number of workers killed at work in 2013/14 was the lowest on record. The rate of fatal injury – which takes account of changes in the size of the workforce – has also fallen to its best ever point. The figures, which were released by National Statistics and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) […]

EU steps back from new legislation

The European Commission has given its clearest indication yet that employers will see little, if any, significant new health and safety legislation over the next six years. In June 2014, the Commission published its new “Strategic Framework”, which sets out its priorities for 2014–20, promising instead to focus on three main “challenges”: the implementation of […]

HSE looks at charging for new services

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is to begin testing the market demand for a fully chargeable inspection service for organisations with “mature health and safety management systems”. The government made the announcement as part of its formal response to the independent Triennial Review (TR) of the HSE, which reported in January 2014 and praised […]

Licensed contractor ignored asbestos survey findings

Recent years have seen judges increasingly willing to impose substantial fines for asbestos failures. Even so, six-figure fines remain rare. Late-May, however, saw fines and costs exceeding £150,000 imposed on an experienced asbestos contractor that disregarded the findings of an asbestos survey. More notable still was that the case was heard in a magistrates’ court, […]

Heroes Bill unlikely to help employers

The government has announced it will introduce measures to “put the law more clearly on the side of employers who do the right thing to protect employees if something [goes] wrong through no fault of their own”. The Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill is due to come into force before next year’s General Election, […]

Risk assessment failure is significant cause of death

A recent conviction following the death of a Gloucestershire airport’s station officer is notable for two issues. Firstly, the judge said the failure of the airport’s operator, Kemble Air Services, to carry out a suitable risk assessment amounted to a significant cause of the death of Steven Mills. Secondly, it is a reminder that organisations […]

Fatal fall through asbestos roofing ends in prison

A company director has been imprisoned for 12 months after a fatal fall led to the discovery that his company had illegally supplied roofing panels containing asbestos. Robert Marsh, who was the sole director of RM Developments (2005) Ltd, was also disqualified for six years from acting as a director and ordered to pay £10,000 […]

The need to communicate asbestos surveys

A recent prosecution has highlighted the need not just to carry out an asbestos survey but, critically, to communicate the results to workers on the ground. The case bears some similarities to the prosecution earlier this year of a building contractor that exposed workers to asbestos it knew was present at a Surrey school, but […]

Fire safety 2: enforcement

In the first part of our series on fire safety at the workplace, we looked at the fundamental roles of the “responsible person” and risk assessment. In part 2, we turn to inspections and enforcement action. Local Fire and Rescue Authorities enforce fire safety under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. In 2012/13 – […]

Fire safety 1: responsible person and risk assessments

A change in the law in 2006 required businesses to manage fire safety in much the same way as they would any other health and safety risk. Whereas businesses previously would have relied on prescriptive requirements and certification by fire authorities, they must now adopt an approach based on risk assessment, with an emphasis on […]

Two more steps to help control legionella

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is again dealing with applications to use copper-based systems in biocidal products used to control legionella. A ban on the use of such systems had been in place since 1 February 2013 as a result of the EU biocidal products Directive, one effect of which was to make it […]

Primary Authority scheme extended to fire safety

The past six months have seen changes to the Primary Authority (PA) scheme that have meant many more businesses are now able to benefit from simpler and unified local authority enforcement in increasing numbers of regulatory areas. The PA scheme applies to businesses with premises that are enforced by more than one local authority in […]

The new-look CDM Regulations

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has finally published its proposals to replace the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM). Among the important changes are the abolition of the “CDM coordinator” and the withdrawal of the CDM Approved Code of Practice (ACoP). Consultation started on 31 March 2014 and will run until 6 June 2014, […]

Director imprisoned for fire safety offences

The director of a recycling company has been imprisoned for 10 months for fire safety and environment offences at a Derbyshire waste site for which he was the licensed operator. On 12 September 2012, waste wood products caught fire at Arcwood Recycling Ltd’s site near Ilkeston and burned for 12 days, causing disruption to local […]

Diseases: HSE will encourage others to act

Future years will see the Health and Safety Executive concentrate its occupational health (OH) resources on cancers and respiratory diseases. The HSE’s governing board confirmed the strategy at its March meeting after board members discussed a paper from HSE officials that reviewed progress since the HSE’s landmark March 2013 conference on new approaches to tackling […]

Landlord fined for faulty fire escape

The owner of a mill let to multiple business tenants has been prosecuted after a tenant was injured when he fell through a faulty fire escape while fleeing intruders. The incident occurred at the five-storey Tolson Mill in Fazeley, Tamworth. Part of the mill is still used for its original purpose of producing traditional tape […]

Top judge targets directors’ bonuses

A recent Court of Appeal judgment has highlighted reducing bonuses as a way of incentivising directors to take on board health and safety issues. The court’s decision, which was given by the highest-ranking judge in England and Wales, the Lord Chief Justice, is also likely to lead to an increase in the levels of fines, […]

Poor contractor controls cause fatal fall

A recent prosecution of Dairy Crest and its roofing contractor has highlighted important issues for occupiers of business premises and their contactors. Their collective failures resulted in the fatal fall of a sub-contracted scaffolder and fines totalling £105,000. As well as being yet another reminder of the need for precautions when working with fragile roof […]

Fee For Intervention faces uncertain future

A government-commissioned review has cast a shadow over the long-term viability of the controversial Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme. FFI, which has been operating since 1 October 2012, requires the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to recoup all formal enforcement costs – up to the point where it decides to prosecute – from dutyholders it […]

Contractor ignored asbestos survey results

A building contractor has been fined £50,000 after exposing workers to asbestos that it knew was present at a Surrey school in 2011. The contractor had taken action to find out whether asbestos was present but then did nothing about it. The case is the latest indication that judges are increasingly taking a harsher line […]

The new approach to managing health and safety

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has completed its overhaul of guidance on how organisations should manage health and safety. The final part of the jigsaw is a paper version of Managing for health and safety, which is the successor to the long-time bedrock of safety management in the UK, Successful health and safety management […]

Working at height: new advice

On 28 January 2014, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revised much of its guidance on working at height. The guidance affects employers and anyone who controls working at height, for example a contractor or owner of a factory or other premises. The HSE estimates more than one million businesses and 10 million workers carry […]

The year ahead

The next 12 months are set to continue the frenetic pace of health and safety reforms of 2013. Before we look at likely developments, it is worth mentioning the publication on 9 January 2014 of the government’s triennial review of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Although this found the HSE was generally fit for […]

CDM: New Year, new look?

The Health and Safety Executive is likely to consult in early 2014 on a new version of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM). The HSE hopes the package will come into force on 1 October 2014, although ongoing delays and difficulties – the review of CDM started in 2009 – make 6 April […]

New asbestos code

On 4 December 2013, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) agreed the final version of a new, single Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) on asbestos. The publication, which also contains guidance, offers essential advice to all those who are responsible for the maintenance of non-domestic buildings and so have a duty to manage asbestos, and […]

First-aid training changes

Employers are no longer able to rely on HSE “approvals” when choosing their first-aid training providers. The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to ensure their first-aiders have a certificate of competence in either first aid at work or in emergency first aid at work (EFAW). Until recently, this was a straightforward […]

New workplace advice

One of the core sources of Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advice has been revised for the first time in 20 years. Workplace health, safety and welfare (L24), which the HSE published in updated form on 18 November 2013, applies to all UK workplaces except for construction sites, mines and ships. The L24 publication affects […]

New legionella code

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published a new Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) on legionella on 25 November 2013. The ACoP ­– Legionnaires’ disease: the control of legionella bacteria in water systems (ACoP L8) – is relevant to employers and those in control of premises (landlords) where there is a risk of exposure to […]

Spotlight: Business Continuity & Fire

The effects of fire on a business may appear fairly obvious; however, when a fuller study is undertaken, there are less obvious risks that could effect our normal business operations. In simple terms, a fire could burn a building down. The building will be unusable and the majority of its contents lost. For large organisations, […]