May 2016 – In the News

Balfour Beatty fined £2.6m After Fatal Trench Collapse

On 14 April 2010 Sim had climbed into one of the deepest parts of the trench, which had sheer sides, to connect two pieces of ducting when a large piece of the wall collapsed on him.

Between 10 and 20 colleagues, including workers directly employed Balfour Beatty, desperately started to dig him out using the excavator. After 40 minutes he was freed and a first aid trained supervisor tried to resuscitate him. He was taken by air ambulance to a nearby hospital where he was put on a life support machine. After ten days his family made to decision to turn the machine off.

Balfour Beatty’s barristers said that, because a more senior staff member was away, the risk assessments and methods statements were carried out by an engineer who was not sufficiently trained and competent to do it.

To read the full story on the Health and Safety at Work Website, Click HERE


Dozens Stuck on Rollercoaster at Alton Towers During Heavy Rain

Heavy rain caused a rollercoaster ride at Alton Towers to come to a halt yesterday, leaving dozens of people stranded.

Galactica, a new ride which stimulates space travel using virtual reality headsets, automatically stopped when heavy rain obscured a sensor.

Twenty-eight riders where stuck lying face down near the top of the highest drop of 20m for 20 minutes during the downpour.

A spokesperson for Alton Towers said: “This is a standard safety feature on this  ride the the ride was working exactly as it is designed to do.”

This incident, which happened on Bank Holiday Monday, took place less than a year after the Smiler rollercoaster crash at the theme park, which left two women needing to have legs amputated.

To read the full story on the SHPonline Website, Click HERE


Olympics-Brazil Labor Ministry Stops Construction at Two Rio 2016 Venues

Brazil’s Ministry for Labor said on Wednesday it stopped construction work at two venues being built for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next year due to health and safety concerns.

Construction at a tennis arena was stopped while work was partially suspended at the velodrome, the ministry said in a note, citing a “grave and imminent danger to the physical safety of workers.”

The move comes as Rio races to complete projects with less than 500 days to go before the games.

The velodrome has been previously singled out as amongst the most delayed Olympic projects, although officials have recently stressed work was back on track.

To read the full story on the Reuters Website, Click HERE


Builders Launch Mental Health in Construction Training

Surveys suggest that more than 80% of workers in the construction industry suffer from some degree of work-related stress. This can include anxiety or depression and may lead to physical issues such as stomach ulcers and increased risk of heart attack. In an industry, where workers face demands such as heavy workloads, tight deadlines and high risk work environments, ensuring the emotional wellbeing of staff is increasingly being seen as imperative.

With a view to addressing this need, an industry-specific, on-line training programme has been developed to introduce the concepts of mindfulness and emotional wellbeing into construction companies. The programme, from a new company named Building Site to Boardroom (BS2B), launched this month to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week.

To read the full story on the SHPonline Website, Click HERE


Fire Risk Management in High Rise Flats

After the tragic fire in July 2009 at Lakanal House, a twelve-storey block of flats in South London which claimed the lives of six people, there has rightly been an increased focus on how fire safety is managed in the high rise residential sector.

Prior to 2009, and due to a lack of knowledge and expertise, the completion of fire risk assessments for high rise blocks was not necessarily seen as a priority within property departments who tended to focus on other building types such as offices and public property.

The Lakanal fire changed this and those responsible for property management, such as local councils and other social housing providers, faced a challenge to complete large numbers of fire risk assessments to an acceptable standard within a relatively short period.

To read the full story on the SHPonline Website, Click HERE


Crane Collapses in Central London

A crane has collapsed on a street in Central London, it has been reported.

Firefighters were called to Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia at about 12.30pm on Monday to reports of a crane in a ‘precarious position’, a spokesperson has said.

Photographs posted online appear to show the collapsed crane bent double on the rooftop.

Witnesses reported seeing the crane crash into the top of a building. A woman who works nearby told reporters that dust filled the air after the crane hit the building. “It was pretty dramatic,” she said. “All of a sudden there was this loud clang. It looks like a guy just escaped.

To read the full story on the SHPonline Website, Click HERE


Health and Shave-ty: Council Bans Staff Growing Beards

Workers have been warned they face disciplinary action if they have even stubbly chins.

The rules have been imposed by Nuneaton and Bedworth Council, Warks, which says beards can pose a safety risk.

Workers must wear face masks if there is a risk of them inhaling dangerous substances such as asbestos.

The council claims the masks only form a tight seal if the person is clean shaven.

To read the full story on the Daily Star Website, Click HERE