KOK Tech News – April 2019 – Clients Fined £1.8m / KOK 2019 Consultant Award / NHS SBS Story
Firstly, a few words from our Managing Director, John Okey FRICS MCIArb MCInstCES CMaPS : –
The lessons learned from the tragedies reported below are that the simplest activities can put workers and the public at risk. A construction health and safety professional will have these kinds of risks as their focus, whilst others in the project team are expressing their own skills.
Also, a thanks to the LGC for reporting on an important development, the knowledge of which should be heeded by all construction health & safety professionals, contractors, designers and clients working in potentially affected buildings.
We are also proud to announce that last month, we were the first ever recipient of the North West Construction Safety Group’s ‘Consultant of the Year’ Award 2019. Candidates were shortlisted on the basis of their teamwork, skills, knowledge and experience, ongoing commitment to the improvement of health and safety standards in the construction industry and promotion of a positive health and safety culture among Client base.
Keelagher Okey Klein are approved by the increasingly popular NHS Shared Business Services Framework (NHS SBS) which is a national Framework available to all Public Sector Clients (not just NHS Clients, despite the name) for their procurement needs and is free and quick to utilise. More information can be found here: https://www.sbs.nhs.uk/ica-construction-consultancy-services.
Warning: School roof system failure
The Local Government Chronical (LGC) reported last month that Councils have been told to check for problems caused by now disused roofing system after a school roof collapsed within just 48 hours of any issues being noticed.
The roofing system in question is called ‘reinforced autoclave aerated concrete’ or RAAC. The Local Government Authority (LGA) has issued a warning its member authorities and Councils to identify if they have any properties in their portfolio which may have been constructed using this system which was predominantly used between 1950 – 1980 and used mostly in school buildings, though has been used in other structures.
The LGA reported that the Building Research Establishment first thought that this roofing system would give plenty of warning through visible deterioration before failing, however the roof of a building yet to be named had failed within 48 hours of noticing cracks and therefore poses a huge risk to the health and safety of the building’s users.
Therefore, Local Authorities and Schools should check their portfolio for this type roofing system and ensure that surveys, maintenance, repairs or where needed, possible replacements are actioned before a failure such as the one reported by LGC.
With thanks to LGC , article written by Mark Smulian on 10th January 2019. Article link: https://www.lgcplus.com/services/lga-gives-warning-after-roof-system-fails/7027367.article
Food firm fined £1.8m after workers fall during roof repairs
Food manufacturing company Karro Foods Ltd has been fined £1.8m after two workers suffered serious injuries when they fell over 4 metres through a roof light.
Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 13 April 2016, the two workers were investigating a leak from the roof at the firm’s Malton site which the workers did not realise contained several roof lights.
The workers were walking closely together, and both stood on the same roof light which consequently fell through due to the weight.
One worker suffered four fractured ribs, a punctured lung, and muscular contusions to his outer right thigh.
The other suffered a fractured skull, muscular injuries to his right leg and injuries inside his ear which cause ongoing problems with his balance, memory and mental health.
An HSE investigation found the roof was made of asbestos cement and had several roof lights situated along it but they were not visible due to the build-up of moss and dirt which had accumulated over the years. Employees had also not been made aware of them.
Karro Foods Ltd of Malton, Yorkshire pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £1,866,000 and ordered to pay £8,019 in costs.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Mark Slater commented: “This was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to provide adequate controls against the risks arising from working at height.
“Consideration of roof fragility and rooflights, visible or not, should be made, especially on older buildings.”
With thanks to the HSE. Press Release dated 22nd March 2019. Article link: https://press.hse.gov.uk/2019/03/22/yorkshire-company-fined-over-1-8m-after-two-workers-injured-in-fall-from-height/
Public raise alarm over site ladder shocker
A Salford building contractor has been sentenced after worried members of the public raised the alarm over its safety standards.
Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how, in July 2018, whilst carrying out repointing work at a house in Altrincham, Kenneth Morris allowed his employees to work on unguarded platforms six metres in height.
The workers were also not provided with adequate protection from silica dust during the removal of mortar.
The HSE began investigating after receiving information from members of the public.
During the investigation it was found that Morris had made a deliberate decision not to provide the correct scaffolding or means of dust capture in order to save money.
Morris had also failed to insure his employees against any injury or ill health sustained during the course of their work.
Kenneth Morris, trading as K & M Pointing of Salford pleaded guilty to safety breaches and received a 26 week prison sentence suspended for two years, 180 hours community service and was ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.
After the hearing HSE inspector Matt Greenly said: “HSE receives thousands of concerns from members of the public each year and we investigate those which show serious risk.
“Corners must not be cut when dealing with employees’ safety, such as working at height.”