17 Dec 2010

Fall from ladder results in a worker's death and £300k fine for BT

BT has been fined £300,000 following the death of a worker who fell from a ladder while carrying out installation works.

Power construction engineer David Askew, 52, from Braintree, Essex, suffered fatal head injuries after falling from a wooden ladder at London's Canonbury Telephone Exchange on 27 October 2006.

British Telecommunications Plc (BT) was prosecuted after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Southwark Crown Court heard Mr Askew was installing distribution boards and running cabling as part of his work and would have been working at a height of more than four metres. He fell from a nine-step wooden ladder, sustaining a serious head injury and died 18 days later.

The HSE investigation found a number of issues including a failure to ensure the work at height was properly planned, and that Mr Askew was provided with suitable access equipment for work at height. Two wooden ladders found at the scene had not been subject to an annual inspection, contrary to BT's own health and safety policy.

BT, based in Newgate Street, London, were found guilty of breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 at a previous hearing. Today, they were fined £300,000 and were ordered to pay costs of £196,150

Nicola Maisuria, HSE inspector, said:

"The fact that this incident was entirely avoidable makes Mr Askew's death all the more tragic.

"The dangers posed by work at height are well known, yet BT failed to create the conditions to ensure this task was carried out safely and the appropriate access equipment was used.

"Employers have a responsibility to ensure that work at height is properly planned and organised."

Speaking of her husband's death, Denise Askew said:

"I spent over 30 happy, irreplaceable years with my husband. He was a remarkable father and husband. What do I have to look forward to now? My husband was my past and I thought he was my future.

"I feel sad my husband will never see two of his children get married. Most of all I feel sad that I see such sadness in my children's eyes when they talk of their father.

"I feel sad that my husband worked all his life and never got the chance to retire and enjoy the life he was working so hard towards.

"I share a massive disappointment that this happened within a workforce of such a large company and where the safety of every employee should have been assured".

Falls from height remain the most common cause of workplace fatality. In 2008/09 there were 35 fatalities, 4654 major injuries and a further 7065 injuries that caused the injured person to be off work for over three days or more, due to a fall from height.

HSE Transcript Source: COILDN/1512
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

The impact of an incident such as this is substantial, not just to the company but to the loved ones left behind. The fact is that accidents can happen for a large multi-national, just the same as it can for a small independent firm. Without the necessary checks and preparations, accidents will continue to occur and families will continue to suffer the consequences. Choosing the correct equipment for working at height is critical - more and more employers are using MEWPs rather than ladders to improve safety levels. Regardless of which equipment is used, there remains the need to carry out a check of the selected equipment to ensure it is fit for use. Good to Go Safety offer a range of effective tagging and inspection systems which can help to eliminate avoidable accidents such as that highlighted above - click here for more information.
25 Nov 2010

Government guidance on clearing snow and ice

OK so this blog is a little off the beaten track for me, with no relevance to workplace equipment safety, however I'm sure there are plenty of health & safety guys out there dreading the snow and ice that has appeared overnight and looks set to continue into next week.

The following link takes you to the DirectGov website and provides some useful tips and advice regarding your rights and responsibilities on clearing snow and ice from public areas. The basic synopsis is that you should not be afraid of getting sued by someone if they slip on a pathway that you have cleared, so long as you have not made conditions worse (ie by clearing the snow with water rather than salt, which has subsequently frozen to create a skating rink).

It all seems pretty obvious to me, but then again I consider myself to have a certain amount of common sense, which appears to be in short supply in this day and age. Hope it helps, and if you do have snow where you are drive carefully.

Good to Go Safety should have some news shortly regarding a new addition to our equipment inspection, check back soon for more information.
23 Nov 2010

Scaffold inspection initiative targets dangerous scaffolding

Health and safety inspectors will be out in force in Manchester on Thursday 25 November in a bid to tackle dangerous scaffolding.

Falls from height are the biggest single cause of workplace deaths in the UK, with two deaths and 563 serious injuries in Manchester alone last year.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors will spend a day making unannounced visits to construction sites across the city as part of an ongoing initiative tackling the issue.

Both construction workers and members of the public can be put at risk of being seriously injured or even killed if scaffolding collapses. Injuries can also occur when building materials fall through gaps where there are no safety boards or netting.

Polly Tomlinson, a Principal Inspector for HSE in Greater Manchester, said:

"We are concerned that companies may be trying to cut down on costs or to undercut competitors by not using suitable scaffolding or other safety equipment. Quite simply, they are putting their own and other people's lives at risk as a result.

"HSE will not tolerate poor health and safety standards on construction sites. When it is necessary to safeguard workers or the public, inspectors will not hesitate to take strong enforcement action."

HSE Transcript Source: HSE/NW/20Scaffolding
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

It has been a concern for some time within the industry that good scaffolding comapnies, taking the necessary safety steps and providing a quality of workmanship are being out priced of jobs by firms willing to undercut by skimping on safety and using poor working practices. Often a member of the public will be unaware of the safety of the scaffolding, assuming that they are safe if being installed by a qualifed scaffolder. Hopefully this latest initiative by the HSE will help identify these rogue traders. 

The use of a scaffold tagging system is often the first step to scaffolding safety, helping to identify any concerns throught the use of a checklist system. The Good to Go Safety system clearly indicates when a scaffold has been checked and deemed 'good to go' or when a fault is found it can immediately shut down the scaffolding with a 'Do Not Use' message until further notice. Click here to find out more about the Good to Go Safety system for scaffolding.
19 Nov 2010

Ladder Safety hits Primetime TV

It was good to see the subject of health and safety, and in particular ladder safety getting some air time on one of BBC1's flagship programmes yesterday. Arthur Smith of The One Show took a look at the rise in ladder safety courses in the UK and highlighted the need to raise awareness of ladder safety in the workplace.

Health & Safety is often on the receiving end of bad press, often being misrepresented in confusion with the ambulance chasers. This was a welcome opportunity to rectify some of the bad press and I applaud the BBC for taking the time to back the HSE's ladder exchange initiative.

You can view the show by clicking on the following link to the show. You may want to skip to the article in question which can be found 23 minutes into the programme and runs for 5.30 minutes.

 Good to Go Safety provides the perfect solution to ladder tagging and inspections - offering a quick, easy and affordable management system. The system enables a pre-use check of the ladder with an easy to follow checklist. The findings are then displayed in the tag for all to see, clearly displaying if the ladder is 'good to go' or informing employees 'do not use' if a fault is found - effectively placing the dodgy ladder into immediate quarantine until such time that the ladder has been repaired. A duplicate copy of each inspection is automatically created for management records. To find out more please click the following link to visit our Good to Go Safety website.
12 Nov 2010

Rogue street scaffolding criticised by NASC

The sight of rogue scaffolders building unsafe scaffolds close to the general public is an all too common occurrence on our streets today. Yet all these scaffolds need a pavement licence to be issued from the local or public authority as they are being built from a pavement or street.

The NASC (National Access & Scaffolding Confederation) the recognised trade body for scaffolding guidance with regulated members throughout the UK undertook a survey earlier this year to ascertain what criteria a scaffold company was expected to comply with in order to erect a scaffold close to the general public.

Surprisingly almost every authority adopted different criteria. At the lowest level a number of authorities required nothing more than evidence that the scaffolding company held adequate insurance should something go wrong. These particular authorities did not require the company to demonstrate competence in scaffold construction, nor did they require the company to protect the public appropriately during erection or dismantling, and wear the necessary safety equipment.

Admittedly some authorities did ask for more evidence of competence, but almost all of the 50 plus permit criteria received from around the country failed to meet legal requirements such as the Health Safety At Work Act 1974, Working At Height Regulations 2005 and the Construction Design Management Regulations 2007.

“It is not unusual to hear of scaffold collapses on our public highways” states NASC President Bob Whincap “Any member of the public is potentially at risk every time they step onto a pavement where a scaffold is built”

The NASC has developed detailed criteria and guidance to address this situation and provide any authority in the UK with the ability to demand a consistent standard for scaffolding companies to comply with industry best practice and legal requirements.

In consultation with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), Highways Authority, Joint Authorities Group UK and the National Traffic Managers Forum the new document is comprised of 11 pages of criteria and governance that a scaffolding contractor and main contractor must work to before a licence can be granted.

Specifically the criteria includes :

  • Risk Assessments
  • Scaffold designs
  • Scaffolder competence
  • Double boarding with membranes on pedestrian gantries
  • Scaffold Protection fans
  • Protection for public and vehicles
  • Improved signage
  • Lighting
  • Main Contractor details
  • Scaffolding competence requirements

The document is a significant ‘step change’ from the previous criteria but it is what is needed to help keep our streets safe. The new criteria have been circulated to all authorities in the UK.

Initial reaction to the new criteria has been welcomed by a number of authorities who openly recognise that the standard of scaffolding needs to be improved. Raymond Pierson, (Transport for London) is solely responsible for the quality management system for roads including policy setting, states “TfL will be adopting the NASC's full guidelines and applauds their ‘fight’ for a universal improvement into the tightening of conditions for scaffolding contractors.”

It is hoped that all authorities will adopt the new criteria and introduce it swiftly to avoid further incidents on our streets.

The NASC would also recommend the public apply pressure on their local authority to adopt these new criteria as soon as possible.

The  criteria can be viewed on the video below. Additional information and downloads are available at the NASC website - click here for access.

Source: NASC
28 Oct 2010

Latest health & safety statistics for 2009/10

The HSE have released the latest statistics on work-related health and safety – work-related ill-health, injuries, dangerous occurrences, enforcement and gas safety - in Great Britain for 2009/10. A summary is found below and you can find more information by clicking on the official publication here.
  • 1.3 million people who worked during the last year were suffering from an illness (long standing as well as new cases) they believed was caused or made worse by their current or past work. 555,000 of these were new cases.
  • 152 workers were killed at work, a rate of 0.5 per 100,000 workers.
  • 121,430 other injuries to employees were reported under RIDDOR, a rate of 473 per 100,000 employees.
  • 233,000 reportable injuries occurred, according to the Labour Force Survey, a rate of 840 per 100,000 workers. 28.5 million days were lost overall (1.2 days per worker), 23.4 million due to work-related ill health and 5.1 million due to workplace injury.

As expected the construction industry continues to see a high rate of injuries and fatalities compared to other industries:
  • In 2009/10p Construction accounted for 4% of the employees in Britain, 7% of reported injuries to employees (27% fatalities, 10% major and 6% of over three day injuries). The Labour Force Survey (LFS)1 estimates that around 12% of all non-fatal injuries occured in Construction in 2008/09 (three-year average).
  • Construction has the largest number of fatal injuries of the main industry groups. In 2009/10p there were 42 fatal injuries giving a rate of 2.2 per 100,000 workers. This is the third highest rate of fatal injuries, behind agriculture and extractive industries.
  •  All of the incidence rates have fallen by 34% - 63% since 2000/01 (72% reduction in the fatality rate since 1981). However, this still means that 700 Construction workers were fatally injured between 2000/01 and 2009/10p – 2 765 since 1981.
  • Construction accounted for 35% (276 cases) of all reported injuries involving high falls and 24.8% (89) involving electricity.
  • The estimated prevalence rate of self-reported work-related ill health in 2009/10 was 3,700 per 100,000 people (3.7%) working in the last 12 months, according to the Labour Force Survey (LFS).
  • The incidence rate of reportable non-fatal injury was 1,300 per 100,000 workers (1.3%) in 2008/09 (three-year average), based on the LFS. This was statistically significantly higher than the average across all industries.
  • In 2009/10, the LFS showed that 3.3 million working days (full-day equivalent) were lost in this industry due to workplace injury and work-related ill health.
HSE Transcript Source: www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/index.htm
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

Good to Go Safety continues to promote a safer workplace, offering an affordable and simple solution to equipment safety through our innovative tagging and inspection systems. Visit our website at www.goodtogosafety.co.uk to find details on our pre-use checklists for ladders, forklifts, scaffolding, MEWPs, scaffold towers, harnesses, racking and more.
26 Oct 2010

Construction firms fined over Lancashire worker's death

Two Lancashire companies have been sentenced following the death of a construction worker in Altham near Accrington.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Howorth Scaffolding Services Ltd and Glenmill Group (Developments) Ltd after Peter Walton fell five metres from scaffolding on Altham Industrial Estate, Sykeside Drive on 10 May 2006.

The 55-year-old from Anchorsholme, near Blackpool, had been working on a project to build three new office blocks when he fell. Preston Crown Court heard that Mr Walton was critically injured when an unsecured board on the scaffolding gave way. He died five weeks later in hospital.

His widow, Christine Walton, said:

"It has been four long, stressful years since the incident that eventually took Peter's life. He meant everything to me and I will love, miss and mourn him for the rest of my life. I know that the conclusion of this prosecution won't bring him back but it will help to give me some sort of closure, and to bring this type of incident to the forefront. Sadly Peter's death is just one of many needless deaths that occur in the construction industry due to slack adherence to health and safety regulations. Hopefully what happened to Peter, and is still happening on construction sites, will make people realise that health and safety laws are there to protect us and are not to be scorned and scoffed at."

Howorth Scaffolding Services Ltd and Glenmill Group (Developments) Ltd  both pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by putting workers at risk.

Howorth Scaffolding, of Accrington Road in Hapton, was fined £25,000 was ordered to pay £13,793 toward the cost of the prosecution. Glenmill Group, of Turner Road, Lomeshaye Business Village in Nelson, was ordered to pay a nominal fine of £1 with costs of £13,793 toward costs. The judge said the fines reflect the companies' current financial situations.

HSE Inspector Ian Connor said:

"Both these companies contributed to Peter Walton's death by failing to follow the proper safety procedures for putting up scaffolding. Howorth Scaffolding should have made sure that it constructed the scaffolding properly. And, as the principal contractor for the site, Glenmill Group should have ensured it was safe before allowing construction workers onto it. This is an extremely sad case which once again shows how important it is to follow health and safety regulations. It's vital that construction companies do more to prevent deaths and injuries in the future."

HSE Transcript Source:  HSE/NW/09Glenmill
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

This incident once again highlights the need for a competent person to carry out scaffold inspections to ensure it is fit for purpose. The use of our Good to Go Safety scaffold checklist could help to identify areas of concern and prevent accidents such as this from occuring. For more information about the Good to Go Safety scaffold checklist and tagging systems visit www.goodtogosafety.co.uk
7 Oct 2010

Serious injury after fall from unguarded platform

A man was left with serious injuries after a fall from an unguarded platform, a court heard during the sentencing of a Huddersfield textile retailer.

Fifty-seven year-old Dennis Hunter, of Barnsley, was left with a broken leg and crushed ankle when he fell eight feet onto concrete while dismantling racking at Phoenox Textiles' site in Spring Grove Mills, Clayton West.

Huddersfield based Phoenox Textiles was prosecuted after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the men were working unsupervised and had received no training to dismantle the 30-feet-high shelving system safely.

The men had not been given any specialist equipment to enable them to work safely at height. Ladders supplied were not suitable for the work nor secured in any way.

Huddersfield magistrates heard Mr. Hunter was on a lower rack while cutting through boarding with a circular saw. The board tipped and sent him crashing to the floor, breaking his leg. The heavy board then fell on top of him crushing his left ankle and badly bruising his face. Mr Hunter underwent two operations and was in plaster for seven weeks before he was able to return to work part time.

Following the incident, HSE served an Improvement Notice ordering Phoenox to properly assess risks to staff while working at height and implement suitable controls. A Prohibition Notice was also served halting any further dismantling work on other poorly-maintained racking at the site.

Phoenox Textiles Ltd., which employs 45 staff across two sites, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to ensure the safety of employees.  The firm was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £3,056 costs.

After the case, Inspector Jackie Ferguson said:

"Six workers were put at risk during the dismantling of this racking - they had absolutely no protection against falls from working at heights of up to 30 feet.  Mr Hunter was fortunate not to have suffered even worse injuries, and to date remains unable to fully bear weight on his injured leg.

"Falls from height remain the biggest cause of workplace deaths and one of the main causes of injury. Working at height without the right equipment, training or systems is wholly unacceptable and extremely dangerous. HSE will not hesitate to prosecute when companies commit serious offences and put their workers' lives in danger."

In Yorkshire & Humber, two workers lost their lives from falls in 2008/9 and more than 1,000 were injured, nearly half of them seriously.

HSE Transcript Source: YH/237/10
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

It would appear that little thought was given to the task in hand for dismantling the shelving, the thought that ladders would provide a suitable work platform seems ludicrous, and a risk assessment would have surely identified the need for a scaffold tower or MEWP to carry out the work safely. Good to Go Safety offers inspection systems for racking, ladders, scaffold towers and MEWPs (amongst others), click here to find out more information on how Good to Go Safety can improve safety in your workplace.
20 Sep 2010

A total disregard to safety at height leads to prosecution for roofer

An Atherton roofer has appeared in court after being spotted working on roofs with no safety equipment to prevent him and his staff falling off.

Mark McKernan, from Hesketh Street, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after he and three employees were seen working on two residential properties with nothing to stop them plunging to the ground below if they slipped.

An HSE inspector also watched workers throwing slates from the roofs of the houses in Yew Tree Avenue into a skip below, just a few feet away from a busy pavement on 16 December last year.

Trafford Magistrates' Court heard that the company should have erected a guardrail around the roof or used scaffolding to prevent potential falls or serious injuries. A rubbish chute or other suitable equipment should have been used to transport waste safely to the ground.

Mark McKernan pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 6(3) and 10(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to take suitable measures to prevent a fall from the roofs, and for failing to provide suitable equipment to remove waste material from the roof. He was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 costs.

HSE Inspector Robert Hodkinson said:

"Around 11 roofers are killed each year in the UK as a result of falls from height, and the majority of these deaths could have been prevented if those carrying out the work had planned the job properly and taken adequate precautions.

"There was absolutely nothing in place at this site to stop Mr McKernan or his employees falling to the ground below and sustaining serious injuries or even being killed.

"Roof slates and other waste materials were also being thrown from the roof into a skip next to a busy public pavement, which put passersby at serious risk of being struck by flying debris."

Last year, two workers were killed in Greater Manchester as a result of falls from height and 521 suffered serious injuries.

HSE Transcript Source: HSE/NW51/Mark McKernan
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

The positive side of this story is that work was stopped before an incident occured, and that a successful prosecution was brought about without the need for injury occuring. The negative is that people continue to see such working practices as acceptable whilst working at heights remains one of the biggest killers in the workplace. Good to Go Safety offer inspection systems for scaffolding, scaffold towers, ladders and MEWPs which should have been used as part of a safe system of work on this job. Unfortunately if the correct equipment is not even on site and the employees fail to raise their concerns the potential for an accident is significant.
14 Sep 2010

Glass company fined for workers' fall risk

A glass company has been prosecuted for health and safety offences after putting workers' lives at risk at a site in Bradford.

Workers at Intercity Glazing Systems Ltd, based in Drighlington, had been made to work at height without a safe system in place, leaving them at risk of falling up to six metres.

During work at a building in Carlisle Road, Bradford, in May 2009, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company did not properly supervise or manage staff working at height.

Some equipment, including tower scaffolding, was not being used safely, and guardrails were also missing from some parts of the working area. The system of work used by the company to install glass above the ground floor was so unsafe that the work was stopped when HSE served Prohibition Notices on the company.

Intercity Glazing Systems pleaded guilty at Bradford Magistrates' Court today to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,538.

HSE inspector, David Welsh, said:

"In the construction industry falls from height are a serious risk and a major cause of death and life-changing injuries.

"A significant proportion of the falls from height that occur on sites every year result from work where the risks are not being dealt with adequately by proper supervision and control.

"When a business expects work at height to be done using particular work equipment it has a duty to ensure that workers use that equipment safely."

Falls from height are the biggest single cause of workplace deaths in Britain. In 2008/09 there were 35 fatalities and more than 11,700 serious injuries from falls from height at work.

HSE Transcript Source: YH/223/10
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

Scaffold towers are frequently used within the workplace, often seen as a safer method of work than ladders. However they can only be considered safe if they have been checked by a competent person and the Good to Go Safety system helps ensure all employees are notified of the findings. To find out more simply click on this link to find out more on how we can improve scaffold tower safety.

On this occasion the HSE identified the dangers before an accident occurred, it is reassuring to see that a prosecution was successful before an injury or accident was encountered. Proactive prosecutions such as this help to send out a positive message and identifies the need for workplace safety systems to be in place.
3 Sep 2010

Worker plunges thirty feet from unsafe scaffold

A building company and its director have been fined a total of £30,000 after a worker fell nearly thirty feet from scaffolding at a building site in Llanfairfechan, sustaining severe injuries.

 JBB Homes Ltd of St. Petersgate, Stockport in Cheshire - which has subsequently gone into liquidation - pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,835.

The company's director pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £10,000.

Llandudno Magistrates' Court heard that builder Nicholas Roberts, 28 years old from Rhyl, was working on scaffolding at a site in Gwylanedd, The Promenade, Llanfairfechan on 4 December 2007 when the incident happened.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Mr Roberts was carrying out work to replace a lintel, when he fell from the scaffolding. He fractured his pelvis in three places, broke some teeth and bruised his pelvis and groin.

Following the hearing HSE Inspector, Debbie John, said:

"Falling from a height of around nine metres, Mr Roberts was extremely lucky to survive. It's incredible that he managed to walk away with broken bones.

"JBB Homes Limited and James Burt failed in their duty to provide a safe system of work, including a lack of suitable means to prevent falls from the scaffolding. Mr Burt also failed to properly supervise his staff.

"Falls from height remain the single biggest cause of workplace deaths and one of the main causes of major injury and construction companies must not leave safety of their workers as an after-thought, which could lead to tragic consequences."

More than 4,000 workers suffered a major injury as a result of a fall from height in 2008/09. HSE's Shattered Lives campaign aims to highlight the dangers of slips, trips and falls in the workplace.

HSE Transcript Source: 793W10
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

It is essential that the erection of a scaffold is structurally sound and maintained for the duration of the work. Only qualified and competent scaffolders should be involved in the design and construction of the scaffolding, with a daily inspection prior to use to check its integrity. For details of the Good to Go Safety inspection system for scaffolding click here for details on how to ensure your scaffolding is always 'good to go'.
2 Sep 2010

Good to Go Safety backs Fork Lift Safety Week

This year's National Fork Lift Safety Week runs from the 20th -26th September 2010.

This annual campaign was first launched by the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) in 2008 to raise awareness of dangers, and the importance of common sense measures that can make fork lift operation as safe and efficient as possible.

It is up to everybody in the workplace to improve fork lift truck safety - not just operators. Accordingly, the message behind this year’s National Fork Lift Safety Week, for managers and directors is:
“Manage to be safe.”

Firstly, this is directed at managers, who are responsible for the safe running of their workplace and the health of their employees. It is their duty to be aware of current best practice and to put it into action, as well as to act on the concerns of their teams.

Secondly, it is directed at directors and decision-makers, who must provide their company with the resources it requires to be able to implement proper safety procedure, and show a dedication towards employee safety that can inform the approach of the entire company.

Serious fork lift truck accidents have a horrific physical and emotional impact on everybody involved… by taking a little extra care and making allowances for your colleagues, you can protect yourself and others.

Great free resources are currently available from the FLTA, click on the links below for access (available until the end of September 2010):
Download FLTA Safety Posters
Online 'Good Practice' Checklist
Powerpoint Presentation on How to Manage Fork Lift Safety

Good to Go Safety continue to lead the way in the provision of pre-use inspection systems for fork lift trucks. Our innovative system helps ensure your FLT is always 'Good to Go'.  
  1. Simply attach a tag to the forklift to provide a clear visual reminder to operatives that a pre-use check needs to be completed, 
  2. Complete a checklist using our handy check book (complete with guidance notes) - a duplicate copy of each completed checklist is automatically created for your management records, 
  3. Insert your findings into the tag to clearly display to all operatives the findings of the inspection. A dated message will clearly indicate if the forklift is 'Good to Go' or 'Do Not Use' if a fault is identified.

Forklift safety has never been easier, click here to find out more about Good to Go Safety's other systems (including ladders, scaffolding, racking, harnesses, MEWPs and more).
25 Aug 2010

Ladder Exchange Initiative 2010

Don’t let a dodgy ladder shatter your life! This year's Ladder Exchange 2010 runs from 1st September – 30th November 2010, offering companies the perfect opportunity to replace faulty ladders with new ones.

Falls from height continue to be the main cause of fatalities at work. In 2008/09 there were 35 fatalities to workers and 4654 employees who suffered major injury.  Over two thirds of these major injuries are the result of a fall from a ladder.

In an effort to reduce the number of workers being injured falling from a ‘dodgy’ ladder, HSE has teamed up again with a selection of partner companies for a re-run of their successful “Ladder Exchange” initiative;

HSS Hire, Speedy, Ladder Association, ABRU, A-Plant, TB Davies, Travis Perkins are a sample of partners involved this year.

Previous Ladder Exchanges (2007-2009) were successful in removing close to 7000 dodgy ladders from Britain’s workplaces

So what is Ladder Exchange?

The concept behind Ladder Exchange is very simple; where a user has a ladder which is broken, damaged or bent then they can bring it along to any one of our partner outlets and exchange it for a new one at a discounted price.

Ladder Exchange is now an annual initiative. HSE and Local Authority visiting staff play a crucial part in the exchange by actively referring dutyholders with unsafe ladders to the exchange to ensure that the ladders are taken out of use.

Ladder Exchange - Key messages

The key messages for this year’s campaign are:
  • Don’t let a dodgy ladder shatter your life - exchange it
  • If it is right to use a ladder then use the right ladder and use it safely.
  • Check your ladder - If you have a ladder which is broken, damaged or bent you can part exchange it for a new one
For more information about ladder exchange please visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/ladderexchange.htm

As in previous years, Good to Go Safety are proud to promote this campaign and the message behind it. If you use ladders within your organisation then the need to regularly inspect them and record your findings can be easily and effectively achieved through the use of our pre-use inspection systems. Simply attach a tag to your ladder and complete the checklist to ensure its safety - a duplicate copy of the completed checklist is retained for your management records and a copy inserted into the tag to clearly inform all potential users of the findings. As a result your employees will instantly know when the ladder is 'good to go' or quarantined if a fault is found. For more information about our range of equipment inspection systems click here. Even if you take advantage of the Initiative and get yourself a new set of ladders, now would be the perfect time to introduce this inspection regime to your ladders (both new and old).
17 Aug 2010

Steeplejack firm fined after worker falls from scaffold tower

A Stoke-on-Trent steeplejack firm has been fined £8,000 after one of its workers fell from scaffolding causing him injuries that left him in plaster for four months.

Rafferty Chimneys Engineering Ltd of Nash Peake Street, was working at a site in Tunstall when Kevin Ford fell one-and-a-half metres to the ground causing a serious injury to his heel.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was also ordered to pay £5,000 costs.

Newcastle-under-Lyme magistrates heard how on 4 March 2009 the company had been contracted to inspect four 20-metre tall steel chimneys at Churchill China (UK) Ltd pottery firm. A tower scaffold was used to access the eves of the roof.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed that the tower's guard rail was too low, it did not use the right boards and no toe boards were in place.

Two workers walked across a fragile asbestos sheet roof using boards just 45cm wide with no safety measures in place. They carried equipment back and forth throughout the day despite the potential for falling nearly four metres into the workshop below.

Mr Ford fell when he was dismantling the tower scaffold at the end of the job. He had lowered a board down from the upper level when he slipped and fell suffering a serious fracture to the heel of his left foot. He needed pins inserted into the bone and spent 16 weeks in plaster.

HSE inspector Guy Dale said:

"Working at height is the most common cause of workplace injuries and this incident shows the very real dangers, no matter what the distance to the ground.

"With the right equipment and a proper risk assessment this could have been prevented. As it was, there were so many instances and potential for falls throughout the day leading up to this event that it was lucky both men weren't involved in serious injuries."

Falling from height remains one of the most common causes of workplace injuries in the UK. Last year there were 1,396 major injuries to workers, as well as 3,044 workers having to take in excess of three days off work.

HSE Transcript Source: WM209/10
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

The use of our Good to Go Safety inspection system for scaffold towers would help identify any problems such as the lack of toe boards or missing guard rail. This case further empahsises the need for competent persons to perform a pre-use check of such equipment. There is no excuse for the continued lack of inspections, to find out more about our range of systems, including our scaffold tower checklist, click here.
6 Aug 2010

Fall from scaffold tower results in broken back

A Staffordshire company has been fined £8,000 after one of its workers fell more than two metres from a scaffold tower, fracturing one vertebra, crushing another and leaving him immobilised for more than six weeks.

Barry Derbyshire, 61, from Cheadle, Staffordshire, was carrying out routine maintenance on a machine used to make exhaust pipes when he fell on 18 August 2009. It was a regular job that was carried out by a number of people on three similar machines.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates Court heard that Mr Derbyshire, who was working for Klarius UK Ltd, had been stooping down to try and locate an oil leak when he stood up and possibly overbalanced, falling off the edge.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed there had never been a guardrail on one edge of the scaffold as it was felt it would interfere with access to the machines.

Klarius UK Ltd, based at Brookhouses Industrial Estate, Cheadle, Staffordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. As well as being fined, it was also ordered to pay £1,892 costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Lynne Boulton said:

"Barry Derbyshire did nothing wrong, but as a result of this fall, he's been left with life-changing injuries. The company had a clear lack of appreciation of risk.

"If Klarius UK Ltd had used the right equipment and ensured there were guardrails on the scaffolding, it would never have happened.

"Falls from height were responsible for almost 400 major injuries in the West Midlands in 2008/09, with 78 in Staffordshire alone."

HSE Transcript Source: WM194/10
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

The scaffold tower checklist from Good to Go Safety includes a check for guardrails, which would help any competent person to identify its absence and the potential risk that this would cause. A simple equipment management system such as that developed by Good to Go Safety could help prevent an accident like this from happening again. Click here to find out more about or safety inspection systems.
23 Jul 2010

Fine for construction company risking falls at height

A major construction company has been fined for failing to properly protect its workers from falls at height on a site in South Wales.

Gee Construction Ltd was the principal contractor on the site at Castlegate, Caerphilly when a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector visited on 22 October 2009.

The inspector found a number of shortcomings including unguarded lift shafts on the first and second floors, and inadequate edge protection to prevent workers from falls - one of the main causes of deaths in the construction industry.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching of Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 at Caerphilly Magistrates Court on 24 May and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,514.25.

Gee Construction Ltd, which is based at Phoenix House, Christopher Martin Road, Basildon, had also previously received two prohibition notices for work at height issues in 2008 and 2009.

HSE inspector David Kirkpatrick said:

"When we visited the site, we found clear failings that left workers at risk of falling from height, and it was necessary to stop all activity above ground floor level until safe systems of work were put in place.

"As principal contractors, the company was responsible for the safety of everyone on the site. It had previously received warnings from HSE and its own safety consultants about safely working at height, but clearly this advice had been ignored.

"Fortunately, despite the increased risk no-one was injured on this site, but this case must serve as a warning to companies of the need to ensure working at height is properly managed."

Statistics from 2008/2009 show that 53 people died in the construction industry in the United Kingdom, 21 of which were as a result of a fall from a height greater than two metres.

HSE Transcript Source: 821W10
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

It is good to see larger fines being handed out for repeat offenders. I wonder if there should be a '3 strikes and out' policy introduced, which would have the power to shut down firms continuing to flaunt health and safety laws after their third official warning. You can guarantee that companies flaunting health and safety rules are winning more business during these tough times in the marketplace as they cut corners and costs at the expense of employee safety. 

Don't forget if you need any equipment tagging and inspection systems for your scaffolding, harness, ladders etc then visit the Good to Go Safety website for the best solution out there. Be safe, not sorry,
22 Jul 2010

Another scaffold collapse leads to another prosecution

A scaffolding contractor from Teesside has been fined after a scaffold collapsed into a public street.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted William Bedford, trading as B & J Scaffolding, following the incident in Jedburgh Street, Middlesbrough in 2008.

On the evening of 18 January, 85 metres of the scaffold overturned in the wind and collapsed into the street.

The HSE investigation showed that the scaffold was not adequately secured to the houses in Jedburgh Street and was missing elements used to stabilise the structure.

Mr Bedford, whose business is based at Durham Road, Redcar, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 when he appeared at Teesside Magistrates' Court. He was fined £4,000 and was ordered to pay costs of £2,500.

After the case, HSE Inspector Natalie Wright said:

"The scaffold had been used as a working platform for at least five days before the incident, by workers on site carrying out work to the house fronts. It could have collapsed at any time, creating a significant risk to workers and members of the public.

"This incident demonstrates how important it is for contractors to follow the requirements for the construction of scaffolds.

"Contractors need to ensure that they meet the relevant standards in their work to erect safe and stable scaffolds, so that they do not expose workers and members of the public to risk."

HSE Transcript Source: NE/200/10
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

You can read details of this incident from the original newspaper report, which includes pictures of the collapse by clicking on this link

It amazes me how often I read reports such as this, where poor scaffolding erection is responsible for an incident which could easily be responsible for serious injury or fatality. The worry is that with businesses struggling due to the economy, people are cutting corners and companies signing up to the cheapest quote - regardless of the quality of work on offer. Good scaffolding firms continue to quote based on quality and safety, but are being undercut by companies willing to turn a blind eye to safety. Who is more culpable? The scaffolder or the company hiring the scaffolder?

If you are responsible for scaffolding work, please visit Good to Go Safety to find out more about our scaffold tagging and inspection systems. You may also be interested to sign up to a forum dedicated to scaffolding where you can air your views and get invovled with all things scaffolding. Click here for access.
20 Jul 2010

New Guidance on the Safe Use of MEWPs

The CPA (Construction Plant-Hire Association) has released some new guidance relating to the safe use of MEWPs, with particular reference to the prevention of entrapment of operator in raised platforms against adjacent obstructions. This new guidance is available for free by clicking here. You can also access the HSE's Construction Information Sheet CIS 58 by clicking here - providing information on the Selection and Management of MEWPs.

The contribution made by MEWPs to improvements in the safety of work at height cannot be under-estimated. However, fatal and serious accidents involving entrapment of MEWP operators are increasing. This is a general trend and not limited to particular types of machines or work. HSE has a range of work underway to improve safety in the use of MEWPS, including working with a range of stakeholders through the Strategic Forum for Construction Plant Safety Group to develop new guidance on the factors which contribute to these entrapment accidents and the actions which need to be taken to prevent harm.
As with any other work equipment, the selection and application of MEWPS need to be carefully managed and implemented by competent people. The new guidance deals specifically with preventing entrapment and supplements existing guidance. It has been prepared by contributors with extensive experience of MEWP use and accident investigation and captures that experience to share with others who might not appreciate the dangers.

We strongly recommend anyone using MEWPs to take rthe time to familiarise themselves with this new guidance (more information is available on the CPA website). For information about our Good to Go Safety tags and MEWP inspection checklists please visit our website - click here for access.
19 Jul 2010

Scaffold Tower blown from roof in high winds

A 20ft scaffold tower nearly caused a major incident in Kendal last Friday. High winds appear to have blown the structure over from its location on top of a penthouse block of flats. Fortunately the tower landed on top of a lift shaft, rather than plummeting to the pavement below. It took a significant length of time to secure and rermove the tower from the ledge and thankfully noone was injured in the incident. A more detailed report can be found by clicking here

The incident serves as a powerful reminder to ensure structures are secured and that scaffolding ought to be inspected after any severe weather, prior to use. To find out how Good to Go Safety can help with your inspection routines please click here for details.

Scaffolding firm prosecuted for dangerous installation

A roofer was seriously injured after plunging almost six metres when a scaffolding platform in Bridlington collapsed.

Local self-employed contractor Stephen Martin fell from the roofline of a domestic two-storey property on St Aiden Road, in Bridlington, on 17 April 2009 when the scaffold beneath him swung open like a trapdoor. He fractured three ribs, small bones at the base of his back and also sustained head injuries in the fall. He was then airlifted to Hull Royal Infirmary for emergency treatment.

During the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution, magistrates heard the scaffolding was erected two days earlier by Bridlington-based Advanced Scaffolding (GB) Ltd. The installation was signed off by the company but HSE found it was not of suitable strength or rigidity for its intended purpose.

Bridlington Magistrates Court was told the scaffolding was compromised by a bay window at the front of the property, which required a cantilever projection to be added. HSE said this projection was poorly planned, and was not properly braced or supported. Advanced Scaffolding Ltd of North Street, was found guilty of a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. In addition to the £3,500 fine, the company was also ordered to pay £3,000 in costs.

After the hearing HSE inspector Geoff Clark said:

"Mr Martin suffered terrible injuries from his fall at St Aiden Road, and could quite easily have been killed. The scaffolding was poorly planned and poorly constructed, and Advanced Scaffolding clearly failed to install a structure that was fit for purpose in this regard.

"Too many lives are shattered as a result of falls from height at work, and I hope today's prosecution serves to remind all employers that proper precautions must be taken at all times."

HSE Transcript Source: YH/190/10
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

Incidents such as this further emphasise the need for  competent persons to be involved in the erection and inspection of scaffolding. Good to Go Safety can provide a fantastic product to aid in the inspection and recording of equipment, however the person(s) carrying out the work should be trained and ccompetent in doing so. Click here to find out more about the range of inspection systems availabel from Good to Go Safety.
24 Jun 2010

Significant reductions in forklift truck injuries

Good to Go Safety continue to see significant sales in their forklift inspection systems. Proving popular due to its ease of use and implementation, affordability, flexibility and visual impact it is the ideal solution for pre-use inspections of FLTs.

Latest HSE statistics show that fork lift truck related deaths and injuries among members of the public in the UK plummeted to 59% below average last year. We have seen a downwards trend since 2008 and figures are now at their lowest since the turn of the millenium, 13% below that in 2001/02. In deed last year's overall accident toll was down a full quarter from the average annual figure.

There are various possible reasons for this reduction; the downturn in the economy may have resulted in decreased workloads and potential for accidents, the FLTA have heavily promoted their National Safety Week and we hope that the introduction of our Good to Go Safety inspection system for forklifts has also contributed.

The decision to complete a daily visual inspection of a forklift truck as part of a maintenance programme helps meet your responsibilities under PUWER and can help to identify potential problems early enough to prevent an accident and/or costly repairs. The visual tagging of the forklift ensures that everyone knows when the forklift was inspected and clearly informs employees when it is 'good to go'.

For all the latest information on our range of equipment inspection systems please visit our website at www.goodtogosafety.co.uk and help to keep these figures dropping further.
22 Jun 2010

Good to Go Safety backs European maintenance campaign

Good to Go Safety are proud to support a major European campaign which focuses on maintenance in the workplace. 

The HSE in partnership with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), the EEF and the TUC, launched the UK's involvement in the Healthy Workplaces European Campaign on Safe Maintenance in London on 21 June 2010.

The Healthy Workplaces Europe-wide Campaign for 2010-2011 aims to promote safe and healthy workplaces by encouraging an integrated and structured approach to maintenance.

Objectives of the campaign are to raise awareness of:
  • the importance of maintenance for workers' safety & health
  • the risks associated with maintenance
  • employers' legal & moral duties to consider OSH aspects in maintenance and of the business case for doing so
  • to promote a structured approach to OSH management in maintenance

Regular and proper maintenance is essential to keep equipment, machines and the work environment safe and reliable. It helps to eliminate workplace hazards. Lack of maintenance or inadequate maintenance can lead to dangerous situations, accidents and health problems.
  • Many accidents, such as slips, trips and falls, happen because of lack of maintenance or as a result of poor quality maintenance
  • Lack of maintenance and regular service of construction equipment and machinery may lead to their failure and cause injuries to the operators and other workers (e.g. defective forklifts, scissor lifts, harnesses, faulty ladders, etc.)
  • Safety critical equipment can fail due to lack of maintenance causing serious accidents

Useful links:

We developed the Good to Go Safety range to help promote the safe maintenance of equipment at work through the use of our innovative SEMS (Safe equipment Management System). Our equipment tagging and checklists help to ensure a proactive approach to equipment maintenance, allowing potential problems to be spotted early and prevent longer term problems.

Good to Go Safety encourages the involvement of workers in risk assessment and the maintenance management process whilst providing a structured and integrated system with clearly defined guidelines.

Not only does it encourage routine inspections but the unique tagging system visually informs all employees of the findings. The tag will inform employees when the inspection was carried out and when the equipment is 'good to go'. Likewise if a fault is found the tag will clearly inform employees 'do not use', effectively placing the equipment in quarantine until such time that it is repaired.

To find out more about Good to Go Safety and the range of equipment checks available please visit our website at www.goodtogosafety.co.uk for more information.
3 Jun 2010

Sign workers injured after scaffold collapse

A County Durham man has been successfully prosecuted after he injured himself and another person when repairing a sign over eight metres from the ground.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Sohail Hussain, 40, trading as Haris Signs based at Seaham, following the incident at the Metro Inn, Stockton on 19 November 2009.

The company had been hired by the manager of the Metro Inn to carry out repairs to a wind-damaged sign above the entrance to the hotel.

Mr Hussain, helped by another man, from Sunderland, erected a 4.5 metres tall scaffolding platform, on top of which was an extension ladder to get high enough to reach the sign, which was 8.62 metres (28 feet) off the ground.

Mr Hussain carried out the repair work from the ladder, while the other man stood on top of the platform with nothing to prevent him from falling off the edge.

Due to high winds and the unstable platform, it gave way, causing both men to fall onto the hotel car park below.

Mr Hussain suffered injuries to his knee and the other man suffered a fractured right wrist and dislocated his right elbow.

Mr Hussain, Dalton Heights, Seaham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations when he appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court today (2 June 2010). He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,000.

After the case, HSE Inspector Jonathan Wills said:

“Both Mr Hussain and the other man are lucky to be alive. The platform erected by Mr Hussain bore no resemblance to the correct standard. This incident was entirely avoidable and should not have happened. Working at height is one of the most obvious and well-known dangers for those involved in the repair or maintenance of buildings.

“Not only was the scaffold unstable due to its height to base ratio, but it also did not include anything to prevent workers falling from its edge, such as guard rails.

“The decision by Mr Hussain to support the ladder on top of the platform was ridiculous and utterly unacceptable. Had he used mobile elevated work equipment, such as a scissor lift, or a tied in scaffold, then this potentially fatal incident could have been avoided.”

More than 4,500 employees suffered serious injury after falling from height last year and 35 were killed. Employers need to plan ahead and assess potential risks before carrying out any work at height. HSE runs a high-profile Shattered Lives campaign that highlights the hazards of slips, trip ands falls in the workplace.

HSE Transcript Source: NE/164/10
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

Scaffolding should be inspected by a 'competent person' prior to being used. Good to Go Safety provides a handy checklist for that person to complete and insert his findings into a tag to ensure a clear visual message is present to all potential users informing them if it is found to be 'Good to Go' or 'Do not Use'. This simple but effective working practice helps to prevent accidents such as that highlighted above from happening. Click here to find out more. The video below helps to highlight the needs for pre-use inspections as it shows the dangers of a scaffolding collapse.

Powered by Blogger.