The most dramatic change in health and safety enforcement since 1974 with new sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences (published this week) are set to revolutionise punishment for health and safety offences. The Sentencing Council’s stated intention is to increase the level of fines for serious offences, especially for larger companies, while reserving prison sentences for very serious offences. Therefore, company compliance is more critical than ever.
To reinforce this severe compliance setting – where legislation is paramount and there remains much “complexity in compliance” – BSRIA recently staged its Compliance in Facilities Management Benchmarking Network event at Nomura’s offices in London which started with three knowledgeable speakers and ended up with a lively workshop. The event was attended by BSRIA members and other leading industry stakeholders and four workshop sessions took place simultaneously.
The significant points raised across the workshops centered around ensuring evidence was captured. As well as ensuring regular review of training records for engineers who are completing statutory inspections and maintenance tasks. The important take away point for all the delegates was that in any organisation it should be clear who holds responsibility for ensuring compliance and those who the support need to understand their role in the process. The final point focused on was the need to stop firefighting which means getting on top of what compliance means and how to demonstrate your organisation is operating within the law.
Workshop no 1 posed the question: What evidence do you need?
All agreed that a company-wide level of evidence of compliance is essential, with a clear audit trail.
Ensuring staff competency was a must which should be confirmed and approved. It was asked: should we have an induction for all staff on how to manage compliance? And it was agreed this would be a fantastic way to support compliance activities.
Ongoing and refresher training is fundamental to ensuring evidence of compliance is in place. Engineers sign worksheets confirming that tasks have been completed and when they do that, they are confirming they have the skills and competence to complete that task; it is essential that competence can be demonstrated. It was agreed that if maintenance reports used for capturing compliance could be standardised with specific measurements captured, such as water temperatures, than that would be a good form of evidence. Safe systems of work and authorisation of persons was also seen as critical, as is a premises hazards checklist.
Where f-gas, gas, HV and lifts are concerned, company and individual certification is required and all delegates were aware of this.
Workshop no 2 posed the question: What level of auditing do you need to do?
It was clear in this workshop that the objective of the audit must be established and tracks the outcomes. But a key point was that it must be established who is the audit for. As well as defining the scope which should be agreed as well as establishing who is competent to do an audit.
An executive summary is a must for any audit report to ensure that the main messages can be appreciated throughout the organisation. Visibility of an audit is vital. The is the potential to use dashboards or “traffic light system” which all delegates agrees was a great way to ensure visibility of the results.
For audits it was agreed should be considered “live documents” that require the actions to be addressed.
One important area to audit is that there is evidence that proves there is a feedback loop in place to ensure recommendations from inspections which require action are followed.
Workshop no 3 posed the question: What makes an engineer competent?
Stephen Gathergood, Head of Infrastructure Services, G4S Facilities Management, facilitated this session and said: “While the obvious responses akin to the acronym of SKATE – skill, knowledge, attitude, training and experience were frequently quoted – it was obvious that real competence was so much more. Competence was discussed as, not just being a standard of proficiency, but a level of achievement that was not uniform. The level of competence was seen as being a standard of achievement that was made from the combination of a wide variety of ‘ingredients’. Like a cook is able to make a variety of different cakes from a common set of ingredients in different proportions – so was the make-up of competency.
The ingredients touched on in the workshop were related to qualifications, exposure to work role and function, certification, continuing professional development and other indicators associated with training and experience, but importantly over-laid with more personal attributes such as motivation, interest, engagement and other such factors that are part of a persons’ behavioural or value set.
Supervision was acknowledged as a significantly important part of competence and was offered as being an essential ingredient that varied in share or quantum proportionally in relation to achieved competence.
In summary what makes an engineer competent was not easy to define but was a complex mix of both tangible and non-tangible attributes, however, it was accepted that without appropriate investment in people, competency could be lost and thus the need for robust Competency Management systems was accepted.”
Workshop no 4 posed the question: What assets are covered by legislation or regulations?
The Equalities Act 2010 comes into play here. As do other industry matters, namely: asbestos, lead, WEEE directive, MEWP for platforms and ladders, lifting beams, hoists and cradles, TMV, LEV, EPBD / DFC EPCs, RCD, COSHH, natural gas and f-gas. CO alarms, fixed electrical testing (FET), PAT, escape routes and fire exits, fire and gas suppression, fire alarms and safety, fire extinguished fire doors, fire evacuation, sprinklers, dry risers and room integrity checks were cited.
Water regulation, closed water systems, domestic water systems and cooling towers, waste separation, drainage maintenance discharge and disposal documents were highlighted.
Noise in plantrooms, workplace lighting and water temperature, lighting protection, EM lighting, portable appliances, high voltage issues, grease traps, kitchen extract ducts, building regulations, oil storage bunds (SIA) were raised.
Metering, eyebolts, edge protection, powered pedestrian doors, structures – safety stairways, compressed air pipework and food safety – both refrigeration and hot food.
The list was a long one that highlighted the task of staying compliant was not easy. One resource mentioned was the statutory compliance table provided as a free download from CIBSE following the update of Guide M that Jo Harris, Head of Sustainable Construction, BSRIA lead. That document can be downloaded from here and is a free resource that anyone involved in compliance should have access to.
The CIBSE Guide M is available: CIBSE Guide M