Demolition health and safety – company and contractor sentenced for uncontrolled collapse of building on high street

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The owner of a building in Kent and the contractor employed to demolish it have been fined for safety failings after an uncontrolled collapse onto a high street.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the collapse, which occurred in November 2013, found that the contractor had failed to properly plan the work and then carried out unsafe demolition work.

The building owner did not make any enquiries into the suitability or competence of the contractor to undertake the demolition.

Neither the building owner nor the contractor applied for a road closure and members of the public were put at risk.

The building owner pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, and was fined £160,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9128.89.

The contractor pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 25(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, and has been sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended for two years.

HSE inspector Andrew Cousins said after the hearing: “Lives were put at risk when this structure uncontrollably collapsed. Clients have a responsibility to appoint competent contractors to undertake hazardous work such as demolition.

“Those in control of demolition have a responsibility to plan demolition work and to devise a safe way of working that protects both the workers and members of the public.

“The job could have been safely carried out by simply undertaking the demolition behind a substantial hoarding.”

Demolition

What you need to do

The law says that all demolition, dismantling and structural alteration must be carefully planned and carried out in a way that prevents danger by practitioners with the relevant skills, knowledge and experience. Key issues are:

  • Falls from height
  • Injury from falling materials
  • Uncontrolled collapse
  • Risks from connected services
  • Traffic management
  • Hazardous materials
  • Noise and vibration
  • Fire
  • Worker involvement

What you need to know

A systematic approach to demolition projects is a team effort between many people, who all have responsibilities:

  • Clients must appoint dutyholders who have the relevant skills, knowledge and experience and where organisations, the organisational capability, and are adequately resourced.
  • Clients, with the help of the principal designer must provide those who need it (eg, designers, contractors) with pre-construction information that can reasonably be obtained. A range of surveys and reports will be needed – for example, to check for presence of asbestos; structural stability of site and nearby structures; the location of above and below ground live services in the work area; etc. These should be done before work begins and not be left for the principal contractor to organise once the demolition work has started.
  • Principal designers must plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety issues in the pre-construction phase (i.e. before demolition starts) to give principal contractors as much information as possible to allow the principal contractor to keep people (site workers and the public) as far as possible from the risks.
  • Principal contractors must plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety issues during the demolition work.
  • Site managers must ensure workers are supervised and are following safe working practice.
  • Sub-contractors and site workers must follow the instructions and plans given to them by those in charge of the work and ensure that their colleagues do too.

Falls from height

During demolition and dismantling, workers can be injured falling from edges, through openings, fragile surfaces and partially demolished floors.

Dutyholders have a responsibility to assess, eliminate and control the risks of falls from height. Find out more about falls from height: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/workingatheight.htm.

Injury from falling materials

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

A safe system of work is one that keeps people as far as possible from the risks. This may include:

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

Uncontrolled collapse

The structural survey should consider:

  • the age of the structure
  • its previous use
  • the type of construction
  • nearby buildings or structures
  • the weight of removed material or machinery on floors above ground level

The method statement for the demolition should identify the sequence required to prevent accidental collapse of the structure.

Risks from connected services

Gas, electricity, water and telecommunications services need to be isolated or disconnected before demolition work begins. If this is not possible, pipes and cables must be labelled clearly, to make sure they are not disturbed.

Traffic management

Effective traffic management systems are essential on site, to avoid putting workers at risk of being hit by vehicles turning, slewing, or reversing. Where possible, vision aids and zero tail swing machines should be used. Find out more about traffic management

Hazardous materials

Hazardous materials that should to be considered include dust, asbestos and respirable crystalline silica (RCS).There may also be material or contamination on site that has not been cleared, for example:

  • acids from industrial processes
  • paints
  • flammable liquids
  • unidentified drums
  • microbiological hazards (especially in old hospital buildings).

Find out more about the control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH): http://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/index.htm

Noise and vibration

Frequent exposure to loud noise can permanently damage a persons hearing. Noise can also create a safety risk if it makes it difficult for workers to communicate effectively or stops them hearing warning signals.

Vibrating hand tools used in demolition can cause hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).Workers exposure to vibration must be managed and reduced as far as possible.

Fire

Fire is a risk where hot work (using any tools that generate spark, flame or heat) is being done. During structural alteration, the fire plan must be kept up to date as the escape routes and fire points may alter. There must be an effective way to raise the alarm.

Worker involvement

Everyone involved must to know what precautions are to be taken on site. Workplaces where employees are involved in taking decisions about health and safety are safer and healthier. Your employees are often the best people to understand the risks in their workplace. Find out more about involving your workers in health and safety: http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement

Resources

Leaflets

Books

Useful links – other HSE sites

The law

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

 

 

Safe maintenance – packaging manufacturer in court over workplace injury

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Packaging manufacturer in court over workplace injury

A supplier of corrugated packaging has been fined £400,000 after a maintenance employee was injured when he was pulled into machinery.

The injured person was repairing a cardboard printing, slotting and forming machine at the packaging plant when he put his foot onto an exposed conveyor and was dragged into the machine’s moving parts.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that the packaging company allowed uncontrolled maintenance work to take place without any assessment of the risks posed by maintenance activities or having procedures in place for safe maintenance.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the machinery had a ‘jog mode’ which could have been set up to enable such maintenance work to be carried out safely, but the company had not identified this, trained staff to use it or enforced its use.

Speaking after the case, HSE Inspector Caroline Lane said: “The company relied on the experience of maintenance employees rather than controlling risks through careful assessment and putting safe systems of work in place.

In summing up, his Honour Judge Berlin considered the maintenance practices used by [the packaging company] to be ‘utterly dangerous’ and the risk to workers was wholly avoidable”.

Safe maintenance

Hazards during maintenance

What is maintenance?

In this context, maintenance simply means keeping the workplace, its structures, equipment, machines, furniture and facilities operating safely, while also making sure that their condition does not decline. Regular maintenance can also prevent their sudden and unexpected failure.

There are two main types of maintenance:

  • preventive or proactive maintenance – periodic checks and repairs; and
  • corrective or reactive maintenance – carrying out unforeseen repairs on workplace facilities or equipment after sudden breakage or failure. This is usually more hazardous than scheduled maintenance.

Why is it an issue?

Maintenance-related accidents are a serious cause of concern. For example, analysis of data from recent years indicates that 25-30% of manufacturing industry fatalities in Great Britain were related to maintenance activity.

Undertaking maintenance activities can potentially expose the workers involved (and others) to all sorts of hazards, but there are four issues that merit particular attention because of the severity of the harm that could be involved, and because they are commonly encountered during plant and building maintenance.

The health consequences of disturbing asbestos when drilling holes into the building fabric or replacing panels can be severe, as can the clean up costs involved.

Maintenance work often involves using access equipment to reach roofs, gutters, building services, and raised sections of plant and machinery. It can be all too easy to fall from these positions, or to drop things onto people beneath.

Isolation and lock off arrangements, and in some cases permits to work, are essential to enable maintenance work to be conducted safely.

Heavy items sometimes have to be moved, or get disturbed, during maintenance work. If one of these falls, the results can be fatal. There may well be cranes, fork lift trucks or props available for use, but maintenance tasks can sometimes involve one-off situations and the handling of heavy loads isn’t always properly planned.

You may do some or most of your plant and building maintenance in-house, but there will always be tasks that are too big or specialised and require contractors. To enable both in-house and contracted staff to work in safety you will need to properly brief them on your site and processes, and you will need them to follow safe working practices.

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

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

 

 

Health and safety in education – two students nearly killed after botched science experiment

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

After the horrendous headline news of two higher education students nearly killed during a botched science experiment in which they were given enough caffeine for 300 cups of coffee, and the university in question being fined £400,000, we’re sharing some of HSE’s guidance this week on health and safety in education.

HSE works with Education stakeholders across GB to ensure that education dutyholders are managing any significant risks arising from school activities and from the school premises e.g. meeting the requirements to manage asbestos; slips and trips. The Sector encourages stakeholders to adopt a common sense approach to risk management, making clear that schools are about providing children with a range of valuable learning experiences within which risks should be managed proportionately and sensibly.

The guidance (which can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/services/education/) covers schools (state funded and independent), further education establishments and higher education institutions. Guidance on managing the significant risks in the sector for pupils and members of staff is included. The guidance makes clear that a sensible approach to risk management is essential.

Leading sensible health and safety management in schools

Sensible health and safety management means making sure that the focus is on real risks with the potential to cause harm, not wasting resources on trivial matters and unnecessary paperwork. In short effective leaders follow a sensible and proportionate approach to health and safety management that promotes risk awareness rather than risk avoidance.

While many schools manage health and safety effectively and sensibly, some have adopted over cautious approaches. This means that pupils are missing out on challenging and exciting activities and learning opportunities, and the chance to develop new skills.

In schools sensible health and safety starts at the top and relies on every member of the management team making sure that risk is managed responsibly and proportionately. It is about creating a safe learning environment, giving pupils an appreciation of risk and how to deal with it. It means doing what is reasonably practicable to reduce significant risks by putting in place control measures to manage the real risks. It is not about the elimination of all risk.

Health and safety arrangements in schools need to be proportionate and appropriate to the risks involved:

  • Primary schools and ‘traditional’ classrooms in secondary and sixth form colleges are typically lower risk environments, and you will probably already be doing enough. The classroom checklist, which is not mandatory, provides a useful prompt for these types of classroom.
  • Risks may increase in Design and Technology workshops, science laboratories, art studios, textiles, drama, and PE.
  • Some of the higher risks to manage include vehicle and pedestrian movements on site, refurbishment and construction work, and adventure activities. You may wish to consider the joint high level statement ‘Children’s play and leisure: promoting a balanced approach.’ http://www.hse.gov.uk/entertainment/childs-play-statement.htm

The following guidance (click on the links) provides advice for all schools on:

Frequently asked questions

These FAQs (click on the links) help illustrate the nature of some of the issues that HSE routinely gives advice on.  The list is not exhaustive and further questions and answers may be added at a later date.

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

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

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 29TH SEPTEMBER 2016

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

Safer Sites target inspections – coming to a street near you

HSE construction inspectors will be carrying out unannounced visits to sites where refurbishment projects or repair works are underway.

This year the Initiative is being undertaken as a series of two week inspections across the country, beginning 3 October 2016 ending 4 November 2016.

During this period inspectors will ensure high-risk activities, particularly those affecting the health of workers, are being properly managed.

These include:

  • risks to health from exposure to dust such as silica are being controlled
  • workers are aware of where they may find asbestos, and what to do if they find it
  • other health risks, such as exposure to noise and vibration, manual handling and hazardous substances are being properly managed
  • jobs that involve working at height have been identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions, such as proper support of structures, are in place
  • equipment is correctly installed / assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly
  • sites are well organised, to avoid trips and falls, walkways and stairs are free from obstructions and welfare facilities are adequate

Where serious breaches of legislation are found then immediate enforcement action will be taken, but inspectors will also be taking steps to secure a positive change in behaviour to ensure on-going compliance.

Health and safety breaches with clients and designers will also be followed up to reinforce their duties under CDM 2015 and to ensure that all dutyholders with on site health and safety responsibilities understand and fulfil these.

Follow the SaferSites Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SaferSites)  to see what inspectors find on site and keep updated throughout the initiative.

How to manage your site safely (click on the links for more info):    

For more information, visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/index.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or 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 TOGETHER TO BEAT OCCUPATIONAL CANCER – IOSH’S ‘NO TIME TO LOSE’ CAMPAIGN

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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 subject of our news update this week is occupational cancer and more specifically, the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH) ‘No Time to Lose’ campaign which aims to get carcinogenic exposure issues more widely understood and help businesses take action. You can visit the campaign website at www.notimetolose.org.uk.

ABOUT WORK CANCER

Cancer caused by what people do at work is nothing new. One of the first official cases of an occupational cancer was identified in the eighteenth century.

Asbestos is the best known carcinogen – and the biggest killer. Today, asbestos claims well over 100,000 lives a year worldwide. It’s estimated that 10 million people across the world will have died as a result of asbestos exposure before it’s been fully controlled. But there are many other carcinogenic exposures that cause cancer and claim lives – well over 50 substances are listed as known or probable causes of workplace cancer. Across the EU, 1 in 5 workers faces an occupational cancer risk. Across the world, the number of people dying from a work-caused cancer far outstrips those dying because of work accidents. It’s estimated that at least 666,000 people die worldwide every year*.

Recent research has built the most comprehensive picture to date for a single country. A research team led by Dr Lesley Rushton of Imperial College, London, linked thousands of cancer deaths with different occupations. It found:

  • almost 14,000 new cases of cancer caused by work are registered each year
  • around 8,000 deaths a year are caused by occupational cancer.

ABOUT IOSH’S CAMPAIGN

IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign aims to get carcinogenic exposure issues more widely understood and help businesses take action. The campaign is working to:

  • raise awareness of a significant health issue facing workers in the UK and internationally
  • suggest some solutions on a UK scale to tackle the problem – a national model that can be transposed internationally
  • offer free practical, original materials to businesses to help them deliver effective prevention programmes.

GOT A QUESTION?

Have a question about work-related cancers or managing carcinogenic exposures? IOSH’s expert panel can help you.

They aim to answer all your questions within seven working days and will share questions and answers on the website. All questions they post online are anonymous.

View answers to questions that have been asked so far

Click on the link http://www.notimetolose.org.uk/Ask-the-experts/Questions-answered.aspx#attributable to view the panel’s answers to questions that have been asked so far.

Or ask a new question

Got a question about work-related cancers or managing carcinogenic exposures?

IOSH’s expert panel aims to answer all your questions within seven working days and will share questions and answers on the website. All questions they post online are anonymous. Click on the link http://www.notimetolose.org.uk/Ask-the-experts/Ask-a-question.aspx to ask a question.

IS YOUR BUSINESS AFFECTED?

With information packs on silica dust, solar radiation and diesel exhaust emissions, IOSH’s resource library helps you take action and raise awareness where you work. New packs are added throughout the year. Click on the link http://www.notimetolose.org.uk/Free-resources.aspx to get access.

GET INVOLVED

Click on the link http://www.notimetolose.org.uk/Get-involved/Supporters-A-to-I.aspx to find out which organisations are already supporting the campaign and to find out how you can show your formal support.

Pledge to take action

Click on the link http://www.notimetolose.org.uk/Get-involved/Pledge-to-take-action.aspx to join the growing number of businesses leading on this issue and sign up to the pledge.

 

*Estimate of 666,000 global work-related cancer deaths annually: ‘Roles of occupational safety and health organisations in global and regional prevention strategies’, Takala et al., International Commission on Occupational Health, 2009.

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 3RD MARCH 2016

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

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

Temporary demountable structures – firm fined after circus tent collapse

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

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

HSE media statement – 25th February 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guidance on safe practice

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

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

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

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

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

Temporary demountable structures – firm fined after circus tent collapse

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your duties as an event organiser

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

What you should know

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

Checklist – TDS dos and don’ts

Do

Planning

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

Building and dismantling the TDS

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

While TDS is in use

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

Don’t

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

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

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

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

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

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

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)

What is a ‘substance hazardous to health’?

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

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

COSHH does not cover

  • lead,
  • asbestos or
  • radioactive substances

because these have their own specific regulations.

What you need to do

Before you start your COSHH assessment, you need to:

Think about

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

Always try to prevent exposure at source. For example:

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

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

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

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

This means:

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

COSHH Essentials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 17TH FEBRUARY 2016

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Health and safety in the film, theatre and broadcasting industries – HSE to prosecute film company after Star Wars incident

DSEAR Regulations – manufacturing company and director fined for safety failings

Asbestos health and safety – company fined for safety failings when dealing with asbestos at a school

Introduction

The Health and Safety Executive made headline news last week after informing the film company responsible for producing ‘Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens’ that it will be prosecuted over an incident in which actor Harrison Ford was seriously injured during filming. We open this week’s update with HSE guidance for those involved in the film, theatre and broadcasting industries.

On a less glamorous note, we also highlight the risks associated with metal containers once containing highly flammable liquid or vapour, and of cutting them with angle grinders, after a manufacturing company and its director were fined when an empty 45 gallon steel drum once containing flammable liquid caught fire and exploded whilst being cut in half.

And finally, we remind our readers about the serious health risks of asbestos following yet another related prosecution by the HSE after a company contracted to carry out roof refurbishment at a primary school disturbed asbestos insulation board in a small plant room.

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

Health and safety in the film, theatre and broadcasting industries – HSE to prosecute film company after Star Wars incident

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today informed a film company that it will be prosecuted over an incident in which actor Harrison Ford was seriously injured during the filming of Star Wars: The Forces Awakens.

The film company, which is based in London, will appear at High Wycombe Magistrates Court in May 2016 to face four charges.

Mr Ford suffered a broken leg and other injuries when he was struck by a heavy hydraulic metal door on the set of the Millennium Falcon. The incident happened in June 2014 at Pinewood Studios.

A spokesman for HSE said:

“The charges relate to an incident during filming of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which left Harrison Ford with serious injuries after he was hit by a heavy hydraulic door.

“By law, employers must take reasonable steps to protect workers – this is as true on a film set as a factory floor. We have investigated thoroughly and believe that we have sufficient evidence to bring the case to court.”

Health and safety in the film, theatre and broadcasting industries

The HSE website http://www.hse.gov.uk/entertainment/theatre-tv/index.htm provides information on health and safety in the film, theatre and broadcasting industries.

It helps employers, the self employed and freelancers to recognise and comply with their duties under health and safety law.

Theatre – information to assist people who run theatres in controlling the risks to those working in the theatre or attending productions.

What you should know:

  • Health and safety law applies to theatres as it does to other businesses. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and related legislation places duties on employers, employees, the self-employed and those in control of premises.
  • The majority of injuries in the theatre industry are related to work at height and manual handling.

What you must do:

Work at height

There is a legal hierarchy for selecting equipment for work at height, based on using the safest possible method of work that can reasonably and practicably be used in the circumstances:

  • do not work at height – use auto focus or bounce focus lights, bring scenery items down to ground level for adjustment etc
  • work from an existing place of work – use gantries, bridges or catwalks, a trampoline system etc
  • work positioning – use fixed length lines to prevent falls, MEWPs etc
  • fall mitigation – use airbags, nets, inertia reel harnesses (which require a rescue plan)
  • systems of work – use ladders, Tallescopes, Zargees etc

Further information on working at height can be found in the ABTT Code of Practice for the selection and use of temporary access equipment for working at heights in theatres .

Manual handling

There is a large amount of manual handling involved in theatres, especially for travelling shows. Many loads are awkwardly shaped, heavy and often difficult to move in sometimes very confined spaces. This movement is often also done under time pressure. More than a third of the injuries reported annually to HSE are related to manual handling. These tend to be long-term injuries, which can have serious implications for those involved. Reducing the amount and severity of manual handling is a legal obligation. For more information, see: “Manual handling at work: A brief guide” (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg143.htm)

Legal duties

There are legal duties on:

  • employers
  • employees
  • the self-employed (freelance)
  • people in charge of premises

Employers

Employers must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their employees, while not exposing others to health and safety risks. As an employer, you must have systems in place to ensure that the risks presented by the work are assessed and either eliminated or controlled. There are a number of ways this can be done. Further help and information can be found in: “Health and safety made simple” (http://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/)

Self-employed (freelance)

Self-employed people have duties to ensure they work safely so that their activities do not create risk to themselves or others. Remember, ‘self- employed’ has a different meaning in health and safety matters to that used in tax matters. Both employers and the self-employed should make sure they know their legal status and obligations under health and safety law.

Person in charge of premises

Any person who allows people not employed by them to work in premises, such as a theatre, has duties to make sure:

  • the means of getting in and out are safe
  • all plant and equipment within the premises is safe and does not present a risk to health. This includes the electricity / gas and water supplies etc

Film, TV and broadcasting – information for those involved in film, TV and broadcasting to assist them in complying with their legal duties to eliminate or reduce the risk from their work.

What you should know:

  • Health and safety legislation applies to all work activities in the UK, whether conducted by UK nationals or foreigners, even if they are not being paid.
  • Legal duties under health and safety law cannot be delegated.

What you must do:

  • Define responsibilities and duties
  • Have a system for managing health and safety
  • Assess and manage risks
  • Regularly review the process and procedures for managing risk

Define responsibilities and duties

Employers are required to have a management system in place to control the risk to employees and others from their work. The industry uses large numbers of independent companies and freelancers and it is sometimes difficult to decide who the employer is. However, in the majority of cases, the employer will be the producer or production company. Help in deciding individual responsibilities can be found in: Health and safety in audio-visual production: Your legal duties .

System for managing health and safety

The size and complexity of management systems for health and safety depend on the size and complexity of the production. General advice on management systems can be found in: “Health and safety made simple” (http://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/) but – for more complex, hazardous or specialist productions – advice may have to be sourced from a competent outside specialist or consultant. Please note, an employer’s legal duty to manage health and safety cannot be delegated to a consultant or to anyone else.

Assess and manage risks

Risk assessment is a fundamental part of managing health and safety and helps you to identify hazards and control the risk they create for those involved in your production. The process requires you to:

  • take the time to systematically look at your activities
  • decide what hazards they present
  • assess the risk of people being exposed to these hazards
  • find ways to either eliminate or control them

For more information, see: “Risk management” (http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/index.htm)

Review

You must review and update both the risk assessments you have made and the controls you put in place as work progresses to make sure they are still working. After the production, it is good practice to review the whole system to see whether useful lessons could be learned for the future.

For more information visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/entertainment/theatre-tv/index.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help. We have experience of providing health and safety support and training within the film, tv and broadcasting industry.

DSEAR Regulations – manufacturing company and director fined for safety failings

A manufacturing company based in Shropshire and its director have been fined £13,666 and £4,000 respectively after an empty 45 gallon steel drum once containing flammable liquid caught fire and exploded when being cut in half.

Shrewsbury Magistrates’ Court heard how an employee of the company had reported the incident, and indicated this particular method of work had been in operation for a significant period of time, and that previous incidents had occurred.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident immediately served a prohibition notice (PN) stopping the cutting of metal containers once containing highly flammable liquid or vapour with metal cutting angle grinders.

HSE inspector David Kivlin said after the hearing: “Carrying out this type of activity in this manner is a well-known risk and there has been many incidents resulting in serious injury and death.”

DSEAR Regulations

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) are concerned with preventing or limiting the harmful effects of fires, explosions and similar energy-releasing events and corrosion to metals. DSEAR are goal-setting regulations and are supported by an Approved Codes of Practice (ACOP) that provides practical advice on how to comply with them.

They include the following:

  • DSEAR
  • ATEX and explosive atmospheres
  • Petroleum
  • Workplace process fire safety
  • Gases under pressure and substances corrosive to metals
  • Celluloid

DSEAR

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 are concerned with protection against risks from fire, explosion and similar events arising from dangerous substances used or present in the workplace. From June 2015 DSEAR also covers gases under pressure and substances that are corrosive to metals. This is to allow for changes in the EU Chemical Agents Directive the physical hazards aspects of which are enacted in Great Britain through DSEAR.

They set minimum requirements for the protection of workers from fire and explosion risks related to dangerous substances and potentially explosive atmospheres and from gases under pressure and substances corrosive to metals and require employers to control the risks to the safety of employees and others from these hazards.

Further information: DSEAR (http://www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/dsear.htm)

ATEX and explosive atmospheres

Explosive atmospheres in the workplace can be caused by flammable gases, mists or vapours or by combustible dusts. Explosions can cause loss of life and serious injuries as well as significant damage.

DSEAR require that any workplace where explosive atmospheres may occur are classified into hazardous zones based on the risk of an explosion occurring, and protected from sources of ignition by selecting equipment and protective systems on the basis of the categories set out in the Equipment and Protective Systems for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (EPS)

Further information: ATEX (http://www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/atex.htm)

Petroleum

Petrol is a dangerous substance and is a highly flammable liquid which can give off flammable vapour, even at very low temperatures. This means there is always a risk of fire and explosion when a source of ignition is present and when ignited it can quickly cause fire, injury and loss of life. Storing and dispensing petrol at a workplace is covered by the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR), and other legislation specifically for controlling petrol storage and the suitable containers for storing petrol in.

Further information: Petroleum (http://www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/petroleum.htm)

Work process fire safety

There are thousands of recorded fires in commercial premises every year. HSE’s main responsibility in this area is for the special precautions within a work process which are designed to prevent or reduce the likelihood of a fire breaking out or (should a fire break out) reduce its intensity. HSE also has enforcement responsibility for process fire safety on construction sites, for nuclear premises and on ships under construction or repair.

These pages provide information about HSE’s role (click on the links):

Gases under pressure and substances corrosive to metals

Gases that are under pressure (eg gas in a cylinder) may present a risk of explosion if not correctly handled in the workplace. Substances that can corrode metals could cause structural damage reducing integrity of structures if not suitably contained. From June 2015, DSEAR places a formal requirement on employers to assess the risks for substances if classified for these properties and put in place suitable control and mitigation measures. It is anticipated that the practical impact, if any, of these changes will be minimal because the intrinsic hazards of the substances being used, or present, in workplaces is unchanged. The need to carry out a risk assessment and have in place procedures for the safe use of chemicals not currently covered by DSEAR is already required by the general requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Therefore, assuming businesses are already complying with these duties, they are unlikely to need to take any additional action.

Celluloid

Private individuals and voluntary groups may come into contact with old film in their home or at other non-workplace premises. Old cinematographic film and old photographic negatives (including X-ray film) may be made from cellulose nitrate.

Cellulose nitrate film can be very dangerous; it catches fire easily and once alight is difficult to put out.

The free HSE leaflet ‘The dangers of cellulose nitrate film’ gives more information: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg469.htm

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

Asbestos health and safety – Company fined for safety failings when dealing with asbestos at a school

An Oxford based company has been fined £20,000 after disturbing asbestos insulation board (AIB) at a school.

Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard how the company was contracted to carry out roof refurbishment at a primary school in Northampton. During the course of this refurbishment company workers disturbed AIB in a small plant room.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident which occurred in November 2014 found failings in the company’s project management arrangements. They failed to monitor and identify asbestos materials during this specific roof refurbishment work at the school and ensure key personnel had suitable asbestos awareness training.

HSE inspector Sam Russell said after the hearing: “The serious health risks of asbestos which is a class one carcinogen are well-known and publicised. Any maintenance or construction work undertaken in buildings built before 2000 must consider and manage the risk of possible asbestos containing materials. It is important this material is considered at every stage of a construction project and failure to do so places workers, buildings occupants and the public at risk to possible exposure to asbestos fibres.”

Asbestos can be found in any building built before the year 2000 (houses, factories, offices, schools, hospitals etc) and causes around 5000 deaths every year.

Why is asbestos dangerous?

  • Asbestos still kills around 5000 workers each year, this is more than the number of people killed on the road.
  • Around 20 tradesman die each week as a result of past exposure
  • However, asbestos is not just a problem of the past. It can be present today in any building built or refurbished before the year 2000.

When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air. When these fibres are inhaled they can cause serious diseases. These diseases will not affect you immediately; they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything. This is why it is important that you protect yourself now.

Asbestos can cause the following fatal and serious diseases:

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a cancer which affects the lining of the lungs (pleura) and the lining surrounding the lower digestive tract (peritoneum). It is almost exclusively related to asbestos exposure and by the time it is diagnosed, it is almost always fatal.

Asbestos-related lung cancer

Asbestos-related lung cancer is the same as (looks the same as) lung cancer caused by smoking and other causes. It is estimated that there is around one lung cancer for every mesothelioma death.

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a serious scarring condition of the lung that normally occurs after heavy exposure to asbestos over many years. This condition can cause progressive shortness of breath, and in severe cases can be fatal.

Pleural thickening

Pleural thickening is generally a problem that happens after heavy asbestos exposure. The lining of the lung (pleura) thickens and swells. If this gets worse, the lung itself can be squeezed, and can cause shortness of breath and discomfort in the chest.

Where can you find asbestos?

Asbestos can be found in any industrial or residential building built or refurbished before the year 2000. It is in many of the following common materials used in the building trade that you may come across during your work:

  • Loose asbestos in ceiling or floor cavity
  • Lagging
  • Sprayed coatings on ceilings, walls and beams/columns
  • Asbestos insulating board
  • Floortiles, textiles and composites
  • Textured coatings
  • Asbestos cement products
  • Roofing felt
  • Rope seals and gaskets

What you need to know and do

For asbestos health and safety guidance visit the following HSE web pages (click on the links):

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

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

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 19TH NOVEMBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Chief Inspector challenges small construction sites to act now to manage workers health and safety

Crowd management – your duties as an event organiser

Managing risks from skin exposure at work

Introduction

This autumn saw the HSE’s 10th annual refurbishment inspection initiative, and after 46% of sites fell below standards, the Chief Inspector of Construction is challenging the refurbishment industry to act now and protect their workers. As well as serving 692 enforcement notices and 983 notifications of contravention, inspectors had to deal with immediate risks such as falls from height (the most common killer in the industry), and exposure to silica dust and asbestos. This week we open our update with HSE guidance on managing construction sites safely.

As the festive season rapidly approaches, we hear that this year’s Christmas lights switch-on in Solihull has been cancelled amid health and safety fears arising from the size of crowds expected to attend. In 2009 approximately 60 people were injured during a crowd-surge at such an event in Birmingham. So we’re also sharing HSE guidance this week on crowd management – specifically aimed at those responsible for organising events such as these.

And finally, we look at the risks from skin exposure at work – how many materials used can affect the skin or pass through the skin, causing diseases elsewhere in the body – and how these can be prevented.

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

Chief Inspector challenges small construction sites to act now to manage workers health and safety

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) Chief Inspector of Construction is challenging the refurbishment industry to act now and protect their workers, after 46 per cent of sites fell below standards during a recent inspection initiative.

HSE targeted small refurbishment sites during the month long drive and 692 enforcement notices and 983 notifications of contravention had to be served where there was a material breach of health and/or safety. Inspectors had to deal with immediate risks, such as work at height, and also to deal with sites where workers were being exposed to silica dust and asbestos, which cause long term health problems.

Health and safety breaches were also followed up with clients and designers, reinforcing their duties under the Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM) 2015 and help them understand their responsibilities.

Despite the high rate of enforcement action, the inspectors found a number of examples of good practice.

Peter Baker, Health and Safety Executive’s Chief Inspector of Construction said: “It is disappointing that some small refurbishment sites are still cutting corners and not properly protecting their workers. Falls from height are the most common killer in the industry but we still found workers put at risk to save minutes on the job – believing it wouldn’t happen to them.

“The mis-conception that health issues cannot be controlled is simply not true and ruining people’s lives. Harmful dust, whether silica or wood, is a serious issue and can be managed effectively with the right design, equipment and training. Health effects may not be immediate but the ultimate impact on workers and their families can be devastating. Each week 100 construction workers die from occupational disease.”

“HSE inspectors found lots of good examples of small sites carrying out work safely, proving it can be done. Larger construction sites accepted the challenge a few years ago and have made big improvements, which all of the industry can learn from. My message to smaller businesses is don’t wait for an accident or visit from an inspector before you make the change, but act now and learn from your colleagues’ example.”

How to manage your site safely (click on the links)

For more guidance on health and safety in the construction industry, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/ or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Crowd management – your duties as an event organiser

Solihull’s Christmas lights switch-on has been cancelled this year amid health and safety fears arising from the size of crowds expected to attend. In 2009 approximately 60 people were injured during a crowd-surge at such an event in Birmingham.

As an organiser you must as far as reasonably practicable ensure the safety of visiting crowds.

While certain aspects of crowd safety can be allocated to contractors, for example stewarding, you will retain overall responsibility for ensuring the safety of the public.

What you should know

Hazards presented by a crowd:

  • Crushing between people.
  • Crushing against fixed structures, such as barriers.
  • Trampling underfoot.
  • Surging, swaying or rushing.
  • Aggressive behaviour.
  • Dangerous behaviour, such as climbing on equipment or throwing objects.

Hazards presented by a venue:

  • Slipping or tripping due to inadequately lit areas or poorly maintained floors and the build-up of rubbish.
  • Moving vehicles sharing the same route as pedestrians.
  • Collapse of a structure, such as a fence or barrier, which falls onto the crowd.
  • People being pushed against objects, such as unguarded, hot cooking equipment on a food stall.
  • Objects, such as stalls, that obstruct movement and cause congestion during busy periods.
  • Crowd movements obstructed by people queuing at bars etc.
  • Cross flows as people cut through the crowd to get to other areas, such as toilets.
  • Failure of equipment, such as turnstiles.
  • Sources of fire, such as cooking equipment.

Assessing the risks and putting controls in place

Carry out an assessment of the risks arising from crowd movement and behaviour as they arrive, leave and move around the site.

Note: Whether health and safety law will apply on routes to and from the venue will largely depend on the circumstances (other legislation to do with Licensing and traffic law may take precedence). If health and safety law does apply, an organiser’s legal duty regarding crowd safety will depend on the extent of control they have, which should be judged on a case-by-case basis. These duties are likely to be shared with others, including the local authority, landowners and transport providers.

Find out more

To assist you in identifying measures to help keep people safe see Managing crowds safely: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg154.htm

Barriers

Barriers at events serve several purposes, eg:

  • as an aid to manage and influence the behaviour of the audience; to line routes; and to prevent the audience climbing on top of temporary structures and putting themselves at risk of falling
  • to relieve and prevent overcrowding and the build-up of audience pressure
  • to provide physical security, as in the case of a high-perimeter fence at an outdoor event
  • to shield hazards from people

If you decide to use barriers and fencing as a crowd management tool, then they should be risk assessed. Depending on the complexity of the risk and barrier/s, you may need a source of competent advice to help you.

The factors you should take into account include:

  • the planned use of barriers
  • layout
  • ground conditions and topography
  • the presence of underground services, eg water pipes, electric cables that could restrict the use of pins to secure barriers
  • weather
  • load on the barrier – wind and/or crowd pressure
  • audience numbers and behaviour

These and any other factors peculiar to the location will determine the type of barrier or fence you select. It is crucial that the type of barrier and fence does not present greater risks than those they are intended to control. In some cases, barriers have failed due to incorrect selection.

To install simple barriers like rope and posts is relatively straightforward. However, for more complex barrier arrangements like stage barriers you may need a competent contractor to do this for you.

Deploy barriers and fencing with proper crowd management procedures, eg use of stewards to help achieve an all-round effective management of the risk. If appropriate, consult with a crowd management director on the use of barriers.

Find out more (click on the links)

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

Managing risks from skin exposure at work

Many materials used at work can affect the skin or can pass through the skin and cause diseases elsewhere in the body. If you are an employer, health and safety adviser, trainer or safety representative, this book (free to download by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg262.htm) provides guidance to help you prevent these disabling diseases.

It covers the protective role of the skin, ill health arising from skin exposure, recognising potential skin exposure in your workplace, and managing skin exposure to prevent disease.

There is guidance on assessing and managing risks, reducing contact with harmful materials, choosing the right protective equipment and skin care products, and checking for early signs of skin disease.

The document also contains a series of case studies drawn from a wide range of industries.

Related resources (click on the links)

See also

For clarification or more 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 the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 15TH OCTOBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Proper health and safety is no barrier to success

Separating pedestrians and vehicles

Maintaining portable electrical equipment (PAT testing)

Managing asbestos in the retail sector

Introduction

The term “health and safety” has become much maligned over recent years, with related bureaucracy, “jobsworths” and red tape regularly being cited as a hindrance in the workplace, and spoiler of fun out of it. In this week’s update, we open with the HSE’s response to an article which suggests that a “regulation heavy culture” in the UK is making it impossible for businesses to start up. And we also share a couple of health and safety misconceptions, relating to PAT testing and asbestos management, dispelled by the HSE’s “Myth Busters Challenge Panel”.

Waste and recycling is a high-risk industry. It accounts for only about 0.5% of the employees in Britain, but 2.6% of reported injuries to employees. However, failure to provide adequate segregation between pedestrians and moving vehicles, which resulted in recycling firm employee being struck by a 7.5 tonne telehandler at a waste transfer station, could occur in any workplace transport situation. We also share HSE guidance this week on separating pedestrians and vehicles.

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

Proper health and safety is no barrier to success

In response to an article published last month in Herald Scotland which analysed health and safety regulation in Great Britain and suggested a “regulation heavy culture” making it impossible for businesses to start up, the Health and Safety Executive have published the following comment by their Director of Scotland and Northern England Mike Cross:

“Although the analysis of health and safety regulation in Great Britain is depressingly inaccurate, (Time to take a risk and cut back on red tape – Monday 28 September http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/opinion/13787377.Time_for_radical_re_think_on_health_and_safety_regulations/), Pinstripe will be pleased to hear all of his ‘ideas’ were implemented some time ago.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is on target to deliver reforms to remove or improve around 84 percent of existing health and safety regulations. This includes reducing the overall stock of legislation by 50 percent in line with the Government’s existing ‘one in, one out’ policy.

HSE, working with Government and industry, is tackling the perceived ‘compensation culture’ head on, amending the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) so civil claims for breaches of h&s duties can only be able to be made under the common law where negligence can be proved.

Simple and straightforward guidance for small firms is easily available to ensure only documents essential for helping to manage risk in their businesses are produced.

However, I make no apology for my inspectors taking a firm enforcement line when workers lives are being put at risk irrespective of the age of the business. In Scotland, last year 20 workers died and in 2013/14 1,936 were reported seriously injured in incidents at work, many of them in small firms who typically trade for less than three years.

The reality is there is no need to make a choice between safety and economic success. The most successful businesses in GB also have excellent health and safety records. Put simply, effective management of health and safety is good for business.”

Separating pedestrians and vehicles

A national recycling firm has been fined £200,000 plus nearly £12,000 costs after an employee was struck by a 7.5 tonne telehandler. The accident happened as a result of the company failing to provide adequate segregation between pedestrians and moving vehicles at a waste transfer station in Lancashire. As an employee walked across an outside plastics hand sorting area, he passed behind a stationary telehandler. The telehandler began to reverse and struck the worker who was knocked to the ground and then run over by the rear wheel of the vehicle. His resulting injuries caused him to be hospitalised for two months.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting told the Court the company had identified the risks but failed to put in place suitable controls to stop people being hit by vehicles.

An HSE inspector said after the hearing: “Employers need to look carefully at their workplaces regularly to make sure that pedestrian routes are clearly marked and physically separated from vehicle routes wherever possible. The employee could have easily been killed and still has severe mobility problems as a result of the accident. He is unlikely to be able to work in the near future.”

Key messages

  • By law, pedestrians or vehicles must be able to use a traffic route without causing danger to the health or safety of people working near it.
  • Roadways and footpaths should be separate whenever possible.
  • You need to consider protection for people who work near vehicle routes.
  • By law, traffic routes must also keep vehicle routes far enough away from doors or gates that pedestrians use, or from pedestrian routes that lead on to them, so the safety of pedestrians is not threatened.

Questions to ask

Your risk assessment should include answers to these questions:

  • How are pedestrians and cyclists kept away from vehicles?
  • How do you mark out and sign vehicle and pedestrian areas?
  • Where do vehicles and pedestrians have to use the same route?
  • How do you mark out and sign crossing points
    • for drivers?
    • for pedestrians?
  • How do you tell drivers and pedestrians about the routes and the layout? For example:
    • staff who work on site (training)
    • new staff (induction)
    • visitors
  • Apart from collisions, what else presents a health and safety risk? For example:
    • materials falling from vehicles
    • noise
    • fumes
    • How can you manage these risks?

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

Maintaining portable electrical equipment (PAT testing)

In HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel Case 254, rope access company operators using 36v battery drills whilst on site were told that due to health and safety rules, they could not take battery chargers onto site unless they had a PAT certificate.

The Panel’s decision was as follows:

Health & safety law does not require electrical items to be portable appliance tested (PAT). Regulations simply require that electrical equipment be maintained to prevent danger. HSE guidance on maintaining portable electrical equipment covers maintenance intervals, including for chargers. Maintenance is for the owner but operators may have their own rules to help ensure safety across their site.

Do you have control over or use portable electrical equipment in the workplace?

Guidance published by the HSE can be downloaded free by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg107.pdf. For managers, electricians, technicians and users, it gives sensible advice on maintaining portable electrical equipment to prevent danger. It covers equipment that is connected to the fixed mains supply or a locally generated supply. It outlines a recommended maintenance plan based on a straightforward, inexpensive system of user checks, formal visual inspection and testing.

For a list of FAQs about portable appliance testing, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/electricity/faq-portable-appliance-testing.htm or for clarification/more information, contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Managing asbestos in the retail sector

In HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel Case 266, a member of staff in a retail outlet was told that all visitors to the building where she worked had to be shown the comprehensive asbestos register, even if they were only coming for a meeting and not doing any physical work. For example a visitor attending a verbal meeting with the store manager had to sign to say they had seen it. The building was a retail outlet with back offices and did have managed asbestos in some areas but not all .The enquirer would have understood if the visitor was a contractor doing works to the building fabric, but felt this was over-the-top and wondered if the myth busters could confirm.

The Panel’s decision was as follows:

The serious health risks from exposure to asbestos are well known. The Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 contain a duty to pass on information about asbestos to people liable to disturb it in the course of their work or visit. However, there is no reason why people visiting simply to attend a meeting would need to see this information.

New guidance published by the Retail Asbestos Working Group (RAWG), and supported by HSE, provides sensible, practical, advice on managing asbestos and working with asbestos containing materials in trading stores and shops. The guidance confirms that the measures described by the enquirer go beyond what is needed to manage the risk of exposure for visitors. It is free to download by clicking on the link: http://www.brc.org.uk/brc_policy_content.asp?iCat=49&iSubCat=699&spolicy=Risk+%26+Safety&sSubPolicy=Asbestos+Guidance+for+Retailers

For more general guidance on asbestos health and safety, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/ or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

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

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 24TH SEPTEMBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Provision of welfare facilities during construction work

Excavation and underground services

Asbestos information, instruction and training

Why is machinery safety important?

Introduction

As highlighted in our previous updates, HSE Inspectors are currently visiting refurbishment sites across the country until 9th October, to challenge the poor standards that are putting the health and safety of workers at risk. With this in mind, if you are a client or contractor, are you aware of your responsibilities regarding welfare facilities on construction projects? Last week, a Cheshire building contractor was fined £4,000 with costs of £2,495 after failing to fulfil these responsibilities so we open this week’s update with what you need to do to comply with the law.

Did you know that replacing a wooden garden fence around a domestic property could result in a potentially fatal electric shock? A Barnsley housing services provider has been fined £7,500 with £8,562 costs after exactly this happened to one of its employees who struck an underground electric cable with a metal spade whilst excavating a fence post hole. HSE guidance below explains what you need to know, and do, before digging or disturbing earth where underground services may be located.

It’s almost a year now since the HSE launched the “Beware Asbestos” campaign, but awareness is still very much lacking amongst trades people likely to come into contact with the potentially deadly substance. In response to reports of a Middlesex self employed heating engineer being fined £5,000 with £3,000 costs after removing asbestos lagged pipework in a domestic property with no precautions to prevent exposure to asbestos fibres, we share HSE guidance this week on exactly what type of information, instruction and training is necessary to provide a sufficient level of awareness.

And finally, after reports of a meat processing company being fined £28,000 after an employee suffered severe injuries to the fingers of his left hand when they came into contact with a band saw, we ask why machinery safety is important, and share HSE guidance on what workers using moving machinery should and should not do to prevent injury.

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

Provision of welfare facilities during construction work

Last week a Cheshire building contractor was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,495, for serious health breaches and lack of welfare facilities on a Culcheth building site.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) received a complaint from a member of the public in May 2014 about the conditions on the site where work was being carried out to convert a disused NHS premises.

The HSE investigation found access to the construction site was restricted and a lack of both health and safety provisions and welfare facilities. Workers were entering the building via ladders and planks. Work was stopped whilst scaffolding was erected to make access to the building safe.

Dust from sandblasting activities was found to be affecting other workers on the site and inadequate protection had been provided. Workers were expected to carry out tasks such as groundworks and bricklaying but were unable to wash their hands to remove any contamination.

Organising site welfare

What you need to do

The law says that clients and contractors have responsibilities regarding welfare facilities on construction projects.

Contractors provide welfare facilities and clients must ensure this happens.

The pre-construction information prepared by the client should include the arrangements for welfare provision. On notifiable projects (longer than 30 days or 500 person days), the client must ensure the construction phase does not start unless they are satisfied that there are arrangements for welfare facilities to be provided.

Contractors must maintain the facilities throughout the life of the project.

The nature and scale of facilities required will depend on the size, location and type of project. Facilities include:

  • Toilets
  • Washing facilities
  • Drinking water
  • Changing rooms and lockers
  • Facilities for rest

What you need to know

Everyone who works on any site must have:

  • access to adequate toilet and washing facilities;
  • a place for preparing and consuming refreshments; and
  • somewhere for storing and drying clothing and personal protective equipment.

If mobile teams work at a number of locations over a few days (eg road repair and cable-laying gangs), these facilities can be provided at a central location accessible within a reasonable distance or time.

Decisions and action on welfare facilities need to be taken at an early stage of project planning.

Toilets

Toilets should be suitable and sufficient, ventilated, lit and kept in a clean and orderly condition.

Washing facilities must be provided so that workers can use them immediately after using the toilet or urinal, even if they are provided elsewhere.

Washing facilities

General washing facilities must be suitable and sufficient, kept clean and orderly and with basins or sinks large enough for people to wash their face, hands and forearms.

The facilities should include:

  • clean hot and cold, or warm, running water;
  • soap or other suitable means of cleaning;
  • towels or other suitable means of drying; and
  • showers where the nature of work is particularly dirty or there is a need to decontaminate.

Drinking water

Drinking water must be provided or made available at readily accessible and suitable places.

Cups are required unless the supply is in a jet from which people can drink easily.

Changing rooms and lockers

Changing rooms are needed where workers have to wear special clothing for the purposes of their work and cannot be expected to change elsewhere.

The rooms must be provided with seating, means of drying and keeping clothing and personal effects secure.

Facilities for rest

Rest rooms or rest areas are required equipped with tables and seating (with backs) sufficient for the number of persons likely to use them at any one time.

There should be arrangements for meals to be prepared and eaten, plus means for boiling water. In cold weather, heating should be provided.

For more information, HSE’s Construction Information Sheet No 59 can be downloaded free by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis59.pdf or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Excavation and underground services

Last week a Barnsley housing services provider was fined £7,500 with £8,562 in costs after an employee received an electric shock while replacing a wooden garden fence around a domestic property.

Barnsley Magistrates Court heard how the injured person struck an underground electric cable with a metal spade while excavating a post hole and received an electric shock. The shock did not cause any lasting injury to the joiner, though the court was told that such incidents do pose a risk of fatal injury.

The court found that the Company had failed to ensure the safety of their employee, in that work carried out near an electrical system was not planned in order to minimise the risk of a cable strike.

HSE and other organisations have produced guidance on electrical safety that is suitable for a wide range of industries and technical competencies. Most of the information produced by the HSE is available for immediate download.

What you need to know

When underground cables are damaged, people can be killed and injured by electric shock, electrical arcs (causing an explosion), and flames. This often results in severe burns to hands, face and body, even if protective clothing is being worn.

Damage can be caused when a cable is:

  • cut through by a sharp object such as the point of a tool; or
  • crushed by a heavy object or powerful machine.

Cables that have been previously damaged but left unreported and unrepaired can cause incidents.

The HSE booklet “Avoiding danger from underground services” gives guidance on how you can manage the risks of digging near underground cables and is free to download by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg47.pdf

The Electricity Networks Association (ENA) publication “Watch It! When digging in the vicinity of underground electric cables” also provides advice: https://www.southern-electric.co.uk/uploadedFiles/CoreMarketingSites/Assets/Documents/UndergroundCables.pdf

What you need to do

If you are digging or disturbing the earth you should take care to avoid damaging underground services. Underground electrical cables can be particularly hazardous because they often look like pipes and it is impossible to tell if they are live just by looking at them.

Damage to underground electrical cables can cause fatal or severe injury and the law says you must take precautions to avoid danger.

Excavation work should be properly managed to control risks, including:

  • Planning the work
  • Using cable plans
  • Cable locating devices
  • Safe digging practices

Planning the work

Most service cables belong to a Distribution Network Operator (DNO). However, some cables belong to other organisations such as the highways authority, Ministry of Defence or Network Rail.

You should check nearby for equipment owned by the organisations listed above, and if you suspect there are underground cables, ask them for plans to confirm their location. If underground cables are nearby you may need to ask someone from the organisation to come and accurately locate them for you.

If you are excavating near your own cables , then someone who is experienced in underground cable detection techniques should help you locate them using suitable equipment.

You may need to make underground cables dead for the work to proceed safely. Be aware that electricity companies are required to give five days’ notice to customers whose supply is to be disconnected.

Careful planning and risk assessments are essential before the work starts. Risk assessments should consider how the work is to be carried out, ensuring local circumstances are taken into account.

Using cable plans

Plans or other suitable information about all buried services in the area should be obtained and reviewed before any excavation work starts.

If the excavation work is an emergency, and plans and other information cannot be found, the work should be carried out as though there are live buried services in the area.

Symbols on electricity cable plans may vary between utilities and advice should be sought from the issuing office. Remember that high-voltage cables may be shown on separate plans from low-voltage cables.

Plans give only an indication of the location, and number of underground services at a particular site. It is essential that a competent person traces cables using suitable locating devices.

Cable locating devices

Before work begins, underground cables must be located, identified and clearly marked.

The position of the cable in or near the proposed work area should be pinpointed as accurately as possible by means of a locating device, using plans, and other information as a guide to the possible location of services and to help interpret the signal.

Remember: Locators should be used frequently and repeatedly during the course of the work.

People who use a locator should have received thorough training in its use and limitations. Locating devices should always be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, regularly checked and maintained in good working order.

Safe digging practices

Excavation work should be carried out carefully and follow recognised safe digging practices.

Once a locating device has been used to determine cable positions and routes, excavation may take place, with trial holes dug using suitable hand tools as necessary to confirm this.

Excavate alongside the service rather than directly above it. Final exposure of the service by horizontal digging is recommended, as the force applied to hand tools can be controlled more effectively.

Insulated tools should be used when hand digging near electric cables.

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

Asbestos information, instruction and training

A Middlesex self employed heating engineer has been fined £5,000 with £3,000 costs after removing asbestos lagged pipework in a domestic property with no precautions to prevent exposure to asbestos fibres.

The engineer was employed to install a new heating system in the domestic property. He removed the redundant pipework that was lagged with asbestos, using a powered electric saw. He then transported the pipework through the property and deposited it outside on the drive.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that the engineer did not have any asbestos awareness training. HSE told the court that had he been appropriately trained, he would have been in a position to recognise that the lagging may be asbestos. He would have known to avoid any work until it had been demonstrated as asbestos free or been removed by a licensed contractor. Instead, he removed the pipes with no precautions to prevent his own exposure to asbestos fibres, and the potential for other persons to be exposed. The homeowners have had to move out of their home pending thorough decontamination of the property.

Every employer must make sure that anyone who is liable to disturb asbestos during their normal work, or who supervises those employees, gets the correct level of information, instruction and training so that they can work safely and competently without risk to themselves or others.

What type of information, instruction and training is necessary?

Workers and supervisors must be able to recognise asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) and know what to do if they come across them in order to protect themselves and others.

There are three main levels of information, instruction and training. These relate to:

  • Asbestos awareness
  • Non-licensable work with asbestos including NNLW
  • Licensable work with asbestos.

Attending a training course on its own will not make a worker competent. Competence is developed over time by implementing and consolidating skills learnt during training, on-the-job learning, instruction and assessment.

It is important that the level of information, instruction and training is appropriate for the work and the roles undertaken by each worker (and supervisor). Using a training needs analysis (TNA) will help to identify what topics should be covered to ensure workers have the right level of competence to avoid putting themselves or others at risk.

Asbestos awareness

Information, instruction and training for asbestos awareness is intended to give workers and supervisors the information they need to avoid work that may disturb asbestos during any normal work which could disturb the fabric of a building, or other item which might contain asbestos. It will not prepare workers, or self-employed contractors, to carry out work with asbestos-containing materials. If a worker is planning to carry out work that will disturb ACMs, further information, instruction and training will be needed.

Examples of those affected are listed below. There will be other occupations where asbestos may be disturbed in addition to those listed.:

  • General maintenance workers
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Joiners
  • Painters and decorators
  • Plasterers
  • Construction workers
  • Roofers
  • Shop fitters
  • Gas fitters
  • Heating and ventilation engineers
  • Demolition workers
  • Telecommunication engineers
  • Fire/burglar alarm installers
  • Computer and data installers
  • Architects
  • Building surveyors

Information, instruction and training about asbestos awareness should cover the following:

  • the properties of asbestos and its effects on health, including the increased risk of developing lung cancer for asbestos workers who smoke
  • the types, uses and likely occurrence of asbestos and asbestos materials in buildings and plant
  • the general procedures to deal with an emergency, eg an uncontrolled release of asbestos dust into the workplace
  • how to avoid the risk of exposure to asbestos

Online learning (often referred to as e–learning) is increasingly used as a method of providing asbestos awareness training. HSE recognises the use of e-learning as a viable delivery method, among others, for asbestos awareness training, provided it satisfies the requirements of Regulation 10 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and the supporting Approved Code of Practice L143 ‘Managing and working with asbestos’.

Workers who plan to carry out work that will disturb asbestos require a higher level of information, instruction and training, in addition to asbestos awareness. This should take account of whether the work is non-licensed; notifiable non-licensed work (NNLW); or licensed work and should be job specific.

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

Why is machinery safety important?

A company which processes and distributes meat for retail catering and wholesale sectors has been fined £28,000 after an employee suffered severe injuries to the fingers of his left hand when they came into contact with a band saw.

Forfar Sheriff Court heard how on May 2013 an employee of the meat processing company was using a band saw which formed part of the machinery for cutting pig carcasses.

The court was told the band saw, which had an exposed blade, was being used as a replacement for the usual saw which was inoperative. The replacement band saw was not fitted to a conveyor to carry the sections of cut meat away from the blade and towards the employee. This meant that the employee’s hands were in close proximity to the exposed cutting blade.

It was during the process of moving the meat that the employee’s fingers came into contact with the band saw.

Moving machinery can cause injuries in many ways:

  • People can be struck and injured by moving parts of machinery or ejected material. Parts of the body can also be drawn in or trapped between rollers, belts and pulley drives
  • Sharp edges can cause cuts and severing injuries, sharp-pointed parts can cause stabbing or puncture the skin, and rough surface parts can cause friction or abrasion
  • People can be crushed, both between parts moving together or towards a fixed part of the machine, wall or other object, and two parts moving past one another can cause shearing
  • Parts of the machine, materials and emissions (such as steam or water) can be hot or cold enough to cause burns or scalds and electricity can cause electrical shock and burns
  • Injuries can also occur due to machinery becoming unreliable and developing faults or when machines are used improperly through inexperience or lack of training

What do I have to do?

Before you start

Before you start using any machine you need to think about what risks may occur and how these can be managed. You should therefore do the following:

  • Check that the machine is complete, with all safeguards fitted, and free from defects. The term ‘safeguarding’ includes guards, interlocks, two-hand controls, light guards, pressure-sensitive mats etc. By law, the supplier must provide the right safeguards and inform buyers of any risks (‘residual risks’) that users need to be aware of and manage because they could not be designed out
  • Produce a safe system of work for using and maintaining the machine. Maintenance may require the inspection of critical features where deterioration would cause a risk. Also look at the residual risks identified by the manufacturer in the information/ instructions provided with the machine and make sure they are included in the safe system of work
  • Ensure every static machine has been installed properly and is stable (usually fixed down)
  • Choose the right machine for the job and do not put machines where customers or visitors may be exposed to risk
  • Note that new machines should be CE marked and supplied with a Declaration of Conformity and instructions in English

Make sure the machine is:

  • safe for any work that has to be done when setting up, during normal use, when clearing blockages, when carrying out repairs for breakdowns, and during planned maintenance
  • properly switched off, isolated or locked-off before taking any action to remove blockages, clean or adjust the machine

Also, make sure you identify and deal with the risks from:

  • electrical, hydraulic or pneumatic power supplies
  • badly designed safeguards. These may be inconvenient to use or easily overridden, which could encourage your workers to risk injury and break the law. If they are, find out why they are doing it and take appropriate action to deal with the reasons/causes

Preventing access to dangerous parts

Think about how you can make a machine safe. The measures you use to prevent access to dangerous parts should be in the following order. In some cases it may be necessary to use a combination of these measures:

  • Use fixed guards (eg secured with screws or nuts and bolts) to enclose the dangerous parts, whenever practical. Use the best material for these guards – plastic may be easy to see through but may easily be damaged. Where you use wire mesh or similar materials, make sure the holes are not large enough to allow access to moving parts
  • If fixed guards are not practical, use other methods, eg interlock the guard so that the machine cannot start before the guard is closed and cannot be opened while the machine is still moving. In some cases, trip systems such as photoelectric devices, pressure-sensitive mats or automatic guards may be used if other guards are not practical
  • Where guards cannot give full protection, use jigs, holders, push sticks etc if it is practical to do so
  • Control any remaining risk by providing the operator with the necessary information, instruction, training, supervision and appropriate safety equipment

Other things you should consider

  • If machines are controlled by programmable electronic systems, changes to any programmes should be carried out by a competent person (someone who has the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to carry out the work safely). Keep a record of such changes and check they have been made properly
  • Ensure control switches are clearly marked to show what they do
  • Have emergency stop controls where necessary, eg mushroom-head push buttons within easy reach
  • Make sure operating controls are designed and placed to avoid accidental operation and injury, use two-hand controls where necessary and shroud start buttons and pedals
  • Do not let unauthorised, unqualified or untrained people use machinery – never allow children to operate or help at machines. Some workers, eg new starters, young people or those with disabilities, may be particularly at risk and need instruction, training and supervision
  • Adequate training should ensure that those who use the machine are competent to use it safely. This includes ensuring they have the correct skills, knowledge and experience – sometimes formal qualifications are needed, eg for chainsaw operators
  • Supervisors must also be properly trained and competent to be effective. They may need extra specific training and there are recognised courses for supervisors
  • Ensure the work area around the machine is kept clean and tidy, free from obstructions or slips and trips hazards, and well lit

Dos and don’ts of machinery safety for workers

Do…

  • check the machine is well maintained and fit to be used, ie appropriate for the job and working properly and that all the safety measures are in place – guards, isolators, locking mechanisms, emergency off switches etc
  • use the machine properly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • make sure you are wearing the appropriate protective clothing and equipment required for that machine, such as safety glasses, hearing protection and safety shoes

Don’t…

  • use a machine or appliance that has a danger sign or tag attached to it. Danger signs should only be removed by an authorised person who is satisfied that the machine or process is now safe
  • wear dangling chains, loose clothing, rings or have loose, long hair that could get caught up in moving parts
  • distract people who are using machines
  • remove any safeguards, even if their presence seems to make the job more difficult

For more information visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/index.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 and we’ll be more than happy to help.

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