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So far Ralph Bennett has created 33 blog entries.
27 01, 2018

Company fined after employees exposed to asbestos fibres

2018-01-27T10:54:08+00:00 January 27th, 2018|Asbestos exposure|Comments Off on Company fined after employees exposed to asbestos fibres

SSE Hornsea Ltd, operators of a natural gas storage facility near Atwick on the East Yorkshire coast, has been sentenced today after 13 employees and contractors were exposed to asbestos fibres.

Gallery photograph

Beverley Magistrates’ Court heard that a team of three mechanical maintenance personnel were tasked with the removal of a non-return valve from a compressed air distribution system. Some of the sealing gasket material was difficult to remove so they used a wire brush mounted on an electric drill to remove the gasket material which spread fibres from the gasket around the maintenance workshop onto floors, work benches and clothing.

Not the actual area of asbestos

Two days later another employee of SSE Hornsea Ltd became suspicious of the fibrous dust, and having reported his concerns, arranged for a sample of the dust to be tested. It was found to contain chrysotile (white) asbestos fibres. The maintenance workshop was later closed to prevent access by employees and contractors.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting told the court that the company had failed to identify in the risk assessment for this job that there were asbestos gaskets attached to the non-return valve. HSE also told the court that records held on site, which could have helped identify the presence of asbestos, were not adequate and that the maintenance team leader involved in this task had not undertaken asbestos awareness training.
SSE Hornsea Ltd of Inveralmond House, 200 Dunkeld Road, Perth pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 (1) and 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc, Act 1974.
The company has been fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,731.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Paul Miller said: “In this case SSE Hornsea Ltd substantially failed to manage the risks associated with asbestos found within their process plant and have needlessly risked the future health of 13 people. Employers should ensure that they have in place adequate arrangements for both the identification and management of asbestos which may be found in buildings or process plant.”
“Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fibre which was widely used in both building and engineering materials for its strength, heat and chemical resistance. This can cause serious diseases including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis which are often fatal. These diseases do not have an immediate effect, they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything. HSE’s Go Home Healthy campaign aims to prevent work-related lung disease by ensuring employers and workers have the information they need to work right.

Have your employees been given Asestos Awareness training? It is not an option, if you need more information please press the Contact Us button above.

13 01, 2018

Construction firm in court after worker fractures spine in roof fall

2018-01-13T18:00:50+00:00 January 13th, 2018|Falls from height causes injury|Comments Off on Construction firm in court after worker fractures spine in roof fall

Construction firm Montway has been fined £144,000 after a worker was seriously injured when he fell off a roof during demolition work.

Southwark Crown Court heard that on 25 February 2013 two workers were working on the roof of a two storey detached house at 17 Basing Hill, Golders Green in London.

Similar edge protection could have given protection.

Romanian labourer Mr Ioan Vancea fell from the partly demolished roof and suffered serious injuries. No scaffolding had been provided and the work was not being supervised.

Not actual workers / roof

Mr Vancea fell some five metres from the roof to the ground and sustained a series of injuries including a fractured spine. He was in an induced coma for two weeks and remained in hospital for three months.

The site was inspected by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) two weeks after the incident and unsupervised demolition work was still being carried out. A number of serious matters were identified including asbestos which had been removed from the house and was found in a pile by a neighbouring property’s hedge and in broken pieces mixed in with other debris. Enforcement Notices were immediately served to ensure workers and members of the public were protected.

Montway of Batchworth House, Batchworth Place, Church Street, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £144,000 and ordered to pay £43,606.15 in costs.

HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers commented after the hearing: “Mr. Vancea’s injuries were life changing and he could easily have been killed.

“This serious incident would have been avoided if scaffolding had been provided. Montway’s site documents even identified it was needed.

13 01, 2018

Heating engineers in court over asbestos

2018-01-13T17:57:04+00:00 January 13th, 2018|Asbestos exposure|Comments Off on Heating engineers in court over asbestos

A Stockport heating engineering firm was sentenced after two of its engineers were exposed to asbestos while working at a Manchester school.

Healthy Lung

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard Flueclean was contracted to replace boilers in the boiler room of the school.

However, two of Flueclean’s gas engineers were exposed to asbestos when they took the side panels off boilers which had asbestos insulation on the boiler casing.

Stockport based Flueclean Installations Services pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 6(1) and 11(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £4000 for each breach with £3517 costs.

HSE inspector Kevin Jones said after the hearing: “Asbestos is the greatest cause of work related deaths in the UK with over 4000 deaths arising from past exposure.

“Contractors have a duty to ensure they protect their workers from the risk of exposure to asbestos and must properly plan any work which is likely to disturb it.

“In this case, Flueclean Installations Services Limited failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment which if they had would have clearly identified that the work should have been carried out by a licensed asbestos contractor. As a result of this failing, two of their operatives were exposed to asbestos.”

If you need asbestos awareness training, then contact me to arrange a course, training is mandatory not an option. Click on the Contact Us Button above.

25 11, 2017

New Ladder Standards for 2018 are you on top?

2017-11-25T09:49:46+00:00 November 25th, 2017|Health and Safety|Comments Off on New Ladder Standards for 2018 are you on top?

Stay on top of new ladder standards

01 November 2017

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there are approximately 622,000 cases of reportable work-related accidences occur in the UK each year. Such accidents often involve ladders.

The European Committee for Standardisation therefore recently published the standards EN 131-1 and 2. The guidelines describe new design and test requirements. As of January 2018, ladders used in commercial operations fulfil all criteria for structural stability and load capacity. As a manufacturer, ZARGES is early on emphasising safety and informing construction and industrial companies about the implications of EN 131. The access technology specialist is already offering ladders that comply with the new standards.

As new regulations and guidelines are released, companies must understand how the changes will affect them. In the context of the standards EN 131-1 and 2, this can be summarised as follows: the new standard will include a “Professional” category that will replace BS 2037 Class 1, the current standard for industrial and heavy-duty ladders, in addition all leaning ladders that are three metres or longer will have to be equipped with a base stabiliser to ensure stability. Along with stricter test requirements in terms of stile strength and slip-resistance, EN 131-2 also sets out additional regulations for mechanical durability tests and torsion tests. Other guidelines concern the use of combination ladders as well as the categorisation of access systems. The new regulation will take effect as of 1 January 2018 in the UK and throughout Europe and will affect companies of all industries and sizes.

What is going happen in 2018?

Ladders are ubiquitous in industry and skilled trades and the new standard is intended to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities in the workplace. However, EN 131 does not expressly prohibit the continued use of ladders that are already in use. Commercial users in the UK and Europe, such as companies, skilled workers or public authorities, are merely asked to adhere to the respective workplace regulations. “Companies are currently in somewhat of a grey area. On the one hand, even though EN 131-1 and 2 have already been adopted, ladders made according to the old standard are still allowed to be sold in the UK until October 2020 at the latest, according to BSI Assurance” explains Rainer Üblacker, Head of R&D at ZARGES. “Companies that now invest in new ladders would effectively have to retrofit their existing ladders or buy new ones in the near future. On the other hand, the guidelines are not clearly defined. This creates uncertainty.” In order to avoid this and offer customers security in the future, ZARGES is already able to offer ladders and stepladder that conform to the new standards.

Recognising demand – avoiding dangers – capitalising on opportunities
A binding regulation that does not make implementation compulsory is confusing for many companies. ZARGES therefore is putting more emphasis on transparency. This is because not all ladders need to be replaced within the scope of the new EU standard. Ladders that are state-of-the-art can continue to be used in the future. In order to identify these models and consequently create financial security, companies should ask their safety officer to perform a risk assessment as soon as possible. The officer must decide whether existing ladders may continue to be used. “Whoever wants to be on the safe side in the long term should try to consistently take account of the guidelines laid down by the lawmakers. It does not cost as much time and money as one might fear,” explains Üblacker. He recommends that all systems be tested for weak points as part of the mandatory annual ladder inspection and regularly modified as necessary.

Top tips on the right approach to ladders according to EN 131-1 and 2

  • Regularly inspect ladders: it is recommended that ladders that are subject to frequent use should be inspected at least once every three months
  • Take note of the inspector’s qualification: An inspection is considered legally compliant only when it is performed by a certified in-house safety officer or a trained employee of a specialist company
  • Perform retrofitting: Access systems can be retrofitted to comply with regulations. For example, a base stabiliser can be added to a leaning ladder in accordance with EN 131-1

Safety first: In addition to annual inspections, companies should always keep an eye on the safety of their ladders and access systems. Specialist companies and manufacturers, such as ZARGES, offer relevant instructions and information.

Find out more information on Ladder / Step Ladder Training by contacting via the button above.

18 11, 2017

Prison Sentence for Roofing Contractor

2017-11-18T12:37:59+00:00 November 18th, 2017|Fatal Fall from Height|Comments Off on Prison Sentence for Roofing Contractor

Council H&S officers reported dangerous roof work to HSE

A roofing contractor has been sentenced for safety breaches after workers were left at risk of falling from unprotected roof edges in February 2016.

The failures of C Smith Roofing (Mr Chris Smith T/A) were discovered by local council health and safety staff who could see unsafe scaffolding from their office window.

Leeds Crown Court heard that in November 2015 Mr Smith was contracted to carry out some roof repairs to a Guest House roof in Northallerton.

Scaffolding was erected along the full length of the roof at the front of the property. There was a conservatory structure at the rear of the property and the company erected only a partial scaffold at the rear.

The scaffolding erected at the rear failed to take the conservatory into account which left approximately two thirds of the rear roof edge unprotected.

Risk of falling 7m

Health and safety risk managers at North Yorkshire County Council saw the project from their office window and were concerned for the safety of two workers on a roof.

The workmen were under the control of Mr Smith and at risk of falling approximately 7m from the unprotected edge of the roof at the rear of the property.

Chris Smith of Malpas Road Northallerton North Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6 (3) of the Work at height Regulations 2005.

The Court sentenced Mr Smith to an eight-month prison sentence (suspended for two) years and ordered that he complete 200 hours of community service and pay £5800 in prosecution costs.

Protection from falling when working at height is imperative, for guidance contact me via my Contact button above.

4 11, 2017

Working Platform falls from Telehandler

2017-11-04T16:21:53+00:00 November 4th, 2017|Provision and Use of Work Equipment|Comments Off on Working Platform falls from Telehandler

Manufacturer instructions for safe platform attachment not followed PM 28 FOURTH EDITION

A builder was sentenced after three workers, including a father and son, fell some 5m when a work platform became disconnected from a telehandler in December 2015.

Hull Magistrates heard that Mr Jeremy Waudby was hired to construct a new chicken shed at Argham Fields Farm, Burton Fleming Driffield. He engaged a cladding company (A L Cladding) and provided his own telehandler and work platform for the sub-contractor to complete the work.

The court heard that three of the cladding company workers were elevated in the platform when it became detached from the telehandler and fell to the ground.


Not possible to comply with safe instructions

HSE investigators found that the work platform was not (and could not be) connected to the telehandler in accordance with manufacturer instructions which required three separate mechanical attachments.

The necessary securing attachments were not present, and only one of the three was effectively in place.

The platform fell onto the one worker trapping his shoulder and head. He also suffered a shattered right knee cap and crushed tibia and fibula. His father suffered three fractured vertebrae and a head wound needing 12 stitches.

  • Jeremy Waudby t/a JG and GW Waudby – of Lottings Farm Barmby Moor Nr. York pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £1200 with £558 costs.

The HSE doccument to cover this activity is PM28 Fourth Edition, it isnt rocket science to understand, but if you are struggling please contact me via


4 11, 2017

Failure to cover a fragile surface

2017-11-04T16:11:13+00:00 November 4th, 2017|Falls through Fragile Surfaces|Comments Off on Failure to cover a fragile surface

Principal Contractor failed to ensure covers or effective scaffolding installed

A construction company has been fined after a worker suffered serious injuries after falling from height through a fragile rooflight in October 2015.

Cheltenham Magistrates heard how a sub-contractor, working for King Builders (Gloucester) Ltd, suffered fractured vertebrae, chest and head injuries after falling through the fragile rooflight.

The HSE investigation found that the company, who was the appointed CDM 2015 Principal Contractor, failed to ensure the safety of those working on the roof.

The investigation also found that there were a number of places on the site at Pitt Street, Gloucester where someone could have fallen.


Not the exact photograph, this is a stock item to demonstrate a fall.

PC held accountable for safety of sub-contractor

King Builders (Gloucester) Ltd were convicted of breaching Regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and have been fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £18,281.70.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Simon Chilcott said:

“Those in control of work have a responsibility to ensure safe methods of working are used and to maintain control of those working for them.

If simple precautions, such as a robust cover or scaffolding, had been in place prior to the incident, the serious injuries sustained by the sub-contractor could have been prevented.”

There are numerous means available to cover / protect against falls through Fragile Surfaces, why is this sttill happening??

If you need assistance in finding the solutions, please feel free to contact me via

6 10, 2017

CDM Project Manager who didn’t Manage pays dearly.

2017-10-12T09:22:28+00:00 October 6th, 2017|CDM Construction Design & Management|Comments Off on CDM Project Manager who didn’t Manage pays dearly.

Principal Contractor prosecuted alongside responsible manager

CDM has been in place for years, wouldn’t you think we could get it right by now?

In House Design and Build Limited, a London-based construction company, and a project manager have been fined for “repeatedly failing to manage and control multiple risks”.

Reading Magistrates heard how concerns were raised by workers and members of the public which resulted in HSE inspectors carrying out a number of visits during 2015 to two projects where the company was the appointed CDM 2015 Principal Contractor. HSE identified a number of serious health and safety failings.

HSE investigators found that over a four-month period at the first site (despite several enforcement notices being served) the company failed to address the risks.

The enforcement notices served were for breaches including unsafe work at height, working in unstable deep excavations and inadequate arrangements for planning, managing and monitoring construction work.

Further similar concerns were found later in the in 2015 at the second site where very poor welfare arrangements were also discovered.

Planning, managing and monitoring are crucial


The company and a project manager were both prosecuted and pleaded guilty.

  • In House Design and Build Limited – of Royalty House, Dean Street, London, pleaded guilty to two breaches under Regulation 13 (1) of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015. The company was fined £100,000.

Neil Crow – of Woodgrange Avenue, London, who had been in charge of operations at both sites, pleaded guilty to two breaches under Regulation 13 (1) of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015, by virtue of Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Mr Crow was fined £15,000.

If you need help with Health & Safety Issues use the contact us button the website

6 10, 2017

Frosty Reception for Iceland

2017-10-12T09:22:28+00:00 October 6th, 2017|Falls through Fragile Surfaces|Comments Off on Frosty Reception for Iceland

Retailer Iceland Foods has this week been fined £2.5m following the death of a contractor working at height at a store in Rotherham in October 2013.

The food giant’s fine, the largest to date in 2017, was handed down in a sentencing hearing at Grimsby Crown Court, following a three-week trial held at Sheffield Crown Court in July 2017.

In the trial, Iceland was found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The charges were brought by Rotherham Council following the fatal accident at the Iceland store on Sycamore Road, Rotherham, on 28 October 2013.

Contractor Tony Hopkins was at the store to replace filters within an air conditioning unit, which was located on a “plant platform” above a suspended ceiling in the store’s warehouse.


Hopkins fell almost 3m from the platform and through the suspended ceiling, sustaining fatal injuries.

An investigation by Adrian Monkhouse, principal environmental health officer at the council, revealed that there were no barriers in place to prevent falls from the platform.

In addition, the area of the platform immediately in front of the access ladder was restricted, measuring just 45cm in width, and there were several tripping hazards in this area, including cabling and the fixing points for the ladder itself.

In order to avoid these problems get in touch and book your Safe Work at Height course now.

24 08, 2017

Silica dust Guidance

2017-10-12T09:22:28+00:00 August 24th, 2017|Ill Health and disease|Comments Off on Silica dust Guidance

New guidance available on key HSE Construction Sector priority

The inhalation of Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) dust is a widespread hazard and significant cause of ill-health in the construction sector. The effective elimination or control of RCS dust is one of three top priorities for HSE now, and in the coming years.

RCS is very fine dust which when inhaled deep into the lungs can cause serious lung diseases including: lung cancer; silicosis; and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These diseases cause permanent disability and early death.

The greater the level of dust in air, the higher the risk. High dust levels are caused by one or more of the following:

  • Task – high energy tools, such as cut-off saws, grinders, wall chasers and grit blasters can produce a lot of dust in a very short time. Dry sweeping can make a lot of dust when compared to vacuuming or wet brushing;
  • Location – the more enclosed a space, the more the dust will build up. However, do not assume that levels will be low when working outside with high energy tools;
  • Time – the longer the time dust is created the more dust there will be; and
  • Frequency – regularly doing the same work day-after-day increases the risks.

The construction sector guides on silica were issued in late 2016 and include the following:

  • CN0: Advice for managers
  • CN1: Concrete scabbling
  • CN2: Chasing with handheld power tools
  • CN3: Drilling and coring with hand-held rotary power tools
  • CN4: Crushing and screening demolition material
  • CN5: Clearing and removing rubble
  • CN6: Cutting paving and kerbstones with rotary cutters
  • CN7: Abrasive blasting
  • CN8: Diamond coring/hole cutting
  • CN9: Breaking in enclosed spaces

This information is designed to help duty holders comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), as amended, to prevent or control exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) and protect the health of the workforce.

You are required to protect your most valuable assets (your employees), if they are wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as, Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) against hazardous substances, then your employees must be face fit tested for every type of mask (RPE) which is given to them.

For more information on Face Fit Testing contact Ralph N Bennett via the contact button above, or just email him on