HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 24TH SEPTEMBER 2015

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IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Provision of welfare facilities during construction work

Excavation and underground services

Asbestos information, instruction and training

Why is machinery safety important?

Introduction

As highlighted in our previous updates, HSE Inspectors are currently visiting refurbishment sites across the country until 9th October, to challenge the poor standards that are putting the health and safety of workers at risk. With this in mind, if you are a client or contractor, are you aware of your responsibilities regarding welfare facilities on construction projects? Last week, a Cheshire building contractor was fined £4,000 with costs of £2,495 after failing to fulfil these responsibilities so we open this week’s update with what you need to do to comply with the law.

Did you know that replacing a wooden garden fence around a domestic property could result in a potentially fatal electric shock? A Barnsley housing services provider has been fined £7,500 with £8,562 costs after exactly this happened to one of its employees who struck an underground electric cable with a metal spade whilst excavating a fence post hole. HSE guidance below explains what you need to know, and do, before digging or disturbing earth where underground services may be located.

It’s almost a year now since the HSE launched the “Beware Asbestos” campaign, but awareness is still very much lacking amongst trades people likely to come into contact with the potentially deadly substance. In response to reports of a Middlesex self employed heating engineer being fined £5,000 with £3,000 costs after removing asbestos lagged pipework in a domestic property with no precautions to prevent exposure to asbestos fibres, we share HSE guidance this week on exactly what type of information, instruction and training is necessary to provide a sufficient level of awareness.

And finally, after reports of a meat processing company being fined £28,000 after an employee suffered severe injuries to the fingers of his left hand when they came into contact with a band saw, we ask why machinery safety is important, and share HSE guidance on what workers using moving machinery should and should not do to prevent injury.

We hope you find our news updates useful. If you know of anyone who may benefit from reading them, please encourage them to register at the bottom-left of our news page (http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/) and we’ll email them a link each time an update is published. If in the unlikely event any difficulties are experienced whilst registering we’ll be more than happy to help and can be contacted on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

Provision of welfare facilities during construction work

Last week a Cheshire building contractor was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,495, for serious health breaches and lack of welfare facilities on a Culcheth building site.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) received a complaint from a member of the public in May 2014 about the conditions on the site where work was being carried out to convert a disused NHS premises.

The HSE investigation found access to the construction site was restricted and a lack of both health and safety provisions and welfare facilities. Workers were entering the building via ladders and planks. Work was stopped whilst scaffolding was erected to make access to the building safe.

Dust from sandblasting activities was found to be affecting other workers on the site and inadequate protection had been provided. Workers were expected to carry out tasks such as groundworks and bricklaying but were unable to wash their hands to remove any contamination.

Organising site welfare

What you need to do

The law says that clients and contractors have responsibilities regarding welfare facilities on construction projects.

Contractors provide welfare facilities and clients must ensure this happens.

The pre-construction information prepared by the client should include the arrangements for welfare provision. On notifiable projects (longer than 30 days or 500 person days), the client must ensure the construction phase does not start unless they are satisfied that there are arrangements for welfare facilities to be provided.

Contractors must maintain the facilities throughout the life of the project.

The nature and scale of facilities required will depend on the size, location and type of project. Facilities include:

  • Toilets
  • Washing facilities
  • Drinking water
  • Changing rooms and lockers
  • Facilities for rest

What you need to know

Everyone who works on any site must have:

  • access to adequate toilet and washing facilities;
  • a place for preparing and consuming refreshments; and
  • somewhere for storing and drying clothing and personal protective equipment.

If mobile teams work at a number of locations over a few days (eg road repair and cable-laying gangs), these facilities can be provided at a central location accessible within a reasonable distance or time.

Decisions and action on welfare facilities need to be taken at an early stage of project planning.

Toilets

Toilets should be suitable and sufficient, ventilated, lit and kept in a clean and orderly condition.

Washing facilities must be provided so that workers can use them immediately after using the toilet or urinal, even if they are provided elsewhere.

Washing facilities

General washing facilities must be suitable and sufficient, kept clean and orderly and with basins or sinks large enough for people to wash their face, hands and forearms.

The facilities should include:

  • clean hot and cold, or warm, running water;
  • soap or other suitable means of cleaning;
  • towels or other suitable means of drying; and
  • showers where the nature of work is particularly dirty or there is a need to decontaminate.

Drinking water

Drinking water must be provided or made available at readily accessible and suitable places.

Cups are required unless the supply is in a jet from which people can drink easily.

Changing rooms and lockers

Changing rooms are needed where workers have to wear special clothing for the purposes of their work and cannot be expected to change elsewhere.

The rooms must be provided with seating, means of drying and keeping clothing and personal effects secure.

Facilities for rest

Rest rooms or rest areas are required equipped with tables and seating (with backs) sufficient for the number of persons likely to use them at any one time.

There should be arrangements for meals to be prepared and eaten, plus means for boiling water. In cold weather, heating should be provided.

For more information, HSE’s Construction Information Sheet No 59 can be downloaded free by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis59.pdf or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Excavation and underground services

Last week a Barnsley housing services provider was fined £7,500 with £8,562 in costs after an employee received an electric shock while replacing a wooden garden fence around a domestic property.

Barnsley Magistrates Court heard how the injured person struck an underground electric cable with a metal spade while excavating a post hole and received an electric shock. The shock did not cause any lasting injury to the joiner, though the court was told that such incidents do pose a risk of fatal injury.

The court found that the Company had failed to ensure the safety of their employee, in that work carried out near an electrical system was not planned in order to minimise the risk of a cable strike.

HSE and other organisations have produced guidance on electrical safety that is suitable for a wide range of industries and technical competencies. Most of the information produced by the HSE is available for immediate download.

What you need to know

When underground cables are damaged, people can be killed and injured by electric shock, electrical arcs (causing an explosion), and flames. This often results in severe burns to hands, face and body, even if protective clothing is being worn.

Damage can be caused when a cable is:

  • cut through by a sharp object such as the point of a tool; or
  • crushed by a heavy object or powerful machine.

Cables that have been previously damaged but left unreported and unrepaired can cause incidents.

The HSE booklet “Avoiding danger from underground services” gives guidance on how you can manage the risks of digging near underground cables and is free to download by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg47.pdf

The Electricity Networks Association (ENA) publication “Watch It! When digging in the vicinity of underground electric cables” also provides advice: https://www.southern-electric.co.uk/uploadedFiles/CoreMarketingSites/Assets/Documents/UndergroundCables.pdf

What you need to do

If you are digging or disturbing the earth you should take care to avoid damaging underground services. Underground electrical cables can be particularly hazardous because they often look like pipes and it is impossible to tell if they are live just by looking at them.

Damage to underground electrical cables can cause fatal or severe injury and the law says you must take precautions to avoid danger.

Excavation work should be properly managed to control risks, including:

  • Planning the work
  • Using cable plans
  • Cable locating devices
  • Safe digging practices

Planning the work

Most service cables belong to a Distribution Network Operator (DNO). However, some cables belong to other organisations such as the highways authority, Ministry of Defence or Network Rail.

You should check nearby for equipment owned by the organisations listed above, and if you suspect there are underground cables, ask them for plans to confirm their location. If underground cables are nearby you may need to ask someone from the organisation to come and accurately locate them for you.

If you are excavating near your own cables , then someone who is experienced in underground cable detection techniques should help you locate them using suitable equipment.

You may need to make underground cables dead for the work to proceed safely. Be aware that electricity companies are required to give five days’ notice to customers whose supply is to be disconnected.

Careful planning and risk assessments are essential before the work starts. Risk assessments should consider how the work is to be carried out, ensuring local circumstances are taken into account.

Using cable plans

Plans or other suitable information about all buried services in the area should be obtained and reviewed before any excavation work starts.

If the excavation work is an emergency, and plans and other information cannot be found, the work should be carried out as though there are live buried services in the area.

Symbols on electricity cable plans may vary between utilities and advice should be sought from the issuing office. Remember that high-voltage cables may be shown on separate plans from low-voltage cables.

Plans give only an indication of the location, and number of underground services at a particular site. It is essential that a competent person traces cables using suitable locating devices.

Cable locating devices

Before work begins, underground cables must be located, identified and clearly marked.

The position of the cable in or near the proposed work area should be pinpointed as accurately as possible by means of a locating device, using plans, and other information as a guide to the possible location of services and to help interpret the signal.

Remember: Locators should be used frequently and repeatedly during the course of the work.

People who use a locator should have received thorough training in its use and limitations. Locating devices should always be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, regularly checked and maintained in good working order.

Safe digging practices

Excavation work should be carried out carefully and follow recognised safe digging practices.

Once a locating device has been used to determine cable positions and routes, excavation may take place, with trial holes dug using suitable hand tools as necessary to confirm this.

Excavate alongside the service rather than directly above it. Final exposure of the service by horizontal digging is recommended, as the force applied to hand tools can be controlled more effectively.

Insulated tools should be used when hand digging near electric cables.

For more information visit HSE’s web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/electricity/information/excavations.htm, or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Asbestos information, instruction and training

A Middlesex self employed heating engineer has been fined £5,000 with £3,000 costs after removing asbestos lagged pipework in a domestic property with no precautions to prevent exposure to asbestos fibres.

The engineer was employed to install a new heating system in the domestic property. He removed the redundant pipework that was lagged with asbestos, using a powered electric saw. He then transported the pipework through the property and deposited it outside on the drive.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that the engineer did not have any asbestos awareness training. HSE told the court that had he been appropriately trained, he would have been in a position to recognise that the lagging may be asbestos. He would have known to avoid any work until it had been demonstrated as asbestos free or been removed by a licensed contractor. Instead, he removed the pipes with no precautions to prevent his own exposure to asbestos fibres, and the potential for other persons to be exposed. The homeowners have had to move out of their home pending thorough decontamination of the property.

Every employer must make sure that anyone who is liable to disturb asbestos during their normal work, or who supervises those employees, gets the correct level of information, instruction and training so that they can work safely and competently without risk to themselves or others.

What type of information, instruction and training is necessary?

Workers and supervisors must be able to recognise asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) and know what to do if they come across them in order to protect themselves and others.

There are three main levels of information, instruction and training. These relate to:

  • Asbestos awareness
  • Non-licensable work with asbestos including NNLW
  • Licensable work with asbestos.

Attending a training course on its own will not make a worker competent. Competence is developed over time by implementing and consolidating skills learnt during training, on-the-job learning, instruction and assessment.

It is important that the level of information, instruction and training is appropriate for the work and the roles undertaken by each worker (and supervisor). Using a training needs analysis (TNA) will help to identify what topics should be covered to ensure workers have the right level of competence to avoid putting themselves or others at risk.

Asbestos awareness

Information, instruction and training for asbestos awareness is intended to give workers and supervisors the information they need to avoid work that may disturb asbestos during any normal work which could disturb the fabric of a building, or other item which might contain asbestos. It will not prepare workers, or self-employed contractors, to carry out work with asbestos-containing materials. If a worker is planning to carry out work that will disturb ACMs, further information, instruction and training will be needed.

Examples of those affected are listed below. There will be other occupations where asbestos may be disturbed in addition to those listed.:

  • General maintenance workers
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Joiners
  • Painters and decorators
  • Plasterers
  • Construction workers
  • Roofers
  • Shop fitters
  • Gas fitters
  • Heating and ventilation engineers
  • Demolition workers
  • Telecommunication engineers
  • Fire/burglar alarm installers
  • Computer and data installers
  • Architects
  • Building surveyors

Information, instruction and training about asbestos awareness should cover the following:

  • the properties of asbestos and its effects on health, including the increased risk of developing lung cancer for asbestos workers who smoke
  • the types, uses and likely occurrence of asbestos and asbestos materials in buildings and plant
  • the general procedures to deal with an emergency, eg an uncontrolled release of asbestos dust into the workplace
  • how to avoid the risk of exposure to asbestos

Online learning (often referred to as e–learning) is increasingly used as a method of providing asbestos awareness training. HSE recognises the use of e-learning as a viable delivery method, among others, for asbestos awareness training, provided it satisfies the requirements of Regulation 10 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and the supporting Approved Code of Practice L143 ‘Managing and working with asbestos’.

Workers who plan to carry out work that will disturb asbestos require a higher level of information, instruction and training, in addition to asbestos awareness. This should take account of whether the work is non-licensed; notifiable non-licensed work (NNLW); or licensed work and should be job specific.

For more information, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/training.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Why is machinery safety important?

A company which processes and distributes meat for retail catering and wholesale sectors has been fined £28,000 after an employee suffered severe injuries to the fingers of his left hand when they came into contact with a band saw.

Forfar Sheriff Court heard how on May 2013 an employee of the meat processing company was using a band saw which formed part of the machinery for cutting pig carcasses.

The court was told the band saw, which had an exposed blade, was being used as a replacement for the usual saw which was inoperative. The replacement band saw was not fitted to a conveyor to carry the sections of cut meat away from the blade and towards the employee. This meant that the employee’s hands were in close proximity to the exposed cutting blade.

It was during the process of moving the meat that the employee’s fingers came into contact with the band saw.

Moving machinery can cause injuries in many ways:

  • People can be struck and injured by moving parts of machinery or ejected material. Parts of the body can also be drawn in or trapped between rollers, belts and pulley drives
  • Sharp edges can cause cuts and severing injuries, sharp-pointed parts can cause stabbing or puncture the skin, and rough surface parts can cause friction or abrasion
  • People can be crushed, both between parts moving together or towards a fixed part of the machine, wall or other object, and two parts moving past one another can cause shearing
  • Parts of the machine, materials and emissions (such as steam or water) can be hot or cold enough to cause burns or scalds and electricity can cause electrical shock and burns
  • Injuries can also occur due to machinery becoming unreliable and developing faults or when machines are used improperly through inexperience or lack of training

What do I have to do?

Before you start

Before you start using any machine you need to think about what risks may occur and how these can be managed. You should therefore do the following:

  • Check that the machine is complete, with all safeguards fitted, and free from defects. The term ‘safeguarding’ includes guards, interlocks, two-hand controls, light guards, pressure-sensitive mats etc. By law, the supplier must provide the right safeguards and inform buyers of any risks (‘residual risks’) that users need to be aware of and manage because they could not be designed out
  • Produce a safe system of work for using and maintaining the machine. Maintenance may require the inspection of critical features where deterioration would cause a risk. Also look at the residual risks identified by the manufacturer in the information/ instructions provided with the machine and make sure they are included in the safe system of work
  • Ensure every static machine has been installed properly and is stable (usually fixed down)
  • Choose the right machine for the job and do not put machines where customers or visitors may be exposed to risk
  • Note that new machines should be CE marked and supplied with a Declaration of Conformity and instructions in English

Make sure the machine is:

  • safe for any work that has to be done when setting up, during normal use, when clearing blockages, when carrying out repairs for breakdowns, and during planned maintenance
  • properly switched off, isolated or locked-off before taking any action to remove blockages, clean or adjust the machine

Also, make sure you identify and deal with the risks from:

  • electrical, hydraulic or pneumatic power supplies
  • badly designed safeguards. These may be inconvenient to use or easily overridden, which could encourage your workers to risk injury and break the law. If they are, find out why they are doing it and take appropriate action to deal with the reasons/causes

Preventing access to dangerous parts

Think about how you can make a machine safe. The measures you use to prevent access to dangerous parts should be in the following order. In some cases it may be necessary to use a combination of these measures:

  • Use fixed guards (eg secured with screws or nuts and bolts) to enclose the dangerous parts, whenever practical. Use the best material for these guards – plastic may be easy to see through but may easily be damaged. Where you use wire mesh or similar materials, make sure the holes are not large enough to allow access to moving parts
  • If fixed guards are not practical, use other methods, eg interlock the guard so that the machine cannot start before the guard is closed and cannot be opened while the machine is still moving. In some cases, trip systems such as photoelectric devices, pressure-sensitive mats or automatic guards may be used if other guards are not practical
  • Where guards cannot give full protection, use jigs, holders, push sticks etc if it is practical to do so
  • Control any remaining risk by providing the operator with the necessary information, instruction, training, supervision and appropriate safety equipment

Other things you should consider

  • If machines are controlled by programmable electronic systems, changes to any programmes should be carried out by a competent person (someone who has the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to carry out the work safely). Keep a record of such changes and check they have been made properly
  • Ensure control switches are clearly marked to show what they do
  • Have emergency stop controls where necessary, eg mushroom-head push buttons within easy reach
  • Make sure operating controls are designed and placed to avoid accidental operation and injury, use two-hand controls where necessary and shroud start buttons and pedals
  • Do not let unauthorised, unqualified or untrained people use machinery – never allow children to operate or help at machines. Some workers, eg new starters, young people or those with disabilities, may be particularly at risk and need instruction, training and supervision
  • Adequate training should ensure that those who use the machine are competent to use it safely. This includes ensuring they have the correct skills, knowledge and experience – sometimes formal qualifications are needed, eg for chainsaw operators
  • Supervisors must also be properly trained and competent to be effective. They may need extra specific training and there are recognised courses for supervisors
  • Ensure the work area around the machine is kept clean and tidy, free from obstructions or slips and trips hazards, and well lit

Dos and don’ts of machinery safety for workers

Do…

  • check the machine is well maintained and fit to be used, ie appropriate for the job and working properly and that all the safety measures are in place – guards, isolators, locking mechanisms, emergency off switches etc
  • use the machine properly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • make sure you are wearing the appropriate protective clothing and equipment required for that machine, such as safety glasses, hearing protection and safety shoes

Don’t…

  • use a machine or appliance that has a danger sign or tag attached to it. Danger signs should only be removed by an authorised person who is satisfied that the machine or process is now safe
  • wear dangling chains, loose clothing, rings or have loose, long hair that could get caught up in moving parts
  • distract people who are using machines
  • remove any safeguards, even if their presence seems to make the job more difficult

For more information visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/index.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 17TH SEPTEMBER 2015

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Advice on horizontal swing car park barriers

National company calls on the construction industry to learn from their mistakes during HSE’s refurbishment initiative

Use of e-cigarettes in the workplace

Fire as a health asset? Or a health necessity?

Introduction

Further to news last week of a local authority being fined £160,000 after a man died when his car drove into a horizontal swing car park barrier, we’re opening this week’s update with information provided by the HSE to remind users of their duties in relation to the safe use of such barriers.

A couple of weeks ago we opened our news update with details of the HSE’s 10th annual refurbishment inspection initiative, which started a couple of days ago and which targets the unsafe work practices that make construction one of Britain’s most dangerous industries. This week, we’re highlighting the national interiors fit-out company (previously prosecuted by the HSE) who have publicly backed the initiative.

In the light of concerns raised this week in the British Medical Journal on Public Health England’s review which concludes that e-cigarettes are around 95% safer than smoked tobacco, some employers may be unsure as to whether their use should be permitted or prohibited in the workplace, so we’re sharing the HSE’s advice on what has recently become something of a contentious issue.

And finally, we close with news of a new partnership which may be of interest to our clients and readers working within the Health & Social Care sector. Health and local government staff in some areas are working with the Fire & Rescue Services to identify households with complex conditions or needs and increased risk of fire. NHS England is supporting the local development of a whole system, multi-agency approach to deliver the national commitment of more integrated person centred care closer to home.

We hope you find our news updates useful. If you know of anyone who may benefit from reading them, please encourage them to register at the bottom-left of our news page (http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/) and we’ll email them a link each time an update is published. If in the unlikely event any difficulties are experienced whilst registering we’ll be more than happy to help and can be contacted on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

Advice on horizontal swing car park barriers

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is aware of accidents, including fatalities, as a result of incidents involving horizontal swing barriers, which are found in car parks used in retail and many other premises.

Only last week, North Lincolnshire Council was fined after a man died when his car drove into a horizontal swing barrier gate to a car park at a local authority sports ground. Hull Crown Court heard how, in August 2012, Andrew Matthews had gone to a sports ground to watch his son play football. The horizontal barrier had been opened earlier, but was not secured so it swung into a dangerous position. As Mr Matthews drove his car towards the gate, the horizontal end section of the barrier went through the windscreen striking him on the head, causing fatal injuries. North Lincolnshire Council was fined a total of £160,000, and ordered to pay £40,476 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Horizontal swing barriers typically comprise a bar or beam hinged at a vertical pillar. The bar is manually moved to open or close off access to an opening in a car park exit/entrance. As in the tragic case above, accidents have occurred when barriers have been inadequately secured so that they have partially opened and presented a least visible end on profile of protruding barrier which has impaled an oncoming vehicle. The end profile of the barrier may not be clearly visible to an oncoming driver. Other incidents have occurred as a barrier has swung into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Unsecured barriers can swing open due to the wind, gravity or as a result of vandalism.

HSE has provided the following information to remind users of their duties in relation to the safe use of such barriers. Duty holders include persons in charge of the entrances to industrial estates, retail premises, leisure premises, sporting complexes, parks, farms etc. In short any premise with a car park entrance or exit to which members of the public and workers have vehicular access, may utilise such barriers. (Vertically opening or lifting barriers can also present safety risks if they are not correctly controlled.)

Duty holders are reminded of their responsibilities in relation to barriers. They include:

  • Carrying out a suitable risk assessment so that potential dangers are identified and precautions are put in place to ensure they are removed or controlled.
  • Reviewing existing risk assessments where horizontal swing barriers are in use to determine whether elimination of the risk is possible. Horizontal swing barriers rely on human intervention to ensure they are locked open or locked shut, they are also susceptible to vandalism which can leave them in an unsafe position. Vertical lifting gates are a lower risk alternative, as is the provision of lower height swing barriers so that any collision will result in damage to the vehicle without causing any part of the barrier to enter the vehicle with possible fatal consequences.
  • Where horizontal barriers are used, making sure the barriers are adequately secured at all times whether open or shut (a padlock will suffice).
  • Making sure the barriers are made visible by painting or marking with alternate red and white bands of adequate width to be clearly visible, so that persons do not inadvertently drive into them (additional local lighting may be required).
  • Carrying out regular inspections to ensure that the methods of securing and visibility aspects have not deteriorated.
  • Ensuring barriers are maintained in accordance with manufacturers instructions.
  • Liaising with suppliers if your risk assessment reveals that securing and visibility requirements are inadequate.

If you need any help with the carrying out or reviewing of your risk assessments, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help. We also undertake property health & safety/fire risk assessments, and no-obligation quotations can be provided upon request.

National company calls on the construction industry to learn from their mistakes during HSE’s refurbishment initiative

A couple of weeks ago we opened our news update with details of the HSE’s 10th annual refurbishment inspection initiative, which started a couple of days ago.

A national interiors fit-out company (previously prosecuted by the HSE), whose clients include high-end retail brands, is backing the initiative. The nationwide drive will target the unsafe work practices that make construction one of Britain’s most dangerous industries.

John Graham, Newman Scott’s new Joint Managing Director said:

“I would urge everyone in the construction industry to take action now in protecting the health and safety of your workers. Don’t let a prosecution or worse the death or injury of a colleague be the catalyst for change.”

Although construction is 5 per cent of Britain’s workforce it accounts for 31% of all fatalities, with 42 deaths in 2014/15 and 76,000 cases of reported ill-health. HSE will be targeting the refurbishment sites as they account for more than half of all the deaths, injuries and cases of ill-health within the construction industry.

HSE Inspectors will be visiting refurbishment sites across the country, between 14 September and 9 October, to challenge the poor standards that are putting the health and safety of workers at risk.

Newman Scott was visited by HSE during the 2013 inspection initiative and the poor practice found resulted in the company and one of their directors being prosecuted.

John Graham explains:

“We were mortified at the thought of being prosecuted because we had a good safety record and thought we were pretty good at health and safety.

“A sub-contractor was using a poorly erected mobile scaffold, on an escalator between the ground and first floor, and although no-one was hurt there was a very real and high risk of injury, or worse, to the operatives.

“We had a choice, we could consider ourselves lucky there were no injuries or we could hold a full and frank internal investigation, understand what had gone wrong and make sure our sites were safe for our workers.”

Newman Scott had the processes in place but they were not being followed. Their decision to get to the root-cause of the incident has created a sea change in their organisation’s health and safety culture, an example HSE hopes other construction companies will learn from.

John continues:

“We focused on improving the already positive safety culture in the company through better communication, more training, more competency checking and giving more ownership of health and safety to our employees. Most importantly our employees knew they could say no, without fear of retribution, to any request from a client or director if they felt it could not be carried out without risking their health or their safety.”

Although John believes the company would have made changes eventually Newman Scott are convinced HSE’s enforcement action acted as a catalyst and their interaction with the inspector helped them to implement sustained and effective changes.

John, said:

“Of course HSE has an enforcement function and this may make them appear formal but there was a genuine desire from them to help us make the workplace a safer, healthier place. We were treated with respect and courtesy and that helped us approach the whole experience in a positive way, maximising the improvements to the benefit of everyone on our sites.

“We cannot say that we will have no more lapses in the future. We can say that all our people sleep easier in their beds knowing that we are all doing all we can to make sure we have safer, healthier sites. That peace of mind is priceless.”

Jo Anderson, HSE’s lead for the construction initiative, said:

“We are grateful to Newman Scott for sharing their experience and for how they have responded to the prosecution.

“We hope everyone can learn from their lessons and realise it is vital when carrying out construction work that the right management systems are in place so risks to workers’ health are controlled just as effectively as safety. Workers within construction are paying too high a toll on their health and safety when it is completely avoidable by planning the work, providing the right kit and making sure it is used properly.

HSE guidance on health and safety in the construction industry can be found on their web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/, or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Use of e-cigarettes in the workplace

Further to concerns raised this week in the British Medical Journal on Public Health England’s review of the latest evidence concluding e-cigarettes are around 95% safer than smoked tobacco, we’re sharing HSE’s advice on their use in the workplace.

HSE does not enforce legislation or standards for e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are not regulated like tobacco products and there is currently no bespoke regulatory system for e-cigarettes in the UK, but they are captured by general product safety regulatory requirements.

HSE’s advice is that an employer needs to consider e-cigarettes in the wider context of risk in the workplace. HSE is aware that some organisations have banned their use but this is not something the regulator has advised on. Employers may want to ask for advice on this from Public Health England: cleartobaccoteam@phe.gov.uk.

Some organisations may find the “Will you permit or prohibit electronic cigarette use on your premises?” document useful (http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_900.pdf). It sets out five questions to ask yourself before deciding whether to permit or prohibit e-cigarette use on your premises

If an employer decides to ‘prohibit’ the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace but allow for ‘vaping’ breaks or provide areas where employees can use e-cigarettes, the employer needs to ensure that those who use e-cigarettes are not put at risk of harm from second-hand tobacco smoke.

To read the joint statement on e-cigarettes published this week by Public Health England and other UK public health organisations, click on the link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/e-cigarettes-an-emerging-public-health-consensus

Fire as a health asset? Or a health necessity?

Likely to be of interest to some of our clients and readers working within the Health & Social Care sector,  a new partnership has been established between NHS England and the Fire and Rescue Services (FRS), to use their collective capabilities and resources more effectively to enhance the lives of older people and those with complex conditions.

Working together with Public Health England, the Chief Fire Officers Association, the Local Government Association and Age UK, the group has established a new working relationship aimed at improving the quality of life for people who would benefit from brief health and wellbeing interventions in their own homes, and better coordinated public services.

Jacquie White, NHS England’s Deputy Director for People with Long Term Conditions, explained: “The Fire and Rescue Services in England carry out 670,000 home visits annually on vulnerable people.

“These are already providing some basic health interventions – but they are keen to do more.

“Health and local government staff in some areas are working with the FRS to identify households with complex conditions or needs and increased risk of fire. They agree a local list of health interventions to be provided, while also developing ways of directing people who need help from health or care services.”

NHS England is supporting the local development of a whole system, multi-agency approach to deliver the national commitment of more integrated person centred care closer to home.

A consensus statement between NHS England, the Chief Fire Officers’ Association, PHE, LGA and Age UK will be published soon along with design principles for ‘safe and well visits’ and links to case studies.

You can read more about this new initiative in Jacquie White’s blog: http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/08/14/jacquie-white/

Contains public sector information published by Gov.UK, the Health and Safety Executive and NHS England, and licensed under the Open Government Licence

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 10TH SEPTEMBER 2015

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Turn around when possible: one in seven risking lives to correct sat-nav mistakes

Landlord prosecuted over carbon monoxide risk

Awareness training in automated external defibrillators

Safe & Sound at Work – do your bit

Introduction

A survey by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line has found that more than one in seven (15%) drivers who use a sat-nav admit making illegal or risky manoeuvres to correct mistakes when following sat-nav instructions, putting themselves and other road users at risk of a devastating crash. This week’s opening topic provides guidance on how to use sat-nav systems safely.

Also, further to the news last week of a landlord being prosecuted over carbon monoxide risk, we’re highlighting what landlords must do to fulfil their legal responsibility for the safety of their tenants in relation to gas safety.

With AEDs (automated external defibrillators) becoming more prevalent in the wider community, if you’re wondering whether you have a legal obligation to provide one in your workplace, read on for guidance from the HSE.

Tell employees about health and safety and they’ll know about it. Involve them and they’ll understand.” This is the message delivered by the HSE’s ‘Safe & Sound at Work’ campaign, and this week’s closing topic, which is aimed at helping small to medium sized enterprises benefit from improved consultation.

We hope you find our news updates useful. If you know of anyone who may benefit from reading them, please encourage them to register at the bottom-left of our news page (http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/) and we’ll email them a link each time an update is published. If in the unlikely event any difficulties are experienced whilst registering we’ll be more than happy to help and can be contacted on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

Turn around when possible: one in seven risking lives to correct sat-nav mistakes

‘Turn around when possible.’ It’s a phrase that anyone who drives with the aid of a sat-nav knows well.

But it could mean more than just a navigational nightmare. A survey by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line has found that more than one in seven (15%) drivers who use a sat-nav admit making illegal or risky manoeuvres to correct mistakes when following sat-nav instructions, putting themselves and other road users at risk of a devastating crash.

Dodgy u-turns aren’t the only danger. Brake and Direct Line’s survey also found that:

  • one in 14 (7%) drivers have had a near miss, having to swerve or brake suddenly to avoid a hazard, because they were distracted by a sat-nav (rising to one in 10 (11%) among young drivers (17-24);
  • one in 14 (7%) drivers also admit to having a similar near miss because they were fiddling with their stereo (rising to one in 10 (11%) among young drivers (17-24))
  • When used responsibly, using a voice-based sat-nav can make you a safer than using a visual display or paper map, as you can navigate without looking away from the road. However, there is some evidence that relying on a sat-nav can make you drive faster and make you less observant. Fiddling with a stereo can also make you react slower and make more errors.

Through its drive smart campaign, Brake is calling on all drivers to stay alert and keep their mind and eyes on the road. That means programming your sat-nav before you set off, and not attempting to re-programme it, fiddle with your stereo, use a mobile, or do anything else while driving. Research shows almost everyone is unable to multi-task at the wheel without driving performance being badly affected. Carry out a secondary activity and you’re two to three times more likely to crash: more for complex activities like talking on a phone or texting.

Brake is also calling on drivers not to be distracted by the range of technologies being installed in many new cars that have nothing to do with driving, such as access to social media. Brake is also appealing to the government to regulate the use of features that can pose a dangerous distraction to drivers.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “Sat-navs have revolutionised the way many of us drive, helping us get from A to B without worrying about navigation, and there are indications they can make you safer. However, there are potential pitfalls to be wary of that can pose a real danger to yourself and other road users. Remember, the sat-nav is there to help you keep focused on driving rather than worry about directions, but it’s not there to make all the decisions for you. Driving is an unpredictable activity, so you still need to look at signs, particularly those warning of hazards or speed limits, and watch for people and unexpected problems.

“For many drivers there is an increasing array of technological temptations that can pose a deadly distraction; it’s essential to resist to ensure you and others arrive safely. Brake’s advice is: set your sat-nav and radio before you set off, put your phone in the boot and ensure you’re not tempted to do anything that will take your mind or eyes off the road while driving.”

Rob Miles, director of motor at Direct Line,commented: “Looking at the sat-nav while your eyes are meant to be on the road is no different from trying to drive with a map in front of you. It’s dangerous, and you shouldn’t do it. If you’re going to use sat-nav to guide you through a journey, better to use a voice-based version so you can keep your eyes on the road. If you need to change direction or turn around, do it safely, even if it takes a bit of time to get to the next roundabout rather than doing a U-turn. And if you want to look at the sat-nav, do what you’d do with a map: find somewhere safe to pull over before having a look.”

Article reproduced courtesy of Brake – the road safety charity.

Read the full article: http://www.brake.org.uk/news/1329-incartech-jan15.

Read about Brake’s drive smart campaign: http://www.brake.org.uk/drivesmart.

Tweet Brake: @Brakecharity, hashtag #DriveSmart.

Read the survey report: http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DLreport-DrivenToDistraction-sec3-incartech-2015.pdf.

More information about the safe use of sat-nav systems can be found on the RoSPA website: http://www.rospa.com/road-safety/advice/vehicles/satellite-navigation-devices/

For more information about work related road safety, visit the HSE website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/roadsafety/ or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Landlord prosecuted over carbon monoxide risk

HSE press release – 3 September 2015

A mother and her young son were put at risk of suffering carbon monoxide poisoning for seven years at their home in Ashton-under-Lyne, a court has heard.

The woman’s landlord, Rent4U Ltd, of Manchester, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an inspection of the gas boiler at her home found it was in a condition classified as ‘immediately dangerous’.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that the firm failed to arrange an annual gas safety check at the terraced house on Marlborough Street between 2007 and 2014.

The court was told that Rent4U had previously been served with two Improvement Notices by HSE in 2013 after failing to arrange annual gas safety checks at two other properties.

Rent4U Ltd, of Christie Way, Christie Fields, Manchester, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £7,000 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

Landlords’ responsibility for gas safety

As a landlord, you are legally responsible for the safety of your tenants in relation to gas safety. By law you must:

  • Repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in safe condition
  • Ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue
  • Keep a record of each safety check

You should also keep your tenants informed about their responsibilities while they are staying in your property.

Gas checks (click on the links for more information)

Maintenance

Record keeping

Tenants

For more information, visit the HSE website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/landlords/ or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Awareness training in automated external defibrillators

In-depth training in the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) is not currently part of either the Emergency First Aid at Work and First Aid at Work courses.  However, HSE welcomes the presence of awareness training in these courses as it instils greater confidence in the use of AEDs.

It is not compulsory for employers to purchase AEDs to comply with the Health and Safety (First-Aid) regulations 1981.  However, if your needs assessment identifies an AED need then we recommend your staff should be fully trained in its use.

The Resuscitation Council UK (www.resus.org.uk) guidance on AEDs is that this equipment is safe to use and can be readily used by untrained bystanders. (The 2015 guidelines will be published on 15th October 2015.)

AEDs are becoming more prevalent within the wider community.  For example there are national strategies in place actively promoting their placement in schools; public places such as stations.  Many workplaces have voluntarily invested in this equipment.

Evidence suggests that where AEDs have been used the outcomes are far more favourable for an individual who suffers from a heart attack than if it is delayed until the arrival of the emergency services.

For more information on first aid at work, visit the HSE website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/firstaid/ or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Safe & Sound at Work – do your bit

Tell employees about health and safety and they’ll know about it

Involve them and they’ll understand.

Step-by-step guidance to help your business benefit from improved consultation

This is a step-by-step guide primarily aimed at small to medium sized enterprises, offering practical hints and tips for workplaces on how to improve on their existing consultation and worker involvement arrangements.

First choose from either stable or dynamic below, depending on what best describes your own workplace (click on the links):

Step-by-step guide for ‘Stable’ small to medium sized workplaces where the conditions don’t change on a regular basis (e.g. a factory or workshop): http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement/doyourbit/stable/index.htm

Step-by-step guide for ‘Dynamic’ small to medium sized workplaces where the conditions change on a regular basis (e.g. a construction site or delivering goods to different addresses): http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement/doyourbit/dynamic/index.htm

If you are a large organisation, you may wish to access the HSE worker involvement website (http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement/index.htm) to view guidance, advice and case studies that may be of more relevance.

Shared experiences

Discover how organisations can successfully involve their workforce in managing health and safety.

Watch real video footage and read about health and safety stories, from the employers, employees and representatives involved.

Learn how Murraywood reduced their insurance premiums by 50% (click on the link): http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement/doyourbit/case-study-murraywood.htm

What should I be doing?

We know from experience that workplaces where employees play an active part in health and safety often have lower accident rates.

Talking, listening and co-operating helps to get the best from your workforce, encouraging closer working relationships, as well as a safer workplace.

Find out more: http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement/doyourbit/what-should-i-be-doing.htm

Representatives

By representing your colleagues you can help to make workplaces both healthier and safer. Being a rep can also help you increase your skills and value in the workplace.

Find out more: http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement/doyourbit/representatives.htm

Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 3RD SEPTEMBER 2015

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

HSE Refurbishment Inspection Initiative 2015

FLTA Safety Month – Safetember: see danger, speak up!

Licensing of houses in multiple occupation in England: a guide for landlords and managers

Key safety campaigns to be supported at British Safety Council’s annual conference

Introduction

Later this month, the construction industry will be the focus of HSE attention, as inspectors embark on a four week long programme of unannounced visits to sites where refurbishment projects or repairs are underway. We open this week’s update with details of the HSE’s 10th annual refurbishment inspection initiative.

Already underway is the Fork Lift Truck Association’s safety month which runs until 30th September, and during which free resources and guides will be available on the FLTA website. The campaign is now in its eighth year and aims to raise awareness of the dangers involved in fork lift operations throughout the industry and to stress the importance of common sense measures that can make lift trucks safer and more efficient.

Are you a landlord or managing agent/property manager? Do you know what constitutes a House in Multiple Occupation, and that some HMOs are required to be licensed? Read on for more information about your responsibilities, particularly in regard to health and safety.

The safety of cyclists on our roads has been highlighted in the news in recent weeks, and a ban on unsafe lorries has recently come into force in London. Work-related transport is one of the health and safety campaigns the British Safety Council will be focusing on at its conference on 23rd September. Read on to find out which other campaigns will be highlighted at the event.

We hope you find our news updates useful. If you know of anyone who may benefit from reading them, please encourage them to register at the bottom-left of our news page (http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/) and we’ll email them a link each time an update is published. If in the unlikely event any difficulties are experienced whilst registering we’ll be more than happy to help and can be contacted on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

HSE Refurbishment Inspection Initiative 2015

The HSE’s 10th annual refurbishment inspection initiative is due to take place between 14th September and 9th October 2015. Poor standards and unsafe practices on Britain’s building sites are likely to be targeted during a nationwide drive aimed at reducing ill health, death and injury in the industry.

During the annual initiative, HSE Construction Inspectors carry out unannounced visits to sites where refurbishment projects or repair works are underway, ensuring high-risk activities particularly those affecting the health of workers, are being properly managed.

What the initiative does

The main aims of the initiative are:

  • to achieve an improvement in industry standards, in particular at small sites
  • to increase awareness of HSEs expectations of the industry
  • to demonstrate that HSE will use the enforcement tools at its disposal to prevent immediate risk and bring about sustained improvements

What inspectors look for

During inspections, HSE inspectors consider whether:

  • risks to health from exposure to dust such as silica are being controlled
  • workers are aware of where they may find asbestos, and what to do if they find it
  • other health risks, such as exposure to noise and vibration, manual handling, hazardous substances are being properly managed
  • jobs that involve working at height have been identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions, such as proper support of structures, are in place
  • equipment is correctly installed / assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly
  • sites are well organised, to avoid trips and falls, walkways and stairs are free from obstructions and welfare facilities are adequate

HSE uses the inspection initiatives to reinforce its message to the construction industry that poor standards are unacceptable and liable to result in HSE taking enforcement action.

Previous campaign results:

More information on the above can be found on the HSE website www.hse.gov.uk or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

FLTA Safety Month – Safetember: see danger, speak up!

Date and location

1st – 30th September 2015, throughout the month, location the FLTA website (http://fork-truck.org.uk/fork-lift-safety/national-fork-lift-safety-month)

Event overview

National Fork Lift Safety Week was launched by the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) in 2008 to raise awareness of the dangers involved in fork lift operations throughout the industry and to stress the importance of common sense measures that can make lift trucks safer and more efficient.

For 2015, the Association has increased the scope into a month-long campaign throughout September, dubbing the campaign “Safetember”.

Throughout Safetember the FLTA will be making a compendium of free resources and guides available on its website. The Association will also be urging every company that works with lift trucks to genuinely empower workers with the freedom to report bad practice in a blame-free environment.

After all, this freedom is not a luxury, it is a right.

Further information

More information can be found on the FLTA website (http://fork-truck.org.uk/fork-lift-safety/national-fork-lift-safety-month), or by emailing the FLTA secretariat.

Licensing of houses in multiple occupation in England: a guide for landlords and managers

This publication is aimed at landlords and managers who manage a house in multiple occupation (HMO), or if you are not sure whether you manage an HMO. The booklet explains more about HMOs, which HMOs are required to be licensed and what other if any responsibilities there are in relation to the management of HMOs.

Not sure whether you manage an HMO?

The home you manage is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) if both of the following apply:

  • at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
  • tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities

The home you manage is a large HMO if all of the following apply:

  • it’s at least 3 storeys high
  • at least 5 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
  • tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities

A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:

  • married or living together – including people in same-sex relationships
  • relatives or half-relatives, eg grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
  • step-parents and step-children

Your safety responsibilities

You must keep the property you manage safe and free from health hazards.

Gas safety

You must:

  • make sure gas equipment you supply is safely installed and maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer
  • have a registered engineer do an annual gas safety on each appliance and flue
  • give tenants a copy of the gas safety check record before they move in, or within 28 days of the check

Electrical safety

You must make sure:

  • the electrical system is safe, eg sockets and light fittings
  • all appliances you supply are safe, eg cookers and kettles

Fire safety

You must:

  • follow fire safety regulations, eg check tenants have access to escape routes at all times
  • make sure the furniture and furnishings you supply are fire safe
  • provide fire alarms and extinguishers (if the property is a large House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

Download the publication by clicking on the link: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/15652/HMO_Lic_landlords_guide.pdf or contact us for more information on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Key safety campaigns to be supported at British Safety Council’s annual conference

Health and safety campaigns such as work-related transport, occupational health and young people at work will be highlighted at the British Safety Council annual conference on 23rd September.

Work-related transport

Every year 70 people are killed and 2000 more are seriously injured in incidents involving vehicles at work. Often these incidents occur in a lorry park or yard while goods are being delivered. In many cases it is the driver who is injured.

The HSE recently ran an advertising campaign on radio and press in the North West and Midlands to raise awareness among the people who can make a real difference – depot managers and those who receive or despatch goods.

The concerns of professional drivers, about the dangers of delivery and collection of goods have also been included.

This campaign focused on how depot managers can take small practical steps to make delivery areas safer. Examples include (click on the links for more information):

Key messages

Campaign posters

Campaign radio publicity

To download, right click and select ‘save target as…’

For more advice on transport topics visit the HSE Vehicles at Work website (http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/)

Proposal to replace OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health & Safety Management) with ISO 45001

ISO 45001 on occupational health and safety management system requirements is currently being produced with an intended publication date of October 2016. However, it is expected that the current standard OHSAS 18001 will be valid for some time after this date and therefore companies interested in certifying should still do so, and will benefit from its implementation.

The aim of the new standard is to improve occupational health and safety for all, in developed and developing countries, and at local, national, regional and international levels.

For up to date information about the new standard, follow our health and safety news updates.

Young people at work

When employing a young person under the age of 18, whether for work, work experience, or as an apprentice, employers have the same responsibilities for their health, safety and welfare as they do for other employees.

Guidance on the HSE website (http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/) will help young people and those employing them understand their responsibilities.

Work experience

Introducing young people to the world of work can help them understand the work environment, choose future careers or prepare for employment. We need young people to be offered opportunities to develop new skills and gain experience across the world of work. Click on the below links for more information:

Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence

Also contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.