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Changes to Legislation and Guidance
Cessation of Routine HSE Inspections From April 2013, Health and Safety checks will no longer be routinely carried out on low risk businesses, such as offices, shops etc. The government has announced plans to exempt thousands of businesses from Health and Safety inspections. While this may seem like good news for employers, it may be bad news for their staff. Businesses will only face inspections if they are operating in higher risk areas such as construction, or if they have a track record of poor performance, or where injury or incident has actually maimed or killed. This is one of 3000 regulations to be overturned or changed, with the government looking to ‘lift the burden from businesses’. New Reactive Role with Grave Implications In essence the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will be demoted to playing a reactive, not proactive role – a major change, with grave implications for workers with any kind of exposure to danger, no matter how slight it is deemed by the Whitehall mandarins. Less workplace inspections will likely result in more illness, injuries and fatalities. Workers will be placed at a clear disadvantage by some employers who will use this as a means to downgrade safety, health and welfare compliance, due to the misconceived idea that health and safety costs money. We all know that good health and safety performance actually saves money! Abolition of Strict Liability One of the more controversial legislative changes is the abolition of the principle of Strict Liability (SL), which for 20 years has imposed civil liability for breaches of statutory duty in relation to Health and Safety regulations. In addition, the Government will introduce legislation next month to ensure that businesses will only be held liable for civil damages in health and safety cases if they can be shown to have acted negligently. The current legislation (Strict Liability) dictates that a business can automatically be liable for damages even if they were not actually negligent. Strict liability has defined the outcome in cases such as 'Stark v The Post Office' (2000), in which the claimant was able to recover damages for injuries caused by a defective bicycle, even though it was admitted that the employer could not have detected the fault, and so was in no way responsible for the accident. This was seen as an example of unnecessary burden on the employer. imposing an

Recent Court Cases
Lifting Failure Two companies have been fined after a serious failure in communications led to an 80 tonne mobile crane toppling over, narrowly missing workmen and a busy road. The incident happened on a building site during the construction of a new nursing home. South Coast Crane Hire Ltd and the Principal Contractor, JR Pickstock Ltd, appeared at Weymouth Magistrates court in a prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The court heard the crane was supplied and operated by South Coast Crane Hire, but confusion arose as to whether the job had been set up as a crane hire only or contract hire basis, where planning of the lifting operation is included. This resulted in planning of the lift being neglected by both firms and led to vital roles for the job not being assigned. In addition, important information - including the weights being lifted and ground conditions - were not passed on to the workers involved. The HSE's investigation found the lift itself was carried out unsafely as the crane was overloaded, and being operated on poor ground. As a result the crane overturned and fell across the site, narrowly missing the workers and a nearby road. The HSE said a larger crane should have been used, and ground mats were needed to spread the load of the crane's outriggers due to the poor ground conditions. The court was told the lift hire contract should have met industry guidance, which says a competent person should be appointed to plan the lift. This person should be provided by the crane hire company if it is a contract hire arrangement, or by the hirer if it is a hire-only agreement. The crane hire company should have ensured this happened when they set-up the contract. A lift plan should have been drawn-up by the competent person and communicated to those involved in the work. The principal contractor should, also, have taken all reasonable steps to ensure the construction phase plan identified risks to health and safety, and included measures to address risks. South Coast Crane Hire Ltd of Tradecroft Industrial Estate, Portland, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1)c of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £14,917 in costs. JR Pickstock Ltd, of Maesbury Road, Oswestry, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 23(1)a of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £16,000 and also ordered to pay £14,917 in costs.

Multiple Safety Failings A building contractor in Newquay has been fined for allowing multiple safety failings at a new-build construction site, exposing workers to serious risk of injury. Bodmin Magistrates' Court heard that Paul David Brannan was the Principal Contractor at the four-storey apartment block in Mount Wise, Newquay. A Health and Safety inspection had been carried out by a competent advisor two months before the HSE inspection. Several failings, including fall risks, were highlighted by the advisor, yet no action was taken to make any improvements or to eliminate the safety risks. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that numerous 'fall from height' risks were observed at the site, including unprotected edges in floorto-ceiling window openings, the lift shaft and stairwell. The scaffolding was also incomplete. Paul David Brannan, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,800. Speaking after the hearing, the HSE Inspector in charge of this case said: "The dangers of working at height are well known within the construction industry and this site had the greatest number of fall risks I have seen in one structure. It is very fortunate that nobody was injured because in numerous parts of the building, on each floor, there were no measures in place to prevent workers falling from height. "Today's prosecution should serve as a reminder to all building contractors and companies to protect their employees from falls when working at height. It is a legal duty to manage safety and failing to do so ends too often in tragedy."

Health and Safety Myths
‘Health and Safety gone mad!’ is a phrase heard far too much, but how often is Health and Safety the real reason behind it? How often do companies hide behind Health and Safety and excuse company policies under its banner? The HSE have started the ‘Myth Busters Challenge Panel’, to expose companies who wrongly blame Health and Safety. They’ve already exposed nearly 100 cases of Health and Safety being wrongfully blamed, including the infamous children need safety goggles and gloves to play with conkers. This was obviously a head teacher being overprotective, not everyone has such good intentions, and for example the airline that refused a customer a blanket ‘because of Health and Safety’, however, they were able to buy the blanket for £5. You can view a raft of myths on the HSE website: including the festive themed ‘The Twelve Myths of Christmas’.

Safe Track Associates News
Website Upgrade January 2013 We are currently in the process of upgrading our website to make it more user-friendly and informative. These improvements will allow us to update the content in real time, place articles, bulletins, news etc and provide links to key legislation and best practice where applicable. You can view our website at: Local Resource – International Clients 2012 has seen us continuing to successfully assist Clients, Developers, Principal Contractors, Management Contractors and General Contractors, in the Commercial and Domestic Markets both locally, and across the United Kingdom (UK) with delivering cost-effective Safety and Health Management. We have also helped some European (German and Spanish Companies), and International companies (USA), to develop their existing management procedures, and trained their staff to meet the UK requirements for delivering projects here in the UK. Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Schemes Another key area where we continue to assist our clients is with achieving accreditation with both the Contractors Health and Safety Scheme (CHAS), and the Safe Contractor Health and Safety Assessment Scheme. Accreditation has been achieved through us working with each company, developing robust Safety Management Systems, and then providing tailored training courses with ongoing support and guidance, to maintain the standards set. Community Relations and Charity Initiative In line with our philosophy of employing staff locally, supporting local suppliers, businesses and charities, where possible, we are actively supporting the Southmead Development Trust who manages the Greenway Centre Campus and its Facilities, for the good of the local community. We are active on the Board of Trustees and over the past year we have provided staff resource, technical, safety, health and environmental support, as well as making improvements to the campus by planting a number of trees, shrubs, bushes and flowers. We have also designed and erected three new signs to help guide visitors around site. Look out for them next time you visit our offices. You can view the website at:

IOSH Managing Safely
Special Offer for February 2013 We are again running the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) Managing Safely Course for the discounted price of £600.00. This four day course will be run over two consecutive weeks and it is scheduled to run on 5 and 6 February 2013 then on 13 and 14 February 2013 in our training rooms at the Greenway Business Centre, Bristol, BS10 5PY. It should be attended by managers and supervisors. The aims of the course is to ensure that safety requirements are appreciated, and to enable them to review their own departmental systems for safety, introducing new controls, or implementing changes as appropriate to ensure safety in the workplace. For further information and a booking form, please call Shelley on 0117 908 3860.

And Finally…
The continuing economic uncertainty brought about by the triple dip recession is evident all around us, from the decline in consumer spending, through to the lack of investment in major construction and engineering projects. This has not dampened our enthusiasm at Safe Track Associates Limited, where we continue to provide first class Health and Safety Consultancy Services at affordable costs to a broad range of clients in the property, engineering, construction and manufacturing sectors. Many of you will have read the editorials and articles about Safe Track Associates Limited in the Bristol Business Post and Business West Chambers of Commerce Magazine a couple of months ago. When interviewed, I summarised our unique approach by confirming: “The key to successful and sensible Health and Safety Management is to appoint experienced and qualified Safety and Health Practitioners. We are totally committed to providing the highest quality professional service and by demonstrating that commitment on commissions, we hope to motivate management, staff, other consultants and contractors to deliver the quality of service that today’s clients expect,” We have always strived to work and partner with all levels of companies from SME's to Blue Chip Clients, ensuring Health and Safety initiatives are delivered sensibly and cost-effectively on commissions and projects both large and small. 2012 saw us continuing to achieve these goals and, thus, expand our market share in the process. We are confident that we can continue this ethos throughout 2013 by assisting and guiding you to achieve successful, constructive, cost-effective solutions. We wish to thank all our clients and the various project teams that we are part of, for all the support they have given us over the past year. It is also nice to know that we are appreciated, and I would like to share the following two extracts from a couple of recent testimonial letters that we received from two of our clients: Unit 12 Greenway Business Centre Doncaster Road Southmead Bristol BS10 5PY (T) +44 (0)117 908 3860 (E) (W)

“I am particularly pleased with how you assisted us with securing more business, through having a professional Health and Safety approach to business.” and “I would not hesitate to recommend your company’s expertise to anyone in the construction, engineering and related industries.” Maybe, if the companies named in the ‘Recent Court Cases believed in implementing sensible health and safety initiatives, and had used our services, they too would be writing a testimonial similar to the ones above instead of writing cheques to cover legal / lawyer fees, fines and costs received from their poor performance, and the resulting HSE prosecutions! Neil G Sangster

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