Safety Bulletin

					Safety Bulletin
                                                                       by Richardson-Hill Limited
                                          March 2005 Issue
In this month’s issue:
From the HSE:
   • HSE announces site blitz
   • The Business Case for Health and Safety - campaign launched
   • HSE publishes first annual statement of health and safety law changes
   • Companies fined £95,000 following workplace fatality
From NASC:
   • NASC joins Access Industry Forum
From IOSH:
   • The introduction of BS EN 12811-1

From the HSE:
HSE announces site blitz

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will be carrying out a blitz of construction sites across Great
Britain in March as part of a nationwide initiative to tackle serious work-related ill health.

Healthy Handling 2005 is aimed at clients, designers, planning supervisors and contractors in the
construction industry, and is targeting poor work practices that can cause long-term disability and could
end careers.

During the initiative HSE Inspectors will focus on handling and using tools, materials and substances
which can result in fractures, strains, musculoskeletal disorders, dermatitis, cement burns, hearing loss,
hand arm vibration syndrome and consequent long term disability.

Commenting on the initiative, Chief Inspector for Construction Kevin Myers said:

“Work related ill health affects a significant number of construction workers and the sector has one of the
highest rates of musculoskeletal disorder in industry. Back problems, cement dermatitis, vibration white
finger and deafness can ruin people’s lives and force them out of their chosen profession.

“We have produced guidance outlining simple and sensible precautions to help clients, designers,
planning supervisors and contractors take account of these hazards well before work starts on site.
Experience shows that effective management of exposure to these risks can reduce or prevent injury
and ill-health to workers.”

The four core issues Inspectors will be looking at during the blitz are site order and organisation, lifting
and carrying, wet cement and hand held vibrating equipment and tools. If not properly managed each of
these topics has the potential to cause ill health and injury to construction workers.        (cont. pg 2)

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Safety Bulletin by Richardson-Hill Limited        March 2005 Issue                          Page 2
(cont. from page 1)

For each of the four core issues inspectors will expect to find:

Order and Organisation
   • clean, tidy and well organised sites that are kept in good order;
   • pedestrian access routes and places of work kept free from obstacles;
   • materials stored and left in a safe and accessible condition.

Lifting and Carrying
     • manual handling tasks eliminated by design or mechanisation where practicable;
     • safe handling based on assessment of risk from manual handling operations;
     • all workers trained in basic, safe, manual handling techniques.

Wet Cement
  • assessment of risks from cement and management arrangements to control exposure;
  • hot and cold running water, adequate size basins, and means of washing and drying hands;
  • regular skin inspection by trained competent person where residual risk exists.

Hand Held Vibrating Equipment and Tools
  • information on vibration/noise levels from manufacturers and hire companies;
  • risk assessments carried out to determine safe periods of exposure;
  • equipment and tools kept in good condition by effective maintenance systems.

Further detailed information on each of these topics is available in a 4-page free guidance sheet that can
be obtained from the Healthy Handling Helpline on 01582 444248 or: This
information is also available on the HSE website at:

From the HSE:
The Business Case for Health and Safety - campaign launched
The Health and Safety Executive is launched a campaign in February to persuade businesses that
sensible health and safety management is not only beneficial for staff but good for their bottom line as
well. The national advertising campaign will be backed up with a new website

It cites a range of companies who have applied a managed approach and reaped the benefits in terms
of improved profitability.

The Minister for Work, Jane Kennedy MP, said: “This is an impressive range of companies who have
produced case studies proving that an active approach to health and safety is good for business. In
particular the reductions in days lost through ill-health that some have achieved pay off financially and
should encourage other businesses to follow their example."

Among the case studies is one from Rolls-Royce plc who realised savings of £11m through an active
absence management policy, achieving an absence reduction of around 15% to a rate well below the
estimated national average. There was also a detectable fall in the proportion of absence due to stress
from around 20% to 16%.

(cont. page 3)
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Safety Bulletin by Richardson-Hill Limited       March 2005 Issue                            Page 3
(cont. from page 2)

“Companies should adopt absence management policies. They are a positive contribution to help people
return to work as soon as is reasonable and they help to significantly reduce costs incurred by avoidable
absences,” said their Human Resources Director, John Rivers.

Other examples in the case studies include:

       British Polythene Industries, who introduced a rehabilitation scheme, which achieved a reduction
of over 80% in the number of working days, lost due to musculoskeletal disorders (back injuries and
upper limb problems).
       Severn Trent plc reduced their total number of accidents by almost 50% and the proportion of
those attributable to musculoskeletal disorders from 75% to around 20% with a resultant decrease in
days lost through absence and an anticipated reduction in civil liability claims.

These companies are not alone in recognising the contribution that active health and safety
management can make. Sir Digby Jones, Director-General of the CBI, said:

“There is a real and growing body of evidence that effective health and safety management is good for
business. Whether it is reduced insurance premiums or claims, fewer staff absences, less turnover and
recruitment costs - there are now many examples of how companies have made positive health and
safety decisions work for them. The message of sensible and proportionate health and safety is one on
which business should act.”
HSE Director General, Timothy Walker, summed up:

“These case studies have a vital role to play in taking forward the business case agenda for health and
safety. There are powerful messages coming out of many of them – namely that managing health and
safety cannot be viewed in isolation from managing a business overall. The studies highlight the
contribution that good communications, sound training and development and meaningful worker
involvement all make.”

Workplace accidents and ill health cost the UK economy up to £6.5bn a year. A good deal of this is
uninsured costs which employers bear themselves and impacts directly on bottom-line profitability. HSE
believes that investment in this area yields positive results in financial as well as personal and societal
terms. Enlightened companies realise that good health and safety ultimately makes business sense on
many levels.

From the HSE:
HSE publishes first annual statement of health and safety law changes
 The first annual statement of changes to domestic occupational health and safety law on which the
Health and Safety Executive leads was published today.

From 2005, domestic changes will only be implemented on two days each year - 6 April and 1 October.

This harmonisation of commencement dates should make it easier for employers and employee
representatives to implement and respond to changes in occupational health and safety law and
practice, helping to increase clarity and awareness.

HSE Director General Timothy Walker said:                                           (cont. page 4)
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(cont. from page 3)

“This is what businesses say they want and HSE is pleased to be able to join the initiative at an early
stage. By bringing commencement dates together, employers will be able to prepare better for changes.
This should particularly benefit small firms, who do not have the resources to monitor changes to

We want to make it easier for changes to be implemented and ensure people are aware of them. We are
committed to being a good partner of business and employees - today's publication is a statement of our
commitment to that partnership.”

The two common commencement dates apply to changes in occupational health and safety law that
arise from within Great Britain. The commencement dates of regulations arising from Europe are not
within the control of HSE, but where appropriate HSE will seek to align them with the two common
commencement dates.

From the HSE
Companies fined £95,000 following workplace fatality

Three defendants today received fines totalling £95,000, plus costs of £60,000, at Southwark Crown
Court, London. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Lindsay Barr, David O’Keefe & Co.
Ltd and Britin Construction Ltd, following an investigation into the death of Romanian worker Mr Ionit
Simionica during refurbishment work at St Mary’s Church, Bryanston Square, London, W1.

On 26 February 2001 Mr Simionica, aged 22, was working in an excavation beneath a section of wall at
St Mary’s Church. The refurbishment work included lowering the crypt floor, which required the
foundations to be reformed below their existing level using underpinning. This involved excavating
beneath the existing foundations in short sections and casting concrete “pins” underneath the wall. It
was whilst working in such an excavation that a 1.5 tonne section fell onto Mr Simionica from the
underside of an unsupported wall.

Following sentencing HSE Inspector Barry Mullen, who investigated the case, said:

“Whilst welcoming the verdict handed down by the court today, the fact remains that a young man died
in an incident that could have easily been avoided, had appropriate and straight forward safety
measures been in place.

“The untimely death of Mr Simionica came about through the failure to take appropriate action in relation
to a potential risk in the underpinning work, that had been brought to the attention of both the structural
engineer and the contractors. The possible risks should have been addressed by uncomplicated
measures including a detailed structural investigation, suitable and sufficient risk assessments and
adequate protective measures, such as propping of the foundations.”

The structural consultant engineer Lindsay Barr of Lindsay Barr Associates, Chesham,
Buckinghamshire, was found guilty of breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act
1974 (HSW Act) in that he failed to ensure that persons not in his employment were not exposed to risks
to their health and safety. He was fined £45,000 and ordered to pay costs of £30,000 to HSE
(cont. page 5)

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Safety Bulletin by Richardson-Hill Limited      March 2005 Issue                           Page 5
(cont. from page 4)

The principal contractor David O’Keefe & Co Ltd of Prince George’s Road, London, SW19 were fined
£25,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,000 to HSE having been found guilty of charges of breaching:

       Section 3(1) of the HSW Act;
       Section 16(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994; and
       Regulation 9(1) of the Construction (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996.

Britin Construction Ltd of Aylesford, Kent, were fined £25,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,000 to
HSE having been found guilty of the charges of breaching:

       Section 2(1) of HSW Act;
       Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999; and
       Regulation 9(1) of the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996.

From NASC:

NASC joins Access Industry Forum

On the 27 October 2004 the leading trade associations from the Access Industry held a meeting at
Carthusian Court to discuss and agree common objectives. In attendance were representatives from
NASC, IPAF, PASMA, BLMA, FASET and SAEMA. A representative from IRATA has attended
subsequent meetings and it is understood that an expression of interest has also been received from

As a result of this meeting it was agreed that the trade associations should pool their resources and
influence within the industry to tackle important issues.

Consequently the Access Industry Forum (AIF) was established as a single voice for all trade
associations active in the access industry. It is hoped that the AIF will become an increasingly
important and influential body.

The AIF has already demonstrated its influence by highlighting its opposition to the 2 metre rule being
reinstated in the Working at Height Regulations.

The AIF also plans to strengthen the ties of all the trade associations further through the Safety and
Health Expo 2005 at Birmingham NEC. It is the intention of AIF to host the Access Industry Pavilion
stand at the Expo and invite members from each of the 7 associations to take a stand.

A joint conference is also planned for 18 May 2005 to run alongside the exhibition, and it is hoped all
members from AIF will participate. The NASC intends to take part in the conference with guest
speakers discussing issues that affect the NASC within the Access and Scaffolding industry.

AIF is an important step for the Access Industry as a whole and the NASC is proud to be involved with
this potentially very important and significant body.

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Safety Bulletin by Richardson-Hill Limited         March 2005 Issue                             Page 6
From IOSH:

The introduction of BS EN 12811-1

June 2004 saw the introduction of the new European Standard BS EN 12811-1, and the subsequent
withdrawal of the familiar BS5973, which has been used satisfactorily for the past 25 years. BS5973 was
withdrawn because it was no longer compatible with the new document.
Although this may not appear to be a momentous event, in practice it could radically change the way
scaffolders and scaffold engineers work in the future.
The fundamental difference between the two standards is that in the past the majority of UK scaffold
engineers have carried out their calculations using the permissible stress method of design. The
introduction of the new Eurocode requires that scaffolds are calculated using the limit state method of
(For a more detailed explanation of the two methods, see key differences.)
As there are no plans to rewrite BS5973 in the near future, the NASC has produced a user-friendly guide
that complies with BS EN 12811-1 (NASC Guide to good practice for scaffolding with tubes and
fittings), and will ensure that the normal working practices of the UK’s scaffolding contractors would
remain unaffected. It will provide appropriate solutions for generic scaffolds, which the scaffolder may
erect in a similar manner to BS5973, without any further structural assessment. The guide will still focus
on scaffolding with tubes and fittings, as this was the area covered by BS5973. The NASC anticipates
that the guide will be available from the end of September, and will follow a similar format to BS5973.
As with BS5973, BS EN 12811-1 is not law and its introduction will principally be the decision of clients
who specify the standards they require within their contract documents. There will be a small delay
between the formal withdrawal of BS5973 and the availability of the new NASC Guide. The NASC
therefore recommends that its members should continue to use BS 5973 only until the NASC Guide is

Key differences of BS EN 12811 / BS5973
•   Calculation Method: The new directive will require that engineers use the limit state method for
    engineering rather than the permissible stress method (see definition below). The NASC Guide
    allows for the limit state approach to analysis of access scaffolds and provides solutions, which do
    not need further design.
•   Ties: There will be an increase in the number of ties for particular heights used in traditional tube and
    fitting scaffolds. This could slow down the erection process.
    The NASC Guide provides details of the minimum ties required to satisfy BS EN 12811-1.
•   Ledger bracing: BS EN12811-1 requires that unimpeded access be provided in the immediate
    vicinity of a pair of standards, at each working area. This means that on the working lifts, the ledger
    bracing must be removed to provide clear access for people within the working area. The NASC
    Guide allows for the removal of the ledger bracing from two levels at any one time. These are
    normally two adjacent levels, but ledger bracing can be used elsewhere within the structure. The
    ledger braces must be reinstated once the working lift is taken out of use and before ledger braces
    are removed in the next nominated working lift.
•  Plan Bracing: To achieve safe heights for Basic Scaffolds in excess of 8m high, Plan Bracing shall
   be fitted in addition to Façade Bracing. The NASC Guide provides details for these situations.
(cont page 7)

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(cont. from page 6)

•   Changed basis for wind calculations: BS5973 concerned itself with sheeted scaffolds built
    generally in major built up areas. It did not allow for applications in exposed environments. The
    NASC Guide provides information and solutions for use with wind loads in accordance with BS6399.
•   The permissible stress method: The loading on a scaffold is calculated based on the working
    loads. This is the dead weight plus an allowance for live loads depending on the class rating of the
    scaffold plus wind loads. The load and stresses calculated are then based on 'permissible' or
    allowable loads and stresses, which are a safe value of stress for the steel to reach.
•   The limit state method: Under this method the loadings are calculated by multiplying the working
    loads by load factors to obtain the 'ultimate loads'. The loads calculated are then based on 'ultimate
    stress or the yield stress' of the steel, which is the actual point at which the material is becoming
    plastic in behaviour and close to failure.

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