Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Health and Archaeology
#41
Dinosaur Wrote:Think you've missed the main thrust of the recent discussion, the main complaint seems to be that Main Contractor H&S seems to be rather excessively more than adequate, sometimes I'm amazed we're still allowed sharp stuff like shovels, and allowed to go out on site not wrapped in [flame retardant] high-vis bubblewrap....
but if you dont want excessive ppe etc the same argument applies. ie, the job cant be done in goggles etc
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
Reply
#42
Hello - back now.....

On recent posts in this thread. The rules are very clear, however, the implementation of such rules is hardly ever done correctly.

1) The Health and Safety Law (act) always takes prescedent
2) The construction industry also follows the CDM regulations

Problems arise because to get their insurance, construction companies have to do what the insurance companies tell them to do.
Insurance companies have been breaking the law for ever, and still do, so have no problem with breaking and forcing others to break the health and safety law.

Under the Health and safety law you have a LEGAL DUTY to not do anything you think is unsafe to yourself or others. Plain and simple.

Under the CDM regulations the principle contractor must formulate and enforce site rules. Unfortunately this is wear the psuedo/anti safety rules dictated by insurance companies appear (e.g. mandatory PPE - even though the HSE state clearly that there is no such thing nor should there be.)

However, the CDM regulations also state a lot of other things that most principle contractors miss for instance, the HSE once pointed out to me the section that says something along the lines of 'all PPE (or maybe all safety equipment) requires a risk assessment to indicate proper use and when to take it off.)

Not sure what the penalties for a principle contractor not following the CDM regs are - possibly loss of insurance? I dunno, would probably be up to the courts to decide.

In industry companies do whatever they like (including breaking the law) until they are dragged through the courts.

By the way its a) technically against the law to screen your workforce for drugs without their consent.
and b) Unfairly dismissing someone is unfair dismissal

a) + b) = d) (court case) which should result in X (compensation).

As soon as X is a high enough figure for the industry to notice a and b will cease.}Smile

You can contact the HSE directly through their website. They are very helpful and sensible.

On accidents caused by inappropriate PPE (i.e. all mandatory PPE is by definition inappropriate without a risk assessment), they have, do and will continue to happen. Nothing will change until either someone dies or enough court cases happen.
What usually happens is a cover up, (usually only very thinly disguised as everyone is worried about being sacked)

Often accidents other than reportable ones (RIDDOR) get called near misses in the construction industry so they can put up those '2750 safe days worked' etc bill boards up. Near misses are also easier to lose any record of.......I have heard of people being rushed to hospital with heat exhaustion due to inappropriate PPE, the resulting 'near miss' paperwork magically vapourised.

All we can really practically do (at the moment) is keep ourselves and our teams safe (which is the basis of the H+S law), keep OUR OWN records, cover our own arses. For instance, an archaeological team should have their own risk assessments, safety plan, safety reporting procedures etc. and an accident book. The client/ principle contractors have no right to access to your accident book.

I know that the RIDDOR regulations changed recently, so am not up to date on what the guidance for what to put in your accident book as an accident is.....however I would always advise on the over cautious as your accident book is a legal document that will be used in any resulting court cases.....e.g. someone cuts their finger on site.....a few days later falls Ill....a few days later still is in intensive care...a few days later suffers brain damage from infection due to the cut finger....a time later your in the docks!

Guess what I'm angling towards is the Health and Safety law is an 'enabling law' but it's up to all of us to use it to change things for the better.

There is no need to be confrontational on site, after all the principle contractor site manager/ safety officers etc are just doing their jobs, sometimes as best as they can under difficult conditions. But keep your eyes open, keep yourself and others safe and remember keep records!

Oh and one more thing......large construction companies often have a 'anonymous' issue/near miss reporting system. This is never a completely iron clad way to get things changed (as cards can be 'lost') but can effect change.........but remember positive reinforcement is often stronger than negative! Reward them when things are done correctly!
Reply
#43
Jack Wrote:By the way its a) technically against the law to screen your workforce for drugs without their consent.
and b) Unfairly dismissing someone is unfair dismissal

You can refuse to undergo a drugs and alcohol test but then you're not allowed to work on site. Some Archaeological companies will also count this, or a test failure, as a black mark against an individual.
Reply
#44
Mike.T. Wrote:You can refuse to undergo a drugs and alcohol test but then you're not allowed to work on site. Some Archaeological companies will also count this, or a test failure, as a black mark against an individual.

Yes that is what happens, but if we all had solicitors backing us that would not happen (I think) due to our legal rights.

The Drugs Scope independent report on random drugs testing stated among other things, that 1) refusal to take a test cannot be taken as a positive result or admission of guilt.
2) testing should be for impairment not prescence

Furthermore it isn't against the law to have controlled substances in your body.
And, the important factor, the reason why the HSE and government guidelines (see direct.gov on drugs and alcohol policies) are against drugs screening and instant dismissal, is that we all have a legal right to a private life.
I think its article 9 of the human rights act. Its the part that stops people filming us in our homes, employees keeping tabs on employees in their own time, e.g. surveillance and then sacking them if they don't like what they find.

The Drugscope report stated that random testing for presence without a prior reason to do so (e.g. the individual was drunk at work, alcohol on breath etc) definitely breaks this law as it is prying into what the employees do in their own private life.

Also, remember the recent case of a black list containing certain information being sold and passed around the construction industry....this was illegal because people have rights.

If i understand correctly, you can't take a record of say people union membership, whether they are a 'trouble maker' or indeed that they had taken illicit drugs etc or use such a list to decide whether someone can work for you...........its called discrimination and its against the law.

Insurance companies don't car about breaking discrimination laws, they are happy to be taken to court and pay fines when they have to as they make so much profit from breaking the law as they tend to get away with it for extended periods..............e.g. sex, age discrimination etc.

Screening your workforce for passed drug use then sacking them is discrimination. It has nothing to do with safety, no matter how many times someone says so.

The guidelines for a companies drug and alcohol policy goes along the lines of 1) If there is a reason to think there is a problem with an individual, investigate but in a sensitive way.
2) Work with the individual, guide them and encourage them to seek professional help.
3) Disciplinary procedures including termination of contract should be seen as a last resort and should follow the guidelines for such, i.e. the right to appeal etc.

So tell me how can it be legal to screen your workforce then sack them based on a criteria decided by that company alone (not following published guidelines)?

To put the policies/ procedures in perspective, replace the alcohol/drug test with a test for STD's or indeed being HIV positive. Would it be legal for a construction company to screen all their employees for HIV then sack those that test positive with no right to appeal based on the fact that they are an increased safety risk?? Think about why this is illegal. Is it any different.

The common sense approach to testing for drugs and alcohol can be seen all around us. Ask yourselves why the police don't randomly screen people for drugs. Why don't all employers screen their staff? Why aren't say, doctors, magistrates, MP's or civil servants screened for drugs?

The military and police do screen for presence of drugs, but these are special cases because of the specific issues relating to those professions and not a general wooly factoid-based idea of 'safety'.
Reply
#45
Jack Wrote:To put the policies/ procedures in perspective, replace the alcohol/drug test with a test for STD's or indeed being HIV positive. Would it be legal for a construction company to screen all their employees for HIV then sack those that test positive with no right to appeal based on the fact that they are an increased safety risk?? Think about why this is illegal. Is it any different.

Is this a trick question?! Yes it is different. Having drugs or alcohol in your system can impair your ability to work safely, endangering you and others. I can't see why anyone would be overly upset about it or think that it isn't about anything other than safety. Bit odd.
Reply
#46
PhaseSI Wrote:Is this a trick question?! Yes it is different. Having drugs or alcohol in your system can impair your ability to work safely, endangering you and others. I can't see why anyone would be overly upset about it or think that it isn't about anything other than safety. Bit odd.

I've seen people on site with alcohol in their system (e.g. had a heavy session the night before) yet still operate perfectly safely, and in some cases more so than someone who has no alcohol in their system but just happens to be an idiot. Sorry, did I say idiot? Probably meant '...happens to have no awareness of the environment around them'. Also, some drugs can stay detectable in the body long after any (possibly) detrimental effects to the users abilities to operate safely have passed. A detectable level of alcohol or drugs in a person's system does not equate to them being a danger. And this highlights how ridiculous H&S on site can get. To be done properly it HAS to be done on a case by case basis. Otherwise it is failing both on a practical level (as in actually helping keep people safe and healthy whilst allowing them to earn their keep) and in the eyes of the law.
Reply
#47
PhaseSI Wrote:Is this a trick question?! Yes it is different. Having drugs or alcohol in your system can impair your ability to work safely, endangering you and others. I can't see why anyone would be overly upset about it or think that it isn't about anything other than safety. Bit odd.

I don't think anybody wants to work alongside someone who is out of their head on drink or drugs, but if that was the case then it'd be pretty obvious anyway and they'd be ( rightly ) thrown off site or sacked. I think one of the problems with D + A tests is that they just tend to catch out individuals who occasionally smoke Cannabis as it stays in the bloodstream for a long time period. I wouldn't consider my safety endangered by working with someone that had smoked some dope days previously.
Reply
#48
My understanding is that as far as testing for alcohol is concerned the same tolerance levels are used as in a standard vehicle breathaliser test. I don't see a problem with equating that a level of alcohol in the blood that makes you unsafe to drive is also a level that makes you unsafe on a construction site. At least in the UK it is not zero-tolerance for alcohol , unlike some of the Scandinavian countries.

I am libertarian enough to accept that people should have the freedom to take whatever drug rocks their boat. However as that is a lifestyle choice, then also they should accept responsibility for their actions. If an employer has a zero tolerance policy for drugs then its a risk that people take...I don't see that as a problem.
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
Reply
#49
Tool Wrote:I've seen people on site with alcohol in their system (e.g. had a heavy session the night before) yet still operate perfectly safely.
No you haven't. You may have seen people who appear to operate safely or who think they can operate safely but their reflexes and judgement would have been impaired. And it is because of this culture, that it's OK to work on a site with drink or two inside you or still hungover, that the screening was brought in to stop. Work on a site where a digger driver or guy operating the crane thinks its OK to work after having had a skinfull the night before, or who might have a pint or two at lunchtime or one where screening is in place and there is a culture of zero tolerance . I know which site I'd rather be on and I'm not too bothered if an individual's right to privacy has been violated if it brings down the chances of someone having or causing and accident, particularity if I might be involved.

Construction sites can be a pain in the neck to work on and some of the health and safety bureaucracy is ridiculous but they're a heck of a lot safer than they were 20 years ago. Worth putting up with some inconvenience for? I agree that in terms of the PPE that individual tasks should be risk assessed and appropriate PPE worn (or not!) for that task. Although as previously stated that often doesn't happen unless you are able / prepared to go pretty high up the management chain. But if by following general site rules they make your job less safe then you shouldn't do. End of.
Reply
#50
kevin wooldridge Wrote:My understanding is that as far as testing for alcohol is concerned the same tolerance levels are used as in a standard vehicle breathaliser test. I don't see a problem with equating that a level of alcohol in the blood that makes you unsafe to drive is also a level that makes you unsafe on a construction site. At least in the UK it is not zero-tolerance for alcohol , unlike some of the Scandinavian countries.

.


There is a zero tolerance for alcohol in D + A tests, so while it's ok to drive having downed 2 pints it's not ok to work on a construction site.
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Computers taking archaeology jobs away pdurdin 14 11,647 30th August 2015, 11:10 AM
Last Post: barkingdigger
  Are Standards in field Archaeology Slipping Wax 90 44,962 23rd June 2015, 12:41 PM
Last Post: Dinosaur
  Wessex Archaeology Recruits a Teddy Bear BAJR 10 10,832 24th December 2014, 06:41 PM
Last Post: monty
  Tay and Fife Archaeology Conference Doug 16 12,378 15th November 2014, 01:04 AM
Last Post: Doug
  Archaeology in Schools Dirty Boy 8 5,918 28th September 2014, 09:04 PM
Last Post: vulpes
  Jobs in British Archaeology 2013-14 Doug 24 14,285 24th July 2014, 03:25 PM
Last Post: P Prentice
  Who would BAJarites award a "Queen's Birthday" honour to for services to archaeology? Wax 13 8,301 19th June 2014, 01:51 PM
Last Post: P Prentice
  Complete University Guide 2014 - Archaeology kevin wooldridge 2 2,964 14th May 2014, 03:00 PM
Last Post: pdurdin
  Blogging Archaeology eBook- FREE Doug 1 2,583 26th April 2014, 05:19 PM
Last Post: Doug
  WAC-7 Resolution on Community Archaeology BAJR 1 2,170 20th March 2014, 09:57 AM
Last Post: BAJR

Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)