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kingpin0102  
#1 Posted : 10 April 2018 08:40:54(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
kingpin0102

Just looking a little advice from my peers if you don't mind. I've been working as a safety officer for last 6 months now so still have a lot to learn. I caught electricians crawling along electrical trunking on top of live cables approx 10 metres high. They are running in new cables and have access to a mewp and a telescopic cherry picker. I told them to come down off the ladder racking and use said mewp/cherry picker to access the new cable and ladder racking . I have come on to work this morning and the same thing is happening and I've been told by my let's say higher management that they are happy for them to crawl along it and clip their fall arrest equipment to the ladder racking. I've explained that they have no reason to be on there and it can be avoided by using mewp etc but to no avail. I don't believe that clipping the fall arrest equipment to the ladder racking supporting 12mm stud bar, that's hanging from the ceiling is sufficient, but I'm unsure. Any advice on this much appreciated. I'm also unhappy about working on top of live cables.
A Kurdziel  
#2 Posted : 10 April 2018 09:43:34(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

Why won't they use the MEWP?

RayRapp  
#3 Posted : 10 April 2018 09:44:20(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

I ask the electricians why they prefer to use this system of work rather than the equipment provided for them...you may be surprised by the answer.

kingpin0102  
#4 Posted : 10 April 2018 09:53:25(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
kingpin0102

I did. They claim its quicker and easier if one of them is on the racking. I don't want to be the type of H&S officer who stops every job and makes a fuss but I do want to do things correctly and safely. I've voiced my concerns to senior management and I'm not 100% sure that using the ladder racking as a suitable anchor point for the fall arrest harness isn't OK. I've tried researching it and can't find anything. I've also pointed out that it's not necessary and can be avoided using the mewp. I'm being out ranked so to speak.
A Kurdziel  
#5 Posted : 10 April 2018 10:18:27(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

There is a clear hierarchy of controls in WAH. Firstly avoid working at height, then work from safe platform such as a MEWP, then consider fall mitigation such as the harness (weakest control as you have to be already falling for it to come it play). So if they can use a MEWP they should. Whether the ladder is strong enough to support their weigh during a fall is not really relevant here.   

kingpin0102  
#6 Posted : 10 April 2018 10:39:13(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
kingpin0102

Totally agree but when I've voiced this it's falling on deaf ears and being met with resistance. That's why I'm asking about the suitable anchor point. Thanks for the advice it's appreciated. I have a meeting later where I'll broach the subject again and hopefully meet less resistance. Difficult dealing with a few of the senior management 'egos' and attitude towards H&S in this job. Thanks again.
Woolf13  
#7 Posted : 10 April 2018 12:14:40(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Woolf13

Hi,

If as you say they can carry out the work using the MEWP and there are no access issues with regards to positioning the MEWP to carry out the work then they should be using it or another suitable work platform.

The reason why the contractor will be doing it the way you have described is because they feel it is quicker and easier.

You are correct to question the anchor point for the harness and lanyard as the equipment/situation you have described is totally unsuitable for such attachments. Before you even get to the anchor point it is about the selction of the PPE which is an easy go to for people who do not understand how it works. What type of harness lanyard is it:

Point one: if work restraint it is unsuitable and that is designed to keep you from an edge and in this situation would not work as it is not designed to take a dynamic load e.g. person falling from their position of work (hence why used inside MEWP baskets)

Point two: if fall arrest what are the clearance distances from what they may fall into, for example plant and machinery and how do you get them down should they fall. If somebody says use the MEWP, you can respond with we will use the MEWP in the first instance to prevent the fall.

In short neither harness/lanyard is correct for this works.

In terms of anchor points you require a copy of BS EN 795 Personal Fall Protection Equipment - Anchor Devices (it does not really matter in this situation as explained above).

If following your meeting you are still not having any joy convincing people of the correct way to do things then you should put it in writing and justify your reasons why, that way then the ball is in their court should they choose not to follow your advice.

I hope that helps?

Kate  
#8 Posted : 10 April 2018 12:43:31(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

You are in the right and lots of good advice has been given here.  So be confident about this.  This is one of the situations where it is important to stand your ground.

Which is more important to these managers, that something is quicker and easier or that it is safer and within the law?  It won't turn out to be quicker and easier if something does go wrong and that can so easily be prevented by using the right equipment for the job. 

As you say egos can be an issue, so the trick is to bring the discussion to a rational level instead of being emotive or opinionated or about who has the authority and who knows best.  Talk about the pros and cons of doing it each way.  That will show which is right!

Good luck with this difficult situation and let us know how it goes./

MJT110474  
#9 Posted : 10 April 2018 13:40:04(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
MJT110474

Originally Posted by: kingpin0102 Go to Quoted Post
Just looking a little advice from my peers if you don't mind. I've been working as a safety officer for last 6 months now so still have a lot to learn. I caught electricians crawling along electrical trunking on top of live cables approx 10 metres high. They are running in new cables and have access to a mewp and a telescopic cherry picker. I told them to come down off the ladder racking and use said mewp/cherry picker to access the new cable and ladder racking . I have come on to work this morning and the same thing is happening and I've been told by my let's say higher management that they are happy for them to crawl along it and clip their fall arrest equipment to the ladder racking. I've explained that they have no reason to be on there and it can be avoided by using mewp etc but to no avail. I don't believe that clipping the fall arrest equipment to the ladder racking supporting 12mm stud bar, that's hanging from the ceiling is sufficient, but I'm unsure. Any advice on this much appreciated. I'm also unhappy about working on top of live cables.

If they are unmoving, ask those powers that be to sign a statement confirming they have had your advice and that they have taken it upon themselves to ignore it. This then covers your arse whilst explains to them that if anything goes wrong, it is entirely on their hands. If this is done via email, then BCC your home address into the email.

andybz  
#10 Posted : 10 April 2018 14:01:23(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
andybz

MEWP introduce their own risks - I wouldn't put them as high on the hierarchy of control as has been suggested.  Conversely, ladder racking may be viewed by some people as being a fixed platform and perfectly suitable for working from.

I would ask the electricians or their supervisor/manager to obtain formal confirmation from the ladder racking manufacturer of load ratings for use as a work platform and fall arrest anchor point.  I would expect any rating supplied to be for a static load only, so this would illustrate clearly that use as a work platform is not suitable.  Whether the MEWP is suitable is then another matter - perhaps there is an alternative?

AndyMcCluskey  
#11 Posted : 10 April 2018 14:07:26(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
AndyMcCluskey

Hi,

Just a few initial basics:-

Are the Electricians working to an approved set of RAMS?

Who in your company gave that approval?

Time to exert your authority:- 

You have tried the gentle approach without getting support for what you know is needed.

I would say that in this case you definitely need to stop all working at height activities until it is resolved.

I would go directly to H&S Director and state that you want these works stopped until the specified safe working practices are agreed and adhered to.

Your motivator to that person being that if an accident does happen then the Company will be seen at fault for allowing unsafe working practices to take place.

That is your job.

The Director should then fully support you.

Propose that a “minuted” meeting, with you as the Chairperson, take place immediately with the senior in house manager responsible for issuing – overseeing the works and the contractor’s manager - plus their onsite supervisor.

Confirm your discussions with the Director in writing and keep a copy.

Cheers

Andy

MJT110474  
#12 Posted : 10 April 2018 14:51:31(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
MJT110474

Originally Posted by: AndyMcCluskey Go to Quoted Post

Hi,

Just a few initial basics:-

Are the Electricians working to an approved set of RAMS?

Who in your company gave that approval?

Time to exert your authority:- 

You have tried the gentle approach without getting support for what you know is needed.

I would say that in this case you definitely need to stop all working at height activities until it is resolved.

I would go directly to H&S Director and state that you want these works stopped until the specified safe working practices are agreed and adhered to.

Your motivator to that person being that if an accident does happen then the Company will be seen at fault for allowing unsafe working practices to take place.

That is your job.

The Director should then fully support you.

Propose that a “minuted” meeting, with you as the Chairperson, take place immediately with the senior in house manager responsible for issuing – overseeing the works and the contractor’s manager - plus their onsite supervisor.

Confirm your discussions with the Director in writing and keep a copy.

Cheers

Andy

Hi Andy,

This is all good unless you work for a small firm that has a H&S Coordinator who is directly under the directors (in other words, there is no H&S Director) who then states that they are over riding you. Our job is to advise the MD on what steps he / she must take, but the buck stops with them. There have been a couple of times i've been overridden which resulted in me obtaining proof that advice was given. Not ALL companies play by the rules 100%. How do you stand when the MD says they understand the situation but they are not willing to back down?

Sure you could report them to HSE etc, but then you'd be out of a job and struggle to find another! Worth remembering that we are advisors (well, most of us are!)

Regards, Mike.

thanks 2 users thanked MJT110474 for this useful post.
AndyMcCluskey on 11/04/2018(UTC), lorna on 11/04/2018(UTC)
damian2701  
#13 Posted : 10 April 2018 16:56:31(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
damian2701

I would point your persons in office to S37 HASAWA 1974, along with some decided cases, sigificant fines can be quite persuasive!
Stuart Smiles  
#14 Posted : 10 April 2018 20:27:45(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Stuart Smiles

ask the md to stand with them in the mewp basket, tell them both that you're going to be taking pictures, and to see what the situation is, confirm the risk assessments that are being used by the electrician and whoever has said, "oh that's fine" talk to the electricians whilst they are doing the work, and "record it".

purpose of the standing there - can't ignore the situation and leave it to someone else - it is their decision to allow it to continue, also to appreciate the risks and why you are concerned in that situation. 

purpose of the pictures - recording to demonstrate that there is ongoing benefit in being seen to do the right thing

meeting - to discuss and record what they intend to to, how and to have a written agreement that you are going to follow procedure or not be working on site. perhaps need to discuss with the manager of electricians that you want what you want, and are going to have to chuck them off site if they are not going to follow procedures agreed.

thanks 2 users thanked Stuart Smiles for this useful post.
AndyMcCluskey on 11/04/2018(UTC), A Kurdziel on 11/04/2018(UTC)
boigy77  
#15 Posted : 11 April 2018 09:14:08(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
boigy77

I am relatively new to the profession, but one of the first things I learned was to cover yourself with an email trail, as advised above. Ironically it was a contracts manager who gave me that advice, and I had to do it in dealings with him at a later date when he was advocating methods I did not agree wth.

thanks 1 user thanked boigy77 for this useful post.
AndyMcCluskey on 11/04/2018(UTC)
Stuart Smiles  
#16 Posted : 11 April 2018 20:51:00(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Stuart Smiles

lastly thinking about it, there needs to be a discussion between you and the md in any case as you need to resolve the underlying issue of, if you want me to do something, we are going to have to work together, which means that we can discuss things about how to get things done, however if the people we are using aren't going to do as required, we need to have discussions, and also, not to be undermining the rules we have and use for the site, (get a contractor in to do it and we will ignore them ignoring the rules), especially if it's an important task or needs to be done to get something else working.

it seems you haven't been there for long, so you have the opportunity to reset what the rules are with the organisation, and to say i can move elsewhere if it isn't going to work between us. 

Bigmac1  
#17 Posted : 12 April 2018 19:33:33(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Bigmac1

Originally Posted by: kingpin0102 Go to Quoted Post
Totally agree but when I've voiced this it's falling on deaf ears and being met with resistance. That's why I'm asking about the suitable anchor point. Thanks for the advice it's appreciated. I have a meeting later where I'll broach the subject again and hopefully meet less resistance. Difficult dealing with a few of the senior management 'egos' and attitude towards H&S in this job. Thanks again.

Stand your ground, they will walk all over you. If this carry's on then leave this company immediately.

O'Donnell54548  
#18 Posted : 13 April 2018 07:09:32(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
O'Donnell54548

I am sorry, but this whole thread appears to be confrontational. It is filled with statements like "stand your ground",  cover yourself with emails and photographic evidence, signed statements from Directors etc.

Remember we are only getting one side's view of this situation, and although I would not dispute kingpins version I would suggest a level of caution on providing advice on how to deal with a situation (if this carry's on then leave this company immediately) based on such limited information.

Health and safety advisors should be working WITH all levels of the business, recognising all challenges and benefits so that it is percieved as a positive contribution to the business and the individuals within that business. If they are constantly seen as someone who is trying to make their job more difficult, or putting obstacles in their way (no matter how well intentione)  then it is inevitable that they will create conflict.

Where this conflict is with Senior Manager/MDs they will lose, and will then create a culture of dessent throughout the workforce with the belief that they can be ignored because they do not have the backing of the management.

"Always be prepared to lose a battle to win the war"    

thanks 2 users thanked O'Donnell54548 for this useful post.
Kate on 13/04/2018(UTC), boigy77 on 13/04/2018(UTC)
hilary  
#19 Posted : 13 April 2018 07:46:53(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
hilary

It's a difficult situation, you haven't really been there long enough to throw your weight around and to educate the powers that be in their level of culpability for any accident that might occur.  However, you certainly don't want it all coming down on your head either.

My own advice (for what it's worth) would be to risk assess the process as it is.  Assess again utilising the MEWP (and ensure your electricians have certification for using this) and produce both assessments for review at the meeting.

If your senior manager still wishes to overrule you, you have the evidence of when the risk assessment was done and if you put the meeting in your outlook calendar you have evidence of the meeting.  If anything then happens, you should be covered.

For the future, however, create a robust Permit to Work system, get RAMS from every contractor and ensure they understand your rules before they even set foot on site.  If they sign the Permit to say that will work in accordance with those rules and their RAMS and then they don't, well, you have done everything reasonably practicable to ensure their H&S on site.

Kate  
#20 Posted : 13 April 2018 08:38:20(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

I don't entirely agree with Hilary's point about a permit to work.  If a contractor has signed a permit, then doesn't follow it, and you don't monitor to them to find out whether they are following it or take action if you see they don't, you haven't done everything that is reasonably practicable.  Ther permit paperwork doesn't transfer all responsibility

boigy77  
#21 Posted : 13 April 2018 09:13:30(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
boigy77

Originally Posted by: O'Donnell54548 Go to Quoted Post

I am sorry, but this whole thread appears to be confrontational. It is filled with statements like "stand your ground",  cover yourself with emails and photographic evidence, signed statements from Directors etc.

Remember we are only getting one side's view of this situation, and although I would not dispute kingpins version I would suggest a level of caution on providing advice on how to deal with a situation (if this carry's on then leave this company immediately) based on such limited information.

Health and safety advisors should be working WITH all levels of the business, recognising all challenges and benefits so that it is percieved as a positive contribution to the business and the individuals within that business. If they are constantly seen as someone who is trying to make their job more difficult, or putting obstacles in their way (no matter how well intentione)  then it is inevitable that they will create conflict.

Where this conflict is with Senior Manager/MDs they will lose, and will then create a culture of dessent throughout the workforce with the belief that they can be ignored because they do not have the backing of the management.

"Always be prepared to lose a battle to win the war"    

I would say conflict would come with the response to being overuled. I agree that 'standing your ground' can only go so far. I had similar situations in my previous workplace (not the reason I moved on), and on the odd occasion I was overuled I had to just accept it and move on, but I had created an email trail that registered my disagreement with certain methods, again you can do that without being confrontational. Your post is spot on though, far too easy to say 'move on', if only real life was as simple.

hilary  
#22 Posted : 13 April 2018 09:16:51(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
hilary

Originally Posted by: Kate Go to Quoted Post

I don't entirely agree with Hilary's point about a permit to work.  If a contractor has signed a permit, then doesn't follow it, and you don't monitor to them to find out whether they are following it or take action if you see they don't, you haven't done everything that is reasonably practicable.  Ther permit paperwork doesn't transfer all responsibility

Yes, I did mean monitor and point out that they're not following protocol and, as we do here, throw them off site if necessary.  However, the Permit system does mean they have to come and see you and go through the induction process first so they understand what they can and can't do right up front.

thanks 1 user thanked hilary for this useful post.
Kate on 13/04/2018(UTC)
Stuart Smiles  
#23 Posted : 13 April 2018 11:05:41(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Stuart Smiles

what I was hoping to do was to create a dialogue by putting them (the managers) front and centre into the situation so that it cannot be ignored - i.e. if you are happy for this to go on in your opinion, please ensure you take responsibility, are seen to be involved, and participate in it, with the ability to be called to account later on the situation.

in addition, the issue of relationship between the director /senior managers and hse manager could have issues until the director/senior manager can understand the the hse manager is going to do the best for the company, and trying to get things done in the proper way. 

decisions and tests of resolve to do what needs doing in the right way always exist, however it is difficult to pick the battles you need to fight. in this case, I'd be inclined to "work together" to solve the problem, by shining sunlight onto the issue, and asking that they are happy to sign up to/take responsibilty for the alternative solution, rather than use of the mewp. 

if cable tying new cables being run along a ladder, I can see working from above as the contractor being attractive, however at the same time, if I were on the ladder, I'd also want to know that it would hold my weight, and also couldn't really know how well the anchors were in in the first place, so the issue from a practical perspective could be "grey" to the contractor employees. (it's only 25 minutes what's the problem), just want to get finished to next job...

however there definitely needs to be a roles and responsibilites discussion on acceptable practices, unacceptable practices, and tolerances, if only to ensure that you know where you are pushing against an open door and what would be viewed as unacceptable. 

as said before, it seems you are relatively new in the organisation and putting some markers down now would be likely to save time in the future and generate an open environment for all. perhaps also suggesting doing the iosh managing safely and directors health and safety to encourage all to consider it as part of their role. 

we did it with all team supervisors, (so included others) to spread the safety love, and it created appreaciation of the issues, and more engagement/taking account of health and safety rather than "not my problem" - kicking to hse to solve, (and some not wanting to do the course), but people are people. 

 

  

Bigmac1  
#24 Posted : 15 April 2018 11:25:14(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Bigmac1

Originally Posted by: boigy77 Go to Quoted Post

I am relatively new to the profession, but one of the first things I learned was to cover yourself with an email trail, as advised above. Ironically it was a contracts manager who gave me that advice, and I had to do it in dealings with him at a later date when he was advocating methods I did not agree wth.

I agree with Boigy, cover your arse and then look for another job
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