REGISTER BELOW-LEFT TO RECEIVE OUR UPDATES BY EMAIL
IN THIS UPDATE
The term “health and safety” has become much maligned over recent years, with related bureaucracy, “jobsworths” and red tape regularly being cited as a hindrance in the workplace, and spoiler of fun out of it. In this week’s update, we open with the HSE’s response to an article which suggests that a “regulation heavy culture” in the UK is making it impossible for businesses to start up. And we also share a couple of health and safety misconceptions, relating to PAT testing and asbestos management, dispelled by the HSE’s “Myth Busters Challenge Panel”.
Waste and recycling is a high-risk industry. It accounts for only about 0.5% of the employees in Britain, but 2.6% of reported injuries to employees. However, failure to provide adequate segregation between pedestrians and moving vehicles, which resulted in recycling firm employee being struck by a 7.5 tonne telehandler at a waste transfer station, could occur in any workplace transport situation. We also share HSE guidance this week on separating pedestrians and vehicles.
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
In response to an article published last month in Herald Scotland which analysed health and safety regulation in Great Britain and suggested a “regulation heavy culture” making it impossible for businesses to start up, the Health and Safety Executive have published the following comment by their Director of Scotland and Northern England Mike Cross:
“Although the analysis of health and safety regulation in Great Britain is depressingly inaccurate, (Time to take a risk and cut back on red tape – Monday 28 September http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/opinion/13787377.Time_for_radical_re_think_on_health_and_safety_regulations/), Pinstripe will be pleased to hear all of his ‘ideas’ were implemented some time ago.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is on target to deliver reforms to remove or improve around 84 percent of existing health and safety regulations. This includes reducing the overall stock of legislation by 50 percent in line with the Government’s existing ‘one in, one out’ policy.
HSE, working with Government and industry, is tackling the perceived ‘compensation culture’ head on, amending the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) so civil claims for breaches of h&s duties can only be able to be made under the common law where negligence can be proved.
Simple and straightforward guidance for small firms is easily available to ensure only documents essential for helping to manage risk in their businesses are produced.
However, I make no apology for my inspectors taking a firm enforcement line when workers lives are being put at risk irrespective of the age of the business. In Scotland, last year 20 workers died and in 2013/14 1,936 were reported seriously injured in incidents at work, many of them in small firms who typically trade for less than three years.
The reality is there is no need to make a choice between safety and economic success. The most successful businesses in GB also have excellent health and safety records. Put simply, effective management of health and safety is good for business.”
A national recycling firm has been fined £200,000 plus nearly £12,000 costs after an employee was struck by a 7.5 tonne telehandler. The accident happened as a result of the company failing to provide adequate segregation between pedestrians and moving vehicles at a waste transfer station in Lancashire. As an employee walked across an outside plastics hand sorting area, he passed behind a stationary telehandler. The telehandler began to reverse and struck the worker who was knocked to the ground and then run over by the rear wheel of the vehicle. His resulting injuries caused him to be hospitalised for two months.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting told the Court the company had identified the risks but failed to put in place suitable controls to stop people being hit by vehicles.
An HSE inspector said after the hearing: “Employers need to look carefully at their workplaces regularly to make sure that pedestrian routes are clearly marked and physically separated from vehicle routes wherever possible. The employee could have easily been killed and still has severe mobility problems as a result of the accident. He is unlikely to be able to work in the near future.”
- By law, pedestrians or vehicles must be able to use a traffic route without causing danger to the health or safety of people working near it.
- Roadways and footpaths should be separate whenever possible.
- You need to consider protection for people who work near vehicle routes.
- By law, traffic routes must also keep vehicle routes far enough away from doors or gates that pedestrians use, or from pedestrian routes that lead on to them, so the safety of pedestrians is not threatened.
Questions to ask
Your risk assessment should include answers to these questions:
- How are pedestrians and cyclists kept away from vehicles?
- How do you mark out and sign vehicle and pedestrian areas?
- Where do vehicles and pedestrians have to use the same route?
- How do you mark out and sign crossing points
- for drivers?
- for pedestrians?
- How do you tell drivers and pedestrians about the routes and the layout? For example:
- staff who work on site (training)
- new staff (induction)
- Apart from collisions, what else presents a health and safety risk? For example:
- materials falling from vehicles
- How can you manage these risks?
For more information, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/separating.htm#pedestrians, or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.
In HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel Case 254, rope access company operators using 36v battery drills whilst on site were told that due to health and safety rules, they could not take battery chargers onto site unless they had a PAT certificate.
The Panel’s decision was as follows:
Health & safety law does not require electrical items to be portable appliance tested (PAT). Regulations simply require that electrical equipment be maintained to prevent danger. HSE guidance on maintaining portable electrical equipment covers maintenance intervals, including for chargers. Maintenance is for the owner but operators may have their own rules to help ensure safety across their site.
Do you have control over or use portable electrical equipment in the workplace?
Guidance published by the HSE can be downloaded free by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg107.pdf. For managers, electricians, technicians and users, it gives sensible advice on maintaining portable electrical equipment to prevent danger. It covers equipment that is connected to the fixed mains supply or a locally generated supply. It outlines a recommended maintenance plan based on a straightforward, inexpensive system of user checks, formal visual inspection and testing.
For a list of FAQs about portable appliance testing, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/electricity/faq-portable-appliance-testing.htm or for clarification/more information, contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.
In HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel Case 266, a member of staff in a retail outlet was told that all visitors to the building where she worked had to be shown the comprehensive asbestos register, even if they were only coming for a meeting and not doing any physical work. For example a visitor attending a verbal meeting with the store manager had to sign to say they had seen it. The building was a retail outlet with back offices and did have managed asbestos in some areas but not all .The enquirer would have understood if the visitor was a contractor doing works to the building fabric, but felt this was over-the-top and wondered if the myth busters could confirm.
The Panel’s decision was as follows:
The serious health risks from exposure to asbestos are well known. The Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 contain a duty to pass on information about asbestos to people liable to disturb it in the course of their work or visit. However, there is no reason why people visiting simply to attend a meeting would need to see this information.
New guidance published by the Retail Asbestos Working Group (RAWG), and supported by HSE, provides sensible, practical, advice on managing asbestos and working with asbestos containing materials in trading stores and shops. The guidance confirms that the measures described by the enquirer go beyond what is needed to manage the risk of exposure for visitors. It is free to download by clicking on the link: http://www.brc.org.uk/brc_policy_content.asp?iCat=49&iSubCat=699&spolicy=Risk+%26+Safety&sSubPolicy=Asbestos+Guidance+for+Retailers
Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence