HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 1ST OCTOBER 2015

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IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

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

Selecting a first-aid training provider

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

Working at height – engineering company fined for safety breaches

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:

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

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

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

Communities Minister Stephen Williams said:

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

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

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

Ensuring the safety of tenants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selecting a first-aid training provider

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

Do I need first-aid training?

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

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

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

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

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

You may also need to consider:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you need clarification or further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help. We also provide first-aid training and can provide a no-obligation quotation upon request.

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

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

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

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

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Corinne Godfrey said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Typical hazards regarding freight containers in ports:

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

How the risks can be reduced

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

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

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

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

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

Working at height – engineering company fined for safety breaches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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