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Recent Publications



The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has published a report and recommendations following their investigation into an incident that occurred in London last year where a piling contractor drilled into a live railway tunnel at 14m depth while drilling 20m piles and lost several sections of auger, which fell across the track.



Enforcement Activity

Poor standards of welfare and unsafe work on building sites in the West Midlands will be targeted this month as part of an annual push to reduce death, injury and ill health in the industry.

During a concentrated drive running in February, the Health and Safety Executive will visit sites across the region, focusing on ill health on construction sites.
HSE inspectors will make unannounced visits to construction sites across the West Midlands conurbation and in parts of Worcestershire and Warwickshire. They will be checking to ensure high-risk activities, such as work with noisyvibrating power tools, are being done safely. They will also check welfare facilities on site are adequate, such as having hot, running water available so substances like cement can be washed from the skin to prevent the development of conditions such as dermatitis.
Workers’ protective equipment will also be checked to make sure it is in good working order and respiratory protection equipment to ensure it is working and fits the wearer correctly.


Enforcement Activity

Work at height

06/02/14: Firm fined after decorator is seriously injured in stairwell fall
An Essex construction company has been fined after a self-employed decorator was severely injured in a stairwell fall at a building site in Cambridgeshire.
18/02/14: Cardiff contractors in court over worker’s roof plunge
A Cardiff building contractor has been fined for breaking safety legislation after a young worker broke his back in a seven-metre fall through an unprotected hole in a roof.
20/02/14: Suspended prison sentence for builder after bricklayer paralysed by fall
A Lincoln builder has been handed a four-month suspended prison sentence after a self-employed bricklayer broke his back in two places after falling three metres from faulty scaffolding.
Further information
Construction Safety Topic - Assessing all work at height
Construction Safety Topic - Roofwork


A scaffolding firm has been fined for dangerous scaffold installations at sites in Wantage and Oxford.
Further information
Construction Safety Topic – Scaffold checklist  


14/02/14: Firm fined after worker seriously injured by falling guttering
An Aberdeen-based demolition firm has been fined for safety failings after a worker was seriously injured by falling cast iron guttering. 
Further information
Construction Safety Topic – Structural stability 


06/02/14: Housing trust and two firms fined for potential asbestos risk
A trust providing housing and care for the elderly and two firms hired to carry out refurbishment work at its premises in Alnwick have been fined after staff and residents were put at risk of exposure to asbestos.
13/02/14: Suffolk firm in court after workers exposed to asbestos
A Suffolk window replacement company has been fined after it exposed workers to potentially fatal asbestos material during work to replace window units at a school in Bury St Edmunds. 
Further information
Construction Safety Topic - Asbestos  

Mobile plant and vehicles

12/02/14: Plant hire firm fined after reversing mini-digger injures worker
A national plant hire company has been fined for safety failings after an employee was struck and injured by a reversing mini-digger at a North London depot. 
Further information
Construction Safety Topic – Mobile plant and vehicles


Safety Alert

Michael Sweet, 48, from Stockport, was cleaning out the guttering at Aramex (UK) Ltd on the Ringway Trading Estate near Manchester Airport on 12 December 2011 when he stepped on a fragile panel and fell to the concrete floor below.

Aramex and Mr Sweet’s employer, roofing contractor Gary Edwards, were both prosecuted by HSE after an investigation found no safety measures had been put in place.
The HSE investigation found Aramex had also ignored its own health and safety guidelines. The company failed to supervise the work or assess how it would be carried out, despite knowing the roof was fragile.
Aramex was fined £250,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £20,000. Gary Edwards received a four-month prison sentence suspended for one year, which means he will be sent to prison if he commits another offence in the next year.
Michael Sweet’s death is not the only fatality at work investigated by HSE. Every year several workers are killed or seriously injured by falling through building roofs made of fragile material.  These are preventable accidents.
Building owners and occupiers – action required:
  • control access to their roofs
  • provide signs warning of fragility at suitable access points
  • check the competence of anyone they employ to work on roofs and
  • check the contractors or workers take precautions to prevent someone falling through or off the roof
Contractors and workers – action required:
  • Contractors and workers should treat any roof as a fragile surface unless they have sound information to prove otherwise
  •  only take on work for which they are competent
  • only work on the roof if there is no other reasonable way of tackling the job
  • take suitable precautions to prevent falls through or off the roof
  • train and supervise workers properly
There is plenty of advice on HSE's web site about how to do roofwork safely.

Genie Z135/70 Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP)

Safety Alert

The purpose of this safety alert is to advise owners and users of steps to be taken to control risks associated with the Genie Z135/70 Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) following preliminary findings for a machine overturn. More information may follow in due course.

The emerging findings from the HSE investigations indicate that the operational stability of a Genie Z135/70 MEWP may be compromised by the incorrect measurement of the boom angle sensors.
Immediate HSE advice is that the manufacturer’s safety notice should be followed. Any machines for which the required calibration checks have not been completed should be removed from service.
Please read the Safety Alert in full to find out what further action you need to take