We recently delivered an in-house IOSH Managing Safely course to a new client. One of the company directors had been to a MESH breakfast presentation and decided he had a group of 10 managers and supervisors that needed to understand their health & safety responsibilities better.
Interestingly the company had felt that 2 of the managers could not be released for the whole of the course but they could attend some of the key modules of the training. One of these was the maintenance manager Barrie.
The following is an extract from a communication from the company the day after the training had finished:
I thought you may be interested to hear about an incident this morning
which just re-enforces some of the stuff discussed during this week.
The circumstances around this was that Barrie informed me about a
contractor being on site, and he took pride in informing me he had a
copy of their risk assessment, had gone through the permit to work at
height, inspected their ladder, signed it all off etc etc ….good work
Barrie ! ………..
I asked Barrie what he was going to do up the
ladder ?…… he didn’t know. I asked him where he needed to use the
ladder…..he didn’t know. Obviously I had to get involved and this
is the extract from my near miss form:
The contractors were here to carry out servicing of our intruder alarm
system. I was informed that the Engineer needed to work at height on a
ladder to check the backup battery on the sounder and to replace a
sticker on the front. We looked at where the work would be done and I
estimated the height of the sounder unit to be at least 25 feet off
the ground. I was not happy at all with this being done on a ladder
and suggested we should use our forklift truck and safety cage to make
the job a great deal safer.
On seeing the Engineer slightly put out by my concerns I explained that it was in the interest of his own safety and in order to protect us legally. He does this job day in – day out across many companies but I was still concerned.
As I was explaining this to him, two people came out of the reception door, opening it exactly where his ladder would have been. It was perfect timing.
I asked the Engineer if he would have taken action inside the building to ensure no-one could come out of that door while he was up the ladder, he said “no, I would not have done that”. I replied by saying “well, you have just been knocked off your ladder whilst approximately 25 feet up in the air, I hope you can now see why I am talking to you about it”
I said to Barrie that as far as I was concerned we have potentially
saved someone’s life today. He looked a bit white when he came in my
office afterwards !
It’s going to take a while to change culture, but I am more determined
and focused than ever to do so.
Thanks for the training we learnt a lot and will make improvements.
Don`t wait for an accident like this to happen at your workplace before asking for training.
If our client had then they may well have had to
report a fatal injury or at the very least a RIDDOR incident.