HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 31ST MARCH 2016

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(Please note that there will be no further updates until Thursday 21st April.)

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

Guidance on safe use of inflatables – two children killed on same day in separate incidents involving bouncy castles

Tragically, and unbelievably, two children were killed last Saturday in separate incidents involving bouncy castles.

According to reports, in the UK, a seven year old girl died from multiple injuries after a gust of wind tore the bouncy castle she was playing in from its moorings and flung it 400 metres at a fairground in Harlow. A man and a woman were both arrested in connection with the incident, on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence.

And In China’s Henan province, one child died and approximately 40 were injured when the bouncy castle they were playing in was blown 164 feet into the air, again by strong winds. The operator was taken into custody. This is the third such incident in China in as many years – each resulting in a fatality.

HSE Guidance on safe use of inflatables

Inflatables, such as castles, slides, domes etc can be bought from a number of different manufacturers and suppliers in the UK, both new and second hand. They come in a wide range of sizes and shapes and can be designed for use by adults, children or both. They can also be hired by organisations or members of the public for parties etc.

The quality construction, maintenance and operation of inflatable play equipment can be extremely variable.  Buyers, hirers and users should make sure they know what it is they are paying for; things are generally cheap for good reason!  Health and safety law will apply to the supply, hire and use of inflatables for commercial purposes.  It does not apply to private, domestic buyers and users.

Inflatables are great fun but accidents involving broken limbs and necks or the entire inflatable blowing away with people in it are not unheard of.  A few basic measures can make all the difference to an event:

  • If you are buying an inflatable for work or renting one for an event, ensure it has been built to the current British Standard (BS EN 14960) and if it has, there will be a label on it saying so. If there is no label you may be taking a risk with the safety of those using it.  Buyers should ensure they get an invoice stating that the inflatable has been manufactured to this standard.
  • The label will tell you when it was made, how many people can use it and what heights they should be.
  • After its first year and annually thereafter, the inflatable must be tested by a competent person to make sure it is still safe for use. A new unit should have an ‘initial test’ carried out at the point of manufacture to confirm it complies with BS EN 14960.  The HSE supports annual examination by Inspectors registered with PIPA or ADIPS. Hirers should ask to see proof of this test.
  • Every inflatable should have at least 6 anchor points, though bigger ones will need more. The operator manual that should be supplied with the inflatable will tell you how many there should be.  If there is no manual you cannot be sure how many tie down points there should be for safe use.
  • All the anchor points must be used, preferably with metal ground stakes at least 380mm length and 16mm diameter with a rounded top. Anchor points on the inflatable should have a welded metal ‘0’ or ‘D’ ring fitted to the end. If ground stakes cannot be used then a system of ballast using water or sand barrels or tying down to vehicles that will give at least the same level of protection should be used. Each anchor point should have the equivalent of 163kgs to give this.  Beware of tripping hazards if you secure in this way.
  • Have a good look at the inflatable when it is blown up. The outer edges of the front step should at least line up with the centre of each of the front uprights. Under no circumstances should the width of the step be less than this. The whole unit should look symmetrical and those bits that should upright, should be upright.  If it looks misshapen or deformed there may be internal problems which may make bouncing unpredictable.
  • If there is an electrical blower with the inflatable this should be tested like any other portable electrical appliance. The tube that connects the blower to the bag should be at least 1.4m in length.

Making sure that the inflatable is run safely is equally important; the majority of injuries come from misuse.  There should be constant supervision when the inflatable is blown up and it is strongly recommended that hirers ask for this to be provided as a condition of hire.

Operating instructions should be supplied by the manufacturer or supplier and these should include at least the following:

  • Restrict the number of users on the inflatable at the same time to the limit in the manual or on the unit label. Don’t exceed the user height limit given in the manual or on the unit label and keep bigger users separated from smaller.
  • Ensure users can get on and off safely and that there is safety matting at the entrance in case of falls or ejections. These mats should not be more than 2″ in depth.
  • Users should not wear shoes, should take their glasses off if they can and pockets should be emptied of all sharp or dangerous items.
  • Users should not eat or drink whilst playing or bouncing and anyone obviously intoxicated should not be allowed on; they are a danger to themselves as much as to others.
  • Don’t let things get too rough and don’t let users climb or hang onto the walls. Don’t let users try to somersault.

A properly trained supervisor will be aware of all of this and should be able to keep the inflatable running safely and make sure that no one gets hurt.

I am grateful to The Inflatable Play Enterprise (TIPE) for their help with this advice.

If you have any questions about any of this, further help can be found on the PIPA website (http://www.pipa.org.uk/) or in British Standard BS EN 14960 – ‘Inflatable play equipment – safety requirements and test methods’

For more information, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/entertainment/fairgrounds/faqs.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 – 24TH MARCH 2016

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

COMAH Regulations – chemical company fined £200,000 following toxic chemical release

Good practice guidelines for shift design – automotive company fined after worker loses finger

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

COMAH Regulations – chemical company fined £200,000 following toxic chemical release

A chemical company was sentenced last week in Leeds Crown Court for safety breaches when a very toxic chemical was ejected under pressure.

A company maintenance technician unintentionally opened a valve on top of an isotanker at the company’s Huddersfield plant resulting in the release of between 3.5 and 3.8 tonnes of paraquat dichloride solution. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the firm over the incident.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Control Of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 and Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £200 000 with £13 041 costs by Leeds Crown Court.

Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH)

The Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations ensure that businesses:

  • “Take all necessary measures to prevent major accidents involving dangerous substances
  • Limit the consequences to people and the environment of any major accidents which do occur”

What is the main aim of the COMAH Regulations?

Their main aim is to prevent and mitigate the effects of those major accidents involving dangerous substances, such as chlorine, liquefied petroleum gas, explosives and arsenic pentoxide which can cause serious damage/harm to people and/or the environment. The COMAH Regulations treat risks to the environment as seriously as those to people.

Who enforces COMAH?

The COMAH Regulations are enforced by a competent authority (CA) consisting of:

  • In England and Wales – the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency
  • In Scotland – the Health and Safety Executive and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

The CA operates to a Memorandum of Understanding which sets out the arrangements for joint working.

The Regulations place duties on the CA to inspect activities subject to COMAH and prohibit the operation of an establishment if there is evidence that measures taken for prevention and mitigation of major accidents are seriously deficient. It also has to examine safety reports and inform operators about the conclusions of its examinations within a reasonable time period.

Who is affected?

Mainly the chemical industry, but also some storage activities, explosives and nuclear sites and other industries, where threshold quantities of dangerous substances identified in the Regulations are kept or used.

The substances which cause the duties to apply are detailed in Schedule 1 of the Regulations as are the quantities which set the two thresholds for application.

Operators of sites that hold larger quantities of dangerous substances (‘top tier’ sites) are subject to more onerous requirements than those of ‘lower tier’ sites.

What do you need to do?

Firstly you need to determine if the Regulations apply to you. Regulation 3, together with Schedule 1, will provide the answer. If you have enough dangerous substances present to take you over the lower threshold then the lower-tier duties apply and if you have enough to exceed the higher threshold then the top-tier duties apply. For more information about lower-tier and top-tier duties, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/comah/background/comah99.htm

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

Good practice guidelines for shift design – automotive company fined after worker loses finger

A Birmingham-based automotive company has been fined £27,000 after a worker lost his finger.

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard how a welder employed by the company was expected to work on a variety of jobs as required by production. While he was working on a machine the employee’s glove became entangled in the drill bit. He suffered partial amputation to the third finger on his right hand.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred on 17 June 2015 found that the company failed to provide adequate training, a safe system of work, a risk assessment or method statement.

Applying the following good practice guidelines, so far as it is reasonably practicable to do so, will help reduce the risk that workers are exposed to by shift working.

Good practice guidelines for shift design

  • Plan an appropriate and varied workload.
  • Offer a choice of permanent or rotating shifts and try to avoid permanent night shifts.
  • Either rotate shifts every 2-3 days or every 3-4 weeks – otherwise adopt forward rotating shifts.
  • Avoid early morning starts and try to fit shift times in with the availability of public transport.
  • Limit shifts to 12 h including overtime, or to 8 h if they are night shifts and/or the work is demanding, monotonous, dangerous and/or safety critical.
  • Encourage workers to take regular breaks and allow some choice as to when they are taken.
  • Consider the needs of vulnerable workers, such as young or aging workers and new and expectant mothers.
  • Limit consecutive work days to a maximum of 5 – 7 days and restrict long shifts, night shifts and early morning shifts to 2-3 consecutive shifts.
  • Allow 2 nights full sleep when switching from day to night shifts and vice versa.
  • Build regular free weekends into the shift schedule.

Good practice guidelines for the work environment

  • Provide similar facilities as those available during daytime and allow shift workers time for training and development.
  • Ensure temperature & lighting is appropriate and preferably adjustable.
  • Provide training and information on the risks of shift work and ensure supervisors and management can recognise problems.
  • Consider increasing supervision during periods of low alertness.
  • Control overtime, shift swapping and on-call duties and discourage workers from taking second jobs.
  • Set standards and allow time for communication at shift handovers.
  • Encourage interaction between workers and provide a means of contact for lone workers.
  • Encourage workers to tell their GPs that they are shift workers and provide free health assessments for night workers.
  • Ensure the workplace and surroundings are well lit, safe and secure.

For more information, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/humanfactors/topics/good-practice-guidelines.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

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

 

 

HOW HEALTHY, SAFE AND DIVERSE IS YOUR WORKFORCE?

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Employing migrant workers?

Gender

Health and safety for disabled people

Young workers

Health and safety for older workers

New to the job

Introduction

Factors like race, gender, disability, age and work pattern may affect people’s health and safety in the workplace – and sometimes health and safety is used as a false excuse to justify discriminating against certain groups of workers.

Tackling discrimination

What is discrimination?

The Equality Act 2010 became law in October 2010 and replaces the Disability discrimination Act, the Race Relations Act and the Sex Discrimination Act. The Equality Act covers nine ‘protected characteristics’ these are: Age, Disability, Gender reassignment, Marriage and civil partnership, Pregnancy and maternity, Race, Religion and belief, Sex and Sexual orientation. More information on the Act can be found on the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) website: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/

For health and safety purposes, equality is concerned with breaking down the barriers that currently block opportunities for certain groups of people in the workplace, aiming to identify and minimise the barriers that exclude people and to take action to achieve equal access to all aspects of work for everyone. Eliminating discrimination is important in achieving equality, since it is not just the physical environment or poor policies that prevent equality from being achieved but also ways of working, attitudes and stereotypes about different groups of people.

Diversity is about recognising, valuing and taking account of people’s different backgrounds, knowledge, skills, and experiences, and encouraging and using those differences to create a productive and effective workforce.

Why tackle discrimination?

The workforce and working patterns are changing. The working population is getting older and there are more women and people from ethnic minorities at work.

Everyone has the right to be treated fairly at work and to be free of discrimination on grounds of age, race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, pregnancy and maternity, gender reassignment, or belief.

Many employers have found that making adaptations to their working practices to accommodate a diverse workforce makes good business sense. It makes their business more attractive to both potential employees and customers and helps them recruit and retain the best people. This is not only good business sense but helps them meet the requirements of legislation.

Some provisions that have helped in this respect are:

  • extended leave;
  • religious holidays;
  • adaptation to hours of work;
  • reasonable adjustments.

Health and safety should never be used as a false excuse to justify discriminatory action.

There is a lot of advice available to employers which helps to dispel some of the myths around health and safety in the workplace. For further information please see the HSE web pages on vulnerable workers (http://www.hse.gov.uk/vulnerable-workers/index.htm) and HSE guidance on risk assessments.

Remember

Employers should make sure they communicate messages about risk in a way that their employees understand. Some things to think about are language, use of pictures, colour, font sizes or format.

We hope you find our 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

Employing migrant workers?

Good practice when employing migrant workers; and your legal responsibilities to them:

Who is responsible for the health and safety of migrant workers?

There is no simple answer to this question – it depends on the relationship between the labour provider and user and the circumstances under which the work is being carried out.

When a business uses workers supplied by an independent labour provider, the business and the labour provider have a shared responsibility to protect their health and safety, regardless of which one is the employer.

Determining who is the employer will in any case depend on the facts of each case

What about information, instruction, training and supervision?

If you are a labour provider you should:

  • Make sure you know what induction and job-related training the labour user is providing for the workers you supply;
  • Agree with the labour user how, when and by whom training will be provided for the workers you supply;
  • Advise the labour user about how well the workers you supply can speak and read English.

If you are a labour user you should:

  • Provide essential induction training and any necessary job-related/vocational training;
  • Provide relevant information about the risks to which they may be exposed and the precautions they will need to take to avoid those risks;
  • Consider the needs of workers who may not speak English well, if at all, and whether you need translation services;
  • Make sure workers have received and understood the information, instruction and training they need to work safely and consider how to ensure it is acted upon;
  • Make sure workers are adequately supervised and can communicate with their supervisors;
  • Make sure workers know where and how to raise any concerns about their health and safety and about any emergency arrangements or procedures.

What is risk assessment?

A risk assessment is a careful examination of what, in your workplace, could cause harm to people. It lets you weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions to protect them or need to do more.

Assessing the risks from work activities is a legal requirement, but it is also the key to effectively managing health and safety. It reduces the potential for accidents and ill health that can not only ruin lives but also seriously affect your business if output is lost, or plant machinery or property is damaged.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), trade associations and other organisations have published advice and guidance on how to carry out risk assessments (http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/controlling-risks.htm).

If you are a labour user you should:

  • Carry out a risk assessment of the tasks the worker will be expected to undertake;
  • Ensure the control measures identified in the assessment are effective, are in place and are maintained;
  • Pass relevant information on to your labour provider(s).

If you are a labour provider you should:

  • Ensure that your clients have carried out risk assessments for the tasks the workers you are supplying will be carrying out;
  • Agree with your client who will check the implementation and maintenance of the identified control measures, eg providing any necessary personal protective clothing.

Both labour providers and users should take account of the needs of overseas workers and consider:

  • Language issues;
  • Basic competencies, eg literacy, numeracy, physical attributes, general health, relevant work experience etc; and
  • Whether their vocational qualifications are compatible with those in GB;
  • Ensure that assessments are regularly reviewed to ensure they keep up to date with any changes to processes or working practices.

The risks that arise from workers being new to the job.

What about toilet and washing facilities and clean drinking water?

Employers must provide washing, toilet, rest and changing facilities for employees when they’re at work, and somewhere clean to eat and drink during breaks.

Toilets and hand basins, with soap and towels or a hand-dryer, as well as drinking water, are particularly important if working in remote, outdoor locations or premises with manual activities, such as labouring or planting and harvesting agricultural produce, and construction.

Employers must also provide a place to store clothing and somewhere to change if special clothing is worn during work.

Further guidance can be found in HSE’s leaflet workplace health, safety and welfare (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg244.pdf)

For more information on employing migrant workers, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/migrantworkers/index.htm  

Gender

Women make up 42% of the employed population in the EU. The jobs they do, their working conditions and how they are treated by society can affect the hazards they face at work and the approach that needs to be taken to assess and control them. Factors to take into account include:

  • women and men are concentrated in certain jobs, and therefore face hazards particular to those jobs
  • women and men face different risks to their reproductive health.

The impact of gender on both men’s and women’s occupational health and safety is generally under-researched and poorly understood. However, discrimination against new and expectant mothers is well known and HSE has been working closely with other government departments to tackle this.

Promoting gender equality at work and tackling discrimination

HSE launched and promotes an Equality Impact Assessment Tool to mainstream diversity in our day-to-day work. It is designed to help staff identify and minimise any potential issues around equality.

Building the evidence base

The HSE’s review of research on gender sensitivity in occupational health and safety has increased understanding of the issues in this area. Three subject areas have been identified, including key issues and messages. These are:

  • male and female reproductive health
  • pregnancy
  • older workers, in particular older female workers.

HSE links with specialists in the fields of gender equality and occupational health and safety have improved. For example they:

  • have met with the TUC Gender Occupational Safety and Health group
  • have joined the Men’s Health Forum
  • are building contacts with the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Review of research into gender and occupational health and safety

Understanding the impact of gender (social) and sex (biological) differences on men’s and women’s occupational health and safety can help reduce inequality in the workplace.

A review of research identified three broad areas:

Gender balance in industry

  • Some industries and occupations are dominated by one gender.
  • Men and women in the same sectors, carrying out the same roles and tasks, can experience different demands. For example, female nurses tend to have more people-facing tasks than their male colleagues.
  • There is a perception that the risks associated with female-dominated industries are taken less seriously than those in male-dominated industries.

Under-representation of women in health and safety decision making

  • Women are under-represented in the health and safety decision-making process.
  • Their views and experience of female-specific health and safety issues are often marginalised, underestimated or overlooked.
  • Research studies tend to exclude or ignore women.

Gender (social) and sex (biological) differences

Examples of gender differences in occupational health and safety:

  • Differences in risk perception and risk management.
  • Different working patterns. Women are more likely to work part-time than men, and in jobs of lower status.
  • Outside the workplace, working women tend to have greater domestic and caring responsibilities.

Examples of sex difference in occupational health and safety:

  • Understanding the workplace risks to male and female reproductive health.
  • The impact of gender and sex difference in older workers is under-researched and little understood.

Working together, sharing intelligence and good practice

HSE’s External Diversity Team monitor progress against diversity priorities and the annual action plan.

HSE is trying to provide appropriate support by building intelligence they can share. If you have any information or research that would help them build their evidence base about health and safety in the workplace in relation to this area, please feel free to send it to them at diversity@hse.gsi.gov.uk.

For more information visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/vulnerable-workers/gender.htm

Health and safety for disabled people

Health and safety legislation should not prevent disabled people finding or staying in employment and should not be used as a false excuse to justify discriminating against disabled workers.

We want to enable disabled people and those with health conditions, including mental health conditions, to get into and stay in work.

The following guidance will help those employing disabled people to understand their health and safety responsibilities.

Myths

HSE’s Myth Buster Challenge Panel has considered a number of disability related cases. The Panel provides a route to challenge perceptions and promote awareness.

Myth: Health and safety provides a legitimate reason for not taking on a disabled worker

Reality: This is not the case. There is no health and safety legislation that would prevent a disabled person finding or staying in employment. Health and safety should not be used as an excuse for doing nothing, or for refusing to make reasonable adjustments.

Myth: Employing a disabled worker is expensive and difficult

Reality: Many people with disabilities do not require additional assistance to do their job.  Employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to make sure disabled workers aren’t seriously disadvantaged when doing their jobs.  Many of these adjustments can be simple and straightforward, for example installing a ramp or letting a wheelchair user work on the ground floor.  The Government’s Access to Work programme means that funding may be available, should any adjustments be required.

Myth: You have to be registered as disabled to ensure you can get the adjustments needed to do your job

Reality: There is no process requiring registration for disabled people.  If you have a disability, your employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to enable you to do your job.  The best way to make sure this happens is to inform your employer of your disability and work with them to identify and consider adjustments that could be put in place to assist you.

Find out more about making reasonable adjustments on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/reasonable-adjustments-for-disabled-workers

If you are blind or partially sighted, you have the option to register with your Local Authority.  You do not have to be registered to access help, registration is voluntary and may entitle you to certain concessions. The RNIB provides information on registering your sight loss.

Can health and safety law provide an employer with a legitimate reason to reject a job applicant on the grounds of their disability?

There are very few cases where health and safety law requires the exclusion of specific groups of people from certain types of activity. While work in hazardous situations cannot always be eliminated, it can often be substantially reduced with comparatively little cost.  With reasonable adjustments and plans to review if circumstances change, risks can be managed. This might be achieved by reallocating responsibilities or rescheduling duties to more suitable times.

Find out more about recruitment of disabled people on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/recruitment-disabled-people

Is an employer required to carry out a separate risk assessment for each disabled employee?

No, there is no requirement to carry out a separate risk assessment for a disabled employee. Employers should already be managing any significant workplace risks, including putting control measures in place to eliminate or reduce the risks. If an employer becomes aware of an employee who has a disability, they should review the risk assessment to make sure it covers risks that might be present for that employee.

For more information visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/disability/index.htm

Young workers

Please see our 25th February update for HSE guidance on employing under 18’s: http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/health-safety-news-update-25th-february-2016/

Health and safety for older workers

Today’s workforce is likely to contain a higher proportion of older workers because of factors such as increased life expectancy, removal of the default retirement age and raising of the State Pension Age, which means that many people will need, and want to continue working.

Employers have the same responsibilities for the health and safety of older employees as they have for all their employees.

The following will help employers take older workers into account when considering how to meet their responsibilities.

Guidance for employers

Older workers bring a broad range of skills and experience to the workplace and often have better judgement and job knowledge, so looking after their health and safety makes good business sense.

You should:

  • Review your risk assessment if anything significant changes, not just when an employee reaches a certain age
  • Not assume that certain jobs are physically too demanding for older workers, many jobs are supported by technology, which can absorb the physical strain.
  • Think about the activities older workers do, as part of your overall risk assessment and consider whether any changes are needed. This might include:
  • allowing older workers more time to absorb health and safety information or training, for example by introducing self-paced training.
  • introducing opportunities for older workers to choose to move to other types of work.
  • designing tasks that contain an element of manual handling in such a way that they eliminate or minimise the risk.
  • Think about how your business operates and how older workers could play a part in helping to improve how you manage health and safety risks. This might include having older workers working alongside colleagues in a structured programme, to capture knowledge and learn from their experience.
  • Avoid assumptions by consulting and involving older workers when considering relevant control measures to put in place. Extra thought may be needed for some hazards. Consultation with your employees helps you to manage health and safety in a practical way.

Further information (click on the links):

The law

Under health and safety law, employers must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable , the health and safety of all their employees, irrespective of age.

Employers must also provide adequate information, instruction, training and supervision to enable their employees to carry out their work safely.

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR)

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers have a duty to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the workplace risks to the health and safety of his employees. This includes identifying groups of workers who might be particularly at risk, which could include older workers.

Equality Law

Discrimination in respect of age is different from all other forms of direct discrimination in that it can be justifiable if it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate end, such as considering changes to work that may be needed to ensure older workers can remain in the workforce.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) provides information and further advice on age discrimination: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/about-us/about-commission/our-vision-and-mission/our-business-plan/age-equality

For more information visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/vulnerable-workers/older-workers.htm

New to the job

Workers are as likely to have an accident in the first six months at a workplace as during the whole of the rest of their working life.

The extra risk arises due to:

  • lack of experience of working in a new industry or workplace
  • lack of familiarity with the job and the work environment
  • reluctance to raise concerns (or not knowing how to)
  • eagerness to impress workmates and managers.

This means workers new to a site:

  • may not recognise hazards as a potential source of danger
  • may not understand ‘obvious’ rules for use of equipment
  • may be unfamiliar with site layout – especially where site hazards may change from day to day
  • may ignore warning signs and rules, or cut corners.

Six steps to protect new starters

  1. Capability

Assess the new starter’s capabilities. For example:

  • literacy and numeracy levels
  • general health
  • relevant work experience
  • physical capability to do the job
  • familiarity with the work being done and the working environment (especially where conditions change rapidly, such as on construction sites).

Don’t forget to assess cultural and language issues (grasp of English) too, where relevant – you may need to use visual, non-verbal methods such as pictures, signs or learning materials such as videos/DVDs/CD-ROMs

  1. Induction

Provide an induction. Plan it carefully, including photos of hazards where possible, and use plain, simple language. Take time to walk around the workplace or site with new workers and show them where the main hazards exist (eg falls, slips and transport).

  1. Control measures

Make sure the control measures to protect against risk are up to date and are being properly used and maintained:

  • Involve employees and health and safety representatives in discussions about the risk and how best to make sure new starters are protected.
  • Emphasise the importance of reporting accidents and near misses.
  • Make any necessary arrangements for health surveillance.
  • If required, make sure suitable personal protective equipment is provided and maintained without cost to the workers.
  1. Information

Provide relevant information, instruction and training about the risks that new workers may be exposed to and the precautions they will need to take to avoid those risks.

  1. Supervision

Provide adequate supervision. Make sure workers know how to raise concerns and supervisors are familiar with the possible problems due to unfamiliarity and inexperience.

  1. Check understanding

Check workers have understood the information, instruction and training they need to work safely, and are acting on it, especially during the vital first days/weeks at work. Remember to make sure workers know how and with whom they can raise any concerns about their health and safety and that they know about any emergency arrangements or procedures.

For more information visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/vulnerable-workers/new-to-the-job.htm

For more information on health, safety and diversity in the workplace, visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/diversity/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 – 10TH MARCH 2016

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

No Smoking Day – are e-cigarettes permitted or prohibited in the workplace?

European campaign – Healthy workplaces manage stress

Health and safety myths – “You don’t need to secure your load if you’re just driving down the road”

Introduction

Yesterday was No Smoking Day, and since its introduction in 1983, there are millions less smokers in the UK. But now, the most popular form of support to stop smoking is the use of e-cigarettes. BHF’s associate medical director Mike Knapton, has said “Although e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking cigarettes, there is no doubt that more research is needed into the potential long term effects of the use of them.” And whilst a ban on their use in some public places is being proposed, the decision on whether or not to permit their use in workplaces actually lies with employers. We open this week’s update with advice for employers from the HSE.

It’s a known fact that many people smoke when they feel stressed, and a major part of quitting smoking is finding ways to handle that stress. This can be difficult if the stress is work related, perhaps as a result of insufficient attention by employers to job design, work organisation and management. Work related stress develops because a person is unable to cope with the demands being placed on them. So this week we also share the HSE’s approach to tackling an issue which in 2015 accounted for 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.

And finally, we close this week’s update with HSE guidance on securing loads safely on vehicles and challenging the myth that this doesn’t need to be done for very short journeys.

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

No Smoking Day – are e-cigarettes permitted or prohibited in the workplace?

Yesterday was No Smoking Day, run by the British Heart Foundation. Since it was introduced in 1983, there are millions less smokers in the UK. This will no doubt have been helped by the smoke-free legislation introduced in 2007 in England, banning smoking in nearly all enclosed workplaces and public spaces. But now, the most popular form of support to stop smoking is the use of e-cigarettes. BHF’s associate medical director Mike Knapton, has said “Although e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking cigarettes, there is no doubt that more research is needed into the potential long term effects of the use of them.” And whilst a ban on their use in some public places is being proposed, the decision on whether or not to permit their use in workplaces actually lies with employers. The HSE provides the following advice:

Electronic cigarettes

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

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

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

Some organisations may find the ‘Will you permit or prohibit electronic cigarette use on your premises?’ document useful which can be downloaded by clicking on the link: http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_900.pdf. It sets out five questions to ask yourself before deciding whether to permit or prohibit e-cigarette use on your premises.

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

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

European campaign – Healthy workplaces manage stress

We are now in the last month of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work’s healthy workplaces campaign for 2014 – 2015 ‘Healthy workplaces manage stress’, more information on which can still be found by clicking on the following link: http://hw2014.healthy-workplaces.eu/en

Work-related stress, depression or anxiety is defined as a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work, and associated statistics published by the HSE for 2015 are as follows:

  • The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2014/15 was 440,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1380 per 100,000 workers.
  • The number of new cases was 234,000, an incidence rate of 740 per 100,000 workers. The estimated number and rate have remained broadly flat for more than a decade.
  • The total number of working days lost due to this condition in 2014/15 was 9.9 million days. This equated to an average of 23 days lost per case.
  • In 2014/15 stress accounted for 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.
  • Stress is more prevalent in public service industries, such as education; health and social care; and public administration and defence.
  • By occupation, jobs that are common across public service industries (such as health; teaching; business, media and public service professionals) show higher levels of stress as compared to all jobs.
  • The main work factors cited by respondents as causing work related stress, depression or anxiety (LFS, 2009/10-2011/12) were workload pressures, including tight deadlines and too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support.

Well-designed, organised and managed work is good for us but when insufficient attention to job design, work organisation and management has taken place, it can result in Work related stress. Work related stress develops because a person is unable to cope with the demands being placed on them. Stress, including work related stress, can be a significant cause of illness and is known to be linked with high levels of sickness absence, staff turnover and other issues such as more errors.

Stress can hit anyone at any level of the business and recent research shows that work related stress is widespread and is not confined to particular sectors, jobs or industries. That is why a population-wide approach is necessary to tackle it.

HSE has developed the Management Standards approach to tackling work related stress; these Standards represent a set of conditions that, if present, reflect a high level of health, well-being and organisational performance. This approach helps those who have key roles in promoting organisational and individual health and well-being to develop systems to prevent illness resulting from stress. For more information click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/standards/index.htm

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

For more information on work related stress and how we can tackle it, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/index.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Health and safety myths – “You don’t need to secure your load if you’re just driving down the road”

The reality

If not properly secured, vehicle loads can become unsafe, even over a short distance.

Loads that haven’t been firmly tied down increase the risk of vehicle rollover and spillage. They risk the lives of drivers and other road users, and can also cause annoying traffic disruption.

More than 1200 people a year are injured as a result of unsafe loads, and millions of pounds are lost in damaged goods.

Don’t take the risk – make sure your load is restrained and contained!

Load safety

The HSE provides the following guidance on how to secure loads safely on vehicles:

What can happen

Unrestrained loads can increase the risk of vehicle rollover and load spillage, and risk the life of the driver and other road users.

People and load falls: An unsecured load shifts inside the trailer and is more difficult to unload. The load may have to be unloaded manually. Sending someone up onto the trailer bed to sort out a load that has shifted puts them at risk of falling off.

Vehicles roll: Vehicles can roll over. In serious cases of load shift the vehicle can become unbalanced and overturn.

Product is damaged: All or part of the load may be damaged if it falls from the trailer. Product damage can be a significant cost to the business.

Load shifts forward: If there is a gap between the load and the headboard, the load can shift forward under braking, risking the life of the driver and other road users.

How to secure loads safely

Securing loads safely is good for business – product is delivered intact and on time.

To secure a load safely you need to make sure it is:

  • restrained – tied firmly down to the load bed; and
  • contained – it can’t move around (shift) inside the vehicle.

The only way to do this is with strong chains or webbing straps (lashings) attached directly to the vehicle.

If the load shifts in transit, contact the depot and agree a safe way to sort it out.

Planning your load

Planning how you secure the load is an important step to keeping workers safe.

Loading plans can help to flag up issues before they become problems.

Things to be considered will vary but could include:

  • Whether the driver will witness loading.
  • Who will apply the load restraints and what they should be.
  • How the load will be placed on the trailer bed.
  • Who will unload the vehicle and what equipment will be required.
  • Who the driver should report to on arrival.
  • What the driver should do if the load shifts during the journey.

Your employer should give you a loading plan – Full written details about every load you carry

The consignor – the person responsible for sending the load – is responsible for ensuring that the load is loaded so that it does not present a danger to others. It is important that the driver knows how the load has been secured, especially if he has not seen it loaded. This information should also be available to the delivery site.

Don’t just rely on word of mouth.

Time spent thinking about safe loading can help prevent all the problems of an unsafe load so make sure you:

  • Have the correct equipment on your premises to load vehicles safely.
  • Prepare a loading plan for each journey, to include information about:
  • how the load is to be secured; and
  • the location and layout of each delivery site, including unloading equipment and facilities.

Delivery plan should travel with the load

If you are a driver, you should keep this loading plan with you at all stages of the delivery. If there is anything you don’t understand in the loading plan, ask someone before you drive away.

How you can help make loading and unloading safer

  • Look at what other companies do – if you see a good idea, suggest it to your safety advisor or supervisor.
  • Report all ‘near miss’ incidents.
  • Ask your employer about training.

Other things to think about

To prevent falls from the cab or load bed

  • Before you set off, check that steps or handholds are in good condition.
  • On refrigerated vehicles, check the floor for ice or water and follow any instructions you are given to reduce the amount of water.
  • Wear non-slip footwear.

To prevent hitting a pedestrian

  • Ask about the layout of the sites you are delivering to. Segregation is an essential element in the loading/unloading process. It is important to have only the people involved in the process present in area where the activity is taking place.
  • Observe traffic lights, signs, road markings, speed limits and one-way systems – if you don’t understand a sign or if you think it is hard to see, tell someone.
  • Remember that you become a pedestrian when you step out of your vehicle.
  • Don’t let anyone guide your vehicle around the site unless you know they are a trained banksman or signaller.

To prevent slips and trips

  • Wear well-fitting, slip-resistant safety footwear when working on vehicles.
  • Keep the soles of your footwear clean.
  • Clean up spills and dirt, such as diesel or mud on the catwalk or load area.
  • Keep the load area tidy – pick up loose ropes and packaging.

To prevent injury caused by poor manual handling

  • Follow your employer’s guidance on lifting and moving loads.
  • Use the correct equipment to load your vehicles safely.

Use appropriate personal protective equipment

  • If your employer gives you personal protective equipment to wear, for example slip resistant footwear, be sure to use it whenever you need to. Keep it in good condition and report any faults or excess wear.

For more information visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/loadsafety/ 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 – 3RD MARCH 2016

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Fairgrounds and amusement parks – HSE to prosecute Alton Towers’ owners after ‘Smiler’ incident

Temporary demountable structures – firm fined after circus tent collapse

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) – insulation company fined for health and safety failings

Introduction

The Health and Safety Executive has again been in the news over the last week, after informing Merlin Operations Ltd that it will be prosecuted over an incident in which five people were seriously injured on a rollercoaster ride at Alton Towers in Staffordshire. Two female passengers on the ‘Smiler’ ride suffered leg amputations and three others were also seriously injured when their carriage collided with a stationary carriage on the same track. The incident happened on 2 June 2015. We open this week’s update with HSE guidance on safe practice for fairgrounds and amusement parks.

Staying with the leisure industry, we also share HSE guidance this week on ‘temporary demountable structures’, following news of a marquee and tent supplier being fined after guy ropes securing a circus tent snapped causing it to collapse injuring three adults and five children at Burley Park, New Forest.

And finally, we close with HSE guidance on the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), following news of a Welsh insulation company that produced natural insulation products being fined £30,000 plus £59,000 costs for health and safety failings.

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

Fairgrounds and amusement parks – HSE to prosecute Alton Towers’ owners after ‘Smiler’ incident

HSE media statement – 25th February 2016

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today informed Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd that it will be prosecuted over an incident in which five people were seriously injured on a rollercoaster ride at Alton Towers in Staffordshire.

Two female passengers on the ‘Smiler’ ride suffered leg amputations and three others were also seriously injured when their carriage collided with a stationary carriage on the same track. The incident happened on 2 June 2015.

Merlin Attractions Operation Ltd based in Poole, Dorset, will appear at North Staffordshire Justice Centre, Newcastle-under-Lyme on 22 April 2016 to face a charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act etc, 1974.

Neil Craig, head of operations for HSE in the Midlands said:

“We have today informed Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd that it will be prosecuted for breaching health and safety law.

“This was a serious incident with life-changing consequences for five people.

“We have conducted a very thorough investigation and consider that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to bring a prosecution.”

Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd is the company responsible for Alton Towers and under health and safety law is responsible for managing the risks created by the operation of the theme park’s rides.

Guidance on safe practice

Free to download by clicking on the following link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg175.htm – revised guidance on what the Fairgrounds and Amusement Parks Joint Advisory Committee on Fairgrounds and Amusement Parks (FJAC) considers appropriate safe measures for the industry to adopt in order to comply with the law.

Although fairgrounds and amusement parks are relatively safe compared to activities such as driving a car or riding a bicycle, as we are all too aware, there have been a small number of serious incidents involving employees and members of the public. The Health and Safety Executive has worked with the members of the Fairgrounds and Amusement Parks Joint Advisory Committee to improve standards and to produce this revised guide.

Acknowledging the inherent nature of fairgrounds and describing how risks can be managed effectively, it also promotes a sensible, over-arching approach recognising that while users expect high safety levels from risks beyond their control, incidental elements, eg a dodgem bump, are considered ‘part of the fun’.

The guide, however, concentrates on the safety of employers and employees, as well as the public, and begins with the industry-specific ‘system for safety of attractions’ presented in easy table-form, which then steers the reader smoothly through the publication.

For more information, contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Temporary demountable structures – firm fined after circus tent collapse

The owner of a company who supplies marquees and tents has been fined after guy ropes securing a circus tent snapped causing it to collapse injuring three adults and five children at Burley Park, New Forest.

Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard that on 10 August 2014 a sudden gust of wind went through the circus tent and eighteen of the guy ropes which secured the tent failed and snapped.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that Happy Promotions Limited had in December 2013 taken their tent for inspection and repair to the marquee and tent supplier, who was asked to replace the guy ropes.

However, the court heard the guy ropes supplied were in fact made up of unrated webbing and had no safe working load. This led to the incident at Burley Park 8 months later.

HSE inspector Andrew Johnson said after the hearing: “The fact the guy ropes snapped (rather than the pegs being pulled from the ground) is a clear indication that the fault lies with the strength of the guy ropes, rather than the method of erection. Fortunately, the tent was empty at the time of the incident. Had a performance been underway there would have been performers and around 30 people were due to attend the afternoon performance. Were the tent occupied the collapse would likely have resulted in multiple serious injuries.”

Temporary demountable structures (TDS) – Stages, seating, marquees etc

Your duties as an event organiser

You are responsible for ensuring that as far as reasonably practicable, employees and others at a venue who could be affected by the construction and use of a TDS (such as scaffolders, riggers and members of the public) are not exposed to risks to their health and are kept safe from harm.

What you should know

Most fatal and serious injuries arise when workers fall during construction work or as a result of the collapse of the structure, lifting operations or mobile plant.

Checklist – TDS dos and don’ts

Do

Planning

  • Consider what the structure will be used for, what it needs to be able to do, who will use it and how?
  • Prepare a clear specification for the structure’s required use. This should include the technical details required to enable a design to be undertaken by your appointed TDS contractor(s) / designer (s).
  • TDS contractors / designers hired to design, supply, build, manage and take down a structure for you, should be competent and adequately resourced.
  • Provide TDS contractors / designers with relevant site information and/or allow them site access to carry out their own site assessments.
  • Your TDS contractor should ensure that the proposed structure has a design prepared by a competent person, which takes account of the use and conditions in which it is to be installed.
  • Where a structure is to carry advertising / scrim, include this requirement in any design concept, specification and structural assessment.
  • Novel or unusual structures may require additional testing by a TDS designer to demonstrate the integrity of the design.
  • Whoever builds the structure should undertake an assessment of the likely construction hazards and risks. To help with an assessment and to find out more about construction hazards and risks see:
  • Falls from height
  • Construction safety topics (including lifting operations and vehicle safety)
  • Health risks in construction
  • Plan and work with your contractors to develop safe systems of working and make sure all significant risks on the site are properly controlled, eg use of cranes and lift trucks.
  • Plan to minimise confusion and conflict, particularly between those contractors carrying out concurrent or consecutive activities on the same structure.
  • Consider the extent of control that you and your contractors have over the work activity and workplace during each phase of the build, use and deconstruction cycle of a structure. Organisers and TDS contractors should agree the extent of their control at the planning stage, so that responsibility for structural safety is understood and maintained throughout the event.

Building and dismantling the TDS

  • The assessments done under Planning (above) should serve as a guide on how to build and dismantle the structure safely.
  • Make sure there is sufficient time and resources available to build and dismantle the structure safely.
  • Use competent staff and have a suitable onsite operational management system in place to supervise and monitor safety compliance.
  • A programme of works, including key safety checkpoints, can be helpful to communicate critical erection / dismantling stages to the site manager / crew bosses and operatives.
  • Build the structure to the agreed design in accordance with a safe system of work.
  • Arrange for the structure to be checked to make sure that it has been built according to the design.

While TDS is in use

  • Have arrangements in place to inspect the structure for deterioration during the time it is installed in line with a documented management plan and, if needed, arrange for remedial works.
  • Any change in the proposed use of the structure or site conditions which may affect the structure’s suitability should trigger a design check for the new conditions. An example of this may be the requirement to add additional banners to a structure such as a PA tower. The organiser is responsible for ensuring this is done.
  • Have arrangements in place to ensure that any measures required to keep the structure safe during use are implemented. For example, if the structure is susceptible to the weather, monitor and measure the local weather conditions. In adverse weather conditions, know what to do with the structure to protect its stability, eg when to open wind relief panels and when to evacuate.

Don’t

  • Take forward incomplete design concepts, as this could result in last-minute modifications, leading to safety problems.
  • Build a structure on unstable ground.
  • Put advertising / scrim on a structure if a competent person has not approved it as being safe – it can affect wind loading and increase the risk of collapse / overturn.
  • Use flammable fabrics.

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

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) – insulation company fined for health and safety failings

A Welsh insulation company that produced natural insulation products have been fined £30,000 plus £59,000 costs for health and safety failings.

Wrexham Magistrates’ Court heard that the company failed to conduct an adequate risk assessment for the processing of hemp. They also failed to adequately guard machinery.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the concerns raised anonymously found that the COSHH assessment was not suitable and sufficient.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)

What is a ‘substance hazardous to health’?

COSHH covers substances that are hazardous to health. Substances can take many forms and include:

  • chemicals
  • products containing chemicals
  • fumes
  • dusts
  • vapours
  • mists
  • nanotechnology
  • gases and asphyxiating gases and
  • biological agents (germs). If the packaging has any of the hazard symbols then it is classed as a hazardous substance.
  • germs that cause diseases such as leptospirosis or legionnaires disease and germs used in laboratories.

COSHH does not cover

  • lead,
  • asbestos or
  • radioactive substances

because these have their own specific regulations.

What you need to do

Before you start your COSHH assessment, you need to:

Think about

  • What do you do that involves hazardous substances?
  • How can these cause harm?
  • How can you reduce the risk of harm occurring?

Always try to prevent exposure at source. For example:

  • Can you avoid using a hazardous substance or use a safer process – preventing exposure, eg using water-based rather than solvent-based products, applying by brush rather than spraying?
  • Can you substitute it for something safer – eg swap an irritant cleaning product for something milder, or using a vacuum cleaner rather than a brush?
  • Can you use a safer form, eg can you use a solid rather than liquid to avoid splashes or a waxy solid instead of a dry powder to avoid dust?

Check your trade press and talk to employees. At trade meetings, ask others in your industry for ideas.

If you can’t prevent exposure, you need to control it adequately by applying the principles of good control practice (http://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/detail/goodpractice.htm)

Control is adequate when the risk of harm is ‘as low as is reasonably practicable’.

This means:

  • All control measures are in good working order.
  • Exposures are below the Workplace Exposure Limit, where one exists.
  • Exposure to substances that cause cancer, asthma or genetic damage is reduced to as low a level as possible.

COSHH Essentials

COSHH Essentials sets out basic advice on what to do to control exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace. It takes the form of straightforward advice in ‘factsheets’ called ‘control guidance sheets’. There are two types of sheets, industry-specific ‘direct advice sheets’ and ‘generic control guidance sheets’.

Direct advice sheets (click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/essentials/direct-advice/index.htm)

First check the direct advice sheets listed by industry to see if there are any direct advice sheets for tasks or processes in your industry. If your industry is not listed don’t worry, you can use our e-tool to identify which generic control guidance sheets are appropriate.

COSHH e-tool (click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/essentials/coshh-tool.htm)

When using the tool you will be prompted by questions to enter some basic information about the substance you are using, before being directed to the most appropriate generic control guidance sheet for you.

Frequently asked questions (click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/essentials/faq.htm)

  • Why does COSHH essentials not list all of the R phrases/H statements that are on my Safety Data Sheet (SDS)
  • I can’t find my safety data sheet. What should I do?
  • I have just completed COSHH essentials, is this sufficient to use as my COSHH assessment?
  • Some of the information I need is missing from my safety data sheet. What should I do?
  • There isn’t a boiling point in the safety data sheet?
  • Why can’t I mix a liquid with a solid?

For more information, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/, or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

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