OUR BLOG 

 
Below are a number of posts containing useful tips and insights from the Directors of Auxil Limited, acknowledged industry experts and trusted advisors in the fields of Health & Safety and Human Resources, which will hopefully trigger some thoughts or ideas. 
 
Why not join the conversation? We would love to hear your views… 
If you own or run a construction company, you will no doubt be aware of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015). Our blog this month provides clarity on the basics of what you need to know. 
 
According to the HSE “a principal contractor (PC) is the contractor with control over the construction phase of a project involving more than one contractor. They are appointed as early as possible by the client (commercial or domestic), before construction starts, to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety during this phase”. 
 
A principal contractor cooperates closely with the client and the principal designer and influences how the risks to health and safety are managed during the construction project. The PC ensures that requirements are understood and implemented. To do this the PC should: 
Principal contractor in Greater Manchester sentenced for putting lives at risk. 
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted a principal contractor for failing to safely manage a large, deep excavation during the construction of a dwelling in Greater Manchester. The defendant was Mr Matib of Bradford who was sentenced to sixteen weeks imprisonment suspended for twelve months, ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work and pay costs of £5,673. 
 
The inspectors reported that Mr Matib, who had employed several groundworkers, was found to have supervised unsafe excavation which put workers at risk and rendered the neighbouring property unstable. 
 
In addition, the defendant had failed to prepare a construction phase plan, with risk assessments and method statements, failed to appoint a site manager with suitable skills, knowledge and experience to manage the work. 
On 6 April 2022 the Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (PPER 2022) will come into force. The updated regulations extend PPE duties to include the free of charge provision of PPE to workers not just employees. 
The regulations stated that if a risk assessment indicates that PPE is required, employers must ensure their workers have sufficient information, instruction, and training on the use of PPE. Workers have a duty to use the PPE in accordance with their training and instruction, and ensure it is returned. The employer will be responsible for the maintenance, storage and replacement of any PPE they provide. 
 
Worker means ‘an individual who has entered into or works under; 
(a) a contract of employment; or 
(b) any other contract, whether express or implied and (if it is express) whether oral or in writing, whereby the individual undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services for another party to the contract whose status is not by virtue of the contract that of a client or customer of any profession or business undertaking carried on by the individual. 
Employers need to ensure suitable PPE is:  
provided 
compatible 
maintained 
correctly stored 
used properly 
 
Business owners throughout the UK value the contribution of their employees in the delivery of quality services and products to their customers. 
Whilst recognising employees may be prevented from attending work through ill health, businesses have a duty to provide a safe place of work, to ensure staff remain fit for work to maintain service and product delivery and minimise disruption. It is therefore important to commit to managing attendance and for managers and employees to take responsibility to work together to promote the management of sickness absence. We have therefore put together a number of points to help businesses. To achieve the desired level of attendance employers may adopt the following: 
• Promote the health, safety and wellbeing of all employees, including the use of risk assessments to identify and manage hazards impacting on health in the workplace. 
• Monitor levels of sickness absence for individuals, teams and the business as a whole. 
• Implement procedures to support and manage employee absences, whilst dealing with unjustified and/or high levels of sickness absence. 
Ensuring the health and safety of employees has always been important for business owners, with this in mind we have put together information to help to manage your health and safety. 
The Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations 1989, requires employers to either display the HSE-approved law poster or to provide each of their workers with the equivalent leaflet. 
 
If an employer chooses to use the Health and Safety Law poster to communicate with their employees, they should consider two things; the location of the poster or leaflet and the quantity that they display. 
 
HSE- approved law posters must be displayed in a prominent location in all business sites; in an area that can be easily accessed by employees; this could be in places like break rooms, kitchens, reception areas and communal spaces, ensuring they are clearly visible. 
Work Related fatalities in the 12 months to March 2021 up by almost a third 
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has reported in the 12 months to 31 March 2021, 142 workers in GB lost their lives at work, compared to the record low of 111 in 2019/2020. 
 
This increase is seen against a background of furloughed workers, Covid 19 affecting work generally and an accompanied 10% reduction in weekly hours worked (ONS figures). Last year’s low has been linked to the slow economic activity during the first wave of the pandemic in March 2020. Also, this year’s figure has risen above the 5-year average of 136 workplace fatalities, suggesting that safety standards have fallen. In addition, Covid 19 deaths have not been included in figures. 
 
The construction, agriculture and manufacturing sectors have all recorded an increase in fatalities in the 12 months to March 2021, construction 39 deaths, agriculture 34 and manufacturing 20. Comparisons with earlier years however is difficult due the effects of the pandemic. 
 
The reason for this increase is unclear, it may be due to the introduction of Covid 19 measures, or it could be due to the pressures of the pandemic overwhelming workplace safety matters. 
As the construction industry starts to become somewhat normal again across the UK, Building will resume, however a lot more building’s will be gracing the sky rather than stretching across the way. 
According to a report by New London Architecture, there are 525 new planned high-rise buildings with 20+ floors, for London alone. 
This will increase the problem Health and Safety professionals face and how to consistently operate safe workings at height. 
 
So, what is working at height? 
According to the HSE, working at height is defined as; work in any place where, if precautions were not taken, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury. 
You are working at height if you: 
• work above ground/floor level 
• could fall from an edge, through an opening or fragile surface or 
• could fall from ground level into an opening in a floor or a hole in the ground 
Many business owners recognise that equal opportunity in employment is important and any act of discrimination is unlawful. They also recognise that dignity at work and ensuring that everyone is treated with respect are important aspects of working life. To assist businesses to achieve these outcomes we have put together information below. 
 
Companies need to ensure that no employee or job applicant receives less favourable facilities or treatment on grounds of sex, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, national origins, religion or belief, age, gender reassignment, pregnancy, maternity, sexual orientation, or someone is married or in a civil partnership or are placed at a disadvantage by imposed conditions, requirements or practices which cannot be shown to be justified. These are known as "protected characteristics". 
 
In addition, businesses should avoid unlawful discrimination in all aspects of employment including recruitment, promotion, opportunities for training, pay and benefits, discipline and selection for redundancy. Candidates for employment or promotion should be assessed objectively against the requirements for the job, taking account of any reasonable adjustments that may be required for candidates with a disability. 
 
To help further it is important to understand and consider the definitions of unlawful discrimination: 
According to the HSE (in their Asbestos Related Diseases Statistics published in November 2020) over 5,000 deaths per year are being caused by Asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. 
What is Asbestos? 
Asbestos is a mineral that was mined for and used heavily in the construction/manufacturing industry following World War II, largely used in insulation, and building materials. This was due to its properties such as being a good thermal insulator, a good electrical insulator, minimal chemical reactions as well as being relatively fireproof. All these attributed made asbestos one of the best building materials. The only downside to Asbestos which was not widely known at the time was that once these Asbestos containing material are broken, the fibres they release are deadly once breathed in. 
What makes Asbestos so dangerous? 
When Asbestos containing materials or ACMs are broken or start to break-down they release exceedingly small fibres into the air, some looks like string others look like needles. 
Hard hitting facts: 
693,000 Workers sustained injury according to self-reports in 2019/20 
Of these self-reports, 168,000 injuries resulted in over 7 days of absence from work. 
65,427 Employee non-fatal injuries reported by employers under RIDDOR in 2019/20 
Of these 65,427 RIDDOR reports; 29% were attributed to slips trips or falls, 19% were attributed to manual handling, 11%struck by moving objects, 9% Acts of violence and lastly 8% Falls from height. 
The number 1 and number 2 workplace injury rate per 100,000 workers during 2019/20 was Construction and Agriculture, forestry and fishing. These industries have a statistically significantly higher risk of injury compared to other industries. Although recent trending suggests that the injury rate has been falling over the last decade, it is now starting to plateau across the board, this includes Self reports, RIDDORS and fatalities. 
111 Workers were killed at work in 2019/20 in fatal injuries. 
Injuries at work do not only affect the individual but also the employers, it is estimated that nearly 6.3 Million working days were lost due to non-fatal workplace injuries. 

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