HSE food manufacturing inspections target the causes of workplace ill-health

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Companies and people working in food manufacturing are being told they must pay closer attention to how they manage workplace health risks or face serious penalties.

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) programme of proactive inspections will review health and safety standards in food manufacturing businesses across the country, and the sector is being warned that a programme of unannounced inspections will begin today (2nd January).

The inspections will focus on two of the main causes of ill-health in the sector which are currently occupational asthma from exposure to flour dust in bakeries, cake and biscuit manufacturers and grain mills and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) – predominantly lower back pain and upper limb disorders from manual handling activities and repetitive tasks across the sector.

The inspection visits come as HSE recently released its Manufacturing sector plan which prioritises the reduction of cases of occupational lung disease and MSDs.

Exposure to flour dust is the UK’s second most common cited cause of occupational asthma. MSDs are the most common type of work-related illness in food manufacturing with handling injuries, accounting for around 20% of reported employee injuries (RIDDOR). HSE insists that such ill-health can be prevented when organisations have proper risk control systems in place.

The inspections will ensure measures are being taken by those responsible to protect workers against health risks and HSE will not hesitate to use enforcement to bring about improvements.

HSE’s head of Manufacturing Sector John Rowe, said: “The food manufacturing sector is made up of over 300,000 workers and its health and safety record needs to improve. This inspection initiative will look to ensure effective management and control of targeted health risks.

HSE is calling on anyone working in the industry to take the time to refresh their knowledge of our advice and guidance, available for free on our website.

Food manufacturing companies should do the right thing by protecting workers’ health; everyone has the right to go home healthy from work.”

COSHH and bakers – key messages

Substances hazardous to health in baking include:

  • flour dust;
  • improver dusts containing enzymes etc;
  • dusts from protein-containing ingredients such as egg, soya;
  • spices, citrus oils and flavour concentrates;
  • cleaning and disinfectant products.

Dermatitis may result from some bakery tasks, and if hands are wet many times a day or for a lot of the time.

Control measures include:

  • careful working to avoid raising clouds of dust;
  • dust extraction;
  • vacuum or wet cleaning;
  • respirator for very dusty tasks;
  • skin checks.

Example: Flour dust

Flour dust can cause asthma when breathed in.

You must reduce exposure to flour dust as far below the WEL of 10 mg/m3 as is reasonably practicable. You normally need to use health surveillance (Check employees health for any adverse effects related to work. May involve checking skin for dermatitis or asking questions about breathing and may need to done by a doctor or nurse.)

Help in finding the right controls is on the Bakers and asthma website (http://www.hse.gov.uk/asthma/bakers.htm). Control information for flour dust appears in the following information sheets available from the COSHH essentials webpage: http://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/essentials/direct-advice/baking.htm

Employees

Your employer provides equipment to protect your health, such as:

  • dust extraction;
  • personal protective equipment (eg respirator).

You have a duty to use these properly and co-operate with any monitoring and health surveillance.

For advice on preventing and managing musculoskeletal disorders, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/. Alternatively, contact us about any of the above-mentioned issues, 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 – 22ND OCTOBER 2015

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IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Frequently asked questions – Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs) – assessment of repetitive tasks of the upper limbs (the ART tool)

PPE – are turban-wearing Sikhs exempt from the need to wear head protection in the workplace?

Introduction

Since The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) came into force on 6 April 2015, replacing CDM 2007, we have received a number of queries in relation to this major legislative development, so we thought it would be useful this week to open our update with the HSE’s latest answers to the most frequently asked questions on this topic.

Do your work tasks involve guiding or holding tools, keyboard work or heavy lifting? If so, these have been reported by GPs as being the most likely work-related causes of Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs), for which a prevalence rate of approximately 200,000 total cases was reported amongst people working in the 12 months between 2013/14, resulting in a total of 3.2 million lost working days – an average of almost 16 days per worker (see http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/musculoskeletal/msd.pdf). This week, we also share details of the HSE ART tool (assessment of repetitive tasks of the upper limbs) – available as a free download, allowing you to complete your own assessment of repetitive tasks in your workplace.

And finally, we close with news that turban-wearing Sikhs are now legally exempt from the need to wear head protection not only on construction sites, but also in the workplace of any industry (with limited exceptions).

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

Frequently asked questions – Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

Notifications – F10’s

When is a construction project ‘notifiable’?

A construction project is notifiable if the construction work is expected to:

  • last longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers working at the same time at any point on the project; or
  • exceed 500 person days.

Find out how to notify projects, and complete the f10 notification form (click on the link): https://www.hse.gov.uk/forms/notification/f10.htm

Does the 30 working days/500 person days on site include weekends, bank holidays etc?

Every day on which construction work is likely to be carried out should be counted, even if the work on that day is of a short duration. This includes holidays and weekends.

Who should notify a project?

The client has the duty to notify a construction project. In practice however, the client may ask someone else to notify on their behalf.

Maintenance

Does CDM 2015 apply to all maintenance work?

No. The definition of construction work has not changed under CDM 2015. The application to maintenance work remains the same as it was under CDM 2007.

Principal Designer (PD)

I was a CDM co-ordinator under CDM 2007. Can I now work as a principal designer (PD)?

No, not necessarily. To work as a PD, you must be a designer:

  • You might be an architect, consulting engineer, quantity surveyor or anyone who specifies and alters designs as part of their work.
  • You might also be a contractor/builder, commercial client, tradesperson or anyone who carries out design work, or arranges for or instructs people under your control to do so.

You must have the right mix of skills, knowledge, experience and (if an organisation) organisational capability to allow you to carry out all of the functions and responsibilities of a PD for the project in hand, and be in control of the pre-construction phase.

I was an architect/designer on the planning and Building Regulations stages of a project and I am no longer involved with the project. Who will take on the role of principal designer (PD)?

The client has the duty to appoint the PD. If you are no longer involved with the project, the client must appoint another PD. You will still be responsible for the design decisions you made in preparing the original plans. The new PD must then take responsibility for any design decisions made following their appointment.

If the client fails to appoint the PD, then the client assumes the role.

I’m a client, can I take on the Principal Designer (PD) role?

Yes. You can choose to take on the PD role yourself. If you do you must have the skills, knowledge, experience and(if an organisation) organisational capability, to carry out all the functions and responsibilities of the PD.

Small builder

I am a general builder who only works on small scale commercial and domestic projects, will CDM 2015 affect me?

Yes. CDM 2015 applies to all construction work including domestic projects.

You will have different responsibilities depending on whether you are (for example):

  • The only contractor working on the job;
  • The principal contractor;
  • One of the contactors workings for a PC.

For more information, please go to ‘Are You a small builder…’ (click on the link): http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/areyou/builder.htm

Construction Phase Plan (CPP)

As a general builder do I need a Construction Phase Plan (CPP) for any construction work I do?

Yes. If you are the only contactor or the principal contractor (PC), you must draw up a Construction Phase Plan (CPP): http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis80.pdf. However, it should be proportionate to the size and scale of the job.

A simple plan before the work starts is usually enough to show that you have thought about health and safety.

If you are a contractor working for a PC, it is the PC who must draw up the CPP.

To help you draw up a CPP for small scale projects, please go to the template CPP (click on the link): http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis80.pdf, or the CDM Wizard (click on the link): http://www.citb.co.uk/health-safety-and-other-topics/health-safety/construction-design-and-management-regulations/cdm-wizard-app/, a free to download smartphone app produced by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Self build

I want to build my own house, does CDM 2015 apply to me?

To find out, go to The Self Build Portal (click on the link): http://www.selfbuildportal.org.uk/healthandsafety.

Miscellaneous

Can I carry out the role of more than one CDM duty holder on a project?

Yes. Whether you are an individual or an organisation (client, designer, principal designer, contractor or principal contractor), you can carry out the role of more than one duty holder.  You must have the skills, knowledge, experience and (if an organisation) the organisational capability to carry out all of the functions and responsibilities of each role in a way that secures health and safety.

For further information, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/cdm/2015/index.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs) – assessment of repetitive tasks of the upper limbs (the ART tool)

The assessment of repetitive tasks (ART) tool is designed to help you risk assess tasks that require repetitive moving of the upper limbs (arms and hands). It helps you assess some of the common risk factors in repetitive work that contribute to the development of upper limb disorders (ULDs).

It is aimed at those responsible for designing, assessing, managing and inspecting repetitive work. It can help identify those tasks that involve significant risks and where to focus risk-reduction measures. It will be useful to employers, safety representatives, health and safety practitioners, consultants and ergonomists.

It includes an assessment guide, a flow chart, a task description form and a score sheet. Further information on ART, including online training on how to use the tool is also available (click on the link): http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/uld/art/index.htm

Free guidance for employers can be downloaded by clicking on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg438.pdf or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

PPE – are turban-wearing Sikhs exempt from the need to wear head protection in the workplace?

Yes. Sections 11 and 12 of the Employment Act 1989 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/38/section/11) as amended by Section 6 of the Deregulation Act 2015 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/20/section/6/enacted) exempts turban-wearing Sikhs from any legal requirement to wear head protection at a workplace. A workplace is defined broadly and means any place where work is undertaken including any private dwelling, vehicle, aircraft, installation or moveable structure (including construction sites).

There is a limited exception for particularly dangerous and hazardous tasks performed by individuals working in occupations which involve providing an urgent response to an emergency where a risk assessment has identified that head protection is essential for the protection of the individual eg such as a fire fighter entering a burning building, dealing with hazardous materials.

The exemption applies only to head protection and Sikhs are required to wear all other necessary personal protective equipment required under the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992. The exemption does not differentiate between employees and other turban-wearing Sikhs that may be in the workplace, eg visitors. However, it applies solely to members of the Sikh religion and only those Sikhs that wear a turban.

Employers are still required to take all necessary actions to avoid injury from falling objects by putting in place such safe systems of work, control measures and engineering solutions eg restricting access to areas where this may be an issue. Where a turban-wearing Sikh chooses not to wear the head protection provided, the exemption includes a limitation on the liability of the duty-holder should an incident occur.

For general guidance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/ppe.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

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