The HSE's latest figures show that deaths in construction are down. This has to be good news. Will that mean we don't have to try so hard now, particularly since we are in recession and that major project starts appear to be at an all time low? Try telling that to tomorrow's construction widows.
I mention recession, because it's effects are all around us, impossible to ignore. These are testing times from any financial or employment perspective. Happily we own all our software and associated assets so we continue to trade from a remarkably strong position. While the politicians continue to battle it out and go for their summer recess, those of us delivering services to the construction industry are necessarily looking for innovation to stimulate the flagging marketplace.
For our part, we are busy delivering what we have become good at; good quality compliance software backed by an extensive portfolio of support services and training to help customers analyse and overcome their compliance shortcomings. Guidance documents, health & safety procedures, audits & business plans are each part of the mix for successful companies. Delivered as part of our standard package, this is a heady cocktail for most new users but remains the chosen path of the wary and compliant.
Part of the innovation though, is to ensure that we continue to enhance our services to plug the gaps out there. The principal one for our bigger clients is surprisingly, the poor relationship between some users and their IT providers. We see this as a major opportunity and have invested heavily over the past months to ensure we have the right systems in place to offer as an alternative. We can as of today, offer better software & online services for our users and as far as we know, at less cost than anyone else.
This has a spin off to our smaller users too, because we are able to offer them the same services at a remarkably low cost. We are now market testing a new Essential ToolKit solution; our Summer 2009 offer until the end of September.
Please contact us for details on these offers by phone if you can and see how we can help you meet your evolving compliance needs for CDM or Asbestos management or both.
As you all know, Competence is a key factor within the CDM2007 regulations. However, it is not something that you do as a 'one off' during the procurement process, it is an iterative process. Regularly checking the abilities and qualifications of those employed to carry out CDM works on your behalf, is a fundamental part of health & safety and CDM management. The aim is to ensure that any work undertaken on behalf of the Client is carried out by professional, qualified personnel; thus ensuring you eliminate the risks on your CDM projects as much as possible. You have to match the worker to the job requirements being reasonably certain that they are competent to carry out the work effectively. If they are not then they must not undertake the work!
Competence Management is a grey area for many. They may believe that they do not have the resource to check competence - this is a huge mistake. We spoke with the HSE recently and this year one of their objectives is to find out how Competence is managed in organisations. So, what will they be looking for? Only they can say. However we believe they will be looking for evidence that client organisations are carrying out Stage 1 and Stage 2 assessments for all parties involved in the works. They may also be looking for evidence of training programmes for your employees and what you have in place to facilitate 'continuous improvement'.
This may seem a little scary for some; nevertheless it is part of the client duties under CDM2007. It may be time to take stock and review your current competence management procedures.
The London Borough of Hounslow (LBH) are doing just that. We have been working with them to produce the LBH Competence Management Process. This process starts from Procurement, goes all the way through to works on site and continues through to the end of the CDM projects. The 'evidence' is stored within ToolKit for all to see and is regularly updated and audited. We are currently waiting for final approval before we complete the roll out.
The main objectives are:-
- To ensure any CDM works carried out on behalf of LBH are carried out safely
- To minimise risk on CDM projects
- To ensure internal and external staff employed by LBH have sufficient qualifications and experience to carry out CDM works on behalf of LBH
- To support continuous improvement in the CDM management process
If you have concerns about Competence Management in your organisation and would like our help and expertise please give a member of the team a call on 01525 850080 or drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Whilst accident rates may be improving, breaking news of another tower crane collapse, this time in Liverpool (6 July 2009), suggests we still have opportunities for improving site safety. In the Liverpool accident the driver escaped with his life.
In the Milton Keynes scaffolding collapse on 11 April 2006, one worker tragically died and two were badly injured. The HSE has announced its decision to bring criminal proceedings against named parties involved. All parties were summonsed to appear before Milton Keynes Magistrates' Court ealrier this year. This particular item has raised awareness in Milton Keynes as new construction is high on the agenda with the new City's growth.
In 2006 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued a safety alert to the construction industry following this incident. The warning aims to alert those working on similar projects to the importance of their arrangements to provide and maintain stable scaffolds. HSE recommends that those arrangements are reviewed regularly.
In this time of recession let us hope that Health and Safety is one area that does not suffer due to lack of funding or in adequate arrangements.
For those that attended our Major Account Review Meeting (MARM) on June 9th, it was an interesting day! Hosted at the offices at Ai Solutions, it included senior representatives from a number of Councils as well as Transport for London (TfL), Bradford MDC and one of our partners, Callsafe Services. Each representative updated us on how things are going, and in particular what is happening regarding the use of ToolKit CS™. We also had briefings from EDF Energy, Westminster and the London Borough of Hounslow.
One of the main subject areas was that of the Electronic Health & Safety File (eHSF) in ToolKit and how many organisations are allowing access (for contractors, external parties etc) to a 'centralised file' via a web browser. This single version of the file (first introduced in Bradford MDC) has meant the organsation can now fulfiul their corporate compliance duties as per the CDM2007 regulations. Along with that, the eHSF has saved them time, effort and money - this is good news indeed! If any of you would like more information on the eHSF please give a member of the team a call on 01525 850080.
One of the major objectives of the MARM meeting is to give the opportunity for users to feed back their thoughts on enhancements and ongoing developments to the software. A number of ideas were put to our Development Team and these will be taken into account during our development planning process.
This month, we are holding a free draw for a single user token to our Essential ToolKit product. This is an opportunity for a new prospective user to have twelve months' full professional use of our hosted product currently on offer at £2,995 per year on a 3 year contract, for free.
Please fill in our online entry form and we will enter your name into the free draw. Terms and conditions apply.
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.