Yorkshire branch members were treated to two-guided tours in one day firstly around the REMA TIP TOP factory and then onto the Trelleborg site, both around the Doncaster area.
The final Yorkshire Branch meeting of 2014 took place 9 December at the usual venue of the Bridge Inn, Wetherby. Ian Brown of Lafarge Tarmac provided a presentation on the research and use of electronic detonators, covering the improvements in cost and efficiency they have yielded.
The November meeting of the Yorkshire branch, saw Alan Millband, partner at Howes Percival solicitors give a light hearted yet fact pact talk on Contractor Management.
Alan ran through the key sections of legislation regarding Health and Safety, relating to the duties of employers and employees, followed by the sections of particular concern where contractors are involved. Of course the primary law is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 section 3(1), which states that:
‘It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.’
This is supported by Regulation 3(1) Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which state:
‘Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of –
(b) The risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking’
Regulation 11 of the same Act also highlights the following duties: Co-operation with other employers, Co-ordinating compliance measures and informing other employers of risks.
Further legislation in the form of the Construction, Design and Management Regulations 2007 place the emphasis for employers on:
Part 2 – competence, co-operation, co-ordination, contractors’ duties and
Part 3 – additional duties of contractors; strict adherence to construction phase plan.
It is perhaps fair to say that elements of these various Acts are repeated in the Quarries 1999 Regulations, but at least it is clear what is to be done:
– Regulation 6(1) - duty on operator of every quarry to ensure everyone in the quarry can do so safely; (2) The operator shall co-ordinate the implementation of all measures relating to the health and safety of persons at work at the quarry.
– Regulation 9 - everyone who works at a quarry must be properly trained and have appropriate experience and knowledge to enable them to do their work safely
– Regulation 18 (permits to work for hazardous operations or serious hazards) - recognizes that work at a quarry is such that more than one employer, and various self-employed persons, may be involved in it. Involves interaction that needs to be properly managed to ensure everyone is kept safe.
– Regulation 39 (co-operation) - all employers of people (contractors etc), self-employed people, and everyone at work in a quarry must co-operate with the operator to ensure that all the statutory obligations are fulfilled. Involves co-ordinating health and safety arrangements.
In explaining the various sections, Alan noted that whilst it is good practice to write the health and safety requirements into a contract, the duties are defined by law and employers cannot pass their responsibilities to contractors merely by writing safety requirements into a contract.
Translating this into actions that can be taken, key items can be stated as: Clear identification of the work; Considering health and safety implications and a Risk-based approach – Eliminate, If you really can’t eliminate, reduce to the lowest level reasonably practicable.
In all of this, good communication between the parties is essential. There is no place for assumptions about what was meant, or that a contractor with a good reputation will automatically understand what is needed on any specific job. Apart from the details of the job itself, the employer must take time to explain to the contractor the systems they use to control safety on the site. The contractors must know our Health and Safety Document (relevant parts), Rules, Procedures and Permit systems if they are to have any degree of control or understanding of the way the work is to be carried out.
For the employer, the contractor has to be able to demonstrate competence in his operation and the capabilities of his staff. Contractor competence issues include:
The second meeting of the season for the Yorkshire Branch took place at the Bridge Inn, Wetherby with David Evans of Reactec Ltd providing a presentation on Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).
According to the Medical Research Council, over 2 million workers in the UK are exposed to high levels of vibration at work and some 300,000 are in the advanced stages of HAVS, for which there is no cure. It is a condition causing excruciating pain for the sufferer with the possibility of gangrene or limb amputation in severe cases.
The presentation covered the basic causes of HAVS, current legislation and systems employers need to have in place, ensuring workers are assessed for exposure to vibration and then properly monitored where levels are high enough to pose a risk.
The monitoring system offered by Reactec provides a completely paperless system using individual pre-programmed monitors, which connect by way of a magnetic tag to the tool being used. The monitor recognises the tool and the vibration levels associated with it before commencing a recording of the time the tool is used, allocating points using the HSE exposure system.
The monitor can be transferred between tools during the working day to build up an overall exposure to the operator. The meter not only shows the points accumulated, with 100 points being the first action level and 400 points the danger level, but also indicates the cumulative exposure for the day by means of a green, amber and red light system.
The meter is allocated to the operator at the start of the shift by means of a swipe card issued to each employee using the system. The card is swiped into the meter when it is removed from the combined charger and data logger. At the end of the shift, placing the meter back into the charger automatically downloads the day’s data.
The stored data is retained on the logger, which can be accessed on-line by approved users to read the information and also generate pre-programmed reports on employee exposure as well as tool usage. The system allows better asset management and maintenance planning, as well as safe allocation of tasks between employees to keep exposure under control.
A number of case studies were discussed, with key industry players such as Lafarge Tarmac and Carillion already using the Reactec system.
Understandably, the topic raised a number of questions before Branch Vice Chairman Steve Curtin thanked David.
Further information on the system can be found at www.reactec.com.