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Figures published last October by the Department for Education revealed that thousands more young people are working or learning after the age of 16. Many young people are likely to be new to the workplace and in some cases facing unfamiliar risks, from the job they are doing and from their surroundings. They need to be provided with clear and sufficient instruction, training and supervision to enable them to work without putting themselves and other people at risk. We open this week’s update with HSE guidance on employing under 18’s, following news of a roofing company being fined after a young worker fell through a skylight.
Also last October, we shared HSE guidance on powered door and gate safety (click on the link: http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/health-safety-news-update-8th-october-2015/) ahead of 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 risks associated with powered gates have been well documented by the HSE. The following safety notice was issued after two incidents that both led to the deaths of young children: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/electricgates2.htm) Only last week, news was released by the HSE, of company that produces and installs gate systems being fined after the leaf of a gate fell and struck a man, so this week we’re sharing HSE responses to some FAQs on the topic.
And finally, we share HSE guidance on the safe use of forklift trucks following news of a scrap metal firm being in court over a worker’s severe forklift injuries.
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
A Stoke-on-Trent roofing company has been fined £14,000 plus £6,919 costs, after an employee suffered serious injury when he fell through a roof skylight at an address in Newcastle under Lyme.
Newcastle under Lyme Magistrates’ Court heard how the young worker accessed an unprotected roof and fell through the skylight. He was working during the summer vacation in July 2014 when the incident occurred. He suffered three cracked vertebrae.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that there was poor supervision and training.
Young people at work
When employing a young person under the age of 18, whether for work, work experience, or as an apprentice, employers have the same responsibilities for their health, safety and welfare as they do for other employees.
Guidance on the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/ will help young people and those employing them understand their responsibilities.
Introducing young people to the world of work can help them understand the work environment, choose future careers or prepare for employment. We need young people to be offered opportunities to develop new skills and gain experience across the world of work. Click on the following links for more guidance:
- Schools and colleges: http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/workexperience/organiser.htm
- Work experience organisers: http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/workexperience/organiser.htm
- Placement providers: http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/workexperience/placeprovide.htm
- Parents or carers: http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/workexperience/parent.htm
- Students/learners: http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/workexperience/students-and-young-people.htm
Young people FAQs (visit HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/faqs.htm for answers):
- Does an employer have to carry out a separate risk assessment for a young person?
- What if a young person doesn’t feel confident about raising a health and safety concern with their employer?
- Does an employer need to have Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI) in place before they employ a young person?
- How does an employer avoid putting a young person at risk due to their physical limitations?
- How do I assess a young person’s psychological capability?
- What constitutes harmful exposure?
- Can a young person be employed to work with ionising radiation?
- How do I take account of a young person’s lack of maturity, lack of risk awareness, insufficient attention to safety and their lack of experience or training?
- Are young people at more risk of exposure to extreme temperature, noise or vibration?
- I understand there has been a change to the official statutory school leaving age, rising to age 17 in 2013, with a further rise to 18 from 2015. Is this correct and does this mean that the definition of a child has changed?
Common young people myths
“Under 18s cannot be employed on construction sites for work or work experience”
There is no reason why a young person under 18 could not be employed on a building site for work or work experience, provided the work was properly assessed and suitable controls put in place. Although there may be times when it would not be appropriate for an under 18 to be employed, these will be very much the exception rather than the rule.
“Schools and colleges, or those organising work experience placements on their behalf, such as Education Business Partnerships, have to carry out workplace checks before sending students on work experience placements and staff carrying out these checks must meet prescribed levels of occupational competence or qualification”
There are no health and safety regulations that require schools, colleges, or those organising placements on their behalf, to carry out workplace assessments for work experience placements. There is also no requirement for any prescribed level of occupational competence or qualification for education personnel, or others organising these placements.
However, schools, colleges and others organising placements do need to satisfy themselves that an employer has risk management arrangements for placements, including for higher risk environments. Find out what you need to do and how to keep it simple by visiting the following HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/workexperience/organiser.htm.
“A separate risk assessment is required for work experience students”
A separate risk assessment is not required specifically for work experience students, as long as your existing assessment already considers the specific factors for young people. Furthermore, there is no requirement to re-assess the risks each time an employer takes on a new work experience student, provided the new student has no particular needs.
“Schools, colleges and those organising work experience placements on their behalf, such as Education Business Partnerships, must visit all workplaces in advance of a student starting a work experience placement”
It is not for schools, colleges or those organising work experience placements on their behalf, to assess work places. The employer who is taking on the student for work experience has the primary responsibility for their health and safety. However, schools, colleges and others organising placements do need to take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that an employer is managing any significant risks. For many low risk premises a visit will not be necessary, there is no reason why this couldn’t be done over the phone, with placement organisers simply making a note of the discussion. A conversation with an employer could include finding out what the student will be doing, what the risks are and how they are managed.
It is about keeping checks in proportion to the environment and in many cases it is likely that a school, college, or other placement organiser will be familiar with employers they use regularly and will be aware of their track record. They may also know of other schools, colleges and placement organisers who have placed students with the same employers and can share information with them. Find out what you need to do and how to keep it simple by visiting the following HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/workexperience/organiser.htm.
A company that produces and installs gate systems has been fined £20,000 plus £5,000 costs after the leaf of a gate fell and struck a man.
Newport Magistrates’ Court heard how the company was contracted to manufacture and install a gate system at commercial premises in Caerphilly.
The gate consisted of two leaves; one of which was driven by a motor and connected to the second leaf by a chain and sprocket which provided the drive motion for the second leaf.
There was a failure of the gate mechanism and in September 2014 an employee at the premises went to manually close the gate. The leaf he was pulling came out of the runners and it collapsed on him. A vertical rail struck his leg and resulted in severe trauma to his leg with muscle and nerves torn away. He was hospitalised for ten days and off work for one year.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident found that the underlying failure of the gate mechanism was as a result of inadequate design, assessment and control measures to ensure the gate was safe for use.
HSE inspector Dean Baker said after the hearing: “Powered gates pose a risk to employees and members of the public. Those responsible for installing, maintaining and operating these gates need to make sure they are safe during installation and use. This accident could have been avoided if the clearly foreseeable risk of the gate falling had been identified and controlled.”
FAQs – Powered gates
What are the risks with powered (automatic) doors and gates, and how can they be controlled?
In recent years, a number of adults and children have been seriously injured or killed by this type of machinery (click on the link for more information: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/poweredgates.htm). The injuries were caused because people have been trapped or crushed by the moving door or gate. All powered doors and gates must be properly designed, installed and maintained to prevent possible injuries.
What if I think a gate is unsafe?
Unless you’ve been working on the gate, the ‘owner’ of the gate has to ensure that the gate is safe and without risks to others. The ‘owner’ here includes landlords or managing agents with responsibility for the gate. If the owner thinks the gate is unsafe, he should take steps to make it safe – for example, by engaging a competent person to install safety mechanisms or protective devices. Meanwhile, for safety, it should be switched off, or only used safely in a supervised way, eg under direct hold-to-run control.
If you’ve been working on the gate – eg installing, repairing, maintaining the gate – then you are responsible for ensuring it is left in a safe state. You should discuss your concerns with the gate owner so that they can take action to put things right.
I’m a domestic householder, do I have to do anything?
Health and safety law doesn’t apply to you. But it is a good idea to have regular checks carried out on the gates in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. This is particularly important where the gate may affect the safety of third parties – such as passers-by, children or visitors. As with other contractors, you’ll need to check that they are competent to carry out any work/inspections that you ask them to do.
Please note that anyone undertaking a ‘work activity’ on a domestic powered gate (eg repairs, checks, adjustments, servicing) will be subject to health and safety law. For further details see Powered Gates: Responsibilities (http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/powered-gates/responsibilities.htm)
I own commercial/industrial premises, what do I have to do?
You will have to ensure that powered doors and gates on the premises are safe. Existing powered doors and gates must be designed, constructed and maintained for safety. You will need to inspect them regularly to make sure they work properly and that protective devices are effective. In some cases, you may need to use a competent contractor to help you do this.
If you’re going to install a new powered door or gate – or ‘power-up’ an existing manually operated one – you should employ a competent installer who understands how these machines work, what the safety requirements are, how to do the work safely, and comply with the law concerning machinery supply. They should also provide you with user instructions and details on how to maintain the gates.
I install doors and gates, what must I do?
You must be competent. This means you must understand the risks associated with these products and the law concerning supply. You should ensure that they are installed according to the manufacturers’ instructions, making checks and adjustments as necessary so they are left safe. You must give user instructions to the client – whether domestic or commercial/industrial – on how to use and maintain the gates. If you have any concerns about the design of the gate, or its components, then you should discuss these with the manufacturer/supplier.
As a maintenance contractor, what do I have to do?
You must be competent to carry out maintenance or inspection work. This means understanding how the door or gate and its safety features work. If you find something wrong then you should talk to the owner about what you need to do to make it safe, particularly if there is a risk of injury. You need to leave the gate in a safe state. Where new components are fitted the user instructions may need to be updated.
HSE cannot get involved in civil disputes between owners or others with responsibility and contractors where there are disagreements about maintenance, repairs or upgrading work. In such cases, the owner and the contractor need to resolve the issues; both need to ensure that people are not put at risk of harm. Organisations such as Gate Safe® (http://gate-safe.org/) and the Door and Hardware Federation (http://www.dhfonline.org.uk/) may be able to help.
What are the main safety requirements for these machines?
Powered gates and doors
- Must be properly designed, taking full account of the environment of use, the presence of vulnerable members of the population, and potential foreseeable misuse, as well as intended use;
- Manufactured (including when assembled from components in situ) to the safety standards required by law, regardless of whether for use in connection with work, or located on private domestic premises;
- Supplied with all relevant documentation, particularly the user instructions for the complete product, and where necessary of component parts;
- Installed safely, and maintained for safety, by competent contractors;
- If part of a workplace, be adequately inspected and maintained for safety;
- If part of premises managed by a work undertaking (including landlords and managing agents of residential complexes), to meet the general duty for the safety of non-employed persons;
- As necessary for on-going safety, regularly checked, which may require specific inspection, testing, and adjustment, so they remain safe; and
- Where found to be dangerous, immediately taken out of use until all of the safety concerns have been adequately addressed.
What does the law say?
Powered (automatic) gates (barriers and doors) located in ‘workplaces’ are subject to a number of specific legal requirements. These will include requirements for:
- design, manufacture, supply and installation under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008; and
- inspection and maintenance under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
There will also be general requirements under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in relation to risks to third parties (non-employees).
Powered (automatic) gates for use on private domestic premises must comply with the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 when first installed.
Where can I get more information?
You can get more information about safe machinery and work equipment here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/index.htm. For more detailed information and guidance on this topic see the Powered Gate section: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/powered-gates/introduction.htm.
HSE has worked with Gate Safe® and the Door and Hardware Federation (DHF) to produce advice and guidance on powered gates. You can get specific information on powered doors and gates from their web sites.
Or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.
A scrap metal firm and its director have been sentenced after a Manchester worker suffered severe injuries to his left arm when it became stuck in a forklift truck.
The 30 year old worker remained trapped for over two hours while the emergency services tried to free his arm from the vehicle’s mast at a Manchester trading estate in November 2013.
The company and its director were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after it emerged that the worker had been told to stand on the forks on the truck to help move scrap cars into the back of a shipping container.
He suffered severe crush injuries when his arm became trapped and it took the combined effort of three fire crews, a specialist major rescue unit, two air ambulances, a medical team from Manchester Royal Infirmary and three ambulance crews to rescue him.
He sustained nerve damage to his left arm which makes it difficult for him to grip or lift items, and was in hospital for nearly two months. He still needs to visit Manchester Royal Infirmary for treatment and has been unable to return to work due to the extent of his injuries.
The court was told the company failed to report the incident to HSE for nearly three months, despite being told on several occasions that this was a legal requirement.
The company director was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and ordered to pay costs of £750 after pleading guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
The firm pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 4 (2) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.
Managing lift trucks
- Lift trucks are particularly dangerous in the workplace.
- On average, lift trucks are involved in about a quarter of all workplace transport accidents.
- Accidents involving lift trucks are often due to poor supervision and a lack of training.
Safe working with lift trucks
HSE has published an Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) and guidance called Rider-operated lift trucks: Operator training and safe use. Click on the following link to download a free copy: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l117.htm
This sets the minimum standard of basic training people should receive before they are allowed to operate certain types of lift truck – even if they only operate the equipment occasionally. It also provides detailed guidance about how they can meet this standard.
The ACOP covers stacking rider-operated lift trucks, including articulated steering trucks. ‘Rider-operated’ means any truck that can carry an operator and includes trucks controlled from both seated and stand-on positions.
If you employ anyone to operate a lift truck covered by the ACOP, you should make sure that operators have been trained to the standards it sets out.
The ACOP also includes some sections taken from ‘Safety in working with lift trucks’ (now withdrawn).
More HSE guidance is available by clicking on the following links:
- Lift-truck training: http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/lift-trucks/lift-truck-training.htm
- Voluntary accreditation schemes for lift-truck training: http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/lift-trucks/accreditation.htm
- Thorough examination: http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/lift-trucks/thoroughexamination.htm
- Repairs to fork arms of fork-lift trucks: http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/lift-trucks/repairs.htm
- Frequently asked questions: http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/lift-trucks/faqs.htm
Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence