Industry watchers will have noticed that the current trend of revising our key legislation has an enduring theme. Instead of involving government departments in the issuing of certificates and licenses, building owners are having the full weight of managing legislation hoisted upon them.
We don't have to go far for examples; the new fire regulations and licensing regulations are just two and both involve carrying out risk assessments, where applicable, by the building management. There is an obvious correlation with the proposed revisions to the CDM Regulations next year. Here, the client will assume responsibility for a number of issues which, for some, will come as an unwelcome surprise.
At Ai Solutions, we are well practiced in the art of helping and supporting our clients through our products and services. This involves product technical support, on-line knowledge bases about CDM and Asbestos and training. Those products support consultants, small businesses and very large enterprises and include web based solutions. The objective is always the same; to help our clients comply with the Law.
For those who are contemplating waiting until the CDM regulations change, we have one piece of advice; please don't wait. Get involved now and see how our solutions can fundamentally change how you manage your CDM or Asbestos Management Information and allow you to achieve the benefits of a modern, well presented data management system, confident in the knowledge that the software will be revised in tandem with the new legislation.
If you are not a building manager and know someone else who is, perhaps you would pass this message on or let us have the contact details so that we can.
The consultation stage of the review of the CDM regulations being orchestrated by the Health & Safety Executive is complete. 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.
The TUC is warning that the arrival in the UK of US-style 'scan vans' that screen workers for occupational lung disease is not the best way to deal with Britain's asbestos disease epidemic. In the US, the mobile clinics tour shopping malls and community centres in search of workers to screen, often using CT scans, and recruit for asbestos-related lawsuits.
TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said: 'These companies play on people's fears, and are interested not with the health of the worker, but whether they can make commission on compensation claims for any illnesses they find. However, this is not just ambulance chasing. There is growing concern over unnecessary or speculative screening - in particular the use of CT scans, which may increase the chances of certain cancers developing.'
The Health Protection Agency says the risk of developing a fatal cancer as a result of a chest CT scan is one in 2,500, compared with a risk of one in a million from a chest x-ray. Ian McFall, head of asbestos litigation with Thompsons solicitors, commented: 'If you're concerned about your health go see a doctor. You don't see a lawyer and you don't see some unregulated claims farmer running a scan van in a hotel car-park.'
According to TUC's Hugh Robertson: 'Anyone who is concerned they may have an occupational illness should contact their GP and make sure they let their doctor know why they are concerned, their work history and symptoms.'
The Department of Health is investigating one claims company using scan vans, Freeclaim IDC, based in Northumberland, to check it is in compliance with the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations.
I am grateful to Callsafe Services for their continued diligence in bringing the following information about prosecutions to the fore.
Sitting on 23 May, Liskeard Magistrates Court heard that, on 10 March 2004 at the Cornwall and South Wales Meat Factory near Roche in Cornwall, the contents of a top pallet weighing approximately 300 kg fell on a 19 year-old employee leaving the young man paralysed.
The company pleaded guilty to a charge under section 2(1) of HSWA 1974 of failing to ensure the safety of its employees. The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay the HSE's full costs of £1,967. The case has once again highlighted the importance of assessing manual handling tasks.
In last months newsletter it was reported on the prosecution of a site supervisor working for Syd Bishop Demolition who ignored a Prohibition Notice banning him from working on a roof without fall prevention equipment.
The firm who employed the supervisor has also been fined at a court hearing in Basildon. The firm was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £2,983 costs after pleading guilty to a charge under section 22 of HSWA 1974, for allowing work to carry on following service of the Prohibition Notice. The court was advised there were a number of things the company could have done:
The HSE inspector involved with the prosecution commented: "Having issued Prohibition Notices, we expect them to be complied with. When they are not, prosecution is almost certain to follow."
A man who fell nearly five metres from scaffold boards that were not properly supported may never walk again. Kieran Mullin Developments, the company he was working for, pleaded guilty at Derbyshire Magistrates Court on 2 June to two charges under the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996: breaches of reg.6(1) in failing to take steps to prevent falls from the scaffold, and of reg.29(1) in not ensuring scaffold had been inspected before use.
The company was fined £3,500 on each charge and ordered to pay full HSE costs of £1,789. The court was told by the HSE Inspector that a system scaffold had been erected at a detached house which was being renovated and extended by the company. The employees working on the scaffold were not trained scaffolders and did not have relevant qualifications. Boards had been put in place on the scaffolding but were not correctly supported. An instruction that they should be supported every 1.2 metres was stamped on the ends of the boards but in some cases they spanned 2.5 metres.
The court was further advised that it is very important that boards are properly supported, otherwise they are liable to sag and break when they have a load on them. On the date of the incident, two workmen went on the platform. The boards gave way under one of them who fell 4.8 metres to the ground sustaining spinal injuries, which left him paralysed below the waist.
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.