St. Helens Council
A Health and Safety Audit and Inspection of the above site was undertaken on December 7, 2010, by Claire Millington, Health and Safety Advisor.
The aims and objectives were to evaluate compliance with relevant statutory instruments; Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 including its associated legislation, and St. Helens Council procedures.
The process involved a combination of sampling relevant documentation and a thorough inspection of the building and its grounds.
The building is located on Corporation Street, St Helens and consists of three storeys.
The building has been occupied by the Children and Young People’s Services since construction was completed during August 2008. At the time of the audit approximately 320-340 members of staff were sited within the offices.
The Caretaking and Cleaning function is provided by the Environmental Protection Department and is subject to a separate audit, therefore, it has not been considered within this report.
It is intended to audit and inspect all the services based within the building individually, therefore, this exercise primarily focused on the building and its associated services, in addition to an audit of the St. Helens Council Fire Safety Log Book, and the Hydraclean binder (a management tool for the control of Legionella bacteria within water systems).
Mr Chris Dove, Public Buildings and Support Services Manager, accompanied the Health and Safety Advisor, during part of the inspection.
Site Safety Management
Steve Gaskell, Assistant Director – Commissioning and Business Support, manages health and safety matters on site.
Mr Gaskell was informed of several of the issues identified during the audit and inspection process by the Health & Safety Advisor following the visit, to enable more urgent issues to be addressed promptly rather than delay until production of this report.
There was evidence that office inspections were being undertaken using the Council’s ‘Office Inspection Checklist’. A sample of the checklists were scrutinised during the audit;
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Inspections were being undertaken on a monthly basis, with one checklist completed for each floor. The main issue identified, concerned a long-term problem regarding the climate within the ground and first floor offices, due to drafts of cool air emanating from the air conditioning units. This was also raised as a concern by several staff during Health and Safety Advisor’s inspection of the work areas. The Approved Code of Practice that accompanies the Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, states that the temperature of workrooms should normally be at least 16oC. Several thermometers were located throughout the offices on each floor, which during the visit were displaying temperatures within an acceptable range; 19oC - 23oC. Although the general temperatures appeared to be adequate during the inspection, these apparent intermittent drafts did appear to be having a direct effect on the thermal comfort of staff. 2.3
Suitable and sufficient sanitary conveniences and washing facilities were located within the building in accordance with the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. All of which were found to be in a clean and orderly condition. There were two showering facilities on the lower ground floor, which were also maintained in a clean condition.
The St. Helens Council Fire Safety Log Book was available for inspection; Within the ‘Emergency Lighting’ section, under the column ‘duration’, entries all stated ‘monthly’, however, this section is intended to be used to document the duration of the test and not the frequency.
A Fire Risk Assessment was undertaken for the site (dated May 2010). During the audit, progress against the ‘Action...