Monthly Archives: October 2014

School to remain closed after asbestos finding

Worsbrough Bank End Primary will remain closed until after Christmas after flood damage led to the discovery of asbestos.shutterstock_129106970

Over 220 pupils at Worsbrough Bank End Primary had their September holiday extended by more than a week as the school could not reopen due to the asbestos findings. The students then moved into temporary buildings at other schools such as Barnsley Academy and the Sunnybank Children’s Centre.

The total cost of repairs and alternative arrangements for the students are estimated at £300,000, but the council says insurance is covering the bill.

The school was initially going to be closed for at least two months; however the current estimate is that the school will not return to normal until January 5.

The duty to manage’ asbestos

Dutyholders should know whether their premises contain asbestos, where it is and what condition it is in, it is also imperative that they then manage it properly.

The risks from asbestos to employees and others should be assessed and managed. Anyone who is likely to work on, or disturb asbestos should be provided with information about its location and condition.

Responsibilities for the duty holder of a school include:

  • keeping an up-to-date record of the location and condition of ACMs in the school
  • assessing the risks from any ACMs in the school
  • making plans to manage the risks from ACMs in the school
  • putting those plans into action

Read more

Thinking about behavioural safety

As stated in the previous article Clive Johnson, Group Health and Safety Manager of Land Securities, visited ARCA’s Head Office Training centre at Burton upon Trent to deliver Land Securities in house ‘Working at Height’ and ‘Behavioural Safety’ presentations. The recent HSE focus on the competency of asbestos removal operatives working for HSE Licensed asbestos removal companies brings the subject of ‘Safety Behaviour’ into sharp focus.

Thinking about behavioural safetyThe Pye Tait report commissioned by the HSE on ‘A Commentary on Routes to Competence in the Construction Industry’ concludes that the construction industry’s current understanding of ‘competence’ may warrant extension to develop an ‘industry-specific’ definition and broadening to encompass both situational awareness and the sustaining of appropriate behaviours.

The following article is adapted from an article taken from the HSE Web site and talks about safety behaviour in general within high risk occupations. As asbestos removal companies are now focussing more than ever on the competency of their staff we thought that this article may provide food for thought when considering the safety culture within your own organisation.

There has been a large uptake of “behavioural safety” approaches over the past decade or so, in a wide range of industries. These approaches are based on the premise that a significant proportion of accidents are primarily caused by the behaviour of front line staff, such as pilots, drivers, production operators or maintenance technicians. There is a wide range of such programmes available, but they generally involve (i) the definition of safe/unsafe behaviours, (ii) observations of behaviours by trained observers and (iii) feedback/reinforcement of behaviours. Read more

Land Securities Clive Johnson and ARCA Working Together to Promote Work at Height Awareness and Behavioural Safety

In an article published in the latest issue of ARCA News, it shows how Land Securities Clive Johnson and ARCA are working together to promote ‘work at height awareness’ and ‘behavioural safety’.

 WAHOn the 10th September 2014 ARCA were visited by Clive Johnson, Land Securities Group Head of Health & Safety. Clive was visiting ARCA’s Headquarters in Burton upon Trent to meet with the ARCA Training team to demonstrate the training presentations that Land securities are currently delivering with regards to Work at Height and Safety Behaviour.

In the morning Clive spent several hours delivering the ‘work at height’ presentation. Whilst all the ARCA trainers have already attended a PASMA (Prefabricated Access Suppliers and Manufacturers Association) Certificate of Competence, at user level for both Low Level and Tower categories, it was still extremely interesting to get a Clients perspective. Clive delivered a presentation which sets the standard that Land Securities demand from their own sub-contractors in relation to work at height.

Clive impressed upon the trainers the fact that falls from height remain the single biggest cause f fatalities on UK construction sites. In the afternoon Clive delivered the Land Securities ‘Safety Behaviour’ presentation that has been developed over many years and is once again delivered to Land Securities subcontractors.

The presentation is thought provoking and challenges the delegates to examine their own relationship with Safety and Health. The presentation requires the delegates to consider the life changing results that can follow from an accident at work and the affects that this can have on the quality of life of the injured worker, both physically and financially, and the corresponding effects on the injured workers family and their quality of life. Read more

Over 400 retail delegates attend first Retail Asbestos Working Group conference

The inaugural conference of the Retail Asbestos Working Group (RAWG) was held at the ASDA Merchandising Centre of Excellence in Leeds on 4th September. ARCA made presentation as both an exhibitor and conference attendee, and further practical displays were erected by ARCA members Rhodar Ltd and Shield Environmental Services Ltd, together with an exhibition stand from ATaC member Environmental Essentials Ltd.

RAWG ConferenceThe conference was attended by over 400 delegates from the UK retail sector, and attendees included directors, project managers, quantity surveyors, supply chain partners, compliance managers and safety managers.

Presentations were made by key players in the development of the Working Group, and covered a range of topics including an introduction to asbestos and it’s uses, properties and health risks; significance of asbestos in the retail sector; consequences of getting it wrong; asbestos surveys, removal and air monitoring; licensing requirements; emergencies; and acquisitions. The close out was a question and answer session with the presenters, who answered questions raised by delegates during the course of the day.

A common recurring theme throughout the day was the imperative need for meticulous planning in managing the many and varied issues surrounding asbestos in buildings. The necessity of accurate surveys, updated at every change of circumstance, to exemplary standards of asbestos abatement – values at the heart of the objectives of ARCA and ATaC – were clearly addressed.

The conference was organised to continue to emphasise the importance of correctly managing asbestos containing materials in retail properties, and followed the launch in 2013 of the RAWG publication ‘The management of asbestos-containing materials in the retail sector’.

This guidance was prepared by the retail industry to provide clarity about managing asbestos and about removing or working with ACM’s (Asbestos Containing Materials) in trading stores and shops. It outlines the steps that should be taken by clients, employers and others in the construction sector such as principal contractors, licensed asbestos removal contractors and other sub-contractors, who have a duty to ensure asbestos is removed or worked on safely. Read more

NHS Trust in court after workers potentially exposed to asbestos

The latest issue of ARCA News reported that a NHS Trust has been fined after it was found likely to have exposed workers to potentially fatal asbestos material for more than a decade at its three hospitals in Hertfordshire.

NHSBetween April 2000 and December 2011, the estates team at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust was maintaining buildings at Watford General Hospital, Hemel Hempstead Hospital and St Albans Hospital without knowing that asbestos was present or being trained to identify and control exposure.

The estates team, whose work is to carry out small repairs and maintenance projects where external contractors are not needed, could have disturbed asbestos fibres in the course of a job, but would have had no way of knowing or of protecting themselves.

St Albans Crown Court was told that over the 11-year period, the Trust had identified some of the asbestos materials at their sites but did not have a management or monitoring plan in place to control the risks associated with the deadly fibre. Read more