Safer Sphere is pleased to confirm that we have been appointed on a new demolition project on Manton Lane in Bedford. We will be supporting AR Demolition on the project in the role of Principal Designer Advisor and we look forward to providing health and safety assistance on this technical demolition.
The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (CDM 2015) are the primary set of rules governing construction projects. It applies to all construction and building work and includes every type of project from new build and conversions to refurbishment and demolition.
Part of the law requires those in charge of construction projects to carry out operations without posing a danger to the public. This includes other workers who can potentially be affected by the construction work.
According to HSE inspector David Kirkpatrick, construction companies must make it a priority to secure their construction sites to prevent access by unauthorised parties. These sites can be full of hazards that vulnerable people such as children may not be able to fully understand.
Under CDM 2015, the project client should provide all necessary information about the following particulars:
- Site boundaries
- Usage of land bordering the construction site
- Site access
- Steps to prevent unauthorised parties from accessing the site
This information will guide the measures taken by contractors. Key issues that need to be addressed are:
- Managing access to the site
- Any hazards that could present a danger to the public
- Vulnerable groups that may be affected
All construction sites must have:
- Defined measures to manage access across designated boundaries and,
- Steps to prevent unauthorised people from gaining access to the work site
While there has been a decline in the numbers of children being injured or killed on construction sites, complacency must be avoided. Two or three children die every year after accessing building sites, and many more are seriously injured.
It’s not just children who are at risk but also other members of the public, such as passers-by, can be injured by:
- Tools or materials that fall outside the boundaries of the job site
- Tripping and falling into trenches
- Being hit by moving construction vehicles
For maximum efficacy, the pre-construction information from the client should include:
- All project boundaries
- Information about adjacent land use
- Access information
- Measures to keep unauthorised people out
To manage site access, the following are required.
To manage public risk, boundaries must be defined by suitable fencing. The fence type should be consistent with the type of site and the surroundings. Contractors need to determine what the perimetre will consist of, supply the fencing, and maintain it once erected.
Questions that contractors must ask themselves include:
- What is the type and nature of the construction work being performed
- How heavily populated is the area?
- Who will need to visit the site while work is being carried out?
- Will children be attracted to the site?
- What are the characteristics of the site? For example, location, proximity to other buildings, current site boundaries.
In populated areas, this will typically mean a mesh fence around two metres high or hoarding around the construction site.
The primary contractor must take adequate measures to prevent unauthorised parties from accessing the site.
- People may be restricted to certain areas or authorised to access the entire site.
- The contractor must explain applicable site rules to authorised parties and perform any required induction.
- They may have to accompany or supervise some authorised parties while on site or accessing certain areas.
Hazards that Present a Risk to the Public
Many construction site hazards present a risk to visitors and the general public. Contractors must consider if they exist on a certain project and, if so, how they will manage them.
- Falling objects: Objects must not be able to fall outside the site boundaries. Contractors may have to use brick guards, netting, toe-boards, fans, and covered walkways.
- Site vehicles. Contractors must ensure that pedestrians cannot be hit by vehicles entering or leaving the site.
- Access equipment. Measures must be taken to prevent people outside the site boundary from being hit while scaffolding and other access equipment is being erected, used, and dismantled.
- Stacking and storing materials. Reduce the risks associated with storing materials by storing them within the perimetre of the site, ideally in a secure location or away from the fencing.
- Excavations and openings. People can be hurt if they fall into excavati9ns, stairwells, and other open areas.
- Other hazards include road works, slips, trips, and falls in pedestrian areas, hazardous substances, plant equipment and machinery, dust, noise, and vibration, and energy sources such as electricity.
Children, the elderly, and people with certain disabilities may need special consideration, especially if work is being done in locations like hospitals and schools.
Children can be attracted to construction sites as potential play areas. Constractors must take all reasonable steps to keep them from accessing the site and endangering themselves.
The steps below are especially important for child safety:
- When work is finished for the day, secure the site thoroughly
- Cover or erect barriers around pits and excavations
- Immobilise vehicles and lock them away if possible
- Store building materials such as cement bags, manhole rings, and pipes so that they cannot tip or roll over
- Remove access ladders from scaffolds and excavations
- Make sure that all hazardous substances are locked away
Safer Sphere are able to advise on any aspect of CDM 2015.
Safer Sphere is proud to be supporting UMC Architects and Winvic who have secured the contract to build a new UK headquarters in Tolworth for LIDL.
The 250,000 sq. ft. building will be just five miles from LIDL’s current HQ in Wimbledon and is expected to take two years to complete. We have been appointed as Principal Designer Advisor on the project and we look forward to working with the team and seeing the build progress.
Safer Sphere is pleased to have been appointed on the new highways works on Oxford Road (A41) in Bicester. The highways project will see amendments to the existing A41 road to form a new access junction to facilitate a new retail development. The project works include forming new lanes, junction, new traffic signals and signage. Safer Sphere has been appointed the roles of Principal Designer Advisor and CDM Client Advisor on the highway works.
The health and safety needs of a construction site can change from one year to the next, which is why audits need to be carried out on a regular basis.
This routine diligence helps to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of employees within an organisation by detecting areas where improvement is needed. It also ensures that construction companies remain compliant with their legal duties and responsibilities.
What is a health and safety audit?
A health and safety audit is an independent and methodical assessment of a construction site’s processes. The documented results are measured against mandated criteria to confirm that the site managers are upholding health and safety standards.
In general, a construction site audit will review factors like the following to ensure a safe environment for workers:
- Procedures involving hazardous materials
- Safe and proper use of equipment
- Presence of hazards such as exposed live wires, holes that have not been barricaded off, and debris in the work area
When you’ve been informed that your construction site is scheduled for an audit, here are some steps you can take to make it as conscientious and safe as possible. Although these processes should be in place and remain in place throughout the construction.
Post safety notices
Posting safety notices is required on all construction sites. This includes clearly identifying and marking all dangerous materials and hazards, from toxic chemicals to wet paint, so that there can be no mistake as to what they are. The single most common cause of accidents on construction sites is a failure to communicate.
Create clearly marked walkways that help site visitors and inspectors avoid hazardous work areas, such as places where falling debris might be a risk. By the same token, protect workers from accidentally interfering with and injuring each other by isolating all work areas that could overlap. You can do this by posting temporary barriers and caution tape where appropriate.
Have management tour the site
Arrange for company managers to carry informal safety inspections at a construction site to identify any areas that may need attention. This internal auditing team could include your company’s managing director and a senior level manager from your client’s firm.
New sets of eyes can spot problems that people who work on the site every day may miss. Any potential safety issues that come to light during these inspections must be acted on immediately.
Run PPE checks
All personnel on a construction site should be wearing the correct Personal Protective Equipment or PPE, and know where it is stored.
This equipment, which may include safety hats, protective glasses, steel-toed shoes or boots, and protective gloves, must be kept in a clean and dry place that is also easy to access.
Designated employees should inspect all PPE every week to confirm that it is being properly cleaned and maintained and that there are sufficient quantities of replacement items for any equipment that breaks. Record each check to create an inspection record.
Prepare site checklists
All construction vehicles on a job site should be checked on a regular basis by competent and qualified personnel. Engage a mechanic to carry out a planned maintenance programme that involves a thorough check of each vehicle and essential components like steering and braking systems. Certain equipment falls under LOLER (lifting equipment regulations) so is subject to specific testing at predefined intervals.
Complement this type of professional inspection by requiring each worker to inspect a vehicle before they climb into the driver’s seat or take up the wheel. This combination of professional and in-house inspections can turn up issues before they become major problems and reach the attention of H&S auditors.
Inspect equipment regularly
Plant facilities aren’t the only areas that need inspecting. On a construction site, have each worker check things like electrical equipment, lifting straps, and hand tools for defects or excessive signs of wear before use. For example, if a safety hat is cracked or the handle on a hammer is loose, someone could easily be hurt.
Carry out safety inspections
Arrange for the construction site project and/or safety inspector to carry out a more formal safety audit, accompanied by site workers if possible. These types of inspections could include steps such as safety spot checks, where inspecting one aspect of on-site safety can provide an idea of site-wide safety conditions.
These inspections accomplish a dual purpose: to identify areas of concern and demonstrate the commitment of senior management to the safety of all workers on the construction site. When properly conducted, they can enhance trust between workers and management.
For maximum efficiency, schedule these higher-profile inspections to support the informal management tours and to prepare in advance for independent safety audits.
Follow up in scheduled intervals
When these actions are collected into a workplace system, it ensures the safety and well-being of everyone working on a construction site. Your system should consider the following factors:
- How often an inspection should take place
- Who is responsible for scheduling them
- Who is responsible for carrying them out
- The abilities and qualifications of those carrying out the inspections
- What information is included on the checklists
- Any actions that will arise from these inspections
- Who is responsible for correcting any issues uncovered during the inspection
- The time frame for carrying out inspections
Each time a construction project begins, it’s worth compiling an audit schedule to ensure that all aspects of the work are being reviewed for safety and quality throughout the project duration as opposed to the same few areas that are traditionally targeted.
When you create your own system for a construction site health & safety audit, it ensures that any issues that develop on a job site never evolve into problems with catastrophic consequences. Construction contractors who don’t properly fulfill their obligations for on-site safety may risk significant penalties or loss of contracts. It also stands to reason that sites with poor safety conditions are dangerous to workers by causing them to risk injury or worse.
Safer Sphere are able to advise on any aspect of CDM 2015.
The HSE has announced this month that Construction firms across Great Britain will be targeted on their health standards by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
These inspections will be the first time the regulator has targeted the industry with a specific focus on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease, looking at the measures businesses have in place to protect their workers’ lungs from the likes of asbestos, silica and wood dust.
Inspectors will be visiting construction businesses and sites across the country throughout October and will specifically be looking for evidence of construction workers knowing the risks, planning their work and using the right controls, and if necessary will use enforcement to ensure people are protected.
HSE’s Peter Baker, chief inspector of construction, said: “Around 100 times as many workers die from diseases caused or made worse by their work than are killed in construction accidents. Annually, work-related cancers, mainly linked to asbestos and silica, are estimated to kill 3,500 people from the industry. Thousands of others suffer life-changing illnesses from their work. Not all lung diseases take years to develop. Some, like acute silicosis or occupational asthma, can occur more quickly.
“As a result, we’ve launched this inspection initiative to find out what exactly businesses in the construction industry are doing today to protect their workers’ health, particularly when it comes to exposure to dust and damage to lungs.
“We want construction workers to be aware of the risks associated with the activities they carry out on a daily basis; be conscious of the fact their work may create hazardous dust; and consider how this could affect their health, in some cases irreversibly. We want businesses and their workers to think of the job from start to finish and avoid creating dust or disturbing asbestos by working in different ways. We want to see construction firms encouraging their workers to firstly keep the dust down and wear the right mask and clothing.
“Ultimately, we want construction workers’ lungs to be protected from ill health, so they can go home healthy to their families and enjoy long careers in this important industry.”
Construction (Design and Management) specialist, Safer Sphere has won ’CDM Consultant of the Year’ at the National Association of Project Safety (APS) Awards, which recognises excellence in construction health and safety risk management.
The North West based CDM consultancy beat off strong competition from some of the biggest names in the CDM industry to take home the crown at the 2018 APS Awards held in Manchester.
Safer Sphere won the prestigious award based on the CDM services provided to the multi-site Design and Build PRS scheme by Dandara, which sees the development of residential units across Salford, Leeds, and Birmingham. The project delivery is made up of big names such as Sir Robert McAlpine, Galliford Try, and Interserve; Safer Sphere was appointed as Client CDM Advisor and Principal Designer Advisors on the project.
On receiving the award, Mike Forsyth, Managing Director at Safer Sphere said:
We are delighted to have won CDM Consultant of Year at the national APS awards as this is one of the highest accolades we can receive for our business. To make it into the final of these leading industry awards is an achievement but to win just highlights the amazing success for Safer Sphere and its accomplishments. This award is solely down to the efforts and expertise of the team as well as the great support of our clients. The Dandara PRS scheme has been a fantastic scheme to work on and we will continue to work on the scheme having been appointed on the Sweet Street and Chapel Wharf fit-outs, which means we will be seeing the project through from concept to completion. Safer Sphere has one the best CDM delivery teams in the industry and this award is testament to this, I couldn’t be more proud.
We are pleased to be working on the fit-out of the Grade 1 listed Edward Pavilion in Liverpool with Ardmac on behalf of CastleForge Partners. We will be acting as Principal Designer Advisor to Ardmac on the project which will see work carried out across 4 Floors of the building.
The Angel Meadows excavation has entered its second week and the team are hard at work finishing the cleaning of the archaeology on Plot 2 (Mincing Street), and the process of recording has started with the completion of a GPS survey and extensive photography. This will be completed later this week with the use of a drone to accurately survey the remains. Cleaning of the structural remains is now being undertaken on Plot 5 (Ludgate Hill), to properly define the features our excavations have revealed there.
Preliminary comparisons between the Plot 2 site and historic mapping are allowing the team to begin the work of understanding how the layout of the dwellings in the area changed over time. The documents available to us show buildings were remodelled and removed, courtyards and alleys were extended, and points of access were changed over a period of 100 years. Evidence can be seen of this on the ground existing in the form of blocked doorways, truncated walls, and areas of more recent building superimposed over older foundations. The reasons for these changes isn’t always immediately clear, but some may relate to the efforts of the social reformers who during the later part of the nineteenth century, were (rightfully) concerned that the dark, squalid, and utterly unsanitary, cramped conditions of the area were contributing to the spread of disease and crime and high mortality rates.
Perhaps the most significant indication of these changes is the addition of later sanitation works. These took the form of proper drainage and toilet blocks, much-needed facilities in ‘The Meadow’ and a response to legislation introduced in the mid-1800’s, making such facilities a legal requirement for existing housing, as well as new buildings. In several examples on site, later structures can be seen and have been built onto and over the old to incorporate these amenities.
It’s a strange thing to portray lavatories as a ‘highlight’ of an archaeological site, but the implementation of basic plumbing is representative of the wider initiative to improve conditions for the working classes in Angel Meadow during the Industrial period. It will be interesting to see what other evidence of the conditions will be found and what the excavation further reveals.
In previous articles we have considered the duty of the Contractor under CDM15 and the role of the Contractor; the duty to manage the work safely, how a Contractor may check the competency of workers on the project team, safety with tools, equipment and materials and any information and instruction that is passed to the contractor from the Pre-Construction Phase or during the Construction Phase of the project.
It must be remembered that the flow of information will be two way and the Contractor must keep the Construction Phase Plan up to date and expect that the Principal Contractor manage the Plan similarly.
Here we are going to delve deeper into the requirements for consultation and co-operation with other duty holders.
How Contractors can consult with Employees
There must be collaboration between Contractors as employer and the workers that are on task to get individuals to work safely. Involving workers in the decision making process with regards health and safety tends to lead to practical solutions, practical solutions that increase the potential commitment and buy in from workers to any Health and Safety topics.
Practical solutions are more easily fostered by the workforce, practical solutions generally come from speaking to workers about their experience and knowledge about a task or job. When experienced workers are consulted on matters of health and safety, it will be easier to spot workplace hazards and to implement realistic controls that will not be seen as a burden or barrier to completing a task to programme.
Consultation is a proven means of managing Health and Safety on construction projects. Consultation is not only about employers giving information to workers that is part of the Construction Phase Plan, but also requires the Contractor as an employer to listen to workers and consider their experience in the field and previous issues that they have come up against in similar situations.
Consultation with the work force should cover the hazards associated from their own work and the work of others working on the project as well as those environmental risks that modern construction techniques may harbour, the way these risks are managed and how information and training to protect workers from relevant risks should be discussed at length.
Preparing the Construction Phase Plan
Preparing the Construction Phase Plan is the responsibility of the Principal Contractor where more than one Contractor is present on site. In situations where there is only one Contractor, the Construction Phase Plan cannot be left up to another contractor as there is essentially no one to pass this duty to.
A Construction Phase Plan describes how health and safety will be managed during construction and will contain information that is relevant to all Contractors working on the project. The Construction Phase Plan should be available to anyone who wants to see it and therefore the information contained in it should be clear and easily understood with all superfluous information removed. Issues such as logistics, working at height, hazardous substances, demolition and groundworks should all be considered and included in the Construction Phase Plan if the works include it.
Before any site is set up or work begins in the Construction Phase, the Plan should be developed. While it is the duty of the [Principal] Contractor to develop the Construction Phase Plan, it is the responsibility of the Client to ensure that the Construction Phase Plan is in place before the work begins.
Providing Welfare Facilities
Welfare includes the provision of toilets, both lit and ventilated and suitable for both sexes. With more and more female staff working on Construction sites, male and female toilets are thankfully becoming more common, but are open to abuse if not managed correctly. Washing facilities with hot and cold water, soap or skin detergent with a means of drying hands should be close to the toilet facility. Separately, but just as important are rest facilities, a room with tables and chairs with drinking water and cups is a bare minimum.
Where workers will need to change clothes or dry their workwear, a separate changing/drying room with lockers should be provided. It should be noted that while the lockers should be provided by the [Principal] Contractor, it is commonly the responsibility of the Contractor to supply their own key and lock.
The supply of Welfare Facilities is part of CDM15. Where one Contractor is charged with a Construction Project, the Welfare Facilities should be suitable and sufficient for the size of the project and should be available from when construction starts until the end of the project. Were more than one contractor is working on a project, it is the Principal Contractor who is ultimately responsible for ensuring that welfare facilities are provided.
It is the Clients responsibility to ensure that suitable arrangements are provided for workers welfare by the Principal Contractor.
Providing a Site Induction
Suitable site inductions should be provided by the [Principal] Contractor, this may be in groups or given to individuals as they start work. Where there is only one Contractor on site, Site Inductions are still a necessary part of the Construction Phase and should cover all the health and safety risks associated with the site. While each Site Induction will differ from project to project, typical topics that should be covered may be:
- The Commitment to Health and Safety by the Contractor
- Basic details of the project and the anticipated outcome
- What is the management structure on the site – who are the relevant contacts within the organisation
- What are site specific health and safety risks (overhead electricity, trees on site, watercourses nearly, railways etc)
- How will health and safety on site be controlled via site rule, how will pedestrians and vehicles be segregated, what is the minimum PPE standard, how will deliveries to site be managed, how will temporary electricity be provided, how will hazardous substances be stored)
- What are the procedures for accidents and who is responsible for first aid
- How are accidents on site recorded and how will RIDDOR events be reported to HSE
- When and what will be the subjects of training, toolbox task and task briefings.
- How will the workforce be consulted with
- What is each individual’s responsibility for health and safety while on site.
Safer Sphere appreciates that the CDM Regulations 2015 and Health and Safety Legislation can be a burden to small and medium-sized contractors. Such organisations rarely have the resource to employ internal Health and Safety professionals, meaning the burden is applied to those managing the organisation or supervising construction activities.
Our aim in this department is to reduce that burden by providing compliant Contractor CDM Support, which enables contractors to make Health and Safety a simple process and gives them the ability to concentrate their efforts in providing quality and cost-effective solutions in their chosen field. Whether you are a “contractor” or acting as “Principal Contractor”, Safer Sphere are here to help you!