Company News

Winter 2015 Newletter

A great deal has taken place since the last newsletter. The following provides a brief update:

  • The HefmA on-line "Health and Safety Solutions" resource continues to grow. Alan now provide regular newsletters via this resource (6-12 newsletters per year);

  • Alan's Linkedin page is updated on a regular basis and has now become a core means of regular communication and update, including on special offers;

  • The Wickerman Oxford Project was a huge success and has raised a great deal for charities. Due to to other commitments we have slowed the project down a little, but it continues to this day;

  • Alan has continued to support Kingston Colts football team, which is now going strong and has children (boys and girls aged from 5 to 15);

  • Alan and his wife support the Abingdon Hockey Club. Sally has set up a Junior group called the Abingdon Avengers which has had over 100 children join and she has been their coach since 2012;

  • The involvement at Eastwood Park has continued to grow. Alan has developed 11 new City and Guilds level courses and is working currently on the development of the new foundation degree. The construction of the new training centre has started and this will provide a top quality training venue.

Spring 2011 Newletter

There have been tremendous developments since the last company news letter.  The principle developments have been:

  • The on-line Health and Safety resource has grown greatly with new versions of 72 work activity risk assessments; 25 new procedures; many new training presentations and tool-box talks; new signs, posters and a new newsletter section.  With over 50 NHS Estates and Facilities Departments along with HEFMA WM taking up the resource, feedback has been excellent.

  • The new compliance tracker Health and safety audit is proving popular and gives a score out of 100 for the level of health and safety management compliance.  The audit identifies top level actions and provides a spreadsheet of recommendations.  This system can be used to chart progress, and many clients are now using it.

  • We are developing a new on-line version of the compliance tracker audit which we hope to go live during 2011 – watch this space.

  • Alan Hambidge has completed the 3 year cycle of IOSH CPD successfully, and is listed on the new OSHCR consultants register;

  • As you will recall Alan is one of the three Directors of “Wickerman Oxford” a charity support community interest company. The “Wicker Man Oxford Project” is run by a dedicated team of enthusiastic volunteers, and its purpose is to identify and support a small local charity. Our mission is then to raise awareness of the charity and funds for it by running a competition for local children to design a giant metal and wicker sculpture.  Our team then build the winning design as a 40 feet tall Wooden / Wicker Sculpture on a metal frame. The sculpture finally went up in flames at the Oxford Southpark firework display on 6th November 2010 in front of 25,000 spectators, raising thousands of pounds for charity.

  • This year Wickerman Oxford is supporting Maggie’s Cancer Caring Charities, and we plan to build an even bigger sculpture (we hope to get this one into the Guinness Book of World Records!).

  • Alan had developed the 2010 IHEEM Water Management and Risk Management Technical Seminars.  These proved to be very successful and well received.

  • Empathy Environmental Consultants Ltd have been supporting Kingston Colts Youth Football Club.  The club is going from strength to strength with now eight teams, including a “mini-kickers” team run by Alan’s wife Sally Hambidge (an ex Southern England Hockey player).  It’s a family activity for the Hambidge’s with Oliver (aged 5) playing in the mini kickers and Tom (aged 10) playing in the A league where he is joint top goal scorrer for the Colts in his age group this year.

Summer 2010 Newletter

A great deal has happened since our last news letter.  The principle developments have been:

  • The continued growth and success of the on-line Health and Safety resource which now contains hundreds of templates including a COSHH database; policy; procedures; risk assessments; training presentations; signs; posters; permit templates; forms; record keeping systems etc.  Feedback has been very positive, and people are using the resource to ask questions and request other information, which is not currently on the resource;
  • The on-line resource is being extended by over 100 items in the next few weeks, so make sure you are subscribed.  The new COSHH database contains now over 400 substance assessments, and the risk assessments are extended from 44 to 72!

  • As you will recall Alan is one of the three Directors of “Wickerman Oxford” a charity support community interest company. The “Wicker Man Oxford Project” is run by a dedicated team of enthusiastic volunteers, and its purpose is to identify and support a small local charity (This year it is ROSY – visit

    Our mission is then to raise awareness of the charity and funds for it through community involvement. We run a competition for local children to design a giant metal and wicker sculpture.  Our team then build the winning design as a 40 feet tall Wooden / Wicker Sculpture on a metal frame. The finished sculpture is then taken on tour to prestigious events (this year including Cornbury Music Festival, the Royal Berkshire Show, Blenheim Horse Trials, Oxford City Centre and we hope a base by the side of the M40 Motorway) where it is used to raise funds and awareness for our chosen charity. 

    During its tour the sculpture will be seen by well in excess of one and a half million people, and will receive local and National press coverage.

  • Finally the sculpture is burned at the Oxford Round Tables Charity Bonfire Display in South Parks, this year on 6th November 2010. The 2009 event was a huge success attracting approx 22,000 people and raising tens of thousands net profit for local charities. 

    For the last three years our team, in association with the Oxford Round Table, have invested a vast amount of effort, time and personal resources to develop novel and exciting wicker man of Oxford sculptures for charity.  The sculptures have gained considerable press and news coverage. 

  • Alan has been heavily involved with the development of the IHEEM Water Management and Risk Management Technical Seminars for 2010.  Alan is presenting at all of the seminars.  The first of the risk seminars was very well received. For details on how to book contact Jeff Pickering by e-mail at

  • As you will remember Empathy Environmental Consultants Ltd have been supporting Kingston Colts Youth Football Club.  Just 18 months ago we had only 3 teams and about 30 players. It has been a great year for the club, with two of our different age group teams finishing second in the league and becomming promoted.  We now have 6 main teams and a little kickers team which is run by Alan’s wife and has 20 members alone!  We are moving towards FA Charter status.  The club now has almost 90 players and ambitious plans to develop a new club house.

Summer 2010 Health & Safety Newletter

A new format health and safety news letter will be issued on an approximately 6 monthly basis through this web-site.

We hope that you enjoy the new format and content.  Please let us know if you want to see anything changed or added.

1.         HSE, IOSH, IIRSM etc Updates & News

1.1       Contractor fined after worker crushed by wall

A contractor was recently fined £7,000 for breaching health and safety law after a builder broke his back and ribs when a wall fell on him at a construction site in Forest Gate.  Jason Lunnon, 41, from Barnet was seriously injured when he was struck by the falling concrete blocks on the site in Field Road, Newham.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the principal contractor, Keith Gardner, trading as K P Gardner Builders, for failing to ensure Mr Lunnon's safety on the site. He was also ordered to pay costs of £6,969.50.

On 26 March 2009, Mr Lunnon was working on the first floor of a partially-constructed block of flats. A wall, built on the third floor the previous day, had not been properly secured and a gust of wind blew it over, sending concrete blocks more than seven metres below on top of Mr Lunnon.  Mr Lunnon fractured seven ribs, broke his back in four places, fractured his right hand and also suffered serious damage to his internal organs.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation showed that Keith Gardner had failed to properly plan, manage and monitor work at the site.   Keith Gardner of Cairns Avenue, Woodford Green, Waltham Forest pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at the City of London Magistrates' Court.

HSE Inspector Paul Hems said: "Despite his terrible injuries, Mr Lunnon is lucky to be alive. This could have so easily been a much more serious incident”.  He went on to state "As the builder in charge of the project, Mr Gardner was responsible for ensuring the health and safety of everyone working at the site. This included ensuring the stability of walls during construction.  Mr Gardner was made aware of the wind affecting the newly -built walls, but failed to take appropriate action to ensure their stability”.

The HSE investigation also found other safety failings at the site, including failure to properly manage risks of falling. There was a comprehensive failure to implement key elements of the construction phase plan.

1.2       One year on: Being part of the solution

In autumn 2010, HSE is planning to produce a special 'One Year On' report to show how industry is contributing to the new Strategy.

The report will feature examples of how organisations are acting to improve health and safety following the Strategy launch in June 2009. It will be available for viewing on the HSE website and a number of printed copies will also be produced. HSE plans to launch the report at their Parliamentary Reception this October. This should provide a good opportunity for organisations to showcase how they have responded to the challenges of the Strategy.

The aim is to help ideas and good practice to spread, as well as highlighting the good work that’s being done. The HSE say “We know there’s lots of great examples out there - we just need people to share them with us and, more importantly, with each other”. HSE hopes that this will encourage more people to ‘be part of the solution’ and make Britain’s workplaces healthier and safer.

1.3       Occupational health advice

The Government has launched an occupational health advice line which is being piloted within England, Scotland and Wales. The pilot will run until March 2011.

The advice line will apparently provide small business owners, managers and employees with early and easy access to high quality, professional advice. It will be tailored to business needs, as well as being able to respond to individual employee health issues.

To access this service please use the corresponding telephone number below.
England: Tel: 0800 0 77 88 44
Scotland: Tel: 0800 019 2211
Wales: Tel: 0800 107 0900

The service is available to:

  • Owners and managers of businesses with 0-249 employees in England and Wales. In Scotland, the service is available to all businesses.
  • Employees working in businesses that employ up to 249 people in England and Wales. In Scotland, the service is available to employees in businesses of all sizes.
  • It is not yet clear if the service will be extended to cover larger organisations.  However, it is important that Estates and Facilities do discuss Health and Safety issues with their own Occupational Health Department.  Ensure that all required vaccinations are in place; work activity risk assessments developed, and that a procedure for working on, and in potentially contaminated equipment and areas exists and staff have been trained in these.

1.4       Firms fined after worker fractures vertebrae in seven-metre fall

A construction firm and building owner have been fined after a builder suffered fractured vertebrae when he fell from a factory roof in Hertfordshire.   Danny Langdon (63) of Sudbury, Suffolk, injured his spine in the seven-metre fall on Christmas Eve 2008 and has been off work since.  Mr Langdon fell through a factory roof light, hit a gantry crane and landed on machinery below.
His employer, Hartog Hutton Ltd, appeared at St Albans Crown Court today and admitted breaching three health and safety regulations. The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £7,076 in costs.

Hartog Hutton Ltd's registered address is Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Hampshire, but it is based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

Fluorocarbon Company Ltd, of Caxton Hill, Hertford, which had contracted Hartog Hutton to carry out the repairs to its factory roof, appeared at East Hertfordshire Magistrates' Court in Hertford on 26 April 2010 and admitted one charge. It was fined £5,000 with £5,195 in costs.

HSE Inspector John Berezansky said: "This incident was entirely avoidable and should not have happened. Working at height is one of the most obvious and well-known dangers for those involved in repairing or maintenance of buildings.  Mr Langdon is lucky to be alive”.

More than 4,000 employees suffered serious injury after falling from height last year and 15 were killed. Employers need to plan ahead and assess potential risks before carrying out any work at height. As such, the Estates and Facilities Departments are to ensure that their work activity and work environment assessments cover work at height, and that all required training, remedial measures and precautions are programmed.  The HSE runs a high-profile Shattered Lives campaign all about slips, trips and falls in the workplace, you can find out more by visiting the website at "HSE will continue to prosecute companies that fail to carry out their duties, which includes both employers and firms hiring contractors to do specialist work for them."
Hartog Hutton Ltd admitted the following charges:

  • Breaching Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 by failing to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks of working on a roof.
  • Breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to take reasonably practicable steps to prevent a person working near or on a fragile roof.
  • Breaching Regulation 4(1)(c)(i) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 by failing to ensure that employees working on a roof were competent to do so.

Fluorocarbon Company Ltd admitted one charge:

  • Breaching Regulation 4(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 by failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that the contractor engaged to undertake the work was competent to do so.

1.5       HSE’s “Construction Infonet”

Construction Infonet is a free e-Bulletin from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to provide a regular update on health and safety issues for all in the construction industry.  This appears to be relevant for anyone working in capital projects or with construction projects to manage.  The e-bulletin can be accessed by visiting: and registering your details.

1.6       Construction inspection initiative

Nearly one in four of the construction sites visited by the HSE during March failed safety checks. During unannounced visits, inspectors focused on refurbishment and roofing work to ensure that any work at height was being done safely and that the sites were in good order.

  • 2014 construction sites were visited
  • 2414 contractors were inspected during the campaign.
  • 691 enforcement notices were issued at 470 sites

Inspectors gave orders for work to be stopped immediately in 359 instances for either unsafe work being carried out at height or where sites lacked 'good order'. 

As such it is critical to ensure that we comply fully with the CDM Regulations, and even when not applicable for all contractor activities that we have the following in place:

  • a sound, understood and used, contractor control procedure;
  • adequate, clear, understood and used site rules;
  • a sound contractor pre-assessment system;
  • an adequate contractor supervision, performance monitoring and competence evaluation system;
  • designated responsible persons for the contract management;
  • Regular performance meetings with formal minutes maintained;
  • Post work completion inspections.

Many of the forms required for these tasks can be obtained at the Empathy Environmental Consultants Ltd (Empathy EC Ltd) on-line resource at (see Resource section of this newsletter for further details).

1.7       HSE Myth of the Month May 2010: “You don’t need to secure your load if you’re just driving down the road”

The reality
If not properly secured, vehicle loads can become unsafe, even over a short distance.  Loads that haven’t been firmly tied down increase the risk of vehicle rollover and spillage. They risk the lives of drivers and other road users, and can also cause annoying traffic disruption.
More than 1200 people a year are injured as a result of unsafe loads, and millions of pounds are lost in damaged goods.   Don’t take the risk – make sure your load is restrained and contained!

1.8       Asbestos Surveying – New HSG 264

The new HSG264 (2010) is a well illustrated publication which replaces and expands on MDHS100, Surveying, sampling and assessment of asbestos-containing materials. Type 1, 2 and 3 surveys are replaced by “Management” and “Refurbishment” surveys. It is aimed at people carrying out asbestos surveys and people with specific responsibilities for managing asbestos in non-domestic premises under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. The book covers competence and quality assurance and surveys, including: survey planning, carrying out surveys, the survey report and the duty holder’s use of the survey information. It includes extensive appendices and references. You can download the new HSG 264 at

1.9       IIRSM HSW Website

Access to the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM) web-site is completely free of charge with individual membership of IIRSM. It includes the entire content of the HSW magazine, an online archive to research previous articles, and a community section which enables you to post particular problems and get answers from your peers or add your opinion to the latest health and safety debate.

Winter 2009 Newletter

Merry Christmas to one and all. Its time for our December 2009 news update. 2009 continues to be a great year for Empathy EC.

In the quarter to December 2009 the principal developments have been:

  • The recent CHAS accreditation review was a great success.  Empathy are CHAS accredited.  We also have:
    • Chartered Safety and Health Practitioners;
    • CIIEH Tutors;
    • Chartered Biologists;
    • LCA accreditation.
  • Alan Hambidge is now helping Dan Barton with the famous wicker man of Oxford charity (see photos).  This is an exciting venture, and if anyone is interesting in sponsoring the event please contact me

  • Empathy have successfully extended their Legionella Control Association Certification.  The audit was a great success with the auditor branding us as one of the best organised legionella practices. 

  • The new on-line resource is nearing coming live. Interest has been great. The resource offers access to over 160 template risk assessments, policies, procedures etc from the web site for a fee (contact us for details).

  • Empathy EC continues to sponsor the children’s football team – the Kingston Colts.  It’s a great little team and their performances have been very positive.  The team currently sits in second place in the league with 8 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss.

  • Once again Empathy EC have issued an electronic Christmas card and made a donation to charity.  The card consists of a seasonal drawing by Alan’s two sons, Thomas (aged 8) and Oliver (aged 3)

Edition Number 1: 2009 Newletter

2009 has been a great year for Empathy EC.  The company continues to grow at over 30% and the feedback from clients, HSE auditors and professional bodies is very positive.  To reflect this we are offering a news page, which will be updated regularly.

In 2009 the principal developments have been:

  • The successful launch of the legionellosis / water hygiene division of Empathy Environmental Consultants Ltd.

  • Empathy Environmental Consultants have become involved in a number of local charities and events.  Right is a photograph of the dunk tank that Empathy EC Ltd sponsored for a local charity, and yes you will be pleased to know Alan got “dunked” lots!

  • During the period April to August 2009 we provided a full health and safety package (audit, policy, procedures, risk assessments, method statements, plant room survey, training etc) for a large well known property management company at five of their hospital sites, to positive review by independent auditors.
  • Alan has presented papers at the last Healthcare Estates Conference (IHEEM) and Healthcare Ireland Conference, as well as many papers to HEFMA, IHEEM, IOSH etc regional groups.  Alan is currently offering FREE technical papers to professional institutes / bodies on:
    • Health and Safety Management and Audit;
    • The role of Policy, Procedures, Risk Assessment & Training;
    • Risk Assessment for Estates;
    • Legionellosis Awareness Update
  • Empathy EC now sponsor a local children’s football team – the Kingston Colts.  It’s a great little team and their performances have been very positive.  We are looking for a top 5 finish in all age categories, and are in with a chance of top honours in a couple – will keep you posted.  The photograph on this page shows the team sporting the new kits.