Week Commencing 06/05/2024 – In The News

Report highlights demanding health and safety workloads

New legislation and an increased focus on best practice are leading to heavier workloads and excess pressure on property and facilities managers, according to a new report from health, safety and property compliance firm William Martin.

When compiling its first annual property compliance report, the firm examined data from 20,000 risk assessments and survey reports that were uploaded to its compliance management software, Meridian, between April 2023 and March 2024.

Figures showed almost 327,000 health and safety actions were raised across all disciplines, a 22% increase on the previous year.

Read more on the HSM website.

HSE issues MoD (Army) with Crown Censure following death of soldier

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today (Wednesday 8 May) issued the Ministry of Defence (MoD) with a Crown Censure following the death of a soldier.

Conor McPherson, a private in the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, lost his life during a training exercise at the Heely Dod firing range in Otterburn, Northumberland on 22 August 2016.

Conor’s father has said he was the model son.

The 24-year-old was part of a team-of-five when he was accidentally shot in the back of the head by a fellow soldier at around 11pm. He died at the scene.

The group had been shooting at remote controlled targets as they manoeuvred on foot through the moorland firing range. They were using live rounds and night vision technology at the time.

A HSE investigation found the MoD (Army) failed to properly implement a safe system of work for the exercise.

The planning and conducting of the exercise was poor, and there was an ineffective system to monitor the management arrangements mandated within the MoD’s own procedures. Mandated planning meetings in the lead up to the exercise were not attended by some staff.

Errors were made while producing written instructions and some staff lacked confidence while producing them. The finalised written instructions differed to how the exercise was being conducted. There should have been an additional supervisor with the firers on the night of the incident, due to the soldiers’ lack of experience when carrying out night time firing.

For more on the incident, visit the HSE website.

Company fined after workers exposed to asbestos during hotel demolition

A company director has been fined after workers were exposed to asbestos during the demolition of a hotel in Cornwall.

Mr Paul Stephens, Director of the now liquidated Stephens and Stephens Developers Limited, was fined more than £60,000 as a result of failures at the former Cliffdene Hotel in Newquay in 2020. The hotel had closed in 2018 and was part of a redevelopment plan to build residential apartments on the site.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)‘s investigation into the control of asbestos at the site came after the hotel had been almost entirely demolished in August 2020. The company had overall control over the assessment and removal of all asbestos containing materials (ACMs) on site.

However, further enquiries revealed the presence of extensive asbestos debris, a sign that significant spreading had occurred, and that those actions taken to control exposure had been inadequate. Stephens was charged for failure to take reasonably practicable steps to contain the spread of asbestos.

Learn more on the SHP website.

Contractor fined after young carpenter dies

A carpentry contractor has been fined after a 22-year-old man died after he was struck by construction equipment on a building site.

On 30 October 2019, Niall McCormack from Kettering, Northamptonshire had been working for KM Carpentry Contractors Limited installing roof trusses at a new build site at Alconbury Weald, Cambridgeshire.

Both the truss packs and party wall spandrel panel had been lifted by crane onto a pair of semi-detached properties the day before the incident – temporarily supported by timber restraints.

Mr McCormack was working with another carpenter to remove trusses from the pack, to then spread and install across the building. As the two carpenters were in the process of spreading, the wind caught a spandrel panel, pushing it against the remaining trusses in the pack. Both the truss pack and spandrel panel fell into the work area. Niall McCormack was struck by the falling material and suffered a fatal head injury.

Visit the HSE website to read more.

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