For about as long as I can remember, changing light bulbs in the atrium has been the standard CDM example used in defining a Designer's duty to 'design out' hazards at the design stage. So when the recently reported story of Romanesque St Benet's in Beccles, Suffolk hit the headlines on both the BBC and the Times this week, it immediately captured my interest!
The story involves 4 light bulbs suspended 40 feet up in the church nave, the local electrician working to the new Working at Height Directive, and a bill for £1315.66p for erecting and moving scaffolding, and some 16 hours work. Previously, the work had been done in a quarter of the time but at some risk using 'a ladder'. There is no doubt in the 'quality' of the modern day solution.
The reverend Dom Anthony is left contemplating how else the church's hard earned reserves might have been spent in Darfur. He is considering his options for replacing the light fittings, using longer life bulbs and the using four candles. It seems designers may have even more questions to answer on their particular stairway to heaven - toe-boarded of course!
We held a very successful meeting at the EDF Energy UK headquarters in Grosvenor Place in October. A record number of attendees joined our hosts and represented several London Boroughs and Transport for London. The agenda included a review of how EDF Energy and TfL are using ToolKit CS™ to comply with the CDM regulations, an update on the proposed changes to the regulations and a demonstration of the new release issued at the end of September.
One delegate reported that "the way in which EDF Energy & Transport for London are driving the ToolKit forward and are trying to ensure that their respective organisations comply fully with the CDM Regulations and not just pay lip service to the requirements and duties is inspirational".
October 2006 is the deadline for the NEW CDM Regulations. There is no introductory period; no lead in. Old becomes new instantly.
Recent news from the HSE confirms that they are intending to keep to this deadline. The question is: will you?
How long will it take you and your organisation to prepare for the required changes? Experience tells us that this is likely to be 5 to 10 times the length of time you think it should. Your 1 - 2 month estimate is likely to take very much longer. The wiser heads amongst you are planning the change over now; we know because we are talking to at least some of them.
Our ToolKit CS™ product will be updated and ready to run in time. We aim to provide a seamless switchover for all our CS customers. Those customers on older versions will need to update to ToolKit CS™ as we have made clear ever since ToolKit CS™ was introduced in 2001. Those that still need to upgrade have several choices and need to speak to us about them now.
A recent TUC News bulletin includes the following article which highlights the continuing escalation of asbestosis cases in the UK. What is so tragic is the inevitability of the course the disease is taking and the indifference out there of people who should know better. Awareness of their duty to manage the workplace from an asbestos viewpoint is one thing; doing something about it is something else apparently.
The asbestos cancer mesothelioma is claiming 40 lives a week in the UK and the deaths show no sign of abating. The family of Philip Gibbon, who died of the condition aged 60 in January this year, secured a six figure sum in compensation this week. Mr Gibbon developed the disease whilst working as a shop fitter and joiner for William Nicholson & Son (Leeds) Limited and William Nicholson and Son Limited between 1966 and 1974.
Marion Voss of Thompsons Solicitors, who represented the family, said: "In the last year we have been instructed by a significant number of clients suffering from a variety of asbestos related diseases including mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural thickening, pleural plaques and asbestos related lung cancer. We are definitely seeing an increase in the numbers of clients with these diseases."
Tom Carden of the Ridings Asbestos Support and Awareness Group (RASAG), who advised Mr Gibbon on benefit payments, said: "We are seeing more & more mesothelioma cases in workers like Mr Gibbon, people who have worked in industries such as joinery and shopfitting, which you wouldn't necessarily associate with asbestos exposure."
A Teesside inquest last week recorded a verdict of death from the industrial disease on James Dorgan, who died in May from mesothelioma, aged 76. Another inquest last week said retired carpenter James Brown died in May aged 90 from mesothelioma-related ill-health. He had removed asbestos from the Dounreay atomic energy plant, in Caithness, Scotland, where he worked from 1959 to 1964.
We regularly receive updates from our customers and contacts about changes to legislation, the latest rumours and so on. We try to be selective with what we pass on and acknowledge our sources as appropriate. If you have information of general interest in the Health & Safety and particularly CDM and Asbestos Management arena, then please let us know by e-mail if possible.