Granite worktop company fined £30,000 after failing to carry out safety checks

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

A granite worktop manufacturer has been fined after failing to ensure that lifting equipment was examined and maintained to ensure it was safe to use.

The Court heard how the manufacturer was not having regular statutory examinations carried out on lifting equipment and also failed to carry out repairs when defects had been found.

Following an inspection in June 2018 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at the site, it was discovered that the examinations were not carried out at the required six monthly intervals and when they were carried out the same faults were reported, as the company were not taking action to effect the repairs.

The manufacturer has pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 9 (3) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. The company has been fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4906.

Speaking after the case the HSE inspector said “This prosecution could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those who fall below the required standards”.

Thorough examinations and inspections of lifting equipment

Safe and successful lifting operations depend, in large part, on the continued safety of the lifting equipment and accessories that are used. Failures in this kind of equipment can result in significant or even fatal injuries. Health and safety law therefore places a number of specific obligations on those providing, controlling and using lifting equipment to properly manage these risks.

In addition to the requirements for safe design and construction, all lifting equipment should also be checked and maintained as necessary to keep it safe for use, so:

  • users may need to undertake simple pre-use checks (eg on lifting chains and slings), or make checks on a daily basis (eg for lift trucks)
  • in some cases, inspections and checks should be made on a regular basis, often weekly, but this may be on a monthly or quarterly basis (eg the checks undertaken by an operator on their crane)
  • employers should ensure that lifting equipment is thoroughly examined (normally once or twice a year but, in some cases, this may be more or less frequent)

These checks are necessary to verify that the lifting equipment can continue to be safely used. This page concentrates on thorough examination and inspection, and the reporting and record-keeping obligations of LOLER (regulations 9, 10 and 11).

What is a ‘thorough examination’ under LOLER?

This is a systematic and detailed examination of the equipment and safety-critical parts, carried out at specified intervals by a competent person who must then complete a written report. This report must contain the information required by LOLER Schedule 1 , including:

  • the examination date
  • the date when the next thorough examination is due
  • any defects found which are (or could potentially become) a danger to people

Where serious defects are identified, the competent person carrying out the examination must immediately report this verbally to the dutyholder. This should then be followed by the written report, a copy of which must also be sent to the relevant enforcing authority.

What is a ‘competent person’?

The term ‘competent person’ is not defined in law but the LOLER Approved Code of Practice and guidance (paragraph 294 on competent persons) states that:
‘You should ensure that the person carrying out a thorough examination has such appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the lifting equipment to be thoroughly examined as will enable them to detect defects or weaknesses and to assess their importance in relation to the safety and continued use of the lifting equipment.’

Although the competent person may often be employed by another organisation, this is not necessary, provided they are sufficiently independent and impartial to ensure that in-house examinations are made without fear or favour. However, this should not be the same person who undertakes routine maintenance of the equipment – as they would then be responsible for assessing their own maintenance work.

When should thorough examinations be carried out?

In order to verify that lifting equipment and accessories remain safe for use, and to detect and remedy any deterioration in good time, thorough examinations are required throughout the lifetime of the equipment, including examinations:

  • before use for the first time – unless the equipment has an EC Declaration of Conformity less than one year old and the equipment was not assembled on site. If it was assembled on site, it must be examined by a competent person to ensure that the assembly (eg a platform lift installed in a building) was completed correctly and safely
  • after assembly and before use at each location – for equipment that requires assembly or installation before use, eg tower cranes
  • regularly, while in service – if the equipment is exposed to conditions that cause deterioration which is likely to result in dangerous situations. Most lifting equipment will be subject to wear and tear and so will need regular in-service examination. Some may be exposed to significant environmental conditions which may cause further deterioration. You have a choice:
    • arrange for thorough examination to be carried out at the intervals specified by LOLER (every 6 or 12 months, depending on the equipment – see below), or
    • conduct examinations in accordance with an examination scheme, drawn up by a competent person
  • following exceptional circumstances – liable to jeopardise the safety of lifting equipment, which may include:
    • damage or failure
    • being out of use for long periods
    • major changes, which are likely to affect the equipment’s integrity (eg modifications, or replacement / repair of critical parts)

What are the specified intervals for regular thorough examinations?

Unless there is an ‘examination scheme’ specifying other intervals, thorough examinations should be conducted every:

  • 6 months, for lifting equipment and any associated accessories used to lift people
  • 6 months, for all lifting accessories
  • 12 months, for all other lifting equipment

What is covered by a thorough examination?

This depends on the professional judgement of the competent person undertaking the examination, but needs to include all matters which affect the safety of the lifting equipment, including likely deterioration with time.

For most common lifting equipment and accessories, there are industry standard procedures and criteria which a competent person would follow when undertaking thorough examinations and making judgements as to the continued safety of the equipment. Methods used include:

  • visual examination and functional checks
  • measurements of wear
  • (in some cases) traditional NDT (non-destructive testing) and load testing

Some disassembly or internal examination of parts may also be required.

Where an examination scheme has been drawn up, this should identify and specify:

  • the parts to be thoroughly examined
  • the methods of examination and testing
  • the intervals for examination (and testing of the different parts, where appropriate)

The scheme should also include details of any other inspection regimes for the equipment. Examination schemes may be drawn up by any person with the necessary competence. This does not need to be the same competent person who conducts the thorough examination in accordance with the scheme.

Although examination schemes do not need to be preserved in the form of a document, it should be possible to produce a written copy when required (eg on request by the relevant enforcing authority). These should be secured from loss or unauthorised modification.

Testing of lifting equipment

Most lifting equipment does not need routine testing as part of the thorough examination – in fact some overload tests can cause damage to lifting equipment. Where testing is deemed necessary, it may not need be undertaken at every thorough examination. The need for, and nature of, testing should be based on an assessment of risk – taking account of information from the manufacturer and other relevant information – as determined by the competent person.

Maintenance and inspection of lifting equipment.

Maintenance of lifting equipment to ensure it remains safe for use is a requirement of PUWER. In some cases – to assist with this, and detect any deterioration so it can be remedied in good time – lifting equipment may need to be inspected between thorough examinations. Such inspections need to be undertaken by suitably trained and competent people, which can often be the lifting equipment operator or maintenance personnel.

The nature, need for and frequency of such inspections should be determined through risk assessment, taking full account of any manufacturer’s recommendations. Further recommendations on inspection relating to cranes are given in BS 7121 British Standard Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Cranes. The various parts of this standard can be obtained from BSI .

Lifting accessories do not normally need formal inspection, provided that proper pre-use checks are made and they undergo their standard thorough examination.

Reports and defects

Records should be kept of all thorough examinations and inspections, and of the EC Declarations of Conformity for all lifting equipment and lifting accessories. Examination and inspection records do not need to be kept in hard copy form but you should be able to provide a written copy when necessary (eg upon request by the relevant enforcing authority or when lifting equipment leaves your undertaking -under hire, use elsewhere, or second-hand sale). The records should also be protected from unauthorised alteration. Details of the periods for which they must be kept are given in Table 3 of Thorough examination of lifting equipment .

The contents required in a thorough examination report are specified by Schedule 1 of LOLER . There is no longer a defined format or form for such a report, provided that all 11 items listed in the Schedule are included.

Where, following thorough examination or inspection of lifting equipment, a defect is identified – which in the opinion of the person undertaking the examination or inspection – is (or could become) a danger to people, you as user (employer or self employed person) should be notified immediately. You must then take effective action to manage risk by ensuring the lifting equipment is not used until the defect is remedied. Such defects must be confirmed in writing in the report, even if it is remedied immediately (eg by destruction of a sling). The person making the report must also notify the relevant enforcing authority with a copy of the report. Enforcing authorities may follow up such reports to check that risks are being adequately managed.

In some cases, a defect may be identified which does not require the immediate cessation of use of the lifting equipment. In these cases, you must remedy the matter, or not further use the equipment, within the time period specified on the report.

Reports of thorough examinations sometimes contain additional non-statutory observations from the competent person on the condition of the lifting equipment. Analysis of this may provide useful information to manage your lifting equipment.

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

Passenger lifts and escalators – Bolton resident dies in lift shaft fall

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

Bolton resident dies in lift shaft fall

A property management company has been fined after a resident of an apartment block in Bolton died after falling down a lift shaft.

Bolton Crown Court heard how the resident and a friend were trapped in a lift and unable to raise the alarm. They attempted a self-rescue by forcing the doors open and sliding out onto the floor below.

The resident slipped under the lift car and fell five stories down the lift shaft and died of multiple injuries. His friend escaped unhurt.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred in August 2014 found that the management company for the building failed to take suitable and sufficient steps to prevent the resident and his friend self-rescuing.

The management company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £45,000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Sarah Taylor said: “Those who manage lifts have a responsibility to ensure they are properly maintained but if people are trapped they have a way to raise the alarm and are not in a position to try and rescue themselves.

“The problems with this lift were well known and if [the management company] had fulfilled their health and safety responsibilities [the resident] would probably be around to celebrate Christmas with his family this weekend.”

Passenger lifts and escalators

Lifts provided for use by workers in workplaces are subject to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER). However, in most cases lifting equipment which is not provided for, or used by, people at work (eg stair lifts in private dwellings and platform lifts in shops used for customer access) will not be subject to either LOLER or PUWER. But businesses providing this equipment will have responsibilities for its safety (it will require routine maintenance and inspection).

LOLER does not apply to escalators or any travelators / moving walkways which transport people, even though they may ‘lift’ people from one level to another. Such equipment is covered by regulation 19 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations.

However, escalators and similar machines, platform and stair lifts, and all conventional passenger lifts must meet the requirements for safety and conformity of either the Machinery or Lift Directives in their design, construction and installation, when first brought into use. (Note: stair lifts, certain slow moving platform lifts (less that 0.15 m/s) and construction hoists come within scope of the Machinery Directive instead of the Lifts Directive).

Passenger lifts used by people at work

Passenger lifts and combined goods / passenger lifts in workplaces (eg offices and factories) which are primarily used by people at work, are subject to periodic thorough examination and inspection, as required by LOLER and PUWER. Guidance for lift owners and others responsible for the examination and testing of lifts is available in: Thorough examination and testing of lifts: Simple guidance for lift owners (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg339.htm)

Passenger lifts used by people who are not at work

LOLER (and PUWER) may not apply where a passenger lift is not used by people at work (eg in public areas of a shopping centre). However, if the lift is operated by – or to some extent under the control of – an employer or self-employed person in connection with their business, they still have some responsibility for the health and safety of people they don’t employ. This includes members of the public who use the lift and those people who may work on or inspect the lift.

Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act imposes these general responsibilities, so far as reasonably practicable. As the risks may be the same as when using lifts in connection with work, a similar regime of maintenance, inspection and examination to that required under LOLER and PUWER may be entirely ‘reasonably practicable’ in managing the risks. In any case, insurers may impose demands for similarly stringent levels of risk management to cover public liability.

Escalators and moving walkways

Guidelines for the safe operation of escalators and moving walks (walkways) have been prepared by the Safety Assessment Federation in consultation with HSE. This document provides considerable guidance on the duties and responsibilities of those who:

  • manufacture, supply and install escalators and moving walkways
  • design premises where they are to be installed
  • own or manage premises in which they are installed, and
  • inspect and examine escalators and moving walkways

Although not subject to LOLER, these detailed guidelines recommend thorough examination of escalators and moving walkways, normally at six-monthly intervals.

Stair lifts:

Where provided as work equipment for use by employees, stair lifts will be subject to the requirements of LOLER (thorough examination) and PUWER (maintenance and inspection). Where they are not, but are still provided in connection with an undertaking (eg in work environments where the public or visitors may use them), employers and the self-employed will have responsibilities for the safety of all users under Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. These may be adequately discharged by undertaking maintenance, and inspection, and 6 monthly thorough examination, even though PUWER & LOLER may not apply to the equipment.

However, all new stair lifts (either when first placed on the market, or first brought into use), as machinery are subject to the Machinery Directive / Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008. They must be constructed to be safe, supplied with Instructions, a Declaration of Conformity and CE marking. Those stair lifts which involve a hazard of falling from a vertical height of 3m or more are subject to Annex IV (item 17) of the Machinery Directive (so subject to conformity assessment as required by Article 12 (3) or 12 (4) of 2006/42/EC).

More information on LOLER can be found on the LOLER FAQ page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/faq-lifting.htm

For more information visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/passenger-lifts.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help. We carry out health and safety inspections (as well as fire/legionella risk assessments) of all types of residential and commercial properties and are happy to provide a no-obligation quotation on request.

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

 

 

Questions you need to ask if you employ contractors – three prosecuted after man loses life due to fall through fragile roof

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

Three prosecuted after man loses life due to fall through fragile roof

A company, its director, and a self-employed contractor have been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), after a man was fatally injured by falling through a roof light.

Warrington Crown Court heard how in June 2013, the man was working with his friend. They were cleaning roof lights on the roof of a building at a Cheshire industrial estate.  The man fell approximately 7m through a roof light to the work-shop floor underneath, and subsequently died.  Both the roof and the roof lights were not able to support the weight of a person.

The HSE investigation found that his friend, who primarily was a gardener and not a roofer, did not take precautions to prevent a fall through the roof, nor off its edge. He did not have the necessary knowledge or competence to carry out the work.

The company failed to have adequate systems in place to ensure a competent roofer was appointed. Both the company and its director failed to adequately plan and supervise the work, due to their own lack of understanding of standards and the law relating to work on fragile roofs.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) and Regulation 5 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and were fined £20,000 with more than £8,000 costs.

The company’s director pleaded guilty to breaching two counts of Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to four months imprisonment on each count (suspended for 12 months) and was ordered to pay more than £8,000 costs.

At a recent hearing, the man’s friend pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment (suspended for 12 months) and was ordered to pay more than £8,000 costs.

An HSE inspector said after the hearing that if the company and its director had asked questions about the man’s friend’s experience and knowledge (of roof work standards), they would not have employed him. “He should have recognised he was not competent and should not have carried out the work. With these simple considerations, [the man] would not have been on the roof and would not have died in the way he did.”

Do you employ contractors?

If you employ contractors, you have a legal duty to make sure they are competent to do the work you want them to do.

Questions you need to ask

Their experience:

  • What experience do they have in the type of work?
  • Can they provide references? You may want to check these.

Their competence:

  • Do the contractor’s employees hold relevant certificates of competence? (e.g. chainsaw use, tree climbing and aerial rescue, chippers, MEWPs?)
  • Are they a member of a trade or professional body? (e.g. the Arboricultural Association, International Society of Arboriculture, Forestry Contracting Association)
  • What is their safety performance like? (e.g. accident records)?
  • Can they provide examples of methods of work, risk assessments or other documentation to show they are familiar with the type of work?

Their management arrangements:

  • What are their procedures for managing health and safety?
  • Do they properly plan and organise work at height? (e.g. use of MEWP v climbing)
  • Will the work be sub-contracted and if so, how will they control it?
  • How do they supervise and manage their site work?
  • What Codes of Practice or standards will the contractor be working to e.g. AFAG safety guides, Guide to good climbing practice
  • Do they provide employees with the correct personal protective equipment? How do they monitor and check their own safety standards?
  • How do they inspect and check their equipment (owned or hired) e.g. as required by the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations
  • Do they have employers’ liability, public liability and professional indemnity insurance?
  • Are they asking you about your risks or needs?

The more complex and potentially dangerous the activities, the more likely it is that the answers and information will need to be recorded. As the client, you will be responsible for checking that any contractor you appoint is competent to do the work safely.

Once you have selected a competent contractor, you will need to exchange information and agree the method of work. Both will need to be done before work starts. Pre-work meetings are a good way of ensuring that the work is properly planned and controlled. Finally, you will also need to monitor the work.

For more information, download the free HSE leaflet “Using contractors – A brief guide”: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg368.pdf 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 – 28TH JULY 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

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) – national steel firm fined £1.98 million for safety failings

A national steel firm has been fined £1.98 million after two workers suffered injuries to their hands in two separate incidents involving machinery.

Northampton Crown Court heard how a 26-year-old employee lost two thirds of his left hand and his middle and ring fingers whilst trying to clear a blockage on a steel tube manufacturing line which had unsuitable guarding, and in a separate incident, a 52-year-old team leader lost part of his little finger when his left hand was caught, again in an inadequately guarded machine, whilst he was receiving refresher training.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incidents which occurred in September 2014 and February 2015 found that there was a failure to appropriately guard and manage the risks arising from dangerous parts of these items of machinery.

HSE inspector Mark Austin said after the hearing: “Guarding of dangerous parts of machinery is a fundamental of ensuring workers safety, HSE will not hesitate to hold those accountable who do not fulfil their legal obligations, especially if that results in someone receiving life changing injuries.”

The HSE decision to prosecute is always made in line with the principles set out in the published Enforcement Policy Statement. The level of fine is a matter for the courts.

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)

These Regulations, often abbreviated to PUWER, place duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over work equipment. PUWER also places responsibilities on businesses and organisations whose employees use work equipment, whether owned by them or not.

PUWER requires that equipment provided for use at work is:

  • suitable for the intended use
  • safe for use, maintained in a safe condition and inspected to ensure it is correctly installed and does not subsequently deteriorate
  • used only by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training
  • accompanied by suitable health and safety measures, such as protective devices and controls. These will normally include emergency stop devices, adequate means of isolation from sources of energy, clearly visible markings and warning devices
  • used in accordance with specific requirements, for mobile work equipment and power presses

Some work equipment is subject to other health and safety legislation in addition to PUWER. For example, lifting equipment must also meet the requirements of LOLER (http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/loler.htm), pressure equipment must meet the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pressure-systems/index.htm) and personal protective equipment must meet the PPE Regulations (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg174.pdf).

What is work equipment?

Work equipment is any machinery, appliance, apparatus, tool or installation for use at work (whether exclusively or not). This includes equipment which employees provide for their own use at work. The scope of work equipment is therefore extremely wide. The use of work equipment is also very widely interpreted and ‘…means any activity involving work equipment and includes starting, stopping, programming, setting, transporting, repairing, modifying, maintaining, servicing and cleaning’.

What you must do

If your business or organisation uses work equipment or is involved in providing work equipment for others to use (eg for hire), you must manage the risks from that equipment. This means you must:

  • ensure the equipment is constructed or adapted to be suitable for the purpose it is used or provided for
  • take account of the working conditions and health and safety risks in the workplace when selecting work equipment
  • ensure work equipment is only used for suitable purposes
  • ensure work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair
  • where a machine has a maintenance log, keep this up to date
  • where the safety of work equipment depends on the manner of installation, it must be inspected after installation and before being put into use
  • where work equipment is exposed to deteriorating conditions liable to result in dangerous situations, it must be inspected to ensure faults are detected in good time so the risk to health and safety is managed
  • ensure that all people using, supervising or managing the use of work equipment are provided with adequate, clear health and safety information. This will include, where necessary, written instructions on its use and suitable equipment markings and warnings
  • ensure that all people who use, supervise or manage the use of work equipment have received adequate training, which should include the correct use of the equipment, the risks that may arise from its use and the precautions to take
  • where the use of work equipment is likely to involve a specific risk to health and safety (eg woodworking machinery), ensure that the use of the equipment is restricted to those people trained and appointed to use it
  • take effective measures to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery. This will normally be by fixed guarding but where routine access is needed, interlocked guards (sometimes with guard locking) may be needed to stop the movement of dangerous parts before a person can reach the danger zone. Where this is not possible – such as with the blade of a circular saw – it must be protected as far as possible and a safe system of work used. These protective measures should follow the hierarchy laid down in PUWER regulation 11(2) and the PUWER Approved Code of Practice and guidance or, for woodworking machinery, the Safe use of woodworking machinery: Approved Code of Practice and guidance
  • take measures to prevent or control the risks to people from parts and substances falling or being ejected from work equipment, or the rupture or disintegration of work equipment
  • ensure that the risks from very hot or cold temperatures from the work equipment or the material being processed or used are managed to prevent injury
  • ensure that work equipment is provided with appropriately identified controls for starting, stopping and controlling it, and that these control systems are safe
  • where appropriate, provide suitable means of isolating work equipment from all power sources (including electric, hydraulic, pneumatic and gravitational energy)
  • ensure work equipment is stabilised by clamping or otherwise to avoid injury
  • take appropriate measures to ensure maintenance operations on work equipment can be carried out safely while the equipment is shut down, without exposing people undertaking maintenance operations to risks to their health and safety

When providing new work equipment for use at work, you must ensure it conforms with the essential requirements of European Community law (for new machinery this means the Machinery Directive). You must check it:

  • is CE marked
  • comes with a Declaration of Conformity
  • is provided with instructions in English
  • is free from obvious defects – and that it remains so during its working life

When providing mobile work equipment, you must ensure that:

  • where employees are carried, the equipment is suitable for that purpose
  • the risks from rolling over are minimised, and any person being carried is protected in the event of fall or rollover. This should include protection against crushing, through the provision of a suitable restraint and a rollover protection system
  • self-propelled equipment can be controlled safely with braking devices, adequate driver vision and, where necessary, lighting
  • measures are taken to prevent any risks from drive shafts that power accessories attached to mobile work equipment, by using adequate guards

When providing power presses for working on cold metal, you must thoroughly examine them and their safeguards before first putting them into use, and periodically afterwards. This means you must ensure that the inspection and testing of guards and protection devices is carried out by a competent person at frequent intervals, and that records of these examinations, inspections and tests are kept.

What you should know

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 replaced the original PUWER regulations first introduced in 1992. The main change was in the coverage of mobile work equipment, woodworking equipment and power presses allowing the repeal of the 1965 Power Press Regulations and a number of other older regulations, including those on woodworking machinery.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 link to external website, as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendment) Regulations 2002 link to external website, are supported by an Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) and additional free guidance which are readily available from HSE. Other ACOPs that support PUWER are also available, covering woodworking machinery and power presses for working on cold metal. Where work equipment is also lifting equipment, there is another ACOP supporting LOLER and PUWER.

While the ACOPs are not law, they were made under section 16 of the Health and Safety at Work Act link to external website (HSW Act) and so have a special status, as outlined in the introduction to the PUWER ACOP:

‘Following the guidance is not compulsory and you are free to take other action. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance as illustrating good practice.’

These ACOPs support PUWER and the general provisions of section 2 of the HSW Act, as well as other regulations, including the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations.

Other more specific legislation may also apply (for example LOLER, when lifting equipment is used at work). In some cases, equipment used at work is more appropriately covered by other, more specific legislation (eg the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations PDF and the Electricity at Work Regulations). You may therefore have to ensure that the requirements of other legislation are met alongside those of PUWER; for example, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations, in relation to the workplace risks to pedestrians arising from mobile work equipment.

HSE has developed Open learning guidance to assist those who wish to learn more about PUWER, or see also: Using work equipment safely (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg229.htm).

Although PUWER has a wide application, there is a general exclusion covering the use of ship’s work equipment in most situations because there are other provisions for the safety of this equipment under merchant shipping legislation.

Most new work equipment that is machinery will also fall within the scope of the Machinery Directive, as implemented by the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations. Machinery, and certain other work equipment within scope of the Directive, must undergo conformity assessment and be appropriately CE marked before being placed on the market or brought into use. This includes:

  • machinery which needs to be installed on / with other equipment or in a structure before it can be used
  • safety components placed independently on the market
  • lifting equipment / accessories
  • partly completed machinery (machinery which cannot itself perform a function) also comes within scope of the Machinery Directive

For more information, visit the HSE web pages: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/puwer.htm and http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/ 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 – 19TH 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

Waste management and recycling machinery – worker fatally crushed by refuse collection vehicle – firms fined £815,000

Two companies have been fined a total of £815,000 after a worker and father-to-be was crushed to death in Lancashire by a refuse collection vehicle.

A recycling/waste company and bin wagon repair company both pleaded guilty and were sentenced at Preston Crown Court, after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The court heard that, in May 2014, during a refurbishment task at the repair company’s premises, an operative using the controls within the RCV’s cab closed the tailgate on the worker who was at the rear of the vehicle, fatally crushing him to death.

The RCV was supplied with in-cab controls for raising and lowering the tailgate. The system was designed such that it should not have been possible to completely close the tailgate using the in-cab controls, with a minimum gap of 1m being left between the bottom edges of the body and the tailgate. Examinations revealed a fault with the safety limit switch – it was found to be jammed in the actuated position resulting in it being possible to completely close the tailgate using the in-cab controls.

The HSE investigation found the fatal injury occurred due to a poor system of work at the repair company, derived from a lack of a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks, including failure to prop the tailgate adequately.

In addition, the recycling/waste company failed in its inspection regime, which did not systematically review the functionality of the 1m safety limit switch (a designated safety function) on relevant RCVs. Had the fault with the 1m safety limit switch been identified and rectified by the recycling/waste company, the poor system of work employed by the repair company would have been unable to result in the closure of the tailgate causing the entrapment of the worker.

An HSE inspector said after the hearing: “This tragic incident was entirely preventable.

“It is important for organisations to maintain safety critical devices so they function correctly. Additionally, if a company utilises a system of work which does not rely on the effectiveness of that safety device, but then employs a contractor to work on the machine, there should be an effectively communicated handover so both are aware of any limitations and how the machine could function.

“[The recycling/waste company’s] failure to include the functionality of a manufacturer-stated safety critical device on its RCVs in its maintenance regimes resulted in an inability to relay information to any third party about its presence and condition. Therefore it exposed non-employees to unnecessary risk and ultimately contributed to this appalling loss of life.

“Similarly, [the repair company’s] failure to implement a safe system of work for the maintenance of the RCV meant that any of its employees were exposed to the same risk. The lack of an adequate assessment of the risks of working around RCVs enabled the hazard of the non-functioning switch to materialize in the worst possible manner.

“As a result of the failings on behalf of both duty-holders, … a young man and father-to-be lost his life whilst going about his work.”

Waste management and recycling machinery

Introduction

A wide variety of work equipment and machinery is used across the waste and recycling industry (eg conveyors, lifting equipment, waste baling and compacting machines). Every year, a significant proportion of accidents (many serious and sometimes fatal) occur as a result of poorly guarded work equipment or improper use (eg unsafe interventions such as clearing blockages, maintenance or repair activities being undertaken when machinery is running). To prevent and reduce the risk of serious or fatal injury adequate arrangements and systems of work are required.

Machinery related legislation

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 [PUWER]:

These Regulations require that the equipment provided for use at work is: suitable for the intended use; safe for use; maintained in a safe condition and, in certain circumstances inspected to ensure this remains the case; used only by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training; and accompanied by suitable safety measures, eg protective devices, markings, warnings.

Providing and using work equipment safely: A brief guide: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg291.htm

Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 [LOLER]:

These Regulations require that lifting equipment provided for use at work is: strong and stable enough for the particular use; marked to indicate safe loading loads; positioned and installed to minimise any risks; used safely, ie the work is planned, organised and performed by competent people; and subject to ongoing through examination and, where appropriate, inspection by competent people.

Lifting equipment at work: A brief guide: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg290.htm

What can be done to reduce the risks?

Use the right equipment for the job:

Many accidents happen because people have not chosen the right equipment for the work to be done. Controlling the risk often means planning ahead and ensuring that suitable equipment or machinery is available.

  • Buying new machinery – A short guide to the law and some information on what to do for anyone buying new machinery for use at work: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg271.htm
  • Supplying new machinery – Explains the main health and safety requirements of the law, what you need to know about and what you can do in practice to meet the requirements: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg270.pdf
  • Hiring out equipment – those who hire out work equipment are responsible for ensuring that the equipment is safe to use at the point of hire. The hirer should also make reasonable attempts to find out what the equipment will be used for and provide advice on how it should be used. The safe use of the equipment is the responsibility of the person who hires it.

Preventative actions:

  1. Risk assess your work activities and introduce (and maintain) safe systems of work for all the machinery in use. Useful information on safe systems of work for the use of balers and compactors can be found in Guidance for the recovered paper industry (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg392.htm). The underlying principles of this guidance can be applied to other machinery (eg, conveyors, shredders, trommels etc.) used in the waste and recycling industry.
  2. Ensure all fixed guards are in place (and are replaced after removal) and secured to ensure access to moving parts is not possible when the machine is in operation.
  3. During, cleaning, repair or maintenance activities inadvertent powered movement can be prevented by securely isolating the plant from power sources – usually the electricity supply, but can also involve hydraulic and pneumatic power, and take into account the dissipation of stored energy if applicable. Security (‘lock off’) can be provided by padlocks on electrical isolator switches, for instance, and multi-user padlocks can be provided if more than a single maintenance worker is involved.
  4. Further information on Machinery lock-off procedures has been produced by the Environmental Services Association (ESA): http://www.esauk.org/esa_policies/people_health_and_safety/ESA_Machinery_Lockoff_Guidance_FINAL.pdf
  5. Permits to work can be utilised for more extensive plant, more complex management systems, and where entry into confined spaces may be required.
  6. Ensure operators have received appropriate information and training relating to the safe operation of machinery.

Other issues:

  • Access and work at height: falls can occur both when gaining access to places of work, and from the place of work itself (which may not have been designed for this purpose). Where access to items of plant for maintenance purposes requires working at height suitable risk assessments and systems of work must be in place.
  • Falling of heavy objects: it is not uncommon for heavy items to be moved, temporarily supported or inadvertently disturbed during maintenance activities. Suitable risk assessments and systems of work are in place for maintenance activity where heavy items may be moved, temporarily supported or disturbed.
  • Confined spaces: a number of people are killed or seriously injured in confined spaces each year in the UK. This happens in a wide range of industries, from those involving complex plant to simple storage vessels. Those killed include not only people working in the confined space but those who try to rescue them without proper training and equipment.

A confined space is defined as any space of an enclosed nature where there is a risk of death or serious injury from hazardous substances or dangerous conditions (eg a reduced oxygen atmosphere). Some confined spaces are fairly easy to identify, eg enclosures with limited openings such as storage tanks, reaction vessel, enclosed drains or sewers. Others such as open topped chambers; ductwork, enclosed conveyor systems and unventilated or poorly ventilated rooms may be less obvious but equally dangerous.

A suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks for all work activities must be undertaken for the purpose of deciding what measures are necessary for safety. For work in confined spaces this means identifying the hazards present, assessing the risks and determining what precautions to take.

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

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

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 14TH JANUARY 2016

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Excavation and underground services – electrical explosion leaves worker scarred for life

Sensible health and safety management in schools – school in court over science experiment injury

Work equipment and machinery – housing trust in court after mower mangles worker’s hand

Introduction

We open this week’s update with news of two construction companies being fined £45,000 each after two workers were seriously burned, and one scarred for life after they cut into a live 11,000v electrical cable. The HSE found that the principal contractor for the project had failed to identify the risk from live electrical cables that had been dug up and exposed (in addition to other failings by both companies at the site), so we’re sharing HSE guidance on excavation and underground services.

Moving from construction to education, it’s probably no surprise to readers that over half of secondary schools are now academies, and that up to 1,000 more could go through the transition by the next election. When a school becomes an academy, the Governing Body, as the employer, becomes legally responsible for health and safety and the school no longer automatically receives the Health, Safety and Wellbeing service that it was entitled to as a maintained school. So this week, after news of a chemistry laboratory technician losing parts of three fingers and sustaining a serious internal injury while preparing a highly sensitive explosive for use in a ‘fireworks’ demonstration, we also share HSE guidance on sensible health and safety management in schools.

And finally, we’re again sharing HSE guidance on work equipment and machinery, after news of a housing trust being fined £140,000 plus £70,000 costs after a worker suffered severe injuries to his left hand when it was struck by a metal blade on a ride-on mower.

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

Excavation and underground services – electrical explosion leaves worker scarred for life

Two construction companies have been fined £45,000 each after two workers were seriously burned, and one scarred for life after they cut into a live 11,000v electrical cable.

Southwark Crown Court heard the labourer and a bricklayer were working in a House of Lords site at Millbank, London, on 1 July 2013, to lay bricks around a manhole.

One of the men, who was 22 at the time of the incident, hit the cable with a jackhammer when removing old brickwork and suffered serious burns to his arms, legs, hands and face. He was in hospital for nearly a month receiving treatment to his injuries.

The other worker, a 63-year-old man, suffered significant burns to his face and neck. He has been treated for the longer term traumatic stress because of the incident and is unable to continue working with drills and machines.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation into the incident and the conditions found at the construction site.

One of the companies – the principal contractor for the project – had failed to identify the risk from live electrical cables that had been dug up and exposed, failed to provide information warning that the incident cable was live, and failed to adequately manage the site and the contractor.

The employer of the two injured workers also failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment before the work started, failed to provide effective supervision during the work and failed to check competence before allocating tasks including the operation of the jackhammer.

HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers commented after the hearing: “This serious incident should be a warning to the industry about the need to identify the risks to workers’ safety before work begins, so they can be protected.

“Employers have a duty to check workers have sufficient skills, knowledge, experience and training before they allow them to use equipment such as jackhammers on construction sites. A key point is to not assume a worker can use the equipment safely, just because they may have operated it previously.

“The ferocious explosion resulted in some serious injuries. This incident could easily have resulted in a fatality, and other employers should take this as a warning about the risks of working near electrical cables.”

Excavation and underground services

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” (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg47.htm) gives guidance on how you can manage the risks of digging near underground cables.

The Electricity Networks Association (ENA) publication “Watch It! When digging in the vicinity of underground electric cables” also provides advice.

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

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.

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

For more information, visit the HSE 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 happy to help.

Sensible health and safety management in schools – school in court over science experiment injury

A chemistry laboratory technician lost parts of three fingers and sustained a serious internal injury while preparing a highly sensitive explosive for use in a ‘fireworks’ demonstration to a class of children.

Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard the now retired staff member lost the top joints of his left hand index, middle and ring fingers and ruptured his bowel while preparing the explosive.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting told the court the laboratory technician spent 12 days in total in hospital after the October 2014 incident. Although he returned to work in February 2015, he has since retired.

It was revealed that the preparation of explosive substances had been carried out in the school several times a year since 2009. The mixture in question and other substances had been used in ‘fireworks’ demonstrations.

The court also heard that other explosive substances, namely flash powder and gunpowder, were stored in the school’s chemistry storeroom.

HSE said the incident could have been avoided if the school had implemented clear management arrangements to control and review the risks posed by the chemicals used in its teaching activities.

The school admitted that it failed to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of its employees, in breach of its duty under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

It also admitted failing to conduct its undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in its employment, in this case its pupils, were not exposed to risks to their health and safety, in breach of its duty under Section 3 of the same act.

The school was fined a total of £26,000 [£8,000 for the section 2 offence and £18,000 for the section 3 offence] and ordered to pay £12,176 costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Susan Chivers said: “Schools need to have clear health and safety arrangements in place for their staff and students.

“They should set up adequate control systems and ensure that these arrangements are clearly understood and adhered to. They should also follow recognised guidance provided by CLEAPSS (formerly known as the Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services) and similar organisations regarding the control of risks to health and safety in practical science work.”

Leading sensible health and safety management in schools

Sensible health and safety management means making sure that the focus is on real risks with the potential to cause harm, not wasting resources on trivial matters and unnecessary paperwork. In short effective leaders follow a sensible and proportionate approach to health and safety management that promotes risk awareness rather than risk avoidance.

While many schools manage health and safety effectively and sensibly, some have adopted over cautious approaches. This means that pupils are missing out on challenging and exciting activities and learning opportunities, and the chance to develop new skills.

In schools sensible health and safety starts at the top and relies on every member of the management team making sure that risk is managed responsibly and proportionately. It is about creating a safe learning environment, giving pupils an appreciation of risk and how to deal with it. It means doing what is reasonably practicable to reduce significant risks by putting in place control measures to manage the real risks. It is not about the elimination of all risk.

Health and safety arrangements in schools need to be proportionate and appropriate to the risks involved:

  • Primary schools and ‘traditional’ classrooms in secondary and sixth form colleges are typically lower risk environments, and you will probably already be doing enough. The classroom checklist (http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/classroom-checklist.htm), which is not mandatory, provides a useful prompt for these types of classroom.
  • Risks may increase in Design and Technology workshops, science laboratories, art studios, textiles, drama, and PE.
  • Some of the higher risks to manage include vehicle and pedestrian movements on site, refurbishment and construction work, and adventure activities. You may wish to consider the joint high level statement ‘Children’s play and leisure: promoting a balanced approach.’ (http://www.hse.gov.uk/entertainment/childs-play-statement.htm)

The following guidance provides advice for all schools on (click on the links for further information):

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

Work equipment and machinery – housing trust in court after mower mangles worker’s hand

A Tameside housing trust has been fined £140,000 plus £70,000 costs after a worker suffered severe injuries to his left hand when it was struck by a metal blade on a ride-on mower.

The 24-year-old from Stockport, who has asked not to be named, sustained several broken bones and had to have his thumb and forefinger amputated following the incident in Dukinfield in March 2014. A hospital x-ray has been released showing the extent of his injuries.

The housing trust was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the organisation had failed to consider the risks from the work, provide professional training or to give clear instructions on what to do if the mowers became blocked.

Manchester Crown Court heard the worker was using a ride-on mower for the first cut of the season, with a grass box attached. The chute to the grass box often became blocked, as the grass was long and wet.

On one occasion, the employee reached into the chute to clear a blockage when his hand came into contact with a metal fan, which was still rotating. He suffered serious injuries as a result, and is now unable to grip with his left hand or use his remaining fingers.

The court was told the worker had not received training on how to use the mower, and did not know that the fan continued to rotate for around 30 seconds after the engine was switched off.

Are you a user of work equipment?

What you must do

You must select and install equipment properly, use it carefully and make sure it is maintained to protect the health and safety of yourself, employees and others who may be affected by the way you use it. Sensible risk assessment is the key, following manufacturer’s recommendations for use and maintenance, and ensuring employees are trained and competent. This includes taking reasonable steps to ensure new work equipment complies with the relevant European requirements for safe design and construction. You must not use, or permit the use of, unsafe work equipment.

What you should know

Nearly all equipment used at work is subject to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), which place duties on employers, the relevant self-employed and those who control work equipment. If you are self-employed and your work poses no risk to the health and safety of others, then health and safety law may not apply to you.  HSE has guidance to help you understand if the law applies. Work equipment may also be subject to more specific legislation, for example:

  • the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
  • the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
  • the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

In addition to the general requirements applicable to most work equipment, PUWER covers in particular:

  • the risks from riding on and controlling mobile work equipment
  • operator visibility
  • protection from falling objects and from rolling over
  • restraint systems (seat belts, etc)
  • inspection / thorough examination of power presses

PUWER is supported by three Approved Codes of Practice; a general one on the Regulations, and two on specific types of machinery (woodworking and power presses). The ACOPs give practical guidance and set out the minimum standards for compliance. LOLER is supported by its own ACOP.

If you find new work equipment is not safe because of the way it has been designed, constructed, supplied or installed then you should stop using it until this has been remedied. You should first make contact with the manufacturer and supplier (or installer, if relating to the installation) to get the issue resolved. Where the product is defective due to its design or construction, you can report this to the relevant market surveillance authority. They may have the statutory powers necessary to take formal action and resolve the matter.

Further reading (click on the links):

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

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

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 8TH OCTOBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Gate Safety Week: 12-18 October 2015

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

Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI)

Health and safety implications of pervasive computing (RFID)

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gate Safety Week: 12-18 October 2015

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

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

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

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

Delivering safety by design and construction

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

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

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

Maintaining for safety

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

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

Risk assessment, competence and training

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

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

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

Use of standards for design, assessment and testing

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

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

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

In particular hazards may remain with regard to:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Planning and organising lifting operations

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

Planning

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

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

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

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

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

Strength and stability

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

Positioning and installation

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

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

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

Working under suspended loads

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

Supervision of lifting operations

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

Guidance on planning, organising and undertaking lifting operations

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

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

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

 

Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI)

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

Get insurance for your business

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

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

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

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

How do you get employers’ liability insurance?

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

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

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

 

Health and safety implications of pervasive computing (RFID)

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

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

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

Implications:

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

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

Our comment

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

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

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 1ST OCTOBER 2015

REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL

IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Landlords required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms from 1st October

Selecting a first-aid training provider

Freight container safety – transport company fined after crate falls on worker

Working at height – engineering company fined for safety breaches

Introduction

Two important changes to health and safety legislation/regulations come into force today, one of which is the requirement for landlords to ensure that they have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms installed in their properties. The measures were announced in March of this year by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis, and have since received Parliamentary approval.

Another change which has come into force today is the requirement by the HSE for individuals delivering first aid training to hold recognised teaching and assessing qualifications, details of which are provided below, along with guidance on establishing whether or not first aid training is required.

In response to the fining last month of a transport company after a crate fell on a worker, we also highlight the importance of identifying relevant risks before any work tasks are carried out, and putting in place appropriate control measures to protect against them, particularly those involved in work with containers.

Finally, it’s no wonder that falls from height remain one of the biggest causes of deaths at work in the UK, after a member of the public witnessed workers on a fragile roof without any preventative measures to avoid risk of falling – either off the edge or through it. The incident was reported to the HSE and the engineering company employing the workers was fined last month £10,000 plus £4,782 costs, despite no injury occurring. We look at the hierarchy of controls that managing work at height should follow.

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

Landlords required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms from 1st October

From 1st October, landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties, under measures announced by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis in March of this year.

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

The measure comes with strong support after a consultation on property condition in the private rented sector.

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

This is part of wider government moves to ensure there are sufficient measures in place to protect public safety, while at the same time avoiding regulation which would push up rents and restrict the supply of homes, limiting choice for tenants.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:

In 1988 just 8% of homes had a smoke alarm installed – now it’s over 90%.

The vast majority of landlords offer a good service and have installed smoke alarms in their homes, but I’m changing the law to ensure every tenant can be given this important protection.

But with working smoke alarms providing the vital seconds needed to escape a fire, I urge all tenants to make sure they regularly test their alarms to ensure they work when it counts. Testing regularly remains the tenant’s responsibility.

Communities Minister Stephen Williams said:

We’re determined to create a bigger, better and safer private rented sector – a key part of that is to ensure the safety of tenants with fire prevention and carbon monoxide warning.

People are at least 4 times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm.

That’s why we are proposing changes to the law that would require landlords to install working smoke alarms in their properties so tenants can give their families and those they care about a better chance of escaping a fire.

Ensuring the safety of tenants

Other measures to support the private rented sector include investing £1 billion in building newly-built homes specifically for private rent, giving tenants support against rogue landlords and publishing a How to rent guide so tenants and landlords alike are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

The changes to the law will require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy.

Landlords will also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.

Those who fail to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will face sanctions and could face up to a £5,000 civil penalty.

This will bring private rented properties into line with existing building regulations that already require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed.

And it’s in line with other measures the government has taken to improve standards in the private rented sector, without wrapping the industry up in red tape.

Free to download from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarms-explanatory-booklet-for-landlords, an explanatory booklet has been published, designed to help landlords further understand and comply with the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.

If you need clarification or further information about any aspect of property health and safety or fire safety, we undertake health & safety/fire risk assessments of commercial and residential properties and will be happy to advise accordingly. We can also provide a no-obligation quotation for the above upon request. Contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk.

Selecting a first-aid training provider

From 1st October 2015, HSE guidance to employers requires individuals delivering first aid training to hold recognised teaching and assessing qualifications. For more information about what to check when selecting a training provider, the HSE’s information sheet provides guidance for employers and is free to download by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/geis3.pdf

Do I need first-aid training?

HSE cannot tell you what provision you should make for first aid. You, as an employer, are best placed to understand the exact nature of your workplace and decide what you need to provide.

First aid provision must be ‘adequate and appropriate in the circumstances’. This means that you must provide sufficient first aid equipment (first aid kit), facilities and personnel at all times.

In order to decide what provision you need to make you should undertake a first-aid needs assessment. This assessment should consider the circumstances of your workplace, workforce and the hazards and risks that may be present. The findings will help you decide what first-aid arrangements you need to put in place.

In assessing your first-aid needs, you should consider:

  • the nature of the work you do
  • workplace hazards and risks (including specific hazards requiring special arrangements)
  • the nature and size of your workforce
  • the work patterns of your staff
  • holiday and other absences of those who will be first-aiders and appointed persons
  • your organisation’s history of accidents

You may also need to consider:

  • the needs of travelling, remote and lone workers
  • the distribution of your workforce
  • the remoteness of any of your sites from emergency medical services
  • whether your employees work on shared or multi-occupancy sites
  • first-aid provision for non-employees (eg members of the public).

HSE has published further guidance on all the factors above that will help you carry out your first-aid needs assessment. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l74.pdf#page=9

You may also wish to consider their suite of case studies, containing scenario-based examples of first-aid needs assessments for a variety of workplaces. They demonstrate the general principles involved in deciding on the provision you should make for first aid, but you should not assume the outcomes shown are directly transferable to your workplace. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/casestudy9.pdf

You do not need to record the findings of your needs assessment, but you may find it useful to do so, as it will demonstrate how you have decided on the first-aid provision that you make.

The minimum requirement in terms of personnel is to appoint a person to take charge of first-aid arrangements. The roles of this appointed person include looking after the first-aid equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when required. The appointed person can also provide emergency cover, within their role and competence, where a first-aider is absent due to unforeseen circumstances. An appointed person is not required to have any formal training.

If your workplace has more significant health and safety risks, for example you use machinery or hazardous materials then you are more likely to need a trained first-aider.

There are no hard and fast rules on exact numbers, and you will need to take into account all the relevant circumstances of your particular workplace.

If you need clarification or further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help. We also provide first-aid training and can provide a no-obligation quotation upon request.

Freight container safety – transport company fined after crate falls on worker

Last month, a transport company firm was fined £9,000 plus £917 costs for safety failings after a worker suffered serious injuries when a crate fell on him whilst he was unloading crates from a container.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard how on April 2013 the transport company employee was assisting to unload two containers which contained two tonne crates of glass mirrors. The second container had no fork pockets or lighting, so the worker had to closely guide the fork lift truck operator to ensure the forks were in position.

Some of the crates were jammed in place and as the fork lift truck operator attempted to dislodge them, one of the crates toppled onto the worker, pinning him to the side of the container. The incident has left him with life changing injuries and he will be unable to work for at least three years.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Corinne Godfrey said:

“This worker was employed by the company for less than three weeks as a Warehouse Foreman, and although he had previous job experience which involved the maintenance and repair of containers, he had never been involved with this type of unloading work known as ‘devanning’.

This incident was inevitable, neither worker had seen the procedures manual or any risk assessments/method statements relating to the unloading of containers.

The company failed to plan what should happen when it was identified that loads were not able to be readily offloaded by forklift truck.

It’s essential that before any work tasks are carried out, the relevant risks should be identified and appropriate control measures put in place to protect against them.

All participants in the logistics chain – from owner drivers with one vehicle to large fleet operators, to shippers and warehouse operators – are likely to work with containers on a daily basis as drivers, loaders or handlers.

Accidents may happen at any stage of a container’s journey; many of these will be serious or fatal, including crushing and falls from height. These accidents may be caused by human error or failure of technical items.

Typical hazards regarding freight containers in ports:

  • Structural failure due to lack of maintenance and wear and tear
  • Structural failure due to overloading, misdeclared weight, uneven or shifted loads
  • Falls from height while working with containers
  • Crush injuries during container manoeuvring and movements
  • Exposure to fumigants used during transit or chemicals given off by cargo that may build up during transit

How the risks can be reduced

All of these can be reduced by proper planning of work and training of workers. Before any work tasks are carried out, the relevant risks should be identified through risk assessment and appropriate control measures put in place to protect against them.

Port Skills and Safety (PSS) have produced a comprehensive ‘Health & Safety in Ports’ guidance document entitled SIP003 – Guidance on Container Handling that covers these issues in more detail. Click on the link: http://www.portskillsandsafety.co.uk/publications/safety_in_ports_guidance

This document has been produced by the ports industry, with assistance from HSE, to help dutyholders understand their duties under health and safety legislation and to identify key risks. This guidance also gives examples which dutyholders can use to inform their risk assessments and procedures.

Which laws apply? (click on the links for more information)

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

Working at height – engineering company fined for safety breaches

Also last month, an engineering company firm was fined £10,000 plus £4,782 costs for safety failings after a member of the public witnessed workers on a fragile roof without any preventative measures to avoid risk of falling.

Redhill Magistrates’ Court heard how in September 2014, the engineering company employees were working on a fragile roof installing ventilation ducting. The risks were obvious, but nothing was in place to prevent either falling off the edge of the roof or through the roof.

Falls from height remain one of the biggest causes of deaths at work in the UK. Fortunately, no-one was injured in this incident.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Denis Bodger said: “It is essential that all roof work is properly planned by a competent person and competent workers are clearly instructed on how to carry out the work safely. It is not acceptable to simply rely on sending the workers to site and expecting that they will carry out the work safely, as was the case here.”

Managing work at height follows a hierarchy of controls – avoid, prevent, arrest – which begins with the question – can the work be done safely from the ground? Fall restraints and safety netting should only be considered as a last resort if other safety equipment cannot be used.

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

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