Advice for employers of outdoor workers (council refuses to supply gardeners with sun screen in case they are allergic)

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

The HSE ‘Myth Busters Challenge Panel’ Case 351 is the subject of this week’s news update.

‘Health and Safety’ is often incorrectly used as a convenient excuse to stop what are essentially sensible activities going ahead. The Health and Safety Executive has set up an independent panel – the Myth Busters Challenge Panel – to scrutinize such decisions.

The Panel is chaired by the HSE Chair, supported by a pool of independent members who represent a wide range of interests. This includes small businesses, public safety, Trade Unions, the insurance industry and others.

This Panel looks into enquiries regarding the advice given by non-regulators such as insurance companies, health and safety consultants and employers and, quickly assess if a sensible and proportionate decision has been made. They want to make clear that “health and safety” is about managing real risks properly, not being risk averse and stopping people getting on with their lives.

If you think a decision or advice that you have been given in the name of health and safety is wrong, or disproportionate for the activity you are doing, you can contact the panel here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/contact-myth-busting.htm. But please note this is not the right route into HSE for raising a concern or complaint about your workplace, or for general enquires. Instead, go here (http://webcommunities.hse.gov.uk/connect.ti/concernsform/answerQuestionnaire?qid=594147) to raise a workplace health and safety concern, here (http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/complaints.htm) to make a complaint, or here (http://webcommunities.hse.gov.uk/connect.ti/advice/answerQuestionnaire?qid=593891) to get advice.

Issue (Case 351)

A council would not supply their gardeners with sun screen during hot weather as it was a health and safety issue as someone may be allergic.

Panel opinion

The council is not obliged to provide sun screen to outdoor workers, but there is nothing under health and safety law to prevent it doing so. HSE encourages employers to provide advice on sun protection for those who work outside for most of the day including using sun screen to prevent long term health damage.

Skin at work: Outdoor workers and sun exposure

What is the problem?

Too much sunlight is harmful to your skin. A tan is a sign that the skin has been damaged. The damage is caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight.

Who is at risk?

If work keeps you outdoors for a long time your skin could be exposed to more sun than is healthy for you. Outdoor workers that could be at risk include farm or construction workers, market gardeners, outdoor activity workers and some public service workers. You should take particular care if you have:

  • fair or freckled skin that doesn’t tan, or goes red or burns before it tans;
  • red or fair hair and light coloured eyes;
  • a large number of moles.

People of all skin colours should take care to avoid damage to the eyes, overheating and dehydration.

What are the harmful effects?

In the short term, even mild reddening of the skin from sun exposure is a sign of damage. Sunburn can blister the skin and make it peel.

Longer term problems can arise. Too much sun speeds up ageing of the skin, making it leathery, mottled and wrinkled. The most serious effect is an increased chance of developing skin cancer.

What can you do to protect yourself?

  • Keep your top on.
  • Wear a hat with a brim or a flap that covers the ears and the back of the neck.
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible, during your breaks and especially at lunch time.
  • Use a high factor sunscreen of at least SPF15 on any exposed skin.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  • Check your skin regularly for any unusual moles or spots. See a doctor promptly if you find anything that is changing in shape, size or colour, itching or bleeding.

Where can you get further information?

The following free leaflets have been produced by HSE:

The following website also provides useful information:

For more information, click on the above links 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

 

 

Vehicles at work and reversing – three companies fined in same week after two separate fatalities

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

In the last week, a construction company and groundwork contractor, along with a farm and its owner, have been fined after two separate incidents involving fatalites resulting from being struck by reversing vehicles.

In the first case, the construction company and groundwork contractor failed to ensure the safe movement of pedestrians and vehicles on their site. In the second case, the farm and owner failed to ensure the vehicle was maintained. It was found to be in poor condition, with dirty and badly positioned mirrors, and dirty glass in the cab, resulting in compromised visibility.

Reversing vehicles

What’s the problem?

Nearly a quarter of all deaths involving vehicles at work occur during reversing. Many other reversing accidents do not result in injury but cause costly damage to vehicles, equipment and premises.

Most of these accidents can be avoided by taking simple precautions, such as those below.

Guidance

Remove the need for reversing altogether, by setting up one-way systems, for example drive-through loading and unloading positions. Where reversing is unavoidable, routes should be organised to minimise the need for reversing.

Ensure visiting drivers are familiar with the layout of the workplace, and with any site rules. Do drivers have to report to reception on arrival?

In locations where reversing cannot be avoided:

  • ‘Reversing areas’ should be planned out and clearly marked.
  • People who do not need to be in reversing areas should be kept well clear.
  • Consider employing a trained signaller (a banksman), both to keep the reversing area free of pedestrians and to guide drivers. Be aware: The use of signallers is not allowed in some industries due to the size of vehicles involved, and the difficulty that drivers have in seeing them.
  • A signaller:
  • Will need to use a clear, agreed system of signalling.
  • Will need to be visible to drivers at all times.
  • Will need to stand in a safe position, from which to guide the reversing vehicle without being in its way.
  • Should wear very visible clothing, such as reflective vests, and ensure that any signals are clearly seen.
  • If drivers lose sight of the signallers they should know to stop immediately.
  • Consider whether portable radios or similar communication systems would be helpful.

The following steps might help to reduce the risk of reversing accidents. The following are examples, but it is unlikely that any single measure will be enough to ensure safety:

Site layouts can be designed (or modified) to increase visibility for drivers and pedestrians, for example:

  • By increasing the area allowed for reversing.
  • By installing fixed mirrors in smaller areas.

Reducing the dangers caused by ‘blind-spots’:

  • Most vehicles already have external side-mounted and rear-view mirrors fitted. These need to be kept clean and in good repair.
  • Refractive lenses fitted to rear windows or closed-circuit television systems can be used to help drivers to see behind the vehicle.
  • If drivers cannot see behind the vehicle, they should leave their cab and check behind the vehicle before reversing.

Reversing alarms can be fitted:

  • These should be kept in working order.
  • Audible alarms should be loud and distinct enough that they do not become part of the background noise.
  • where an audible alarm might not stand out from the background noise, flashing warning lights can be used.

Other safety devices can be fitted to vehicles:

  • For example, a number of ‘sensing’ and ‘trip’ systems are available, which either warn the driver or stop the vehicle when an obstruction is detected close to, or comes in contact with, the reversing vehicle.

Additionally:

  • Stops such as barriers, or buffers at loading bays can be used. They should be highly visible, and sensibly positioned.
  • Where vehicles reverse up to structures or edges, barriers or wheel stops can be used to warn drivers that they need to stop.
  • White lines on the floor can help the driver position the vehicle accurately.

For more information visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/information/reversing.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

 

Working with chainsaws – company fined after worker seriously injured

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 salad growing company has been fined £120,000 after an employee was seriously injured by a chainsaw, suffering deep cuts to his arm, while felling trees with a colleague.

The two employees were working together with one person holding and supporting the branches and the other cutting through them using the chainsaw. During this operation one man’s arm landed on top of the moving chainsaw.

The man sustained deep lacerations damaging the nerves in his arm.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that neither man had been trained to operate the chainsaw, nor were the pair wearing any personal protective equipment (i.e. chainsaw trousers and jacket, chainsaw gloves, safety helmet, safety boots and eye protection). There was no supervision and no proper planning had been put in place.

Pleading guilty to a single breach under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the company was fined £120,000, including a £170 victim surcharge, and ordered to pay costs of £1,864.35.

Speaking after the case, a HSE Inspector said: “This incident could have easily been avoided if the company had adopted a safe method of working that did not put an employee in the direct line of the moving chainsaw. It was only luck that the gentleman did not lose his arm.

“Companies are reminded that even occasional and ‘one-off’ jobs need to be properly planned to ensure the correct control measures are in place.”

Working with chainsaws

What you need to know

Chainsaws are potentially dangerous machines which can cause fatal or major injuries if not used correctly. It is essential that anyone who uses a chainsaw at work should have received adequate training and be competent in using a chainsaw for the type of work that they are required to do.

In recent years (in forestry and arboriculture) direct contact with a chainsaw has caused 5 deaths and many serious injuries. These do not include the high numbers of other types of accident that occur during felling, pruning and other related work.

For more details on injuries and the main causes:

HSE’s investigations show that most fatal and major injuries involve chainsaw operators taking shortcuts and not following good practice guidance. Usually the reason is to save time.

These case studies (http://www.hse.gov.uk/treework/resources/casestudies.htm) show what happens when operators do not follow good practice guidance.

What you need to do

Chainsaws have the potential to cause horrific injuries. By law, chainsaw operators must have received adequate training relevant to the type of work they undertake.

They are also required to wear appropriate chainsaw protective clothing whenever they use a chainsaw.

The free leaflet Chainsaws at work (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg317.pdf) contains everything employers and workers need to know about working safely with a chainsaw, including:

Find out more

For more information, visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/treework/safety-topics/chainsaw-operator.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

 

Personal buoyancy equipment on inland and inshore waters – water authority fined after death of employee

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 water authority has been sentenced following the death of an employee.

The employee, who was a catchment operator, was working on the sand filtration unit of a waste water treatment works in 2013 when a colleague discovered him face down in water. He died at the scene having drowned.

The employee was last seen working on the top of the unit several hours before he was found by his colleague who was responding to the lone worker system. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to identify the risk of drowning with the maintenance activity which was undertaken by the employee and his colleagues on a regular basis.

The water authority pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, was fined £1.8million and ordered to pay costs of £41,607.71.

Speaking after the hearing an HSE inspector said: “This tragic case could have been prevented if the company had reduced the size of the hatch used to access the sand filters, and properly considered the hazards of the operation, including how close [the employee] was to the water.

“[The employee] was exposed to the risk of drowning which could have been easily been controlled if the task had been properly planned and simple measures adopted earlier which [the water authority] failed to do so adequately.”

Personal buoyancy equipment on inland and inshore waters

This information sheet (download free by clicking on the link http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ais1.pdf) aims to improve safety for activities on inland or inshore waters.

It is specifically for establishments that are covered by the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act) and where HSE is the enforcing authority. These include fish farms, floating cage units, mussel rafts, farm or estate fisheries and similar activities.

The objective of this sheet is to reduce the number of accidental drownings to employees, employers, the self-employed and members of the public (including children).

It also covers:

  • selecting personal buoyancy equipment;
  • using and maintaining personal buoyancy equipment; and
  • operating automatic inflation mechanisms.

For more information visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ais1.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

 

Consultation on a revised process for considering disputes under Fee for Intervention (FFI)

We hope you find our news updates useful. If you know of anyone who may benefit from reading them, please encourage them to register at the bottom-left of our news page (http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/) and we’ll email them a link each time an update is published. If in the unlikely event any difficulties are experienced whilst registering we’ll be more than happy to help and can be contacted on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

HSE is consulting on a revised and fully independent process for considering disputes in relation to FFI. We are consulting on the details of how the process should operate. In particular, we recognise the need to ensure that the process is accessible to all types and sizes of business and is proportionate to the issues involved and amount of the fees. The consultation will seek views on the details of the process and in particular:

  • the information which HSE will provide.
  • how representation can be made.
  • how disputes will be considered.
  • suspension of the dispute process where an investigation or appeal against an enforcement notice is ongoing.

Consultation began on 21 April 2017 and ends on 2 June 2017.

View the consultative document: http://consultations.hse.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/22434/654341.1/PDF/-/cd284ffidisputeprocessconsultationdocument.pdf

Respond to the consultation using the online questionnaire (http://consultations.hse.gov.uk/consult.ti/cd284ffi/adminQuestionnaire?qid=672451) or download a Word form (http://consultations.hse.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/22434/654821.1/DOCX/-/cd284ffidisputeprocessconsultationquestionnaire.docx). Our preference is for responses to be in electronic format but alternatively, you can submit your response by post by 2 June 2017 to:

Regulatory Policy Unit, Health and Safety Executive, 5.S3 Redgrave Court, Merton Road, Bootle, Merseyside L20 7HS

Email: ffidisputeconsultation@hse.gov.uk

What is FFI?

Fee for Intervention (FFI) is HSE’s cost recovery regime implemented from 1 October 2012, under regulations 23 to 25 of The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012.

These Regulations put a duty on HSE to recover its costs for carrying out its regulatory functions from those found to be in material breach of health and safety law.

Dutyholders who are compliant with the law, or where a breach is not material, will not be charged FFI for any work that HSE does with them.

Material breach

A material breach is when, in the opinion of the HSE inspector, there is or has been a contravention of health and safety law that requires them to issue notice in writing of that opinion to the dutyholder.

Written notification from an HSE inspector may be by a notification of contravention, an improvement or prohibition notice, or a prosecution and must include the following information:

  • the law that the inspector’s opinion relates to;
  • the reasons for their opinion; and
  • notification that a fee is payable to HSE.

Who does it apply to

FFI applies to dutyholders where HSE is the enforcing authority. This includes employers, self-employed people who put others (including their employees or members of the public) at risk, and some individuals acting in a capacity other than as an employee, eg partners. It includes:

  • public and limited companies;
  • general, limited and limited liability partnerships; and
  • Crown and public bodies.

Hourly rate

The fee payable by dutyholders found to be in material breach of the law is £129 per hour. The total amount to be recovered will be based on the amount of time it takes HSE to identify and conclude its regulatory action, in relation to the material breach (including associated office work), multiplied by the relevant hourly rate. This will include part hours.

Administrative and financial arrangements

HSE is responsible for the administration of the FFI scheme, including issuing invoices and, if needed, debt recovery.

The invoice will contain the following information:

  • the period of time the invoice relates to;
  • a breakdown of the activities or services for which costs can be recovered for each member of HSE staff involved, and HSL or third parties;
  • the time spent against each activity;
  • the total fee payable; and
  • a brief description of the work undertaken.

Invoicing and debt recovery functions are carried out centrally within HSE. Inspectors are not responsible for issuing invoices or for any follow-up actions relating to non-payment of invoices.

Invoices will generally be sent to dutyholders every two months, within 30 working days of the end of each invoicing period. Invoices will be issued in January, March, May, July, September and November.

As FFI fees arise from HSE carrying out its statutory functions, these fees fall outside the scope of VAT, so no VAT will be charged.

Information about the disputes process is available on this website.

Guidance

This site contains a wealth of material for dutyholders and employers who have responsibility for health and safety in their organisation.

It will help businesses and organisations understand what FFI means for them and how it fits with HSE’s existing approach to enforcement.

The Guidance on the application of Fee for Intervention (FFI) document (also available in Welsh) sets out the general principles and approach of the FFI scheme. It includes examples of material breaches but does not cover every scenario where FFI might apply. Inspectors will apply this guidance and their enforcement decisions will be made in accordance with the principles of HSE’s existing enforcement decision-making frameworks – the Enforcement Management Model (EMM) and the Enforcement Policy Statement (EPS). The guidance also explains the procedure for handling queries and disputed invoices.

Dutyholders can also download a summary information leaflet (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hse48.pdf), read about the Procedure for queries and disputes (http://www.hse.gov.uk/fee-for-intervention/queries-and-disputes.pdf) and review the guidance that HSE inspectors will follow.

The full list of guidance available can be found in the Resources section of this site.

For more information, visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/fee-for-intervention/ 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

 

HSE Business Plan 2017/18

Please note there will be no further updates until Thursday 27th April but if you have any queries or require any assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact our main office on 01782 751516 or at mail@eljay.co.uk

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

The Health and Safety Executive has published its 2017/18 Business Plan. Below, the HSEs Chief Executive Richard Judge, and Chair Martin Temple summarise the regulators ongoing commitments, and key elements the plan takes forward from the overall strategy “Helping Great Britain work well”

“Great Britain has a health and safety record we can all be proud of. We are one of the safest places in the world to work in. Nonetheless, the plateaus we see in our health and safety statistics are also a stark reminder of the challenges we face in continuing to improve Britain’s performance while we adapt to the rapidly changing world around us.

The benefits of continual improvement are substantial: for workers a healthier and safer workplace; for businesses, productivity and innovation; and for the wider economy reducing the £14 billion impact of work-related injuries and ill health, together with enabling the growth opportunities that come with creating a more attractive place to do business.

This plan outlines what HSE will deliver in 2017/18. It does not attempt to capture all that we do. Instead it highlights specific priorities, within an overall framework that reinforces our ongoing commitment to:

  • leading and engaging those who undertake or influence health and safety – capitalising on the enthusiasm and collaboration we have been delighted to see since launching Helping Great Britain work well. This involves using modern communication and technology to change behaviours, and continuing to support our activities through robust science and evidence
  • ensuring the regulatory framework remains effective. This includes making sure that we are delivering the government’s regulatory agenda and supporting the UK’s exit from the European Union
  • securing effective risk management and control through a variety of regulatory tools that involve direct interactions with dutyholders. This includes our licensing activities, sustaining existing levels of intelligence-led inspections and investigating incidents, with people being held to account for their failures through firm, but fair, enforcement of the law
  • reducing the likelihood of low-frequency, high impact catastrophic incidents and the potential for extensive harm to workers and the public. Major hazard dutyholders are subject to a level of regulatory scrutiny proportionate to their risks and performance. This includes considering leadership, workforce competence and engagement, and maintenance of asset integrity

This plan takes forward key elements from HSE’s overall strategy Helping Great Britain work well, in particular:

  • emphasising ill health as we build on the recent launch of our Health and Work programme, with its focus on respiratory diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, and occupational stress and related mental health issues
  • reinforcing proportionate approaches by setting expected standards, targeting our intelligenceled interventions, and ensuring any enforcement action takes into account the seriousness of risks. For businesses, and in particular for SMEs, this is seen in the beginning of our work on ‘blue tape’ (where businesses place excessive burdens on each other)
  • ensuring value for money for the taxpayer by reducing our reliance on government funding while continuing to improve our efficiency and effectiveness
  • bringing together the breadth of capability and expertise across HSE, and benefiting from effective collaboration with the many other people and organisations that have a stake in improving health and safety in the workplace

We look forward to your encouragement and contribution as we collectively Help Great Britain work well.”

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

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

 

 

Electrical safety in shared or rented accommodation – council landlord bans use of mains extension lead on health and safety grounds

Electrical safety in shared or rented accommodation – council landlord bans use of mains extension lead on health and safety grounds

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

The HSE ‘Myth Busters Challenge Panel’ Case 406 is the subject of this week’s news update.

‘Health and Safety’ is often incorrectly used as a convenient excuse to stop what are essentially sensible activities going ahead. The Health and Safety Executive has set up an independent panel – the Myth Busters Challenge Panel – to scrutinize such decisions.

The Panel is chaired by the HSE Chair, supported by a pool of independent members who represent a wide range of interests. This includes small businesses, public safety, Trade Unions, the insurance industry and others.

This Panel will look into enquiries regarding the advice given by non-regulators such as insurance companies, health and safety consultants and employers and, quickly assess if a sensible and proportionate decision has been made. They want to make clear that “health and safety” is about managing real risks properly, not being risk averse and stopping people getting on with their lives.

If you think a decision or advice that you have been given in the name of health and safety is wrong, or disproportionate for the activity you are doing, you can contact the panel here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/contact-myth-busting.htm. But please note this is not the right route into HSE for raising a concern or complaint about your workplace, or for general enquires. Instead, go here (http://webcommunities.hse.gov.uk/connect.ti/concernsform/answerQuestionnaire?qid=594147) to raise a workplace health and safety concern, here (http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/complaints.htm) to make a complaint, or here (http://webcommunities.hse.gov.uk/connect.ti/advice/answerQuestionnaire?qid=593891) to get advice.

Issue (Case 406)

Local council bans tenant from using a mains extension lead from within his house, citing health and safety reasons.

Panel opinion

Health and safety and safety at work legislation does not prevent tenants from using their own extension lead at home for personal use. This seems to be a case of the landlord leading their tenant astray by inappropriately extending health and safety at work legislation to justify their rules.  Rather than banning extension leads, the landlord could more appropriately refer tenants to available guidance, for example from Electrical Safety First (http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guides-and-advice/around-the-home/visual-checks/) or the Department for Communities and Local Government Fire safety in shared or rented accommodation (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-in-shared-or-rented-accommodation).

The Government guidance advises the following to tenants in respect to electrical safety:

Be extra careful with electrics

  • Avoid overloading sockets
  • Keep to one plug per socket
  • Use a proper adaptor when using a non UK electrical appliance. Never put two prong plugs into three prong sockets
  • Don’t use heaters for drying clothes and keep them a safe distance away to avoid them catching fire
  • Inform your landlord immediately if you are concerned about the electrics in your property. If you notice burn marks around plugs or cables for example.
  • Don’t fix faulty electrics yourself. Inform your landlord or call a qualified electrician.
  • An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how many amps it can take, so be careful not to overload them to reduce the risk of fire. Appliances use different amounts of power – a television may use a 3 amp plug and a vacuum cleaner a 5 amp plug for example.

For more information, click on the above links 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 and safety events focus on sectors

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

Great Britain’s independent safety and health regulator is holding a series of events across the country to look at what businesses can do to look after people at work.

As part of its ongoing commitment to reducing death, injury and ill-health in the workplace, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is hosting the engagement opportunities to allow companies to come together to discuss how all industry sectors can contribute to helping Great Britain work well.

The first event was held in Swansea on Tuesday and will move onto Glasgow, Coventry, London with the final one in Manchester in April.

The events being held over March and April will provide a platform for attendees from Britain’s diverse business community to discuss how to drive continued improvement in workplaces across the country.

HSE, Trade Unions, employer groups and business leaders will be asked to submit solutions that can be implemented within businesses, in partnership and how those solutions can also benefit others in the supply chain, particularly smaller businesses.

HSE’s new sector plans have been split into 19 sectors, based on industry type and risk profile, providing a solid base for all to build on and improve. For each sector HSE has covered that sector’s health and safety performance identified the top three strategic priorities for the next three to five years; and included actions HSE proposes to take.

The events will provide a further opportunity to comment on these plans, and HSE is inviting attendees to think about how to implement them to best effect. It will ask how best HSE and dutyholders work together, how workers and people can be reached in new ways, and how the campaigns can resonate with the workforce.

Last year, work related illness affected around 1.3 million workers and nearly 26 million working days were lost to it. The economic costs are equally stark – totalling over £9 billion per year just for new cases – that figure does not include ongoing costs from past working conditions.

It can sometimes be difficult to convince businesses that regulation is as an enabler of economic activity and essential for sustainable growth.

But HSE wants organisations to understand that sensible and proportionate risk management supports growth, enables innovation and protects an organisation’s most vital asset, its people.

HSE will tell attendees it is focused on where it can make a difference, targeting the right places at the right times, whether through enforcement, advising or encouraging and engaging with all sectors to understand how health and safety outcomes can be positively influenced.

HSE has been working with key stakeholders to develop plans for 2017 and is encouraged with the actions that have been outlined – the series of events are designed to refine and fine tune that activity.

More information

In 2016 HSE developed – in conjunction with a wide range of stakeholders – a new overarching system strategy for the health and safety system called ‘Helping GB work well’. http://www.hse.gov.uk/strategy/index.htm

Businesses and other organisations have already engaged by committing to a multitude of actions that are published in the Help Great Britain Work Well commitments document http://www.hse.gov.uk/strategy/commitments.htm

Health and safety events

For details of more health and safety events, conferences, seminars organised by HSE or where HSE has significant involvement (ranging from providing speakers to taking part in an exhibition), visit the following web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/events/

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

 

 

Structural stability during alteration, demolition and dismantling – construction worker seriously injured in wall collapse

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Construction Worker seriously injured in wall collapse

A building contractor and a flooring company owner have appeared in court after a worker was seriously injured on a refurbishment site.

The worker was employed as a labourer at the site of a refurbishment project in Manchester when the incident occurred in August 2014.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and last week the building contractor (principal contractor for the project) and the flooring company owner were prosecuted for serious safety failings.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how two operatives working for the flooring company had started the demolition of a freestanding concrete block wall on the site using a demolition hammer.

One of the men had started to cut into the wall just above the half way point, when the second man took over and continued from the top using step ladders for access.   As he did so, the top half of the wall collapsed knocking him from the ladder and landing on top of him.

The injured person suffered fractures to his neck and back and spent three months in hospital following the incident. He has been unable to return to work since.

The HSE investigation found there was no suitable risk assessment in place for the work that was being carried out and the workers had not been provided with suitable work instructions for carrying out this task safely.

In addition to this no checks had been made regarding the injured workers training or experience, he was not provided with a site induction or adequate PPE for the task and the work on site was not being supervised.

The building contractor pleaded guilty to breach of Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2972.

The flooring company owner pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 37 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 relating to his companies’ breach of Regulation 13 (2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £1300 and ordered to pay costs of £2851

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Laura Moran said: “The risks associated with the demolition of the internal walls at [the refurbishment site] were not properly considered and, as a result, there was no safe system of work in place for the operatives to follow.

“Together with a lack of adequate supervision, these failings resulted in one man suffering serious and life changing injuries, which could have been prevented had the work been properly planned and managed.”

Structural stability during alteration, demolition and dismantling

What you need to do

The law says that all alteration, demolition and dismantling work should be carefully planned and carried out by competent people to avoid unplanned structural collapse.

The law requires commercial clients to provide contractors with relevant information about a building’s structure, including stability and structural form and any significant design assumptions, suggested work methods and sequences. The contractor must then use that information to plan and carry out the work safely.

Key requirements are:

  • Survey and assessment
  • Preventing structural collapse
  • Arrangements for demolition
  • Consulting building control departments

What you need to know

Workers and passers-by can be injured by premature and uncontrolled collapse of structures, and by flying debris.

Survey and assessment

A competent person should do a thorough structural survey and assessment before any potentially load-bearing parts of a structure are altered.

The structural survey should consider:

  • The age of the structure;
  • previous use;
  • type of construction; and
  • any nearby buildings or structures.

This information should be used to determine the steps required to prevent any collapse.

Preventing structural collapse

A competent person should decide the method and design of temporary supports. Temporary support provided must be designed, installed and maintained to withstand foreseeable loads and structures should never be overloaded.

Arrangements for demolition

Demolition or dismantling arrangements should be written down before the work begins. This safe system of work may be in the form of a safety method statement identifying the sequence required to prevent accidental collapse of the structure.

In addition to the design and method of temporary supports a safe system of work may include:

  • Establishing exclusion zones and hard-hat areas, clearly marked and with barriers or hoardings;
  • covered walkways;
  • using high-reach machines;
  • reinforcing machine cabs so that drivers are not injured; and
  • training and supervising site workers.

Consulting building control departments

You should consult the building control department of the local authority in the area where a building is located before any structural alterations are made to a building.

The local authority is the enforcing body for building regulations.

For more information, visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/buildings.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

 

 

Quick guide to DSEAR – boat builders fined after worker suffers burns

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Boat builders fined after worker suffers burns

A boat building company has been fined after a worker suffered serious burns.

Norwich Magistrates’ Court heard how an electrician was working in the hull of the boat whilst operating a battery powered drill in June 2015. The drill was later found to have ignited fumes from ‘Propeel’, a highly flammable substance, which had been applied to the boat shortly before the incident. The injured worker suffered serious burns to his face, arms and legs.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the hazardous substance had been applied to the boat with no safe system of work in place for its use. Company risk assessments were out of date and a less harmful substitute of the product had not been considered. Since the incident a much safer, water based alternative product has been successfully introduced.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5, 6 and 9 (1) of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR), was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7163.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Paul Unwin said: “While this incident gave the man life changing injuries the consequences could have been fatal. Duty holders must ensure their risk assessment process includes the substitution of hazardous and harmful products with less dangerous ones wherever possible to avoid serious incidents like this.”

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) require employers to control the risks to safety from fire, explosions and substances corrosive to metals.

Quick guide to DSEAR

What is DSEAR?

DSEAR stands for the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002.

Dangerous substances can put peoples’ safety at risk from fire, explosion and corrosion of metal. DSEAR puts duties on employers and the self-employed to protect people from these risks to their safety in the workplace, and to members of the public who may be put at risk by work activity.

What are dangerous substances?

Dangerous substances are any substances used or present at work that could, if not properly controlled, cause harm to people as a result of a fire or explosion or corrosion of metal. They can be found in nearly all workplaces and include such things as solvents, paints, varnishes, flammable gases, such as liquid petroleum gas (LPG), dusts from machining and sanding operations, dusts from foodstuffs, pressurised gases and substances corrosive to metal.

What does DSEAR require?

Employers must:

  • find out what dangerous substances are in their workplace and what the risks are
  • put control measures in place to either remove those risks or, where this is not possible, control them
  • put controls in place to reduce the effects of any incidents involving dangerous substances
  • prepare plans and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies involving dangerous substances
  • make sure employees are properly informed about and trained to control or deal with the risks from the dangerous substances
  • identify and classify areas of the workplace where explosive atmospheres may occur and avoid ignition sources (from unprotected equipment, for example) in those areas

For more information, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/dsear.htm#quick 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