Jeremy’s Jottings

When working in the City of London I was privileged to be responsible for the asset management of high value buildings. Prior to undertaking any work contractors would be required to make available their health & safety policy, method statements, details of accident records and insurance. If a contractor claimed an accident free record in the previous three years they weren’t considered any further. When work was in hand contractors were subject to random inspections to ensure compliance with terms and conditions and health & safety.

So, one sunny day I was in the office, the windows were open, I had heard a number of emergency sirens (but this want unusual) and shortly afterward I began to wonder why the air ambulance was buzzing around. There were six telephones in the office and all started to ring within a few seconds of each other. It was a member of the facilities team who worked for me who thought I should know an employee of a contractor had fallen off a roof whilst carrying a bucket of hot tar. The tar bucket missed the employee and bouncing off a couple of walls on the way down probably saved the employee’s life – his days of working in the building trade were though at an end.

Being able to provide the Health & Safety Executive with method statements, Health & Safety policies and demonstrate reasonable precautions had been taken when engaging the contractor meant my employer was found to be in the clear. The HSE didn’t prosecute the contractor, but the investigation lasted around 6 months, the contractor lost work and none of this did anything for the contractor’s reputation. With the aid of crutches and something like of 21/2 years later the employee had a degree of mobility.

To my mind Health & Safety is too often used as an excuse either not to do something or to be overly cautious. On the other hand when inspecting property the number of tenants unaware of say the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 bearing in mind this is now 10 years old is truly unbelievable – and it’s not just the fire regulations I could list many others. If you’re not aware or aren’t sure where to begin then I find the HSE website can be a good starting point. In addition why not look around and address the simple obvious things like the files on the floor which people have a habit of tripping over or say make sure the fire exits aren’t obstructed before……oh too late.

Jeremy’s jottings do not constitute advice on any specific matter. Lawson Commercial recommends you seek professional advice before taking action. No liability can be accepted by us for any action taken or not taken as a result of the jottings.