HSE to check out small firms
With refurbishment set to increase as initiatives such as the Retrofit for the Future programme are rolled out, it is perhaps fitting that we will see specialists in this field being targeted in a Health and Safety Executive crackdown this Spring, after figures revealed that more than two-thirds of the construction industry’s 42 fatalities occurred in the sector. And although this could well involve Plastic Surgeon receiving a visit, we feel more than prepared, seeing that we hold the CHAS Certificate of Accreditation, the SMAS Worksafe Contractor, SAFEcontractor and NHBC SAFEMARK accrediatations.
Worryingly, data showed 29 people were killed in 2009/10 while carrying out refurbishment, repair and maintenance jobs, accounting for 69 per cent of the total deaths across the industry.
According to HSE head of operations, Mike Cross, the figures indicated that the RMI sector was lagging behind other sections of the building industry – such as housebuilding – which have made significant improvements in recent years.
More than 150 inspectors will be involved in the operation over the next three months, visiting firms nationwide. The unannounced visits started on 14 February and will focus on three crucial areas; working at height, asbestos exposure and site order, with a view particularly to cracking down on trips and falls.
It is the fifth year the HSE has conducted such a campaign, with last year resulting in 320 prohibition notices to stop dangerous work after 2,014 site visits to 2,414 contractors.
Interestingly, though, Kier Building maintenance national operations director, Keith Watson, said while larger refurbishment firms had worked hard to improve their records, there were still “cultural issues with some smaller businesses which need to be addressed.”
His view is supported by the number of incidents that occur on minor sites, where supervision is cursory or non-existent, and the operatives often untrained in safe working practices. Significantly most serious fall injuries affect people who are new to site work. “The refurbishment sector is harder to police as it includes a lot of smaller independent operators or ‘white van men’,” Keith Watson concluded.
By contrast, Plastic Surgeon puts its people through a rigorous training regime, and even mentors new recruits in order to keep them safe and maintain standards. All of our finishers holds a CSCS card (Construction Related Certification Scheme).Our SMAS Worksafe Contractor accreditation will provide reassurance to both HSE officials and customers, as we take health and safety very seriously. The assurance is there that we have been assessed and accredited by an SSIP Forum member, and have achieved the competence to provide specific services within a common health and safety threshold.
The assessment followed the Core Criteria Stage 1 Contractor Assessment process for assessing health and safety competence of contractors and consultants working in the construction industry.
Plastic Surgeon has also been awarded SAFEcontractor accreditation for 2010 / 2011, for which we applied due to our need for a uniform standard process across the business.
John Kinge, Head of Risk at SAFEcontractor said: “Major organisations can no longer run the risk of employing contractors who are not able to prove that they have sound health and safety policies.
“More companies need to understand the importance of adopting good risk management in the way that Plastic Surgeon has done. The firm’s high standard has set an example, which hopefully will be followed by other companies within the sector.”
Under the above scheme, businesses undergo a vetting process, which examines health and safety procedures, as well as their track record for safe practice. Those companies meeting the high standard are included on a database, which is accessible to registered users via www.safecontractor.com.
Plastic Surgeon can restore almost any damaged interior or exterior surface in commercial or residential buildings. Thanks to specialist training the company’s finishers are expert in repairing and fine finishing practically any material including;
- Plastic and GRP repair
- Wood and veneer repairs
- Stone repair, brickwork repairs
- Ceramic repairs and enamel restoration
- Glass repair and glazing repairs
- Metallic and foil coated item repairs
- UPVC repairs and PVC window repairs
- Bath repair and shower tray repairs
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