HSE SAFETY ALERT: CHANGE IN ENFORCEMENT EXPECTATIONS FOR MILD STEEL WELDING FUME

The Health & Safety Executive have issued the following safety alert last month (February 2019), aimed at all workers, employers, self-employed, contractors’ and any others who undertake welding activities, including mild steel, in any industry:

KEY ISSUES

  • There is new scientific evidence that exposure to all welding fume, including mild steel welding fume, can cause lung cancer.
  • There is also limited evidence linked to kidney cancer.
  • There is a change in HSE enforcement expectations in relation to the control of exposure of welding fume, including that from mild steel welding.
  • All businesses undertaking welding activities should ensure effective engineering controls are provided and correctly used to control fume arising from those welding activities.
  • Where engineering controls are not adequate to control all fume exposure, adequate and suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is also required to control risk from the residual fume.

INTRODUCTION

There is new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans. The Workplace Health Expert Committee has endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen.

CONSEQUENCES

With immediate effect, there is a strengthening of HSE’s enforcement expectation for all welding fume, including mild steel welding; because general ventilation does not achieve the necessary control.

OUTCOME

Control of the cancer risk will require suitable engineering controls for all welding activities indoors e.g. Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV). Extraction will also control exposure to manganese, which is present in mild steel welding fume, which can cause neurological effects similar to Parkinson’s disease.

Where LEV alone does not adequately control exposure, it should be supplemented by adequate and suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to protect against the residual fume.

Appropriate RPE should be provided for welding outdoors. You should ensure welders are suitably instructed and trained in the use of these controls.

Regardless of duration, HSE will no longer accept any welding undertaken without any suitable exposure control measures in place, as there is no known level of safe exposure.

Risk assessments should reflect the change in the expected control measures.

ACTION REQUIRED

  • Make sure exposure to any welding fume released is adequately controlled using engineering controls (typically LEV).
  • Make sure suitable controls are provided for all welding activities, irrelevant of duration. This includes welding outdoors.
  • Where engineering controls alone cannot control exposure, then adequate and suitable RPE should be provided to control risk from any residual fume.
  • Make sure all engineering controls are correctly used, suitably maintained and are subject to thorough examination and test where required.
  • Make sure any RPE is subject to an RPE programme. An RPE programme encapsulates all the elements of RPE use you need to ensure that your RPE is effective in protecting the wearer.

RELEVANT LEGAL DOCUMENTS

  • Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002

REFERENCES

WELDING FUME – REDUCING THE RISK

The above HSE guidance can be viewed by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/welding/fume-welding.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help

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

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 15TH OCTOBER 2015

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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 – 3RD SEPTEMBER 2015

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

HSE Refurbishment Inspection Initiative 2015

FLTA Safety Month – Safetember: see danger, speak up!

Licensing of houses in multiple occupation in England: a guide for landlords and managers

Key safety campaigns to be supported at British Safety Council’s annual conference

Introduction

Later this month, the construction industry will be the focus of HSE attention, as inspectors embark on a four week long programme of unannounced visits to sites where refurbishment projects or repairs are underway. We open this week’s update with details of the HSE’s 10th annual refurbishment inspection initiative.

Already underway is the Fork Lift Truck Association’s safety month which runs until 30th September, and during which free resources and guides will be available on the FLTA website. The campaign is now in its eighth year and aims to raise awareness of the dangers involved in fork lift operations throughout the industry and to stress the importance of common sense measures that can make lift trucks safer and more efficient.

Are you a landlord or managing agent/property manager? Do you know what constitutes a House in Multiple Occupation, and that some HMOs are required to be licensed? Read on for more information about your responsibilities, particularly in regard to health and safety.

The safety of cyclists on our roads has been highlighted in the news in recent weeks, and a ban on unsafe lorries has recently come into force in London. Work-related transport is one of the health and safety campaigns the British Safety Council will be focusing on at its conference on 23rd September. Read on to find out which other campaigns will be highlighted at the event.

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

HSE Refurbishment Inspection Initiative 2015

The HSE’s 10th annual refurbishment inspection initiative is due to take place between 14th September and 9th October 2015. Poor standards and unsafe practices on Britain’s building sites are likely to be targeted during a nationwide drive aimed at reducing ill health, death and injury in the industry.

During the annual initiative, HSE Construction Inspectors carry out unannounced visits to sites where refurbishment projects or repair works are underway, ensuring high-risk activities particularly those affecting the health of workers, are being properly managed.

What the initiative does

The main aims of the initiative are:

  • to achieve an improvement in industry standards, in particular at small sites
  • to increase awareness of HSEs expectations of the industry
  • to demonstrate that HSE will use the enforcement tools at its disposal to prevent immediate risk and bring about sustained improvements

What inspectors look for

During inspections, HSE inspectors consider whether:

  • 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, 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

HSE uses the inspection initiatives to reinforce its message to the construction industry that poor standards are unacceptable and liable to result in HSE taking enforcement action.

Previous campaign results:

More information on the above can be found on the HSE website www.hse.gov.uk or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

FLTA Safety Month – Safetember: see danger, speak up!

Date and location

1st – 30th September 2015, throughout the month, location the FLTA website (http://fork-truck.org.uk/fork-lift-safety/national-fork-lift-safety-month)

Event overview

National Fork Lift Safety Week was launched by the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) in 2008 to raise awareness of the dangers involved in fork lift operations throughout the industry and to stress the importance of common sense measures that can make lift trucks safer and more efficient.

For 2015, the Association has increased the scope into a month-long campaign throughout September, dubbing the campaign “Safetember”.

Throughout Safetember the FLTA will be making a compendium of free resources and guides available on its website. The Association will also be urging every company that works with lift trucks to genuinely empower workers with the freedom to report bad practice in a blame-free environment.

After all, this freedom is not a luxury, it is a right.

Further information

More information can be found on the FLTA website (http://fork-truck.org.uk/fork-lift-safety/national-fork-lift-safety-month), or by emailing the FLTA secretariat.

Licensing of houses in multiple occupation in England: a guide for landlords and managers

This publication is aimed at landlords and managers who manage a house in multiple occupation (HMO), or if you are not sure whether you manage an HMO. The booklet explains more about HMOs, which HMOs are required to be licensed and what other if any responsibilities there are in relation to the management of HMOs.

Not sure whether you manage an HMO?

The home you manage is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) if both of the following apply:

  • at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
  • tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities

The home you manage is a large HMO if all of the following apply:

  • it’s at least 3 storeys high
  • at least 5 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
  • tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities

A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:

  • married or living together – including people in same-sex relationships
  • relatives or half-relatives, eg grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
  • step-parents and step-children

Your safety responsibilities

You must keep the property you manage safe and free from health hazards.

Gas safety

You must:

  • make sure gas equipment you supply is safely installed and maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer
  • have a registered engineer do an annual gas safety on each appliance and flue
  • give tenants a copy of the gas safety check record before they move in, or within 28 days of the check

Electrical safety

You must make sure:

  • the electrical system is safe, eg sockets and light fittings
  • all appliances you supply are safe, eg cookers and kettles

Fire safety

You must:

  • follow fire safety regulations, eg check tenants have access to escape routes at all times
  • make sure the furniture and furnishings you supply are fire safe
  • provide fire alarms and extinguishers (if the property is a large House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

Download the publication by clicking on the link: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/15652/HMO_Lic_landlords_guide.pdf or contact us for more information on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Key safety campaigns to be supported at British Safety Council’s annual conference

Health and safety campaigns such as work-related transport, occupational health and young people at work will be highlighted at the British Safety Council annual conference on 23rd September.

Work-related transport

Every year 70 people are killed and 2000 more are seriously injured in incidents involving vehicles at work. Often these incidents occur in a lorry park or yard while goods are being delivered. In many cases it is the driver who is injured.

The HSE recently ran an advertising campaign on radio and press in the North West and Midlands to raise awareness among the people who can make a real difference – depot managers and those who receive or despatch goods.

The concerns of professional drivers, about the dangers of delivery and collection of goods have also been included.

This campaign focused on how depot managers can take small practical steps to make delivery areas safer. Examples include (click on the links for more information):

Key messages

Campaign posters

Campaign radio publicity

To download, right click and select ‘save target as…’

For more advice on transport topics visit the HSE Vehicles at Work website (http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/)

Proposal to replace OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health & Safety Management) with ISO 45001

ISO 45001 on occupational health and safety management system requirements is currently being produced with an intended publication date of October 2016. However, it is expected that the current standard OHSAS 18001 will be valid for some time after this date and therefore companies interested in certifying should still do so, and will benefit from its implementation.

The aim of the new standard is to improve occupational health and safety for all, in developed and developing countries, and at local, national, regional and international levels.

For up to date information about the new standard, follow our health and safety news updates.

Young people at work

When employing a young person under the age of 18, whether for work, work experience, or as an apprentice, employers have the same responsibilities for their health, safety and welfare as they do for other employees.

Guidance on the HSE website (http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/) will help young people and those employing them understand their responsibilities.

Work experience

Introducing young people to the world of work can help them understand the work environment, choose future careers or prepare for employment. We need young people to be offered opportunities to develop new skills and gain experience across the world of work. Click on the below links for more information:

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

Also contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.