Tag - CDM Services Liverpool

Nick Williams Safer Sphere, Nick Williams CDM Consultant, Nick Williams Safety Consultant Reading

Safer Sphere continues growth plan with new hire

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.“

Occupational Health and CDM15

Occupational Health in the Construction Industry

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.

 

Ill Health

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.

Have a question?

If you would like to speak to us about any of our CDM services, then our team would be happy to help.

Liverpool Central Library, CDM, Principal Designer Liverpool, CDM Liverpool

Safer Sphere appointed on Central Library Refurbishment

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.

architect designer using VR

The Age of AI, Can Virtual Reality Aid Design in CDM?

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.

Have a question?

If you would like to speak to us about any of our CDM services, then our team would be happy to help.

City Residence, Liverpool Apartments, CDM, Principal Designer, safety Liverpool

Safer Sphere appointed on City Residence Phase 2

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.

Welding Health & Safety

Welding Fumes, LEV and Suitable RPE

If you are looking for advice about welding fumes and the suitable PPE to wear it can be difficult to offer advice for every time someone welds something. The advice that you will find below will help you understand which steps you should take so the work environment is safe for your employees.

Ventilation Considerations

Do you need to ensure your workers are using a filtering face mask and that they have additional ventilation along with fume extraction? If you offer any or all of these options it’s vital that you ensure they are used correctly.

  • When local exhaust ventilation (LEV) is used correctly the quality of the welds are not affected. You may need to provide all of your welders with the correct type of respiratory protective equipment (RPE).
  • If your welders are undertaking short jobs FFP3 masks offer a good amount of protection and they tend to be quite cheap. Please note that you will have to purchase different sized dust masks as the same mask will not fit everyone.
  • Powered filtering welding visors can be used when your welders are working for more than 2 hours. Additionally, they can also be used when it’s not viable to use extraction.

Eye and Face Protection

Your team should wear a helmet that comes with a filter lens and a cover plate. Hand shields need to protect the neck and face, forehead and ears. Approved safety glasses that come with side shields or goggles should be worn under the helmet.

Safety shields or goggles should provide protection from slag chips, flying metal and other hazards.

Head and Ear Protection

A fire-resistant welder’s cap or another form of head covering needs to be worn by your workers. This will protect their head and hair from radiation, splatter, flying sparks and burns.

When working over head or out of position ear muffs or plugs should be provided. If there is loud noise then approved muffs or ear plugs should be provided.

Body Protection

Clothes that are oil-free and that allow freedom of movement should be worn. Long sleeved shirts and buttoned cuffs will help to protect the arms and neck from radiation.

Foot Protection

Steel toe, leather, high-topped boots that are in good condition need to be worn. If your welders are working in slag or heavy spark areas leather spats should be strapped around their legs and the tops of boots to prevent burns and injury.

Hand Protection

Welding gloves that are dry and free from holes should be provided. The gloves should be flame-resistant and provide general hand protection.

Minimising Fumes

One of the first steps you need to take is to determine if the job can be altered so that there is less welding, cutting and gouging involved. Excessive currents and long-duty cycles can produce a lot more fumes along with affecting the quality of the weld. Are your team using the optimum settings? You should also determine if you can use a welding technique that creates fewer fumes. Can you use TIG (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding) instead as it produces a smaller amount of fumes?

Shielding Gas

Has your shielding gas been optimised? Doing so could result in the lowest emission of fumes. You should also bear in mind that the best gas for the work that your welders do may not be the cheapest. If you’re worried about the cost please note that the cost of the gases can be offset by the savings you have in terms of labour costs thanks to an increased speed in production.

Removing Surface Platings

Check to see if you’re able to remove surface platings, paint, dirt and oil. These substances typically increase the fumes and could on occasion may them toxic. Please note that hot work on chromate or lead paints and cadmium plating is very hazardous.

Changing The Environment

Can you change the environment so the welder does not have to breathe in the fume cloud?

Can you:

  • Give them more space to work?
  • Provide turntables and other pieces of equipment so the workpiece can be manipulated?
  • Plan the welding sequence differently?

If your welders can work with their head out of the rising fumes they will breathe less in. Fewer fumes equals a lot less risk.

Fume Control System

It’s crucial that you ensure the fume control systems are all working correctly. You need to:

  • Carry out maintenance on your non-disposable RPE and your fume-extraction equipment.
  • Check that you have no common faults such as faulty valves, blocked filters, or crushed or split ductwork.
  • Ensure that your fume extraction systems are examined thoroughly by a competent individual at least every 12 to 14 months. Please note this is a legal requirement.

You need to check that any non-disposable welding visors or filtering masks are in good condition. While there is no specific time period set for these checks you should set a schedule.

Take into account the recommendations set by the manufacturers, where the respirator is used and how much they are used. Checks every 4 weeks is normal practice. However, respirators used a lot less often need to be checked every 3 months.

Have a question?

If you would like to speak to us about any of our CDM services, then our team would be happy to help.

Industry Update: HSE News

The HSE has outlined key areas of focus in their 2019/2020 Business Plan which includes a high emphasis on embedding the requirement of the CDM 2015 regulations through targeted inspections of duty holders, that provide the Principal Designer role. Safer Sphere can act as Principal Designer Advisors working on your behalf to ensure you are compliant under the CDM 2015 regulations. Contact us for further guidance and support or visit the HSE website.

Employer of the year, St Helens Chamber Business Awards, CDM, St Helens Health and safety, Business Awards

Safer Sphere makes final of St Helens Chamber Business Awards

Safer Sphere is delighted to have made it into the final of the St Helens Chamber Business Awards in the tough category of ‘Employer of the Year’. The St Helens Chamber Business Awards are a celebration of local business and the winners in category go forward to compete in the National Chamber Awards which is a massive opportunity.

Mike Forsyth, Managing Director, Safer Sphere said “We are absolutely thrilled to have made the final of the St Helens Chamber Business Awards in the competitive category of ‘Employer of the Year’. This category, in particular, means a lot to us as a business as it is our people that make our business and we want to keep and attract the best talent to so that we continue to grow. To win the employer of the year would not only be a great accolade for the company but would help us to gain the best talent for our business.”

The St Helens Chamber Business Awards takes place on Thursday 16th May at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Asbestos in work

Asbestos in Work

This article follows on from our previous blog post, Asbestos the silent killer

Asbestos is the UK’s biggest cause of work-related deaths. In fact, Asbestos has claimed the lives of 50,000+ people in the last 3 decades. While Asbestos can take some time to develop it can cause Mesothelioma, asbestos is and lung cancer. These diseases don’t just affect workers, they can also affect their families if they have inadvertently come into contact with it.

It can take up to 30 years for someone to show symptoms of Mesothelioma and the other diseases that Asbestos can cause. This is why it’s often hard to work out what is causing the symptoms. Some people may not have realised they were working in a building that contained Asbestos or even realised that they had come into contact with Asbestos. This is usually why many people are shocked that they are suffering from Mesothelioma, asbestos is or lung cancer.

What Exactly is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral that was once quite widely used during the 1960s and 1970s. The reason behind its use comes down to the fact that it was considered to be a very versatile material in the building industry. While the use of Asbestos has been banned for many years it can still be found in some buildings. This is because some older buildings still stand and are considered to be structurally safe. While many old buildings have been torn down and replaced with something new, there are still old ones located all over the UK that contain Asbestos.

This material was once used in shipbuilding, insulation, textiles and fireproofing. Unfortunately, this means that thousands of people who worked in these industries were potentially exposed to it.

The Risk of Exposure Today

As we have already seen, Asbestos is no longer used due to its disease-causing properties. However, there is still a risk of exposure, especially in the construction industry. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advice on Asbestos is that there is still a high risk of exposure to people with certain job roles, in particular, those work as:

  • Carpenters
  • Construction Worker
  • Computer installation engineers
  • Demolition workers
  • Electricians
  • Fire and burglar alarm installers
  • Gas Fitters
  • General maintenance workers
  • Heating and ventilating engineers
  • Painters and Decorators
  • Plasterers
  • Plumbers
  • Roofing Contractors
  • Telephone engineers
  • Architects, Building Surveyors and other such professsionals

How Can Workers Stay Safe?

In our last blog on Asbestos, we looked at the training required to deal with the discovery of the substance along with what to do if Asbestos is uncovered. Here we look at the regulations that mean that the duty holder needs to manage workers’ exposure to Asbestos.

On non-domestic premises, under the regulations the duty holder must by law:

  • Identify materials that may contain Asbestos
  • Keep up to date records about the Asbestos
  • Assess the risk of exposure
  • Plan how any risks will be managed
  • Inform anyone who may work on the building
  • Inform anyone who may disturb the Asbestos

The Health and Safety Executive has an ‘Asbestos Licensing Unit’ that regulates every company who is working with Asbestos and grants them a licence to carry out any required work.

Asbestos Management Plans

If Asbestos is found to be present, then as the employer you should provide workers with a ‘management plan’ by law. This managment plan should identify the type of Asbestos that has been found, along with the type and level of exposure employees are likely to deal with. The plan will also cover how you plan to eliminate or reduce the exposure and how as the employer you intend to monitor the exposure of your employees.

As the employer i.e. Principal Contractor on a project, you should provide full and complete training along with any relevant information to employees that could be at risk of exposure.

Removing Asbestos

No attempts should ever be made to remove Asbestos unless you have a refurbishment and demolition survey in place. The survey will determine whether the asbestos removal will require a licensed contractor to remove. If so, prior to any removal an asb5 notification should be submitted to the HSE prior to carrying out the works. If the works are non licensed non-notifiable then appropriate removal training should have been received.

Once removal has taken place on the building the duty holder should keep all removal records for 40 years. From this, an updated management plan should be in place to reflect the items removed from the building and those that remain.

Suspected Exposure

There is always a risk when working with older buildings of Asbestos exposure, but employers can minimise the risks by putting in place work plans, appropriate PPE, Face-Fit Testing and the appropriate training. Effective communication of the dangers is key so that workers can carry out their roles with safety in mind and employers will be safe in the knowledge that they are doing everything they can to protect their team.

Asbestos Awareness Training

There is no legal requirement to repeat formal refresher awareness training every 12 months however, some form of refresher awareness as necessary, this may include e-learning or as part of other health and safety updates. If you require asbestos awareness training refresher our accredited e-learning asbestos awareness courses could be the solution. It provides an economical solution to your training needs and can fit around you and your business. For more information please see our training page.

 

Have a question?

If you would like to speak to us about any of our CDM services, then our team would be happy to help.

Asbestos Health and safety

Asbestos the Silent Killer

While many buildings that once contained asbestos have now been torn down or had the asbestos removed, this dangerous substance still silently kills approximately 5,000 workers each year. This alarming figure is higher than the number of people that are killed on UK  roads each year.

 

Unfortunately, around 20 people die every week due to past asbestos exposure. However, the problem of asbestos is not confined to the past, it can still be present in any building that was built or any building that was refurbished before 2000.

Why is Asbestos Dangerous?

Asbestos is dangerous because it can cause hidden illness that may not appear for many years after someone has come into contact with it. This is why asbestos is known as “The Silent Killer”.

 

Exposure to asbestos can cause you to suffer from the following serious and fatal conditions:

 

Asbestos-related Lung Cancer

Asbestos-related lung cancer looks the same as lung cancer that has been caused by smoking and other behaviours/exposures. For every death that was caused by lung cancer, it is estimated that there is also one death from Mesothelioma.

Pleural Thickening

Pleural thickening is a condition that can be caused by heavy asbestos exposure. The lining of the pleura (Lung) becomes thick and swells. If the condition is particularly bad the lung can be squeezed. This can result in a lot of discomfort and shortness of breath.

Mesothelioma

This is a type of cancer that affects the lungs’ lining. It also affects the lining surrounding the lower digestive tract. Mesothelioma is usually associated with exposure to asbestos and, unfortunately, by the time someone has received a diagnosis the condition has usually reached a fatal stage.

Asbestosis

This condition is a serious one and sufferers often have serious scarring of their lungs. This condition is typically caused by heavy asbestos exposure over a number of years. Causing progressive shortness of breath, the condition can also be fatal.

 

Information on training

Employers should make sure that anyone who may disturb asbestos during their working day, or anyone who supervises the employees who may disturb asbestos gets the right training. They should have the knowledge and training that enables them to work in a safe and competent way without any risk to themselves or to other people. Safer Sphere can provide asbestos training

 

The Types of Necessary Training

All workers and their supervisors should be able to recognise any materials that contain asbestos and know exactly what they should do if they come across them. There are 3 levels of information, instruction and training that workers and their supervisors need to be aware of:

 

Asbestos awareness – This is made up of information, training and instruction and gives workers and their supervisors the information they need so they can avoid disturbing asbestos.

 

Licensable work with asbestos – This is made up of those who are at a high risk of working with asbestos. Only managers and competent workers are provided with this information, training and instruction that includes using the right PPE.

 

Non-licensable work with asbestos – Those who need this type of information, training and instruction undertake work that requires them to disturb materials that contain asbestos. For example, drilling holes in asbestos, cleaning or repairing asbestos roofing or cement sheets.

 

A worker who attends a training course about asbestos will not ensure that they are competent enough. Workers must implement and consolidate the skills that have learned during their training, in their instruction and assessment and their on the job learning.

 

The level of information and the amount of training and instruction that a worker receives must be appropriate for the work that they do. A Training Needs Analysis (TNA) will help the workers and those training them identify the topics that need to be covered. This is to ensure that every worker is competent and can avoid putting themselves and those who they work with at risk.

How do I Identify Asbestos?

It’s not always easy to identify asbestos, however, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has an image gallery which depicts some common materials that contain asbestos. These images include but are not limited to:

 

  • Asbestos fire blankets
  • Suspended AIB ceiling tiles
  • Pieces of AIB
  • AIB window panelling

 

What do I do if I Potentially Find Asbestos During my Work?

If you unexpectedly come across asbestos or something that you think may be asbestos you should stop work right away. You will need to confirm what the material is or assume that it is asbestos. You will need to carry out a risk assessment that will help you determine whether you need a licensed contractor to carry out the work.

 

If you undertake non-licensed work on asbestos you should only do so if you have had the appropriate training, instruction, and information.

If I Have to Work With Asbestos is it the Responsibility of my Employer to give me Personal Protective Clothing (PPE)?

Yes, if it is likely that you will be exposed to asbestos your employers should provide you with all the personal protective clothing (PPE) you need. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has more information on the required PPE.

Do I Need a Certificate That Proves I’ve had Asbestos Training?

No, there is absolutely no legal requirement for you to have a certificate that shows you’ve had training. However, some training providers issue certificates that indicate that you’ve completed an asbestos training course.

You can read part two of this asbestos article here

Have a question?

If you would like to speak to us about any of our CDM services, then our team would be happy to help.