Week Commencing 05/07/2021 – In The News

Elephant & Castle Fire: Safety Fears About Railway Arches Raised Two Years Ago

The inside of a railway stationSafety concerns about railway arches were raised in a safety report two years before last week’s fire near Elephant & Castle station in south London.

Around 100 firefighters and 15 fire engines tackled the “serious” blaze, with London Fire Brigade confirming that three commercial units under the arches were “completely alight”, along with four cars and a telephone box near the station. Six people were injured and one was taken to hospital.

In its April 2019 report, the Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety (CROSS) body revealed anonymous concerns that Network Rail’s £1.4bn deal to sell off its non-railway estate assets, including thousands of railway arches, could lead to safety issues as engineers would not be able to properly inspect them. Network Rail concluded a deal to sell its 5,200 property assets in November 2018.

“In the event that space under railway arches is sold off then it becomes almost impossible for inspection and maintenance to be carried out,” the CROSS report states. The report claims that many of the inner city arches could contain “defects hidden behind linings” and have not been inspected for years. It adds that many arches that have been inspected in recent years have required immediate action to make safe.

Read more from New Civil Engineer.

Company Fined After Apprentices Suffer Chemical Burns

Glass tubes containing different coloured chemicals.A car dealership has been fined after two apprentices suffered chemical burns.

On 15 March 2018 two apprentices were working at Mercedes-Benz of Northampton in Riverside Business Park, cleaning the vehicle ramps in the workshop using a chemical from an unlabeled barrel. The chemical caused burns to their hands and arms, which resulted in both of them being taken to hospital for treatment.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company failed to ensure that the exposure of this hazardous substance was either prevented or adequately controlled.

Cruickshank Motors Limited (trading as Mercedes-Benz of Northampton) was found guilty of breaching Regulation 7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.

The company was fined £360,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,622.

Read more from the HSE’s press release.

Building Safety Bill Ushers Sweeping Industry Overhaul

Blocks of high-rise flats.This week the Government published its Building Safety Bill to deliver far-reaching changes to the way residential towers are built and managed.

These are the key reforming measures included in the Bill:

  • Ensure there are clearly identified people responsible for safety during the design, build and occupation of a high-rise residential building.
  • Establish a Building Safety Regulator to hold to account those who break the rules and are not properly managing building safety risks, including taking enforcement action where needed.
  • Give residents in these buildings more routes to raise concerns about safety, and mechanisms to ensure their concerns will be heard and taken seriously.
  • Extend rights to compensation for substandard workmanship and unacceptable defects.
  • Drive the culture change needed across the industry to enable the design and construction of high-quality, safe homes in the years to come.
  • Strengthen the regulatory framework for construction products

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said:  ”The reforms will tackle bad practice head-on, building on Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, which highlighted a need for significant cultural and regulatory change.”

Read more from Construction Enquirer.

Do You Know the Signs of a Phishing Email?

Our hazard of the month for July is Cyber Attacks. Cyber attacks can come in all sorts of forms but one of the most common, everyday examples is phishing. Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.

Do you know how to spot a phishing email if you received one? Here’s a real-life example that Amie, our Office & Accounts Manager, received with all the things to look out for in a ‘phishy’ email!

An example of a phishing email WA Management's Office & Accounts Manager received with signs it is a phishing attempt highlighted and explained

If you would like to learn more about Phishing Awareness or if you would like to get your staff trained up, take a look at our E-learning course!


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