Once again Brandon Hire was one of the main attractions at a construction health & safety event, organised by Southern Construction Framework.
More than 80 delegates attended, all keen to find out about more the health & safety risks they face and how having the right equipment can make a difference.
Although there have been major improvements within the industry, latest statistics from the HSE still make depressing reading – approximately 13,000 deaths from work-related diseases and 142 deaths as a result of accidents at work.
Technical Manager Dave Arscott said: “As a company we have a responsibility to do what we can to get the safety message out there and events like this are a great way to do just that.”
Brandon Hire continues to be at the forefront of new developments, helping customers take advantage of the latest products on the market.
As a result the Rubi Slim System tile cutter has been added to the company’s hire fleet. This is a manual cutter that’s specially designed for large format porcelain tiles up to 3m by 1.2m.
Commercial Manager Nigel Strickland said: “We were recently approached by one of the world’s largest tile manufactures to be their preferred hire partner to supply their customers, which is great news.
“These cutters have been developed due to the growing popularity of large tiles, which are being used increasingly on commercial buildings, hotels and refurbishment works.”
BRANDON HIRE TACKLING OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH ISSUES IN CONSTRUCTION
Brandon Hire is working in partnership with Redrow – one of the UK’s leading residential property developers – to help raise awareness of health issues within the house building industry.
A key element of the campaign has been pro-active workshops across the county, which have been run by National Technical Manager Dave Arscott. The sessions, attended by Redrow staff and sub-contractors, have focused on the dangers of working with dust and hand arm vibration. To support the workshops, Brandon Hire produced a range of leaflets, which covered the key health issues and highlighted the steps people can take to minimise the risks.
“Our reputation for giving health & safety advice has grown over the years – so much so that we are now viewed as experts in this area,” said Dave. “It was real compliment to be asked by Redrow to support their campaign and it’s another sign that the UK construction industry looks to us for guidance.”
Airborne dusts can present significant respiratory risks on construction sites. They are responsible for a large number of the non-asbestos lung diseases that develop, including cancer, silicosis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Every year in Great Britain over 500 construction workers1 are believed to die from lung cancer
caused by silica dust alone. Many construction jobs can create large amounts of dust including sweeping, grit blasting, soft-strip demolition and the hand-sanding of plaster joints. However, the most common involve the use of power tools such as cut-off saws, grinders, breakers and sanders. These can create very high dust levels, especially if the work is indoors or in an enclosed or poorly-ventilated area.
Dust, respiratory risks and ill-health in general are priority areas for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in its dealings with the industry. They also fit into the government’s wider industrial strategy for the sector, Construction 20252.
Brandon Hire has just signed a major three-year deal with Bouygues UK.
This latest business success is a clear sign that the company’s reputation for delivering great service continues to grow.
Managing Director Tim Smith said: “The tender process was long and complicated and we were up against some tough competition so it’s fantastic that we won the contract.”
Bouygues, which operates in over 80 countries, is a world-class construction and services group with interests covering building, civil engineering, property development and roads, as well as facilities management, media and telecoms.
Results from the HSE Safer Sites Initiative, which ran from 22 September to 17 October this year, reveal that of the 1,748 sites visited, dangerous practices or poor standards were discovered at 40% of refurbishment and repair sites visited, with 1 in 5 sites so poor, formal enforcement action was required.
A total of 691 of the sites targeted failed to meet current standards with 360 needing formal enforcement action, as practices were so poor. In total, the HSE issued 313 prohibition notices and 235 improvement notices.
Dust suppression solutions – simple and effective.
Dust is still a major problem
The HSE initiative was focussed on health risks, and 35% of the notices served were for issues such as management of asbestos, failure to control exposure to harmful dusts, noise and vibration, and insufficient welfare. However, the most common issue identified by HSE inspectors was unsafe working at height, which accounted for 42% of notices.
Following the results of the campaign, HSE is urging the construction industry to ensure basic health and safety measures are in place on all sites. Detailed statistics from the initiative as well as images of both good and bad practice can be found on the HSE website.
HSE inspectors have kicked-off a month long blitz checking on health standards on refurbishment and repair sites. Health as well as safety is the message being taken to contractors as inspectors stage a series of unannounced visits across the country. Inspections will pay particular attention to the threats posed by harmful dusts such as silica and asbestos and other hazardous substances. Philip White, HSE Chief Inspector of Construction, said: “Industry has made much progress in reducing the number of people killed and injured in its activities, but for every fatal accident, approximately 100 construction workers die from a work-related cancer.” During the last health initiative action was taken on one in six sites. White said: “Time and again we find smaller contractors working on refurbishment and repair work failing to protect their workers through a lack of awareness and poor control of risks. “This isn’t acceptable – it costs lives, and we will take strong and robust action where we find poor practice and risky behaviour. “Through campaigns like this we aim to ensure contractors take all risks to their workers seriously, and not just focus on immediate safety implications. They need to put in place practical measures to keep workers both safe and well”
Brandon Tool Hire specialise in dust extraction vacuum hire and the delivery of on-site support, toolbox talks and practicable advice on refurbishment and repair sites.
SPONSORING THE BEST Brandon Hire is sponsoring Britain’s Best Self Build or Renovation Project for the third year running. The title is the top accolade at the annual Built It Magazine Awards, which are being held at the Hilton Hotel in Swindon. Managing Director Tim Smith said: “We have developed a reputation within the self-build and DIY markets and sponsoring this award gives us even more credibility and helps to make sure that our name continues to grow within this important sector.” The Best Self Build and Renovation title will go to the project that is judged to be the most innovative and inspiring development in the UK. The 2013 winner Joshua Penk and his family, who built a woodland home, learned and shared new skills along the way. The result was a very low cost home which demonstrates that attractive, contemporary style properties can be built on a small budget.
DON’T BITE THE DUST Helping to reduce the risks of working with dust has become a top priority for the industry – not least because there are more than 500 deaths every year due to silica exposure. Brandon Hire is playing a key role in educating construction workers about the dangers and the steps they can take to ensure a dust-free environment. A combination of regular workshops, information booklets and on-site support for customers is making an impact. National Technical Manager Dave Arscott said: “There’s no doubt that dust is a big issue and anything we can do to spread the word is important. The response we get is very positive – it’s amazing how many people simply don’t know about the dangers and the equipment that’s available to help them work safely.” Not surprisingly the company is backing the HSE’s ‘Think Heath’ campaign, which is focusing on the respiratory risks from dust, as well as manual handling, noise and vibration. HSE inspectors have been making unannounced visits to sites to identify areas where workers are being exposed to unnecessary risks. As part of this, Brandon Hire has produced a ‘brooms don’t work’ poster for branches. The posters highlight the fact that it’s dangerous to clean up with a broom and that dust extraction vacuums are the only safe option. Ian Strudley, Head of Health Risk Management Unit at the HSE, said: “It’s great to see companies like Brandon Hire supporting our efforts and doing what they can to educate their customers. The construction industry has made great strides in recent years but it needs to do more and put practical measures in place to keep people safe.”
Proactive inspections of construction sites by HSE have found that many are failing to prevent health risks.
A national targeted inspection focusing on health risks for construction workers saw enforcement action taken at one-in-six of 560 sites visited.
HSE inspectors undertook a two-week period of proactive inspections and demanded improvements, and in some cases put an immediate stop to work activities, where they fell short of expected standards.
Inspectors focused on significant health risk issues, such as respiratory risks from dust containing silica materials, exposure to other hazardous substances such as cement and lead paint, manual handling, noise and vibration.
Final figures have yet to be confirmed by inspectors found that conditions were so poor in some situations that the work had to be stopped on at least 13 occasions.
Of the 560 sites visited, inspectors served enforcement notices on 85 of them. Thirteen prohibition notices were served (where certain work or practices had to be stopped until improvements were made) and 107 improvement notices. A total of 239 health-related notices of contravention were served at 201 of the sites.
“We recognise the construction sector’s progress in reducing the number of people killed and injured by its activities. But it is clear from these figures that there is an unacceptable toll of ill health and fatal disease in the industry,” said HSE’s chief inspector Heather Bryant.
“So, to encourage the industry to treat health issues in the same way as safety, HSE’s inspectors will consolidate the efforts of this initiative throughout the rest of the year by looking at the prevention and control of health risks in construction alongside their continued assessment of the management of safety risk issues.”