HSE releases annual workplace fatality figures – second lowest year on record

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The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has this week released its annual figures for work-related fatalities, as well as the number of people known to have died from the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, in 2015.

The provisional annual data for work-related fatal accidents revealed that 137 workers were fatally injured between April 2016 and March 2017 (a rate of 0.43 per 100,000 workers), the second lowest year on record.

There has been a long-term downward trend in the number of fatal injuries to workers – they have halved over the last 20 years – although in recent years the trend shows signs of leveling.

HSE Chair Martin Temple said:

“Every fatality is a tragic event that should not happen. While we are encouraged by this improvement on the previous year, we continue unwaveringly on our mission to prevent injury, death and ill health by protecting people and reducing risks.”

The new figures show the rate of fatal injuries in several key industrial sectors:

  • 30 fatal injuries to construction workers were recorded. While this accounts for the largest share, this is the lowest number on record for the sector. However, over the last five years the number has fluctuated, The annual average for the past five years is 39. The annual average rate over the last five years in construction is around four times as high as the all industry rate.
  • 27 fatal injuries to agricultural workers were recorded. This sector continues to account for a large share of the annual fatality count. It has the highest rate of fatal injury of all the main industry sectors, around 18 times as high as the all industry rate.
  • 14 fatal injuries to waste and recycling workers were recorded. Despite being a relatively small sector in terms of employment, the annual average fatal injury rate over the last five years is around 15 times as high as the all industry rate.

The fatalities in the waste and recycling sector in 2016/17 include the single incident at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling Ltd in Birmingham on 7 July 2016 which resulted in five deaths.

Martin Temple continued:

“As we approach the one-year anniversary of this incident, our thoughts remain with the families of those who died. We continue to fully support West Midlands Police’s investigation.”

The new figures also highlight the risks to older workers – around a quarter of fatal injuries in 2016/17 were to workers aged 60 or over, even though such workers made up only around 10% of the workforce.

There were also 92 members of the public fatally injured in accidents connected to work in 2016/17. Almost half of these occurred on railways with the remainder occurring across a number of sectors including public services, entertainment and recreation.

Mesothelioma, one of the few work related diseases where deaths can be counted directly, contracted through past exposure to asbestos killed 2,542 in Great Britain in 2015 compared to 2,519 in 2014. The current figures relating to asbestos-related cancer reflect widespread exposures before 1980. Annual deaths are therefore expected to start to reduce after this current decade.

A fuller assessment of work related ill-health and injuries, drawing on HSE’s full range of data sources, will be provided as part of the annual Health and Safety Statistics release on 1 November 2017.

The HSE Chair added:

“We deal daily with the causes and consequences of work-related deaths, injuries and ill health. Today’s updated figures continue to inform our understanding of which areas we need to target.”

“We concentrate our interventions where we know we can have the biggest impact. We hold dutyholders accountable for managing the risks they create in the workplace. This benefits workers, business performance, the economy and wider society alike.”

Further information on these statistics can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics. For more information on any of the above topics, visit the HSE website www.hse.gov.uk, 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

 

 

Advice for employers of outdoor workers (council refuses to supply gardeners with sun screen in case they are allergic)

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

The HSE ‘Myth Busters Challenge Panel’ Case 351 is the subject of this week’s news update.

‘Health and Safety’ is often incorrectly used as a convenient excuse to stop what are essentially sensible activities going ahead. The Health and Safety Executive has set up an independent panel – the Myth Busters Challenge Panel – to scrutinize such decisions.

The Panel is chaired by the HSE Chair, supported by a pool of independent members who represent a wide range of interests. This includes small businesses, public safety, Trade Unions, the insurance industry and others.

This Panel looks into enquiries regarding the advice given by non-regulators such as insurance companies, health and safety consultants and employers and, quickly assess if a sensible and proportionate decision has been made. They want to make clear that “health and safety” is about managing real risks properly, not being risk averse and stopping people getting on with their lives.

If you think a decision or advice that you have been given in the name of health and safety is wrong, or disproportionate for the activity you are doing, you can contact the panel here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/contact-myth-busting.htm. But please note this is not the right route into HSE for raising a concern or complaint about your workplace, or for general enquires. Instead, go here (http://webcommunities.hse.gov.uk/connect.ti/concernsform/answerQuestionnaire?qid=594147) to raise a workplace health and safety concern, here (http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/complaints.htm) to make a complaint, or here (http://webcommunities.hse.gov.uk/connect.ti/advice/answerQuestionnaire?qid=593891) to get advice.

Issue (Case 351)

A council would not supply their gardeners with sun screen during hot weather as it was a health and safety issue as someone may be allergic.

Panel opinion

The council is not obliged to provide sun screen to outdoor workers, but there is nothing under health and safety law to prevent it doing so. HSE encourages employers to provide advice on sun protection for those who work outside for most of the day including using sun screen to prevent long term health damage.

Skin at work: Outdoor workers and sun exposure

What is the problem?

Too much sunlight is harmful to your skin. A tan is a sign that the skin has been damaged. The damage is caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight.

Who is at risk?

If work keeps you outdoors for a long time your skin could be exposed to more sun than is healthy for you. Outdoor workers that could be at risk include farm or construction workers, market gardeners, outdoor activity workers and some public service workers. You should take particular care if you have:

  • fair or freckled skin that doesn’t tan, or goes red or burns before it tans;
  • red or fair hair and light coloured eyes;
  • a large number of moles.

People of all skin colours should take care to avoid damage to the eyes, overheating and dehydration.

What are the harmful effects?

In the short term, even mild reddening of the skin from sun exposure is a sign of damage. Sunburn can blister the skin and make it peel.

Longer term problems can arise. Too much sun speeds up ageing of the skin, making it leathery, mottled and wrinkled. The most serious effect is an increased chance of developing skin cancer.

What can you do to protect yourself?

  • Keep your top on.
  • Wear a hat with a brim or a flap that covers the ears and the back of the neck.
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible, during your breaks and especially at lunch time.
  • Use a high factor sunscreen of at least SPF15 on any exposed skin.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  • Check your skin regularly for any unusual moles or spots. See a doctor promptly if you find anything that is changing in shape, size or colour, itching or bleeding.

Where can you get further information?

The following free leaflets have been produced by HSE:

The following website also provides useful information:

For more information, click on the above links 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 – 10TH MARCH 2016

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IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

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

European campaign – Healthy workplaces manage stress

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

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

Electronic cigarettes

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

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

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

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

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

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

European campaign – Healthy workplaces manage stress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The reality

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

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

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

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

Load safety

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

What can happen

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

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

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

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

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

How to secure loads safely

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

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

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

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

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

Planning your load

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

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

Things to be considered will vary but could include:

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

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

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

Don’t just rely on word of mouth.

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

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

Delivery plan should travel with the load

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

How you can help make loading and unloading safer

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

Other things to think about

To prevent falls from the cab or load bed

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

To prevent hitting a pedestrian

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

To prevent slips and trips

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

To prevent injury caused by poor manual handling

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

Use appropriate personal protective equipment

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

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

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