Constructing Better Health

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Constructing Better Health

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CBH - sponsors of the 2014 Construction News Awards and the Constructing Excellence Awards.

Why don't you enter your company today?

Managing Construction Lead Hazards – 12th March

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As it was such a success in January, CBH is hosting another ‘Managing Construction Lead Hazards’ course on 12th March in central London.

This one day open course is already benefitting professionals working in Client organisations, as well as in Design and Contractor operations.  It is particularly relevant for Health & Safety Advisers and CDM co-ordinators both in the Public and Private sectors.

Course attendees will be under the expert guidance of Tristan Olivier, accredited lead survey specialist and risk assessor; Tony Putsman, risk management consultant and a qualified trainer and Michelle Aldous, CEO of Constructing Better Health.
Here’s some of the feedback from previous course delegates:

“Excellent, informative course. Really good presenting from Tristan and Tony”. Monima Harrison, Land Securities.
“Too short! This was one of the best learning workshops I have had”. Amina Sule, Balfour Beatty Rail.
“Need to get the key message of ‘Lead’ out to the industry more”. Paul Bussey, Scott Brownrigg.

To secure your place on this informative course, visit the CBH website for booking details. It will be held on 12th March; £225 for CBH members, £295 for non-members.

Entry deadline – Constructing Excellence Awards 2014

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As proud sponsors of the SECBE Constructing Excellence Awards this year, we invite our readers to consider entering their companies for an award and to spread the word. The deadline for entries on 2nd April 2014.

Highlight your contributions to the construction industry and our built environment, including work-related health initiatives in your company. CBH is sponsoring the Health & Safety Award!
For more information on how to enter: SECBE Awards.

CHAT FAQs - Where can I get help on using CHAT2?

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We continue our series of FAQs about CHAT with an explanation on how to get help on actually using CHAT.

You can go into the Contractor’s Members Area on the CBH website and find User Guides along with other useful information.  To login, go to the CBH homepage

  • Click on the Contractor 'Info & Login' button on the right hand side of the screen
  • Click on Members Area
  • Type in your CHAT2 username and password
  • Click on the login button. NB – you must click on the login button as it doesn’t work by pressing the return button on your keyboard

Other information can be found in the members’ area which also includes:

  • A copy of the CBH logo that you can use
  • A downloadable/printable version of the health assessment matrix and industry standards
  • Toolbox talks on key occupational health hazards and their notes pages

When in CHAT2 and you want some help, click on the green tab on the right hand side of the screen that says ‘page help’.  Click on the tab and the help panel will appear with information to help you on that page. To make the panel disappear when you have finished with the information, click on the ‘page help’ tab again.

We hope that this has been helpful to our CHAT users.

Workers rights and Data Protection

From its inception, the CBH leadership discussed at length the issue of workers’ rights and data protection with Trade Union representatives and the HSE to understand what can and what should not be displayed through the ‘check a card’ system. 

The outcome of these discussions was that no one would lose work because of what CBH displayed on cards, unless, the individual was so unwell that they could no longer work in the industry. Under these circumstances, CBH would support employers and other organisations in providing such individuals with the necessary rehabilitation or to be retrained for another role. This remains the CBH position.

The CBH stance on data protection, including ‘blacklisting’ issues can be distilled in the following points:

Direct employers can see all recommendations against a worker’s occupational health surveillance as required under current UK legislation.

No clinical data is ever displayed at any point as it is deemed medically confidential.

Indirect employers can see that the individual is in an occupational health scheme, managed by an individual's employer. However they can only see outcomes if the individual’s work-related health needs are driven by any significant health concerns raised.

Safety Critical workers’ occupational health recommendations can be seen by both direct and indirect employers.  Sound decision making on this issue is safeguarded by carrying out a risk assessment to properly determine employee occupational health classification and needs.

We would like to assure our members and supporters that by working with the unions, employers and others, CBH has managed to ensure that privacy violation of workers’ work-related health records should never be an issue in our scheme, nor do we tolerate misuse of occupational health records by unscrupulous employers.

Appointed doctors

If employees work with specific hazards under certain conditions they will be required to undergo what is known as “statutory Medical surveillance” by an appointed doctor.

The specific hazards are:

  • Ionising radiation
  • Lead
  • Asbestos
  • Specific Chemicals
  • Work with compressed air

If you would like to find out more about this and what related health conditions are outlined in the regulations visit our website:

Employee leaflets available on the CBH website

Now there are free downloads available of CBH’s ‘Did You Know’ leaflets on the CBH website.

These leaflets cover a variety of work-related health issues, giving guidance to inform construction employees on the signs of work-related ill health, how to recognise them and address them.  To find out more visit:

Guest Feature: ‘Dust – can you see the danger?’

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“If I cannot see it, it’s not a threat.  If I cannot feel it, it cannot harm me”. 

There is a devastatingly flawed logic to these presumptions.  In the case of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) and asbestos we’ve learned not to be so foolhardy.  In the case of other harmful respirable risks, like lead based paints and their dust, we stubbornly gloss over the dangers. 

But to focus on dust as an airborne inhalation-only exposure risk is misleading and wrong.  Dust settles everywhere, including people’s clothes, their work areas, tools, equipment and welfare facilities.  Once touched, even with gloved hands, such contamination becomes an ingestion risk and can be re-entrained into the air.  This is particularly true of lead paint and dust hazards.

Refurbishment, demolition and decommissioning as well as run-of-the-mill repair and maintenance work certainly can involve the disturbance of numerous contaminants in addition to lead dust.  But lead is toxic – so, not only will its adherence to substrate materials harbour the irritant and cumulative obstructive effects of those materials, it is also a poison – a neuro-toxin.  Lead exposure affects the brain and is linked to dementia, child development and fertility problems.

The HSE’s excellent efforts to promote dust hazards awareness and how to minimise and manage exposure dust risks are bringing about important changes and improvements in dust suppression and control.  This can only improve worker health if it continues to develop. 

A helmet may protect you from knocks and bumps but not from the brain-damaging effects of lead exposure!  If we accept the link between the quality of life and capacity to work and the quality of air that we breathe, sorting out dust management issues has to be a priority – especially where it involves lead.

The solution is straightforward enough.  If clients commission the lead surveys required of them by law, contractors can price, risk assess and manage that risk accordingly. And if the necessary cultural and procedural changes are being made, the almost inevitable health and financial benefits in other areas should not to be sniffed at.  With thanks to Tristan Olivier, LIPSA

Initiatives of the Men's Health Forum

Men’s Health Week will take place on the 9th-15th June this year. The focus will be health at work, including stress and unemployment. The Men’s Health Forum has always been supporter of managing work related health issues and has published a series of mini-manuals to help men manage their health issues. Sign up today, visit:

The Men’s Health Forum is also planning to publish a new manifesto to highlight important policy changes they would like to see made to improve men’s health. They are inviting you to have your say. To share your views, visit:

What sort of occupational health provider do you need?


You want to improve your company’s occupational health services, or you realise that your employees need work-related health support, so where do you start?

CBH provides guidelines to help you make an informed decision on how to choose the right Occupational Health provider for your company’s needs. We provide you with a list of the elements you need to consider to establish a relevant occupational health programme and give you a head start. To find out more visit:

Drugs and Alcohol Conference - April 2014

Do you know the truth about drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace?   This is a very real work-related health problem that many workers suffer, often afraid to seek help and carry the burden silently. Synergy Health hosting a conference with the University of London to discuss and raise awareness of this issue on 24th April. To find out more see:

Legal news - work related health enforcements and prosecutions


CBH likes to share news on legal actions and enforcement relating to work related health in construction. In this issue of the newsletter our readers may find the following of interest:

Company prosecuted over employees’ Hand Arm Vibration (HAVs) injuries:

New members round-up

Aaron Seales
Peter Hird & Sons Ltd
Gecco2 Limited
Mabey Bridge Ltd
Oxford Hydrotechnics
Admiral Environmental Group
Mohan Building Services
Ekspan Ltd
Delta Fabrications
Falco Construction Ltd
Bolt & Heeks Limited
Downwell Demolition Ltd
K M Snowdon Building & Joinery Ltd
Dewsbury & Proud Ltd
RSK Environment Ltd
Mitchellson Formwork & C E Ltd

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