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Working at Height is still the biggest cause of death within the construction industry.

The following are all requirements in law that a Company must carry out when working at height:

(a) Provide the most suitable equipment appropriate for the work.

(b) Take account of factors such as the working conditions (e.g. weather).

(c) Take into account the nature, frequency and duration of the work.

(d) The risks to the safety of everyone where the work equipment will be used.

Below are a number control measures you should consider prior to working at height.

(a) Ensure that work at height is properly planned, adequately supervised and carried out in a safe manner by suitably trained and competent staff.

(b) Ensure equipment is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job, maintained and checked regularly.

(c) Stop materials or objects from falling or, if it is not reasonably practicable to prevent objects falling, take suitable and sufficient measures to make sure no one can be injured, e.g. use exclusion zones to keep people away.

(d) Store materials and objects safely so they won’t cause injury if they are disturbed or collapse.

(e) Plan for emergencies and rescue, e.g. agree a set procedure for evacuation.

(f) Ensure that injury is prevented from the fall of materials, tipping or throwing of objects.

(g) Minimise the distance and consequences of a fall, by using the right type of equipment where the risk cannot be eliminated.

(h) Do as much work as possible from the ground.

Does good health and safety on site and good health and safety planning produce higher quality of workmanship and build?

Yes. If there is no planning no fit for purpose risk and method statement and unsafe working practices the quality of the build will normally mirror the on-site health and safety.

How does the Project team ensure good health and safety?

  • Appoint the right people and organisations at the right time.
  • Ensure there is an expert.
  • Co-operate and communicate with the project team.
  • Provide Pre-construction information.

How does the Builder ensure good health and safety?

  • Providing training and the correct documentation will ensure health and safety compliance.
  • Managing health and safety helps builders retain experienced and skilled workers. Commitment from building management provides reassurance to employee’s the management do care for their employees welfare.
  • Focusing too much on formal documentation of a health and safety management system will distract from addressing the human elements.
  • Know the correct amount of documentation for projects “too much is as bad as too little”.

How do you appoint the right organisation to help manage health and safety?

  • Check the organisation has suitably qualified staff.
  • Try to find an organisation that have employee’s that have actually worked on the tools or managed construction sites.

Health and safety made simple includes:

Having completed another financial year 2018-2019.

It is nice to reflect on another very positive year for business.
First with our Health and safety work.
We have now been working with one of London’s premier brickwork contractors “Galostar” for approximately 18 months.
Galostar ensure health and safety and the welfare of their operatives is a priority within their business model. Galostar request assistance from Owen Construction Consultancy for drafting Risk and Method Statements and on-site health and safety audits. Galostar ensure the work areas they carry out their brickwork are neat and tidy this leads to extremely high quality of workmanship being delivered. This has been a rewarding for us being able to access some of the biggest and most prestigious London building projects.
Second Clerk of Works services.
Phoenix Housing Association was awarded a multi-million pound grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore The Fellowship Inn in Bellingham in November 2014.

The £4million restoration plans include the creation of a:
(a) Cinema
(b) Live music, theatre and comedy venue
(c) Café
(d) Restored pub
(e) Music hub and rehearsal space (home to Lewisham Music).

Owen Construction Consultancy provided clerk of work (quality control monitoring) to our long standing Client Phoenix Community Housing Association.
The project has been one of the most interesting to have worked on.
A dilapidated large listed building restored and brought back to life by traditional craftsmen.
A joy for any Clerk of Works to be involved with.

The Health & Safety Executive October site inspection initiative controlling dust.

The HSE will be visiting sites this October focusing on the controlling of dust on construction sites. Companies in breach of their statutory duty to control dust or expose their workers to dust will face enforcement action and fines.

You can find information guidance sheets when you login into the HSE web site.  Below are controls that can be put into place on your construction sites.

Control Measures:
(a) Burning of materials on site should not be permitted.
(b) Using processes which do not generate hazardous fumes and hazardous dust.
(c) Ensuring that airborne hazards do not escape from the site to affect members of the public and
surrounding environment.
(d) Dust pollution can be minimised by screening, if practicable.
(e) Wheel wash facilities provided on sites.
(f) Watering down to minimise dust transfer into neighbouring premises.
(g) Ensuring that the area around the site, including the public highway, is regularly and adequately
swept to prevent any accumulation of dust and dirt.
(h) Skips and removal vehicles should be properly covered when leaving the site.
(i) Limiting the number of people near the work.
(j) General mechanical ventilation to remove dusty air from the work area
(e.g. in enclosed spaces such as indoors)
(k) Order the right size of building materials so less cutting or preparation is needed.

Tools to be used to reduce dust
(a) Block splitting tool
(b) Water suppression on tools
(c) Dust extraction on tools

Operatives controls
(a) Avoid dry sweeping – use vacuum or wet cleaning
(b) Avoid use compressed air for removing dust from clothing
(c) Rotating those doing the task
(d) Wear respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
(e) Selecting work clothes that do not keep hold of the dust

Security on your site.

If you are a Site Manager or Company Director you are responsible for security on the sites you manage.

Your Company should ensure reasonable steps are taken to prevent unauthorised access.

Attention should be paid to:
(a) Preventing children or vulnerable people entering the construction site. Consider schools or care homes located near the site.
(b) Rights of way through your site.
(c) Other work areas next to your site, e.g. a shop refurbishment in a shopping centre.
(d) Occupied houses next to your site, especially on new-build housing estates.

Construction company’s should consider the following controls:
(a) Perimeter fencing and warning notices should be posted. Gaps between gates and the ground and between fixed and moveable fencing should be minimised so that small children cannot climb through or under the fence.
(b) Fencing should be regularly checked to ensure the fence is kept in good order and that there are no materials, skips, plant, etc. stored or parked where they may assist a trespasser to climb into the site.
(c) In occupied buildings or public spaces with access to the scaffold at several levels fencing should be used to close off all access opportunities.
(d) Site personnel and site visitors should sign in the site register when they arrive on site and to sign out when they leave site.
(e) Construction work should not start until the site has been made secure.
(f) Warning signage should be fixed to the scaffolding.
(g) If employees suspects that a person they see on site is not authorised to be there, they should report their suspicions to the Site Manager. The Site Manager should immediately investigate and if the person is unauthorised, request that they leave site immediately.
(h) All plant should be switched off at the end of the working day.
(i) Ladders should be locked to the scaffold, until they are next required. A check at the end of each shift should take place to ensure all doors are locked gates locked and any alarms set. Where it is not practicable to remove bottom ladder a ladder guard may be used.

As a Construction business there are many things that you do for which you can see an immediate benefit.

There are other things that you should do for which the benefits are not so immediately apparent. But that does not mean the benefits are not there, or even that they are insignificant – sometimes in fact, they are very big indeed.

A Construction Risk Register – which simply put, is a Register of the types of work a business carries out, the tools and machinery used in carrying out that work – and what likelihood and severity of risk each task carries with it.

People have even been heard to ask: So what is the point? My answer would be that the point and the returns are not only many-fold, but done just once, it thereafter only needs a bit of maintenance to be kept up to date.

Starting with the smaller benefits and working upwards:

1. Peace of mind: Complying with the HSE requirements is a legal requirement and compiling a Construction Risk Register is part of that requirement for Companies employing over 5 employees. Until it is carried out and documented, any business is essentially playing the percentages of something not going wrong. Once a Construction Risk Register is compiled, all those involved in running and operating the business can look at systems to reduce risk within their business.

2. Easier employee training: Once you have your Construction Risk Register, all employees (new and existing) can be trained in the same way. Nothing is missed or taken for granted and risks are greatly reduced.

3. Focus on the main issues: Because a Construction Risk Register Risk not only considers each aspect of the job but also considers the likelihood and severity of each risk associated with each task, everything can be treated in accordance with the assessed degree of potential risk.

4. Impact on business cost: Not having an up to date Construction Risk Register means that a business runs the risk of being fined (possibly heavily so), if an accident does happen. The business can also be sued by the victim (or others) and that is not to even mention the possibility of legal criminal negligence procedures against the owners and managers. Not having a Construction Risk Register thereby puts the business itself at risk. One only has to look at all the “have you had an injury?” adverts to guess the size of the “accident” business. To save you looking it up, the answer, according to the HSE is around £14.9 billion p.a.

5. Fewer personal Injuries (and worse): This is the big one! Since 1974 the number of all types of accidents at work have reduced significantly. Fatal injuries have dropped by an astonishing 85%. Non-fatal injuries by over 60%. The list of improvements is extensive.

For your own and your employees safely and to protect your business and acquire some peace of mind – don’t put it off: Make sure you consider all the types of operations your business carries out and the tools and equipment that is used, and compile a Construction Risk Register Risk.

Oh! And the bit of maintenance that I mentioned? It is simple. Once your Construction Risk Register is in place just update it whenever you take on a new business task or buy any new equipment.

Owen Construction Consultancy is happy to help if you have any questions.

First Aid Courses for employees Owen Construction Consultancy recently attended 1 day first aid training course. The course provided attendees with the life skills to take proactive action in the event of a person requiring first aid and learning skills that can literally mean the saving of a life. The course provided by Samantha Jones was conducted at a sensible pace and made the learning of such an important subject enjoyable.

1 day courses start from £69.00, 3 day courses start at £175.00 Certification of attendance is provided after completion of the course. Samantha Jones is a HCPC Registered Paramedic and can be contacted at .

Face fit testing

Face-fit-testing.doc
Face fit testing is a method for checking that a tight fitting face mask seals adequately to the person’s face.

Current regulations state that Face fit testing is required for anyone who wears a tight fitting face mask for work, which includes disposable single use FFP3 face masks and P3 half masks commonly in use on construction sites.

With the number of compensation claims increasing, employers who do nothing to tackle this issue are increasing the risk of legal action being taken against them by both past and current employees and are leaving themselves open to the possibility of fines and enforcement notices being issued from the Health and Safety Executive.

All dust is dangerous and many people suffer life changing illnesses as a result of working in hazardous conditions without adequate protection. Just a small leak in the face mask can lead to contaminants being breathed in.

Our Qualitative face fit testing service gives you peace of mind that your work force is being protected and is available across London and the South East.

For further details or to arrange face fit testing go to our contact page and send an email and we will make arrangements to carry out face fitting.

CHAS Accreditation

Construction Health and Safety (CHAS) Accreditation can be time consuming and daunting

At Owen Construction Consultancy we have been working with many contractors helping them obtain the CHAS Accreditation.

Having CHAS Accreditation demonstrates that contractors meet the recognised standards within Construction Health and Safety and is a game changer in assisting then to be awarded contracts that they tender for. Most local authorities and many other organisations will insist on contractors being CHAS accredited before considering them for the contract.

At Owen Construction Consultancy we are very familiar with the process and can complete the CHAS registration along with any other supporting documents that may be required.

Please contact us for more information.

Construction inspection campaign

The HSE which is Britain’s National regulating body for Health and Safety in the workplace launched its second phase of their construction inspection campaigning December 2017.

The Health and Safety Executive reported that in 2015/2016 over 40 people were fatally injured and ten times that number died from construction related ill health.

The HSE is requesting that every construction contractor, designer and client is not adding to the unacceptable toll by not managing the well-known risks to an acceptable level.

The campaign will focus on some of the most common failings such as Fall from heights, control of harmful dust including silica from brick and stone, asbestos and wood dust.
Structural safety, work at height, welfare provisions, material handling and good order are other areas that the HSE will be focusing on.

In the 1st phase of the inspections the HSE found many examples of small sites working safely and protecting their workers to a highly satisfactory standard, proving that it is possible.

Owen Construction Consultancy can provide a comprehensive Health and Safety Policy that will ensure all contractors, designers, clients have the highest level of compliance in place, which will avoid any failings should the HSE choose to inspect their site.