Mandatory Requirements

What is the ESOS?

The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) is now a mandatory requirement in the UK, requiring all non-SME’s to undertake regular energy audits. If you employ more than 250 employees, or have a turnover more than €50m it is likely that you will need to undertake an ESOS Assessment.

Is the ESOS relevant to me?

You are likely to be in scope of ESOS if, on the qualification date (31 December 2014 for the first phase of ESOS), you are:

  1. An undertaking which has 250 or more employees
  2. An undertaking which has fewer than 250 employees, but has an annual turnover exceeding €50m (1) and a balance sheet exceeding €43m (2)
  3. Part of a corporate group which includes an undertaking which meets criteria (1) or (2) above.

Organisations that are required to comply with the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 or the Public Contracts Regulations (Scotland) 2012 are exempt from the scheme.

 

What do I need to do to comply?

ESOS Assessment requires participants to do three things:

  1. Measure your total energy consumption.  You must measure your total energy consumption across your buildings, transport and industrial
    activities.
  2. Conduct energy audits to identify cost-effective energy efficiency recommendations.  You must ensure that at least 90% of your total energy consumption is subject to an ESOS compliant energy audit, a Display Energy Certificate, a Green Deal Assessment or a certified ISO 50001 Energy Management System during each phase of the scheme.   For the first phase of the scheme, you can use any energy auditing activity dating back to December 2011 to support compliance (for example, the Carbon Trust Standard) provided that it meets the minimum standards required of ESOS Energy Audits.
    Unless your total energy consumption is covered by a certified ISO 50001 Energy Management System, you must ensure that your ESOS Assessment is conducted or reviewed by a qualified Lead Assessor (the lead assessor may be an in-house expert or external consultant).
  3. Report compliance to the Environment Agency (as the scheme administrator). By 5 December 2015, you must notify the Environment Agency (as the scheme administrator) that you have complied with the scheme.   Prior to notifying the Environment Agency, you must ensure that your ESOS Assessment has
    been reviewed by a Board-level Director and approved by a Lead Assessor.

Participants are not required to implement energy efficiency recommendations identified by their ESOS Assessments. However, they will only achieve the financial benefits that arise from avoiding energy waste if they do implement cost-effective recommendations identified.

Below is a link to the full ESOS guide, as provided by The Department of Energy and Climate Change.  In it is detailed;

  • An overview of ESOS
  • Guidance on determining if you are in scope of ESOS
  • How to conduct your ESOS Assessment,
  • Measuring your total energy consumption
  • Identifying areas of significant energy consumption
  • Lead Assessors
  • Ways you can comply with the scheme
  • The minimum requirements of ESOS Energy Audits
  • Guidance in relation to auditing company transport activities
  • How to comply if you are in scope of the scheme in relation to
  • Assets held in trust
  • How to report your compliance
  • Advice on implementing audit recommendations
  • Information on penalties, enforcement and appeals
  • Potential ways to comply with ESOS more easily if you are in scope of other policies

View the full Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) document.

 

Fines for Asbestos Hazard Neglect

On 8th October, Westminster Magistrates were told advised about health and safety surrounding a Barnet building firm converting an old pub in Victoria Road, into flats.   The concerns were raised by local people, who were also worried about the risks to passers-by.  The building firm has been fined after it ‘turned a blind eye’ to potential asbestos hazards being faced by its workers.

An Inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited on 4 March 2013 to check conditions.  Enforcement action regarding unsafe work at height and inadequate fire precautions was taken against MP Builders Ltd that day.  They were also asked to provide information about how they were managing the asbestos risks on site, but HSE heard nothing from them.

Due to this, the HSE visited again on 22 March and served an improvement notice on the company, giving them four weeks to provide the workers with the training they needed to enable them to identify materials that might contain asbestos if found during their refurbishment works, and to know how to deal with it correctly.  The deadline was later extended by a week.

Despite assurances to the contrary that improvements would be made, its failure to comply persisted, and the company remaining in breach of the notice right up to the date of the prosecution.

MP Builders Ltd of Games Road, Barnet, Herts, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £4,500 in costs for breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Stephron Baker Holmes said:

“The improvement notice was straightforward. It was simple and inexpensive to comply with, by providing training to employees liable to be exposed to asbestos.  If the company had any doubts or questions, it had ample opportunity to ask them and I would have done all I could to help. Instead it apparently buried its head in the sand.  As well as not meeting the extended deadline, the company continued in its failure to provide any evidence of compliance at any time during more than a year. It seems MP Builders just turned a blind eye to its responsibilities.”

For advice and free-to-download information on a range of asbestos issues please contact us on 0800 644 4142.

Fireworks and the law

You can be fined up to £5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 6 months for selling or using fireworks illegally. You could also get an on-the-spot fine of £90.

You can’t buy ‘adult’ fireworks (category 2 and 3 fireworks, not including things like party poppers) if you’re under 18, and it’s against the law for anyone to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on certain occasions.

Only professionals can use Category 4 fireworks.

The law says you must not set off or throw fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or other public places.
The exceptions to the times in which you can set off fireworks are:

  • Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight
  • New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am

Information about firework safety can be sourced from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Health and Safety Executive.

Buying fireworks
You can only buy fireworks (including sparklers) from registered sellers for private use on these dates:

  • 15th October to 10th November
  • 26th to 31st December
  • 3 days before Diwali and Chinese New Year

At other times you can only buy fireworks from licensed shops.

Asbestos regulation neglect leads to prosecution

According to the latest issue of ARCA News, asbestos regulations were neglected and a Hove-based firm has been fined after it removed some of the dangerous material just three weeks after being refused a licence to carry out such work.

For work undertaken at premises in Dyke Road, Hove, between 22 and 25 October 2013, Asbestos Damage Limitations Ltd, trading as ADL, was prosecuted at Brighton Magistrates’ Court (28 Aug) for safety breaches.

A complaint that an unlicensed contractor was carrying out asbestos removal work meant that the case was brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for investigation.  The court was told that ADL had possessed a licence to remove the known carcinogen asbestos, but that this had expired in September 2013. The firm had applied for a renewal of the licence and had been for a renewal interview with HSE on 1 October. However this had resulted in an outright refusal based on inadequate performance.

Asbestos Damage Limitations Ltd, Coleridge Street, Hove, East Sussex, was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £4,000 in costs after admitting breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Denis Bodger said:

“ADL obviously decided to ignore the fact that its asbestos licence had expired and also that the application to renew had been refused. Instead it carried on regardless and went ahead with work at the premises, removing a ceiling that contained asbestos insulation board.”

“When ADL’s licence expired, the firm should have ceased to carry out any work with asbestos-containing materials that is required by licence. ADL was fully aware of what types of activities are covered and knew perfectly well that it was illegal to undertake the work they did.”

“Work with asbestos requires a high degree of regulatory control. It involves working with a category one carcinogen, with asbestos-related diseases causing some 4,500 deaths each year in the UK, as well as many serious illnesses. When this type of work is undertaken by an unlicensed company, HSE has no ability to ensure it is done safely.”

“Non-compliance with asbestos-licensing requirements is not acceptable and HSE will continue to enforce the law to protect both workers and members of the public.”

The Autumn issue of ARCA News is now available to view here.

Rulings on Asbestos Damage

The High Court has ruled that Government plans to deduct legal fees from the damages paid to people dying from asbestos exposure are unlawful.

The Asbestos Victims’ Support Groups Forum UK brought the action against Justice Secretary Chris Grayling. The group challenged his decision to allow 25% of damages awarded to mesothelioma sufferers to be used to pay legal insurance premiums and costs.

The Ministry of Justice said it was “disappointed” with the judgment.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. It can take decades to develop, yet people live for an average of just nine months after diagnosis. Around 2,000 people are diagnosed each year, and the numbers are set to increase over the next 30 years.  Many people seek compensation by taking legal action against their former employers or the employer’s insurance company.

In 2013, there was a shift in the legal system. The Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) moved the responsibility of legal costs from the losing party to the person making the claim.  However, people with mesothelioma were exempt from the new rules until there was a full review of the implications on this group of claimants.

The government said the review took place at the end of last year, and that the same rules should apply to mesothelioma sufferers.

The Asbestos Victims’ Support Groups Forum UK said: “It could only be described as a back of a fag packet review.” It took legal action against the government.

In his judgement, the honourable Mr Justice William Davis said:

“The issue is whether the Lord Chancellor conducted a proper review of the likely effect of the LASPO reforms on mesothelioma claims… I conclude that he did not.”

He ruled attempts to deduct costs from damages were unlawful.

To speak with us regarding your Asbestos needs, please contact us on 0800 6444142.

Gas faults putting lives at risk

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) led to the prosecution of DSI Plumbing and Heating and two self employed people, Robert Percival and Andrew Church, have been sentenced following the investigation into a significant number of faulty gas installations at new developments in Poole and Reading.

The court heard that Harbour Reach in Poole (containing 261 flats and 79 town houses and Caversham Road in Reading containing 60 flats,) were heated by gas boilers installed on internal walls, with flue gases, including poisonous carbon monoxide, vented to the open air by flues installed in building voids. In such situations inspection hatches must be provided to allow the flues to be periodically checked for safety.

At Harbour Reach, HSE’s investigations found faults including gas leaks, and flues and gas supply pipes that had not been properly fitted – establishing that the initial installation work was substandard, and that the final checking and commissioning of the work was inadequate and ineffective.

There were no inspection hatches originally installed in any of the ceilings of the flats, meaning that the flues could not be subsequently checked for safety. As a result, the gas supply to all 340 gas meters on the Harbour Reach site had to be disconnected until remedial action was taken.

The investigation also revealed evidence of defects in the installations in 309 (or over 90%) of the dwellings at Harbour Reach. At Caversham Road in Reading, HSE’s investigation uncovered defects in the gas installation affecting 40 properties. As at Harbour Reach, inspection hatches were not initially installed to allow the flue system to be inspected, and defects were found with both gas supply and flue installations.

Mr Church completed the commissioning documents for the work without carrying out the required checks.

DSI Plumbing and Heating Ltd, of The Square, Fawley, near Southampton pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay a further £1,000 in costs.

Robert Percival, of Legion Road, Poole, and Andrew Church, of Ensign Drive, Gosport, both pleaded guilty to a single breach of the same legislation, Mr Percival for his commissioning of gas installations at one property, and Mr Church for making false entries into documents. They were both given a two year conditional discharge and were each ordered to pay costs of £250.

Asbestos Technical Expert Mick Dawson

Quantum Compliance continues to grow its portfolio management client base and with this success, comes the need for additional expert consultants. With this increase in workload, Quantum Compliance is sourcing highly competent consultants, and the latest is Mick Dawson.

Mick joins Quantum’s Asbestos Management division as their Asbestos Technical Expert. He has over 25 years’ experience, advising on asbestos issues and throughout his career, has worked for some of the largest asbestos consultancies in the UK. He specialises in providing duty holder responsibilities and asbestos awareness training, the development and implementation of asbestos management systems, practical assessment, site auditing, design and procurement of remediation projects.

Mick has extensive experience of working with duty holders, ensuring that the primary concerns of complying with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (in particular, the duty to manage), are efficiently addressed. For example:

  • implementation of management plans;
  • control of building work and contractors;
  • management survey information in order to compile an asbestos register;
  • asbestos awareness training for anyone carrying out maintenance or repairs; and
  • prior to work beginning on the structure of buildings, instruction on intrusive refurbishment and demolition surveys.

Mick has also worked extensively with licenced contractors, ensuring compliance through refresher training, site, office and system auditing, tracking HSE advice and preparing comprehensive method statements.
Finally, Mick is an examiner for the BOHS Certificate of Competence in Asbestos, tutors and practically assesses candidates for the Proficiency Modules.

Quantum Compliance’s mission statement is to be the ‘go-to’ compliance advice consultancy for the portfolio management sector, specialising in:

  • Health and Safety.
  • Fire Safety.
  • Water Safety.
  • Asbestos Safety and Management.
  • Environmental Management.
  • Training.

For further information, please contact Quantum Compliance on 0800 644 4142 or info@qcompliance.co.uk.