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IN THIS UPDATE
Yesterday was No Smoking Day, and since its introduction in 1983, there are millions less smokers in the UK. But now, the most popular form of support to stop smoking is the use of e-cigarettes. BHF’s associate medical director Mike Knapton, has said “Although e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking cigarettes, there is no doubt that more research is needed into the potential long term effects of the use of them.” And whilst a ban on their use in some public places is being proposed, the decision on whether or not to permit their use in workplaces actually lies with employers. We open this week’s update with advice for employers from the HSE.
It’s a known fact that many people smoke when they feel stressed, and a major part of quitting smoking is finding ways to handle that stress. This can be difficult if the stress is work related, perhaps as a result of insufficient attention by employers to job design, work organisation and management. Work related stress develops because a person is unable to cope with the demands being placed on them. So this week we also share the HSE’s approach to tackling an issue which in 2015 accounted for 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.
And finally, we close this week’s update with HSE guidance on securing loads safely on vehicles and challenging the myth that this doesn’t need to be done for very short journeys.
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Yesterday was No Smoking Day, run by the British Heart Foundation. Since it was introduced in 1983, there are millions less smokers in the UK. This will no doubt have been helped by the smoke-free legislation introduced in 2007 in England, banning smoking in nearly all enclosed workplaces and public spaces. But now, the most popular form of support to stop smoking is the use of e-cigarettes. BHF’s associate medical director Mike Knapton, has said “Although e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking cigarettes, there is no doubt that more research is needed into the potential long term effects of the use of them.” And whilst a ban on their use in some public places is being proposed, the decision on whether or not to permit their use in workplaces actually lies with employers. The HSE provides the following advice:
HSE does not enforce legislation or standards for e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are not regulated like tobacco products and there is currently no bespoke regulatory system for e-cigarettes in the UK, but they are captured by general product safety regulatory requirements.
HSE’s advice is that an employer needs to consider e-cigarettes in the wider context of risk in the workplace. We are aware that some organisations have banned their use but this is not something HSE has advised on. Employers may want to ask for advice on this from Public Health England: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some organisations may find the ‘Will you permit or prohibit electronic cigarette use on your premises?’ document useful which can be downloaded by clicking on the link: http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_900.pdf. It sets out five questions to ask yourself before deciding whether to permit or prohibit e-cigarette use on your premises.
If an employer decides to ‘prohibit’ the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace but allow for ‘vaping’ breaks or provide areas where employees can use e-cigarettes, the employer needs to ensure that those who use e-cigarettes are not put at risk of harm from second-hand tobacco smoke.
We are now in the last month of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work’s healthy workplaces campaign for 2014 – 2015 ‘Healthy workplaces manage stress’, more information on which can still be found by clicking on the following link: http://hw2014.healthy-workplaces.eu/en
Work-related stress, depression or anxiety is defined as a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work, and associated statistics published by the HSE for 2015 are as follows:
- The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2014/15 was 440,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1380 per 100,000 workers.
- The number of new cases was 234,000, an incidence rate of 740 per 100,000 workers. The estimated number and rate have remained broadly flat for more than a decade.
- The total number of working days lost due to this condition in 2014/15 was 9.9 million days. This equated to an average of 23 days lost per case.
- In 2014/15 stress accounted for 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.
- Stress is more prevalent in public service industries, such as education; health and social care; and public administration and defence.
- By occupation, jobs that are common across public service industries (such as health; teaching; business, media and public service professionals) show higher levels of stress as compared to all jobs.
- The main work factors cited by respondents as causing work related stress, depression or anxiety (LFS, 2009/10-2011/12) were workload pressures, including tight deadlines and too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support.
Well-designed, organised and managed work is good for us but when insufficient attention to job design, work organisation and management has taken place, it can result in Work related stress. Work related stress develops because a person is unable to cope with the demands being placed on them. Stress, including work related stress, can be a significant cause of illness and is known to be linked with high levels of sickness absence, staff turnover and other issues such as more errors.
Stress can hit anyone at any level of the business and recent research shows that work related stress is widespread and is not confined to particular sectors, jobs or industries. That is why a population-wide approach is necessary to tackle it.
HSE has developed the Management Standards approach to tackling work related stress; these Standards represent a set of conditions that, if present, reflect a high level of health, well-being and organisational performance. This approach helps those who have key roles in promoting organisational and individual health and well-being to develop systems to prevent illness resulting from stress. For more information click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/standards/index.htm
Find out more (click on the links for more information)
- Fit for Work can help address any issues impacting your well-being at work: http://fitforwork.org/employee/
- Work Foundation: http://www.theworkfoundation.com/
- Further information about how individuals have dealt with stress: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/video/index.htm
For more information on work related stress and how we can tackle it, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/index.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.
If not properly secured, vehicle loads can become unsafe, even over a short distance.
Loads that haven’t been firmly tied down increase the risk of vehicle rollover and spillage. They risk the lives of drivers and other road users, and can also cause annoying traffic disruption.
More than 1200 people a year are injured as a result of unsafe loads, and millions of pounds are lost in damaged goods.
Don’t take the risk – make sure your load is restrained and contained!
The HSE provides the following guidance on how to secure loads safely on vehicles:
What can happen
Unrestrained loads can increase the risk of vehicle rollover and load spillage, and risk the life of the driver and other road users.
People and load falls: An unsecured load shifts inside the trailer and is more difficult to unload. The load may have to be unloaded manually. Sending someone up onto the trailer bed to sort out a load that has shifted puts them at risk of falling off.
Vehicles roll: Vehicles can roll over. In serious cases of load shift the vehicle can become unbalanced and overturn.
Product is damaged: All or part of the load may be damaged if it falls from the trailer. Product damage can be a significant cost to the business.
Load shifts forward: If there is a gap between the load and the headboard, the load can shift forward under braking, risking the life of the driver and other road users.
How to secure loads safely
Securing loads safely is good for business – product is delivered intact and on time.
To secure a load safely you need to make sure it is:
- restrained – tied firmly down to the load bed; and
- contained – it can’t move around (shift) inside the vehicle.
The only way to do this is with strong chains or webbing straps (lashings) attached directly to the vehicle.
If the load shifts in transit, contact the depot and agree a safe way to sort it out.
Planning your load
Planning how you secure the load is an important step to keeping workers safe.
Loading plans can help to flag up issues before they become problems.
Things to be considered will vary but could include:
- Whether the driver will witness loading.
- Who will apply the load restraints and what they should be.
- How the load will be placed on the trailer bed.
- Who will unload the vehicle and what equipment will be required.
- Who the driver should report to on arrival.
- What the driver should do if the load shifts during the journey.
Your employer should give you a loading plan – Full written details about every load you carry
The consignor – the person responsible for sending the load – is responsible for ensuring that the load is loaded so that it does not present a danger to others. It is important that the driver knows how the load has been secured, especially if he has not seen it loaded. This information should also be available to the delivery site.
Don’t just rely on word of mouth.
Time spent thinking about safe loading can help prevent all the problems of an unsafe load so make sure you:
- Have the correct equipment on your premises to load vehicles safely.
- Prepare a loading plan for each journey, to include information about:
- how the load is to be secured; and
- the location and layout of each delivery site, including unloading equipment and facilities.
Delivery plan should travel with the load
If you are a driver, you should keep this loading plan with you at all stages of the delivery. If there is anything you don’t understand in the loading plan, ask someone before you drive away.
How you can help make loading and unloading safer
- Look at what other companies do – if you see a good idea, suggest it to your safety advisor or supervisor.
- Report all ‘near miss’ incidents.
- Ask your employer about training.
Other things to think about
To prevent falls from the cab or load bed
- Before you set off, check that steps or handholds are in good condition.
- On refrigerated vehicles, check the floor for ice or water and follow any instructions you are given to reduce the amount of water.
- Wear non-slip footwear.
To prevent hitting a pedestrian
- Ask about the layout of the sites you are delivering to. Segregation is an essential element in the loading/unloading process. It is important to have only the people involved in the process present in area where the activity is taking place.
- Observe traffic lights, signs, road markings, speed limits and one-way systems – if you don’t understand a sign or if you think it is hard to see, tell someone.
- Remember that you become a pedestrian when you step out of your vehicle.
- Don’t let anyone guide your vehicle around the site unless you know they are a trained banksman or signaller.
To prevent slips and trips
- Wear well-fitting, slip-resistant safety footwear when working on vehicles.
- Keep the soles of your footwear clean.
- Clean up spills and dirt, such as diesel or mud on the catwalk or load area.
- Keep the load area tidy – pick up loose ropes and packaging.
To prevent injury caused by poor manual handling
- Follow your employer’s guidance on lifting and moving loads.
- Use the correct equipment to load your vehicles safely.
Use appropriate personal protective equipment
- If your employer gives you personal protective equipment to wear, for example slip resistant footwear, be sure to use it whenever you need to. Keep it in good condition and report any faults or excess wear.
For more information visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/loadsafety/ or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.
Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence