29 Sep 2014

Subject: Safer sites – targeted inspection initiative September 2014

To remind you about HSE’s Inspection Initiative that starts this week w/c 22/09/14

Health as well as safety’ is the message during this year’s Construction Initiative as poor standards and unsafe practices on Britain’s building sites are targeted during a nationwide drive aimed at reducing ill health, death and injury in the industry.

From 22 September until 17 October, HSE Construction Inspectors will carry out unannounced visits to sites where refurbishment projects or repair works are underway.

This is the ninth annual Initiative and building on previous campaigns, HSE Inspectors will ensure high-risk activities particularly those affecting the health of workers, are being properly managed- see attached link for further details.


kind regards

Ian Weekes | Visiting Officer Construction

19 Sep 2014

Specialist subcontractors and small builders trade bodies have teamed up to launch a wide-scale survey into the state of industry payment practices.

The move to lay bare payment times in the supply chain follows the publication of the Construction Supply Chain Payment Charter earlier this year.

Signing the charter pledges a firm to 30 days payment from January 2018 on public and private sector work, and 60 days with immediate effect. With it comes an ambition for zero retentions.

But specialist are angry that just two main contractors – Laing O’Rourke and Skanska – have signed up.

House builders Berkeley Homes and Barratt are also on board, but the initiative falls short of the promised Government crusade to eradicate late payment.

Finding from the new survey will be used to step up pressure on all political parties ahead of the next election.

The National Specialist Contractors Council and Federation of Master Builders are leading the survey, which is open until 17 October.

NSCC Chief Executive Suzannah Nichol said: “We are coming out of recession and it is an ideal opportunity to take a snapshot of where the industry sits in terms of late payment.

“Anecdotally we are seeing a lot more of the industry’s major clients shifting to 30-day payment at present.”


05 Sep 2014

Safety bosses have commissioned a report to keep the hated £124-an-hour Fee for Intervention scheme.

An HSE press release this morning stated: “A scheme designed to shift the cost of regulating workplace health and safety from the public purse to businesses who break the law has proven effective and should stay, an independent report has concluded.”

That will be bad news for construction bosses who believe the scheme is just a money-raising exercise for safety chiefs.

The controversial scheme was introduced in 2012 and has raised millions as HSE inspectors charge contractors for visits when they break safety laws.

The HSE said: “The evidence suggests the concerns voiced about FFI have not manifested themselves to any significant or serious extent and that ‘generally inspectors and dutyholders continue to work together in improving health and safety management’.

Judith Hackitt, Chair of HSE, said: “Both HSE and the Government believe it is right that those who fail to meet their legal health and safety obligations should pay our costs, and acceptance of this principle is growing.

“This review gives us confidence that FFI is working effectively and should be retained. We will continue to monitor the performance of Fee for Intervention to ensure it remains consistent and fair.”

The report also concludes that:

  •  Fears that FFI would be used to generate revenue have proven to be unfounded.
  • While not popular with some inspectors and dutyholders, it has been embedded effectively and applied consistently.
  • There is no viable alternative that can achieve the same aims.