Archive for August, 2017

The bells! The bells!

In what has been a particularly controversial move, Big Ben will be silenced for four years whilst repairs to the Elizabeth Tower are carried out. The move is part of health and safety control measures as there is a risk to hearing loss for those working on the tower and who may be particularly close to the bell when it chimes.

This has led to a furious response from certain media outlets and once again health and safety has been blamed for unnecessary regulation. The silencing of Big Ben has even prompted a response from Prime Minister Theresa May, who said that it “can't be right” that the famous bongs from the bell will be silenced for four years, whilst the House of Commons has said it will review the length of time that Big Ben will be quiet.

In response to the negative press around the move, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has commented that people's health should “not be made worse by the work they do and that no worker should suffer any hearing loss whilst working on this project.” Whilst the HSE has pointed out it was not responsible for the control measures implemented, it did work with the contractors during the planning stage of the project.

Cedrec's take

This particular issue seems to have been hotly debated in the media, but it is important to consider an important point.

The assessment of the risk posed to workers taking part in the repairs of the Elizabeth Tower has clearly highlighted the noise from the bells as a potential risk, however big or small. Many safety practitioners and competent experts will also be familiar with the safety hierarchy of control, which suggests that if a potential risk can be eliminated, that is the course of action that should be taken before any other control is considered. Furthermore, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations SI 1999/3242 outline general principles of prevention, the first principle being “avoiding risks” (there are also other areas of safety law that are applicable to this story). In this case, stopping Big Ben from chiming is an easy control measure to take and completely eliminates any risk posed to employees by the noise coming from the bell.

It may be an unpopular choice, but by law, the health of those at work must be protected, and it would make sense that stopping the chimes of Big Ben ensures that the hearing of those working close to the tower is not compromised.

Do you work in the safety or construction sectors? Let us know what you think about the silencing of Big Ben by tweeting us @cedrec_news.

For more information see, the:

  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations SI 1999/3242.
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Regulation (EU) 1228/2017 (OJ:L177/4/2017) on the conditions for classification, on external renders and internal plasters based on organic binders covered by the harmonised standard EN 15824 and rendering and plastering mortars covered by the harmonised standard EN 998-1 on their reaction to fire

This Regulation sets out, that external renders and internal plasters based on organic binders covered by the harmonised standard EN 15824 and rendering and plastering mortars covered by the harmonised standard EN 998-1 are considered to satisfy the classes of performance indicated in the Annex to this Regulation without testing.

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Regulation (EU) 1164/2017 (OJ:L170/3/2017) amending annexes 2 and 3 to Regulation (EC) 396/2005 as regards maximum residue levels for acrinathrin, metalaxyl and thiabendazole in or on certain products

This Regulation amends Annexes 2 and 3 to Regulation (EC) 396/2005, on maximum residue levels (MRLs) of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin, in regards to the MRLs for acrinathrin, metalaxyl and thiabendazole in or on certain products.
Legislative background
Regulation (EC) 396/2005 establishes the need to make sure of…

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Regulation (EU) 627/2017 (OJ:L96/44/2017) amending annexes 2, 3 and 5 to Regulation (EC) 396/2005 as regards maximum residue levels for fenpyroximate, triadimenol and triadimefon in or on certain products

This Regulation amends Annexes 2, 3 and 5 to Regulation (EC) 396/2005, on maximum residue levels (MRLs) of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin, in regards to the MRLs for fenpyroximate, triadimenol and triadimefon in or on certain products.
Legislative background
Regulation (EC) 396/2005 establishes the need to…

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Regulation (EU) 1135/2017 (OJ:L164/28/2017) amending Annexes 2 and 3 to Regulation (EC) 396/2005 as regards maximum residue levels for dimethoate and omethoate in or on certain products

This Regulation amends Annexes 2 and 3 to Regulation (EC) 396/2005, on maximum residue levels (MRLs) of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin, in regards to the MRLs for dimethoate and omethoate in or on certain products.
Legislative background
Regulation (EC) 396/2005 establishes the need to make sure of a…

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Decision 2017/1210/EU (OJ:L173/35/2017) on the identification of bis(2-ethlhexyl) phtalate (DEHP), dibutyl phtalate (DBP), benzyl butyl phtalate (BBP) and diisobutyl phtalate (DIBP) as substances of very high concern according to Regulation (EC) 1907/2006

This Decision, addressed to the European Chemicals Agency, lists four substances which are identified as substances of very high concern having endocrine disrupting properties.
Those substances, in accordance with Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 (REACH) have been identified to have equivalent level of concern having probable serious effects on human health or the environment. 
The…

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Regulation (EU) 997/2017 (OJ:L150/1/2017) amending Annex 3 to Directive 2008/98/EC as regards the hazardous property HP 14 “Ecotoxic”

This Regulation amends Directive 2008/98/EC by changing the entry for hazardous property HP 14 “Ecotoxic” in Annex 3 to that Directive.
The amendments set out new criteria for distinguishing HP 14 “Ecotoxic” of the waste, which contain substances classed as:

ozone depleting;
aquatic acute;
aquatic chronic 1, 2 or 3;
aquatic chronic 1, 2, 3 or…

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Decision 2017/802/EU (OJ:L120/29/2017) not approving PHMB (1600; 1.8) as an existing active substance for use in biocidal products for product-type 5

This Decision states that PHMB (1600; 1.8) is not approved as an active substance for use in biocidal products for product-type 5.
According to opinion, biocidal products used for product-type 5 containing PHMB (1600; 1.8) were not expected to satisfy the safety requirements laid down in Regulation (EU) 528/2012 on the making available on the…

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Regulation (EU) 1277/2017 (OJ:L184/27/2017) approving 2-octyl-isothiazol-3(2H)-one as an active substance for use in biocidal products of product-type 8

This Regulation approves the use of 2-octyl-isothiazol-3(2H)-one as an active substance for use in biocidal products of product-type 8, subject to certain specifications and conditions.
The Annex to this Regulation describes the period of approval of the use of the product as well as specific conditions which apply to the use of this product.
It…

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Regulation (EU) 795/2017 (OJ:L120/10/2017) approving pyrogenic, synthetic amorphous, nano, surface treated silicon dioxide as an existing active substance for use in biocidal products of product-type 18

This Regulation approves the use of pyrogenic, synthetic amorphous, nano, surface treated silicon dioxide as an existing active substance for use in biocidal products of product-type 18, subject to certain specifications and conditions.
The Annex to this Regulation describes the period of approval of the use of the product as well as specific…

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