New guidance on use of face masks published by CLC

Construction employers asked the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) for guidance on the use of face coverings in response to coronavirus to help provide a consistent approach across the industry. The current position on the use of face coverings in response to coronavirus is mandatory for members of the public in an increasing number of specified places, most of which meet all ofthe following criteria:

  • enclosed public spaces
  • where social distancing isn’t always possible
  • where people come into contact with others they do not normally meet

The use of face coverings or PPE is not required in response to coronavirus in offices or whilst carrying out construction activities and the Government guidance on Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) –Construction and other outdoor work states that: ‘Workplaces should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 outside clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.’

CLC Position

The CLC’c position is that where construction workers are not required to wear PPE for their specific task and their workplace meets all of the criteria below, their employer should make available, as a minimum, face coverings when working;

  • in an enclosed space
  • in a place where social distancing isn’t always possible
  • in a place where they come into contact with others they do not normally meet

Imporantly, the CLC also states that ‘Workers should maintain a distance of two metres, or one metre with risk mitigation where two metres is not viable.’

To view the full CLC guidance on use of face coverings please log into the BSG Hub.

New Managing Director appointed at the Building Safety Group (BSG)

BSG is delighted to announce that Stephen Bell has been appointed as the new Managing Director of the Building Safety Group (BSG). He will succeed the existing Managing Director, Paul Kimpton, who will become the new Chairman of BSG, as Michael Setter is wishing to retire having been Chairman for 36 years. *Stephen joins BSG on June 22nd for a period of health and safety training before taking over the role as Managing Director on July 27th.

Stephen is a highly accomplished leader and manager with a tangible track record of success across small, medium and large enterprises operating in the construction industry. He will play a key role in helping BSG to grow and develop the business throughout the UK, whilst maintaining the group’s first class reputation as a leading provider of health and safety services for the building sector.

Paul Kimpton commented: “I would like to extend a warm welcome to Stephen, whose experience and professionalism will be extremely valuable as we continue to grow our business, as well as enhance our range of services for existing members. I look forward to working with him.”. Stephen Bell added: “BSG is recognised as a market leader in its field, dedicated to the provision of health and safety services for our industry. I am therefore greatly looking forward to building on this success by helping the group to meets its aspirations through continuous improvement in health, safety and environmental performance.”

*Stephen was originally due to takeover as Managing Director at BSG in March earlier this year. His planned start date was delayed however because of the coronavirus pandemic. New Managing Director appointed at the Building Safety Group (BSG)

BSG Subscription Rebate

As BSG has been unable to carry out sites visits in all locations, a subscription rebate will be levied to reflect the reduction in service. BSG directors (who are all drawn from and represent member companies) have therefore concluded that a 10% reduction in the subscription rate will be applied to invoices circulated for the period commencing 1st June. The 10% reduction will be based on the workforce returns submitted for the last subscription period, 1st December 2019 to 31st May 2020.

In the meantime, we would kindly ask members to notify us if you are considering a return to site work. This will help us to meet the growing demand for site inspections by un-furloughing BSG Safety Advisers located in your region. Send your notification to with details of when your business expects to return to work and the anticipated demand for site inspections.

Note to members: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Due to the current circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus we have undertaken a risk assessment for our safety advisers to follow. For your information a sample copy is enclosed.

Some member companies have already taken the decision not to allow our staff to visit their sites. This decision is theirs and not BSG policy, although this may change as further advice is given by the government. Should you decide to take a similar stance, please advise this office so that we can inform our staff.

Please note, we also feel it prudent not to pass our tablet device containing the report to your site representative for signature, whilst the situation persists.

Coronavirus (Covid 19)

The Government’s Department of Health has designated the current risk level from the coronavirus as ‘moderate’, and has described the disease itself as a “serious and imminent threat” to public health. But it should be noted that the situation is changing so please visit the site below to keep up to date with the current status.

COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses

Because it’s a new illness, it is not known exactly how Coronavirus spreads from person to person, but similar viruses spread by respiratory droplets that people sneeze, cough, or exhale. While animals are the source of the virus, this virus is now spreading from one person to another (human-to-human transmission).

At time of writing, there is currently not enough epidemiological information to determine how easily and sustainably this virus is spreading between people. The main signs of infection are:

  • Fever (high temperature)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath and breathing difficulties
  • Feeling very tired.

The majority of people infected are likely to fully recover, however it can be a bigger threat to people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer, and chronic lung disease.


The NHS advise the following measures to help stop germs like Coronavirus spreading:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using public transport.
  • Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available; NHS How to wash your hands
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell;
If you believe that you have been in contact with anyone suspected of having the virus and have the above symptoms, or are returning from a highly affected county such as China or Italy, it is advised that you ring 111 first for their advice.

HSE issues warning over threatening behaviour

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned threatening behaviour will not be tolerated after an incident during an inspection of a Teesside waste and recycling site in August 2019.

In a statement on the 19 February, the HSE said that when attending the Teesside premises on 23 August 2019, an inspector became aware of an individual pointing at them across the yard, shouting obscenities.

The incident took place on 23 August 2019.

HSE claims its inspector was subjected to repeated verbal abuse and offensive language throughout their attempted inspection.

They felt physically threatened when Jacob Alexander Thompson, of Mulberry Wynd, Stockton-on-Tees, stepped towards them and raised his fist as he aggressively told them to leave.

Sentenced on 17 February at Teesside Magistrates’ Court following an investigation by Cleveland Police, Thompson, 38, was ordered to pay £100 compensation and costs of £85 after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 4 of the Public Order Act 1986. He also received a conditional discharge of six months.

Victoria Wise, principal inspector of health and safety at HSE, said: “Thompson’s aggression, threats and abuse are wholly unacceptable. HSE will not tolerate any form of violence, aggression or abuse.

“Our inspectors are warranted to attend premises to carry out their job to ensure the safety and health of those working there.

“Any aggressive or violent words or actions taken against HSE staff in the course of their duties will be reported to the police.

“I would like to thank Cleveland Police for their help and support in dealing with this serious matter.”

HSE is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses.

HAVS: The hidden threats

There are two million workers at risk of developing Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) in the UK, and currently 300 thousand people suffering advanced stages.

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome is caused by an over exposure to vibrations when, for example, using handheld power tools. Symptoms include bouts of vibration white finger, where fingers lose all feeling and turn white in cold temperatures, muscle fatigue, potentially resulting in disability, and in some cases carpal tunnel syndrome.

Symptoms can take time to become apparent but once evident there is no treatment to reverse the harm and quality of life impact for sufferers is extreme. Day-to-day activities such as pulling up a zip or holding a glass are affected.

Traditional methods of regular assessment and generic control measures can help some but, inevitably, not all workers and can result in an underestimation of vibration exposure by up to 76%, putting people at serious risk. 10% of workers exposed at what is termed the Exposure Action Value and which many might consider a safe level, will get Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome within 12 years.

Alan Finley, a HAVS sufferer said this of the impact the disorder has had on his life: “When I first started there were no such things as monitoring or anything like that. You would grab a tool and use it. You didn’t know the consequences or what damage it was doing to you.

I would wake up in the middle of the night with cramps. It would be like as if you had been lying on your hands and they had gone numb. Even if I picked up a little drill to do a few bits and bobs around the house, I felt the tingling and would be in constant pain.”

Costs to employers

Workers who suffer from HAVS are often forced to change jobs or quit work entirely. With a lack of skilled workers, this can cause real issues for businesses as well as people. The costs to employers go way beyond the costs that are insured. For every £1 recovered through insurance, costs a company £10 in uninsured costs.

Harry Gardner, a Health, Safety and Environment Consultant, believes employers should go above and beyond what regulations demand: “There is no such thing as a safe level of vibration, if you are working to minimum standards, you are just dicing with a guy’s health. We should always be striving to achieve the lowest possible level.

In 2019, the HSE published the second edition of L140 which outlines what an employer’s duties are under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 as they relate specifically to HAV.

Source: SHP Online

A recent property giant was fined £600,000 after five of its employees developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). Find out more here:


BSG announces date for BSG Health & Safety Awards ceremony 2020

BSG Health & Safety Awards 2020

Following on from last year’s successful BSG Health & Safety Awards ceremony, we are delighted to announce that this year’s awards ceremony will once again be held at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire on Wednesday October 14th, 11am – 2pm.

The British Motor Museum, is the World’s largest collection of historic British cars. There are over 300 Classic cars on display from the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust and the Jaguar Heritage Trust.

Further information about the day and how to nominate your company will follow soon.

Please click here to view last year’s BSG Awards 2019: Winners & Nominees. 

About the British Motor Museum

The British Motor Museum is the World’s largest collection of historic British cars. There are over 300 Classic cars on display from the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust and the Jaguar Heritage Trust. From its earliest days the British motor industry has been a vital part of the economy and the lives of people living in the Midlands and it is still a hub for automotive creativity today. The museum tells the story of the birth, decline and rebirth of the motor industry and the cars it produced, as well as celebrating the skills and creativity of the people who designed and built them.

Time to Talk Day 2020

Today (Thursday 6 February) is Time to Talk Day 2020. This Time to Talk Day we want everyone to have a conversation about mental health.

Mental health problems affect one in four of us, yet too many people are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless because of this. Time to Talk Day encourages everyone to be more open about mental health – to talk, to listen, to change lives.

Talking about mental health can feel awkward, but it doesn’t have to. This year, Time to Change has adjusting the popular game ‘Would you rather?’ to help break the ice and get the conversation flowing.

Time to Talk Day 2020 - Would you rather?

Time to Talk Day 2020 – Would you rather?

Having conversations about mental health helps break down stereotypes, improve relationships, aid recovery and take the stigma out of something that affects us all. There are lots of different ways to have a conversation about mental health. And you don’t have to be an expert to talk.

However you do it, make sure you have a conversation about mental health this Time to Talk Day.

The Time to Change website has some great free downloadable materials to help you spread the awareness and useful guides on how to start a conversation about mental health –

Stay up-to-date with BSG on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn throughout the day, as we will be sharing relevant articles about mental health within the construction industry and spreading awareness about Time to Talk Day.

Previous article: The Building Safety Group backed the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) global campaign to tackle occupational cancer – ‘No Time to Lose’, on World Cancer Day (04 February 2020). Find out more here.

World Cancer Day – Working together to beat occupational cancer

The Building Safety Group is backing the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) global campaign to tackle occupational cancer – ‘No Time to Lose’, on World Cancer Day (04 February 2020).

Worldwide, work-related cancer claims at least 742,000 lives a year – that’s more than one death a minute. These cancers are caused by exposure to carcinogens including asbestos, silica dust, solar radiation and diesel engine exhaust emissions.

No Time to Lose aims to get carcinogenic exposure issues more widely understood and help businesses take action. The campaign is working to:

  • Raise awareness of a significant health issue facing employees
  • Offer businesses free practical, original materials to help them deliver effective prevention programmes
  • Secure commitments from organisations to improve preventative measures.

World Cancer Day is organised by the Union for International Cancer Control and takes a positive, proactive approach to the fight against cancer, and brings together countries across the globe to mark the day with events and activities. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the day and is themed ‘I Am and I Will’, which is all about you and your commitment to act.

Stay up-to-date with BSG on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn throughout the day, as we will be sharing relevant articles about cancer within the construction industry and spreading awareness about World Cancer Day.

Find out more about the campaign at, follow @_NTTL on Twitter and use the hashtags #NTTL #WorldCancerDay #IAmAndIWill.

Previous article: Construction workers’ desire for a summer sun tan could be putting them at heightened risk of developing skin cancer, new research has shown. View more here.

INDG143 Manual handling at work: A brief guide (revision)

INDG143 Manual handling at work, the revised leaflet is aimed at employers. It explains the problems associated with manual handling and includes guidance on how to deal with them. It gives useful practical advice on reducing the risk of injury from manual handling and will help employers carry out their duties under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992.

The updated INDG143 Manual handling at work brings the risk assessment process in line with L23 (PDF) Appendix 1 to help identify low-risk tasks and includes:

  • More information on the simple risk filters for lifting and lowering and carrying operations
  • Simplified advice on pushing and pulling with new simple filter pushing/pulling illustrations
  • A simple filter for handling while seated

The section on safe handling techniques from the previous version has been moved to HSE’s website.

There are no changes to regulations or policy.

Source: HSE

BSG Provide a Manual Handling Training Course. The half-day Manual Handling course is aimed at personnel who are required to do any manual lifting during the course of their work and will ensure that those attending are aware of the legal duties regarding manual handling operations at work.

EH40/2005 updated to include new and revised Workplace Exposure Limits

EH40/2005 has been updated to include new and revised Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) for carcinogenic substances.

On 17 January 2020 the HSE published a revised version of EH40/2005 ‘Workplace exposure limits’.

This has been updated in order to implement amendments to the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (2004/37/EC) which introduces or revises 13 binding occupational exposure limit values for a number of carcinogenic substances.

Occupational exposure limits are implemented in the UK via the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations as Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) via Table 1 of EH40/2005 ‘Workplace exposure limits’ for use with COSHH.

A WEL is defined as the concentration of a hazardous substance in the air that people breathe, averaged over a specified reference period referred to as a time-weighted average.

Details of the changes can be summarised as follows:

There are new or revised entries for the following substances:

  • Hardwood dusts (including mixed dusts)
  • Chromium (VI) compounds
  • Refractory ceramic fibres
  • Respirable crystalline silica
  • Vinyl chloride monomer
  • Ethylene oxide
  • 1,2-Epoxypropane
  • Acrylamide
  • 2-Nitropropane
  • O-Toluidine
  • 1,3-Butadiene
  • Hydrazine
  • Bromoethylene

New skin notations have been added for the following substances:

  • Ethylene oxide

The following substances required reductions to the existing WELs:

  • Hardwood dusts (reduced from 5mg.m3 to 3mg.m3)
  • Chromium (VI) compounds
  • Refractory ceramic fibres
  • Vinyl chloride monomer
  • Ethylene oxide
  • 1,2-Epoxypropane
  • Acrylamide
  • 2-Nitropropane
  • O-Toluidine
  • 1,3-Butadiene
  • Hydrazine

COSHH requires exposure to carcinogenic substances to be reduced to ‘as low as is reasonably practicable’.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The WELs listed in Table 1 of EH40/2005 ‘Workplace Exposure Limits’ supersede any limits contained in other HSE guidance or publications.

The HSE are currently carrying out unannounced inspection visits between January and March 2020, find out more here:

Investors in People Accreditation – BSG Retains Accreditation Again

The Building Safety Group is proud to announce that it has retained the Investors in People accreditation, demonstrating its commitment to high performance through good people management.

Investors in People is the international standard for people management, defining what it takes to lead, support and manage people effectively to achieve sustainable results. Underpinning the Standard is the Investors in People framework, reflecting the latest workplace trends, essential skills and effective structures required to outperform in any industry.

BSG Investors in People accreditation

The highlights from our assessment reported that BSG exist to support their construction industry members and they are at the heart of everything they do. BSG has a strong employer brand and are clear what they stand for, what their purpose is and how they intend to go about achieving it. It was apparent from the interviews that all staff align around their core purpose. There is good awareness of the strategic direction of BSG and aspirations and expectations of staff are high in ensuring they play their part in meeting it.

There is a positive ‘can do’ culture at BSG which is very much led from the top with an experienced MD in Paul Kimpton. People like working at the organisation and feel their contribution makes a difference to the success of the business.

BSG provides a range of learning and development opportunities along with support that is made available, focusing on the technical and professional skills of their staff and knowledge of health and safety and standards. A knowledgeable workforce is very much seen to support newcomers to acquire the skills and experience required.

You can find out more BSG updates here:


HSE Blitz Notice with focus on Exposure to Welding Fume

As part of HSE’s unannounced inspection work, there will be an increased focus on engineering and fabrication sites between January and March 2020.

You and your employees should address key health and safety risks, especially from welding fume exposure.

Welding fumes, including from mild steel, cause lung diseases, asthma and cancer.

Regardless of the welding duration, you must:

  • provide suitable exhaust ventilation (LEV) for all indoor welding activities, with respiratory protective equipment (RPE) for any residual risk, and
  • provide appropriate RPE for welding outdoors.

You can act now by assessing the health and safety risks at your workplace, and ensuring you have appropriate control measures in place. Free guidance on identifying the right controls for welding can be accessed here:

HSE recently revised its guidance on exposure to welding fume.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health direct advice for welding to help make sure exposure to any welding fume released is adequately controlled has been published, along with HSE’s web pages on how to manage exposure to welding fume.

In February, the HSE also released a safety alert about the change in enforcement expectations for mild steel welding fume.

There is new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans. The Workplace Health Expert Committee has endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen.

Control of the cancer risk will require suitable engineering controls for all welding activities indoors e.g. Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV). Extraction will also control exposure to manganese, which is present in mild steel welding fume, which can cause neurological effects similar to Parkinson’s disease.

Where LEV alone does not adequately control exposure, it should be supplemented by adequate and suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to protect against the residual fume.

Appropriate RPE should be provided for welding outdoors. You should ensure welders are suitably instructed and trained in the use of these controls.

Regardless of duration, HSE will no longer accept any welding undertaken without any suitable exposure control measures in place, as there is no known level of safe exposure.

Risk assessments should reflect the change in the expected control measures.

Action required:

  • Make sure suitable controls are provided for all welding activities, irrelevant of duration. This includes welding outdoors.
  • Where engineering controls alone cannot control exposure, then adequate and suitable RPE should be provided to control risk from any residual fume.
  • Make sure all engineering controls are correctly used, suitably maintained and are subject to thorough examination and test where required.
  • Make sure any RPE is subject to an RPE programme. An RPE programme encapsulates all the elements of RPE use you need to ensure that your RPE is effective in protecting the wearer.

For more information on the HSE Blitz – exposure to welding fume, please visit BSG’s Secure Area.

BSG Winter 2019 Training Newsletter

The BSG Winter 2019 Training Newsletter is now available to download below.

BSG’s Winter 2019 Training Newsletter

This month’s issue includes:

    • Passing your NEBOSH – BSG’s top 10 tips
    • Construction workers detained in CITB, police and Home Office counter-fraud operations
    • How to tell a fraudulent construction scheme card
    • Visitor card withdrawal
    • Experienced plant operators face interviews to keep skills cards
    • BSG Scaffold Inspection & Appreciation course name change

BSG December 2019/January 2020 Newsletter

BSG’s December 2019/January 2020 Newsletter is now available for members to download from the Secure Area.

This month’s issue includes:

  • BS5975:2019 Code of Practice for Temporary Works Procedures guidance update
  • New software – BSG Hub
  • HSE Blitz & new guidance – Exposure to welding fume
  • BSG Reports on the Latest HSE Statistics
  • Gaps in the Guidelines
  • HSE announces it will inspect stress “if criteria are met”
  • Experts call for combustible cladding ban to be widened
  • Securing your site over Christmas
  • How to work safely on a construction site in winter
  • Christmas & New Year BSG office closure

HAVS Court Case: Property firm fined £600,000 after five of its employees developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

Latest HAVS Court Case – November 2019:

Property giant Places for People has been fined £600,000 after five of its employees developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).

Aylesbury Crown Court heard that between 2009 and 2014 five employees of Places for People Homes used vibrating powered tools to carry out grounds maintenance tasks at sites in Milton Keynes, Rotherham and Hull.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to assess or manage the risks associated with vibrating tools. It also failed to provide suitable training or health surveillance for its maintenance workers and failed to maintain and replace tools which increased vibration levels.

Places for People Homes Limited of Cheapside, London pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. In addition to the fine, the company has been ordered to pay costs of £13,995.06.

HSE inspector Andrew McGill said: “Companies must manage the risks associated with vibrating tools. Hand arm vibration can be a significant health risk wherever powered hand tools are used for significant lengths of time.

“HAVS is preventable, but once the damage is done it is permanent. Damage from HAVS can include the inability to do fine work and cold can trigger painful finger blanching attacks. Health surveillance is vital to detect and respond to early signs of damage.”

HAVS Court Case Source: Construction News

HSE have recently updated their Hand-arm vibration exposure calculator and publication. Find out more here:

View BSG’s Article on ‘Getting to Grips with Vibration’ to learn more about the health risks, the law and helpful advice when it comes to vibration –