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Monday, 3 November 2008

Health & Safety & BS OHSAS 18001

My office is in a Business Park but on of my windows looks out on to some houses. Last week I was treated to an exhibition of all the things that builders shouldn't do.

Let me explain, the householder has sensibly decided to have cavity wall insulation installed but the workmen who arrived to do the job were rather cavalier in their attitude to health and safety. At one point one of them was standing on the apex of the attached garage leaning precariously out while holding a masonry drill; as he attempted to drill holes in the outer wall he kept losing his balance and I am amazed that he didn't fall. Some of the places he needed to drill were too high even for him and he proceeded to get a ladder from his van. Instead of using a scaffold tower, as required by law; he climbed up the ladder using one hand while dragging the electric drill with the other. I expected that, at the very least, his partner would have held the bottom of the ladder but no, he was preparing the equipment for injecting the foam insulation.

I am fairly sure that these two were not operating their company health and safety policies but were just lazy.

I had to go out to visit a client so I do not know how it all ended. I hope that it did not end in tears.

It is hardly surprising to know that the majority of industrial accidents occur on building sites and most involve some sort of powered tool.

I wish these two lads a long and healthy life but if their performance recently was anything to go by, I think that very optimistic. While I realise that youth seem to think they are totally invulnerable, I was young once myself after all, the safeguards offered by the modern health and safety legislation are not designed to restrict personal freedom, they can, and often do, save lives.

Before undertaking any work of this type they should have carried out a risk assessment, not a huge job given then task in hand. Then they should have used the correct protective equipment and safe working practices.

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