Diesel engine exhaust emissions (DEEEs) and non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) – the risk to construction (and other) workers

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

Recent headline news has made us all too aware of the effects of air pollution on the climate and our health, and this is contributed to significantly by emissions from combustion engines installed in non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) – used extensively in the construction industry. The Mayor of London has responded by targeting the sector with the world’s first “ultra-low emissions zone” for NRMM and – nationwide – under the Clean Air Strategy, the government will be exploring the use of environmental permitting to address the problem.

Whilst “cleaner” engines have started to become available, those powered by diesel are still the most widely used on construction sites, and inhalation of diesel engine exhaust emissions (DEEEs) can cause a number of ill health effects – both short term and long term, including – evidence suggests – an increased risk of lung cancer. According to HSE statistics, each year, around 3,000 workers in construction suffer with breathing and lung problems they believe were caused or made worse by their work. That is 0.14% of workers in the sector, compared with 0.09% of workers across all industries.

So, what should be done to prevent this risk?

The below HSE guidance “Control of diesel engine exhaust emissions in the workplace” includes control measures which can be implemented quickly and easily on a construction site and in other workplaces, e.g. switching off engines when not required, and adopting a programme of regular engine maintenance.

But a reduction in pollution can also be achieved through the use of cleaner fuels. Alternatives include low sulphur diesel (LSD), ultra low sulphur diesel (ULSD), biodiesel, blends of biodiesel with petroleum diesel and emulsified diesel. Low sulphur diesel has sulphur content of 300 – 500ppm and reduces particulate matter (PM) by 10 – 20% compared to non-road diesel fuel (which has a sulphur content or 3000 – 5000ppm).

And pollution control equipment such as diesel oxidation catalysts or diesel particulate filters can be retrofitted directly onto an engines exhaust system.

Under CDM 2015, design decisions made during the pre-construction phase of projects should also be considered, as these too have a significant influence on the health and safety of everyone affected by the work. For example, lighter buildings, often delivered by low carbon building methods (with no increase in cost), can reduce on-site excavation and heavy machinery due to the requirement for smaller foundations. An example of this is the timber structure of Dalston Works in London which weighs a fifth of its concrete equivalent. And as most the construction was off-site, there were 80% fewer site deliveries than usual.

The below guidance can be downloaded by clicking the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg187.pdf and more information is available on the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/healthrisks/cancer-and-construction/diesel-engine-exhaust.htm. Alternatively, please contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Control of diesel engine exhaust emissions in the workplace

Legislation

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

Risk assessment (COSHH regulation 6)

The health risk assessment will help you to assess the risks to health from exposure to hazardous substances and identify the necessary steps needed for controlling these risks. As workload, frequency of work, and work practices may change over a period, it is necessary to regularly review the assessment. In all but the simplest cases, you should record the assessment.

For DEEEs, the aim of the health risk assessment is to decide on the level of potential exposure, and then on the preventive measures or the level of control which you will need to apply. For example, if there is obvious blue or black smoke in the workplace, the controls need to be more stringent. In some circumstances, such as if there are visible exhaust emissions or complaints of irritancy, the assessment may necessitate carrying out monitoring to assess the effectiveness of the controls.

In order to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment you need to ask a series of questions, find answers and then come to a conclusion. These questions include:

  • How likely is it that exposure to DEEEs will happen?
  • Who could be affected, to what extent and for how long? How many people are potentially exposed to the DEEEs? Can the exposures be avoided?
  • Have there been any ill-health complaints from potentially exposed groups? If yes, what has been done about it?
  • Is the engine being operated at full speed or left idling? What is the purpose of running at idling speed or full speed. Can it be avoided?
  • What is the state of the engine, and how many miles or hours have been completed? Can the engine efficiency be improved, and can operating times and distances be reduced? Improving the efficiency of the engine will also bring financial benefits.
  • What happens to the exhaust emissions: do they enter directly into the workplace, or are they piped away or processed through a treatment system? Could they trigger your fire detection system?
  • Is there visible smoke near the exhaust point? What is the type of smoke, ie white, black or blue? How could it be avoided? Is there a visible haze in the workplace? Can it be avoided and how?
  • What controls are in place to comply with COSHH? Are they satisfactory?
  • Are there soot deposits in the workplace; how significant are they? What can be done to avoid them? What methods are in place for regularly cleaning the workplace?
  • How many engines are running at any one time? Are they all necessary?
  • Is it necessary to use diesel engines, or can alternative power sources be used?

Prevention and control of exposure (COSHH regulation 7)

The answers to the questions in paragraph 17 will guide you in deciding on the actions necessary to prevent or control exposure to DEEEs in the workplace. The control measures you choose need to be based on: the levels of risk and exposure; the type of workplace; present work practices; cost and benefit factors. Because of the variety of workplaces where exposure may occur, the potential exposure and the level of risk will be different. For example, there may be increased exposure where fork-lift trucks are being used in a warehouse all day for moving goods, whereas in a maintenance depot the exposure may be intermittent as the vehicles enter, stay there for maintenance, and then leave.

Prevention

Health and safety legislation requires you to prevent the exposure of employees and others to substances hazardous to health. You should be able to prevent exposure to DEEEs by adopting one or a combination of options, for example:

  • changing the method of work;
  • modifying the layout of the workplace;
  • modifying the operations to eliminate exhaust emissions inside the workplace; or
  • substituting diesel fuel with a safer fuel or alternative technology where practicable, eg compressed natural gas, battery powered vehicles.

Your risk assessment should take account of any other risks posed by these alternative fuels and technologies, for example the use of alcohols may generate greater quantities of aldehydes with possible accompanying irritancy.

Control

There will be situations where it may not be reasonably practicable for you to prevent exposure to DEEEs. In these situations, you should consider the circumstances individually and take the necessary control measures to reduce exposure. These may include:

Engineering controls

  • the use of lower emission or more fuel-efficient engines where possible, eg higher engine injection pressures to reduce particulates, fitting exhaust gas recirculation systems to reduce gaseous oxide emissions;
  • the use of cleaner fuels such as low sulphur diesel fuels;
  • enclosing the exhaust tailpipe from which DEEEs are emitted, for example by using a fixed flexible hose with a tailpipe exhaust extraction system (see Figures 2 and 3);
  • using partial enclosure with local extraction ventilation (LEV) as shown in Figure 4;
  • the use of diesel exhaust gas ‘after-treatment’ systems such as catalytic converters to oxidise organic substances and gases, and catalysed and non-catalysed particulate traps to remove particulate matter;
  • using a combination of LEV and sufficient general ventilation, eg tailpipe exhausts with open doors or roof extraction;
  • using sufficient general ventilation, eg manual or mechanical roof extraction;

Practice and administrative controls

  • using processes or systems of work which will help you to reduce the generation of DEEEs, for example switching off engines when not required for a substantial period of time and adopting a programme of regular engine maintenance;
  • where practicable, reducing the number of employees directly exposed and their period of exposure, eg ensuring that office staff working adjacent to DEEE areas are not exposed, job rotation; and

Respiratory protective equipment (RPE)

  • as exposure to DEEEs is best controlled at source or by other means as described previously, RPE should only be used as a last resort. The RPE chosen should be suitable for protecting against the gaseous and particulate components. The use of nuisance dust masks as worn by cyclists are ineffective against DEEEs and, therefore, should not be used as a means of control in the workplace. Detailed information on RPE for use in the workplace can be found in the HSE guidance book HSG53 Respiratory protective equipment at work: A practical guide.

Use of control measures (COSHH regulation 8)

You should ensure that any control measures are properly used or applied. Employees should make full and proper use of any control measure or personal protective equipment provided by the employer, and report any defects to management for immediate attention.

Maintenance, examination and the testing of control measures (COSHH regulation 9)

You should ensure that all the measures provided to control exposure to DEEEs in the workplace are maintained in an effective state, and kept in efficient working order and in good repair. Where engineering controls are used, they should be thoroughly examined and tested at suitable intervals. LEV, for example, should be thoroughly examined and tested at least once every 14 months.

With the exception of disposable filtering facepiece respirators intended for single shift use, RPE should not be used unless it has had a recent thorough examination and maintenance. The interval between thorough examination and maintenance should not be more than one month.

You should keep a record of such examinations and tests of LEV and RPE for at least five years from the date on which they were made. The record should be readily available for inspection by employees or their representatives, or by enforcement authorities.

Monitoring for exposure to DEEEs in the workplace (COSHH regulation 10)

Under regulation 10 of COSHH, monitoring at the workplace may be required for the following reasons:

  • to determine if there is a failure or deterioration of the control measures which could result in an obvious health effect, eg irritancy from exposure to DEEEs;
  • to determine whether any workplace exposure limit (WEL) or any in-house working standard has been exceeded; and
  • when necessary to check the effectiveness of a control measure provided, eg particulate filter, LEV and/or general ventilation.

The health risk assessment will help you decide if it is necessary to carry out monitoring, for example, to judge the effectiveness of controls. A suitable monitoring strategy, as determined by a competent person such as an occupational hygienist, will indicate whether personal monitoring, fixed placed (static) monitoring, or both are required. It will show which site(s) require monitoring, when and how often, and which sampling and analytical methods would be appropriate.

Personal monitoring for exposure to DEEEs

You may need to carry out personal monitoring to determine the extent of inhalation exposure to DEEEs, and hence the level of risk. Personal monitoring samples should be collected in the breathing zone of the employees. Such samples should be collected where there is a significant potential for exposure during their working shift and include peak exposures, eg while repairing or testing/maintaining an engine, while driving a fork-lift truck or during lashing in ro-ro ferries.

The duration of sampling depends on the workplace situation, such as the nature of the work and the type of monitoring. However, to collect sufficient material from the workplace air and determine the time-weighted average (TWA) exposure, sampling periods will mainly be between six and eight hours. In some instances though, depending on the circumstances, short-term measurements may be all that is required to make decisions on the risk of exposure and level of control. The number of people you decide to sample at each location will depend on the nature of exposure and size of the exposed workforce, for example:

  • processes or operations where exposures are likely to occur;
  • the number, type and position of sources from which the DEEEs are released; and
  • which groups of employees are most likely to be exposed.

Fixed place monitoring

Fixed place monitoring is appropriate in those areas of the workplace where it is impractical to collect personal samples, eg outside a toll booth. Such fixed sampling is useful for determining the effectiveness of your control measures and for measuring background concentrations of DEEEs.

What substances to monitor

Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) above 1000 ppm 8-hour TWA in the workplace, may indicate faulty, poorly maintained or inadequately designed control systems in particular LEV or roof extraction systems. As measurement of the CO2 level is easily carried out and because it is a useful indicator of the overall adequacy of control measures, it may be used as one of the steps in any assessment of the level of exposure to DEEEs.

Respirable dust levels may be measured to help you assess the particulate exposure if, for example, the workload is particularly heavy. However, the levels measured will include particulates from all sources and not just the DEEEs.

In situations where personal exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) may be high (such as at toll booths and in car parks where the majority of vehicles are petrol driven) measurement of CO will provide an indication about the adequacy of controls.

Irritancy

As the definite causes of irritancy are unknown, if any of your workforce complain of this health effect, it is important to look for better means of control rather than to monitor for other gaseous constituents of DEEEs.

Health surveillance (COSHH regulation 11)

Under COSHH, no formal health surveillance is required by employers of those exposed to DEEEs or related emissions. However, if employees are concerned about the short or long-term health effects of exposure to DEEEs, they should discuss the problem with management. If still not satisfied with the outcome, they should voice their concerns with their union representative if available or the works safety representative. Furthermore, if management notices that employees are suffering irritancy effects following exposure to DEEEs, it may indicate that the controls have failed and prompt action is required.

Employers must provide information on health and related matters to employees or their representatives in accordance with the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 and the Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996. Such information allows employees or their representatives to help employers develop control measures.

Information, instruction and training (COSHH regulation 12)

Adequate information, instruction and training should be given to employees on the health hazards associated with occupational exposure to DEEEs and on the proper use of control measures. This information should also be made available to employee safety representatives or other appropriate people.

The information, training and instruction should enable employees to recognise obvious deterioration in the controls used (such as poor maintenance of engines, damage to extraction equipment or ineffective general ventilation), so they can report to employers who would then take the necessary action to rectify the situation.

 

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

Safe maintenance – packaging manufacturer in court over workplace 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

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 & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 25TH FEBRUARY 2016

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Young people at work – sixteen year old worker falls through skylight

Powered gates FAQs – firm fined after man struck by gate

Safe use of forklift trucks – scrap metal firm in court over worker’s severe forklift injuries

Introduction

Figures published last October by the Department for Education revealed that thousands more young people are working or learning after the age of 16. Many young people are likely to be new to the workplace and in some cases facing unfamiliar risks, from the job they are doing and from their surroundings. They need to be provided with clear and sufficient instruction, training and supervision to enable them to work without putting themselves and other people at risk. We open this week’s update with HSE guidance on employing under 18’s, following news of a roofing company being fined after a young worker fell through a skylight.

Also last October, we shared HSE guidance on powered door and gate safety (click on the link: http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/health-safety-news-update-8th-october-2015/) ahead of Gate Safety Week which, in the words of Powered Gate Group Chairman Neil Sampson, “is all about raising public awareness of the dangers of using a poorly installed or maintained powered gate, in the hope that we can prevent any further deaths or injuries”. (The risks associated with powered gates have been well documented by the HSE. The following safety notice was issued after two incidents that both led to the deaths of young children: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/electricgates2.htm) Only last week, news was released by the HSE, of company that produces and installs gate systems being fined after the leaf of a gate fell and struck a man, so this week we’re sharing HSE responses to some FAQs on the topic.

And finally, we share HSE guidance on the safe use of forklift trucks following news of a scrap metal firm being in court over a worker’s severe forklift injuries.

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

Young people at work – sixteen year old worker falls through skylight

A Stoke-on-Trent roofing company has been fined £14,000 plus £6,919 costs, after an employee suffered serious injury when he fell through a roof skylight at an address in Newcastle under Lyme.

Newcastle under Lyme Magistrates’ Court heard how the young worker accessed an unprotected roof and fell through the skylight. He was working during the summer vacation in July 2014 when the incident occurred. He suffered three cracked vertebrae.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that there was poor supervision and training.

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 web page 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 following links for more guidance:

Young people FAQs (visit HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/faqs.htm for answers):

  • Does an employer have to carry out a separate risk assessment for a young person?
  • What if a young person doesn’t feel confident about raising a health and safety concern with their employer?
  • Does an employer need to have Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI) in place before they employ a young person?
  • How does an employer avoid putting a young person at risk due to their physical limitations?
  • How do I assess a young person’s psychological capability?
  • What constitutes harmful exposure?
  • Can a young person be employed to work with ionising radiation?
  • How do I take account of a young person’s lack of maturity, lack of risk awareness, insufficient attention to safety and their lack of experience or training?
  • Are young people at more risk of exposure to extreme temperature, noise or vibration?
  • I understand there has been a change to the official statutory school leaving age, rising to age 17 in 2013, with a further rise to 18 from 2015. Is this correct and does this mean that the definition of a child has changed?

Common young people myths

“Under 18s cannot be employed on construction sites for work or work experience”

There is no reason why a young person under 18 could not be employed on a building site for work or work experience, provided the work was properly assessed and suitable controls put in place. Although there may be times when it would not be appropriate for an under 18 to be employed, these will be very much the exception rather than the rule.

“Schools and colleges, or those organising work experience placements on their behalf, such as Education Business Partnerships, have to carry out workplace checks before sending students on work experience placements and staff carrying out these checks must meet prescribed levels of occupational competence or qualification”

There are no health and safety regulations that require schools, colleges, or those organising placements on their behalf, to carry out workplace assessments for work experience placements. There is also no requirement for any prescribed level of occupational competence or qualification for education personnel, or others organising these placements.

However, schools, colleges and others organising placements do need to satisfy themselves that an employer has risk management arrangements for placements, including for higher risk environments. Find out what you need to do and how to keep it simple by visiting the following HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/workexperience/organiser.htm.

“A separate risk assessment is required for work experience students”

A separate risk assessment is not required specifically for work experience students, as long as your existing assessment already considers the specific factors for young people. Furthermore, there is no requirement to re-assess the risks each time an employer takes on a new work experience student, provided the new student has no particular needs.

“Schools, colleges and those organising work experience placements on their behalf, such as Education Business Partnerships, must visit all workplaces in advance of a student starting a work experience placement”

It is not for schools, colleges or those organising work experience placements on their behalf, to assess work places. The employer who is taking on the student for work experience has the primary responsibility for their health and safety. However, schools, colleges and others organising placements do need to take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that an employer is managing any significant risks. For many low risk premises a visit will not be necessary, there is no reason why this couldn’t be done over the phone, with placement organisers simply making a note of the discussion. A conversation with an employer could include finding out what the student will be doing, what the risks are and how they are managed.

It is about keeping checks in proportion to the environment and in many cases it is likely that a school, college, or other placement organiser will be familiar with employers they use regularly and will be aware of their track record. They may also know of other schools, colleges and placement organisers who have placed students with the same employers and can share information with them. Find out what you need to do and how to keep it simple by visiting the following HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/workexperience/organiser.htm.

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

Powered gates FAQs – firm fined after man struck by gate

A company that produces and installs gate systems has been fined £20,000 plus £5,000 costs after the leaf of a gate fell and struck a man.

Newport Magistrates’ Court heard how the company was contracted to manufacture and install a gate system at commercial premises in Caerphilly.

The gate consisted of two leaves; one of which was driven by a motor and connected to the second leaf by a chain and sprocket which provided the drive motion for the second leaf.

There was a failure of the gate mechanism and in September 2014 an employee at the premises went to manually close the gate. The leaf he was pulling came out of the runners and it collapsed on him. A vertical rail struck his leg and resulted in severe trauma to his leg with muscle and nerves torn away. He was hospitalised for ten days and off work for one year.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident found that the underlying failure of the gate mechanism was as a result of inadequate design, assessment and control measures to ensure the gate was safe for use.

HSE inspector Dean Baker said after the hearing: “Powered gates pose a risk to employees and members of the public. Those responsible for installing, maintaining and operating these gates need to make sure they are safe during installation and use. This accident could have been avoided if the clearly foreseeable risk of the gate falling had been identified and controlled.”

FAQs – Powered gates

What are the risks with powered (automatic) doors and gates, and how can they be controlled?

In recent years, a number of adults and children have been seriously injured or killed by this type of machinery (click on the link for more information: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/poweredgates.htm). The injuries were caused because people have been trapped or crushed by the moving door or gate. All powered doors and gates must be properly designed, installed and maintained to prevent possible injuries.

What if I think a gate is unsafe?

Unless you’ve been working on the gate, the ‘owner’ of the gate has to ensure that the gate is safe and without risks to others. The ‘owner’ here includes landlords or managing agents with responsibility for the gate. If the owner thinks the gate is unsafe, he should take steps to make it safe – for example, by engaging a competent person to install safety mechanisms or protective devices. Meanwhile, for safety, it should be switched off, or only used safely in a supervised way, eg under direct hold-to-run control.

If you’ve been working on the gate – eg installing, repairing, maintaining the gate – then you are responsible for ensuring it is left in a safe state. You should discuss your concerns with the gate owner so that they can take action to put things right.

I’m a domestic householder, do I have to do anything?

Health and safety law doesn’t apply to you. But it is a good idea to have regular checks carried out on the gates in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. This is particularly important where the gate may affect the safety of third parties – such as passers-by, children or visitors. As with other contractors, you’ll need to check that they are competent to carry out any work/inspections that you ask them to do.

Please note that anyone undertaking a ‘work activity’ on a domestic powered gate (eg repairs, checks, adjustments, servicing) will be subject to health and safety law. For further details see Powered Gates: Responsibilities (http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/powered-gates/responsibilities.htm)

I own commercial/industrial premises, what do I have to do?

You will have to ensure that powered doors and gates on the premises are safe. Existing powered doors and gates must be designed, constructed and maintained for safety. You will need to inspect them regularly to make sure they work properly and that protective devices are effective. In some cases, you may need to use a competent contractor to help you do this.

If you’re going to install a new powered door or gate – or ‘power-up’ an existing manually operated one – you should employ a competent installer who understands how these machines work, what the safety requirements are, how to do the work safely, and comply with the law concerning machinery supply. They should also provide you with user instructions and details on how to maintain the gates.

I install doors and gates, what must I do?

You must be competent. This means you must understand the risks associated with these products and the law concerning supply. You should ensure that they are installed according to the manufacturers’ instructions, making checks and adjustments as necessary so they are left safe. You must give user instructions to the client – whether domestic or commercial/industrial – on how to use and maintain the gates. If you have any concerns about the design of the gate, or its components, then you should discuss these with the manufacturer/supplier.

As a maintenance contractor, what do I have to do?

You must be competent to carry out maintenance or inspection work. This means understanding how the door or gate and its safety features work. If you find something wrong then you should talk to the owner about what you need to do to make it safe, particularly if there is a risk of injury. You need to leave the gate in a safe state. Where new components are fitted the user instructions may need to be updated.

HSE cannot get involved in civil disputes between owners or others with responsibility and contractors where there are disagreements about maintenance, repairs or upgrading work. In such cases, the owner and the contractor need to resolve the issues; both need to ensure that people are not put at risk of harm. Organisations such as Gate Safe® (http://gate-safe.org/) and the Door and Hardware Federation (http://www.dhfonline.org.uk/) may be able to help.

What are the main safety requirements for these machines?

Powered gates and doors

  • Must be properly designed, taking full account of the environment of use, the presence of vulnerable members of the population, and potential foreseeable misuse, as well as intended use;
  • Manufactured (including when assembled from components in situ) to the safety standards required by law, regardless of whether for use in connection with work, or located on private domestic premises;
  • Supplied with all relevant documentation, particularly the user instructions for the complete product, and where necessary of component parts;
  • Installed safely, and maintained for safety, by competent contractors;
  • If part of a workplace, be adequately inspected and maintained for safety;
  • If part of premises managed by a work undertaking (including landlords and managing agents of residential complexes), to meet the general duty for the safety of non-employed persons;
  • As necessary for on-going safety, regularly checked, which may require specific inspection, testing, and adjustment, so they remain safe; and
  • Where found to be dangerous, immediately taken out of use until all of the safety concerns have been adequately addressed.

What does the law say?

Powered (automatic) gates (barriers and doors) located in ‘workplaces’ are subject to a number of specific legal requirements. These will include requirements for:

  • design, manufacture, supply and installation under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008; and
  • inspection and maintenance under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

There will also be general requirements under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in relation to risks to third parties (non-employees).

Powered (automatic) gates for use on private domestic premises must comply with the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 when first installed.

Where can I get more information?

You can get more information about safe machinery and work equipment here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/index.htm. For more detailed information and guidance on this topic see the Powered Gate section: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/powered-gates/introduction.htm.

HSE has worked with Gate Safe® and the Door and Hardware Federation (DHF) to produce advice and guidance on powered gates. You can get specific information on powered doors and gates from their web sites.

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

Safe use of forklift trucks – scrap metal firm in court over worker’s severe forklift injuries

A scrap metal firm and its director have been sentenced after a Manchester worker suffered severe injuries to his left arm when it became stuck in a forklift truck.

The 30 year old worker remained trapped for over two hours while the emergency services tried to free his arm from the vehicle’s mast at a Manchester trading estate in November 2013.

The company and its director were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after it emerged that the worker had been told to stand on the forks on the truck to help move scrap cars into the back of a shipping container.

He suffered severe crush injuries when his arm became trapped and it took the combined effort of three fire crews, a specialist major rescue unit, two air ambulances, a medical team from Manchester Royal Infirmary and three ambulance crews to rescue him.

He sustained nerve damage to his left arm which makes it difficult for him to grip or lift items, and was in hospital for nearly two months. He still needs to visit Manchester Royal Infirmary for treatment and has been unable to return to work due to the extent of his injuries.

The court was told the company failed to report the incident to HSE for nearly three months, despite being told on several occasions that this was a legal requirement.

The company director was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and ordered to pay costs of £750 after pleading guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The firm pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 4 (2) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

Managing lift trucks

Key messages

  • Lift trucks are particularly dangerous in the workplace.
  • On average, lift trucks are involved in about a quarter of all workplace transport accidents.
  • Accidents involving lift trucks are often due to poor supervision and a lack of training.

Safe working with lift trucks

HSE has published an Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) and guidance called Rider-operated lift trucks: Operator training and safe use. Click on the following link to download a free copy: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l117.htm

This sets the minimum standard of basic training people should receive before they are allowed to operate certain types of lift truck – even if they only operate the equipment occasionally. It also provides detailed guidance about how they can meet this standard.

The ACOP covers stacking rider-operated lift trucks, including articulated steering trucks. ‘Rider-operated’ means any truck that can carry an operator and includes trucks controlled from both seated and stand-on positions.

If you employ anyone to operate a lift truck covered by the ACOP, you should make sure that operators have been trained to the standards it sets out.

The ACOP also includes some sections taken from ‘Safety in working with lift trucks’ (now withdrawn).

More HSE guidance is available by clicking on the following links:

For more information on vehicles at work, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/ 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 – 8TH OCTOBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Gate Safety Week: 12-18 October 2015

Planning and organising lifting operations (global firms sentenced after worker killed)

Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI)

Health and safety implications of pervasive computing (RFID)

Introduction

Next week is Gate Safety Week which, in the words of Powered Gate Group Chairman Neil Sampson, “is all about raising public awareness of the dangers of using a poorly installed or maintained powered gate, in the hope that we can prevent any further deaths or injuries”. The Door & Hardware Federation Powered Gate Group has published a number of documents which provide guidance on gate safety, and reference to these is made on the HSE website where the advice we share with you this week is also provided.

The need to ensure that relevant information is considered when lift plans are produced was highlighted this summer, when two global companies were sentenced after a worker was killed and another seriously injured during construction of an offshore wind farm. Lifting operations can often put people at great risk of injury, as well as incurring great costs when they go wrong. It is therefore important to properly resource, plan and organise lifting operations so they are carried out in a safe manner, and HSE guidance on this topic is provided below.

Not sure whether or not you need Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI)? Chances are, unless you have no employees, or are a family business and all employees are closely related to you, that you do. So this week we explain why you need it, and – more importantly – how to get it.

And finally, we look at the implications – positive and negative – of a technological concept that is becoming something of a “buzz word” in the world of health and safety. Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, is being successfully integrated into site safety procedures by warning pedestrians and machinery drivers of each others’ presence. However, while (as in the development of mobile telecommunications) no threat to human health has yet been proven from exposure to RF radiation, there is public concern about the nature and effects of signals from such technologies (NRPB – Mobile Phones and Health 2004).

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

 

Gate Safety Week: 12-18 October 2015

Next week is Gate Safety Week which, in the words of Powered Gate Group Chairman Neil Sampson, “is all about raising public awareness of the dangers of using a poorly installed or maintained powered gate, in the hope that we can prevent any further deaths or injuries”. The Door & Hardware Federation Powered Gate Group has published a number of documents which provide guidance on gate safety, and reference to these is made on the HSE website where the following advice is also provided:

Powered gates: Ensuring powered doors and gates are safe (click on the link for more information: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/powered-gates/safety.htm)

Powered door and gate safety is not just about the individual components making up the product, but about the way they are combined together to fit a particular set of circumstances, and what is done over time to maintain safety.

At all times a powered gate must respond in a safe way when any person interacts with it. Its design must take into account that foreseeable interactions may go well beyond normal use (eg children playing around or with / on the powered gate), as well as normal wear and tear, and adverse environmental influences, particular wind and rain / snow and other debris that can impair function.

Delivering safety by design and construction

Much is dependent on the way the various component parts (switches, sensors, safety devices, controllers, and motors) are assembled and connected together to respond to the particular environment of use. Safety is usually delivered by a combination of methods, including:

  • design to eliminate hazards such as: the gate running away down a slope, coming off tracks / falling over, closing gaps at hinges creating crushing points, access to parts of the mechanism or gaps between the moving leaf and other leaves (including secondary leaves on telescopic gates) or fixed parts (supports, walls, etc), gaps in railings in which heads may get stuck, etc
  • the stability and strength of mountings and foundations to adequately resist dynamic forces arising from the weight of the gate as it moves and the effects of wind loadings, so as to minimise adverse effects on actuators and sensing systems
  • fixed guarding to prevent / restrict access to drive gears, etc, fencing off the back of sliding gates to avoid shear hazards between the gate leaf and fixed parts, etc
  • speed control, including deceleration when nearing the end of travel / rotational movement where crushing hazards may arise
  • limitation of forces exerted by moving parts (which may be delivered within the gate motor itself), or in conjunction with external protective mechanisms, including pressure sensitive edges fixed to leading and other edges where crushing/impact hazards exist, to detect and cushion the impact with an obstruction
  • non-contact sensors:
  • many of these are only designed to prevent a gate closing on a vehicle (note, these beams are not usually high integrity safety devices, in fact they may need to avoid over-sensitive tripping from rain / snow and leaves, and can usually be easily circumnavigated, eg by stepping over)
  • safety beams, which as higher integrity ‘safety components’ may be deployed in some cases to avoid contact with the moving gate(s), but because of cost are less common than pressure sensitive edges
  • the way the gate is operated: hold-to-run or automatic (fully automatic or from a starting impulse), and
  • the overall behaviour of the system as delivered by the system controller (eg not just stopping when encountering an obstruction, but also backing off at least a short distance to avoid entrapment – because even being held but not crushed can still be hazardous if there is no rescue),
  • the way the system has been wired and set up during / after installation, including the quality and physical protection of wiring and the connections between all component parts, to resist damage, deterioration and water ingress that may cause the loss of the safety function (eg through short circuits), and
  • how it is subsequently maintained / set as parts wear and respond to environmental conditions (eg temperature and wind forces, particularly on close boarded hinged gates which may experience high wind loadings that the drive motors may not always be able to overcome).

All these factors must be considered as part of the initial design (through suitable risk assessment), specification and construction, and appropriate information provided in the User Instructions, including on routine maintenance and the nature and periodicity of safety checks. Lifetime product safety doesn’t just depend on design and construction, but the way it is used and looked after, often by others not involved in original design and construction.

Maintaining for safety

Component parts can wear and fail, sometimes catastrophically. Like most machinery, powered doors and gates need to be maintained to remain safe. Powered gates forming parts of workplaces or in common parts of residential complexes will be subject to health and safety law. Owners, occupiers, landlords and managing agents will have on-going responsibilities for the safety of all users and all those who may encounter the gate.

Those undertaking work on powered gates are responsible for what they do, and for leaving the machinery in a safe condition, which may include switching off and isolating from power if it needs to be left in an unsafe condition. Substantial modifications may require re-assessment, in some cases re-CE marking by the person undertaking the modifications.

Risk assessment, competence and training

Whilst there may be standard components, even final products, the huge range of locations in which they are installed and variable environmental conditions to which they are exposed mean that most powered gates will be unique products requiring some form of specific risk assessment, both for installation and subsequent use. It is therefore not possible to define standard solutions for safety: each powered gate must be considered individually and holistically, employing suitable risk assessment tools and knowledge / expertise to manage the risks on a case by case basis.

Many organisations offer general training on risk assessment, and within the UK powered gate industry both Gate Safe and the Door and Hardware Federation can provide specific powered gate awareness / competence training.

Those working with powered gates need various competencies depending on their role. Often different members of a team will bring different skills to the job, eg electricians for wiring up and checking the basic safety of the electrical components. In some cases to evaluate component performance specific equipment or instruments may be required. For example, where force limitation is the primary means of safety some form of objective force testing may be required to ensure the final product as delivered is within safe limits, and to subsequently check the product remains safe. This may require additional specific competencies, and suitable record keeping.

Use of standards for design, assessment and testing

There are a number of current standards which are relevant to powered gates, including:

  • BS EN 13241-1 the Product Standard for powered gates (and relevant to the CPR)
  • BS EN 12604 & BS EN 12605 on mechanical requirements and tests
  • BS EN 12453 & BS EN 12445 on requirements and test for powered gates
  • BS EN 12635 on installation and use
  • BS EN 12978 on safety devices for power operated doors and gates
  • BS EN 60335-2-103 on drives for household and similar gates
  • BS EN 60335-2-95 on drives for residential vertically moving garage doors

but at present adherence to these standards alone in many cases will not ensure that all of the mandatory requirements for safety (the EHSRs of the Machinery Directive) will be met.

In particular hazards may remain with regard to:

  • Hinges, because of the way forces measured as specified by the above standards are ‘amplified’ closer to the pivot point, especially where crushing / trapping hazards have not been removed by design / construction (which may be less easy to avoid when converting existing gates to powered operation). A child fatality incident in 2006 was in part attributed to the design of the hinge area of a hinged gate.
  • Shear gaps, especially on sliding gates between moving leaves and fixed parts (or in some cases where leaves pass each other, eg telescopic sliding gates.
  • Force limitation, because published research (Mewes & Mauser 2003)1 suggests that the maximum impact forces permitted by the standards may not always be appropriate for the most vulnerable members of society (children, etc) who may reasonable encounter powered gates.
  • Control systems, because the key standard (BS EN 12453) does not define minimum requirements for safety integrity and reliability in all cases.

The use of any of the above standards by manufacturers for product safety is not mandatory (although products in scope of EN 13241-1 may have to be issued with a Declaration of Performance under the Construction Products Regulation). And the use of the main safety requirements standard EN 12453 does not currently give a ‘presumption of conformity’ with the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC.

Therefore manufacturers will have to show in detail in the technical file for each powered gate how they have designed and constructed the gate to meet the EHSRs and be safe for the gate’s foreseeable lifetime, taking account of foreseeable misuse, as well as intended use.

If you require any clarification at all, or further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

 

Planning and organising lifting operations (global firms sentenced after worker killed)

The need to ensure that relevant information is considered when lift plans are produced (to ensure that all of the relevant risks are considered) was highlighted this summer, when two global companies were sentenced after a worker was killed and another seriously injured during construction of an offshore wind farm.

The incident happened in May 2010, when a team of engineers were loading wind turbine blades onto a sea barge for delivery to a wind farm off the Suffolk coast. During loading of the components, a 2.11 tonne part of the blade transport arrangement fell off, crushing and fatally injuring one worker and seriously injuring another.

The investigation carried out by HSE found serious safety failings in the two firms’ management systems for the loading operation, which allowed vital parts of equipment to go unchecked before being lifted.

Following a four-week trial in July, prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the two companies were ordered to pay fines and costs totalling in excess of £1 million between them.

Speaking after the hearing, an HSE Inspector said: “This incident could easily have been avoided had suitable systems and procedures been in place to ensure that all loads were properly connected whilst being lifted. Had the right questions been asked when the lift was being planned and had the bolt and two brackets holding the blade and frame together been checked before they were lifted, the death and serious injury of two workers could have been prevented.”

Planning and organising lifting operations

Lifting operations can often put people at great risk of injury, as well as incurring great costs when they go wrong. It is therefore important to properly resource, plan and organise lifting operations so they are carried out in a safe manner. Each of these elements requires a person or people with sufficient competence to be involved at each step. These people should have sufficient theoretical and practical knowledge of the work and equipment in question, as well as the requirements of the law, to be able to do this properly. For complex and high-risk operations, the planning and organisation should be extensive and meticulous.

Planning

The planning of individual routine lifting operations may be the responsibility of those who carry them out (eg a slinger or crane operator). But for much more complex lifting operations (eg a tandem lift using multiple cranes), a written plan should be developed by a person with significant and specific competencies – adequate training, knowledge, skills and expertise – suitable for the level of the task.

For straightforward, common lifting operations, a single initial generic plan may be all that is required (eg fork-lift trucks in a factory), which could be part of the normal risk assessment for the activity. However, from time to time it may be necessary to review the plan to make sure that nothing has changed and the plan remains valid. Routine lifting operations which are a little more complex may, depending on the circumstances, need to be planned each time the lifting operation is carried out.

The plan for any lifting operation must address the foreseeable risks involved in the work and identify the appropriate resources (including people) necessary for safe completion of the job. Factors to include may be any or all of the following:

  • working under suspended loads
  • visibility
  • attaching / detaching and securing loads
  • environment
  • location
  • overturning
  • proximity hazards
  • derating
  • lifting people
  • overload
  • pre-use checking
  • continuing integrity of the equipment

The plan should set out clearly the actions involved at each step of the operation and identify the responsibilities of those involved. The degree of planning and complexity of the plan will vary and should be proportionate to the foreseeable risks involved in the work.

Strength and stability

Lifting equipment must be of adequate strength for the proposed use. The assessment of this should recognise that there may be a combination of forces to which the lifting equipment, including the accessories, will be subjected. The lifting equipment used should provide an appropriate ‘factor of safety’ against all foreseeable types of failure. Where people are lifted, the factor of safety is often higher. Any lifting equipment selected should not be unduly susceptible to any of the foreseeable failure modes likely to arise in service, for example fracture, wear or fatigue.

Positioning and installation

The position of mobile lifting equipment or the location of fixed installations can have a dramatic effect on the risks involved in a lifting operation. It is vital to take all practical steps to avoid people being struck by loads or the equipment itself during use. The equipment should also be positioned to minimise the need to lift over people. Measures should be taken to reduce the risk of load drift (eg spinning, swinging, etc); and of the load falling freely or being released unintentionally. Many different methods have been developed to prevent falling loads, including the use of multiple ropes or chains, hydraulic check valves and nets for palletised loads.

Measures must be taken to ensure that people cannot fall down a shaft or hoistway. At access points to these areas, effective means to prevent access should be in place, such as gates, barriers or doors. Where access is required to enter the area, when a platform or car is present (eg a lift), the doors or gates should be interlocked to allow the gates to open only when the car is present.

When positioning lifting equipment, care must be exercised to avoid hazards arising from proximity, for example: coming into contact with overhead power lines, buildings or structures; coming too close to trenches, excavations or other operations; and coming into contact with buried underground services, such as drains and sewers.

Working under suspended loads

Where it can be avoided, loads should not be suspended over occupied areas. Where it cannot be avoided, the risks to people must be minimised by safe systems of work and appropriate precautions. Where loads are suspended for significant periods, the area below them should be classed as a danger zone, where access is restricted.

Supervision of lifting operations

Supervision should be proportionate to the risk, taking account of the competencies and experience of those undertaking the lift. Many everyday lifting operations do not require direct supervision (eg experienced fork-lift operators undertaking routine lifts), although there may be circumstances where supervisory assistance may be required to manage risk (eg lifting an unusual load, crossing a public road etc). From time to time, employers may need to monitor the competence of workers undertaking lifting operations to ensure they continue to be carried out safely.

Guidance on planning, organising and undertaking lifting operations

More detailed advice on the planning, organising and undertaking of lifting operations is provided in the LOLER Approved Code of Practice and guidance (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l113.htm). Particular guidance is given on:

  • competence of people planning lifting (regulation 8; ACOP para 210 onwards)
  • suitability, including strength and stability, of lifting equipment (regulation 4; ACOP para 98 onwards)
  • positioning of lifting equipment and visibility (regulation 6; ACOP paras 161 and 237 onwards)
  • working under suspended loads (regulation 8; ACOP para 230 onwards)
  • attaching / detaching and securing loads (regulation 8; ACOP para 244 onwards)
  • location, including access (ACOP paras 256 and 62 onwards)
  • environment of use, including operator protection, the effects of wind and mobility (regulation 8; ACOP paras 83, 253, 89 and 112 onwards)
  • overturning (regulation 8; ACOP para 258 onwards)
  • proximity to other hazards, such as overhead power lines and buried services (regulation 8; ACOP para 265 onwards)
  • derating (regulation 8; ACOP paras 111 and 274 onwards)
  • the lifting of people (regulation 5; ACOP para 127 onwards)
  • preventing overload (regulation 4; ACOP para 122 onwards)
  • pre-use checks (regulation 8; ACOP para 285 onwards)
  • the continued integrity of lifting equipment (regulation 8; ACOP para 289 onwards)

For more information, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/planning-organising-lifting-operations.htm (click on the link), or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

 

Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI)

A Woolwich restaurant owner has recently been fined £1,500 plus £1,779 costs for failing to provide Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI). Speaking after the hearing at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court, an HSE Inspector said: “Every employer needs to ensure that they have Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance in place, where such breaches, as in this case, are identified they will be pursued by the HSE.”

Get insurance for your business

If your business has employees you will probably need employers’ liability insurance.

If an employee is injured or becomes ill as a result of the work they do for you, they can claim compensation from you.

Meeting your health and safety duties is easier than you think. As long as you have taken reasonable steps to prevent accidents or harm to your employees (and the injury or illness was caused after 1 October 2013), you shouldn’t have to pay compensation. However, if a court finds you are liable, employers’ liability insurance will help you to pay any compensation for your employees’ injuries or illness.

Only a few businesses are not required to have employers’ liability insurance. If you have no employees, or are a family business and all employees are closely related to you, you may not need it. For further details see HSE leaflet Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969: A brief guide for employers (free to download by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hse40.htm).

How do you get employers’ liability insurance?

You can buy employers’ liability insurance through insurers or intermediaries like brokers or trade associations. You may find that it often comes as part of an insurance package designed to cover a range of business needs.

Your policy must be with an authorised insurer and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has a list of these. You can check their register on the FCA website (http://www.fca.org.uk/).

If you require any clarification at all, or further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

 

Health and safety implications of pervasive computing (RFID)

This describes the concept of embedding or integrating computers into the environment with a view to enabling people to interact with them in a more “natural” way. Also referred to amongst other descriptions as “ubiquitous computing” or “ambient intelligence”, current examples include the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags and GPS systems in vehicles. Wireless networking technology (WiFi) is a key enabler for many of the applications and there is a growing trend towards greater connectivity through the use of broadband. For example in Philadelphia, “officials view broadband as an essential social service” and plan to introduce web access for all their citizens via a city-wide wireless network by the end of 2006.

Extensions of pervasive computing, which are being investigated actively at the moment include devices which sense changes in their environment and adapt and act on these changes, through to work on human-computer interactions and artificial intelligence.

In the short term, rapid expansion is expected in the use of RFID technology, where a vast range of applications are envisaged, offering benefits such as increased productivity and improved resource utilisation, together with reduced cycle times and re-work. All elements of the supply chain from raw material input through to delivery of product to the customer are potentially amenable to some form of RFID control and monitoring. In addition to logistics and product tracking applications, examples of the implementation of RFID technologies are foreseen in areas as diverse as personal identification, anti-counterfeiting, payment systems, maintenance management and healthcare.

Implications:

  • Increased exposure of the workforce (and customers in retail environments) to RF radiation is likely to result from the extended use of WiFi and the more powerful/ longer range WiMax technologies. While, as in the development of mobile telecommunications, no threat to human health has yet been proven from such exposure, there is public concern about the nature and effects of signals from such technologies (NRPB – Mobile Phones and Health 2004).
  • As with other computer-based systems, there is the potential for malicious or accidental corruption of the data stored on RFID tags, which could pose a threat, particularly where safety-critical applications such as e.g. maintenance monitoring are involved.
  • It is possible that intensive tracking of personnel activity in the workplace may result in stressors that may in turn contribute to increased incidences of stress.

Click on the link to read the RFID Technology short form report: http://www.hse.gov.uk/horizons/assets/documents/rfidsfreport.pdf

Our comment

There are positive implications too, in the form of “wearable technology” which is being successfully integrated into site safety procedures by warning pedestrians and machinery drivers of each others’ presence. A small RFID transponder is worn on pedestrians’ hard hats or sleeves, and a small unit fitted to vehicles. Both pedestrian and driver receive a warning if they become close enough to each other to be at risk of accidental collision. Warnings are automatically logged as incidents and the information is used by managers to monitor safety training requirements.

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