Asbestos exposure is a major cause of death and serious ill health. Asbestos is made up of thin fibres. These can break down into much smaller and thinner fibres. The smallest fibres cannot be seen with the naked eye but they can be breathed in. Asbestos fibres are only dangerous if they are made airborne and breathed in, but all types of asbestos fibres are potentially fatal if breathed in. The fibres that are breathed in can become stuck in the lungs and damage them. This can cause scars that stop the lungs working properly (asbestosis), or it can cause cancer. The main types of cancer caused by asbestos are cancer of the lung and cancer of the lining of the lung (mesothelioma). Asbestos related diseases can take from 15 up to 60 years to develop and there is no cure for any of them. Continue reading
Thanks for an excellent update on CDM and a good introduction to the changes in CDM 2015. Peter made this subject understandable and clear to us – great training!
Paul Heathcote, Director & Principal Structural Engineer, Abacus Design Associates Ltd
The CDM 2015 Regulations come into force on 6 April 2015 and will apply to all building and construction projects, regardless of the size, duration and nature of the work. With these new regulations good quality, professional health and safety advice will be needed more than ever.
A summary of some of the key changes are set out below:
CDM Coordinator role replaced by a Principal Designer
Under CDM 2015, the Client will need to appoint a Principal Designer for all projects involving more than one contractor (trade contractor) on site at one time. Any other designers appointed should not carry out any work beyond initial the design unless the Principal Designer has confirmed that the Client is aware of their duties. The new role of Principal Designer should help eliminate and/or reduce the risks to health and safety to those involved in the subsequent construction work and the maintenance and use of the building, facility or structure once it is completed. This role extends to the construction phase and involves liaising with the Principal Contractor and specialist designers.
The replacement of CDM co-ordinator (under CDM 2007) by principal designer means that the responsibility for coordination of the pre-construction phase – which is crucial to the management of any successful construction project – will rest with an existing member of the design team.
Face Fit Testing of RPE (Respiratory Protective Equipment)
Respiratory Protective Equipment (or RPE) is used to protect wearers from exposure to a range of chemicals, solvents, dust, fibres, etc. It is often a protective measure that is identified in the risk assessment. The RPE must be able to provide adequate protection for individual wearers (otherwise there is no point in wearing it). It makes sense that RPE cannot protect the wearer if it leaks. One of the major causes of leaks is poor fit – tight-fitting face pieces need to fit the wearer’s face to be effective. It stands to reason that if people come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, it is unlikely that one particular type or size of RPE face piece will fit everyone.
The principle is that “fit testing” will ensure that the equipment selected is suitable for the wearer. The best time to do fit testing is at the initial selection stage, when individual users can be given a choice of adequate models of RPE. You should ensure that the make, model, type and size of face piece that they wore when they had their successful fit test is made available for their use. If an employee wears more than one type of tight-fitting face piece, then each type of facepiece should be fit tested.
Work at height safety – failure to provide a safe work platform is a dangerous way to work at height. In this case, the lack of a suitable and safe work platform for work at height safety led to two managers being prosecuted.
In this case, two industrial estate managers were each fined £8000 after they attached 15 wooden pallets to the forks of a forklift truck so that they could reach a street light that was 9 metres up in the air. Lancaster City Council prosecuted Jonathan Shaw and Stephen Fawcett after investigating a report from a passer-by, who saw the men fixing the light on Vickers Industrial Estate in Morecombe.
Asbestos prosecution – A businessman allowed the spread of asbestos in an industrial building by failing to employ licensed contractors to remove the potentially deadly material, a court has heard. In this case, Peter Rees, the owner of a business unit in Eagle Farm Road on the Mochdre Business Park, was selling the building to another business when the incident happened in September 2012. He appeared at Llandudno Magistrates’ Court following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified clear failings with his management of the material. Continue reading
Diesel fumes and cancer – in the UK, about 800 people a year are diagnosed with cancer caused by exposure to diesel fumes. Further to this, around 500,000 UK workers are exposed to dangerous levels of diesel fumes, while Europe that figure could be more than 3.6 million people. Anyone working with or around diesel-powered equipment or vehicles can be affected – there is a link between diesel fumes and cancer. Emissions from diesel vehicles, such as: forklift trucks, lorries, buses, trains and tractors can be a source of harm, particularly if they are used in enclosed spaces like garages or workshops. People who work with (or near) fixed power sources. such as: compressors, generators or power plants could also be at risk.
Thank you for an excellent service and for Peter’s expert help. It was vital is helping us to defend ourselves and to maintain our unblemished Health and Safety record. My worries were considered and dealt with and I now have my peace of mind back.
Martyn Smith, BRM PRODUCTIONS LTD
Warehouse Safety – Falls from height can happen in warehouses anywhere – this case relates to a Canadian Company. In this case, the company directors receive jail sentences and the corporation is fined after worker dies in a fall.
New Mex Canada Inc. (an importer and retailer of furniture and accessories) has been fined 250,000 Canadian Dollars and two of its directors have been jailed for 25 days each after pleading guilty to safety violations that led to the death of a warehouse worker.
In this Question and Answer section, Mike Ellerby addresses some of the questions concerning employers about their duties and responsibilities with respect to Occupational Road Risk (ORR) and driving, including the need for risk assessment and the use of mobile phones whilst driving.