Joint call for deregulation halt after Grenfell Tower Fire

Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in Quantum Blog |

Leading safety bodies and practitioners have jointly called on the UK government to halt deregulation of safety and health legislation in light of the Grenfell Tower fire. More than 70 leading organisations and figures from the UK’s safety and health profession, including IOSH, the British Safety Council and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, penned an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, asking her to “scrap the government’s approach to health and safety deregulation and think again”. The group has also pressed the Government to complete its review of Part B of the Building Regulations 2010 – the regulations which cover fire safety in and around buildings in England – as a matter of urgency, and to focus on improving safety in the forthcoming parliament. The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), International Institute of Risk & Safety Management (IIRSM), National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH), Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Unite the union have also backed the letter, alongside senior OSH professionals from organisations including Park Health and Safety, Skanska and Thames Water. “We believe it is totally unacceptable for residents, members of the public and our emergency services to be exposed to this level of preventable risk in modern-day Britain,” the letter states. “At this crucial time of national reflection and sorrow, we urge all politicians to re-emphasise the need for effective health and safety regulation and competent fire risk management. These are fundamental to saving lives and sustaining our communities. We believe it is vital that this disaster marks a turning point for improved fire safety awareness and wider appreciation that good health and safety is an investment, not a cost.”   The fire at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower public housing block on 14 June gutted the majority of the building; 79 people are listed as dead or missing. Fire experts have drawn attention to the fact that part B of the Building Regulations 2010, has not been thoroughly reviewed since 2006, though most other parts of the regulations have been revised at two-yearly intervals. In calling on the government to complete its review of Part B, the signatories add: “Together, we offer our organisations’ support in undertaking the review – we all have valuable links to experts in this area who can advise on best regulatory outcomes. In the meantime, we welcome the government’s commitment to act and to implement the interim findings of the forthcoming public inquiry. You have it in your power to remove immediately a further risk to people at work and outside of the workplace – unwise deregulation – which threatens public and worker safety.”   The letter has been...

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Long awaited change of direction for Firefighters union

Posted by on Jun 19, 2017 in Quantum Blog |

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is hoping the election result will mean the end to a round of cuts that would have cut fire and rescue service funding in half over the course of a decade. Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the FBU, said: “Millions of voters supported policies that just two years ago were condemned as fringe ideas – re-nationalising the railways, scrapping student debt, building new homes. Jeremy Corbyn has shifted the political debate decisively in favour of working class people by working towards what is fair and just. It seems that the Tory party’s austerity agenda may have had its day. The Prime Minister called this election in the most cynical way, for the benefit of party interests alone. It has been an utter disaster, a gamble that has backfired. Millions have rejected the endless attacks on living standards and public services. People are sick of seeing their wages cut, facing a future where young people cannot get a decent job or a decent home. Theresa May now has no mandate to continue with the policy of endless cuts that put the safety and health of the public at risk. Jeremy Corbyn’s personal rating has risen throughout the course of the election campaign, as has support for Labour, and there is now significant backing for the radical change offered by Labour’s policies under Corbyn. The FBU wholeheartedly welcomes the rapid change of direction that is needed to make our country a safer, fairer place. Our members are very proud of the fire and rescue service, but it now needs investment, not more decimating...

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Death of a resident at a care home

Posted by on Jun 16, 2017 in Quantum Blog |

An 87-year-old resident fell from her first floor window and died at a residential care home in Surrey.  Coppice Lea Nursing Home has been fined almost half a million pounds. Guildford Crown Court heard that the tragic incident happened in the early hours of 3 October 2013 at Coppice Lea Nursing home in Surrey, which is owned and managed by Caring Homes Healthcare Group Limited.  The woman fell about four metres through her window.  She was reported missing at 1am and found two hours later. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The HSE investigation found that the window restrictor in place, which normally prevents the window from opening fully, was easily overridden and therefore not fit for purpose. Caring Homes Healthcare Group Limited of The Colchester Business Park, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £450,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,762.44. Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Rebekah Dunn said: “It was clear from our investigation that the window restrictor was simply not doing the job of preventing the window from opening. It is alarming, and tragic, that an 87-year-old woman with dementia was able to defeat it. Caring Homes therefore failed to ensure the woman’s safety, which is particularly important given its unique position of trust. All windows that are large enough for people [to fit] through should be restrained sufficiently to prevent such falls. The 100mm benchmark should only be allowed to disengage using a special tool or...

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Huge fire in London Residential Tower block

Posted by on Jun 14, 2017 in Quantum Blog |

Police say it is known that six people have died and more than 50 are in hospital after a huge fire raged through the night in Grenfell Tower, North Kensington.  The 24-storey block, which is still not fully extinguished, looks at risk of collapsing. So far, firefighters have rescued “large numbers”, but London Mayor Sadiq Khan said “a lot” of people were unaccounted for. The first reports of fire in the tower, came in at 00:54 BST. Three hours later, people were still being evacuated from the tower, the police said. Eyewitnesses accounts described people trapped in the burning Grenfell Tower, screaming for help and yelling for their children to be saved.  It’s also been accounted that eyewitnesses saw lights, thought to be rom mobile phones or torches, flashing from the top of the block of flats.  Trapped residents were also sen at windows, some holding children. Eyewitness Jody Martin said: “I watched one person falling out, I watched another woman holding her baby out the window… hearing screams. I was yelling at everyone to get down and they were saying ‘We can’t leave our apartments, the smoke is too bad on the corridors.'” Paul Munakr, who lives on the seventh floor, managed to escape. “As I was going down the stairs, there were firefighters, truly amazing firefighters that were actually going upstairs, to the fire, trying to get as many people out the building as possible,” he told the BBC. He said he was alerted to the fire not by fire alarms but by people on the street below, shouting “don’t jump, don’t jump”. Michael Paramaseevan, who lives on the seventh floor with his girlfriend and young daughter, said he ignored official advice to stay in your home. “If we had stayed in that flat, we would’ve perished. My gut instinct told me just to get the girls out. I wrapped the little one up because of the smoke and I just got them out.”   Another resident, Zoe, who lives on the fourth floor, said she was woken by a neighbour banging on her door. “The whole landing was thick with smoke. The smoke alarms weren’t going off but the way it spread so quickly from the fourth floor, all the way up to the 23rd floor was scary.”   Mayor Sadiq Khan told the BBC that Questions will need to be answered over the safety of tower blocks.  He also said he was devastated by the horrific scenes, attended by more than 250 firefighters and 100 ambulance medics. “We can’t have a situation where people’s safety is put at risk because of bad advice being given or if it is the case, as has been alleged, of tower...

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Roofing company fined after ignoring HSE advice

Posted by on Jun 13, 2017 in Quantum Blog |

G&S Roofing Ltd has been fined £80 thousand for safety failings related to working at height in August 2016. A number of concerns were raised by members of the public about work being carried out by the company, which twice ignored written advice to address the issue of working at height in an unsafe manner.  Concern was raised by a member of the public who contacted HSE after seeing operatives working unsafely at height. When inspectors visited the site they found workmen working on the flashings of a chimney from a ladder resting on the pitch of the roof at the unguarded gable end of the two storey house.  The did not identify the correct measures that would help prevent a person falling from the gable end of the building. Despite the HSE issuing a prohibition notice, the company took no action to rectify the dangerous working conditions. G&S Roofing Ltd of Pembroke Lodge, 3 Pembroke Road, Ruslip was found guilty in its absence to breaching Regulations 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by virtue of Regulation 3(b). The company was fined a total of £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,574. HSE inspector Rebekah Dunn said: “The dangers associated with working at height are well-known and G & S Roofing had a duty to protect all operatives from the risk of falling from height. Despite repeated advice, the company failed to put in adequate precautionary measures. “It is vital for duty-holders to ensure that all issues related to health and safety are suitably addressed, particularly when the issues are...

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