HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 24TH MARCH 2016

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IN THIS UPDATE

COMAH Regulations – chemical company fined £200,000 following toxic chemical release

Good practice guidelines for shift design – automotive company fined after worker loses finger

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

COMAH Regulations – chemical company fined £200,000 following toxic chemical release

A chemical company was sentenced last week in Leeds Crown Court for safety breaches when a very toxic chemical was ejected under pressure.

A company maintenance technician unintentionally opened a valve on top of an isotanker at the company’s Huddersfield plant resulting in the release of between 3.5 and 3.8 tonnes of paraquat dichloride solution. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the firm over the incident.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Control Of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 and Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £200 000 with £13 041 costs by Leeds Crown Court.

Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH)

The Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations ensure that businesses:

  • “Take all necessary measures to prevent major accidents involving dangerous substances
  • Limit the consequences to people and the environment of any major accidents which do occur”

What is the main aim of the COMAH Regulations?

Their main aim is to prevent and mitigate the effects of those major accidents involving dangerous substances, such as chlorine, liquefied petroleum gas, explosives and arsenic pentoxide which can cause serious damage/harm to people and/or the environment. The COMAH Regulations treat risks to the environment as seriously as those to people.

Who enforces COMAH?

The COMAH Regulations are enforced by a competent authority (CA) consisting of:

  • In England and Wales – the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency
  • In Scotland – the Health and Safety Executive and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

The CA operates to a Memorandum of Understanding which sets out the arrangements for joint working.

The Regulations place duties on the CA to inspect activities subject to COMAH and prohibit the operation of an establishment if there is evidence that measures taken for prevention and mitigation of major accidents are seriously deficient. It also has to examine safety reports and inform operators about the conclusions of its examinations within a reasonable time period.

Who is affected?

Mainly the chemical industry, but also some storage activities, explosives and nuclear sites and other industries, where threshold quantities of dangerous substances identified in the Regulations are kept or used.

The substances which cause the duties to apply are detailed in Schedule 1 of the Regulations as are the quantities which set the two thresholds for application.

Operators of sites that hold larger quantities of dangerous substances (‘top tier’ sites) are subject to more onerous requirements than those of ‘lower tier’ sites.

What do you need to do?

Firstly you need to determine if the Regulations apply to you. Regulation 3, together with Schedule 1, will provide the answer. If you have enough dangerous substances present to take you over the lower threshold then the lower-tier duties apply and if you have enough to exceed the higher threshold then the top-tier duties apply. For more information about lower-tier and top-tier duties, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/comah/background/comah99.htm

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

Good practice guidelines for shift design – automotive company fined after worker loses finger

A Birmingham-based automotive company has been fined £27,000 after a worker lost his finger.

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard how a welder employed by the company was expected to work on a variety of jobs as required by production. While he was working on a machine the employee’s glove became entangled in the drill bit. He suffered partial amputation to the third finger on his right hand.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred on 17 June 2015 found that the company failed to provide adequate training, a safe system of work, a risk assessment or method statement.

Applying the following good practice guidelines, so far as it is reasonably practicable to do so, will help reduce the risk that workers are exposed to by shift working.

Good practice guidelines for shift design

  • Plan an appropriate and varied workload.
  • Offer a choice of permanent or rotating shifts and try to avoid permanent night shifts.
  • Either rotate shifts every 2-3 days or every 3-4 weeks – otherwise adopt forward rotating shifts.
  • Avoid early morning starts and try to fit shift times in with the availability of public transport.
  • Limit shifts to 12 h including overtime, or to 8 h if they are night shifts and/or the work is demanding, monotonous, dangerous and/or safety critical.
  • Encourage workers to take regular breaks and allow some choice as to when they are taken.
  • Consider the needs of vulnerable workers, such as young or aging workers and new and expectant mothers.
  • Limit consecutive work days to a maximum of 5 – 7 days and restrict long shifts, night shifts and early morning shifts to 2-3 consecutive shifts.
  • Allow 2 nights full sleep when switching from day to night shifts and vice versa.
  • Build regular free weekends into the shift schedule.

Good practice guidelines for the work environment

  • Provide similar facilities as those available during daytime and allow shift workers time for training and development.
  • Ensure temperature & lighting is appropriate and preferably adjustable.
  • Provide training and information on the risks of shift work and ensure supervisors and management can recognise problems.
  • Consider increasing supervision during periods of low alertness.
  • Control overtime, shift swapping and on-call duties and discourage workers from taking second jobs.
  • Set standards and allow time for communication at shift handovers.
  • Encourage interaction between workers and provide a means of contact for lone workers.
  • Encourage workers to tell their GPs that they are shift workers and provide free health assessments for night workers.
  • Ensure the workplace and surroundings are well lit, safe and secure.

For more information, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/humanfactors/topics/good-practice-guidelines.htm 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 – 23RD JULY 2015

IN THIS UPDATE:

Introduction

New & Changed Legislation & Regulations

• The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015)
• Landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties
• Drugs and driving: the law
• Simpler explosives and acetylene regulations
• Storing petrol safely

New & Revised Guidance

Guidance Documents
• A guide to workplace transport safety
• The selection, management and use of mobile elevating work platforms

Web Pages
• Dust Hub
• Illness caused by welding fume and gases
• COSHH e-tool
• Health and safety for disabled people
• Noise and Vibration Partnership Group
• IOSH – No time to lose

Introduction

To coincide with the launch of our new website, we’re changing the way we keep our readers up to date with health & safety news, and the support and training services we provide.

From now on, we’ll be posting weekly updates to this page, and you can register below-left to receive email notifications of these. If you experience any difficulty with this, please send an email to fiona@eljay.co.uk with your user name and email address, and we’ll register your details for you. Each time an update is published, you’ll receive an email containing a link to the post which you can then view, share and/or print off. You can unsubscribe at any time, and each email will contain an unsubscription link for this purpose.

This week, we’re focussing on health & safety legislation and regulations that have changed or been introduced since the last quarter of 2014, as well as providing an overview of new and revised guidance. Next week, we’ll be de-bunking a few myths and sharing what’s new in the world of health & safety.

New & Changed Legislation & Regulations

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015)

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) came into force in April 2015, replacing CDM 2007. So what do you need to do? Virtually everyone involved in a construction project has legal duties under CDM 2015. These ‘dutyholders’ are defined as follows.

Client – Anyone who has construction work carried out for them. The main duty for clients is to make sure their project is suitably managed, ensuring the health and safety of all who might be affected by the work, including members of the public. CDM 2015 recognises two types of client:

commercial clients – have construction work carried out as part of their business. This could be an individual, partnership or company and includes property developers and companies managing domestic properties (click on link for roles & responsibilities: http://www.hse.gov.uk/Construction/cdm/2015/commercial-clients.htm)

domestic clients – have construction work carried out for them but not in connection with any business – usually work done on their own home or the home of a family member. CDM 2015 does not require domestic clients to carry out client duties as these normally pass to other dutyholders (click on link for roles & responsibilities: http://www.hse.gov.uk/Construction/cdm/2015/domestic-clients.htm)

Designer – An organisation or individual whose work involves preparing or modifying designs, drawings, specifications, bills of quantity or design calculations. Designers can be architects, consulting engineers and quantity surveyors, or anyone who specifies and alters designs as part of their work. They can also include tradespeople if they carry out design work. The designer’s main duty is to eliminate, reduce or control foreseeable risks that may arise during construction work, or in the use and maintenance of the building once built. Designers work under the control of a principal designer on projects with more than one contractor. (Click on link for roles & responsibilities: http://www.hse.gov.uk/Construction/cdm/2015/designers.htm)

Principal designer – A designer appointed by the client to control the pre-construction phase on projects with more than one contractor. The principal designer’s main duty is to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety during this phase, when most design work is carried out. (Click on link for roles & responsibilities: http://www.hse.gov.uk/Construction/cdm/2015/principal-designers.htm)

Principal contractor – A contractor appointed by the client to manage the construction phase on projects with more than one contractor. The principal contractor’s main duty is to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety during this phase, when all construction work takes place. (Click on link for roles & responsibilities: http://www.hse.gov.uk/Construction/cdm/2015/principal-contractors.htm)

Contractor – An individual or business in charge of carrying out construction work (eg building, altering, maintaining or demolishing). Anyone who manages this work or directly employs or engages construction workers is a contractor. Their main duty is to plan, manage and monitor the work under their control in a way that ensures the health and safety of anyone it might affect (including members of the public). Contractors work under the control of the principal contractor on projects with more than one contractor. (Click on link for roles & responsibilities: http://www.hse.gov.uk/Construction/cdm/2015/contractors.htm)

Worker – An individual who actually carries out the work involved in building, altering, maintaining or demolishing buildings or structures. Workers include: plumbers, electricians, scaffolders, painters, decorators, steel erectors and labourers, as well as supervisors like foremen and chargehands. Their duties include cooperating with their employer and other dutyholders, reporting anything they see that might endanger the health and safety of themselves or others. Workers must be consulted on matters affecting their health, safety and welfare. (Click on link for roles & responsibilities: http://www.hse.gov.uk/Construction/cdm/2015/workers.htm)

Click on the following link for a summary of duties under CDM 2015, or contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk for clarification or further information: http://www.hse.gov.uk/Construction/cdm/2015/summary.htm

Landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties

Landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties, under measures announced by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis today (11 March 2015).

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

The measure is expected to take effect from October 2015, and comes with strong support after a consultation on property condition in the private rented sector.

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

This is part of wider government moves to ensure there are sufficient measures in place to protect public safety, while at the same time avoiding regulation which would push up rents and restrict the supply of homes, limiting choice for tenants. For more information, click on the link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tenants-safer-under-new-government-measures or contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk

Drugs and driving: the law

It’s illegal to drive if either:

• you’re unfit to do so because you’re on legal or illegal drugs
• you have certain levels of illegal drugs in your blood (even if they haven’t affected your driving)

Legal drugs are prescription or over-the-counter medicines. If you’re taking them and not sure if you should drive, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or healthcare professional.

The police can stop you and make you do a ‘field impairment assessment’ if they think you’re on drugs. This is a series of tests, eg asking you to walk in a straight line. They can also use a roadside drug kit to screen for cannabis and cocaine.

If they think you’re unfit to drive because of taking drugs, you’ll be arrested and will have to take a blood or urine test at a police station.

You could be charged with a crime if the test shows you’ve taken drugs.

Prescription medicines

It’s illegal in England and Wales to drive with legal drugs in your body if it impairs your driving.

It’s an offence to drive if you have over the specified limits of certain drugs in your blood and you haven’t been prescribed them.

Talk to your doctor about whether you should drive if you’ve been prescribed any of the following drugs:

• amphetamine, eg dexamphetamine or selegiline
• clonazepam
• diazepam
• flunitrazepam
• lorazepam
• methadone
• morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, eg codeine, tramadol or fentanyl
• oxazepam
• temazepam

You can drive after taking these drugs if:

• you’ve been prescribed them and followed advice on how to take them by a healthcare professional
• they aren’t causing you to be unfit to drive even if you’re above the specified limits

You could be prosecuted if you drive with certain levels of these drugs in your body and you haven’t been prescribed them.

The law doesn’t cover Northern Ireland and Scotland but you could still be arrested if you’re unfit to drive.

For more information, click on the link: https://www.gov.uk/drug-driving-law or contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk

Simpler explosives and acetylene regulations

New laws on working safely with explosives and compressed acetylene gas took effect last Autumn.

Two new sets of consolidated regulations – The Explosives Regulations 2014 (ER) (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1638/contents/made) and The Acetylene Safety (England and Wales and Scotland) Regulations 2014 (ASR) (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1639/contents/made) came into force on 1 October 2014.

The revised regulations, which apply to the explosives industry and those who manufacture and store compressed acetylene gas, will help to reduce the regulatory burden on business and regulators by clarifying and simplifying requirements.

They have replaced the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) for the Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005, a number of legislative instruments and the current explosives guidance.

Guidance produced to support ER, 2014 can be found at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l150.htm
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l151.htm

Revised guidance on working safely with acetylene can be found at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg327.htm

Contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk for clarification of the above, or further information.

Storing petrol safely

Petrol is a dangerous substance; it is a highly flammable liquid and can give off vapour which can easily be set on fire and when not handled safely has the potential to cause a serious fire and/or explosion.

This means there is always a risk of a fire and/or an explosion if there is a source of ignition nearby, for example a naked flame, an electrical spark or similar. Because of these risks storing petrol safely is covered by legislation; and this applies to you if you store petrol.

What is the law on storing petrol safely?

The Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014 (PCR) link to external website which came into force on 1 October 2014 apply to:

• workplaces that store petrol where petrol is dispensed, ie retail and non retail petrol filling stations
• non-workplace premises storing petrol, for example at private homes, or at clubs/associations (or similar)

Petroleum Enforcement Authorities (PEAs), formerly Petroleum Licensing Authorities (PLAs) are responsible for enforcing the Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014. They also continue to enforce DSEAR at workplaces covered by PCR. This means that there is no change to the current enforcing arrangements.

The safe storage and use of petrol in workplaces is also covered by the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).

Who does this apply to?

Information on how the Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014 applies to the following groups:

• If you are an owner/employee of a petrol filling station
• If you store petrol at home, or at a club/association or similar premises
• If you design, manufacture or supply portable petrol storage containers
• If your workplace stores but does not dispense petrol

What does this legislation replace?

The Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014 combine, update and replace all previous legislation on petrol storage. The existing health and safety responsibilities remain the same; anything that is still relevant is included in the 2014 Regulations.

For more information, click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/petroleum.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk

New & Revised Guidance

New and revised guidance is listed below. Please click on the accompanying links for more information.

Guidance Documents

A guide to workplace transport safety (HSG136 – published Sept 2014)
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg136.htm

The selection, management and use of mobile elevating work platforms – Safe working practices (GEIS6 – published 2014)
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/geis6.htm

Web Pages

Dust Hub (provides information to help employers control exposure to dust in the workplace http://www.hse.gov.uk/dust/

Illness caused by welding fume and gases: there will be people who don’t get ill but some welders do get ill from breathing welding fume. Some may be ill for only a short time, others may get permanent illnesses like asthma. There is no easy way to know if it will be you. A few welders get so ill they have to stop welding and find a new career. http://www.hse.gov.uk/welding/illness.htm

COSHH e-tool: easy steps to control health risks from chemicals http://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/essentials/coshh-tool.htm

Health and safety for disabled people: this guidance will help those employing disabled people to understand their health and safety responsibilities. http://www.hse.gov.uk/disability/

Noise and Vibration Partnership Group: includes noise and hand-arm vibration posters http://www.hse.gov.uk/noise/nv-partnership-group.htm

IOSH – No time to lose: Working together to beat occupational cancer http://www.iosh.co.uk/NTTL/Home/About-NTTL.aspx

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.