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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 90

Date:- 14 March 2003

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HEALTH and Safety Executive inspectors are to meet designers and planning supervisors in Scotland and across the north of England next week in a bid to reduce the number of accidents in the construction industry.

Construction Inspector Nick Rigby said:- "Working at height continues to be the most significant cause of fatal accidents on construction sites in the UK. Since construction Regulations were introduced in 1994, designers have had legal duties to design risk out where reasonably practicable.

"Some designers have invested considerable resource and innovation in this area, but unfortunately many others have simply failed to address this area of their work, sometimes with fatal consequences for those on site."

In order to improve the situation, HSE's construction inspectors in the Scotland and Northern England have scheduled over 130 appointments throughout next week with designers and planning supervisors to talk about the way that design issues impinge on site safety.

Planning supervisors and designers will be given the opportunity to demonstrate what they have done during the design stage to reduce the risk from work at height for those working on these sites. HSE inspectors will be looking for examples where innovative solutions have been used by designers to address work at height problems, in the hope that these can be shared with the wider design sector.

Report with thanks from the HSE.

THE Health and Safety Executive last week urged schools not to be deterred from running school trips and educational visits for fear of legal action should an accident occur – but stressed that organizers must be aware of the duty to properly plan and manage such events.

Philip Gifford, Principal Inspector at HSE ‘s North West regional office says:-
“These educational visits are important and there are many in education with a great deal of expertise in running such activities safely. We urge them to
share this expertise with those who still have some way to go.  
Organizers of educational/recreational activities must ensure that they are properly planned, managed, and delivered by competent staff. This demands proper risk assessment, deployment, and monitoring, and the use of all reasonably practicable measures to counter the identified hazards.”

Mr Gifford was speaking the day following an HSE prosecution of the Jewish Senior Boys School, Salford which was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay £400 costs at Salford Magistrates' Court after pleading guilty to a charge under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act arising from an accident during a school visit to Aber Falls in Snowdonia in April 2002 when two pupils had a 100 metre fall down a steep scree, one of whom suffered a serious head injury. Five other pupils, some on ledges and one in a tree, had to be plucked to safety by an RAF helicopter.

HSE does not wish to discourage any organisation from taking children or young people on visits or trips and recognizes the benefits provided by properly planned and managed events.

However organizers of visits or trips have a legal responsibility to manage health and safety and control risk. Adequate and sufficient pre-planning should be carried out before the event as part of the risk assessment.

All reasonably practicable measures should be taken to deal with the identified risks. Organizers should plan properly and include contingency planning for anticipated problems.

Consideration should be given to subjects such as:-

· arrangements for the adequate supervision of pupils, with sufficient supervisors to cope with an emergency;
· communication arrangements
· the nature of the local terrain;
· a local weather forecast, with appreciation of the likelihood and impact of quickly changing conditions; and
· use of appropriate clothing suitable to all likely weather conditions.

Philip Gifford concluded:- 

“Many people working in education have a great deal of expertise in running visits safely and can share that experience with others seeking to improve their own knowledge and expertise."
Report thanks to HSE
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