Change is often the most feared part of consultation. The majority want the status quo - we just want to be left alone! If nothing changes, we normally have to do absolutely nothing except carry on as before; i.e. nothing. Business as usual. With the current CDM changes still in consultation, I can continue to do nothing for another year at least!
Calls to very large London based organisations this week reveal little or no concern about managing the current CDM Regulations let alone the proposed revised ones. Where management is taking place, the idea of sharing that information with other sister organisations and fellow contractors in the public sector appears 'out of focus' to say the least.
One of the issues raised is the difficulty in deciding who the Client in many CDM projects actually is. In highways maintenance for instance, there appears to be little clarity in who the Client actually is and even then, the role appears to pass back and forth between at least 2 agencies almost as quickly as you identify them. So when the CDM revisions include even more regulations aimed at the Client, won't there be even more procrastination? If the intention of the regulations is to collar the Client with responsibilities he or she could never have imagined would come their way, the more astute will no doubt organise themselves to decline the offer of being the Client - for the time being anyway until the next storm passes. It is however, worth noting that the role of Client's Agent has been dropped from the proposed legislation. If you are the Client, you have much more to do and there is no way out!
We continue to brandish the benefits of good communication at all levels and between all departments. It sometimes feels as if this is the new Holy Grail that has only just been invented as a 'good idea. What could be further from the truth? Communication has always been the central plank of any management system. In the end, that is what we offer; a tool for good communication, between all levels of all departments and between all organisations that want to engage with us. Not just a documentation system; good though it is in that role, ToolKit CS™ is a communication system second to none for managing CDM and Asbestos compliance not only now but using the changed legislation that you have only this month to comment upon!
The consultation stage of the review of the CDM regulations being orchestrated by the Health & Safety Executive is now in its final stage. If you have not already done so, please review the HSE site information and get your response in before the end of July.
The HSE's timetable anticipates the enforcement of the regulations from October 2006 with only a 3 month lead in with the guidance. Once ratified, the legislation will take immediate effect. There will be no lead in period; no period of grace; immediate. ToolKit CS™ users will be prepared!
If you are not sure if you do or do not have the appropriate processes in place to deal with Asbestos Health & Safety legislation, you may like to try our on-line questionnaire. Access to the questionnaire is free of charge and may help you identify a route to avoiding the litigious route that almost inevitably follows when things go wrong. You can find the Asbestos Questionnaire on our website.
The following quotation from a recent TUC E Bulletin highlights the extent of Britain's asbestos cancer epidemic. "The combined toll of asbestos-related lung cancers and mesotheliomas is estimated to be killing in the region of 10 people a day, and the number is rising."
Newspaper reports this week covered the inquest into the death of Royal Navy veteran Ken Batty, killed by the asbestos cancer mesothelioma aged 69, after exposure to asbestos lagging on HMS Barfleur. William Nelson, a Royal Navy stoker in the Second World War who also worked in the building trade, died aged 79 from the same cancer, another inquest heard. Peter Luce, 63, a former senior Royal Navy officer, died after working with asbestos on submarines, an inquest was told. Former pub landlord Joe Clarke died of mesothelioma this month aged 66, the result of coming into contact with asbestos while working in demolition in the 1960s. Retired plumber Geoffrey Clarke, 63, died just four weeks after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Another retired plumber, Graham Buswell, died aged 69 on christmas eve last year from mesothelioma. Plasterer Robert Martin, 63, worked with asbestos throughout his 25-year career and died of mesothelioma, an inquest heard.'
I am grateful to Callsafe Services for their continued diligence in bringing the following information about prosecutions to the fore.
A man thought to be one of the youngest people in the UK to contract asbestos-related cancer has died. The deceased a 32 year old father was diagnosed with mesothelioma on 6 July 2004. It is believed he was exposed to asbestos fibres as a child when his stepfather worked at Kingsnorth Power Station, Kent. It is likely the exposure came from contamination on his stepfather's clothes. Solicitors representing the deceased man were awaiting the result of an inquest before pursuing a claim for compensation against his stepfather's former employer.
A sole trader in West London recently became the first individual rather than company to be prosecuted by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for a health and safety offence.
Heshmatollah Kerezeri a director of wood-flooring firm Bamboo Ltd, was fined £8000 and ordered to pay the Councils costs of £18,737 after pleading guilty to a breach of s33(1)(a) of the HSWA before West London magistrates court on 22 April.
The court heard how one of Mr Kerezeri's employees, lost two fingers on his left hand whilst operating a circular saw at the company's workshop on the Latimer Industrial Estate in June 2003. Environmental health officers from the Council found that the injured employee had not been properly trained, and that the saw did not have the right attachments to allow long lengths of wood to be cut safely. A proper risk assessment had not been carried out for the use of the saw either. The district judge ruled that, as a director of Bamboo Ltd, Mr Kerezeri was responsible for health and safety and that, in this instance, he had been "totally negligent" in placing his employee at risk of injury.
A demolition site supervisor has been prosecuted for "flagrantly disregarding" a notice prohibiting him from working at height without fall prevention or protection.
Basildon magistrates heard how the supervisor, employed by Syd Bishop Demolition, was observed by a HSE inspector moving around on a roof area without fall prevention equipment, despite having received the Prohibition Notice for exactly the same activity from the same inspector five days earlier.
The supervisor pleaded guilty to a charge under s36 of the HSWA 1974 of causing his employer, by virtue of his own actions in ignoring the Prohibition Notice, to commit an offence. He was fined £1500 and ordered to pay £600 towards the HSE costs. Syd Bishop Demolition was due to appear in court for breaching a Prohibition Notice at a later date.
The court heard that the supervisor was in charge of the demolition of an old factory building at the Bridge Works Industrial Estate in Wickford in December 2004, when it was visited by HSE construction inspector. On that occasion he observed a person being allowed by the supervisor to remove roof panels from the building, which was around 6-7m high, without wearing or being connected to any means of fall prevention. Consequently, the inspector served the notice on Syd Bishop Demolition by handing it to the supervisor. Five days later when the inspector returned to the site the supervisor himself was seen on the roof, again without any fall prevention, thus breaching the notice. The inspector further advised the court that "the supervisor was in charge of the site, he was fully aware of the Prohibition Notice, and yet he was doing exactly the same as seen on my first visit". The supervisor represented himself in court and said he was unaware that the person observed working on the roof on the first HSE visit was up there. As for his own actions, the supervisor maintained that putting his own life at risk was his own decision.
Our next Partners Meeting is due on 13th September 2005 at Leighton Buzzard. The meetings are currently aimed at customers offering an asbestos survey service, or management services for the CAWR 2002 - Duty to Manage Asbestos In the Workplace. Attendees are exploring better ways to gather asbestos data, input it into management systems and to deal with the onward management of the information for use by their own staff, their customers and their customer's suppliers. Please contact us if you would like to attend.
Our next Major Accounts Review Meeting will be hosted by EDF Energy on Tuesday 11th October 2005; we are missing out the August meeting due to holidays. Details of the meeting will be posted in September's Newsletter.