HSE clampdown to reduce death and injury on construction sites

Construction sites are being put under the spotlight as part of an intensive inspection initiative aimed at reducing death, injury and ill health.
Between 20 February and 16 March, inspectors from the Health & Safety Executive will be visiting sites where refurbishment or repair works are being carried out. This is part of a national month-long drive to improve standards in one of the Britain’s most dangerous industries.
Their primary focus will be high-risk activity such as working at height and also ‘good order’ such as ensuring sites are clean and tidy with clear access routes.
The purpose of the initiative is to remind those working in construction that poor standards are unacceptable, and could result in enforcement action.
During 2010/11, 50 workers were killed while working in construction and 2298 major injuries were reported.

Bristol Ice Skating Rink

Bristol’s one and only ice hockey rink is to closed and concverted to student accomodation. The rink has been open since 1966 and has been used for ice hockey and ice skating. The rink is very dated and suffers from condensation and damp. It also lacks spectator accomodation and facilities. If the site is redeveloped then a new rink suitable for all and accomodating adequate facilities for spectators should be provided out of town.

Developing contaminated land – new guidance

Revised regulations and guidance over the development of contaminated land have been laid before Parliament by DEFRA. It has been brought about by the fact that the existing system is unclear, unwieldly and bureaucratic.
The new rules are subject to Parliamentary approval and won’t come into force until 6 April.
The new statutory guidance should be more usable for those that deal with land contamination and remediation.
A new four-category test has been developed to clarify when land does and does not need to be remediated.
It is hoped that local authorities will be able to deal with low risk sites more quickly.

Building Regulations Consultation

The Department for Communities and Local Government is looking consultation on changes to the building regulations in England.
The intention is to streamline the Building Regulations in order to deliver safer and more sustainable buildings. There is also an intention to reduce the costs to business.
The consultation is the next step to improve the energy efficiency of new homes and in particular to introduce zero-carbon emissions for homes from 2016. There are four sections to the consultation which include;
1. The consultation approach and proposals to change various technical aspects of the regulations.
2. Proposals to increase the energy efficiency of buildings.
3. Proposals changes to electrical safety in homes.
4. Changes to the building control system.
Section four contains proposals for;

1. Improving private sector Approved Inspector arrangements, including removing the Warranty Link Rule
2. Extending the competent person self-certification schemes framework and introducing specialist third party certification schemes
3. Introducing ‘Appointed Persons’ to act as compliance co-ordinators on construction sites.

Have your say by visiting the Planning Portal. Consultation is open to the 27th April 2012. The proposed changes are significant so it is worth having a look.