HSE non compliance at £124 per hour

If you or your company are involved in construction you should know that from 18 February until 15 March, the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) will make unannounced visits to ensure duty holders are managing high-risk activity and complying to current regulations as required by Law.When attending site the HSE inspector will no doubt be asking to see if steps have been taken to ensure compliance to the current asbestos regulations. Where applicable the duty holder will be asked to produce the asbestos survey report for the site.The regulations that are currently in place that cover asbestos are the ‘Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012)’ and also ‘Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007)’.Unsafe practices on construction sites across the UK are to be targeted as part of a national initiative aimed at ill health, injury and death.To support a month-long drive to improve standards in one of Britain’s most dangerous industries, inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will visit sites in England, Wales and Scotland.The purpose of the initiative is to remind those working in the industry that poor standards are unacceptable and could result in enforcement action.The Health and Safety Executive now operates a Fee for Intervention (FFI) cost recovery scheme, which came into effect on 1 October 2012.Under The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, those who are found to be in breach of health and safety laws are liable for recovery of HSE’s related costs, including inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action, at a rate of £124 per hour.

Marks & Spencer ‘warned over asbestos risk’

Marks and SpencerFrom BBC News. Full Article.Marks & Spencer was warned customers and staff may have been put at risk from asbestos contamination more than 10 years before receiving a £1m fine.A contractor told the BBC he warned in 1998 that refurbishment work at its London Marble Arch store was breaching asbestos removal guidelines.In 2011 the company was fined £1m over work at its Reading store.The company said it carried out a full investigation into the Marble Arch work and no-one was put at risk.’Safety not guaranteed’One report from April 1998 described how cladding had been stripped with a sledgehammer and asbestos was “everywhere” .The nightshift workers recorded that it was the “third occasion in a week” they had had to clean up after a “dangerous occurrence”.Later one contractor described how he should “legally report” more instances of broken asbestos being left lying around.Steve Rowe, a Marks & Spencer board member, said: “On the face of it these allegations sound worrying, but our team at the time 15 years ago thoroughly investigated them on the day.”They thoroughly investigated them some three months afterwards and again I’ve spoken to those individuals and could find no case whatsoever to say any member of staff or any member of the public was put at risk.”The Health and Safety Executive later took the company to court.One witness who gave evidence has spoken to the BBC. He asked not to be identified for fear of being blacklisted by the building industry.The witness – a construction worker – told the court he was overruled by Marks & Spencer managers after he ordered that fans in the ceiling void should be turned off to avoid circulating dust which might contain asbestos.On another occasion he described how he saw dust from the ceiling falling on a shop assistant stacking sandwiches. Construction workers warned her to move.Stores other than Marks & Spencer have also been fined for asbestos breaches, including House of Fraser in 1997 by Birmingham magistrates, Blacks in London for an incident in 2005, the Co-op, Manchester in 2007, Top Shop, Liverpool in 2008 and John Lewis, Edinburgh, also in 2008. 

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