Introducing Chris Bowes from Opex Safety Services

Firstly welcome to the first Health & Safety blog on the BTG website. As a member of the group (yes a H&S man slipped under the radar) I am delighted to have been invited to write a regular blog that I hope you find informative and helpful in your everyday working lives and can in any way assist you in what is sometimes a bit of a minefield. I also hope that it helps in separating the truth from the myth in what you can or cannot do under H&S law.


Just to introduce myself so you know I am sort of one of you!! My name is Chris Bowes and I have worked on sites from the age of 15 as a painter and decorator (yes I know if you can pee you can paint!!) but I emphasise the decorator more than the painter! After roughly 15 years on site I decided to venture off to night school and do my qualifications and moved in to Health & Safety. I have been fortunate to work on some big projects such as the £500m Media City at Salford for Bovis Lend Lease and also the Athletes Village at London 2012. I have also worked on projects such as house builds and refurbishments so I have covered the full spectrum. Coming from a trades background and working on sites, I’d like to think I understand some of the pressures for you guys on site and the sometimes over zealous site managers that can be encountered.

I now have my own H&S consultancy that deals purely in Health & Safety in construction – please do have a look and feel free to contact me – [email protected]

We have a strict legal framework with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and subsequent regulations in the UK which we have to work to – more importantly – if we do it can prevent accidents and fatalities which has to be our ambition. We work in the most dangerous industry in the UK and an average of self reported non fatal injuries for 2013-14 to 2015-16 was 66,000 and for 2015/16 there were 43 fatally injured workers which I think you’ll all agree is 43 too many. Hopefully any info that we pass between ourselves on the website and in the group can lower that number.

Also on top of those figures we have illness and fatalities from exposure to asbestos and silica dusts as an example so those numbers will be much higher.

For this regular blog I will be including things that are relevant to all of us that will help you be compliant and more importantly prevent accidents and ill health. I will be letting you know about the next HSE blitz and what they will be looking for, how the Construction (Design and Management Regulations) (CDM 2015) impact you from operative to company director, examples of fines and accidents and topics of relevance such as working at height, safely working with silica dusts, asbestos, what training is required for your work, explanations of what LOLER and PUWER means etc and how you need to comply.

Additionally if any of the members feel they want something covering then we can happily write something that you want to read.

Thanks for reading and stay safe!!

Chris Bowes,

Opex Safety Services.


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