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

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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.

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 30TH JUNE 2016

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

Pallet safety – fish processing firm fined after man killed by falling boxes

A Plymouth company has been fined £500,000 after an employee suffered fatal injuries when a stack of boxes of frozen fish fell on him.

The employee was helping to clear up a fallen stack of frozen fish boxes in one of the cold store areas when there was another fall of stock which struck him. He received multiple and severe injuries which proved fatal.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident, which occurred in 2013, found there was no safe system of work or instruction to staff on how pallets should be stored. There was no written procedure for dealing with falls of stock when they occurred.

HSE inspector Emma O’Hara said after the hearing: “Safe stacking of stock is a cross-industry necessity and can often be overlooked when considering safe systems of work. Duty holders need to ensure that they are stacking safely and that they have a plan for dealing with any unforeseen circumstances such as a fall of stock.”

Pallet safety

Introduction

This guidance covers general-purpose flat pallets, which can be manufactured from a variety of materials. Pallets are used widely throughout industry, and this practical advice is for two audiences:

  • those who have responsibilities for buying and using pallets as a base for assembling, storing, handling and transporting goods and loads;
  • those who have responsibilities for the design and manufacture of pallets.

It tells buyers what they should ask designers and manufacturers to consider when designing a pallet. It also recommends how both new and used pallets should be used and inspected.

Relevant legislation

The use of work equipment such as pallets is covered by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).  This includes a requirement for work equipment to be ‘constructed or adapted as to be suitable for the purpose for which it is used or provided’, as well as meeting maintenance and inspection requirements.

Your risk assessment, required by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, should cover the hazards and risks from using and stacking pallets in the workplace. It should include not only the risks to employees but also any others at risk, for example members of the public or contractors visiting the workplace.

What is the legal definition of a pallet?

A pallet is defined in BS ISO 445 as follows:

‘a horizontal platform of minimum height compatible with handling by pallet trucks, and/or forklift trucks and other appropriate handling equipment, used as a base for assembling, storing, handling and transporting goods and loads in factories, warehouses etc’.

It may be constructed with, or fitted with, a superstructure.

The accident record

Pallets are heavy, so when accidents occur they tend to be serious. Falling pallets have caused a number of fatal accidents but the risks posed by falling pallets are often not fully appreciated. Most accidents could be prevented by developing and following safe working practices.

Accidents directly attributable to pallets are usually caused by:

  • poor design, construction or repair;
  • using inferior materials;
  • using a pallet which is unsuitable for a particular load, handling or storage method, eg pallets taken at random from a ‘mixed bag’ of used pallets for which the original specification is not known;
  • unsafe stacking resulting in falling stacks or pallets;
  • handling problems caused by mixing smaller Europallets (800 mm x 1200 mm) with larger UK pallets (1200 mm x 1000 mm) in racking systems. The smaller pallet may fall from the rack beams or be displaced by the larger pallet;
  • continuing to use a damaged pallet;
  • bad handling techniques;
  • pallets being used in an unsuitable environment.

Suitability

The majority of pallets are designed for moving a certain class or type of goods and are intended to be handled or stored in a particular way. For example:

  • a pallet designed for transporting cartons of cornflakes with a forklift truck and stored singly in racking is unlikely to be suitable for goods such as cans of paint lifted by a bar sling or multiple stacking;
  • a pallet designed specifically to carry evenly distributed loads, such as cartons of cornflakes or sheet paper, will not be strong enough to carry concentrated loads such as an electric motor of the same weight. The design parameters should ensure that a pallet is of adequate strength for the purpose intended, particularly if it is to be used with a variety of loads, handling and storage methods.

Pallet design considerations

Most manufacturers produce basic pallet designs suitable for general duties.

However, user requirements can differ widely and these basic designs may not satisfy some customers’ requirements. Good communications between the pallet manufacturer and user are essential to ensure the pallet construction is suitable for its intended use.

It is recommended that, where possible, the pallet design should satisfy the requirements of the appropriate British Standards (BS ISO 6780: 2003, BS EN ISO 8611-1:2012, BS EN ISO 8611-2:2012 and BS EN ISO 8611-3:2012).

The designer needs to know the following information to make sure the pallet is suitable for its intended use:

Pallet loads

  • The type of loads to be carried, for example if they are solid, liquid, powder, packed in drums, sacks, cartons etc
  • If the loads have any characteristics likely to damage the pallets, such as having corrosive properties
  • The weight of the loads and how they are distributed on the pallet, ie evenly over the whole surface or concentrated at one point
  • If there is a recommended way for the load to be placed on the pallet and the consequences if this is not followed
  • The requirements for the safe transportation of the loads, ie if the surface friction between the pallet and the load is adequate or if additional restraint will be required

Pallet environment 

  • Where the pallet will be used, for example in cold-store, outdoors, indoors, chemical works, or drying rooms
  • If the pallet will be used in an environment which has high or low temperatures or high humidity

Pallet movement

  • If the pallet is to be moved by pallet truck, forklift truck, cranes with fork attachments, bar slings, or automated stacking equipment – also if any conveyors are to be used
  • If two-way or four-way entry is needed
  • If the pallets will be lifted under their baseboards, eg as in storage and retrieval machines

Stacking loaded pallets – height and weight considerations

  • When pallets are stacked, think about the load on the bottom pallet and the capacity of the baseboards of each pallet when it comes to spreading the load. This should ensure that the payload does not distort over time, making the stack unstable. Such distortion is called ‘creep deflection’
  • This sort of distortion can take place with various payloads, such as the deflection of plastics, powder settling in bags and the weakening of cardboard boxes due to moisture

Pallet racking

  • The type of racking to be used, eg shelf, beam, or drive-in-racking and if pallet support bars are fitted
  • Drive-in racking places considerable stress on a pallet if it is stored with the longest dimension across the rack span. The shortest dimension should therefore be used
  • The dimension span between vertical beams of the drive-in-racking, as this must be compatible with the design of the pallet. Pallet support beams must be wide enough to support a pallet positioned off-centre and close to one side of the rack opening.

Pallet reuse

  • If the pallets are to be non-returnable/disposable or if they are intended to be reusable ‘durable’ equipment

Pallet transportation

  • The dimensions of the vehicles or containers that will carry the pallets

Pallet size

  • Where possible, pallet sizes should follow those recommended in BS ISO 6780: 2003

Pallet management planning

Problems can be caused by a user selecting a pallet at random from a pallet store on the premises, without thinking of what it is being used for. Here are some recommendations to help you promote both effective and safe usage in your pallet management plan.

Stability of the load

Pallets should be loaded to an established pattern designed to achieve maximum stability and safety within the rated load of the pallet. Loads should be applied gradually and, unless the pallet has been specifically designed for point loading, should as far as possible be uniformly distributed over the deck area.

Height of the load

As a general guide, the height of the load should not exceed the longest base dimension of the pallet. Shrink- or stretchwrapping the load usually provides greater security, minimising the possibility of movement of the goods being moved. With these techniques you can safely transport loads taller than the longest base dimension of the pallet. This will result in palletised loads that are around the internal height of closed vehicles or freight containers.

Plastic pallets

Plastic pallets have slippery surfaces and extra measures may be needed to secure the goods to them during transportation and to ensure that empty plastic pallet stacks are stable. Special attention is required when transporting plastic pallets by forklift truck as they are extremely slippery and potentially unstable on the forklift’s tines.

If palletised loads are to be stacked directly on top of each other, provide a firm base on the floor and on top of the preceding pallet load.

Deciding on a safe stacking height

When deciding on a safe stacking height, the pallet user should take into account:

  • information from the pallet manufacturer – this is particularly important for plastic pallets. All safe loading information should use the terminology defined in BS EN ISO 445;
  • the support characteristics of the pallets payload – get information from the payload supplier where necessary;
  • local conditions/stacking pattern.

Stacks should be checked periodically, as stability depends on the type and shape of the load and on prevailing humidity and temperature conditions.

Stack height depends on the height, strength and stability of the unit loads, and the ability of the operator to see clearly. Only build taller stacks after detailed consultation with the manufacturer or other competent authority, and the maximum height should be no more than six times the narrowest dimension of the bottom pallet. This is provided that:

  • you have carefully assessed the block stacking pattern and the compression characteristics of the payload;
  • the pallet itself is designed to meet the stacking height required.

For more information, including compression hazards, handling layout, and pallet use/maintenance/inspection, download the HSE guidance note free by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/pm15.pdf or visit the HSE Warehousing web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/logistics/warehousing.htm. Alternatively, 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

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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