North West Construction Safety Group
08 Nov 2020

NWCSG Offers Charity Support

On behalf of its membership, the Executive Committee of NWCSG is delighted to announce an initiative to support two excellent charities.

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic means that the group is unable to host gatherings, as it strives to comply with Government guidelines and prevent the spread of the virus. Since the pandemic began, back in March, the group has held it’s meetings online using the Zoom platform, and although not ideal, this means that the expenditure associated with hosting our monthly Group and Executive Committee meetings can be committed elsewhere and the Executive Committee has unanimously agreed that all of next years’ membership fees  (April 2021 – March 2022), will be donated to our two chosen charities. These are:

The Lighthouse Charity – a construction industry mental health charity; and

FoodShare – a food bank charity, brought to recent prominence by the good work of Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United and England Footballer

Claire Oakes, Vice Chair of the Group said:

“The sustainability of the Group is of paramount importance to the Committee and we are always looking at ways in which we can provide best value to our membership. However, we felt that next year’s membership fees could be used for the benefit of those that need help during the pandemic. Whilst next year’s membership fees are  not due to be renewed until April 2021, we are asking our members to support this initiative, by paying early.

The annual fee represents excellent value for money and will remain at just £60 for the whole year, from April 2021 to March 2022. This allows members to access to our specialist panel, the members-only area of our website, and attendance at the monthly Zoom meetings, which feature an update from our resident Health and Safety Executive Inspector, and topical talks from construction-based subject matter experts.

Should the group be in a position to host physical gatherings, we will do so as soon as possible and the costs associated with venue hire, etc, will be borne by
existing group funds and therefore, the charitable donation will not be affected.”

Members requiring further information on how the pay their subscriptions early can contact the group via info@nwcsg.org.uk.

 

08 May 2020

NWCSG Enters Virtual World!

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NWCSG held its annual general meeting this week, using the ZOOM virtual conferencing portal.

Over sixty participants attended the session and got the benefit of two excellent talks during what is our most popular annual event.

Madeleine Abas, specialist H&S Solicitor of OAH Law, provided the group with her annual legal update and Phil Strickland, HM Principal Inspector of Health and Safety (Construction), briefed the group on the HSE’s plan of work, recent prosecution case history and what is expected from the construction industry in terms of COVID-19. The event was recorded, so members that weren’t able to make the ‘live’ session can log in and view it again here.

Feedback from the session was very positive, and so plans are already afoot to host our next meeting in the same way. This will take place on 02 June at 14:00 and will feature talks by James Gorry – H&S keynote speaker and Professor Tim Marsh – behavioural safety expert and published author

Pre-registration is required and members wishing to attend can register here.

27 Sep 2018

Do we Really Talk About Safety all the Time?

In the second of our ongoing series of guest blogs, Harry Gallagher of 2Macs Safety, who specialise in the utilisation of engaging training techniques, outlines the importance of securing workforce engagement:

With Health and Safety being high on many organisations’ agendas it is not surprising that people often say to us “We talk about safety all the time”.  It would, therefore, seem redundant for us to keep running programmes about how to have safety conversations if everyone is already having them. 

Scratching a little deeper, however, can reveal just what a lot of those safety conversations are about.  Most safety conversations our trainers encounter onsite are either functional or correctional.  In a nut shell most people either ask about how the job is going (“Is the permit correct? Have you got your method statement?”) or they see something that is not quite right and correct it, (“Put your glasses on mate”).  Now there is nothing wrong in finding out how the job’s going or putting something right, but are we missing a trick here?  Well for a start, how about listening as much as talking?

Very often the people at the sharp end have a wealth of knowledge regarding safety in all areas of the organisation and know of problems or improvements we may never have never have considered.  They may be contractors used to working in many different environments and have been exposed to safety innovations that could enrich our safety culture.

We will never know unless we ask them – and moreover, ask them in the right way.  Our trainers are experts in the field of coaching effective safety conversations and they know that it’s only by fine tuning the communication skills of managers and supervisors we can tap into that rich seam of knowledge that lies below the surface in all organisations. 

Approaching someone in ‘telling’ mode just isn’t good enough anymore. That’s why the best programmes focus on the key skills of Impact and Influence. These are absolutely essential to effectively engage people. And it’s only when people are really and truly engaged that they begin to open up about the knowledge they already possess. And you’d think after all the time we’ve spent at work that everybody would be experts at it by now? Wrong!  Effectively engaging people through a coaching approach is a specific but learnable skill which, in our experience, can be sadly lacking in many organisations. But guess what? As well as being a great one to learn, it’s also great fun to learn – and once you can do it, it will revolutionise your company’s safety performance.

So get your thinking cap on and figure out how you can best engage those that you’re trying to influence!

If you have a story, an experience, or even a view point to share, that relates to health and/or safety, we’d love to hear from you. Please send your blog to info@nwcsg.org.uk and we’ll do our very best to share it!

 

29 Aug 2018

Mental Wellbeing – Are you a Supportive Employer?

In the first of our planned series of guest blogs, Chelsie Gladstone, Health & Safety Advisor at L & W Wilson (Endmoor) Ltd shares her very personal experiences and explains how we could all do more to support those facing mental health issues.

“I am the daughter of a mother who committed suicide so mental well being is a subject that I am all too familiar with and have always been empathetic about. My mother took her own life 28 years ago when I was just 2 years old.

Mental health wasn’t a subject that was widely discussed or understood then and my mother’s mental health was only apparent after the event and the extent only became a realisation once the inquest concluded. It is wonderful to see, as an industry that we are recognising this, still taboo subject, and trying to do more to help those in need.

Some days in work my phone can be non-stop. I can feel like Dear Dierdre occasionally, listening to personal issues, work issues etc. Do I mind? Absolutely not! I would rather take the calls, be that person to listen, advise, help! Doing whatever I or as a business, we possibly can! 

We have currently got an employee who suffers from severe depression and anxiety. This employee is one of our top performers. We don’t and can’t rely upon him, we just ride with him. He may be in one week and not the next. Some people would ask why do we bother and persist with his employment? It’s because we want to! He explains that some days he will get up, shower, get changed have breakfast and gets to the front door and just cannot physically leave. Other days he comes in and is one of the happiest employees we have, the usual mental health signs! We make sure we accommodate what he is happy with, his work time, the people he works with!

This is an illness he has battled with from a young age. An illness where he has had Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), various medications, appointment after appointment but ultimately an illness where he has battled with people who don’t understand. Whilst we are running a business, who are we to say that this employee can’t work if he wants too?! There will certainly be no benefit in terminating his employment that won’t help him or us. It would also add a financial burden to his already existing issues.  Whilst he and his Doctor are happy with our mutual agreement, then we are all happy! We will continue to monitor each and every one of our employees and make the necessary adjustments where required.

As we know mental health doesn’t look unwell does it?! We would hold a door open for someone in a wheelchair!

I may be a ‘suicide’ daughter but I will always be a mental health friend! I was too little to understand and know what I do now…. I couldn’t help then, I didn’t know how to listen or what to say!

I am great believer in people both personally and professionally; Be Kind! Be there! Listen!”

If you have a story, an experience, or even a view point to share, that relates to health and/or safety, we’d love to hear from you. Please send your blog to info@nwcsg.org.uk and we’ll do our very best to share it!

30 Jan 2018

NWCSG’s Claire Oakes Bags National Award

The dedication and hard work of our Vice Chair, Claire Oakes, has been formally recognised and rewarded at buffet lunch event, held at the House of Lords, by being named as the winner of the Maurice Adamson Award for 2017.

The award, which is open for nominations for elected members of any of the UK’s Safety Group’s Committee Members, serves to recognise ‘The Outstanding contribution from an individual to the Safety Groups Movement’ and is just reward for the diligence Claire has shown in her various roles on NWCSG’s Executive Committee over the past 12 years or so.

The event, which was attended by the great and good of Safety Groups UK’s membership, saw Claire presented with her award by The Lord Brougham and Vaux, President of SGUK. Claire was accompanied on her visit to London by Kenny Humphreys, NWCSG Chair and Philip Grundy, the Group’s PR Officer.

Celebrating with Claire after the event, Kenny Humphreys said, “Claire was such a worthy nominee and winner of this award. She has worked tirelessly to support the aims of the Group for as long as I have been a member and she has been a fantastic mentor and inspiration to me since she became the Group’s vice chair. I know that Claire also won a ROSPA Guardian Angel Award a few years back, so it’s great that she now has another award for her mantelpiece!”

Claire, who spends her working time as SHEQ Director of the Blackpool-based firm, Create Construction, said, “It’s lovely to be rewarded for my work with NWCSG, though it was totally unexpected! I feel really proud and privileged to have received a nomination from the other NWCSG Committee members. When I heard I had been nominated, I really didn’t think about winning, so to have done so is just brilliant!”

 

26 Feb 2017

CITB Propose Levy Changes – Have Your Say!

Those that are ‘in-scope’ of the CITB levy, may wish to know that there are proposals abound to change the levy

scheme, but that YOU have a chance to input before the proposals are finalised.

It may be worth you taking the time to watch this video and considering whether you should attend one of the nationwide employer events!

02 Feb 2017

NWCSG Win Coveted National Prize!

We are thrilled to announce that the North West Construction Safety Group has been named best UK safety group at a prize luncheon held at the House of Lords!

The Alan Butler Awards, arranged and fronted by Safety Groups UK, the umbrella organisation for UK safety groups, are intended to be an opportunity to recognise, celebrate and communicate the success of Safety Groups and individuals.

Following on from the silver award we received in 2015, both the gold and overall winner awards mark a significant step forward for the Group.

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Three of the Group’s Executive Committee members, Kenny Humphreys, Neil Taylor and Philip Grundy, travelled down to the awards, held at the House of Lords, to attend the Luncheon and the various winners were awarded their prizes by the Lord Jordan CBE.

Speaking after the event, Kenny Humphreys said, “We were delighted to win the Gold Award. The Executive Committee have worked tirelessly for the past few years, promoting the Group and Health and Safety in general and the award was recognition of that.

We had no idea whatsoever that we had been shortlisted, so when the Overall Winner was announced as NWCSG, we were literally speechless. Those that know me will confirm that being speechless doesn’t normally apply to me!

The awards really are a fantastic accolade and I know I speak for everyone involved in the group when I say I am immensely proud of what we have achieved. From members, to speakers, to sponsors and to the Executive Committee, they’ve all been brilliant to work with and rather than viewing this as the pinnacle, we intend to use it as the catalyst to strengthen the Group’s position as the UK’s biggest construction industry interest group.”

When asked if he’d partaken in a few celebratory drinks after the event, Kenny declined to comment, but I think we all know the answer to that question anyway!

 

 

 

03 Oct 2016

Nationwide HSE Inspection Initiative Launched

HSE have announced that construction inspectors will be carrying out unannounced visits to sites where refurbishment projects or repair works are underway.

This year, the initiative is being undertaken as a series of two-week inspections across the country, beginning 3 October 2016 ending 4 November 2016. During this period, Inspectors will ensure high-risk activities, particularly those affecting the health of workers, are being properly managed.

These include:

– risks to health from exposure to dust such as silica are being controlled

 – workers are aware of where they may find asbestos, and what to do if they find it

 – other health risks, such as exposure to noise and vibration, manual handling and hazardous substances are being properly managed

 – jobs that involve working at height have been identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions, such as support of structures, are in place

 – equipment is correctly installed / assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly

 – sites are well organised, to avoid trips and falls, walkways and stairs are free from obstructions and welfare facilities are adequate

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Where serious breaches of legislation are found then immediate enforcement action will be taken, but inspectors will also be taking steps to secure a positive change in behaviour to ensure on-going compliance.

Health and safety breaches with clients and designers will also be followed up to reinforce their duties under CDM 2015 and to ensure that all dutyholders with on site health and safety responsibilities understand and fulfil these.

07 May 2016

Worker in 14m Fatal Roof Plunge

A Birmingham maintenance company has been fined £100,000 after a worker was killed by a fall from the roof of a five-storey building.

Birmingham Crown Court heard how H20 Plumbing Services Ltd was contracted to repair two motor rooms on the roof of a building on Hagley Road, Birmingham.

Two workers set up a station immediately outside of a protected area in which to mix some mortar due to lack of space. The mixing station consisted of a tarpaulin sheet placed on top of the roof with a plasterer’s bath placed on top. The corners of the tarpaulin sheet were weighted down with bags of rubble.

At the end of the working day, the employees were cleaning up and as they moved the mixing bath, the sheet of tarpaulin blew open due to the wind and landed over the edge of the building. As one of the workers attempted to retrieve the sheet he stepped off the side of the building, falling 14 metres and suffering fatal injuries.

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An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, which occurred on 10 October 2014, found that H20 Plumbing Services Ltd failed to ensure the safety of its employees during the external repair work.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector, Amy Kalay, said: “This incident was obviously foreseeable. The employees of H20 working at the site were effectively left to their own devices with equipment and a system that was not wholly suited for the task at hand. A suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk, suitable planning, implementation of suitable control measures and adequate and effective site supervision would have prevented this incident from occurring.”

H20 Plumbing Services Ltd, of Lee Trading Estate, College Road, Perry Barr, Birmingham pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £25,000.

12 Apr 2016

Boss Jailed for Trench Fatality

A construction company boss has been jailed after a worker was killed in a trench collapse which buried him alive

Swansea Crown Court heard how a company owned by William Ryan Evans was contracted to construct a drainage field comprising of infiltration pipes laid at the bottom of deep trenches. He employed two workers and a subcontractor excavator to undertake the work on a housing site at Longstone Farm, in Pembrokeshire.

Hywel Richards, 54, entered the trench to remove a clump of soil that had fallen into the trench when it collapsed, burying him. He died at the scene.

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An HSE investigation into the incident which occurred on 26 June 2012 found that the work was not planned appropriately and the risk assessment was not suitable or sufficient. The workers were not appropriately trained and suitable equipment to a prevent collapse was not provided.

Evans, of Carmarthenshire, was found guilty  of breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was given a six month custodial sentence.

HSE Inspector Phil Nicolle said: “This tragic incident could have been prevented by undertaking a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks, providing the correct equipment or safe working methods to the workers and managing and monitoring the work to ensure it was done safely. Work in excavations needs to be properly planned, managed and monitored to ensure no one enters an excavation deeper than 1.2m without adequate controls in place to prevent a collapse.”

Hywel Richards’ family said: “Dad was an integral part of our family, the glue that kept us all together. Our family was devastated by his sudden death. We have wondered so many times why this has happened to us, we were meant to grow up with Dad as our guide; the man we looked up to and loved so much”.

Guidance on excavation safety from the Health & Safety Executive’s ‘Busy Builder’ series can be found here.

 

PLEASE NOTE !

Covid19 – Our awards event scheduled for tonight WILL go ahead as planned!!

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