This website uses non-intrusive cookies to improve your user experience. You can visit our cookie privacy page for more information.

Social media

Javascript is required to use HSE website social media functionality.

Construction eBulletin - May 2011

Welcome to the latest edition of Construction Infonet

Construction Infonet is a free eBulletin from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to provide a regular update on health and safety issues for all in the construction industry.

In this issue

Leadership and Worker Involvement Toolkit

There is one key insight, based on research, that underpins The Leadership and Worker Involvement Toolkit.  When a business benefits from good leadership, and combines this with action to involve the workforce, then a step change in health and safety performance is enabled.

Whether you are a worker, a supervisor, a construction manager or you run your own business, this toolkit contains something for you. For example;

For workers there are pages to help you find the information you need.

If you are a health and safety adviser or consultant, check out the information, training packs and assessment tools that this toolkit provides.

This is not about technical improvements in machinery safety, or about improving health and safety management systems. This is about harnessing the value and creativity of people at work in construction. It is about getting the very best out of the plant and procedures that you use on your project, whilst minimising the potential for harm.

Find out more: Leadership and worker involvement toolkitcontent


Do you work with wood and MDF?

Information is available to tell you about the dust risks and how to protect yourself together with a useful video showing how much wood dust you could be breathing when sweeping up.

Watch the video.

Recent enforcement activity

Read details of some recent HSE prosecutions and enforcement action in the construction sector and find sources of relevant advice.

Work at height

5 May 2011 - A Hertfordshire-based electrical company has been fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £81,927 after a man was left paralysed when he was knocked from a scissor lift and fell 8 metres to the floor below.

9 May 2011 - A scaffolder from Hastings has been fined £15,000 with costs of £5,000 for endangering himself and others working on a four-storey scaffold with no harness.

13 May 2011 - A Nottingham steeplejack firm was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £32,000 after one worker was killed and another injured in two separate falls. Brian Collins, 52, fell 34 metres to his death through an open grating in a platform in a chimney.

27 May 2011 - A London property development company has been fined £37,500 with costs of £5,549.90 after a migrant worker suffered severe head injuries when he fell more than 5 metres from scaffolding at a Hackney warehouse.

2 June 2011 - A family firm from Norfolk was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,320 after a company director died after falling 10 metres through a fragile roof whilst replacing skylights.

3 June 2011 - Energy company and contactor prosecuted after a maintenance worker fell to his death at a South Wales power station.  RWE npower were fined £250,000 and ordered to pay £30,000 costs, AMEC Group Ltd received fines of £200,000 with costs of £30,000.

Further information


9 May 2011 - A Nottinghamshire building firm contaminated an elderly resident's possessions with asbestos during bathroom renovation work at sheltered housing in West Bridgford. The company was fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £5,741.

27 May 2011 - A contractor has been prosecuted for exposing workers to asbestos in Derby. The contractor claimed asbestos removal was within his capability, despite not holding a licence to carry out the work. He arranged for four men to carry out the work unsupervised, with only basic instructions and inadequate tools and PPE for the job. The contractor was ordered to serve 300 hours community service and ordered to pay £500 costs.

3 June 2011 - A refurbishment company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 costs after it exposed two of its workers to dangerous asbestos-containing materials at a site in Oswestry.

Further information


11 May 2011 - A Liverpool demolition firm has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in prosecution costs after poor work saw a disused cinema collapse onto a dual carriageway in Thornton Cleveleys. The company had failed to set up safe arrangements for the demolition such as an exclusion zone around the building. It also failed to apply to the council for temporary road closures while the work took place.

16 June 2011 - A demolition company has been fined £11,700 and ordered to pay costs of £6,936.50 following a dangerous occurrence involving the release of over half a tonne of gas. It also carried out work while electricity supplies to the buildings undergoing demolition remained live.

Further information


13 May 2011 - A Kent based property company and its groundwork subcontractor have each been fined £2,800 and ordered to pay costs of £2,917 for unsafe excavation work. The company had failed to plan, manage and monitor the excavation work being carried out on its construction site. The subcontractor was also prosecuted for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that the excavation work did not put workers in danger from the excavation collapsing.

9 June 2011 - A site foreman has been fined £240 after a labourer in his team was killed when a trench collapsed. There was no edge protection to the trench and the sides of the trench had not been supported to make them safe.

Further information

Quick Hitches

19 May 2011 - Fines totalling £18,700 have been handed down after a foreman died when an excavator bucket filled with concrete fell on him at a London construction site. The excavator operator had failed to manually insert a pin into the quick hitch which was necessary to safely lock the bucket in place.

Further information

Carbon monoxide

24 May 2011 - A London construction company and a security company manager have been prosecuted after a security guard died from carbon monoxide poisoning while at a work.

The HSE investigation showed that the company failed to take reasonable measures to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, that the generator provided for their use was safe and without risks to the health of the security guards. It was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £24,515.

The security company manager failed to take effective steps to ensure that the petrol generator provided for the use of security guards was not operated within the building and he did not carry out or implement the findings of a risk assessment for the provision of a 24-hour security presence. He was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,000.

Further information


6 June 2011 - A Construction firm and its traffic management subcontractor have been fined a total of £202,000 after a worker employed by another subcontractor was killed while working on the M25 motorway. The worker was carrying out fencing work close to the Holmesdale Tunnel section of the M25 near Enfield, when he was crushed between a van and a safety barrier after a lorry jack-knifed on the motorway.

Further information

RIDDOR - New arrangements for online reporting of injuries and incidents

From 12 September 2011, all other reportable work-related injuries and incidents under RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995) will move to a predominantly online system.

New publications - May/June 2011

SIM 02/2007/01 Version 3 - Safe use of quick hitch devices on excavators

HSE internal guidance - this Sector Information Minute (SIM) addresses key issues that inspectors may wish to consider during inspection and gives guidance on instances where enforcement may be appropriate. Version 3 has been updated to include recent developments in both use and legal requirements.

Research Report RR877 - A commentary on routes to competence in the construction sector

Research Report RR848 - Health and safety in public sector construction procurement - A follow-up study

Research Report RR835 - Evaluation of safety nets by experiment

The Safe Use of Telehandlers in Construction - The Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group

Health and safety events

Improve the health and safety of your business by attending a health and safety event near you.

Places are available at the following Working Well Together (WWT) events

Plus many more events over the forthcoming year -

Working Well Together events

Business Advice Open Days

Nationwide - free quality advice and information; helping you run a successful business

Small change to Construction Infonet

From May 2011 the Construction Infonet will be sent to you from:; please amend your email account “safe list” accordingly.


We issue eBulletins on a regular basis and would welcome your feedback and views as well as any suggestions/contributions for future articles.

Contact us

Updated 2015-01-16