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News

Construction partnership provides free health and safety training for small builders

HSE InfoLine : 28 June, 2005  (Company News)
Today, HSE's Chief Inspector of Construction, Rosi Edwards and Plymouth City Councillor Sue Dann, cabinet member for transport and human resources, visited a mobile unit used to deliver free health and safety training to take part in a training session and celebrate the success of the initiative. During the visit, the Chief Inspector and City Councillor also committed to further action to improve the South West and Plymouth's health and safety performance and discussed the benefits of sensible health and safety with successful delegate, Paul O'Leary.
As part of a recent partnership initiative, the Health and Safety Executive along with the local Working Well Together group, teamed up with Plymouth City Council to improve the health and safety performance of small building contractors in Plymouth.

Today, HSE's Chief Inspector of Construction, Rosi Edwards and Plymouth City Councillor Sue Dann, cabinet member for transport and human resources, visited a mobile unit used to deliver free health and safety training to take part in a training session and celebrate the success of the initiative. During the visit, the Chief Inspector and City Councillor also committed to further action to improve the South West and Plymouth's health and safety performance and discussed the benefits of sensible health and safety with successful delegate, Paul O'Leary.

Speaking from the WWT mobile training unit, currently based in Crownhill Retail Park, Plymouth, Rosi Edwards said:

'It is good to see so many small construction companies taking ownership of their health and safety by taking advantage of the free training being offered during this pilot. Small firms often miss out on training opportunities, as many events require them to miss out on paid work. The training being offered here takes place in the early morning, allowing delegates to go on to complete a day's work.

'I am also pleased to see a partnership initiative working so well. Plymouth Building Control Officers are working with HSE's Working Well Together Campaign to directly improve the health and safety of the industry.'

Adding her enthusiasm for the working in partnership initiative, Sue Dann said:

'I encourage all local contractors to take this training. Sensible health and safety is about managing risks, not eliminating them. Ask yourself, how would my business cope if I lost a skilled worker for a few days?'

Local builder who recently completed the training, Paul O'Leary, said:

'Managing health and safety can be a headache. Now I know about the hidden costs that come when one of my workers is injured or suffers from ill-health. More importantly I now understand that doing a risk assessment and keeping records is not a complicated, time-consuming process. I'm going to take the CHAS registration (Contractor Health and Safety Assessment Scheme), as my company will be able to tender for much more work.'

During routine visits Plymouth City Building Control Officers have recommended small building firms attend the health and safety training which includes: avoiding slips and trips;

ill health; working at height; safe manual handling; control of substances hazardous to health; safe site-traffic management and identifying and working safely with asbestos.

Meanwhile, HSE construction inspectors started a blitz on Tuesday 3 May. Results show that health and safety in the South West region is improving. During the blitz inspectors visited 77 duty holders at small projects across Plymouth, resulting in three voluntary cessations of work relating to work at height issues. Falls from height continue to be a major cause of concern to HSE; they are still the single biggest killer in the construction industry. Inspectors were disappointed to find that small sites vary considerably in standards and many posed risks to workers and others.

Commenting on the results, construction inspector Charles Gilby said:

'Many builders visited during the blitz were unaware of their legal duties. Those who were aware clearly decided to ignore the law, putting themselves, their workers and others at risk.

'Sensible health and safety was promoted during the blitz. The majority of builders were keen to attend the training to gain the knowledge and skills they needed to manage risks sensibly.

'I expect demand for training to increase. HSE and Plymouth City Council are providing training for those who genuinely want to meet their legal and moral obligations. Those who continue to flaunt the law will find inspectors will use the full extent of their powers on future visits'

Sole traders, and owner/ managers of construction companies with fewer than 15 employees can apply to attend the training. Call 0117 973 6891 for further details.

This initiative is supported by the SW Working Well Together Regional Group, including representatives from The Federation of Master Builders; CITB Construction Skills; Somerset, Cornwall, Devon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire County Councils; Plymouth City Council; Pearce Construction and Faber Maunsell. Combisafe Safety Systems and Genset have provided valuable sponsorship for the initiative.
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