HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 29TH OCTOBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

HSE issues health warning to the stone industry

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

Work related injury and ill health still costing Britain £14 billion per year

Introduction

We open this week’s update with a health warning issued by the HSE to the stone industry, but also relevant to industries where exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) can occur. Worryingly, during a recent inspection initiative in the south of England, a number of businesses were found to be unaware that in 2006 the workplace exposure limit for RCS was revised from 0.3 mg/m3 to 0.1mg/m3 thereby requiring them to devise more stringent controls.

Also, with the widely reported news yesterday that Volkswagen could be facing corporate manslaughter charges over rigged diesel emission tests, we look at the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, and the impact its introduction has had on companies and organisations – particularly the way in which their activities are managed and organised by senior management.

And finally, we share news of the financial – and human – cost to Britain of work related injury and ill health in the year 2014/15 according to statistics released by this week by the HSE.

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 issues health warning to the stone industry

The Health and Safety Executive is urging the stone industry to do more to protect workers’ health following findings of a recent inspection initiative in the south of England.

HSE inspectors visited sixty stone businesses, including work surface manufacturers, stonemasons and monumental masons during the initiative, which ran from June to September, and was supported by trade association, Stone Federation Great Britain. The visited businesses were both Stone Federation Great Britain members and non-members.

Worryingly, serious breaches were found at over half (35) of the premises that were visited. HSE issued four Prohibition Notices, 54 Improvement Notices and provided verbal advice to others.

Although many of the sites visited were attempting to manage their health and safety, four common areas of concern were found throughout the initiative –

  • control of respirable crystalline silica (RCS), a hazardous dust which can damage health,
  • handling and storage of stone,
  • poor machinery guarding, and
  • air compressors can create an explosion risk.

A number of businesses were unaware that in 2006 the workplace exposure limit for RCS was revised from 0.3 mg/m3 to 0.1mg/m3 thereby requiring them to devise more stringent controls.

Key issues in this area were:

  • Dry sweeping which can put fine ‘respirable’ stone dust back into the workplace air;
  • Extraction systems which are intended to protect workers by removing stone dust from air in the workplace;
  • Face masks that were inadequate.

HSE Inspector Tahir Mortuza, who led on the initiative, said:

“HSE intends to visit more stone work businesses in the future to ensure that health and safety is adequately managed. Business owners should review their processes and the materials they use whilst thinking about what might cause harm and whether they are doing enough to protect workers.

“Once the risks have been identified, businesses need to decide how best to control them so they can put the appropriate measures in place. A good starting point is to look at respirable crystalline silica, as it is one of the greatest risks for businesses engaged in stonework, as found in this inspection campaign.”

Chief Executive of the Stone Federation Great Britain, Jane Buxey, said:

“Health and Safety is a top priority for the Federation and we are working closely with the HSE to improve standards in the Industry.

“We hope to run a number of joint events with HSE and they will be sending representatives to Stone Federation Great Britain events and the Federation’s Health and Safety Forum.”

You can also keep up to date with new guidance, events and other important stone working issues by signing up for the stone working e-bulletin: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stonemasonry/subscribe.htm

Occupational exposure to RCS can also occur in the following industries:

  • construction and demolition processes – concrete, stone, brick, mortar;
  • quarrying;
  • slate mining and slate processing;
  • potteries, ceramics, ceramic glaze manufacture, brick and tile manufacture;
  • foundries;
  • refractory production and cutting;
  • concrete product manufacture;
  • grit and abrasive blasting, particularly on sandstone.

The HSE have published a leaflet “Control of exposure to silica dust – A guide for employees”, free to download by clicking on the following link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg463.pdf

For clarification or more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

It has been widely reported in the news this week that Volkswagen could be facing corporate manslaughter charges over rigged diesel emission tests.

What is corporate manslaughter?

When the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 came into force in April 2008, it was a landmark in law. For the first time, companies and organisations could be found guilty of corporate manslaughter as a result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care.

The Act clarifies the criminal liabilities of companies including large organisations where serious failures in the management of health and safety result in a fatality.

The Ministry of Justice leads on the Act and more information is available on its Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 webpage.

Although the offence is not part of health and safety law, the HSE welcomed and supports the act, which has introduced an important new element in the corporate management of health and safety.

Prosecutions are of the corporate body and not individuals, but the liability of directors, board members or other individuals under health and safety law or general criminal law, are unaffected. And the corporate body itself and individuals can still be prosecuted for separate health and safety offences.

The Act also largely removes the Crown immunity that applied to the previous common law corporate manslaughter offence. This is consistent with Government and HSE policy to secure the eventual removal of Crown immunity for health and safety offences. The Act provides a number of specific exemptions that cover public policy decisions and the exercise of core public functions.

Companies and organisations should keep their health and safety management systems under review, in particular, the way in which their activities are managed and organised by senior management. The Institute of Directors and HSE have published guidance for directors on their responsibilities for health and safety: ‘Leading health and safety at work: leadership actions for directors and board members’ (INDG417): http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg417.pdf

For answers to the following FAQs, click on the link http://www.hse.gov.uk/corpmanslaughter/faqs.htm#where:

  • Where can I find the Act and any guidance?
  • When did the new Act come into force?
  • Are there any new duties or obligations under the Act?
  • What do companies and organisations need to do to comply?
  • Where does health and safety legislation come in?
  • Who will investigate and prosecute under the new offence?
  • What is the role of health and safety regulators like HSE, local authorities etc?
  • Will directors, board members or other individuals be prosecuted?

For clarification or more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Work related injury and ill health still costing Britain £14 billion per year

More than a million people are being made ill by their work, costing society £14.3 billion, according to new figures published this week.

Despite Britain remaining one of the safest places to work in Europe, injury and ill-health statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive show that an estimated 27.3 million working days were lost due to work related ill health or injury in 2014/15.

In the same year 142 workers were killed, and there were 611,000 injuries in the workplace.

Of the estimated 1.2 million people who suffered from a work related illness, 516,000 were new cases.

HSE’s Chief Statistician Alan Spence explains more about the latest findings in this video (click on the link): https://youtu.be/T5zRbXfQKpg

The full statistical report (http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh1415.pdf) and industry specific data (http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/industry/index.htm) can be found online (click on the links).

This is the view of HSE’s Chair Judith Hackitt: “It’s encouraging that there have been improvements in injuries and ill health caused by work related activities. But behind the statistics are people, their families, friends, work colleagues, directly affected by something that’s gone wrong, that is usually entirely preventable. Nobody should lose their life or become ill simply from doing their job. These figures show that despite the great strides and improvements made over the last 40 years since Britain’s health and safety regime was established, there is still more that can be done”.

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

Thankyou to Bryan & Armstrong Ltd (www.bryan-armstrong.com), for very kindly providing us with the below infographic, relating to the latest annual health and safety statistics:

HSE Health and safety statistics 2014/15 Infographic
Click image to open full version (via Bryan Armstrong Ltd).

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 22ND OCTOBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Frequently asked questions – Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs) – assessment of repetitive tasks of the upper limbs (the ART tool)

PPE – are turban-wearing Sikhs exempt from the need to wear head protection in the workplace?

Introduction

Since The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) came into force on 6 April 2015, replacing CDM 2007, we have received a number of queries in relation to this major legislative development, so we thought it would be useful this week to open our update with the HSE’s latest answers to the most frequently asked questions on this topic.

Do your work tasks involve guiding or holding tools, keyboard work or heavy lifting? If so, these have been reported by GPs as being the most likely work-related causes of Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs), for which a prevalence rate of approximately 200,000 total cases was reported amongst people working in the 12 months between 2013/14, resulting in a total of 3.2 million lost working days – an average of almost 16 days per worker (see http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/musculoskeletal/msd.pdf). This week, we also share details of the HSE ART tool (assessment of repetitive tasks of the upper limbs) – available as a free download, allowing you to complete your own assessment of repetitive tasks in your workplace.

And finally, we close with news that turban-wearing Sikhs are now legally exempt from the need to wear head protection not only on construction sites, but also in the workplace of any industry (with limited exceptions).

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

Frequently asked questions – Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

Notifications – F10’s

When is a construction project ‘notifiable’?

A construction project is notifiable if the construction work is expected to:

  • last longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers working at the same time at any point on the project; or
  • exceed 500 person days.

Find out how to notify projects, and complete the f10 notification form (click on the link): https://www.hse.gov.uk/forms/notification/f10.htm

Does the 30 working days/500 person days on site include weekends, bank holidays etc?

Every day on which construction work is likely to be carried out should be counted, even if the work on that day is of a short duration. This includes holidays and weekends.

Who should notify a project?

The client has the duty to notify a construction project. In practice however, the client may ask someone else to notify on their behalf.

Maintenance

Does CDM 2015 apply to all maintenance work?

No. The definition of construction work has not changed under CDM 2015. The application to maintenance work remains the same as it was under CDM 2007.

Principal Designer (PD)

I was a CDM co-ordinator under CDM 2007. Can I now work as a principal designer (PD)?

No, not necessarily. To work as a PD, you must be a designer:

  • You might be an architect, consulting engineer, quantity surveyor or anyone who specifies and alters designs as part of their work.
  • You might also be a contractor/builder, commercial client, tradesperson or anyone who carries out design work, or arranges for or instructs people under your control to do so.

You must have the right mix of skills, knowledge, experience and (if an organisation) organisational capability to allow you to carry out all of the functions and responsibilities of a PD for the project in hand, and be in control of the pre-construction phase.

I was an architect/designer on the planning and Building Regulations stages of a project and I am no longer involved with the project. Who will take on the role of principal designer (PD)?

The client has the duty to appoint the PD. If you are no longer involved with the project, the client must appoint another PD. You will still be responsible for the design decisions you made in preparing the original plans. The new PD must then take responsibility for any design decisions made following their appointment.

If the client fails to appoint the PD, then the client assumes the role.

I’m a client, can I take on the Principal Designer (PD) role?

Yes. You can choose to take on the PD role yourself. If you do you must have the skills, knowledge, experience and(if an organisation) organisational capability, to carry out all the functions and responsibilities of the PD.

Small builder

I am a general builder who only works on small scale commercial and domestic projects, will CDM 2015 affect me?

Yes. CDM 2015 applies to all construction work including domestic projects.

You will have different responsibilities depending on whether you are (for example):

  • The only contractor working on the job;
  • The principal contractor;
  • One of the contactors workings for a PC.

For more information, please go to ‘Are You a small builder…’ (click on the link): http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/areyou/builder.htm

Construction Phase Plan (CPP)

As a general builder do I need a Construction Phase Plan (CPP) for any construction work I do?

Yes. If you are the only contactor or the principal contractor (PC), you must draw up a Construction Phase Plan (CPP): http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis80.pdf. However, it should be proportionate to the size and scale of the job.

A simple plan before the work starts is usually enough to show that you have thought about health and safety.

If you are a contractor working for a PC, it is the PC who must draw up the CPP.

To help you draw up a CPP for small scale projects, please go to the template CPP (click on the link): http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis80.pdf, or the CDM Wizard (click on the link): http://www.citb.co.uk/health-safety-and-other-topics/health-safety/construction-design-and-management-regulations/cdm-wizard-app/, a free to download smartphone app produced by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Self build

I want to build my own house, does CDM 2015 apply to me?

To find out, go to The Self Build Portal (click on the link): http://www.selfbuildportal.org.uk/healthandsafety.

Miscellaneous

Can I carry out the role of more than one CDM duty holder on a project?

Yes. Whether you are an individual or an organisation (client, designer, principal designer, contractor or principal contractor), you can carry out the role of more than one duty holder.  You must have the skills, knowledge, experience and (if an organisation) the organisational capability to carry out all of the functions and responsibilities of each role in a way that secures health and safety.

For further information, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/cdm/2015/index.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs) – assessment of repetitive tasks of the upper limbs (the ART tool)

The assessment of repetitive tasks (ART) tool is designed to help you risk assess tasks that require repetitive moving of the upper limbs (arms and hands). It helps you assess some of the common risk factors in repetitive work that contribute to the development of upper limb disorders (ULDs).

It is aimed at those responsible for designing, assessing, managing and inspecting repetitive work. It can help identify those tasks that involve significant risks and where to focus risk-reduction measures. It will be useful to employers, safety representatives, health and safety practitioners, consultants and ergonomists.

It includes an assessment guide, a flow chart, a task description form and a score sheet. Further information on ART, including online training on how to use the tool is also available (click on the link): http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/uld/art/index.htm

Free guidance for employers can be downloaded by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg438.pdf or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

PPE – are turban-wearing Sikhs exempt from the need to wear head protection in the workplace?

Yes. Sections 11 and 12 of the Employment Act 1989 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/38/section/11) as amended by Section 6 of the Deregulation Act 2015 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/20/section/6/enacted) exempts turban-wearing Sikhs from any legal requirement to wear head protection at a workplace. A workplace is defined broadly and means any place where work is undertaken including any private dwelling, vehicle, aircraft, installation or moveable structure (including construction sites).

There is a limited exception for particularly dangerous and hazardous tasks performed by individuals working in occupations which involve providing an urgent response to an emergency where a risk assessment has identified that head protection is essential for the protection of the individual eg such as a fire fighter entering a burning building, dealing with hazardous materials.

The exemption applies only to head protection and Sikhs are required to wear all other necessary personal protective equipment required under the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992. The exemption does not differentiate between employees and other turban-wearing Sikhs that may be in the workplace, eg visitors. However, it applies solely to members of the Sikh religion and only those Sikhs that wear a turban.

Employers are still required to take all necessary actions to avoid injury from falling objects by putting in place such safe systems of work, control measures and engineering solutions eg restricting access to areas where this may be an issue. Where a turban-wearing Sikh chooses not to wear the head protection provided, the exemption includes a limitation on the liability of the duty-holder should an incident occur.

For general guidance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/ppe.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, 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 – 15TH OCTOBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Proper health and safety is no barrier to success

Separating pedestrians and vehicles

Maintaining portable electrical equipment (PAT testing)

Managing asbestos in the retail sector

Introduction

The term “health and safety” has become much maligned over recent years, with related bureaucracy, “jobsworths” and red tape regularly being cited as a hindrance in the workplace, and spoiler of fun out of it. In this week’s update, we open with the HSE’s response to an article which suggests that a “regulation heavy culture” in the UK is making it impossible for businesses to start up. And we also share a couple of health and safety misconceptions, relating to PAT testing and asbestos management, dispelled by the HSE’s “Myth Busters Challenge Panel”.

Waste and recycling is a high-risk industry. It accounts for only about 0.5% of the employees in Britain, but 2.6% of reported injuries to employees. However, failure to provide adequate segregation between pedestrians and moving vehicles, which resulted in recycling firm employee being struck by a 7.5 tonne telehandler at a waste transfer station, could occur in any workplace transport situation. We also share HSE guidance this week on separating pedestrians and vehicles.

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

Proper health and safety is no barrier to success

In response to an article published last month in Herald Scotland which analysed health and safety regulation in Great Britain and suggested a “regulation heavy culture” making it impossible for businesses to start up, the Health and Safety Executive have published the following comment by their Director of Scotland and Northern England Mike Cross:

“Although the analysis of health and safety regulation in Great Britain is depressingly inaccurate, (Time to take a risk and cut back on red tape – Monday 28 September http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/opinion/13787377.Time_for_radical_re_think_on_health_and_safety_regulations/), Pinstripe will be pleased to hear all of his ‘ideas’ were implemented some time ago.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is on target to deliver reforms to remove or improve around 84 percent of existing health and safety regulations. This includes reducing the overall stock of legislation by 50 percent in line with the Government’s existing ‘one in, one out’ policy.

HSE, working with Government and industry, is tackling the perceived ‘compensation culture’ head on, amending the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) so civil claims for breaches of h&s duties can only be able to be made under the common law where negligence can be proved.

Simple and straightforward guidance for small firms is easily available to ensure only documents essential for helping to manage risk in their businesses are produced.

However, I make no apology for my inspectors taking a firm enforcement line when workers lives are being put at risk irrespective of the age of the business. In Scotland, last year 20 workers died and in 2013/14 1,936 were reported seriously injured in incidents at work, many of them in small firms who typically trade for less than three years.

The reality is there is no need to make a choice between safety and economic success. The most successful businesses in GB also have excellent health and safety records. Put simply, effective management of health and safety is good for business.”

Separating pedestrians and vehicles

A national recycling firm has been fined £200,000 plus nearly £12,000 costs after an employee was struck by a 7.5 tonne telehandler. The accident happened as a result of the company failing to provide adequate segregation between pedestrians and moving vehicles at a waste transfer station in Lancashire. As an employee walked across an outside plastics hand sorting area, he passed behind a stationary telehandler. The telehandler began to reverse and struck the worker who was knocked to the ground and then run over by the rear wheel of the vehicle. His resulting injuries caused him to be hospitalised for two months.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting told the Court the company had identified the risks but failed to put in place suitable controls to stop people being hit by vehicles.

An HSE inspector said after the hearing: “Employers need to look carefully at their workplaces regularly to make sure that pedestrian routes are clearly marked and physically separated from vehicle routes wherever possible. The employee could have easily been killed and still has severe mobility problems as a result of the accident. He is unlikely to be able to work in the near future.”

Key messages

  • By law, pedestrians or vehicles must be able to use a traffic route without causing danger to the health or safety of people working near it.
  • Roadways and footpaths should be separate whenever possible.
  • You need to consider protection for people who work near vehicle routes.
  • By law, traffic routes must also keep vehicle routes far enough away from doors or gates that pedestrians use, or from pedestrian routes that lead on to them, so the safety of pedestrians is not threatened.

Questions to ask

Your risk assessment should include answers to these questions:

  • How are pedestrians and cyclists kept away from vehicles?
  • How do you mark out and sign vehicle and pedestrian areas?
  • Where do vehicles and pedestrians have to use the same route?
  • How do you mark out and sign crossing points
    • for drivers?
    • for pedestrians?
  • How do you tell drivers and pedestrians about the routes and the layout? For example:
    • staff who work on site (training)
    • new staff (induction)
    • visitors
  • Apart from collisions, what else presents a health and safety risk? For example:
    • materials falling from vehicles
    • noise
    • fumes
    • How can you manage these risks?

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

Maintaining portable electrical equipment (PAT testing)

In HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel Case 254, rope access company operators using 36v battery drills whilst on site were told that due to health and safety rules, they could not take battery chargers onto site unless they had a PAT certificate.

The Panel’s decision was as follows:

Health & safety law does not require electrical items to be portable appliance tested (PAT). Regulations simply require that electrical equipment be maintained to prevent danger. HSE guidance on maintaining portable electrical equipment covers maintenance intervals, including for chargers. Maintenance is for the owner but operators may have their own rules to help ensure safety across their site.

Do you have control over or use portable electrical equipment in the workplace?

Guidance published by the HSE can be downloaded free by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg107.pdf. For managers, electricians, technicians and users, it gives sensible advice on maintaining portable electrical equipment to prevent danger. It covers equipment that is connected to the fixed mains supply or a locally generated supply. It outlines a recommended maintenance plan based on a straightforward, inexpensive system of user checks, formal visual inspection and testing.

For a list of FAQs about portable appliance testing, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/electricity/faq-portable-appliance-testing.htm or for clarification/more information, contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Managing asbestos in the retail sector

In HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel Case 266, a member of staff in a retail outlet was told that all visitors to the building where she worked had to be shown the comprehensive asbestos register, even if they were only coming for a meeting and not doing any physical work. For example a visitor attending a verbal meeting with the store manager had to sign to say they had seen it. The building was a retail outlet with back offices and did have managed asbestos in some areas but not all .The enquirer would have understood if the visitor was a contractor doing works to the building fabric, but felt this was over-the-top and wondered if the myth busters could confirm.

The Panel’s decision was as follows:

The serious health risks from exposure to asbestos are well known. The Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 contain a duty to pass on information about asbestos to people liable to disturb it in the course of their work or visit. However, there is no reason why people visiting simply to attend a meeting would need to see this information.

New guidance published by the Retail Asbestos Working Group (RAWG), and supported by HSE, provides sensible, practical, advice on managing asbestos and working with asbestos containing materials in trading stores and shops. The guidance confirms that the measures described by the enquirer go beyond what is needed to manage the risk of exposure for visitors. It is free to download by clicking on the link: http://www.brc.org.uk/brc_policy_content.asp?iCat=49&iSubCat=699&spolicy=Risk+%26+Safety&sSubPolicy=Asbestos+Guidance+for+Retailers

For more general guidance on asbestos health and safety, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/ or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be 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 – 8TH OCTOBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Gate Safety Week: 12-18 October 2015

Planning and organising lifting operations (global firms sentenced after worker killed)

Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI)

Health and safety implications of pervasive computing (RFID)

Introduction

Next week is Gate Safety Week which, in the words of Powered Gate Group Chairman Neil Sampson, “is all about raising public awareness of the dangers of using a poorly installed or maintained powered gate, in the hope that we can prevent any further deaths or injuries”. The Door & Hardware Federation Powered Gate Group has published a number of documents which provide guidance on gate safety, and reference to these is made on the HSE website where the advice we share with you this week is also provided.

The need to ensure that relevant information is considered when lift plans are produced was highlighted this summer, when two global companies were sentenced after a worker was killed and another seriously injured during construction of an offshore wind farm. Lifting operations can often put people at great risk of injury, as well as incurring great costs when they go wrong. It is therefore important to properly resource, plan and organise lifting operations so they are carried out in a safe manner, and HSE guidance on this topic is provided below.

Not sure whether or not you need Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI)? Chances are, unless you have no employees, or are a family business and all employees are closely related to you, that you do. So this week we explain why you need it, and – more importantly – how to get it.

And finally, we look at the implications – positive and negative – of a technological concept that is becoming something of a “buzz word” in the world of health and safety. Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, is being successfully integrated into site safety procedures by warning pedestrians and machinery drivers of each others’ presence. However, while (as in the development of mobile telecommunications) no threat to human health has yet been proven from exposure to RF radiation, there is public concern about the nature and effects of signals from such technologies (NRPB – Mobile Phones and Health 2004).

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

 

Gate Safety Week: 12-18 October 2015

Next week is Gate Safety Week which, in the words of Powered Gate Group Chairman Neil Sampson, “is all about raising public awareness of the dangers of using a poorly installed or maintained powered gate, in the hope that we can prevent any further deaths or injuries”. The Door & Hardware Federation Powered Gate Group has published a number of documents which provide guidance on gate safety, and reference to these is made on the HSE website where the following advice is also provided:

Powered gates: Ensuring powered doors and gates are safe (click on the link for more information: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/powered-gates/safety.htm)

Powered door and gate safety is not just about the individual components making up the product, but about the way they are combined together to fit a particular set of circumstances, and what is done over time to maintain safety.

At all times a powered gate must respond in a safe way when any person interacts with it. Its design must take into account that foreseeable interactions may go well beyond normal use (eg children playing around or with / on the powered gate), as well as normal wear and tear, and adverse environmental influences, particular wind and rain / snow and other debris that can impair function.

Delivering safety by design and construction

Much is dependent on the way the various component parts (switches, sensors, safety devices, controllers, and motors) are assembled and connected together to respond to the particular environment of use. Safety is usually delivered by a combination of methods, including:

  • design to eliminate hazards such as: the gate running away down a slope, coming off tracks / falling over, closing gaps at hinges creating crushing points, access to parts of the mechanism or gaps between the moving leaf and other leaves (including secondary leaves on telescopic gates) or fixed parts (supports, walls, etc), gaps in railings in which heads may get stuck, etc
  • the stability and strength of mountings and foundations to adequately resist dynamic forces arising from the weight of the gate as it moves and the effects of wind loadings, so as to minimise adverse effects on actuators and sensing systems
  • fixed guarding to prevent / restrict access to drive gears, etc, fencing off the back of sliding gates to avoid shear hazards between the gate leaf and fixed parts, etc
  • speed control, including deceleration when nearing the end of travel / rotational movement where crushing hazards may arise
  • limitation of forces exerted by moving parts (which may be delivered within the gate motor itself), or in conjunction with external protective mechanisms, including pressure sensitive edges fixed to leading and other edges where crushing/impact hazards exist, to detect and cushion the impact with an obstruction
  • non-contact sensors:
  • many of these are only designed to prevent a gate closing on a vehicle (note, these beams are not usually high integrity safety devices, in fact they may need to avoid over-sensitive tripping from rain / snow and leaves, and can usually be easily circumnavigated, eg by stepping over)
  • safety beams, which as higher integrity ‘safety components’ may be deployed in some cases to avoid contact with the moving gate(s), but because of cost are less common than pressure sensitive edges
  • the way the gate is operated: hold-to-run or automatic (fully automatic or from a starting impulse), and
  • the overall behaviour of the system as delivered by the system controller (eg not just stopping when encountering an obstruction, but also backing off at least a short distance to avoid entrapment – because even being held but not crushed can still be hazardous if there is no rescue),
  • the way the system has been wired and set up during / after installation, including the quality and physical protection of wiring and the connections between all component parts, to resist damage, deterioration and water ingress that may cause the loss of the safety function (eg through short circuits), and
  • how it is subsequently maintained / set as parts wear and respond to environmental conditions (eg temperature and wind forces, particularly on close boarded hinged gates which may experience high wind loadings that the drive motors may not always be able to overcome).

All these factors must be considered as part of the initial design (through suitable risk assessment), specification and construction, and appropriate information provided in the User Instructions, including on routine maintenance and the nature and periodicity of safety checks. Lifetime product safety doesn’t just depend on design and construction, but the way it is used and looked after, often by others not involved in original design and construction.

Maintaining for safety

Component parts can wear and fail, sometimes catastrophically. Like most machinery, powered doors and gates need to be maintained to remain safe. Powered gates forming parts of workplaces or in common parts of residential complexes will be subject to health and safety law. Owners, occupiers, landlords and managing agents will have on-going responsibilities for the safety of all users and all those who may encounter the gate.

Those undertaking work on powered gates are responsible for what they do, and for leaving the machinery in a safe condition, which may include switching off and isolating from power if it needs to be left in an unsafe condition. Substantial modifications may require re-assessment, in some cases re-CE marking by the person undertaking the modifications.

Risk assessment, competence and training

Whilst there may be standard components, even final products, the huge range of locations in which they are installed and variable environmental conditions to which they are exposed mean that most powered gates will be unique products requiring some form of specific risk assessment, both for installation and subsequent use. It is therefore not possible to define standard solutions for safety: each powered gate must be considered individually and holistically, employing suitable risk assessment tools and knowledge / expertise to manage the risks on a case by case basis.

Many organisations offer general training on risk assessment, and within the UK powered gate industry both Gate Safe and the Door and Hardware Federation can provide specific powered gate awareness / competence training.

Those working with powered gates need various competencies depending on their role. Often different members of a team will bring different skills to the job, eg electricians for wiring up and checking the basic safety of the electrical components. In some cases to evaluate component performance specific equipment or instruments may be required. For example, where force limitation is the primary means of safety some form of objective force testing may be required to ensure the final product as delivered is within safe limits, and to subsequently check the product remains safe. This may require additional specific competencies, and suitable record keeping.

Use of standards for design, assessment and testing

There are a number of current standards which are relevant to powered gates, including:

  • BS EN 13241-1 the Product Standard for powered gates (and relevant to the CPR)
  • BS EN 12604 & BS EN 12605 on mechanical requirements and tests
  • BS EN 12453 & BS EN 12445 on requirements and test for powered gates
  • BS EN 12635 on installation and use
  • BS EN 12978 on safety devices for power operated doors and gates
  • BS EN 60335-2-103 on drives for household and similar gates
  • BS EN 60335-2-95 on drives for residential vertically moving garage doors

but at present adherence to these standards alone in many cases will not ensure that all of the mandatory requirements for safety (the EHSRs of the Machinery Directive) will be met.

In particular hazards may remain with regard to:

  • Hinges, because of the way forces measured as specified by the above standards are ‘amplified’ closer to the pivot point, especially where crushing / trapping hazards have not been removed by design / construction (which may be less easy to avoid when converting existing gates to powered operation). A child fatality incident in 2006 was in part attributed to the design of the hinge area of a hinged gate.
  • Shear gaps, especially on sliding gates between moving leaves and fixed parts (or in some cases where leaves pass each other, eg telescopic sliding gates.
  • Force limitation, because published research (Mewes & Mauser 2003)1 suggests that the maximum impact forces permitted by the standards may not always be appropriate for the most vulnerable members of society (children, etc) who may reasonable encounter powered gates.
  • Control systems, because the key standard (BS EN 12453) does not define minimum requirements for safety integrity and reliability in all cases.

The use of any of the above standards by manufacturers for product safety is not mandatory (although products in scope of EN 13241-1 may have to be issued with a Declaration of Performance under the Construction Products Regulation). And the use of the main safety requirements standard EN 12453 does not currently give a ‘presumption of conformity’ with the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC.

Therefore manufacturers will have to show in detail in the technical file for each powered gate how they have designed and constructed the gate to meet the EHSRs and be safe for the gate’s foreseeable lifetime, taking account of foreseeable misuse, as well as intended use.

If you require any clarification at all, or further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

 

Planning and organising lifting operations (global firms sentenced after worker killed)

The need to ensure that relevant information is considered when lift plans are produced (to ensure that all of the relevant risks are considered) was highlighted this summer, when two global companies were sentenced after a worker was killed and another seriously injured during construction of an offshore wind farm.

The incident happened in May 2010, when a team of engineers were loading wind turbine blades onto a sea barge for delivery to a wind farm off the Suffolk coast. During loading of the components, a 2.11 tonne part of the blade transport arrangement fell off, crushing and fatally injuring one worker and seriously injuring another.

The investigation carried out by HSE found serious safety failings in the two firms’ management systems for the loading operation, which allowed vital parts of equipment to go unchecked before being lifted.

Following a four-week trial in July, prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the two companies were ordered to pay fines and costs totalling in excess of £1 million between them.

Speaking after the hearing, an HSE Inspector said: “This incident could easily have been avoided had suitable systems and procedures been in place to ensure that all loads were properly connected whilst being lifted. Had the right questions been asked when the lift was being planned and had the bolt and two brackets holding the blade and frame together been checked before they were lifted, the death and serious injury of two workers could have been prevented.”

Planning and organising lifting operations

Lifting operations can often put people at great risk of injury, as well as incurring great costs when they go wrong. It is therefore important to properly resource, plan and organise lifting operations so they are carried out in a safe manner. Each of these elements requires a person or people with sufficient competence to be involved at each step. These people should have sufficient theoretical and practical knowledge of the work and equipment in question, as well as the requirements of the law, to be able to do this properly. For complex and high-risk operations, the planning and organisation should be extensive and meticulous.

Planning

The planning of individual routine lifting operations may be the responsibility of those who carry them out (eg a slinger or crane operator). But for much more complex lifting operations (eg a tandem lift using multiple cranes), a written plan should be developed by a person with significant and specific competencies – adequate training, knowledge, skills and expertise – suitable for the level of the task.

For straightforward, common lifting operations, a single initial generic plan may be all that is required (eg fork-lift trucks in a factory), which could be part of the normal risk assessment for the activity. However, from time to time it may be necessary to review the plan to make sure that nothing has changed and the plan remains valid. Routine lifting operations which are a little more complex may, depending on the circumstances, need to be planned each time the lifting operation is carried out.

The plan for any lifting operation must address the foreseeable risks involved in the work and identify the appropriate resources (including people) necessary for safe completion of the job. Factors to include may be any or all of the following:

  • working under suspended loads
  • visibility
  • attaching / detaching and securing loads
  • environment
  • location
  • overturning
  • proximity hazards
  • derating
  • lifting people
  • overload
  • pre-use checking
  • continuing integrity of the equipment

The plan should set out clearly the actions involved at each step of the operation and identify the responsibilities of those involved. The degree of planning and complexity of the plan will vary and should be proportionate to the foreseeable risks involved in the work.

Strength and stability

Lifting equipment must be of adequate strength for the proposed use. The assessment of this should recognise that there may be a combination of forces to which the lifting equipment, including the accessories, will be subjected. The lifting equipment used should provide an appropriate ‘factor of safety’ against all foreseeable types of failure. Where people are lifted, the factor of safety is often higher. Any lifting equipment selected should not be unduly susceptible to any of the foreseeable failure modes likely to arise in service, for example fracture, wear or fatigue.

Positioning and installation

The position of mobile lifting equipment or the location of fixed installations can have a dramatic effect on the risks involved in a lifting operation. It is vital to take all practical steps to avoid people being struck by loads or the equipment itself during use. The equipment should also be positioned to minimise the need to lift over people. Measures should be taken to reduce the risk of load drift (eg spinning, swinging, etc); and of the load falling freely or being released unintentionally. Many different methods have been developed to prevent falling loads, including the use of multiple ropes or chains, hydraulic check valves and nets for palletised loads.

Measures must be taken to ensure that people cannot fall down a shaft or hoistway. At access points to these areas, effective means to prevent access should be in place, such as gates, barriers or doors. Where access is required to enter the area, when a platform or car is present (eg a lift), the doors or gates should be interlocked to allow the gates to open only when the car is present.

When positioning lifting equipment, care must be exercised to avoid hazards arising from proximity, for example: coming into contact with overhead power lines, buildings or structures; coming too close to trenches, excavations or other operations; and coming into contact with buried underground services, such as drains and sewers.

Working under suspended loads

Where it can be avoided, loads should not be suspended over occupied areas. Where it cannot be avoided, the risks to people must be minimised by safe systems of work and appropriate precautions. Where loads are suspended for significant periods, the area below them should be classed as a danger zone, where access is restricted.

Supervision of lifting operations

Supervision should be proportionate to the risk, taking account of the competencies and experience of those undertaking the lift. Many everyday lifting operations do not require direct supervision (eg experienced fork-lift operators undertaking routine lifts), although there may be circumstances where supervisory assistance may be required to manage risk (eg lifting an unusual load, crossing a public road etc). From time to time, employers may need to monitor the competence of workers undertaking lifting operations to ensure they continue to be carried out safely.

Guidance on planning, organising and undertaking lifting operations

More detailed advice on the planning, organising and undertaking of lifting operations is provided in the LOLER Approved Code of Practice and guidance (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l113.htm). Particular guidance is given on:

  • competence of people planning lifting (regulation 8; ACOP para 210 onwards)
  • suitability, including strength and stability, of lifting equipment (regulation 4; ACOP para 98 onwards)
  • positioning of lifting equipment and visibility (regulation 6; ACOP paras 161 and 237 onwards)
  • working under suspended loads (regulation 8; ACOP para 230 onwards)
  • attaching / detaching and securing loads (regulation 8; ACOP para 244 onwards)
  • location, including access (ACOP paras 256 and 62 onwards)
  • environment of use, including operator protection, the effects of wind and mobility (regulation 8; ACOP paras 83, 253, 89 and 112 onwards)
  • overturning (regulation 8; ACOP para 258 onwards)
  • proximity to other hazards, such as overhead power lines and buried services (regulation 8; ACOP para 265 onwards)
  • derating (regulation 8; ACOP paras 111 and 274 onwards)
  • the lifting of people (regulation 5; ACOP para 127 onwards)
  • preventing overload (regulation 4; ACOP para 122 onwards)
  • pre-use checks (regulation 8; ACOP para 285 onwards)
  • the continued integrity of lifting equipment (regulation 8; ACOP para 289 onwards)

For more information, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/planning-organising-lifting-operations.htm (click on the link), or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

 

Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI)

A Woolwich restaurant owner has recently been fined £1,500 plus £1,779 costs for failing to provide Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI). Speaking after the hearing at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court, an HSE Inspector said: “Every employer needs to ensure that they have Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance in place, where such breaches, as in this case, are identified they will be pursued by the HSE.”

Get insurance for your business

If your business has employees you will probably need employers’ liability insurance.

If an employee is injured or becomes ill as a result of the work they do for you, they can claim compensation from you.

Meeting your health and safety duties is easier than you think. As long as you have taken reasonable steps to prevent accidents or harm to your employees (and the injury or illness was caused after 1 October 2013), you shouldn’t have to pay compensation. However, if a court finds you are liable, employers’ liability insurance will help you to pay any compensation for your employees’ injuries or illness.

Only a few businesses are not required to have employers’ liability insurance. If you have no employees, or are a family business and all employees are closely related to you, you may not need it. For further details see HSE leaflet Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969: A brief guide for employers (free to download by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hse40.htm).

How do you get employers’ liability insurance?

You can buy employers’ liability insurance through insurers or intermediaries like brokers or trade associations. You may find that it often comes as part of an insurance package designed to cover a range of business needs.

Your policy must be with an authorised insurer and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has a list of these. You can check their register on the FCA website (http://www.fca.org.uk/).

If you require any clarification at all, or further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

 

Health and safety implications of pervasive computing (RFID)

This describes the concept of embedding or integrating computers into the environment with a view to enabling people to interact with them in a more “natural” way. Also referred to amongst other descriptions as “ubiquitous computing” or “ambient intelligence”, current examples include the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags and GPS systems in vehicles. Wireless networking technology (WiFi) is a key enabler for many of the applications and there is a growing trend towards greater connectivity through the use of broadband. For example in Philadelphia, “officials view broadband as an essential social service” and plan to introduce web access for all their citizens via a city-wide wireless network by the end of 2006.

Extensions of pervasive computing, which are being investigated actively at the moment include devices which sense changes in their environment and adapt and act on these changes, through to work on human-computer interactions and artificial intelligence.

In the short term, rapid expansion is expected in the use of RFID technology, where a vast range of applications are envisaged, offering benefits such as increased productivity and improved resource utilisation, together with reduced cycle times and re-work. All elements of the supply chain from raw material input through to delivery of product to the customer are potentially amenable to some form of RFID control and monitoring. In addition to logistics and product tracking applications, examples of the implementation of RFID technologies are foreseen in areas as diverse as personal identification, anti-counterfeiting, payment systems, maintenance management and healthcare.

Implications:

  • Increased exposure of the workforce (and customers in retail environments) to RF radiation is likely to result from the extended use of WiFi and the more powerful/ longer range WiMax technologies. While, as in the development of mobile telecommunications, no threat to human health has yet been proven from such exposure, there is public concern about the nature and effects of signals from such technologies (NRPB – Mobile Phones and Health 2004).
  • As with other computer-based systems, there is the potential for malicious or accidental corruption of the data stored on RFID tags, which could pose a threat, particularly where safety-critical applications such as e.g. maintenance monitoring are involved.
  • It is possible that intensive tracking of personnel activity in the workplace may result in stressors that may in turn contribute to increased incidences of stress.

Click on the link to read the RFID Technology short form report: http://www.hse.gov.uk/horizons/assets/documents/rfidsfreport.pdf

Our comment

There are positive implications too, in the form of “wearable technology” which is being successfully integrated into site safety procedures by warning pedestrians and machinery drivers of each others’ presence. A small RFID transponder is worn on pedestrians’ hard hats or sleeves, and a small unit fitted to vehicles. Both pedestrian and driver receive a warning if they become close enough to each other to be at risk of accidental collision. Warnings are automatically logged as incidents and the information is used by managers to monitor safety training requirements.

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

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 1ST OCTOBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Landlords required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms from 1st October

Selecting a first-aid training provider

Freight container safety – transport company fined after crate falls on worker

Working at height – engineering company fined for safety breaches

Introduction

Two important changes to health and safety legislation/regulations come into force today, one of which is the requirement for landlords to ensure that they have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms installed in their properties. The measures were announced in March of this year by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis, and have since received Parliamentary approval.

Another change which has come into force today is the requirement by the HSE for individuals delivering first aid training to hold recognised teaching and assessing qualifications, details of which are provided below, along with guidance on establishing whether or not first aid training is required.

In response to the fining last month of a transport company after a crate fell on a worker, we also highlight the importance of identifying relevant risks before any work tasks are carried out, and putting in place appropriate control measures to protect against them, particularly those involved in work with containers.

Finally, it’s no wonder that falls from height remain one of the biggest causes of deaths at work in the UK, after a member of the public witnessed workers on a fragile roof without any preventative measures to avoid risk of falling – either off the edge or through it. The incident was reported to the HSE and the engineering company employing the workers was fined last month £10,000 plus £4,782 costs, despite no injury occurring. We look at the hierarchy of controls that managing work at height should follow.

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

Landlords required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms from 1st October

From 1st October, landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties, under measures announced by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis in March of this year.

The move will help prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year.

The measure comes with strong support after a consultation on property condition in the private rented sector.

England’s 46 fire and rescue authorities are expected to support private landlords in their own areas to meet their new responsibilities with the provision of free alarms, with grant funding from government.

This is part of wider government moves to ensure there are sufficient measures in place to protect public safety, while at the same time avoiding regulation which would push up rents and restrict the supply of homes, limiting choice for tenants.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:

In 1988 just 8% of homes had a smoke alarm installed – now it’s over 90%.

The vast majority of landlords offer a good service and have installed smoke alarms in their homes, but I’m changing the law to ensure every tenant can be given this important protection.

But with working smoke alarms providing the vital seconds needed to escape a fire, I urge all tenants to make sure they regularly test their alarms to ensure they work when it counts. Testing regularly remains the tenant’s responsibility.

Communities Minister Stephen Williams said:

We’re determined to create a bigger, better and safer private rented sector – a key part of that is to ensure the safety of tenants with fire prevention and carbon monoxide warning.

People are at least 4 times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm.

That’s why we are proposing changes to the law that would require landlords to install working smoke alarms in their properties so tenants can give their families and those they care about a better chance of escaping a fire.

Ensuring the safety of tenants

Other measures to support the private rented sector include investing £1 billion in building newly-built homes specifically for private rent, giving tenants support against rogue landlords and publishing a How to rent guide so tenants and landlords alike are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

The changes to the law will require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy.

Landlords will also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.

Those who fail to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will face sanctions and could face up to a £5,000 civil penalty.

This will bring private rented properties into line with existing building regulations that already require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed.

And it’s in line with other measures the government has taken to improve standards in the private rented sector, without wrapping the industry up in red tape.

Free to download from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarms-explanatory-booklet-for-landlords, an explanatory booklet has been published, designed to help landlords further understand and comply with the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.

If you need clarification or further information about any aspect of property health and safety or fire safety, we undertake health & safety/fire risk assessments of commercial and residential properties and will be happy to advise accordingly. We can also provide a no-obligation quotation for the above upon request. Contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk.

Selecting a first-aid training provider

From 1st October 2015, HSE guidance to employers requires individuals delivering first aid training to hold recognised teaching and assessing qualifications. For more information about what to check when selecting a training provider, the HSE’s information sheet provides guidance for employers and is free to download by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/geis3.pdf

Do I need first-aid training?

HSE cannot tell you what provision you should make for first aid. You, as an employer, are best placed to understand the exact nature of your workplace and decide what you need to provide.

First aid provision must be ‘adequate and appropriate in the circumstances’. This means that you must provide sufficient first aid equipment (first aid kit), facilities and personnel at all times.

In order to decide what provision you need to make you should undertake a first-aid needs assessment. This assessment should consider the circumstances of your workplace, workforce and the hazards and risks that may be present. The findings will help you decide what first-aid arrangements you need to put in place.

In assessing your first-aid needs, you should consider:

  • the nature of the work you do
  • workplace hazards and risks (including specific hazards requiring special arrangements)
  • the nature and size of your workforce
  • the work patterns of your staff
  • holiday and other absences of those who will be first-aiders and appointed persons
  • your organisation’s history of accidents

You may also need to consider:

  • the needs of travelling, remote and lone workers
  • the distribution of your workforce
  • the remoteness of any of your sites from emergency medical services
  • whether your employees work on shared or multi-occupancy sites
  • first-aid provision for non-employees (eg members of the public).

HSE has published further guidance on all the factors above that will help you carry out your first-aid needs assessment. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l74.pdf#page=9

You may also wish to consider their suite of case studies, containing scenario-based examples of first-aid needs assessments for a variety of workplaces. They demonstrate the general principles involved in deciding on the provision you should make for first aid, but you should not assume the outcomes shown are directly transferable to your workplace. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/casestudy9.pdf

You do not need to record the findings of your needs assessment, but you may find it useful to do so, as it will demonstrate how you have decided on the first-aid provision that you make.

The minimum requirement in terms of personnel is to appoint a person to take charge of first-aid arrangements. The roles of this appointed person include looking after the first-aid equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when required. The appointed person can also provide emergency cover, within their role and competence, where a first-aider is absent due to unforeseen circumstances. An appointed person is not required to have any formal training.

If your workplace has more significant health and safety risks, for example you use machinery or hazardous materials then you are more likely to need a trained first-aider.

There are no hard and fast rules on exact numbers, and you will need to take into account all the relevant circumstances of your particular workplace.

If you need clarification or further information, 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 provide first-aid training and can provide a no-obligation quotation upon request.

Freight container safety – transport company fined after crate falls on worker

Last month, a transport company firm was fined £9,000 plus £917 costs for safety failings after a worker suffered serious injuries when a crate fell on him whilst he was unloading crates from a container.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard how on April 2013 the transport company employee was assisting to unload two containers which contained two tonne crates of glass mirrors. The second container had no fork pockets or lighting, so the worker had to closely guide the fork lift truck operator to ensure the forks were in position.

Some of the crates were jammed in place and as the fork lift truck operator attempted to dislodge them, one of the crates toppled onto the worker, pinning him to the side of the container. The incident has left him with life changing injuries and he will be unable to work for at least three years.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Corinne Godfrey said:

“This worker was employed by the company for less than three weeks as a Warehouse Foreman, and although he had previous job experience which involved the maintenance and repair of containers, he had never been involved with this type of unloading work known as ‘devanning’.

This incident was inevitable, neither worker had seen the procedures manual or any risk assessments/method statements relating to the unloading of containers.

The company failed to plan what should happen when it was identified that loads were not able to be readily offloaded by forklift truck.

It’s essential that before any work tasks are carried out, the relevant risks should be identified and appropriate control measures put in place to protect against them.

All participants in the logistics chain – from owner drivers with one vehicle to large fleet operators, to shippers and warehouse operators – are likely to work with containers on a daily basis as drivers, loaders or handlers.

Accidents may happen at any stage of a container’s journey; many of these will be serious or fatal, including crushing and falls from height. These accidents may be caused by human error or failure of technical items.

Typical hazards regarding freight containers in ports:

  • Structural failure due to lack of maintenance and wear and tear
  • Structural failure due to overloading, misdeclared weight, uneven or shifted loads
  • Falls from height while working with containers
  • Crush injuries during container manoeuvring and movements
  • Exposure to fumigants used during transit or chemicals given off by cargo that may build up during transit

How the risks can be reduced

All of these can be reduced by proper planning of work and training of workers. Before any work tasks are carried out, the relevant risks should be identified through risk assessment and appropriate control measures put in place to protect against them.

Port Skills and Safety (PSS) have produced a comprehensive ‘Health & Safety in Ports’ guidance document entitled SIP003 – Guidance on Container Handling that covers these issues in more detail. Click on the link: http://www.portskillsandsafety.co.uk/publications/safety_in_ports_guidance

This document has been produced by the ports industry, with assistance from HSE, to help dutyholders understand their duties under health and safety legislation and to identify key risks. This guidance also gives examples which dutyholders can use to inform their risk assessments and procedures.

Which laws apply? (click on the links for more information)

For clarification or further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Working at height – engineering company fined for safety breaches

Also last month, an engineering company firm was fined £10,000 plus £4,782 costs for safety failings after a member of the public witnessed workers on a fragile roof without any preventative measures to avoid risk of falling.

Redhill Magistrates’ Court heard how in September 2014, the engineering company employees were working on a fragile roof installing ventilation ducting. The risks were obvious, but nothing was in place to prevent either falling off the edge of the roof or through the roof.

Falls from height remain one of the biggest causes of deaths at work in the UK. Fortunately, no-one was injured in this incident.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Denis Bodger said: “It is essential that all roof work is properly planned by a competent person and competent workers are clearly instructed on how to carry out the work safely. It is not acceptable to simply rely on sending the workers to site and expecting that they will carry out the work safely, as was the case here.”

Managing work at height follows a hierarchy of controls – avoid, prevent, arrest – which begins with the question – can the work be done safely from the ground? Fall restraints and safety netting should only be considered as a last resort if other safety equipment cannot be used.

For clarification or further information please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

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