Working with chainsaws – company fined after worker seriously injured

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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

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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)

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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

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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/

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

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

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

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

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

 

Cancer and construction: Diesel engine exhaust emissions

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The subject of air pollution has been very much in the headlines recently, particularly in London, where it was described in January as being worse than that in Beijing. And the London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (LAEI) shows that the construction industry’s contribution to this is disproportionate compared to that of the usual road transport related suspects, with site-based plant and machinery being mostly to blame. This is due to the fact that emissions from these “non-road mobile machines” or NRMMs, are regulated under a different and (until now) more relaxed system to road transport. Even whilst complying with recent regulatory standards, emissions from a modern excavator, for example, are still apparently 15 times greater than those from a modern double decker bus. And whilst attempts are being made by London mayor Sadiq Khan to address these issues and their effects on the health of Londoners, the health of construction workers themselves is also thrown into doubt by the absence of legal diesel fume exposure limits.

According to the HSE, as of 2005, cancers relating to exposure to diesel exhaust emissions accounted for 6.5% of construction-related cancer deaths – that’s an estimated 230 construction workers each year. At the very least, short-term exposure to diesel engine exhaust emissions or DEEEs, can cause eye or respiratory irritation. And longer periods of exposure, in particular to any blue or black smoke, can lead to coughing, chestiness and breathlessness.

The law requires that a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to health which arise from exposure to hazardous substances is made, eg DEEEs. This is covered by the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and several other regulations, in particular the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended) (COSHH) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Having completed the assessment, there is a further duty to take the necessary steps to prevent or adequately control exposure to the hazard, and to use and maintain the relevant controls.

The HSE provides the following guidance on managing the risks to construction workers from DEEEs.

Cancer and construction: Diesel engine exhaust emissions

What is it?

Exhaust emissions from diesel engines are made up of a complex mixture of gases, vapours, liquid aerosols and soot particles. It contains many known carcinogenic substances such as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (known as PAHs). These PAHs are adsorbed onto the soot which makes them easy to inhale.

The quantity and make-up of DEEEs depends mainly on the engine type and setting, how it is maintained, fuel quality, the demands placed on the engine and temperature that it is working at. Three different types of visible smoke may be produced:

  • blue smoke (mainly oil and unburnt fuel) which indicates a poorly serviced / tuned engine
  • black smoke (soot, oil and unburnt fuel) which indicates a mechanical fault with the engine
  • white smoke (water droplets and unburnt fuel) which is produced when the engine is started from cold and disappears when the engine warms up

What is the risk to construction workers?

The major source of DEEEs on a construction site is likely to be from generators and heavy vehicles like lorries, excavators or telehandlers. The more significant risks are linked to longer periods of work with this equipment in enclosed spaces and / or situations where there is blue or black smoke.

Breathing DEEEs can cause a number of ill-health effects. Short-term exposure may cause eye or respiratory irritation. This should stop when you are in fresh air. Longer periods of exposure, in particular to any blue or black smoke, can lead to coughing, chestiness and breathlessness.

There is also evidence that repeated exposure to DEEEs over many years can increase the risk of lung cancer. HSE commissioned research highlighted it as a significant risk to construction workers from DEEEs, estimating that over 200 died prematurely in 2005. It is important to note that this estimate is based on past exposures up to 50 years ago. Engine and fuel technology has changed significantly since then. However, risks remain that you need to control.

Can you prevent this risk?

Yes. There are a number of steps you can take: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg187.htm (click on the link to download a free copy of HSE publication “Control of diesel engine exhaust emissions in the workplace”)

For more information, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/healthrisks/cancer-and-construction/diesel-engine-exhaust.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

 

 

Load safety – national furniture company fined £1m for safety failings

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National furniture company fined £1m for safety failings

A national furniture company has been fined after safety failings which led to serious neck and head injuries of a worker.

Derby Magistrates’ Court heard that in July 2015 the worker was unloading wooden furniture frames at one of their upholstery sites, when he was struck by an unsecured furniture arm which fell from an unstable load.

The impact knocked him unconscious and he suffered serious neck and head injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the furniture company failed to adequately manage the risks of heavy loads being moved between manufacturing sites. The court heard the company also failed to supervise the work taking place with a number of near misses being reported from unsecured loads.

The furniture company pleaded guilty to breaching sections 3 of the Managing Health and Safety at Work Regulation and also section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been fined £1million and ordered to pay costs of £15,099.

Speaking after the case HSE inspector Lyn Spooner said: “[The furniture company] is a large national organisation. The fundamental and systemic failings identified in their health and safety management systems is far from what would be expected from a company of their size who has the ability to deliver higher standards of safety.

“Unfortunately [the furniture company] were unable to do that on this occasion and a preventable accident was allowed to occur.”

Load Safety

Unsafe loads on vehicles injure more than 1,200 people a year and cost UK businesses millions of pounds in damaged goods. Below, the HSE shows you 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.

More information on people and load falls: http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/loadsafety/loads-people-fall.htm

Vehicles roll

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

More information on vehicle roll: http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/loadsafety/vehicles-roll.htm

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.

More information on damaged products: http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/loadsafety/product-damage.htm

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.

More information on loads shifting forwards: http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/loadsafety/load-shifts-forward.htm

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.

Planning

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.

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