Health and safety

  • National health and safety service

    Health and safety accreditation and compliance company, Exor Management Services, is reminding businesses of all sizes working in the construction sector that health & safety must be a priority. It is launching an innovative health and safety service, designed to both protect and help grow the business of contractors working in the sector. This comes as the government's independent inquiry into construction site fatalities is published with a key recommendation for directors to be obliged by law to plan, deliver, monitor and review good health and safety management systems.

    "The independent inquiry highlighted the level of fatalities in the industry - and the low profile these achieve", confirmed Ian McKinnon, managing director, Exor Management Services. "Yet those of us who work in the industry know that health & safety is an issue that doesn't always get the attention it requires, leaving workers vulnerable. 

    "Exor already works with a number of major names in the construction sector, giving them the ability to ensure that the contractors they use comply with Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and their own business's health and safety standards. Our new comprehensive range of health and safety services capitalises on this experience and is designed to both protect the interests of workers and the construction companies employing them, as well as giving contractors the ability to tender for work without having to go through time-consuming compliance forms each time."

    Exor believes that key to businesses in the construction sector, especially smaller ones, being able to embrace all aspects of health and safety is ensuring that the right processes are in place to assess and monitor standards. 

    Exor's national health and safety service incorporates both the Exor Safety Qualified standard and access to an online database of safety qualified suppliers for buyers of construction services, which is recognised under the Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) umbrella.

    Exor's safety qualified standard provides construction service providers with:
    * Full health and safety assessment by Exor including onsite validation
    * Confirmation of the company's health and safety qualification to a recognised standard for both public and private sector work - further reducing time and cost in the pre qualifying process
    * The ability to ‘passport rights' to other compliance databases that are members of SSIP, eg CHAS, Constructionline, NHBC
    * Visibility of the company's services amongst public and private sector organisations who can access Exor's national health and safety database

    "Businesses that utilise our health and safety service will benefit in a multitude of ways" concluded Ian McKinnon.  "For obvious reasons, the optimisation of health and safety policies is of utmost importance to this industry.  It is the sign of a trustworthy and conscientious business to have the necessary health and safety accreditation.  And it assures buyers and contractors that a business will provide the highest quality service whilst remaining fully aware of employee health and safety procedures. And that is absolutely paramount for anyone involved in this business.

    "It also gives contractors and other service providers operating on construction sites the ability to tender for new contracts in a time and cost-effective way, enabling growth in the sector as a whole as we come out of the recession. As such, we are really pleased to be working alongside the SSIP, and are confident that through this partnership and the implementation of this service, we will be raising the bar of health and safety in the construction industry as a whole."


  • Firms warned of tough new regime for health and safety breaches causing death

    A North West law firm is urging engineering firms to review their health and safety polices after tough new sentencing guidelines for corporate manslaughter offences came into force.

    Mace & Jones dispute resolution specialist Ken Salmon said under the new rules set out by the Sentencing Guidelines Council (SGC), businesses convicted of the criminal offence of corporate manslaughter can be fined millions of pounds with a £500,000 minimum. For other health and safety offences that cause death, fines from £100,000 up to hundreds of thousands of pounds could be imposed.

    Salmon urged companies to lock down on their health and safety policies as well as ensuring all staff are fully aware of the potentially ruinous effect, conviction may have for the business: "Directors can be left in no doubt that the range of penalties for health and safety breaches causing death are now very tough indeed," he said. "This is a clear statement of intent from the SGC which is reacting to a groundswell of opinion that punishments for corporate manslaughter offences have been too lenient. In addition there is also the threat of up to two years in prison for individual directors, managers or employees convicted of serious health and safety breaches. The message is very much review your policies and critically ensure they are rigorously and consistently enforced. And the drive to enforce it must come from the very top of the organisation."

    Salmon said the SGC has made it clear when deciding on fines that judges should not be influenced by the impact on shareholders and directors, but should consider the potential effects of innocent employees and the effect the fine may have on the provision of services to the public: "There are mitigating factors that the court must weigh up in terms of how serious the offence is and the overall size and financial status of the defendant company will still have to be considered," he said. "But fines will be increased where there is evidence that the business could have foreseen the accident and where breaches of rules were widespread in the organisation."

    Salmon said in addition to financial penalties, publicity orders are likely to be appropriate in most cases as part of the punishment. The order will specify the place where the public announcement will be made and consider the size and prominence of the notice or advertisement. The organisation may also be compelled to make a statement on relevant websites, ensuring that the information is brought to the attention of shareholders and members of the public.

    The implementation of the new guidelines will soon come under the spotlight with the first corporate manslaughter prosecution against Cotswold Geotechnical Limited already underway.

    Corporate Manslaughter was introduced as a specific criminal offence in the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007, which became law in 2008. The new sentencing guidelines apply from 15 February 2010.


  • Plant and machinery safety legislation addressed at Health+Safety 10

    Rockwell Automation will be presenting and exhibiting services, software and hardware solutions, created to help plant and machinery designers address significant and upcoming safety legislation, at Health+Safety 10 at the Reebok Stadium from 13-14 October 2010.


    As well as demonstrating numerous brand new and existing examples of its scalable, networked safety hardware, the company will also be detailing how it has expanded its safety services; helping its customers carry out audits, risk assessments, circuit analyses and CE Marking.


    Paul Davies from Rockwell Automation explains: "As part of our wider safety offering, we are promoting our new safety services as an integral part of the machine safety equation. Forming an intrinsic and vital element of the initial assessment of any safety solution, we can now formally offer our customers in-depth guidance, solutions and training towards addressing their specific safety requirements."


    As a Machine Safety Zone partner, Rockwell Automation will also be giving a presentation, on both days, covering functional safety and how it is set to change the behaviour of users and designers of automation systems. The presentation will also discuss the implementation and demands of ISO 13849-1 and how it has led to growing interest in SISTEMA - a software tool for the evaluation of application safety, especially relating to ISO 13849-1.

    Davies continued: "SISTEMA is an independent and open application evaluation tool that is used to assess the safety performance of a machine or plant installation. Legislation is driving this evaluation process and by going down an open-tool route we believe we will be able to offer the best possible service to our customers."

    Behind the software's open front end, Rockwell Automation has made available all of the functional safety data applicable to its hardware; making it straightforward for users to calculate the safety rating of their installations and address the demands of the legislation.



  • Laidler leads plant and machinery safety zone at Health and Safety '11

    Laidler Associates, a UK machinery safety and compliance consultant, will once again be sponsoring the Plant & Machinery Safety Zone at Health and Safety '11 - South which takes place at Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher, Surrey on 1 and 2 March 2011.

    Laidler Associates, which specialises in machinery safety legislation and risk assessments, will deliver a presentation at Health and Safety '11 - South on Practical machinery safety including guarding issues. Using its virtual reality system to re-create a typical working environment Laidler is able to bring to life the problems that are present and demonstrate how to provide safe solutions in this area.

    Focusing on the practical nature of the zone, Laidler will also demonstrate how to complete and document a PUWER 98 (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 98) assessment or CE Marking to the Machinery and Low Voltage Directives. The presentation will also cover the requirements of the new Machinery Directive, 2006/42/EC in this regard.

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