The article in the issue on the ABI initiative to assess trade associations' promotion of health and safety among its membership ("EL health check plan", 11 September, Insurance Times) was illustrated by a picture of some bricklayers.

As with any library photograph it is difficult to be sure of the exact circumstances, but there were certain things that did not seem to be quite correct.

The building under construction looked as if it were a private dwelling and thus the bricklayers could well have been working more than two metres above ground level. The diagonal bracing of the "easy up" scaffolding is not a substitute for a proper arrangement of two guard rails and toe board. Where were they?

Above the bricklayers' heads is a run of scaffold boards. Is that protection against the typical British summer rain or the unusual sunshine that we have been experiencing this summer?

The uprights hardly extend above the level of this "roof" so it can hardly be a working platform. But perhaps some extra uprights would have been added as the walls extended upwards to eaves height.

One just hopes that the scaffold has been inspected and pronounced safe for use.

It can only be hoped that the firm which employs the workers pictured will take advantage of their trade association's assistance to improve working practices on site.

Phil Grace
Casualty risk manager
Norwich Union Insurance

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