Tag - CDM Designer Safety

Mansafe CDM15

Designing With a Mansafe in Mind

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?

Mansafe systems

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),

Mansafe CDM15

Figure 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:

  1. 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;
  1. requires an increased level of user training, competency and supervision (appropriate training is necessary for all users);
  2. c) uses the appropriate personal fall protection equipment to minimize the fall risk without adding complexity.

Legal Obligations

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

  • Design
  • Installation
  • Inspection

6          Delivery Notes

7          Certificate of Conformities

8          Drawings

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.

 

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.

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.

UCLAN, SCUS, Principal Designer Advisor, CDM Services, University

Safer Sphere appointed on UCLAN scheme

Safer Sphere delighted to reveal that we have been appointed as Principal Designer Advisor on the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLAN) Student Centre and University Squares (SCUS) schemes. The £60 million transformation plan for the Preston Campus will see the 5-year vision to transform the site to become a welcoming and sustainable campus to enhance the experience for those who visit the University. We are supporting Bowmer and Kirkland on the development through RIBA stages 4 – 6 on the project which should the university become one of the largest in the UK.

Free CDM Training, London CDM, Free Training

Safer Sphere hosts free CDM Seminar in London

Safer Sphere is pleased to announce that we are hosting a free CDM Overview training seminar to delegates who would benefit from gaining a better understanding of regulations and their duties. You will receive a 2-hour Continual Professional Development training session along with an attendance certificate and supporting guidance packs.

Whether you are a Designer, Architect, Contractor, Principal Designer or the project client, let us help make discharging your duties easier to understand.

The event will take place on the 2nd September at the Grange Wellington Hotel in Westminster.

To reserve your space on the event, please click here.

 

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.

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.

Competence CDM15

Competency (SKET) are you competent to discharge your duties?

The UK construction sector has a health and safety record that makes it one of the country’s most dangerous industries for workers, with injury and fatality rates that are above average as well as higher than normal rates of illness from work-related causes. Therefore, it is an area of increasing concern for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Competence has been a major part of the strategy used to improve the construction sector’s health and safety record. The term is directly referenced in the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM), whose success is largely dependant on ensuring that everyone involved at every stage of a construction project is competent.

However, the HSE’s proposals for a CDM revision has removed the mandatory requirement for individual competence in CDM 2015 and the CDM 2007 requirement for corporate competence. The CD261 consultation on replacement of the CDM regs from 2007 to 2015 has indicated that one of the main reasons for the proposed changes is to lower the difficulty of meeting the CDM 2007 competence requirements. For example, it cites the growth of commercial-based competency programmes and the excessive use of paperwork and other questionnaires.

A history of competence and legal definition

The definition of competence is a complicated matter and the law has been trying to accurately define it for some time. The present meaning included a combination of attributes, qualities, and characteristics.

Indicators of the legal meaning of competence can be found in some early health and safety cases. In one 1912 case, coal miners were poisoned when carbon monoxide escaped into the mine. The contemporary mining legislation required the manager and fireman to remove the workers until the incident had been investigated.

Although both men were well qualified, the House of Lords held that they did not have the necessary experience to navigate the situation and the owners of the mine were found liable.

It appears that being competent goes beyond possession of certain qualifications. It also addresses experience.

In another case, this one taking place in 1957, one employee who was well-known for playing jokes at work injured another employee. The employer was found liable on the premise that this person was not a competent employee, which under common law must be someone who behaves responsibly at work and has a positive attitude toward workplace health and safety.

Other cases make additional specifications, so it appears that there is no single universal definition of competence. It appears to depend on the processes, the circumstances, the amount of risk, and what parties are involved. It is also a standard that has to apply to companies as well as to people. Given all these variables, it is not surprising that the term ‘competence’ has created so much confusion in the construction industry.

CDM and Competence

  • Under CDM 2007, “competent” individuals must be appointed to fulfil the various required roles. This also applies to companies. CDM requires all appointees to be competent, including:
  • Contractors
  • Primary contractors
  • Designers
  • CDM co-ordinators

 

CDM 2007 is accompanied by the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP), which provides assistance and advice on the assessment of competence.

Under the ACOP, an individual or organisation is competent only when they have:

  • Sufficient knowledge of the work to be done and the risks that the work entails
  • Sufficient ability and experience with the duties involved with the project; can recognise their limitations, and take the right measures to prevent injury to construction workers and/or those impacted by the construction work
  • Knowledge about the work they will be expected to carry out and the risks that this work may involve. Such knowledge may be acquired by formal or on-site training
  • The right experience: workers are more apt to use safe practices if they understand why the practices are necessary and past experience is a good indicator of ability.

 

Under CDM 2015, the corporate competence requirement was removed and the direct requirement for individual competence included in CDM 2007 has been replaced with a new regulation 8, which states that anyone responsible for engaging a contractor for a construction project must take reasonable steps to ensure that the contractor has:

Received the required training, instruction, and information AND the appropriate supervision to meet applicable legal provisions and maintain the welfare, health, and safety of those impacted by the work. This requirement is comparatively simple and appears to be a far cry from the CDM 2007 requirements for competence. The new regulation 5 requires all projects to have management arrangements in place, and the HSE expects that the present explicit requirements for competence will be effectively replaced.

PAS 91 standardised pre-qualification questionnaires can be used to make proving competency easier for both suppliers and clients by reducing the need for suppliers to complete a variety of pre-qualification questionnaires for different clients. The result is a huge saving in time and money for both parties.

The standardised PQQ format PAS 91 helps to:

  • Let suppliers know what information is required at pre-qualification
  • Make it easier for buyers to identify contractors with suitable qualifications
  • Improve the consistency between many pre-qualification databases and questionnaires

What are the implications?

The CDM 2015 approach to competency in construction is a much simpler approach. Its definition of competency as described in regulation 8  is based on the skills, knowledge and experience of contractors and the organisational ability of an organisation.

Regardless of these changes, everyone in the construction industry will have to demonstrate that everyone on site is competent. Not only is this a common law requirement, but it is also implied in legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work, Act, so the new principal designer will have to be proven to be competent.

Clients and other parties will have to ensure that they demonstrate competency to do the role they are engaged to do, that will pass the scrutiny of the courts. SKET cannot be randomly delivered: it must be assessed and will involve some cost and bureaucracy. For example, a training needs analysis may have to be performed. The HSE stance on competency training is that it may be accomplished using standards that are nationally agreed upon and criteria created by professional bodies.

CDM 2015 does not have an ACOP, but instead HSE produced the regulations accompanied by targeted guidance in the form of document L153, so it remains to be seen what this means for regulation 8.

SKET principles, PAS 91 pre qualified questionnaires and the guidance in document L153 are all now being used to help construction project participants achieve and demonstrate competence in construction in line with the CDM 2015 regulations.

Safer Sphere are able to advise on any aspect of CDM 2015.

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.

Gateshead Quays Arena, CDM Client Advisor, Principal Designer, Gateshead Quays Devlopment

Safer Sphere appointed on Gateshead Quays Arena

Safer Sphere is delighted to reveal that we have been appointed as part of the project team on the new Gateshead Arena development. The wider development will deliver a diverse mix of facilities incorporating Hotels, Residential, Leisure, Retail, Car Parks, Conference, Exhibition, Entertainment and Sports offerings to complement the existing cluster and create a World Class destination for Gateshead and the North-east region.

Gateshead Quays is an exciting civic led, commercially grounded mixed-use scheme to create a critical mass of cultural and business facilities on one of the most special sites in the UK. It will build on the existing landmark developments that bound the site (The Sage, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and Millennium Bridge) by adding a 12,500 capacity indoor arena, 6,300m2 of contiguous exhibition space, extensive public realm linking all buildings, plus supporting hotels, leisure retail and potential residential accommodation.

Safer Sphere has been appointed in the roles of Principal Designer Advisors to HOK and AHR and CDM Client Advisors to Ask Patrizia.

Principal Designer Advisor,Safer Sphere, Tolworth, Lidl

Safer Sphere appointed on new Lidl headquarters

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.