24 Mar 2011

A step towards workplace safety by Good to Go Safety

Good to Go Safety are pleased to announce the launch of the latest addition to their range of equipment tagging and inspection systems.

Podium steps have seen a surge in usage over the past few years as a result of changes in the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR). The need to provide a safe working platform for employees has seen a decline in the number of ladders being used for low level work, in favour of a podium step which can provide the employer with a safer working platform complete with guardrails.

Although the podium step may provide safer working conditions, the need to carry out pre-use inspections in accordance with the Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) remain as best practice. Employees should be trained in the safe use of a podium step and routine checks of the steps carried out to ensure that they remain in good working order and fit for use.

The new Good to Go Safety system allows the tag to be attached to the podium steps at the point of access to provide maximum visual impact. The tag will clearly indicate the steps should not be used until an inspection has been carried out. The check book provides guidance and a checklist to be completed prior to using the podium steps - once completed the checklist is placed inside the tag to clearly indicate the status, as of that date. The tag will tell employees if it is 'Good to Go' or 'Do Not Use' whilst a duplicate copy of the completed checklist is retained in the book for management records.

The podium check book can be ordered independently or in kit format. The weekly inspection kit provides everything you need to carry out a weekly inspection for an entire year on the podium steps; alternatively a daily inspection kit provides everything needed to complete an entire year of daily inspections.

More details will be available soon on the Good to Go Safety website, in the meantime should you have a requirement please contact us for information.
17 Mar 2011

Unsafe scaffold collapse leads to company fines and injured shopper

Two North East companies have been fined after a member of the public was seriously injured when scaffolding collapsed during high winds.

A 68-year-old woman was out shopping with relatives when the scaffolding in Shields Road, Byker, Newcastle collapsed on 14 March 2009.

She suffered double fractures to her right hip joint and right femur, puncture wounds to her right ankle and severe bruising and was in hospital for 12 days following the incident. Almost two years on she is still unable to carry shopping bags and is limited in what housework she can do.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that Skyline Scaffolding Ltd had not erected the scaffolding properly by failing to ensure it was adequately secured to the building. The scaffold had been reduced in height to a single working platform with the wooden hoardings and sheeting still attached. In reducing the scaffold, the scaffolding company removed the arrangement that retained the scaffold to the building.

HSE also found that Ashbrook Construction Services Ltd had failed to ensure that the scaffolding was properly inspected both before work began and at regular intervals as it progressed.

Skyline Scaffolding, of Drum Industrial Estate, Birtley was found guilty, in absence, to one breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 between 14 January and 14 March 2009 and a second offence of breaching Regulation 8(b) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 between 11 and 14 March 2009 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,182.30 at Newcastle Magistrates' Court today (16 March 2011).

Ashbrook Construction Services Ltd, of Leeholme Industrial Estate, Cowpen Lane, Billingham pleaded guilty to one breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 between 14 January and 14 March 2009 and was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2091.15.

After the case, HSE Principal Inspector Rob Hirst said:

"This incident could, and should, have been prevented. The lady was seriously injured and was lucky not to be killed as a result of this incident. And things could have been even worse had the scaffolding collapsed when workers were using it.

"Skyline Scaffolding Ltd failed to erect the scaffolding properly by not securing it adequately and Ashbrook Construction Services Ltd failed to ensure the scaffolding was inspected before work began and then regularly once it was in progress.

"Each company had varying responsibilities, but were complicit in failing to ensure the scaffold remained stable. Both parties should have been aware that the addition of wooden hoardings and impervious sheeting increased the loading on the structure.

"I would urge all those involved in the supply and use of temporary work platforms such as scaffolding, to ensure that they are erected by competent persons and are subject to inspection before work starts and then at least every seven days or following alteration or effects of adverse weather."

HSE Bulletin No: NE/042/11 (Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

The fact that the scaffolding was not inspected in this case resulted in an accident to an innocent passer by, as the HSE rightly pointed out the outcome could have been even worse had workers been on the scaffold at the time of the collapse. 

The use of a scaffold tag is widely recognised as an integral safety measure, and the Good to Go Safety scaffold checklist enables regular inspections to be carried out on site. The results of the inspection are inserted into the tag to clearly indicate the date and result of the inspection so that employees instantly know by looking at the tag if the scaffold is 'good to go'. A duplicate copy of the completed checklist is also retained for management records. 

This simple but effective scaffold tag system can help prevent accidents such as this from happening, for more information about this and other inspection systems from Good to go Safety please visit www.goodtogosafety.co.uk for all the latest news.
15 Mar 2011

Extension to Good to Safety range coming soon

Following on from last month's launch of Good to Go Safety's inspection system for fleet vehicles, we are pleased to announce that we will be adding a new application to the range later this month. 

Following on from numerous requests we have designed a checklist which we are sure will prove a popular addition to our range. Full details will be made available over the next week and you will be able to read it here first. Don't forget if you have any suggestions for equipment you would like to see added to the Good to Go Safety range please contact us with information or leave a comment below.

In the meantime why not visit our website for details on the full range of equipment inspections currently available at www.goodtogosafety.co.uk

Our Safe Equipment Management Systems (SEMS) are a simple, effective and affordable solution to workplace safety - providing a tagging and inspection system for a wide range of workplace equipment. The use of good to Go Safety can help you meet your duties under PUWER (Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998).
4 Mar 2011

Work at Height Maintenance Video

The HSE has released a useful video (click here) for those involved in working at height who carry out building and plant maintenance activities. It aims to make you aware of the steps that should be taken to ensure the work is carried out safely and to demonstrate a number of different types of access equipment in use.

The introduction can be viewed below - for access to the full video please visit the HSE site by clicking here. There is a vast amount of useful information available on the HSE website, all of which can be used to help further reduce the risks associated with working at height.

The video guides you through various stages:
  • Planning the work
  • Avoiding work at height
  • Selecting the correct equipment
  • Training users of the equipment
  • Inspecting the equipment
  • Supervising the work

The video looks at equipment including ladders & stepladders, scaffold towers, podiums, scaffolding, harnesses and MEWPs. Good to Go Safety has developed a range of safety inspection systems for each of these types of equipment which can help to improve safety and reduce the risk of an accident. Visit www.goodtogosafety.co.uk for more information or take a look at our online digital catalogue (click on the image below to open the catalogue which will allow you to view and order the full range of Good to Go Safety products).

1 Mar 2011

Tyneside firm sentenced after worker's fall from unsafe scaffold

A Tyneside construction company has been fined after a worker suffered serious injuries following a fall from unsafe scaffolding.
Ian Allan Building Contractors Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident in the grounds of the Old Vicarage, off Knaresborough Road, Murton, County Durham on 1 May 2009.

Consett Magistrates' Court heard Mr Kevin Clark, 54, from Swalwell, Gateshead, was working on the windows of a new building when the scaffolding platform he was standing on became dislodged, causing him to fall more than four metres to the ground.
Mr Clark suffered several crushed vertebrae in his spine and a fractured left foot and was in hospital for two weeks following the incident. The HSE investigation revealed that the company had failed to control alterations to the scaffolding, failed to conduct inspections of the scaffold at least every seven days, failed to identify and correct unsafe alterations and allowed workers to use unsafe scaffolding.

Ian Allan Building Contractors Ltd, of Jesmond Road, Jesmond, Newcastle, pleaded guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,500 at Consett Magistrates' Court.

After sentencing, Mr Clark said:
"I took it for granted the scaffolding I was working on was safe. If it had been checked properly the incident never would have happened and I wouldn't be left with the injuries I have to live with now.
"I've had steel rods put in my spine, I'm in constant pain and it restricts my movement and makes walking really difficult. I'll probably never be able to do the job I did again.
"I hope this prosecution helps make other employers realise the importance of ensuring scaffolding is safe so other workers don't have to suffer as I have."

After the case, HSE Construction Inspector Andrea Robbins said:
"This incident could and should have been prevented. Ian Allan Building Contractors Ltd failed in their legal duty to ensure the safety of its employees by failing to manage the scaffolding on site adequately.
"As a result of these failures, Mr Clark has suffered serious injuries and is still living with the effects of those injuries more than a year and a half later.
"Scaffolding is widely used as a temporary working platform or means of access and this incident clearly illustrates the absolute need to ensure that it is safe.
"I'd like to stress to all companies and employees who use scaffolding that it should always be constructed to a recognised standard, any alterations should only be made by a competent person and it should be inspected by a competent person on handover and at least every seven days as work progresses."

Falls from height are the biggest cause of fatal and major injuries in the construction and maintenance industry. During the three year period up to the end of 2010, there were 132 fatalities in relation to falls from height - 85 in the construction industry alone, two of which were in the North East.

HSE Bulletin No: NE/034/11(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

Yet another reminder to anyone working at height on the importance of carrying out regular inspections of equipment - whether it be scaffolding, ladders, harnesses or other WAH equipment. The case above emphasises the dangers of assumption in the workplace - assumption that equipment is safe can lead to serious accidents if checks are not carried out as a result. The use of Good to Go Safety systems takes away the risk of assumption - providing a clear reminder that pre-use checks need to be carried out and displaying the findings once they have been. If the tag does not state that the equipment is 'Good to Go' with the relevant date on it then employees instantly know that a check should be carried out before they begin their work. For more information about the Good to Go Safety range please visit the website at http://www.goodtogosafety.co.uk/
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