Safer Sphere pleased to be working on the first and second floor fit-out of the Grade 1 listed Edward Pavilion building in Liverpool. The building is home to Clockwise and the fit-out will mirror the previous works completed on the fourth floor in 2018. Safer Sphere is supporting Ardmac on the project in the role of Principal Designer Advisor through RIBA stages 5 and 6.
Safer Sphere is delighted to have been appointed on the new 6-storey residential scheme at 25 Trego Road in Hackney. The scheme will see the development of 52 new homes and a new landscaped public open space. Safer Sphere is supporting the project in the role of Principal Designer Advisor to Ettridge Architecture Limited.
We are delighted to announce our appointment on the exciting Lancashire Cricket Ground Red Rose Stand and Hotel. The new 4,850-seat stand at Emirates Old Trafford that will make it the largest cricket ground outside of London. The hotel works will include an extension to the existing Hilton Garden Hotel, making the Emirate Old Trafford ground one of the largest cricket grounds and experiences in the country. Safer Sphere is acting in the role of Principal Designer Advisor to Chroma Consulting on the project which is part of the wider Civic Quarter master plan.
Safer Sphere is pleased to reveal our appointment on the remedial works on the WGIS Bridge. We are supporting the project in the roles of Principal Designer Advisor to Rossendale Group and CDM Client Advisor to Peel Land and Property through RIBA stages 5 and 6.
The works involve the installation of a remedial solution to the lifting mechanism to allow for tension to be kept on the ropes and also to stop the counterweights twisting with a set of rollers being installed.
The Construction Industry is worth around £65 Billion (Investment Per Annum) to the UK`s GDP. This is a significant contribution but what is not always appreciated is that the cost of maintaining and repairing the resulting asset base which is approximately around £26 Billion. It is vital for clients to be provided with assets that may be safely (and economically) maintained and repaired, and effort should be expended in the early stages of a project to ensure that design deliberations extend to a consideration of the whole-life requirements of the facility.
The obligation to consider these matters is already enshrined in law, but it is often poorly reflected, and there is a lack of practical guidance. For many clients and designers, the concept of considering and planning for work that will be done on a facility, often long after its construction, represents nothing less than a cultural shift in work attitudes and thinking. The need for safe access for maintenance and repair in the main stems from the interrelated consideration of the statutory responsibilities of those involved, the ever-growing need for containment of cost, the management of risk in a comprehensive way, and corporate social responsibility, which encompasses sustainability. Those with the responsibility for managing the maintenance and repair of facilities are likely to find that the organisations who carry out this work, will in future increasingly demand adequate provision of safe access, or will price extra for suitable mitigating and controlling measures to compensate for shortfalls in provision. They have their own statutory obligations, so it is in everyone’s interest to get it right first time.
A difficult topic to consider is the implementation of a mansafe system, which comes in all sorts of varieties and makes and is usually shown on a concept drawing by an Architect or Designer, but is this correct? Is it too early in the design to show this system and is the Architect the correct person to design this system?
So what is a mansafe system?
Personal Fall Prevention Systems are commonly known in the construction industry as ‘mansafe systems’ and are used to keep the operative safe by connecting them to the system using appropriate PPE. The system comprises cable, post and fixings that are tested to take the fall of the user. These usually take the form of a fall arrest system or a fall restraint system.
Some designers don’t always look at the whole picture i.e. the work at height hierarchy (see Fig 1),
There is PPE in the explanation of the meaning of a mansafe system but looking at the hierarchy system we have instantly jumped a number of steps. There should be a reason for that and when designing any building we have to design with safety in mind and therefore we have to look at these steps before we say yes to a mansafe system. So, imagine we have looked at the design and established we are going to design a mansafe system, what do we know or understand about the system?
There is a wide range of systems out in the market, but is it a one size fits all scenario? No of course not, there are lots of things to take into consideration.
Under CDM 2015 we should only engage competent designers and people who are experienced in the task at hand, and with all design work, there is a number of standards and legal documents to adhere to, but do you know what they are? There are a number of regulations that need to be considered before we put pen to paper, these regulations are:
- Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- Working at Height Regulations 2005
- Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
- Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998
- Provision and use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
- PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425 1stEdition April 2018
And then when we start the design, we need to refer to the following:
- BS8560:2012 +A1:2018– Codes of practice for the design of buildings incorporating safe work at height
- BS7883:2005 (soon to be 2019)– Personal fall protection equipment – Anchor systems – System design, installation and inspection – Code of practice
- BS EN795:1997 & 2012– Personal fall protection equipment — Anchor devices
- BS8610:2017– Personal fall protection equipment – Anchor systems – Specifications
- PD CEN/TS 16415:2013– Personal fall protection equipment — Anchor devices — Recommendations for anchor devices for use by more than one person simultaneously
- BS EN 365:2004– Personal protective equipment against falls from height – General requirements for maintenance, periodic examination, repair, marking and packaging
- BS8437:2005– Codes of practice for the selection, use and maintenance of fall protection systems and equipment for use in the workplace
- BS7985:2013– Code of practice for the use of rope access methods for industrial purposes – Recommendations and guidance supplementary to BS ISO 2284
- IRATA International code of practice for industrial ropeaccess– (Third Edition Published July 2014)
Considerations Associated With Installing a Mansafe System
There is an increasing amount of mansafe systems that are not fit for use when installed and these figures are on the rise. We must recognise that a mansafe system is not just a steel rope that attaches to the roof of a building where an operative can hook on and can walk around the building. So, what do we need to look at in regards to the design for a mansafe system?
A new British Standard is due to be released that will help clarify what is required, this new role will call for a System Designer. Regulation 9 & 10 of the CDM Regulations 2015 call for the following:
Regulation 9 and 10 set out the duties placed on designers. These include the duty to eliminate, reduce or control foreseeable health and safety risks through the design process, such as those that may arise during construction work or in maintaining and using the building once it is built.
System Designer: Person with overall responsibility for the design of the anchor system, including certification and handover documentation. This includes the initial risk assessment. The new BS Standard will be BS7883:2019
Personal fall protection equipment – Anchor systems – System design, installation and inspection – Code of practice
This document will list out more design checks and supporting documents to give full accountability for the designed system.
System design specification: Output documentation resulting from the design process which specifies the anchor system(s) to be installed, how and where they are to be installed and any criteria necessary for their safe access and use.
System technical file documentation:Supplied to the duty holder on completion of the installation by the system designer, to be retained for future reference for the life of the personal fall protection system(s) installed
When designing the configuration of an anchor system, the system designer should avoid over-complex systems whilst maintaining the appropriate level of safety and which:
- Give access to all required areas without the need:
- to disconnect and reconnect to the system;
- for adjustable personal fall protection equipment;
- for anti-pendulum anchor devices, if possible;
- requires an increased level of user training, competency and supervision (appropriate training is necessary for all users);
- c) uses the appropriate personal fall protection equipment to minimize the fall risk without adding complexity.
The system designer should:
- ensure that the anchor system is designed, assembled and installed so that it is safe and without risks to health at all times when it is being used, maintained or inspected;
- research and ensure that the testing of the products being used to assemble the anchor system is adequate for the intended application;
- carry out or arrange for the carrying out of such testing that may be necessary to ensure compatibility between assembled parts of the anchor system;
- carry out or arrange for the carrying out of such on-site testing that may be necessary to prove the integrity of the base material in which the anchor system is to be installed where such integrity is in doubt;
- not attempt to design an anchor system without knowing what PFPE is to be connected;
- take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the duty holder is provided with adequate information about the use for which the anchor system is designed and tested and about any conditions necessary to ensure that it will be safe and without risks to health, including when it is being dismantled or disposed of; and
- take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the duty holder is provided with all such revisions of information that would otherwise give rise to a risk to health or safety.
As well as the legal obligations the system technical file should contain a variety of details, the system technical file should as a minimum contain:
1 Companies involved and relationship
2 Manufacturers & Supplier List
3 Specification / Scope
4 Access Strategy
5 Risk Assessments
6 Delivery Notes
7 Certificate of Conformities
9 Product & Component List
10 Method Statements
11 Site Commissioning Documents
12 Quality Control Documents
13 Operating and User Instructions
14 Inspection & Maintenance Information
15 Modifications & Major Repairs
No matter what the project is the design stage is the first opportunity for early prevention and trough good design and provision of suitable access, cleaning, maintenance, and replacement strategy information the cost of future operation and maintenance of a building can be significantly reduced for years to come.
Safer Sphere have appointed a new Principal CDM Consultant to expand their operation at their Reading office. The business has had significant growth in the past year with the latest team member being the third senior hire in just 6 months.
Nick Williams formerly of Kellogg Brown & Root, Rider Levett Bucknall, and TPS Schal (a Carillion Group company), will assist Associate Director Richard Procter with the business’s expansion plans in the Southern region and will be delivering services on new projects and commissions already secured in the area.
Nick has a wealth of experience in Construction Health and Safety advising on projects such as Aspire Defence and King Fahd International Stadium, Saudi Arabia.
Nick said, “I am really excited to be joining Safer Sphere as they are a leader in Health and Safety. They are national safety award winners and are working on some really exciting projects, some of which are based in the southern regions. I am looking forward to bringing my knowledge and experience to business and helping achieve growth in the area.”
Richard Procter, Associate Director Safer Sphere said, “We are delighted to have Nick on board with us. He is an excellent fit for our business and brings with him the skill set we require to provide our clients with the best health and safety solutions. Since the opening of the Reading office, our workload in the area has doubled and we are already ahead of our plans to bring a new team member aboard, which is a great achievement. Safer Sphere is growing in all regions and with the expansion of our services offering, we are set to grow and develop our operation to mirror the success of the Northern business.“
The construction industry can be viewed as a high-risk industry. Although only 7% of employed people work in this sector, last year it was estimated that there were 82,000 work-related ill-health cases in the construction industry, 62% was musculoskeletal disorders (MSD’S) and 25% were stress, anxiety or depression related (HSE 2017/2018 statistics).
Those who work in construction are also more likely to face long term health issues and each year, around 3,000 workers in construction suffer from breathing and lung problems they believe
were caused or made worse by their work in construction.
Smaller Construction Sites
In April 2015 the CDM regulations were updated with a key objective to improve worker protection and improve health and safety standards on smaller construction sites and domestic projects were statistically most injuries, illness and fatalities occur.
For health and safety practitioners in construction, it is important to make sure that information about hazards, risks and risk mitigation measures is clearly conveyed taking into account the audience and making sure that key information is not obscured. For example, highlighting hazards on layout plans.
When advising clients, designers and contractors, the approach must be proportionate otherwise advice is likely to be missed or ignored.
The focus should be on identifying, designing out and managing issues (especially relating to health) that are not likely to be obvious, are unusual or difficult to manage effectively. This is especially true on smaller projects where there is likely to be less awareness of health issues in general.
Occupational health is a very important issue for those who work in construction and the sector as a whole. Last year there were 51,000 work-related musculoskeletal injuries and 3,000 who suffer from breathing and lung issue.
Health and safety consultants have an important role to play in raising awareness of less obvious health issues to consider. Long-term ill health issues are often overlooked with the focus on more immediate safety issues. Greater focus is required from the outset of projects to consider health issues in the design and planning stages of projects.
The HSE has rolled out numerous initiatives to combat illness in the workplace including their #Workright and #Dustbuster campaigns. These initiatives help to raise awareness of the issues and highlight the importance of considering and avoiding work-related ill-health including lung disease, MSDs and stress.
Disease in the Construction Industry
One of the biggest causes of disease in the industry is exposure to dust. ‘Dust’ includes wood dust, crystalline silica and other components. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) cover activities which may expose workers to construction dust.
There are three key things you need to do:
- Assess (the risks)
- Control (the risks)
- Review (the controls).
The products, activities and risks associated with dust must be tackled at all levels of a project.
Designers should specify products and processes to minimise the requirement for on-site cutting, scabbling and other activities that will generate dust on site. Can services be surface mounted rather than cutting channels? Can regular-shaped paving be used to reduce the need for cutting on-site?
Those who manufacture and supply tools and materials have a key role in making changes to the industry too. For example building in dust extract and damping into equipment likely to generate dust.
There is industry-wide recognition of the risks of asbestos with specific legislation being put in place to ban and manage asbestos. Similar risks are posed by silica dust e.g. from cutting block paving but are less widely known.
Mental Health in the Construction Industry
It is not just physical health issues that are affecting people who work in construction but mental health plays a massive part in health and safety. Last year there was an estimated 14,000 work-related cases of stress, depression or anxiety (new or long-standing) which equates to one-sixth of all ill health in the construction industry.
Suicide is still the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 and as the construction industry is predominantly male then there is a high-risk factor of stress and depression. The industry is well known for being highly stressful with risk to injury, long hours, often working away from home and of course, job security being some of the main pressure points.
It is known that certain job types come attached to stigma and unfortunately, this has led to construction workers, again predominately men not being able to talk about how they are feeling and bottling it up due them not wanting to appear weak.
There is a lot of work still to do in the industry to try and cut through this stigma and encourage workers to talk. When putting together an occupational health strategy, wellbeing should also be taken into account, especially when it comes to mental health. As an employer good communication with the workforce on health, safety and wellbeing is key and there are things that can be done to help alleviate stress in the workplace such as regular breaks and support from colleagues and management. Encouraging workers to talk about potential problems before they become a wider issue should be widely encouraged too, for example, if there is a staff shortage causing a worker to work longer hours, which in turn is causing tiredness and stress then this should be discussed and the worker should feel comfortable addressing this with the employers support.
For support and guidance on putting together an occupational health policy for your business then get in touch with us today.
Safer Sphere is pleased to share our appointment on the interior maintenance project at the Central Library in Liverpool. We have been working on the project over the past few weeks which is due for completion at the end of August.
The project involves refreshing the interior of the Picton Reading Room inside the library and plaster repairs. Safer Sphere is supporting ENGIE on the project in the roles of Principal Designer Advisors and Temporary Works Coordinator.
In Construction Design and Management (CDM) the Principal Designer is tasked with managing and monitoring health and safety during the design and planning stages.
The role requires someone who has skills, knowledge, experience and training (SKET) to be able to deliver the role competently.
Part of the difficulty in the job today is that plans are evaluated and reviewed in 2D format with elevations and in sections. While architects are trained over the years to think and be comfortable visualising in this way, not everyone involved in the process, including many clients can do the same and it makes it harder to spot issues, mistakes or safety issues.
Technology such as BIM (Building Information Modelling) and the production of virtual 3D models can change everything. By using BIM models and virtual reality headsets it is possible to walk around a building and find out any flaws at the design stage.
BIM Keeps Design Errors Kept To A Minimum
Currently, flaws in buildings are reviewed with post-occupancy evaluations after people have moved in, lived with the building and encountered problems that need to be rectified. The learnings are carried forward into future design projects so the same mistakes are not made again. With the use of BIM, it is possible that many potential mistakes can be avoided before the building is constructed saving not only money, but enhancing the experience of the building’s occupants from day one by removing niggles, design mistakes, or even major safety issues that would otherwise be missed during the design process. BIM allows the industry to develop a preventive pre-occupancy evaluation methodology rather than one that reacts to mistakes after construction is completed.
A Better Experience For Clients And Designers
BIM is also a much more immersive and engaging way for everyone involved to see the vision of a building, it is a way for it to become ‘real’ and almost tangible before it even exists. This is something especially useful and powerful for clients, but also for designers.
The industry has already been busy developing various BIM software tools and Virtual Reality experiences that allow feedback to be more constructive from users and delivered in a way that can then be used to make important design changes.
For example, clients and designers can view 3D models together look at the same elements in real time, and see important details such as how spaces work in relation to each other, the natural light, the views from different elevations and how the space may be filled. Alongside this, any safety or practical issues can be reviewed. Making these changes in this way saves money for the client and makes projects more profitable for designers, without the need to make emergency changes during a build.
What’s more, the workflow can be shared across a number of different virtual reality devices.
Design software can support VR devices such as Oculus Go making it even more accessible for coordination meetings.
Another advantage for using VR tools is the ability to detect issues at real scale and use headsets to record comments and let the application transcribe it into text which can then be attached to the specific elements in the design. This process feels similar to using other artificial Intelligence (AI) voice tools such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. All that users need to do is press a button and comment.
With these kinds of AI tools, as soon as issues are identified, a report can be produced in the form of a PDF file. Typically the PDF files can be comprised of an automated mark-up, a saved viewpoint, and a comment on the issue. There will also be a timestamp and a note of who the author was. How these are presented will vary depending on the VR software used by the designers.
Virtual Reality Brings The World Closer Together
AI tools also excel when it comes to receiving feedback. They are able to make the whole process very simple and less time-consuming. Using AI and VR in this sense has proven that it can complement existing coordination tools. It has also been found to deliver great results when working on collaborative projects even with remote external consultants.
AI and BIM can also go beyond the design stage and be used in building maintenance, with detailed models able to help pinpoint issues within the structure and its services.
It’s clear that even though BIM and the use of AI is still not fully evolved and in use in all building projects, the potential is there to change the way designers work and how building plans are developed in the future.
Safer Sphere delighted to have been appointed on the new City Residence Phase 2 project which will see the development of 80 residential apartments on Heriot Street in Liverpool. The development follows the award-winning first phase which won ‘Best Small New Home Development’ last year. Safer Sphere will be supporting Evolve Project Consultancy and Newregen Ltd in the roles of Principal Designer and CDM Client Advisor.