Those who work in the construction and manufacturing industries often have no choice but to rely on the expertise of independent health and safety consultants due to time and knowledge constraints. This method of using independent consultants is growing increasingly popular as it is more cost effective than employing someone on a full time basis. However, if the consultants are poorly qualified, inexperienced or simply get it wrong, the consequences can be disastrous.
In February 2015, an independent health and safety consultant was jailed for nine months after a worker was crushed to death when the side wall of an unsupported trench collapsed.
The court found that despite identifying the risk of trenches collapsing in his risk assessments, an inadequate method statement was drafted. In addition, the construction company changed their method of work, employing hand-digging in trenches rather than the excavator and earth suction machine specified in the method statement. The consultant failed to challenge this, even though he had the authority to call a halt to works being carried out in a dangerous manner.
Health and Safety Consultants
It is clear that independent health and safety consultants owe an independent duty to make inspection, and stop any works that pose a danger to workers. If they fail to do this, they can be prosecuted alongside the company or organisation that has employed them.
To assist industries in choosing qualified independent health and safety consultants, the Health and Safety Executive set up the official register of Occupational Safety and Health Consultants in January 2011. To be included in the register, the consultant must be accredited to a professional body within the relevant industry. However should it stop there? Construction organisations and companies must also be proactive in ensuring they have provided adequate health and safety training for all staff training. All employees working on major projects within the construction industry should have the safest and best equipment at hand with which to complete the job required in the safest possible manner.
This emphasis on safety means when sourcing equipment for large construction projects, companies should focus their interests in the safest equipment possible, to meet all regulations, and to provide employees with a safe and healthy working environment. This topic of safety has provided gaps in the market across many industries for equipment and products that make the working environment safer for all.
Hill Engineering is one such company that has spotted a gap in the market when it comes to digger bucket attachments. Their product the Tefra quick coupler has been designed to ensure the safest attachment in excavators and digger buckets today. Its popularity has seen it used across many major UK development projects including; Crossrail, M25 expansion, Hinkley Point and the Chiltern Railway development.
As health and safety regulations within the construction industry continue to get tighter the need for safer equipment will increase. This will see new innovative companies and products emerge to meet this new demand. However the main winner in all of this continues to be the construction worker the safer they are in work the better.