Thursday, 1 February 2018


Health and Safety in the news this week

Scaffolder faces jail after he was snapped working 60 feet up the side of a building wearing a harness that wasn’t hooked to anything

A scaffolder could be jailed after he was photographed working at 60 feet wearing a harness that wasn’t secured to anything.

Terrance Murray, 27, was erecting scaffolding at the side of a six storey building when he was unknowingly snapped by a retired health and safety inspector.  He now faces up to six months in prison after he admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

As part of work to renovate the windows at the Grade II-listed Sunlight House in Manchester, Murray was constructing scaffolding at the rear of the building, and in the photo, his apprentice can be seen working further down.  Murray, who is an experienced scaffolder, can be seen standing on planks without having first erected a rail to stop him falling over the side, as required.

During his appearance at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court, he pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable care for either himself or others who may have been affected by his acts and omissions while at work.  He had not realised that he could be sent to prison for the offence, and the case was adjourned for him to consider obtaining legal representation as he had not been represented by a lawyer during the hearing.

After the hearing, HM Inspector of Health and Safety, Matt Greenly said:

“The potential for his actions was the death of a young man.  This is a situation which could easily have been avoided.  He has all the right equipment, but he chose, for some unknown reason, to take his life in his own hands that day”.

Monday, 15 January 2018


Health and Safety in the news this week

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently published annual statistics on health and safety in Great Britain for 2017. 
Under the heading of Vital Statistics 2017, the illustration below shows how much time was lost to ill-health and injury, and sadly, that 137 lives were lost at work during the year.

The HSE also publish a booklet which breaks down the statistics further into industry type, which may be of interest in giving feedback to workers about the importance of observing health and safety regulations and safe working practices, and the consequences of poor health and safety.  The booklet is available from the HSE website, and breaks the statistics down to include:-

·         Work related ill-health and disease

·         Workplace injury

·         Enforcement of health and safety legislation

·         Working days lost as a result of health and safety incidents

 


Tuesday, 9 January 2018


Health and Safety in the news this week

 













The Trades Union Congress (TUC) are marking the 40th anniversary of trade union health and safety representatives receiving the legal right to improve health and safety in the workplace under The Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977.
 

The TUC launched a campaign on 25th October 2017 to mark this important milestone and to reflect upon the valuable work that has been undertaken by safety representatives and safety committees over the last 40 years.  Union health and safety representatives are often volunteers and there will be a celebration on Workers Memorial Day on 28th April 2018 to honour the successes of union safety reps in making a difference in the workplace and the effect of the regulations in saving lives and preventing illness and injury.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) places great importance on worker involvement and consultation, which they feel has proved to be a key factor to improving health and safety in the workplace.
 
The HSE web page is publishing a series of case studies over the next six months which have been produced by safety representatives, and there is also a leaflet on the TUC website which can be downloaded that explains the role of the safety representative and how unions made a difference in the workplace.

Source: www.hse.gov.uk and www.tuc.org.uk

Tuesday, 19 December 2017


Health and Safety in the news this week
The fire safety regime covering high-risk buildings is “not fit for purpose” according to the interim report by the independent review of building regulations and fire safety chaired by Dame Judith Hackitt.
High-risk and complex buildings - defined as those “where multiple people live or stay and for which exceptional events could lead to the risk of large-scale fatalities” – are subject to regulations which are too complex and poorly implemented, says the report. 
The report calls for “simplified and unambiguous” regulations and guidance on fire safety. It says as an interim measure the government should consider “presentational changes” to improve the clarity of Approved Document B, which accompanies the Building Regulations. 
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme before the report’s launch Dame Hackitt said of the Building Regulations: “The regulations themselves are pretty simple but what sits below them is a whole series of guidance documents which stacked on top of one another would be two feet high.
There is clearly an opportunity to make that much simpler and to guide people to the right answer rather than presenting them with all that information.”  


The independent review was commissioned by the government after the Grenfell Tower fire in June. Its call for evidence drew responses from 250 parties, including IOSH.
Its interim report also calls for a change in fire safety culture.

 “At the heart of this required change is a shift of ownership,” says Dame Hackitt. “Despite being advised at the outset that the regulatory system for building was outcomes and performance-based, I have encountered masses of prescription which is complex and in some cases inconsistent. The prescription is largely owned by government, with industry – those who should be the experts in best practice – waiting to be told what to do and some looking for ways to work around it.”
Dame Hackitt says that as chair of the Health and Safety Executive between 2007 and 2016 she saw a shift in construction industry safety led by the regulator and the major employers. “A cultural and behavioural change of similar magnitude” is now required among all those responsible for fire safety, she says, including developers, architects and building owners.
The report calls for the “regular” fire risk assessments required for buildings covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to be carried out at least annually or whenever a building is altered. The risk assessments should be shared with residents and the fire service, it recommends.

The mandatory consultation with fire and rescue services on plans for buildings that are covered by the Fire Safety Order “does not work as intended” says the report. Fire service advice is not always followed.
“Consultation by building control bodies and by those commissioning or designing buildings should take place early in the process and fire and rescue service advice should be fully taken into account,” it recommends.

“Responsible persons under the Fire Safety Order are frequently not identified when the building is due to be handed over following construction and therefore people are not aware of their responsibilities,” it notes.
Professional bodies representing fire engineers and risk assessors, building control officers and fire system installers must come up with a system to guarantee the competence of people working on complex buildings, the report recommends.
Responding to the report, IOSH strategic development director Shelley Frost said: “In the consultation, we called for the consideration of mandatory accreditation of fire risk assessors for all high-rises, to ensure standards are as high as they can be.
“Part of this is having the right people making the right decisions – well-trained, competent personnel. With fire safety being a complex issue, systems should be clear, simple to understand and proportionate.

“Without adequate training, will someone know the importance of checking areas out of plain sight, such as above ceilings or in ducts? Will someone know to check if fire doors have been removed? Will someone know to check if renovation work has unintentionally compromised compartmentalisation? 
To end the poor documentation of buildings whose design changes during planning or construction there must be “a golden thread for all complex and high-risk building projects so that the original design intent is preserved and recorded, and any changes go through a formal review process involving people who are competent and who understand the key features of the design”.

Building control bodies must ensure fire safety information for a building is provided by builders or developers to the responsible person for the building in occupation.
The report highlights the fact that there is no requirement in the Building Regulations for buildings to be brought up to the latest fire safety standards, as long as during any refurbishment does not weaken the existing provisions.

Responding to criticisms that some forms of building cladding had not previously been subject to fire testing in situ, the report says the government should “significantly restrict” the use of desktop studies to approve changes to cladding and other systems “to ensure that they are only used where appropriate and with sufficient, relevant test evidence”.
Phase two of the review will focus on specifying a simpler risk-based regulatory system. The report says this revision must not stifle innovation in building design, add disproportionately to costs and build times or burden low-risk, small-scale projects.

Dame Hackitt says she will convene a summit of “key stakeholders” to discuss the new regime early in 2018. Her final report is due in the spring.
 
Source: IOSH Magazine

 

Monday, 31 July 2017


E-Learning – Offering flexibility in training

Have you discovered our E-Learning? 
 
E-Learning offers the benefits of providing the chance for your candidates to gain essential Health and Safety knowledge and expertise, without needing to release them to classroom-type training that might involve the time and expense of travel and being out of the business. 

We offer a variety of health and safety related training courses and assessments, providing an accessible and flexible way of training staff.  E-Learning is web-based and can be accessed at work or at home, at any time.  Our courses are visual and interactive and demonstrate examples of workplace safety issues and how to deal with them.  Courses can be completed a module at a time if necessary – just pick up where you left off when you log back in.

Our most popular E-Learning courses include Manual Handling, Working at Height, Slips, Trips and Falls and Asbestos Awareness.  Other courses available include Fire Safety Essentials, Display Screen Equipment, PPE and Fire Warden training, all at very competitive rates.  To register candidates, we only need their full name and the email address they wish to use to access their login details.  Upon successful completion of a course, candidates can print a certificate of their achievement.

The full range of courses and assessments we offer are shown below:-

·         Asbestos Awareness
·         Code of Conduct
·         Contractors Safety Procedures
·         CPR Essentials
·         Cyber Security
·         Drivewize Training
·         Ebola Virus and Disease
·         Electrical Safety
·         Ergowize – DSE Training
·         Evacuation Procedures
·         Fire Safety Essentials
·         Fire Wardens
·         Food Safety Essentials
·         Hazardous Substances (COSHH)
·         Health and Safety Induction
·         Homeworking Policy
·         Legionella
·         Lone Working Essentials
·         Managing Health and Safety
·         Manual Handling
·         Modern Slavery
·         Money Laundering
·         Noise at Work
·         Pandemic Awareness
·         Pandemic Procedures
·         Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
·         Prevent Duty
·         Risk Assessment
·         Safeguarding
·         Security and Terror Alerts
·         Slips, Trips and Falls
·         Social Media Policy
·         Whistleblowing
·         Working at Height
 
 

HR Courses

·         Alcohol and Drug Awareness
·         Anti-Bribery and Corruption
·         Bullying and Harassment Policy
·         Data Protection
·         Disciplinary Policy
·         Equality and Diversity Policy
·         Grievance Policy
·         Internet User Policy
·         New and Expectant Mothers Policy
·         Resource Efficiency
·         Stress Awareness
 

Assessments

·         DriveWize Assessment
·         Ergowize Assessment
·         Expectant Mother’s Risk Assessment
·         Homeworker Safety Risk Assessment
·         Lone Worker Risk Assessment
·         New Mother’s Risk Assessment

FREE TRIAL – find out more about E-Learning and a free trial of any of our courses by contacting us on 0333 577 0248 or admin@rhssltd.co.uk.
 

HSE Health and Safety Myths Buster

Can you stock plasters in a first aid box?

Issue

An employee had cut her finger in the workplace and a colleague tried to obtain a plaster from the first aid kit but there were none. The employee asked a manager if they could restock them but she replied that due to health and safety reasons i.e. allergies, plasters were no longer supplied for the first aid kit. The employee has since heard of other cases in workplaces that will not stock plasters in their first aid kits for similar reasons.

HSE Mythbuster Panel decision

There is no health and safety regulation which bans the provision of plasters, in fact HSE’s own guidance recommends that a first aid box should stock plasters. If the concern is about the small risk of allergic reaction to some types of plaster then this can be easily managed by stocking the hypoallergenic variety or simply asking the person being treated if they are allergic to plasters before they are applied.


 

Friday, 14 July 2017


Do you know your responsibilites under Construction and Design Management Regulations 2015?

 
Health and Safety in the news this week
Workplace deaths are down – but it’s “no cause for celebration”

The HSE’s latest provisional workplace fatality figures show that 137 people died at work in 2016/17, the second lowest year on record. But many key figures across health and safety are speaking out about the “hidden figures” of between 20,000 and 50,000 deaths each year due to past poor working conditions of heart and lung diseases and work cancers.
Work related suicides are now also thought to be more than 100 per year, and over 2,500 people each year are dying from mesothelioma, with the UK having the highest incidence of disease in the world.

The headline figures
Overall fatalities:

  • 2015/16 – 147 workers died
  • 2014/15 – 142 workers died
  • 2013/14 – 136 workers died
  • 2012/13 – 150 workers died
  • 2011/12 – 171 workers died
Fatalities by sector:

This year the construction and agriculture sectors had the highest number of deaths:
  • 30 construction
  • 27 agriculture
  • 19 manufacturing
  • 14 logistics
  • 14 waste industry
  • 33 Other
Fatalities by accident types:

  • Struck by moving vehicle 31
  • Falls from a height 25
  • Struck by moving object 20
  • Trapped by something collapsing/overturning 10
  • Contact with moving machinery 8
  • Contact with electricity 8
The GMB union, which has members across every sector of the British economy, said the official workplace death figures hide tens of thousands of related deaths, saying that the figure of 137 is “just the tip of the iceberg” and that every death demands justice and enforcement.

A spokesperson for IOSH said: “Work-related fatalities are entirely preventable so we must strive to reduce this number further”.
A fuller assessment of work-related ill-health and injuries, drawing on the HSE’s full range of data sources, will be provided as part of the annual Health and Safety Statistics released on 1 November 2017.


HSE Health and Safety Myths Buster
Supermarket deli refused to leave plastic wrapping on liver sausage stating that it was a ‘choking hazard’

A Supermarket deli refused to leave plastic wrapping on liver sausage stating that it was a ‘choking hazard’.
The HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel decided that there is no health and safety reason for refusing to leave the original plastic wrapping on fresh liver sausage. The decision to remove the plastic wrapping from the fresh food at point of sale makes no sense, especially as the product is likely to be wrapped in some other form of plastic bag before being handed to the customer. Claiming removal of the product’s original wrapping was necessary for health and safety reasons is indeed a myth!


 

Thursday, 22 June 2017


Monitoring Health and Safety

Monitoring and reporting are vital parts of a health and safety culture.  Effective management systems provide both specific (eg incident-led) and routine reports on the performance of a Company’s Health and Safety Policy.

If your Company holds a formal review of performance in Health and Safety, much of the day-to-day health and safety information can be reported at this time.  However, a strong system of monitoring can ensure that a successful formal review of Policy can take place, and that incidents and events can be picked up in the period between formal reviews.

 A strong system of monitoring and reporting with have two main parts:-

Core Actions

To ensure that:-

·         Appropriate attention is given to reporting both preventative information, such as progress of training and maintenance programmes, and incident data such as accident and sickness absence rates;

·         Periodic audits of the effectiveness of management structures and risk controls for health and safety are carried out;

·         The impact of any changes, such as the introduction of new procedures, work processes or products, or any major health and safety failure, is reported as soon as possible;

·         There are procedures in place to implement new and changed legal requirements and to consider any other external developments and events.

Good Practice

·         Effective monitoring of sickness absence and workplace health can alert management to any underlying problems that could seriously damage performance or result in accidents and long-term illness;

·         The collection of workplace health and safety data can allow management to benchmark the Company’s performance against others in the same business sector;

·         Appraisals of senior managers can include an assessment of their contribution to health and safety performance;

·         Management can receive regular reports on the health and safety performance and actions of contractors;

·         Involving the workforce in monitoring can result in greater support for health and safety for the Company.

There can be other benefits to carry out regular monitoring and reviews, for example a Company may see a reduction in absence from work as a result of sickness or injury, which in turn, may lead to a reduction in insurance premiums.

Any monitoring, reporting, reviews or audits should be seen as a positive management tool which enables a Company to progress and improve their working practices.

HSE prosecution round up:

Company fined after the death of worker

A North East based contractor Pyeroy Ltd has been fined due to failings in their work at height rescue planning.

Plymouth Magistrates Court heard that on 21 October 2013 Mr Keith Stevens, aged 57, was helping to dismantle temporary roofing at Devonport Naval Base using a mobile elevated work platform (MEWP). His colleagues found him trapped between a roof beam and the controls of the MEWP. There was a delay in Mr Stevens being lowered to ground.  Mr Stevens died of a pre-existing heart condition.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Pyeroy had not properly planned the work on a MEWP in restricted overhead areas. It was also found that other Pyeroy employees had not received suitable training in the emergency lowering procedure of the elevated platforms and no practice drills had been carried out.

Pyeroy Ltd of St Omers Road, Western Riverside Route, Gateshead, has pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company has been fined £130,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,388.36.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Helena Allum said:

“If Pyeroy had trained other employees to use the mobile elevated work platform in emergency situations, Mr Stevens would have been lowered to the ground more swiftly.

This case highlights the need for duty holders to properly plan all work at height beforehand, including emergency planning and rescue situations.”

Company fined after uncontrolled fire

Vertellus Specialties UK Limited has today been fined after an uncontrolled fire at the company’s Seal Sands premises in Middlesbrough.

Teesside Crown Court heard the large fire occurred at the premises in the early hours of 14 May 2014. The fire involved large quantities of dangerous substances including Vitride, which led to this fire being declared a major incident. The Vitride was in drums and each one burst open causing a large fireball.

No one was injured as a result of this fire, but police declared a major emergency and the road was closed for several hours.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Environment Agency (EA) and Cleveland Fire Brigade (CFB) found that Vertellus failed to adequately maintain its equipment; and failed to ensure the equipment was suitable to control temperature or prevent ignition to an uncontrolled release.

Vertellus Specialties UK Limited of St Anns Wharf, Newcastle upon Tyne, has pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999.

The company has been fined £135,000 and ordered to pay costs of £37,653.12.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Stephen Britton said:

“Luckily no one was injured as a result of this uncontrolled fire.  Duty holders, particularly those who could be subject to a major incident, need to carry out robust planning to prevent and control major accidents. All engineering disciplines should be used, using outside assistance if needed. Here, there was a failure to recognise how a leak could develop into a larger problem.”