HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 28TH JANUARY 2016

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IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease – Council sentenced after legionella death at care home

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM 2015) and the entertainment industry

IOSH Managing Safely Refresher Course, 11th March, Stoke-on-Trent

Introduction

A couple of months ago, we shared HSE guidance on Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease, after an international engineering firm, which refurbishes turbine blades, was fined a total of £110,000 plus £77,252 costs for failing to manage the risk to public and employees of exposure to the potentially fatal bacteria. Since then, Reading Borough Council (RBC) has been fined £100,000 plus £20,000 costs following an investigation into the death of a pensioner who died from exposure to Legionella at a care home. We open this week’s update with more information and a link to the HSE guidance.

We’re also sharing guidance this week to help those in the entertainment industry understand what they need to do to comply with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015). The UK events industry is worth £39.1 billion, with the biggest contributing segments in 2014 being conferences, meetings, exhibitions and trade fairs, taking place at approximately 10,000 venues, with an attendance of 85 million. Typical construction projects undertaken during events/productions include building outside broadcasts at sports events, building TV sets in studios, and touring theatre set builds.

And finally, we close this week’s update with details of an IOSH Managing Safely Refresher one-day course we’re running this March in Stoke-on-Trent. Delegates will get to refresh their knowledge on the key parts of the full Managing Safely course, plus there’s a much greater emphasis on monitoring, auditing and reviewing.

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

Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease – council sentenced after legionella death at care home

A couple of months ago, we shared HSE guidance on Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease, after an international engineering firm, which refurbishes turbine blades, was fined a total of £110,000 plus £77,252 costs for failing to manage the risk to public and employees of exposure to the potentially fatal bacteria. (Click on the link to read the press release and guidance: http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/health-safety-news-update-3rd-december-2015/)

Since then, Reading Borough Council (RBC) has been fined following an investigation into the death of a pensioner who died from exposure to legionella.

During the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution, Reading Magistrates’ Court heard how the 95-year-old vulnerable gentleman arrived at the RBC operated care facility in September 2012.

He had previously been in hospital having suffered a broken leg and was attending the care home to receive intermediate care before returning to his own home.

However, during his stay he began feeling unwell, complaining of aches and pains including tightness of the chest, shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing. He was also suffering from nausea.

When he was re-admitted to hospital a sample proved positive for the presence of Legionella. He underwent treatment for Legionnaire’s disease, but died on 1 November 2012 from pneumonia related to legionella.

The prosecution said the control and management arrangements needed to ensure the risk from legionella is minimised, need to be robust. The court was told, prior to November 2012, RBC’s arrangements were not robust enough in a number of areas.

The Legionella training for the key personnel at the care home was significantly below the standard required. There were inadequate temperature checks and some of those done with respect to Thermostatic Mixer Valves (TMVs) were done incorrectly.

Showers were not descaled and disinfected quarterly as required; flushing of little used outlets was reliant on one member of staff and there was no procedure for this to be done in the absence of that member of staff.

HSE said the failings were systemic and continued over a period of time and there was a history of legionella problems at the home. The monitoring, checking and flushing tasks were given to the home’s handyman who was inadequately trained and supervised. There was no system in place to cover for him when he was away so that the requisite checks were not done.

Reading Borough Council, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading admitted breaching Section 3(1) of Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £100,000 with £20,000 costs in Reading Crown Court.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Kelly Nichols said: “Reading Borough Council could and should have controlled the risk of exposure to legionella to the elderly and infirm as well as those receiving immediate care prior to returning home.

“RBC’s failings were systemic and continued over a period of time. There was a history of legionella problems at the home. The control and management arrangements were not robust and the legionella training of key personnel fell significantly below the required standard.

“The risks from legionella in nursing and care homes and the required control measures to manage those risks have been known and publicised in HSE publications since May 2000. It is really disappointing to find a local authority not managing those risks. It is important for all care providers to ensure they are managing the risks from hot and cold water systems with respect to both legionella and scalding risks especially due to likely exposure of more vulnerable people.”

For HSE guidance on controlling the risks from exposure to Legionella in man made water systems, click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/. The information will help employers and those with responsibility for the control of premises, including landlords, understand what their duties are and how to comply with health and safety law.  It applies to premises controlled in connection with a trade, business or other undertaking where water is stored or used, and where there is a means of creating and transmitting breathable water droplets (aerosols), thus causing a reasonably foreseeable risk of exposure to legionella bacteria.

We carry out Legionella risk assessments of commercial and residential premises. For more information and/or a no-obligation quotation, contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk.

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM 2015) and the entertainment industry

The UK events industry is worth £39.1 billion, with the biggest contributing segments in 2014 being conferences, meetings, exhibitions and trade fairs, taking place at approximately 10,000 venues, with an attendance of 85 million. Typical construction projects undertaken during events/productions include building outside broadcasts at sports events, building TV sets in studios, and touring theatre set builds.

We’re sharing guidance this week to help those in the entertainment industry understand what they need to do to comply with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015).

What you should know

CDM 2015 is not about creating unnecessary bureaucracy. It is about securing the health, safety and welfare of those carrying out construction work and protecting others who the work may affect, from harm. With this principle in mind, this guidance illustrates how CDM roles and duties can be applied to existing common management arrangements and processes in the four main industry sub-sectors (click on the links for more information):

This will also help others in the industry, with different management arrangements, to determine what they need to do to comply with CDM.

Worked examples for typical construction projects in the event/production industry have been included, to show what proportionate compliance with CDM 2015 might look like in practise. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/entertainment/cdm-2015/worked-examples.htm

This guidance should be read in conjunction with HSE’s L153: Managing health and safety in construction (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l153.htm)

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 [CDM]

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) apply to all construction projects, including those undertaken in the entertainment industry. A project includes all the planning, design and management tasks associated with construction work. For example, the building, fitting out and taking down of temporary structures for TV, film and theatre productions and live events.

CDM 2015 makes the general duties of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 more specific. They complement the general Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and integrate health and safety into the management of construction projects.

The aim is for construction health and safety considerations to be treated as a normal part of an event/production’s management and development, not an afterthought or bolt-on extra. In concert with wider measures taken to ensure a safer event/production, the objective of CDM 2015 is to reduce the risk of harm to those that have to build, fit out, use, maintain and take down structures.

The key principles of CDM 2015 will be familiar to those already managing risks effectively as part of an event/production. The key principles are:

  • eliminate or control risks so far as reasonably practicable;
  • (This means balancing the level of risk against the measures needed to control the real risk in terms of money, time or trouble. However, you do not need to take action if it would be grossly disproportionate to the level of risk)
  • ensure work is effectively planned;
  • appointing the right people and organisations at the right time;
  • making sure everyone has the information, instruction, training and supervision they need to carry out their jobs safely and without damaging health;
  • have systems in place to help parties cooperate and communicate with each other and coordinate their work; and
  • consult workers with a view to securing effective health, safety and welfare measures.

Any actions you take to comply with CDM 2015 should always be proportionate to the risks involved.

Find out more (click on the links)

For more information, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/entertainment/cdm-2015/ or contact us on 07896 016380 and we’ll be happy to help.

 

IOSH Managing Safely Refresher Course, 11th March, Stoke-on-Trent

If you’ve taken the IOSH Managing Safely course within the last three years, you may be interested in the one-day Refresher course we’re running this March (Friday 11th) in Stoke-on-Trent (venue to be confirmed).

This is a practical and engaging one-day course that keeps employees’ Managing Safely training up to date. Not only will delegates get to refresh their knowledge on the key parts of the full Managing Safely course, there’s also a much greater emphasis on monitoring, auditing and reviewing, which is learned through two practical case studies.

Course detail

Key aspects of the course

  • Personal reflections
  • Refreshing your knowledge
  • Building on what you know
  • Putting managing safely into practice
  • Applying the management system

Assessment

  • Interactive quiz and discussions
  • Completion of a practical exercise based on the operations of a real business
  • Successful delegates are awarded an up-to-date IOSH Managing safely certificate

How the course delivery style suits you

  • Memorable and thought provoking facts and case studies help drive the points home over the whole course
  • Each module is backed by crystal clear examples and recognisable scenarios, and summaries reinforce the key learning points
  • The course includes checklists and other materials for delegates to try out and then use when they get back to their own workplaces
  • Little ‘down time’ – the programme can be delivered flexibly so that it suits your business
  • Efficient and effective learning – health, safety and environmental basics are covered in a single programme

Business benefits

  • Greater productivity as fewer hours are lost due to sickness and accidents
  • Improved company-wide safety awareness culture and appreciation for safety measures
  • Active staff involvement to improve the workplace
  • Nationally recognised and respected certification for managers and supervisors
  • Enhanced reputation within the supply chain

For delegates to be eligible to take the Refresher course, they must do so within three years of completing their Managing Safely course.

The course fee is £145 plus VAT, which includes lunch and certification.

For more information, or to book a place, please contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk. We provide a wide range of training courses, and our brochure can be downloaded from the Training page on our website (http://www.eljay.co.uk/health-and-safety-training-and-courses.php)

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

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 21ST JANUARY 2016

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IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Glasgow hosts first event on the health and safety system strategy for Great Britain roadshow

Sensible health and safety management in schools – School fined after pupil paralysed when swing collapsed

Noise induced hearing loss – key speakers announced for new hearing conference

Introduction

In our first update this year, we shared the news that leading industry figures and other key influencers are being urged to have a say in shaping the future strategy for Great Britain’s health and safety system. This week, Glasgow hosted the first of seven roadshow events taking place over the next fortnight in which people and organisations are being asked to contribute ideas on what will help the countries and regions of Great Britain ‘work well’.

With so many schools opting to convert to academy status, we looked at sensible health and safety management in education last week, particularly as a school had recently been in court over a science experiment injury. Less than a week later, the HSE has revealed how yet another school has been fined, after a pupil was paralysed when a swing collapsed. So this week, we’re reminding our readers of the HSE webpages providing guidance on the subject.

Last year, an estimated 15,000 people in employment suffered from noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) caused or made worse by work (based on data from the Labour Force Survey – averaged over 2011/12, 2013/14 and 2014/15). This equates to a rate of 48 cases per 100,000 people employed in the last 12 months. This March in Manchester, ListenUP! is bringing together international specialists in the field of hearing conservation to propose a fresh approach to this escalating problem. We close this week’s update with details of how to register for the conference, and also HSE guidance on the subject.

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

Glasgow hosts first event on the health and safety system strategy for Great Britain roadshow – 18 January 2016

Leaders of Scottish business and supporting organisations are meeting today in Glasgow to discuss the development of Britain’s new strategy for workplace health and safety.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), wants leading industry figures and key influencers to have a say in shaping the future strategy for Great Britain’s health and safety system, and is going on the road to hear those views. The roadshow will travel to six other cities over the next fortnight, finishing in London on 2 February.

Glasgow was chosen to host the first roadshow in which people and organisations are being asked to contribute ideas on what will help the countries and regions of Great Britain ‘work well’.

The roadshow coincides with the development of a new action plan by the Partnership on Health and Safety in Scotland (PHASS) to help strengthen the pattern of ownership and collective effort in continuing to improve health and safety in Scotland.

Despite being one of the safest places in the world to work, every year in Scotland there are an estimated 42,000 new incidences and rates of self-reported illness caused or made worse by a current or most recent job.

HSE, the independent regulator for workplace safety and health, which is organising the roadshows recently published the six themes the five-year strategy will cover and a wide range of influencers including employers, workers, local and central government, unions and other regulators are being consulted on their views.

There are three overarching aspects the new strategy will tackle and the conversations will seek to address;

  • Taking collective ownership and looking at personal contributions to health and safety that do not cause unnecessary cost or inefficiency to people or business.
  • Over 23 million working days are lost each year through work-related ill-health and the costs to Britain are estimated at over £9.4bn per year.
  • Boosting Britain’s businesses. Ensuring SMEs in particular get the right information, at the right time, and take the right action easily.

HSE will tell the collected audience that it has done much to banish the myth that health and safety equates to bureaucracy and actually benefits business in terms of productivity, innovation and growth. But at the roadshows it will ask how this work can be continued into the next five years.

A multi-channel awareness campaign is underway on social, online and print media and the hashtag #HelpGBWorkWell is inviting people from all over Britain to join the conversation.

Head of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) in Scotland, Karen McDonnell, who will address today’s event said: “Partnership working is vital to the future success of the health and safety system in Great Britain, and that is why this roadshow is so promising.

“Multi-disciplinary partnership working has been fundamental to bringing together Scotland’s business and health and safety networks and this engagement on the future system is the next step forward.

“I understand the future of the health and safety system in Great Britain belongs, not only to HSE, but, to everyone, and that’s why I have agreed to speak at this event that encourages people to talk and exchange views in order to gain a broader ownership of the system as we know it.”

Dame Judith Hackitt DBE, Chair of HSE said: “Scotland enjoys the same record on work-related safety and health as GB as a whole which is undoubtedly one of the best in the world.

“Ensuring Britain continues to work well is the challenge, which is why we are asking workers and employers to give us their ideas on the country’s health and safety strategy, a strategy for all, shaped by all.”

Sensible health and safety management in schools – school fined after pupil paralysed when swing collapsed

A Hertfordshire school has been fined a total of £50,000 plus £90,693 costs for safety failings after a pupil suffered permanent paralysis when a swing collapsed.

St Albans Magistrates’ Court heard how on September 2011 a 13-year-old pupil at the school was playing on a wooden swing in an adventure playground.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the swing had collapsed because the supporting timbers had rotted. The heavy wooden cross beam of the swing fell onto the pupil’s head and neck causing spinal injuries that resulted in permanent paralysis.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Alison Ashworth said:

“This case shows how important it is that schools and other providers of play equipment maintain them in a safe condition. This tragic accident could have been avoided had the school implemented the findings of its own risk assessment.”

Sensible health and safety management in schools

A sensible approach to health and safety in schools means focusing on how the real risks are managed. The guidance on this series of webpages (http://www.hse.gov.uk/services/education/sensible-leadership/) will help those responsible for managing health and safety in schools to strike the right balance, so that the real risks are managed and learning opportunities are experienced to the full. Sensible health and safety management should be straightforward, it’s just part of good school leadership.

If you need any assistance, we have been providing health and safety support and training to schools and colleges for a number of years now, and are happy to forward a no-obligation quotation on request. Contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Noise induced hearing loss – key speakers announced for new hearing conference

HSE’s Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) has announced the keynote speakers who will speak at ListenUP! – the first European Hearing Conservation Conference.

Taking place in Manchester, UK on 2 March 2016, ListenUP! will bring together international specialists in the field of hearing conservation to propose a fresh approach to the escalating problem of noise-induced hearing loss.

Speakers at the conference, which is the first of its kind in Europe, represent a broad range of disciplines. Those delivering keynote talks include:

  • Professor Andrew Curran, HSE’s Chief Scientific Advisor
  • Professor Bart Vinck, Head of the Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria
  • Dr David Welch, Head of Section (hearing and hearing loss), University of Auckland, and
  • Chris Wood, Senior Research and Policy Officer for Action on Hearing Loss

Attendees will also benefit from presentations from other expert speakers including Peter Wilson, Director of the Industrial Noise and Vibration Centre; Fiona Carragher, Deputy Chief Scientific Officer for NHS England; Stephen Dance, Reader in Acoustics at London South Bank University and Mike Barraclough, Senior Risk Manager with QBE Insurance.

Disabling hearing loss currently affects more than 10 million people in the UK and by 2031 it is anticipated that 14.5 million people in the UK will suffer some degree of noise-induced hearing loss.

ListenUP! offers anyone actively involved or interested in hearing conservation the unique opportunity to obtain the very latest information, solutions and good practice to help tackle hearing loss. They will also be in at the start of this drive for change and can help to shape the future of a proposed European Hearing Conservation Association.

Online registration for ListenUP! is now open, but interest in this landmark conference is high so anyone interested in attending is advised to visit www.hsl.gov.uk/listenup/registration now to secure their place.

Noise at work – advice for employers (click on the links for more information)

Some 17,000 people in the UK suffer deafness, ringing in the ears or other ear conditions caused by excessive noise at work.

For more information, visit the HSE webpage http://www.hse.gov.uk/noise/index.htm 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 – 14TH JANUARY 2016

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Excavation and underground services – electrical explosion leaves worker scarred for life

Sensible health and safety management in schools – school in court over science experiment injury

Work equipment and machinery – housing trust in court after mower mangles worker’s hand

Introduction

We open this week’s update with news of two construction companies being fined £45,000 each after two workers were seriously burned, and one scarred for life after they cut into a live 11,000v electrical cable. The HSE found that the principal contractor for the project had failed to identify the risk from live electrical cables that had been dug up and exposed (in addition to other failings by both companies at the site), so we’re sharing HSE guidance on excavation and underground services.

Moving from construction to education, it’s probably no surprise to readers that over half of secondary schools are now academies, and that up to 1,000 more could go through the transition by the next election. When a school becomes an academy, the Governing Body, as the employer, becomes legally responsible for health and safety and the school no longer automatically receives the Health, Safety and Wellbeing service that it was entitled to as a maintained school. So this week, after news of a chemistry laboratory technician losing parts of three fingers and sustaining a serious internal injury while preparing a highly sensitive explosive for use in a ‘fireworks’ demonstration, we also share HSE guidance on sensible health and safety management in schools.

And finally, we’re again sharing HSE guidance on work equipment and machinery, after news of a housing trust being fined £140,000 plus £70,000 costs after a worker suffered severe injuries to his left hand when it was struck by a metal blade on a ride-on mower.

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

Excavation and underground services – electrical explosion leaves worker scarred for life

Two construction companies have been fined £45,000 each after two workers were seriously burned, and one scarred for life after they cut into a live 11,000v electrical cable.

Southwark Crown Court heard the labourer and a bricklayer were working in a House of Lords site at Millbank, London, on 1 July 2013, to lay bricks around a manhole.

One of the men, who was 22 at the time of the incident, hit the cable with a jackhammer when removing old brickwork and suffered serious burns to his arms, legs, hands and face. He was in hospital for nearly a month receiving treatment to his injuries.

The other worker, a 63-year-old man, suffered significant burns to his face and neck. He has been treated for the longer term traumatic stress because of the incident and is unable to continue working with drills and machines.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation into the incident and the conditions found at the construction site.

One of the companies – the principal contractor for the project – had failed to identify the risk from live electrical cables that had been dug up and exposed, failed to provide information warning that the incident cable was live, and failed to adequately manage the site and the contractor.

The employer of the two injured workers also failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment before the work started, failed to provide effective supervision during the work and failed to check competence before allocating tasks including the operation of the jackhammer.

HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers commented after the hearing: “This serious incident should be a warning to the industry about the need to identify the risks to workers’ safety before work begins, so they can be protected.

“Employers have a duty to check workers have sufficient skills, knowledge, experience and training before they allow them to use equipment such as jackhammers on construction sites. A key point is to not assume a worker can use the equipment safely, just because they may have operated it previously.

“The ferocious explosion resulted in some serious injuries. This incident could easily have resulted in a fatality, and other employers should take this as a warning about the risks of working near electrical cables.”

Excavation and underground services

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” (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg47.htm) gives guidance on how you can manage the risks of digging near underground cables.

The Electricity Networks Association (ENA) publication “Watch It! When digging in the vicinity of underground electric cables” also provides advice.

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

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.

Find out more (click on the links for further information):

For more information, visit the HSE 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 happy to help.

Sensible health and safety management in schools – school in court over science experiment injury

A chemistry laboratory technician lost parts of three fingers and sustained a serious internal injury while preparing a highly sensitive explosive for use in a ‘fireworks’ demonstration to a class of children.

Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard the now retired staff member lost the top joints of his left hand index, middle and ring fingers and ruptured his bowel while preparing the explosive.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting told the court the laboratory technician spent 12 days in total in hospital after the October 2014 incident. Although he returned to work in February 2015, he has since retired.

It was revealed that the preparation of explosive substances had been carried out in the school several times a year since 2009. The mixture in question and other substances had been used in ‘fireworks’ demonstrations.

The court also heard that other explosive substances, namely flash powder and gunpowder, were stored in the school’s chemistry storeroom.

HSE said the incident could have been avoided if the school had implemented clear management arrangements to control and review the risks posed by the chemicals used in its teaching activities.

The school admitted that it failed to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of its employees, in breach of its duty under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

It also admitted failing to conduct its undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in its employment, in this case its pupils, were not exposed to risks to their health and safety, in breach of its duty under Section 3 of the same act.

The school was fined a total of £26,000 [£8,000 for the section 2 offence and £18,000 for the section 3 offence] and ordered to pay £12,176 costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Susan Chivers said: “Schools need to have clear health and safety arrangements in place for their staff and students.

“They should set up adequate control systems and ensure that these arrangements are clearly understood and adhered to. They should also follow recognised guidance provided by CLEAPSS (formerly known as the Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services) and similar organisations regarding the control of risks to health and safety in practical science work.”

Leading sensible health and safety management in schools

Sensible health and safety management means making sure that the focus is on real risks with the potential to cause harm, not wasting resources on trivial matters and unnecessary paperwork. In short effective leaders follow a sensible and proportionate approach to health and safety management that promotes risk awareness rather than risk avoidance.

While many schools manage health and safety effectively and sensibly, some have adopted over cautious approaches. This means that pupils are missing out on challenging and exciting activities and learning opportunities, and the chance to develop new skills.

In schools sensible health and safety starts at the top and relies on every member of the management team making sure that risk is managed responsibly and proportionately. It is about creating a safe learning environment, giving pupils an appreciation of risk and how to deal with it. It means doing what is reasonably practicable to reduce significant risks by putting in place control measures to manage the real risks. It is not about the elimination of all risk.

Health and safety arrangements in schools need to be proportionate and appropriate to the risks involved:

  • Primary schools and ‘traditional’ classrooms in secondary and sixth form colleges are typically lower risk environments, and you will probably already be doing enough. The classroom checklist (http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/classroom-checklist.htm), which is not mandatory, provides a useful prompt for these types of classroom.
  • Risks may increase in Design and Technology workshops, science laboratories, art studios, textiles, drama, and PE.
  • Some of the higher risks to manage include vehicle and pedestrian movements on site, refurbishment and construction work, and adventure activities. You may wish to consider the joint high level statement ‘Children’s play and leisure: promoting a balanced approach.’ (http://www.hse.gov.uk/entertainment/childs-play-statement.htm)

The following guidance provides advice for all schools on (click on the links for further information):

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

Work equipment and machinery – housing trust in court after mower mangles worker’s hand

A Tameside housing trust has been fined £140,000 plus £70,000 costs after a worker suffered severe injuries to his left hand when it was struck by a metal blade on a ride-on mower.

The 24-year-old from Stockport, who has asked not to be named, sustained several broken bones and had to have his thumb and forefinger amputated following the incident in Dukinfield in March 2014. A hospital x-ray has been released showing the extent of his injuries.

The housing trust was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the organisation had failed to consider the risks from the work, provide professional training or to give clear instructions on what to do if the mowers became blocked.

Manchester Crown Court heard the worker was using a ride-on mower for the first cut of the season, with a grass box attached. The chute to the grass box often became blocked, as the grass was long and wet.

On one occasion, the employee reached into the chute to clear a blockage when his hand came into contact with a metal fan, which was still rotating. He suffered serious injuries as a result, and is now unable to grip with his left hand or use his remaining fingers.

The court was told the worker had not received training on how to use the mower, and did not know that the fan continued to rotate for around 30 seconds after the engine was switched off.

Are you a user of work equipment?

What you must do

You must select and install equipment properly, use it carefully and make sure it is maintained to protect the health and safety of yourself, employees and others who may be affected by the way you use it. Sensible risk assessment is the key, following manufacturer’s recommendations for use and maintenance, and ensuring employees are trained and competent. This includes taking reasonable steps to ensure new work equipment complies with the relevant European requirements for safe design and construction. You must not use, or permit the use of, unsafe work equipment.

What you should know

Nearly all equipment used at work is subject to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), which place duties on employers, the relevant self-employed and those who control work equipment. If you are self-employed and your work poses no risk to the health and safety of others, then health and safety law may not apply to you.  HSE has guidance to help you understand if the law applies. Work equipment may also be subject to more specific legislation, for example:

  • the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
  • the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
  • the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

In addition to the general requirements applicable to most work equipment, PUWER covers in particular:

  • the risks from riding on and controlling mobile work equipment
  • operator visibility
  • protection from falling objects and from rolling over
  • restraint systems (seat belts, etc)
  • inspection / thorough examination of power presses

PUWER is supported by three Approved Codes of Practice; a general one on the Regulations, and two on specific types of machinery (woodworking and power presses). The ACOPs give practical guidance and set out the minimum standards for compliance. LOLER is supported by its own ACOP.

If you find new work equipment is not safe because of the way it has been designed, constructed, supplied or installed then you should stop using it until this has been remedied. You should first make contact with the manufacturer and supplier (or installer, if relating to the installation) to get the issue resolved. Where the product is defective due to its design or construction, you can report this to the relevant market surveillance authority. They may have the statutory powers necessary to take formal action and resolve the matter.

Further reading (click on the links):

For more information visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/ 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 – 7TH JANUARY 2016

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IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Influential leaders shape Great Britain’s future health and safety strategy

Involving your workforce in health and safety – Guidance for all workers (HSG263)

Personal protective equipment at work (Third edition)

Selection and use of electric handlamps (Third edition)

Introduction

Welcome to our first health and safety news update of 2016 – we would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Since our last update, it has been announced that leading industry figures and other key influencers are being urged to have a say in shaping the future strategy for Great Britain’s health and safety system. Last month, the HSE published six themes that the five-year strategy will cover, as it begins engaging the people and organisations it thinks can help the nations and regions of Great Britain work well.

Also since our last update, the HSE has published three guidance documents. ‘Involving your workforce in health and safety’ is a new guide, mainly aimed at medium to large employers, aiming to help them in their legal duty to consult and involve their employees on health and safety matters. Guidance documents ‘Personal protective equipment at work (L25)’ and ‘Selection and use of electric handlamps (PM38)’ have been revised. L25 is primarily for employers and relevant self-employed persons but may also be useful for employees and those selecting PPE. PM38 gives guidance on the selection and use of suitable safe handlamps to prevent accidents. Electric handlamps (sometimes known as inspection lead lamps) can cause serious and fatal electrical accidents due to electric shock, fires and explosions in explosive atmospheres.

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

Influential leaders shape Great Britain’s future health and safety strategy

Leading industry figures and other key influencers are being urged to have a say in shaping the future strategy for Great Britain’s health and safety system.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) last month published six themes (click on the following link for more information: http://www.hse.gov.uk/strategy/) that the five-year strategy will cover, as it begins engaging the people and organisations it thinks can help the nations and regions of Great Britain work well.

HSE Chair Judith Hackitt said: “We can be proud of the country’s record on work-related safety and health – it’s one of the best in the world. Making it even better is the challenge, so that we can all continue to help Great Britain work well. Getting risk management right is an enabler for productivity, innovation and growth, and is integral to business success as well as the wellbeing of workers.

“We’re starting a conversation with a wide range of influencers – including employers, workers, local and central government, unions, other regulators and key representative groups – because it’s important that this is a strategy for all, shaped by all.”

Justin Tomlinson MP, Minister for Disabled People, with responsibility for health and safety, said: “In Government, we are determined to build a more productive Britain, one that rewards hard work and helps all to benefit from the opportunities of economic growth.

“It is essential that health and safety is part of that, supporting British employers in their ambition and supporting workers who want to get on.

“Taking sensible steps to keep workers safe and well is something that the best-run businesses do. It’s good for people, it’s good for productivity and it’s good for growth.”

More details on how people can join in will be released at www.hse.gov.uk/strategy in the coming weeks. Plans include events across Great Britain, digital discussion groups and a campaign hashtag: #HelpGBWorkWell

Involving your workforce in health and safety – Guidance for all workers (HSG263)

Last month the HSE published the above guide which is mainly aimed at medium to large employers. It will help them in their legal duty to consult and involve their employees on health and safety matters. Small businesses may find the guidance helpful, particularly the case studies. Employees, their health and safety representatives and trade unions may also find the guide useful.

The guide concentrates on examples of how to comply with the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 (as amended), and the Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996 (as amended).

The guide is designed to clearly distinguish different types of information so you can find the parts that are relevant for you. References to the regulations are colour-coded.

This version has been updated to clarify examples of how to comply with the Regulations and to update links and references to other guidance.

The guide can be downloaded free by clicking on the following link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg263.pdf

More guidance on involving your employees in health and safety is available on the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement/involveemployees.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Personal protective equipment at work (Third edition)

Last month, the HSE published the Third edition of their guidance on the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (L25).

This guidance is primarily for employers and relevant self-employed persons but may also be useful for employees and those selecting PPE.

The key messages are:

  • It is essential that employers put in place all necessary safe systems of work, control measures and engineering solutions so that use of PPE is minimised
  • Where PPE is needed it must be the most appropriate for the identified risk and should only be issued where it further reduces the level of risk
  • PPE is a safeguard of last resort since it only protects the individual wearer

Changes to the guidance since the last edition:

  • It has been updated to clarify the requirement after the repeal of the Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989
  • It details changes to the provisions for head protection for turban wearing Sikhs following an amendment to the Employment Act 1989
  • It details changes required due to an amendment to Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 relating to self-employed persons

The guidance can be downloaded free by clicking on the following link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l25.pdf

More guidance on PPE is available on 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 happy to help.

Selection and use of electric handlamps (Third edition)

Last November, the HSE published the Third edition of the above plant and machinery guidance note (PM38), which gives guidance on the selection and use of suitable safe handlamps to prevent accidents. Electric handlamps (sometimes known as inspection lead lamps) can cause serious and fatal electrical accidents due to electric shock, fires and explosions in explosive atmospheres.

The guidance can be downloaded free by clicking on the following link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/guidance/pm38.pdf

For clarification or more information 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