An Inspector Calls

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We had an out of the blue spot inspection from HSE yesterday, it’s fine, I’m not complaining because, and I’m going to gloat here a bit, we are really blummin good when it comes to the health and safety side of it all. There are two reasons for this, one, It’s important to us to be safe and look after our people and two, we get “randomly” inspected ALL. THE. DAMN. TIME! Inspections should come on average every for years and be no more than two years apart. This isn’t a rule as such, more like an understanding or guideline. Our last inspection before yesterday was at the end of 2022, less than 18 months ago.

We had an out of the blue spot inspection from HSE yesterday

Because we get inspected so often I find it interesting to see what HSE are targeting in the different visits, in 2017 the main focus was extraction tools with correct HEPA filters, 2020 was obviously COVID based, this wasn’t a visit though just a few telephone calls as it was dangerous to mix. The irony! I still chuckle at thought of a HSE inspector in all their sparkling PPE including Hi-viz, Rigger boots, wrap around safety specs and earplugs around their neck sat at home making the call to ask if you are maintaining 2 metres…. “Yes of course we are, would you like to come and check?” “Oh no it’s fine, I trust you”.  The subject for attention in 2022 was noise and dust, understandable given what we do. This year was much the same given the short amount of time between visits, however lung and skin monitoring is now mandatory. So as an employer we need to provide PPE, enforce the wearing of it, prove the wearing of it, and now pay for an external evaluator to analyse if its working and if the user is affected……. Run a business they said…..

Anyway, I don’t mean to come across cynical, I hope you get a laugh out of it. It’s all meant in jest as I understand the importance of H&S at the end of the day it is a good thing Like I said to the inspector, it keeps us on our toes and there is a certain satisfaction when they walk away not being able to issue an FFI (Fee For Intervention) this is basically how they get paid now government funding has been stopped.

I’ll leave you with a theory a good friend once told me, unfortunately no longer with us as his observation of the world always made me chuckle, he told me:

“HSE was created by the government to reduce accidents and work related illness in the workplace, they worked tirelessly to get construction workers and engineers etc to work safely, use guards on machines, scaffolds on sites, make hard hats and safety boots mandatory on building sites and enforce the use of extraction and dust masks etc etc. Doing this reduced the accidents, illness and fatalities, so one day the head of HSE swaggered into the office of the government official who set him the task of taming the wild west of manual working to proudly announce he had done what was asked….

“I’ve done it”

“Done what?”

“Reduced accidents, illness and fatalities”

“Ah brilliant, so now its done, we don’t need you anymore…..”

“Oh, erm… Actually, I think it’s still a bit unsafe, there are areas we need to look at….”

“OK, off you go then!”

And this is why step ladders are banned on some sites, you have a risk assessment for sitting on an office chair, the BT guy wears a hard hat while sat outside working on his exchange box (Seriously what is going to fall on his head? An acorn??) and we have to watch a 2 hour long movie in a site hut before we can get on site”

Thanks to HSE, they do a great job of making us all safer and coming to see us all the time!

Have a great weekend all!!


Tags: Health & Safety
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