Safesite https://www.safesite.co.uk Fri, 29 May 2020 10:26:47 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://www.safesite.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/cropped-safesite-favicon-32x32.png Safesite https://www.safesite.co.uk 32 32 Company prosecuted after fall from height https://www.safesite.co.uk/blog/company-prosecuted-after-fall-from-height https://www.safesite.co.uk/blog/company-prosecuted-after-fall-from-height#respond Fri, 15 May 2020 16:59:14 +0000 http://fullphattest.co.uk/safesite/company-prosecuted-after-fall-from-height/ Lack of edge protection leads to prosecution and fine for roofing company

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A roofing company has been fined £7,000 with costs of just under £2,000 after a worker was seriously injured in a five metre fall.

The worker was replacing lead flashings on the roof of a property when he fell onto the pavement below.  The fall resulted in a fractured pelvis and back and a broken arm. 

During their investigation of the incident, the HSE found that there was nothing in place to prevent or mitigate a fall, such as edge protection or a safety harness.  Following the hearing the HSE Inspector said that, “This was an entirely preventable incident. The risks of falling during roof work are clear and there is readily available guidance from HSE and others on the action to be taken to prevent falls,”  He went on to comment that as a result of the fall the worker suffered serious injury and his colleague was also placed in danger as he too could have fallen at any time.

The roofing company pleaded guilty to a single breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.  Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: “Where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.”

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Safe Access for Fragile Roofs https://www.safesite.co.uk/blog/fall-through-fragile-roof https://www.safesite.co.uk/blog/fall-through-fragile-roof#respond Fri, 15 May 2020 16:05:14 +0000 http://fullphattest.co.uk/safesite/fall-through-fragile-roof/ The recent prosecution of a scaffolding company after a worker suffered life changing injuries highlights the importance of ensuring work on fragile roofs is safe.

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By Jason Godfrey, General Manager, Safesite Ltd

Importance of using a safe access systems on fragile roofs

The recent court case against a scaffolding company highlights the importance of conducting a site specific risk assessment, method statement and where necessary using fragile roof fall prevention products whenever fragile roof access is required.

St Albans Crown Court heard that father of one was placing scaffold boards along the roof ridge as part of a solar panel installation when he fell through the fragile roof to the concrete floor eight metres below. The worker suffered life changing injuries as a result of the fall.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act, 1974 and was fined £110,000 and ordered to pay £22,596 in cost after one of its workers suffered life changing injuries

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Stephen Manley said:The company’s approach to health and safety was poor. They failed to properly and safely plan the work they were contracted to carry out and failed to supervise inexperienced young workers. The particular works would have been unfamiliar to the team and so the lack of thorough supervision was lamentable”

He concluded by stating that “When working at height, there is a high likelihood of serious injury or death if safe procedures are not put in place and adequate steps taken to ensure they are followed”.

Fragile Roof Falls

Falls through fragile materials continue to feature in the press and with an average of 8 people a year killed by such falls, it’s essential that work on fragile roofs or materials is properly planned.

There is a range of fragile roof access equipment available which is specifically designed to provide safe platforms for use on fragile materials and industrial roofs that prevent these types of accidents from happening.  It is essential that all operatives are properly trained and that such systems should be used in conjunction with a written risk assessment and safe working method.

Click here for more information on fragile roof access systems

Further information relating to fragile roof work can be found on the HSE Website

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How to inspect fixed ladders https://www.safesite.co.uk/blog/how-to-inspect-fixed-ladders https://www.safesite.co.uk/blog/how-to-inspect-fixed-ladders#respond Fri, 15 May 2020 16:03:14 +0000 http://fullphattest.co.uk/safesite/how-to-inspect-fixed-ladders/ What do we look for when inspecting and recertifying a fixed ladder?

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By Steve Kilpin, Recertification Manager, Safesite Limited

Last week I shared a couple of videos we had taken on site when inspecting some fixed ladders.  This has prompted many of you to ask us what we look for when inspecting and recertifying a fixed ladder. 

The main objective of the inspection and recertification is to ensure that the fixed ladder is installed correctly and safe to use, to do this we follow a simple but effective process of assessing the Risk Rating and Compliance Criteria in order to produce a ladder data sheet.

Risk Ratings

Recommendations are then made based on the risk level estimations using a control plan which looks at the Risk Level and Tolerability: Action Guidance. 

For example if the Risk Level is very low the Action Guidance may be that it is “considered acceptable, existing controls should be maintained but the ladder could be upgraded when other works are done.”  However if the Risk Level is very high it would be noted there is a “substantial and unacceptable risk that a fall could occur, remedial works are very likely to be required and the recommended action is within 6 weeks.”  In addition, “immediate control measures should be put in place until the risk has been reduced and a full risk assessment of all work activities involving the equipment should be undertaken.”

Risk Level Matrix

Compliance Criteria

When we carry out inspections and recertification of fixed ladders, we follow the requirements of relevant regulations and standards, including the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations, ACOP and BS4211, for example:

  • Fixed ladders should not be used where it would be practical to install a conventional staircase
  • The ladder should be of sound construction, properly maintained and securely fixed
  • Assembly should be sufficiently rigid and stable to ensure safety of the user under normal conditions
  • Handrails should extend at least 1100mm above landing
  • Stiles should extend to the height of guarding
  • The ladder should not exceed 6m without an intermediate landing
  • Hoops should be fixed if the ladder exceeds 2.5m
  • Fall protection, preferably passive such as cages, should be provided if there is a risk of falling more than 2m
  • Hoops should be a maximum of 900mm apart
  • Hoops should not exceed 1500mm apart with uprights not more than 300mm apart
  • The width between the strings should be between 300mm (400mm preferred) and 600mm
  • Handrails should open out to between 600mm and 700mm above the landing
  • Rungs must withstand 1.5kN and have a diameter of 20-35mm
  • The top rung should be level with the platform
  • Rise between rungs should be 225mm to 300mm
  • A minimum of 200mm clear space should be behind each rung
  • Clear space on the user side should be 600mm

Ladder Data Sheet

Once we've carried out the Risk Rating and Compliance Criteria we are then in a position to produce a data sheet for the ladder, outlining its compliance, or non-compliance, and recommend any remedial works that need to be carried out. 

A typical ladder data sheet would look something like this:

Example ladder data sheet

 

Competency

The above is merely an overview of how we carry out recertification of fixed ladders and does not go into details of the full processes.  As with any type of work, inspection and recertification of fixed ladders should only be carried out by those who are competent to do so and is not something that can be carried out by any worker.  Only a competent person or company will be able to assess the risks and carry out the work safely and in accordance with the work at height hierarchy.

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Importance of fixed ladder inspections https://www.safesite.co.uk/blog/importance-of-fixed-ladder-inspections https://www.safesite.co.uk/blog/importance-of-fixed-ladder-inspections#respond Fri, 15 May 2020 16:02:14 +0000 http://fullphattest.co.uk/safesite/importance-of-fixed-ladder-inspections/ Why you need to have your fixed ladders inspected and certified annually

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By Steve Kilpin, Recertification Manager, Safesite Ltd

We were asked to inspect some fixed ladders recently by a customer.  The ladders had been installed several years ago but had never been inspected. Worryingly these were being used on a regular basis.

 

Faulty fixed ladder

  

   Click here to watch the video

   The ladder hasn't been fixed properly so it     wobbles when being used.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

  

Poor ladder fixing

While the poor fixing on this ladder has led to the ladder becoming unsecured.

Click here to view video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can imagine, using both ladders was extremely dangerous but we're pleased so say that rectifying the problems was quick and easy.  Our customer now has safe and secure ladders which are inspected and certified annually.

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Are your eyebolts installed properly? https://www.safesite.co.uk/blog/are-your-eyebolts-installed-properly https://www.safesite.co.uk/blog/are-your-eyebolts-installed-properly#respond Fri, 15 May 2020 16:01:14 +0000 http://fullphattest.co.uk/safesite/are-your-eyebolts-installed-properly/ Installing eyebolts in load bearing solid masonry and in accordance with BS 7338

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By Tim Nye, Installed Systems Manager, Safesite Ltd

Recently we've been sharing some images of systems and equipment we've come across on site that are not fit or safe to use, either because the components have been damaged or the system has been installed incorrectly.  This eyebolt is another classic example of an incorrect installation.

“We were told it had passed a 6kN pull test so it must be fine.”  WRONG!

incorrect eyebolt installation

 

Understanding BS 7883

This eyebolt is installed on top of a parapet and is a perfect illustration of a frequent misunderstanding we come across of how eyebolts function and what forces the base structure must be capable of withstanding.

The code BS 7883: 2005 Section 8 is perfectly clear and states that eyebolts fitted into traditional bonded brickwork should only be into LOAD-BEARING solid masonry. 

8.1.3 Wherever anchor devices are to be used it is essential to ensure that the structure has sufficient strength and stability to support the loads that could be applied to the anchor device in the event of a fall being arrested.  This is especially important in the case of brickwork or combined brickwork/blockwork.

8.1.4 Anchor devices should only be fixed in, or attached to, load-bearing structural members if the strength of these structural members has been assessed and they have been found to be strong enough to support the load that could be applied to the anchor device in the case of a fall being arrested.  Anchor devices should not be fixed in non-load-bearing infill panels without specialist advice being first obtained.

Anyone with general construction experience of what load-bearing means should be able to understand this, but unfortunately there are numerous installations where it appears that this knowledge is either missing or, more worryingly, being ignored.  A clear understanding of correct installation, and implementing it, is essential as the consequences of incorrect installation can quite literally be fatal.

The following diagram from BS7883 shows an example of an anchor device suitable for load bearing solid masonry, used in conjunction with resin bonded structural anchor.

 

Around Windows

BS 7883 Annex B gives additional advice on fitting locations around a window and from this you can see that the minimum dimension for fixing below a window cill 'd' is 600mm.   This is because this is 'non-loadbearing' and it is only once you have a build-up of 600mm that it can be considered as satisfactory.   However, on a parapet even 600mm may be inadequate as traditional brick parapets are often in poor condition and are less stable than a window where the frame, surrounding walls and non-weathered situation all add to the strength of this position.

The diagram below of a fixed pane plus external opening window, side hung shows the minimum dimension for fixing below a window cill.

 

BS7883 eyebot installation by windows

 

Competent Installations

As with any type of work, particularly installation of fall protection systems, competency is essential. According to BS7883:

8.1.5 The position for the installation of anchor devices should be determined by a competent person, taking the manufacturer's instructions into account, and, where necessary, in consultation with a suitably qualified engineer.”

Unfortunately this photograph clearly shows that the eyebolt has been installed by someone who was not competent to do so.

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CDM 2015 Regulations Come into Force https://www.safesite.co.uk/blog/cdm-2015-regulations-come-into-force https://www.safesite.co.uk/blog/cdm-2015-regulations-come-into-force#respond Fri, 15 May 2020 16:00:14 +0000 http://fullphattest.co.uk/safesite/cdm-2015-regulations-come-into-force/ CMD 2015 came into force on the 6th April 2015

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This week (6th April) saw the introduction of the new CDM 2015 Regulations which are designed to reduce accidents during construction projects through improved health and safety, design, planning and co-operation throughout the project.

The regulations, which supersede the 2007 CDM Regulations, identify six core roles: Clients, Principal Designers, Designers, Principal Contactors, Contractors and Workers. Under these new regulations clients are required to take responsibility and ensure that each phase of the construction process is planned so that it can be managed safely. Clients now have a duty to:

  • assemble a team of competent professionals and ensure that each of their roles are clear
  • allocate sufficient time and resources at each stage of the project to ensure that health and safety issues are dealt with properly
  • ensure effective project team communication
  • provide suitable welfare facilities throughout the construction period
  • make sure all involved have the skills, training and expertise to carry out the work

The role of CDM co-ordinator under CDM 2007 has been replaced with a new role of principal designer.  Where projects have more than one contractor, the client must appoint a principal designer and principal contractor  and ensure that resources are available for projects to be planned and implemented safely.

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Why you should use self closing gates https://www.safesite.co.uk/blog/why-you-should-use-self-closing-safety-gates https://www.safesite.co.uk/blog/why-you-should-use-self-closing-safety-gates#respond Fri, 15 May 2020 15:57:14 +0000 http://fullphattest.co.uk/safesite/why-you-should-use-self-closing-safety-gates/ How using self closing safety gates can help you to follow best practice and comply with current legislation such as BS EN 14122 and BS 4211.

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By Jason Godfrey, General Manager, Safesite Limited

Chains, bars and sliding link tubes have for many years been used to provide safe access to a roof from ladders, roof hatches, with edge protection systems or at ground level such as for industrial walkways.  While these provide a simple safety solution they are reliant on correct usage which, as we all know, isn’t reliable. 

Users often forget to replace the bar or chain, leaving a gap behind them.  At ground level this could simply mean access to an area is left open, however when working at height this could lead to a significant fall hazard being created.

 

Link Tube and Chain access to roofs

 

Self Closing Safety Gate

Self closing gates are a more reliable solution to these traditional methods and are recommended by the HSE as the preferred method of protection.  The main benefit of these types of access is that they tend to be spring loaded so they automatically close behind the user. This overcomes the potential for user error and ensures that voids are not created when accessing a roof.  

 

Self closing gates for rooftop safety

 

Self closing gates meet the requirements of BS EN 14122 Parts 3 and 4 which require gates on handrails to close automatically when released and that when a guard rail requires an access point, a self closing gate is provided.

 

Self closing gates for warehouses

 

An open and shut case for protecting access and egress

Safe access and egress is essential, particularly when it comes to work at height via ladders, roof hatches and walkways.  Safety gates provide a simple and effective solution to ensuring safety that doesn’t rely on correct use.   So if you’re considering safe access from a stairway, ladder or guardrail, the specification of self closing gates will help you to follow best practice and comply with current standards such as BS EN 14122 and BS 4211.

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Why do I need my guardrail inspecting? https://www.safesite.co.uk/blog/why-do-i-need-my-guardrail-inspecting https://www.safesite.co.uk/blog/why-do-i-need-my-guardrail-inspecting#respond Fri, 15 May 2020 15:56:14 +0000 http://fullphattest.co.uk/safesite/why-do-i-need-my-guardrail-inspecting/ Why you should have your collective protection such as guardrail systems inspected annually by a competent person

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By Steve Kilpin, Recertification Manager, Safesite Limited

When speaking to customers about the need to have their fall protection systems inspected annually, most understand why fall arrest systems such as lifelines need to be recertified, but I'm often questioned about why collective protection such as guardrails should be recertified.

The question is understandable; after all a lifeline system is based on moving components so there’s more chance of something going wrong, especially when you take general wear and tear into account.  So it stands to reason that you’d want to make sure all the components for these types of system, including PPE such as harnesses and lanyards, are in full working order.   If a fall happens then you can be confident that the system will arrest the fall. 

Guardrails on the other hand just sit on a roof. There are no moving parts (unless it’s a collapsible system), so what can go wrong?  Have a look at the following photographs and imagine someone falling against this guardrail system.  Now ask yourself that question again.

Top rail of guardrail not secured

 

 

 

 

 

Unsafe Guardrail fixing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Partial edge protection system

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Companies are legally required to ensure that fall protection systems are tested and recertified annually by a competent person. 

Even though guardrails do not undergo the same demands as a moving user participant system, they still need to be inspected regularly to make sure they are still performing as intended.  These systems are designed to prevent someone from accessing the edge of a roof and, if someone does fall against the system you need to be confident that they’ll withstand the impact of that fall….and the only way to be confident is to have the system inspected annually by a competent person.

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