March 8, 2024

Latest Findings from Our Arch Surveyors: March 2024

Insights UK Regional Division
Risk Management

Welcome to the latest Arch Surveyors’ Newsletter, sharing essential knowledge and news on current risk management issues affecting businesses across the U.K. today.


Two-Thirds of Buildings with Cladding Defects Yet to Begin Remediation 

Latest data from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities highlights the progress being made with building safety remediation on medium-rise and high-rise residential buildings with life-critical fire safety risks and unsafe cladding.  Fire Protection Association (FPA) article here. 

UKMHA Updates LPG Forklift Truck Safety Guidance 

The U.K. Materials Handling Association has recently updated its Safety Alert in connection with gas-powered forklift trucks due to concerns regarding contaminated LPG fuel that, in extreme cases, could present a risk of fire. 

Finding a Competent Fire Risk Assessor 

Business owners and building managers have a legal responsibility to ensure they employ a competent fire risk assessor. All business premises and residential buildings with two or more domestic premises need a recorded fire risk assessment. A recent LinkedIn post by Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Protection provides further guidance and links to registers of qualified fire risk assessors.   


E-Cycle and E-Scooter Batteries: Managing Fire Risk 

With the number of incidents involving lithium-ion batteries on e-cycles and e-scooters continuing to rise, newly published Government guidance here aims to inform premises managers of current best practice and their options for assessing and managing fire risks. 

OPSS Bans Sale of Dangerous E-Bike Battery Linked to Fires 

In a significant move to protect consumers and mitigate the risk of fires, the U.K.’s Office for Product Safety and Standards has initiated a ban on the sale of the UPP battery, a Chinese-manufactured e-bike battery associated with a series of fires in England.  FIA article here.   


Keep People Safe from Future Dangers of Asbestos, Regulator Warns 

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a new asbestos awareness campaign. Asbestos: Your Duty aims to improve understanding of the legal duty to manage asbestos in buildings.   

Asbestos was used in many industries and buildings, especially between 1950 and 1980. Although banned in 1999, asbestos remains the greatest cause of work-related deaths in Great Britain today. Around 5,000 people die each year from asbestos-related diseases, which typically take decades to develop and cannot be cured. 

Materials containing asbestos can be found in loose-fill insulation, sprayed coatings, pipe and boiler insulation, insulation board, cement sheet, textiles and gaskets, textured decorative coatings, and floor tiles and coverings. Much of this material remains in place, meaning people who work in older buildings could still be exposed today unless asbestos is managed effectively. Buildings constructed after 2000 are unlikely to contain asbestos, unless this is in old machinery or equipment brought onto the premises.   

The duty to manage asbestos – explained in a newly-released HSE video – is placed on the person or organisation with the main responsibility for maintenance or repair of the building. It applies to non-domestic premises and common parts of multi-occupancy domestic premises. The duty holder can be the building owner, landlord, or person responsible for maintenance or repair through a contract or tenancy agreement.   

Metalworking Fluid Risks – Most Businesses Not Doing Enough 

More than half of businesses inspected since September 2023 are not doing enough to protect workers against the risks arising from metalworking fluids, which can cause harm to the lungs and skin. View the HSE press release here.   

Key measures for controlling metalworking fluid risks include local exhaust ventilation on CNC machines producing harmful mist, regular fluid quality checks and employee health surveillance.   

The HSE will continue to carry out unannounced inspections until the end of March 2024 and has created an online quiz to improve knowledge on this subject. 

Manufacturer Fined After Swing Barrier Fatality 

A Herefordshire cider producer has been fined £1.4m plus costs after a driver collided with a horizontal swing car park barrier, suffering fatal crushing injuries. A subsequent investigation found the company had installed the barrier a month earlier and failed to undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment or implement a safe system of work to ensure the barrier was adequately secured when open and closed. You can read HSE press release here

The dangers of these barriers – which are commonly found on retail parks, industrial sites and other premises – are well known following previous incidents where partially opened barriers, which may not be clearly visible to oncoming drivers, have impaled vehicles. Other incidents have involved barriers swinging into the path of an approaching vehicle. HSE guidance here