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.

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 10TH MARCH 2016

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IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

No Smoking Day – are e-cigarettes permitted or prohibited in the workplace?

European campaign – Healthy workplaces manage stress

Health and safety myths – “You don’t need to secure your load if you’re just driving down the road”

Introduction

Yesterday was No Smoking Day, and since its introduction in 1983, there are millions less smokers in the UK. But now, the most popular form of support to stop smoking is the use of e-cigarettes. BHF’s associate medical director Mike Knapton, has said “Although e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking cigarettes, there is no doubt that more research is needed into the potential long term effects of the use of them.” And whilst a ban on their use in some public places is being proposed, the decision on whether or not to permit their use in workplaces actually lies with employers. We open this week’s update with advice for employers from the HSE.

It’s a known fact that many people smoke when they feel stressed, and a major part of quitting smoking is finding ways to handle that stress. This can be difficult if the stress is work related, perhaps as a result of insufficient attention by employers to job design, work organisation and management. Work related stress develops because a person is unable to cope with the demands being placed on them. So this week we also share the HSE’s approach to tackling an issue which in 2015 accounted for 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.

And finally, we close this week’s update with HSE guidance on securing loads safely on vehicles and challenging the myth that this doesn’t need to be done for very short journeys.

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

No Smoking Day – are e-cigarettes permitted or prohibited in the workplace?

Yesterday was No Smoking Day, run by the British Heart Foundation. Since it was introduced in 1983, there are millions less smokers in the UK. This will no doubt have been helped by the smoke-free legislation introduced in 2007 in England, banning smoking in nearly all enclosed workplaces and public spaces. But now, the most popular form of support to stop smoking is the use of e-cigarettes. BHF’s associate medical director Mike Knapton, has said “Although e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking cigarettes, there is no doubt that more research is needed into the potential long term effects of the use of them.” And whilst a ban on their use in some public places is being proposed, the decision on whether or not to permit their use in workplaces actually lies with employers. The HSE provides the following advice:

Electronic cigarettes

HSE does not enforce legislation or standards for e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are not regulated like tobacco products and there is currently no bespoke regulatory system for e-cigarettes in the UK, but they are captured by general product safety regulatory requirements.

HSE’s advice is that an employer needs to consider e-cigarettes in the wider context of risk in the workplace. We are aware that some organisations have banned their use but this is not something HSE has advised on. Employers may want to ask for advice on this from Public Health England: cleartobaccoteam@phe.gov.uk.

Some organisations may find the ‘Will you permit or prohibit electronic cigarette use on your premises?’ document useful which can be downloaded by clicking on the link: http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_900.pdf. It sets out five questions to ask yourself before deciding whether to permit or prohibit e-cigarette use on your premises.

If an employer decides to ‘prohibit’ the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace but allow for ‘vaping’ breaks or provide areas where employees can use e-cigarettes, the employer needs to ensure that those who use e-cigarettes are not put at risk of harm from second-hand tobacco smoke.

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

European campaign – Healthy workplaces manage stress

We are now in the last month of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work’s healthy workplaces campaign for 2014 – 2015 ‘Healthy workplaces manage stress’, more information on which can still be found by clicking on the following link: http://hw2014.healthy-workplaces.eu/en

Work-related stress, depression or anxiety is defined as a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work, and associated statistics published by the HSE for 2015 are as follows:

  • The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2014/15 was 440,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1380 per 100,000 workers.
  • The number of new cases was 234,000, an incidence rate of 740 per 100,000 workers. The estimated number and rate have remained broadly flat for more than a decade.
  • The total number of working days lost due to this condition in 2014/15 was 9.9 million days. This equated to an average of 23 days lost per case.
  • In 2014/15 stress accounted for 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.
  • Stress is more prevalent in public service industries, such as education; health and social care; and public administration and defence.
  • By occupation, jobs that are common across public service industries (such as health; teaching; business, media and public service professionals) show higher levels of stress as compared to all jobs.
  • The main work factors cited by respondents as causing work related stress, depression or anxiety (LFS, 2009/10-2011/12) were workload pressures, including tight deadlines and too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support.

Well-designed, organised and managed work is good for us but when insufficient attention to job design, work organisation and management has taken place, it can result in Work related stress. Work related stress develops because a person is unable to cope with the demands being placed on them. Stress, including work related stress, can be a significant cause of illness and is known to be linked with high levels of sickness absence, staff turnover and other issues such as more errors.

Stress can hit anyone at any level of the business and recent research shows that work related stress is widespread and is not confined to particular sectors, jobs or industries. That is why a population-wide approach is necessary to tackle it.

HSE has developed the Management Standards approach to tackling work related stress; these Standards represent a set of conditions that, if present, reflect a high level of health, well-being and organisational performance. This approach helps those who have key roles in promoting organisational and individual health and well-being to develop systems to prevent illness resulting from stress. For more information click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/standards/index.htm

Find out more (click on the links for more information)

For more information on work related stress and how we can tackle it, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/index.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Health and safety myths – “You don’t need to secure your load if you’re just driving down the road”

The reality

If not properly secured, vehicle loads can become unsafe, even over a short distance.

Loads that haven’t been firmly tied down increase the risk of vehicle rollover and spillage. They risk the lives of drivers and other road users, and can also cause annoying traffic disruption.

More than 1200 people a year are injured as a result of unsafe loads, and millions of pounds are lost in damaged goods.

Don’t take the risk – make sure your load is restrained and contained!

Load safety

The HSE provides the following guidance on how to secure loads safely on vehicles:

What can happen

Unrestrained loads can increase the risk of vehicle rollover and load spillage, and risk the life of the driver and other road users.

People and load falls: An unsecured load shifts inside the trailer and is more difficult to unload. The load may have to be unloaded manually. Sending someone up onto the trailer bed to sort out a load that has shifted puts them at risk of falling off.

Vehicles roll: Vehicles can roll over. In serious cases of load shift the vehicle can become unbalanced and overturn.

Product is damaged: All or part of the load may be damaged if it falls from the trailer. Product damage can be a significant cost to the business.

Load shifts forward: If there is a gap between the load and the headboard, the load can shift forward under braking, risking the life of the driver and other road users.

How to secure loads safely

Securing loads safely is good for business – product is delivered intact and on time.

To secure a load safely you need to make sure it is:

  • restrained – tied firmly down to the load bed; and
  • contained – it can’t move around (shift) inside the vehicle.

The only way to do this is with strong chains or webbing straps (lashings) attached directly to the vehicle.

If the load shifts in transit, contact the depot and agree a safe way to sort it out.

Planning your load

Planning how you secure the load is an important step to keeping workers safe.

Loading plans can help to flag up issues before they become problems.

Things to be considered will vary but could include:

  • Whether the driver will witness loading.
  • Who will apply the load restraints and what they should be.
  • How the load will be placed on the trailer bed.
  • Who will unload the vehicle and what equipment will be required.
  • Who the driver should report to on arrival.
  • What the driver should do if the load shifts during the journey.

Your employer should give you a loading plan – Full written details about every load you carry

The consignor – the person responsible for sending the load – is responsible for ensuring that the load is loaded so that it does not present a danger to others. It is important that the driver knows how the load has been secured, especially if he has not seen it loaded. This information should also be available to the delivery site.

Don’t just rely on word of mouth.

Time spent thinking about safe loading can help prevent all the problems of an unsafe load so make sure you:

  • Have the correct equipment on your premises to load vehicles safely.
  • Prepare a loading plan for each journey, to include information about:
  • how the load is to be secured; and
  • the location and layout of each delivery site, including unloading equipment and facilities.

Delivery plan should travel with the load

If you are a driver, you should keep this loading plan with you at all stages of the delivery. If there is anything you don’t understand in the loading plan, ask someone before you drive away.

How you can help make loading and unloading safer

  • Look at what other companies do – if you see a good idea, suggest it to your safety advisor or supervisor.
  • Report all ‘near miss’ incidents.
  • Ask your employer about training.

Other things to think about

To prevent falls from the cab or load bed

  • Before you set off, check that steps or handholds are in good condition.
  • On refrigerated vehicles, check the floor for ice or water and follow any instructions you are given to reduce the amount of water.
  • Wear non-slip footwear.

To prevent hitting a pedestrian

  • Ask about the layout of the sites you are delivering to. Segregation is an essential element in the loading/unloading process. It is important to have only the people involved in the process present in area where the activity is taking place.
  • Observe traffic lights, signs, road markings, speed limits and one-way systems – if you don’t understand a sign or if you think it is hard to see, tell someone.
  • Remember that you become a pedestrian when you step out of your vehicle.
  • Don’t let anyone guide your vehicle around the site unless you know they are a trained banksman or signaller.

To prevent slips and trips

  • Wear well-fitting, slip-resistant safety footwear when working on vehicles.
  • Keep the soles of your footwear clean.
  • Clean up spills and dirt, such as diesel or mud on the catwalk or load area.
  • Keep the load area tidy – pick up loose ropes and packaging.

To prevent injury caused by poor manual handling

  • Follow your employer’s guidance on lifting and moving loads.
  • Use the correct equipment to load your vehicles safely.

Use appropriate personal protective equipment

  • If your employer gives you personal protective equipment to wear, for example slip resistant footwear, be sure to use it whenever you need to. Keep it in good condition and report any faults or excess wear.

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

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

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 24TH SEPTEMBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Provision of welfare facilities during construction work

Excavation and underground services

Asbestos information, instruction and training

Why is machinery safety important?

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

Provision of welfare facilities during construction work

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

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

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

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

Organising site welfare

What you need to do

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

Contractors provide welfare facilities and clients must ensure this happens.

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

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

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

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

What you need to know

Everyone who works on any site must have:

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

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

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

Toilets

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

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

Washing facilities

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

The facilities should include:

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

Drinking water

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

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

Changing rooms and lockers

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

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

Facilities for rest

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

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

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

Excavation and underground services

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

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

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

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

What you need to know

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

Damage can be caused when a cable is:

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

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

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

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

What you need to do

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

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

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

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

Planning the work

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

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

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

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

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

Using cable plans

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

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

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

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

Cable locating devices

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

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

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

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

Safe digging practices

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

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

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

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

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

Asbestos information, instruction and training

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

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

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

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

What type of information, instruction and training is necessary?

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

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

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

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

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

Asbestos awareness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why is machinery safety important?

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

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

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

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

Moving machinery can cause injuries in many ways:

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

What do I have to do?

Before you start

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

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

Make sure the machine is:

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

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

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

Preventing access to dangerous parts

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

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

Other things you should consider

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

Dos and don’ts of machinery safety for workers

Do…

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

Don’t…

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

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

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

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 17TH SEPTEMBER 2015

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Advice on horizontal swing car park barriers

National company calls on the construction industry to learn from their mistakes during HSE’s refurbishment initiative

Use of e-cigarettes in the workplace

Fire as a health asset? Or a health necessity?

Introduction

Further to news last week of a local authority being fined £160,000 after a man died when his car drove into a horizontal swing car park barrier, we’re opening this week’s update with information provided by the HSE to remind users of their duties in relation to the safe use of such barriers.

A couple of weeks ago we opened our news update with details of the HSE’s 10th annual refurbishment inspection initiative, which started a couple of days ago and which targets the unsafe work practices that make construction one of Britain’s most dangerous industries. This week, we’re highlighting the national interiors fit-out company (previously prosecuted by the HSE) who have publicly backed the initiative.

In the light of concerns raised this week in the British Medical Journal on Public Health England’s review which concludes that e-cigarettes are around 95% safer than smoked tobacco, some employers may be unsure as to whether their use should be permitted or prohibited in the workplace, so we’re sharing the HSE’s advice on what has recently become something of a contentious issue.

And finally, we close with news of a new partnership which may be of interest to our clients and readers working within the Health & Social Care sector. Health and local government staff in some areas are working with the Fire & Rescue Services to identify households with complex conditions or needs and increased risk of fire. NHS England is supporting the local development of a whole system, multi-agency approach to deliver the national commitment of more integrated person centred care closer to home.

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

Advice on horizontal swing car park barriers

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is aware of accidents, including fatalities, as a result of incidents involving horizontal swing barriers, which are found in car parks used in retail and many other premises.

Only last week, North Lincolnshire Council was fined after a man died when his car drove into a horizontal swing barrier gate to a car park at a local authority sports ground. Hull Crown Court heard how, in August 2012, Andrew Matthews had gone to a sports ground to watch his son play football. The horizontal barrier had been opened earlier, but was not secured so it swung into a dangerous position. As Mr Matthews drove his car towards the gate, the horizontal end section of the barrier went through the windscreen striking him on the head, causing fatal injuries. North Lincolnshire Council was fined a total of £160,000, and ordered to pay £40,476 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Horizontal swing barriers typically comprise a bar or beam hinged at a vertical pillar. The bar is manually moved to open or close off access to an opening in a car park exit/entrance. As in the tragic case above, accidents have occurred when barriers have been inadequately secured so that they have partially opened and presented a least visible end on profile of protruding barrier which has impaled an oncoming vehicle. The end profile of the barrier may not be clearly visible to an oncoming driver. Other incidents have occurred as a barrier has swung into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Unsecured barriers can swing open due to the wind, gravity or as a result of vandalism.

HSE has provided the following information to remind users of their duties in relation to the safe use of such barriers. Duty holders include persons in charge of the entrances to industrial estates, retail premises, leisure premises, sporting complexes, parks, farms etc. In short any premise with a car park entrance or exit to which members of the public and workers have vehicular access, may utilise such barriers. (Vertically opening or lifting barriers can also present safety risks if they are not correctly controlled.)

Duty holders are reminded of their responsibilities in relation to barriers. They include:

  • Carrying out a suitable risk assessment so that potential dangers are identified and precautions are put in place to ensure they are removed or controlled.
  • Reviewing existing risk assessments where horizontal swing barriers are in use to determine whether elimination of the risk is possible. Horizontal swing barriers rely on human intervention to ensure they are locked open or locked shut, they are also susceptible to vandalism which can leave them in an unsafe position. Vertical lifting gates are a lower risk alternative, as is the provision of lower height swing barriers so that any collision will result in damage to the vehicle without causing any part of the barrier to enter the vehicle with possible fatal consequences.
  • Where horizontal barriers are used, making sure the barriers are adequately secured at all times whether open or shut (a padlock will suffice).
  • Making sure the barriers are made visible by painting or marking with alternate red and white bands of adequate width to be clearly visible, so that persons do not inadvertently drive into them (additional local lighting may be required).
  • Carrying out regular inspections to ensure that the methods of securing and visibility aspects have not deteriorated.
  • Ensuring barriers are maintained in accordance with manufacturers instructions.
  • Liaising with suppliers if your risk assessment reveals that securing and visibility requirements are inadequate.

If you need any help with the carrying out or reviewing of your risk assessments, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help. We also undertake property health & safety/fire risk assessments, and no-obligation quotations can be provided upon request.

National company calls on the construction industry to learn from their mistakes during HSE’s refurbishment initiative

A couple of weeks ago we opened our news update with details of the HSE’s 10th annual refurbishment inspection initiative, which started a couple of days ago.

A national interiors fit-out company (previously prosecuted by the HSE), whose clients include high-end retail brands, is backing the initiative. The nationwide drive will target the unsafe work practices that make construction one of Britain’s most dangerous industries.

John Graham, Newman Scott’s new Joint Managing Director said:

“I would urge everyone in the construction industry to take action now in protecting the health and safety of your workers. Don’t let a prosecution or worse the death or injury of a colleague be the catalyst for change.”

Although construction is 5 per cent of Britain’s workforce it accounts for 31% of all fatalities, with 42 deaths in 2014/15 and 76,000 cases of reported ill-health. HSE will be targeting the refurbishment sites as they account for more than half of all the deaths, injuries and cases of ill-health within the construction industry.

HSE Inspectors will be visiting refurbishment sites across the country, between 14 September and 9 October, to challenge the poor standards that are putting the health and safety of workers at risk.

Newman Scott was visited by HSE during the 2013 inspection initiative and the poor practice found resulted in the company and one of their directors being prosecuted.

John Graham explains:

“We were mortified at the thought of being prosecuted because we had a good safety record and thought we were pretty good at health and safety.

“A sub-contractor was using a poorly erected mobile scaffold, on an escalator between the ground and first floor, and although no-one was hurt there was a very real and high risk of injury, or worse, to the operatives.

“We had a choice, we could consider ourselves lucky there were no injuries or we could hold a full and frank internal investigation, understand what had gone wrong and make sure our sites were safe for our workers.”

Newman Scott had the processes in place but they were not being followed. Their decision to get to the root-cause of the incident has created a sea change in their organisation’s health and safety culture, an example HSE hopes other construction companies will learn from.

John continues:

“We focused on improving the already positive safety culture in the company through better communication, more training, more competency checking and giving more ownership of health and safety to our employees. Most importantly our employees knew they could say no, without fear of retribution, to any request from a client or director if they felt it could not be carried out without risking their health or their safety.”

Although John believes the company would have made changes eventually Newman Scott are convinced HSE’s enforcement action acted as a catalyst and their interaction with the inspector helped them to implement sustained and effective changes.

John, said:

“Of course HSE has an enforcement function and this may make them appear formal but there was a genuine desire from them to help us make the workplace a safer, healthier place. We were treated with respect and courtesy and that helped us approach the whole experience in a positive way, maximising the improvements to the benefit of everyone on our sites.

“We cannot say that we will have no more lapses in the future. We can say that all our people sleep easier in their beds knowing that we are all doing all we can to make sure we have safer, healthier sites. That peace of mind is priceless.”

Jo Anderson, HSE’s lead for the construction initiative, said:

“We are grateful to Newman Scott for sharing their experience and for how they have responded to the prosecution.

“We hope everyone can learn from their lessons and realise it is vital when carrying out construction work that the right management systems are in place so risks to workers’ health are controlled just as effectively as safety. Workers within construction are paying too high a toll on their health and safety when it is completely avoidable by planning the work, providing the right kit and making sure it is used properly.

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

Use of e-cigarettes in the workplace

Further to concerns raised this week in the British Medical Journal on Public Health England’s review of the latest evidence concluding e-cigarettes are around 95% safer than smoked tobacco, we’re sharing HSE’s advice on their use in the workplace.

HSE does not enforce legislation or standards for e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are not regulated like tobacco products and there is currently no bespoke regulatory system for e-cigarettes in the UK, but they are captured by general product safety regulatory requirements.

HSE’s advice is that an employer needs to consider e-cigarettes in the wider context of risk in the workplace. HSE is aware that some organisations have banned their use but this is not something the regulator has advised on. Employers may want to ask for advice on this from Public Health England: cleartobaccoteam@phe.gov.uk.

Some organisations may find the “Will you permit or prohibit electronic cigarette use on your premises?” document useful (http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_900.pdf). It sets out five questions to ask yourself before deciding whether to permit or prohibit e-cigarette use on your premises

If an employer decides to ‘prohibit’ the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace but allow for ‘vaping’ breaks or provide areas where employees can use e-cigarettes, the employer needs to ensure that those who use e-cigarettes are not put at risk of harm from second-hand tobacco smoke.

To read the joint statement on e-cigarettes published this week by Public Health England and other UK public health organisations, click on the link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/e-cigarettes-an-emerging-public-health-consensus

Fire as a health asset? Or a health necessity?

Likely to be of interest to some of our clients and readers working within the Health & Social Care sector,  a new partnership has been established between NHS England and the Fire and Rescue Services (FRS), to use their collective capabilities and resources more effectively to enhance the lives of older people and those with complex conditions.

Working together with Public Health England, the Chief Fire Officers Association, the Local Government Association and Age UK, the group has established a new working relationship aimed at improving the quality of life for people who would benefit from brief health and wellbeing interventions in their own homes, and better coordinated public services.

Jacquie White, NHS England’s Deputy Director for People with Long Term Conditions, explained: “The Fire and Rescue Services in England carry out 670,000 home visits annually on vulnerable people.

“These are already providing some basic health interventions – but they are keen to do more.

“Health and local government staff in some areas are working with the FRS to identify households with complex conditions or needs and increased risk of fire. They agree a local list of health interventions to be provided, while also developing ways of directing people who need help from health or care services.”

NHS England is supporting the local development of a whole system, multi-agency approach to deliver the national commitment of more integrated person centred care closer to home.

A consensus statement between NHS England, the Chief Fire Officers’ Association, PHE, LGA and Age UK will be published soon along with design principles for ‘safe and well visits’ and links to case studies.

You can read more about this new initiative in Jacquie White’s blog: http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/08/14/jacquie-white/

Contains public sector information published by Gov.UK, the Health and Safety Executive and NHS England, and licensed under the Open Government Licence

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 10TH SEPTEMBER 2015

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Turn around when possible: one in seven risking lives to correct sat-nav mistakes

Landlord prosecuted over carbon monoxide risk

Awareness training in automated external defibrillators

Safe & Sound at Work – do your bit

Introduction

A survey by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line has found that more than one in seven (15%) drivers who use a sat-nav admit making illegal or risky manoeuvres to correct mistakes when following sat-nav instructions, putting themselves and other road users at risk of a devastating crash. This week’s opening topic provides guidance on how to use sat-nav systems safely.

Also, further to the news last week of a landlord being prosecuted over carbon monoxide risk, we’re highlighting what landlords must do to fulfil their legal responsibility for the safety of their tenants in relation to gas safety.

With AEDs (automated external defibrillators) becoming more prevalent in the wider community, if you’re wondering whether you have a legal obligation to provide one in your workplace, read on for guidance from the HSE.

Tell employees about health and safety and they’ll know about it. Involve them and they’ll understand.” This is the message delivered by the HSE’s ‘Safe & Sound at Work’ campaign, and this week’s closing topic, which is aimed at helping small to medium sized enterprises benefit from improved consultation.

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

Turn around when possible: one in seven risking lives to correct sat-nav mistakes

‘Turn around when possible.’ It’s a phrase that anyone who drives with the aid of a sat-nav knows well.

But it could mean more than just a navigational nightmare. A survey by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line has found that more than one in seven (15%) drivers who use a sat-nav admit making illegal or risky manoeuvres to correct mistakes when following sat-nav instructions, putting themselves and other road users at risk of a devastating crash.

Dodgy u-turns aren’t the only danger. Brake and Direct Line’s survey also found that:

  • one in 14 (7%) drivers have had a near miss, having to swerve or brake suddenly to avoid a hazard, because they were distracted by a sat-nav (rising to one in 10 (11%) among young drivers (17-24);
  • one in 14 (7%) drivers also admit to having a similar near miss because they were fiddling with their stereo (rising to one in 10 (11%) among young drivers (17-24))
  • When used responsibly, using a voice-based sat-nav can make you a safer than using a visual display or paper map, as you can navigate without looking away from the road. However, there is some evidence that relying on a sat-nav can make you drive faster and make you less observant. Fiddling with a stereo can also make you react slower and make more errors.

Through its drive smart campaign, Brake is calling on all drivers to stay alert and keep their mind and eyes on the road. That means programming your sat-nav before you set off, and not attempting to re-programme it, fiddle with your stereo, use a mobile, or do anything else while driving. Research shows almost everyone is unable to multi-task at the wheel without driving performance being badly affected. Carry out a secondary activity and you’re two to three times more likely to crash: more for complex activities like talking on a phone or texting.

Brake is also calling on drivers not to be distracted by the range of technologies being installed in many new cars that have nothing to do with driving, such as access to social media. Brake is also appealing to the government to regulate the use of features that can pose a dangerous distraction to drivers.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “Sat-navs have revolutionised the way many of us drive, helping us get from A to B without worrying about navigation, and there are indications they can make you safer. However, there are potential pitfalls to be wary of that can pose a real danger to yourself and other road users. Remember, the sat-nav is there to help you keep focused on driving rather than worry about directions, but it’s not there to make all the decisions for you. Driving is an unpredictable activity, so you still need to look at signs, particularly those warning of hazards or speed limits, and watch for people and unexpected problems.

“For many drivers there is an increasing array of technological temptations that can pose a deadly distraction; it’s essential to resist to ensure you and others arrive safely. Brake’s advice is: set your sat-nav and radio before you set off, put your phone in the boot and ensure you’re not tempted to do anything that will take your mind or eyes off the road while driving.”

Rob Miles, director of motor at Direct Line,commented: “Looking at the sat-nav while your eyes are meant to be on the road is no different from trying to drive with a map in front of you. It’s dangerous, and you shouldn’t do it. If you’re going to use sat-nav to guide you through a journey, better to use a voice-based version so you can keep your eyes on the road. If you need to change direction or turn around, do it safely, even if it takes a bit of time to get to the next roundabout rather than doing a U-turn. And if you want to look at the sat-nav, do what you’d do with a map: find somewhere safe to pull over before having a look.”

Article reproduced courtesy of Brake – the road safety charity.

Read the full article: http://www.brake.org.uk/news/1329-incartech-jan15.

Read about Brake’s drive smart campaign: http://www.brake.org.uk/drivesmart.

Tweet Brake: @Brakecharity, hashtag #DriveSmart.

Read the survey report: http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DLreport-DrivenToDistraction-sec3-incartech-2015.pdf.

More information about the safe use of sat-nav systems can be found on the RoSPA website: http://www.rospa.com/road-safety/advice/vehicles/satellite-navigation-devices/

For more information about work related road safety, visit the HSE website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/roadsafety/ or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Landlord prosecuted over carbon monoxide risk

HSE press release – 3 September 2015

A mother and her young son were put at risk of suffering carbon monoxide poisoning for seven years at their home in Ashton-under-Lyne, a court has heard.

The woman’s landlord, Rent4U Ltd, of Manchester, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an inspection of the gas boiler at her home found it was in a condition classified as ‘immediately dangerous’.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that the firm failed to arrange an annual gas safety check at the terraced house on Marlborough Street between 2007 and 2014.

The court was told that Rent4U had previously been served with two Improvement Notices by HSE in 2013 after failing to arrange annual gas safety checks at two other properties.

Rent4U Ltd, of Christie Way, Christie Fields, Manchester, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £7,000 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

Landlords’ responsibility for gas safety

As a landlord, you are legally responsible for the safety of your tenants in relation to gas safety. By law you must:

  • Repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in safe condition
  • Ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue
  • Keep a record of each safety check

You should also keep your tenants informed about their responsibilities while they are staying in your property.

Gas checks (click on the links for more information)

Maintenance

Record keeping

Tenants

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

Awareness training in automated external defibrillators

In-depth training in the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) is not currently part of either the Emergency First Aid at Work and First Aid at Work courses.  However, HSE welcomes the presence of awareness training in these courses as it instils greater confidence in the use of AEDs.

It is not compulsory for employers to purchase AEDs to comply with the Health and Safety (First-Aid) regulations 1981.  However, if your needs assessment identifies an AED need then we recommend your staff should be fully trained in its use.

The Resuscitation Council UK (www.resus.org.uk) guidance on AEDs is that this equipment is safe to use and can be readily used by untrained bystanders. (The 2015 guidelines will be published on 15th October 2015.)

AEDs are becoming more prevalent within the wider community.  For example there are national strategies in place actively promoting their placement in schools; public places such as stations.  Many workplaces have voluntarily invested in this equipment.

Evidence suggests that where AEDs have been used the outcomes are far more favourable for an individual who suffers from a heart attack than if it is delayed until the arrival of the emergency services.

For more information on first aid at work, visit the HSE website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/firstaid/ or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Safe & Sound at Work – do your bit

Tell employees about health and safety and they’ll know about it

Involve them and they’ll understand.

Step-by-step guidance to help your business benefit from improved consultation

This is a step-by-step guide primarily aimed at small to medium sized enterprises, offering practical hints and tips for workplaces on how to improve on their existing consultation and worker involvement arrangements.

First choose from either stable or dynamic below, depending on what best describes your own workplace (click on the links):

Step-by-step guide for ‘Stable’ small to medium sized workplaces where the conditions don’t change on a regular basis (e.g. a factory or workshop): http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement/doyourbit/stable/index.htm

Step-by-step guide for ‘Dynamic’ small to medium sized workplaces where the conditions change on a regular basis (e.g. a construction site or delivering goods to different addresses): http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement/doyourbit/dynamic/index.htm

If you are a large organisation, you may wish to access the HSE worker involvement website (http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement/index.htm) to view guidance, advice and case studies that may be of more relevance.

Shared experiences

Discover how organisations can successfully involve their workforce in managing health and safety.

Watch real video footage and read about health and safety stories, from the employers, employees and representatives involved.

Learn how Murraywood reduced their insurance premiums by 50% (click on the link): http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement/doyourbit/case-study-murraywood.htm

What should I be doing?

We know from experience that workplaces where employees play an active part in health and safety often have lower accident rates.

Talking, listening and co-operating helps to get the best from your workforce, encouraging closer working relationships, as well as a safer workplace.

Find out more: http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement/doyourbit/what-should-i-be-doing.htm

Representatives

By representing your colleagues you can help to make workplaces both healthier and safer. Being a rep can also help you increase your skills and value in the workplace.

Find out more: http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement/doyourbit/representatives.htm

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