Week Commencing 08/08/2022 – In The News

Construction charity backs HSE’s Working Minds campaign

Yellow safety helmet on a pile of bricksThe Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Working Minds campaign has added to its partner roster with the addition of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity.

Construction is one of the key focus sectors for the campaign and the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity provides a new route for Working Minds to raise awareness of how to prevent work-related stress and encourage good mental health. Recent survey results show that the pressure to work to tight deadlines is the number one reason why workers say they are struggling at work.

The anonymous survey captured a picture of the mental health of UK construction workers and what has changed in recent years. More than half of workers taking part in the survey said that they did not receive the appropriate level of support with their mental health from their managers. And 59 per cent did not tell their employer that the reason they needed time off was for mental health, a slight improvement compared to 2019.

Read more on the HSM website.

Construction company fined £600K after death of seven-year-old

Construction siteA civil engineering firm has been fined £600K for safety breaches after a seven-year-old child became trapped and suffocated on a construction site.

Seven-year-old Conley Thompson went missing from home on the morning of 26 July 2015 and was found the next morning by workers at the construction site at Bank End Road, Worsborough, in South Yorkshire.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Conley had become trapped in a drainage pipe, which had been fixed into the ground in preparation for the installation of fencing posts. Tragically, he had suffocated before being found the next morning when work restarted on site.

Howard Civil Engineering Ltd of Howard House Limewood Approach Leeds pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 13(4)(b) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £600K and ordered to pay £42,952.88 in costs at Sheffield Crown Court today.

For more on the case, visit the HSE website.

Prison sentence for illegal waste activity

Pile of burning rubbishA 40-year-old man who ignored Environment Agency warnings to stop illegally importing and burning waste at 2 Essex sites has been sent to prison for 14 months.

Shane Boutwell of Rivendell Vale, South Woodham Ferrers, who had entered guilty pleas earlier in the year, was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on 2 August 2022.

The sentencing came after he persistently imported and burnt waste on a large scale at two sites in Essex.

In June 2020, officers visited land at Bradwell Wick Leisure Plots, Maldon Road, Bradwell-on-Sea after firefighters raised concerns following several fires at the site.

Officers found large quantities of waste on the site, including waste electricals, household waste, and demolition waste. They also discovered piles of burned waste. They made several further visits and attempted to work with Boutwell, offering him opportunities to stop his activities and clear the site.

Boutwell failed to clear the site and gave officers several different, conflicting accounts.

In September 2020, officers attended another site, owned by Boutwell at Lower Barn Farm, Lower Burnham Road, Latchingdon. They found piles of burning waste with flames up to 2 metres high. Essex Fire and Rescue attended and discovered a gas cylinder amongst the embers before immediately requesting fire engines to attend.

Learn more about the sentence on the HSM website.

Heat warning: Employers must prepare for a warmer future

Thermostat being setEmployers need to act now to make sure their workplaces are ready for warmer weather in the future.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is advising businesses to think how they need to adapt to warmer working conditions for their staff.

After last month’s record-breaking temperatures and with more hot weather expected this week, HSE is asking employers to ensure extreme heat becomes part of their long-term planning.

With temperatures reaching an unprecedented 40oC in some parts of England in July, adapting to climate change is something all businesses will need to consider as warmer weather becomes more frequent.

Employers have a legal obligation under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations to assess risks to the health and safety of workers. They must review the risk controls they have in place and update them if needed. This includes risks from more frequent extreme weather such as heatwaves.

While there is no maximum temperature for workplaces, all workers are entitled to an environment where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Heat is classed as a hazard and comes with legal obligations like any other hazard.

For more advice, visit the HSE website.

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