HASCOM Safety Update

Latest News and Information from Atom Electrical Services Sheffield, Electrical Safety Facts & Figures. The dangers posed by electricity and dangerous appliances in workplaces and our homes....

Posted: 12th of July 2012


Agility UK (Training & Consultancy) Ltd

Health and Safety Update May/June 2012



"Health and Safety" can suffer from a bad reputation when misguided instructions are issued to deal with various work activities. The Health and Safety Executive has set up an independent panel – the ‘Myth Busters’ Challenge Panel - to scrutinize these type of issues. The Panel is supported by a pool of independent members who have a wide scope of knowledge. This includes public safety, small businesses, trade union, the insurance industry and many outside interests where day-to-day common sense decisions on risk management are made.

The Panel will review/ investigate complaints regarding advice given by non-regulatory personnel such as health and safety consultants and employers. The output will be to assess that a sensible and proportionate decision/ advice has been made.

It is hoped that the implementation of the panel re-emphasises to all that "health and safety" is about managing risks properly and not being ‘risk averse’ and stopping people getting on with day to day activities.

If you think a decision or advice that you have been given in the name of health and safety is wrong, or disproportionate to what you are doing you can advise the panel directly, or let the ECA know by completing a form, which can be accessed via the Health & Safety downloads folder in the members area of the ECA website.


A revised leaflet from HSE explains simple precautions that need to be taken to prevent danger from portable or movable electrical equipment in low-risk environments such as offices, shops, some parts of hotels and residential care homes.

Launching the revised guidance on portable appliance testing (PAT), the HSE said: "We know that low-risk companies are being misled over what the law requires when it comes to maintaining portable electrical appliances, and many are paying for testing that is not needed. Businesses are responsible for protecting their employees, but they shouldn’t be wasting their money on unnecessary checks that have no real benefit. HSE has always advocated a proportionate, risk-based approach to maintenance. This new guidance is simple and clear to follow."

Nick Starling, Director of General Insurance at the Association of British Insurers, said: "Insurers have never required policyholders to undertake unnecessary portable electrical appliance tests which are not proportionate to the risk. We welcome HSE’s guidance, which will help businesses focus on what they do best, free from worries about health and safety myths."

Available via: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg236.htm?ebul=hsegen&cr=3/8-may-12


The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 came into force on 6th April 2012, replacing the 2006 asbestos regulations to take account of the European Commission’s view that the UK had not fully implemented the EU Directive on exposure to asbestos (Directive 2009/148/EC). The changes mean that some types of ‘non-licensed’ work with asbestos now have additional legal requirements, i.e. notification of work, medical surveillance (by 2015) and record keeping. All other requirements remain virtually unchanged.

If existing Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) are in a good condition and are not likely to be damaged, they may be left in place and their condition must be monitored periodically (the frequency will be dependent on risk/ likelihood of damage) and managed to ensure they are not disturbed. The presence of ACMs (actual or suspected) should be detailed by the owner in a ‘premises asbestos management plan’. Those responsible for the maintenance of non-domestic premises still have a ‘duty to manage’ any ACMs present and to protect anyone who may be at risk of exposure to the ACMs e.g. employees, visitors, contractors, members of the public.

A contractor must take the same reasonable steps to ensure whether ACMs are present, suitably assess the risks associated with the work being undertaken and that the risks are suitably managed with appropriate control measures.

For the majority of cases the requirements for ‘licensed work’ with asbestos remain the same: work with asbestos needs to be undertaken by a competent licensed contractor. This work includes most asbestos removal, all work with sprayed asbestos coatings and asbestos lagging and significant work with asbestos insulation and Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB).

If you are carrying out non-licensed asbestos work, this still requires suitable risk controls as determined by the risk assessment and in accordance with good practice techniques / guidance. The control limit for asbestos is 0.1 asbestos fibres per cubic centimetre of air (0.1 f/cm3). The control limit is not a ‘safe’ level and exposure from work activities involving asbestos must be reduced to as far below the control limit as possible.

Suitable training is mandatory for anyone liable to be exposed to asbestos fibres at work. This includes maintenance workers and others who may come into contact with or disturb asbestos (e.g. cable installers), as well as those involved in asbestos removal work.

What’s changed?

If you carry out some kinds of non-licensed work that involves asbestos - quite a lot has changed.

From 6th April 2012, some non-licensed work needs to be notified to the relevant enforcing authority, and brief written records should be kept of non-licensed work, which has to be notified e.g. copy of the notification with a list of workers on the job, plus the level of likely exposure of those workers to asbestos. This does not require air monitoring on every job, if an estimate of degree of exposure can be made based on experience of similar previous tasks or published guidance.

Significantly, by April 2015, all workers/self-employed carrying out notifiable non-licensed work with asbestos must be under (respiratory) health surveillance by a medical professional.

Note that many electrical contractors elect not to work at all with asbestos, or ensure that certain operatives do not do so, and where this is the case, these operatives may not need to undergo health surveillance.

Source: HSE - www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/regulations.htm

For more information, see Circular 89 of 2012 on the ECA website: http://www.eca.co.uk/training-news-and-events/member-news/eca-circulars-member-news/health-and-safety/circular-89-2012- notifiable-non-licensed-work-with-asbestos-nnlw/


A new HSE guide aims to clarify when scaffold design is required and what level of training and competence is needed for those erecting, dismantling, altering, inspecting and supervising scaffolding operations.

Design and inspection

Unless a scaffold is a basic configuration described in recognised guidance e.g. NASC Technical Guidance TG20 for tube and fitting scaffolds or manufacturers' guidance for system scaffolds, the scaffold should be designed by calculation, by a competent person, to ensure it will have adequate strength and stability.

All scaffolding should be erected, dismantled and altered in accordance with either NASC guidance document SG4 for tube and fitting scaffolds or the manufacturers' erection guide for system scaffolds.

For scaffolds that fall outside the scope of 'Basic Scaffolds', the design information should describe the sequence and methods to be adopted when erecting, dismantling and altering the scaffold, if this is not covered by published guidance.

Any proposed modifications or alterations outside a generally recognised standard configuration should be designed by a competent person.

Handover certificates should refer to relevant drawings, permitted working platform loadings and any specific restrictions on use.

All scaffolding inspection should be carried out by a competent person whose combination of knowledge, training and experience is appropriate for the type and complexity of the scaffold he is inspecting. Competence may have been assessed under The Construction Industry Scaffolders Registration Scheme (CISRS) or an individual may be suitably experienced in scaffolding work and have received additional training under a recognised manufacturer/ supplier scheme for the specific configuration he is inspecting.

A non-scaffolder who has attended a suitable scaffold inspection course and has the necessary background experience would be considered competent to inspect a basic scaffold (i.e. a site manager).

The scaffold inspection report should note any defects and corrective actions taken, even when those actions are taken promptly as this assists with the identification of any recurring problems.

To prevent use by unauthorised persons of incomplete scaffolds, relevant warning signs identifying the areas where access is not permitted should be displayed at the access points to these areas. In addition, access to the incomplete areas should be prevented by suitable physical means.

Competence and supervision

All employees should be competent (or in the case of trainees, supervised by a competent person) for the type of scaffolding work they are undertaking and should have received appropriate training relevant to the type and form of scaffolding they are working on.

Employers must provide appropriate levels of supervision taking into account the complexity of the work and the levels of training and competence of the scaffolders involved.

As a minimum requirement, every scaffold gang should contain an appropriately qualified scaffolder for the type and complexity of the scaffold to be erected, altered or dismantled. This may be an individual who has received training under an industry recognised training scheme, e.g. CISRS, and has been awarded the scaffolder card or someone who has received training under a recognised manufacturer/supplier scheme, to the limit of the configuration(s) involved.

Trainee scaffolders should always work under the direct supervision of a qualified scaffolder (i.e. a working foreman). Scaffolders are classed as 'trainees' until they have completed the approved training and assessment required to be deemed qualified.

1. Erection, alteration and dismantling of complex designed scaffolding (e.g. suspended scaffolds, shoring, temporary roofs etc.) should be done under the direct supervision of a competent person. This may be a qualified advanced scaffolder, a design engineer, providing they possess the

necessary industry experience or an individual who has received training under a recognised manufacturer/supplier scheme to the limit of the configuration(s) involved. The document includes a comprehensive list of scaffold structures that need to be designed, including temporary roofs and temporary buildings, bridge, slung and suspended scaffolds, and any scaffold structure subject to:

a. Vibration

b. High Loading

c. Long term duration

d. High risk areas, and/or

e. Loading from passenger/goods hoists.

Note: The above list is not exhaustive.

Source – HSE



Bus collides with cherry-picker

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how an incident took place on Euston Road in London, in the early hours of 4th March 2011. A national construction firm had been contracted to rectify snagging issues at a Hotel, as part of a £103 million restoration project. The construction company arranged for two workers to remove tape from the outside of an apartment window on the third floor of the building’s residential block. The workers decided to access the tape via a ‘cherry-picker’ (mobile access equipment) which was located in a compound.

The men reversed the vehicle out of the compound and on to Euston Road, raising the operator platform so it could clear a fence. They continued to reverse the vehicle unaware that a double-decker bus was approaching.

The bus driver failed to see the workers or the cherry-picker as the workers were not wearing any form of high-visibility clothing and the cherry-picker had no visible warning lights.

The top of the bus hit the operator platform, which was overhanging in the road, and knocked the jib into a brick gatepost. The collision catapulted the cherry-picker operator from the platform and he fell in front of the moving bus. The bus braked, but he was dragged 15 metres down the road, and was found partially underneath the front nearside of the vehicle. The cherry-picker operator suffered serious head, arm, pelvis and leg injuries and was unable to return to work for a year.

The construction company had failed to properly plan or supervise the work. The company also failed to provide adequate and relevant information and instruction for their employees.

The construction company appeared in court April 2012 and pleaded guilty to breaching s2 (1) and s3 (1) of the HSWA 1974. It was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £16,460.

Lift engineer is crushed to death

A lift manufacturer has been fined £300,000 for safety failings after an employee was crushed to death while installing a passenger lift. The lift engineer was working from a ladder within the pit of a lift shaft along with three other employees installing the lifts when a colleague used one of the lifts to collect equipment from a higher level when a counterweight descended crushing the lift engineer causing fatal injuries.

On investigation by the authorities it was found that the unfinished passenger lift was used to carry workers, tools and materials despite missing key safety-critical components. It was also identified that the company’s radio and telephone arrangements were ineffective, and workers routinely

communicated by shouting up and down the lift shaft. This was potentially confusing while others

were working in adjacent shafts.

There was also no evidence that the lift manufacturer had identified the risk of impact or crushing from moving lift parts, and therefore failed to plan, organise or supervise activity to control and prevent this risk. Ultimately the lift manufacturer had failed its duty of care in allowing unsafe working practices to continue.

The company, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 in relation to the incident.

In addition to the £300,000 fine for the three breaches, they were also ordered to pay £169,970 in costs.

Company prosecuted after electric shock

A coating and treatment company has been fined £3,500 and ordered to pay nearly £5,400 in costs for safety failings after an employee suffered an electric shock. The employee was working as a machine operator when the incident occurred on 28 July last year. He sustained an electric shock when checking new cables on a hardening machine that had recently been maintained. He sustained open wounds to his forearm and left palm and burns to his left arm and knee. As a result he was hospitalised for 12 days and was unable to return to work for four months.

Magistrates’ Court heard that following an investigation by the HSE the employer had failed to impose adequate safe working procedures relating to the operation, use and maintenance of an electrical system and work near an electrical system.

The organisation pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(3) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 in relation to the incident. Access to the live parts of the cables could have easily been prevented by insulating them or have systems / procedures in place ensuring that stored electrical energy had been discharged.

Further information about working safely with electricity and electrical appliances can be found online at www.hse.gov.uk/electricity

Teenage workers seriously injured after falling from height

A manufacturing firm has been fined £22,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,134 along with the organisations director also being fined £3,500 and ordered to pay costs of £7,866 after two teenage agency workers fell from a lifting platform.

The HSE prosecuted the organisation and one of its Directors after an agency worker (18 years of age), broke his back and his colleague (also 18), broke both of his heels and needed pins and a metal plate put into his feet.

The teenagers were helping to put scrapped trolleys into a skip using a makeshift lifting platform designed by the organisations director to fit a fork lift truck. As the platform was bringing the two workers down it caught and got dragged off the truck's forks. The workers and platform fell four and a half metres to the ground.

HSE's investigation found that the company had failed to ensure the health and safety of its employees, and that the company director had not followed guidelines and standards in the design of the platform, as the fork extensions did not fit properly into the platform, additionally the plate did not have any chains or any other means to secure it to the fork lift truck and it had an open edge.

The company should have considered if it was necessary to use a platform like this in the first place, and if it was, used something that was legal and safe - this arrangement clearly was not.

The organisation pleaded guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974:

3.-(1) It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.

The director pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998:

1) Every employer shall ensure that lifting equipment for lifting persons –

a. subject to sub-paragraph (b), is such as to prevent a person using it being crushed, trapped or struck or falling from the carrier;

b. is such as to prevent so far as is reasonably practicable a person using it, while carrying out activities from the carrier, being crushed, trapped or struck or falling from the carrier;

c. subject to paragraph (2), has suitable devices to prevent the risk of a carrier falling;

d. is such that a person trapped in any carrier is not thereby exposed to danger and can be freed.

Company, Director and Supervisor fined due to negligence

A scaffolding firm, its director and a supervisor have all been sentenced for safety failings after an employee died from injuries sustained in a fall from scaffolding it was erecting at a construction site in East Sussex.

The company was fined a total of £3,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs for its failings, the Director was fined £1,500 with £2,500 in costs and the Supervisor was fined £2,000 with costs of £2,500.

The HSE prosecuted the scaffolding company, its director and a supervisor for negligence and defects that contributed towards the incident.

The HSE investigating identified a number of defects with the scaffolding at the site, including missing hand rails and incomplete scaffold platforms. Evidence of deficient working practices and a negligent safety culture within the company were also found.

Although prohibition notices had previously been served on the scaffolding company and on individual employees for unsafe working practices, a poor attitude to safety in the organisation still continued.

The scaffolding company, Director and Supervisor all pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) and Regulation 6(3) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 in relation to the safety failings. The supervisor also pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 14(2) of the same legislation.

Further information on safe working practices and procedures in construction can be found online at www.hse.gov.uk/construction. The section includes a comprehensive scaffolding checklist.

Decorator falls through guard rail

A building company has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £2,706 in costs after a decorator was seriously injured when he fell through a substandard guard rail at a housing development.

The decorator leant against a wooden guard rail that was protecting a light well when it gave way, he fell approximately 2.6 metres to the ground floor, fracturing his hip, braking five ribs, chipping a bone in his spine and suffering internal bleeding and clotting around his lungs as a result.

The HSE investigating found that the guard rail had been removed and replaced prior to the incident to enable materials to be brought up from the ground floor. As a result the fixings were weakened and the guard rail failed to be of sufficient support. The building company pleaded guilty to a single breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 in relation to the incident.

A thorough inspection of the guard rail after re-installation would have identified any weakness and would have prevented the incident. It demonstrates the need to routinely inspect fall protection equipment used for work at height."

Workers exposed to asbestos dust

A Brewery has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £6,295 in costs, whilst a building and maintenance firm has been fined £12,500 with £6,295 costs and the director of the building and maintenance firm also being fined £2,500 with costs of £2,000 following workmen being exposed to deadly asbestos dust and then being asked by the site manager to remove it without adequate protection during a refurbishment of a public house.

When employees of the building and maintenance company identified potential asbestos insulation boards, the director of the building company who was in charge of the site, arranged for a sample of the board to be tested by asbestos specialists, but also asked the workers to pick-up the debris from the boards.

Then, during the demolition of the wall and the clean-up, there was further disturbance and exposure of asbestos on- site.

The owners of the public house (the brewery) had a duty to provide a suitable assessment of the risk of exposure to asbestos containing materials and a suitable asbestos survey report (Demolition / refurbishment survey), of which these had not been provided.

As soon as the potential asbestos containing boards were found, the site manager should have stopped the demolition work, removed persons from the area and assessed the situation, implementing suitable safe systems to reduce the risk of exposure to the workmen.

Further information on working safely with asbestos can be found on the HSE website at: www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/index.htm

The brewery pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 4(3) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.

The building and maintenance company pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 6(1) (a) Regulation 11(1) (a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and the company director also pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11 of the same regulations.

Firm fined after apprentice falls from roof

A construction company has been fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £850 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007:

1) The principal contractor for a project shall—

2) a) plan, manage and monitor the construction phase in a way which ensures that, so far as is reasonably practicable, it is carried out without risks to health or safety, including facilitating—

i. co-operation and co-ordination between persons concerned in the project in pursuance of regulations 5 and 6, and

ii. the application of the general principles of prevention in pursuance of regulation 7;

This action was taken following an incident after a 19-year-old worker was hurt falling from a roof. The apprentice joiner was working on a housing development fitting wooden batons between roof trusses when he slipped and fell around two and a half metres, landing on first floor boarding.

The apprentice suffered a fractured vertebra and was off work for two months.

Following an investigation by the HSE it was found that the principal contractor had initially installed fall mitigation in the form of air bags on the first floor when the roof trusses were initially installed a

week before the incident. However, they were removed before the trusses and supporting batons were fully fixed in place and no alternative safety measures were put in place.

The incident could have easily been prevented simply by leaving the air bags in place until the work was complete, rather than removing them and putting them back in storage.

Installing roofs is a high risk activity and builders should not become complacent about ensuring that fall protection, in whatever form, is provided throughout the work.

Although the immediate cause of the incident was the lack of fall protection, there is also an underlying cause – which the principal contractor failed to adequately monitor and control work in line with risk assessments and method statements."


Managing asbestos in buildings - a brief guide

The leaflet is for people who own, manage or have responsibilities for buildings, which may contain asbestos. This includes all non-domestic buildings, whatever the type of business, and the common areas of domestic buildings, e.g. halls, stairwells, lift shafts, roof spaces. The guidance does not apply to other domestic properties.

This leaflet has been revised to include changes to the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. It combines two leaflets: A short guide to managing asbestos in premises and Manage buildings? You must manage asbestos.


British and European Standards

New British Standards include:

BS EN ISO 19011:2011 (A5 Laminated)

Guidelines for quality and/or environmental management systems auditing. A5 laminated.

BS EN 50491-4-1:2012

General requirements for Home and Building Electronic Systems (HBES) and Building Automation and Control Systems (BACS). General functional safety requirements for products intended to be integrated in HBES and BACS.

Supersedes BS EN 50090-2-3:2005


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