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Prevent Workers Being Crushed in the Vicinity of Vehicles and Plant

Crush injuries and fatalities sustained from being trapped between two vehicles are all too common – take the time today to check your procedures are not putting your workers at risk.

 

 

 

  1. Do a risk assessment which covers all activities – involving moving and stationary plant and vehicles. Look at how workers could be crushed or trapped, for example if plant was to start without warning, or if it was to reverse towards another vehicle or wall.
  2. Prepare a site plan which details which vehicles and plant are allowed in which areas, and at what time. Don’t assume that a stationary vehicle is not a risk as it could pose a trapping hazard. Plan work activities accordingly to prevent multiple items of plant in the same area.
  3. Provide barriers to keep pedestrians separate from plant and vehicles. Ensure that workers and others keep to designated walkways when moving around site.
  4. Limit reversing operations as much as possible. Introduce a speed limit on site and make sure all drivers know about it and stick to it.
  5. Avoid back-to-back plant activities – use barriers to create work zones and ‘no go’ areas for workers. Ensure that all workers wear high visibility clothing in work areas to make them easy to see.

Contact Walker Health and Safety Services Limited for advice.

 

 

 

Health & Safety Christmas Myths 2019

Christmas is an interesting time for businesses. There are lots of temporary changes to work patterns, lots of parties (hopefully!) and most important of all, it’s the time of the year to dust off the decorations and make your office suitably festive. None of these things form part of your usual work activities and so you’ve probably not really thought of these things from a H&S perspective. Happily, a few years ago, the HSE published their “Twelve Myths of Christmas” and so we thought it would be a good time to revisit just a couple of the more relevant points that they raised.

1. Workers are banned from putting up Christmas decorations in the office

We’ve heard this one a lot over the years. Workers are definitely not banned from putting up decorations; however as a responsible Employer it just means that you’ve got to be practical about how you do this. Essentially this means using the correct access equipment (step ladders are fine as this would be classed as short duration and infrequent), being careful with decorations near to sources of heat and ensuring that things such as lights are turned off when your premises are unoccupied.

2. Indoor Christmas lights need a portable appliance test (PAT) every year

This is a contentious one. We would suggest that if you have an in-house PAT testing facility, then this would be a good, practical, thing to do to ensure that the lights aren’t damaged. The HSE actually advise that as long as you are checking for obvious signs of damage and not using obviously faulty lights, then this would be okay.

3. You can’t throw sweets out at a Pantomime

It has been seen in the papers. This is a case where the original company involved was simply afraid of having to pay compensation if anyone got hurt and blamed H&S in order to get their way. Our opinion, and that of the HSE, is that it’s a case of “oh yes you can!” Obviously on the proviso that you don’t have someone like Steve Backley (famous javelin thrower for our younger readers) machine-gunning sweets at 100mph!

4. Carol singers are a health and safety risk

They might be a form of noise pollution to some but as long as you follow sensible precautions, such as not signing in the middle of the road or carrying large quantities of cash, then there’s little risk from a hearty rendition of “Jingle Bells”.

We’ve also heard talk of the necessity to apply for a permit to carol sing. Again, we’re not aware of any legal requirement to do this either! Feel free to belt out your favourites at the top of your voice!

5. You cannot clear snow and ice from pavements

We would encourage everyone to ensure that access to their premises is maintained throughout cold spells. It is incredibly unlikely that you’ll be held responsible if you’ve attempted to do the right thing by clearing a path and then someone slips. In fact, we’ve never seen anybody succeed with any claims of this nature. There are a few tips though to do this successfully

  • Do it early in the day.
  • Don’t use water as it might refreeze and turn to black ice.
  • Use salt if possible or ash and sand if you don’t have enough salt.
  • Pay extra attention when clearing steps and steep pathways. Add more salt if you can.

Remember to enjoy yourself!

Christmas is a time to have fun, not to be swamped by health and safety regulations. As long as you take a reasonable and practical method of planning whatever you’re wanting to do to get into the festive spirit, we’re sure that you will be fine!

Stay Safe!

Merry Christmas from Walker Health and Safety Services.

 

Reducing the risks from vibration

The company wants to ensure that it is doing all that is reasonably practicable to eliminate and/or reduce the risks from vibration when using such tools in the workplace. Here is some guidance for helping employees in your organisation use hand-held power tools.

The first step should be to formulate a policy, with the purpose to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, the risk of hand–arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) arising from the use of hand-held vibrating tools and equipment. It should include the following.

 

 

  • A purchasing strategy, which ensures that equipment meets with the required legislative requirements/standards.
  • Identification and assessment of those processes with the potential to produce hand-transmitted vibration.
  • Details of the in-house health surveillance programme.
  • Introduction of measures to reduce exposure to hand-transmitted vibration where reasonably practicable and arrangements for specific schedules of maintenance and servicing of equipment involved.
  • Consideration of job rotation and reduction of exposure times where vibration exposure cannot be reduced below the currently accepted standards.
  • The provision of information and training on the risks of hand-transmitted vibration and the issue of an advice leaflet.

A risk assessment should identify the various sources and characteristics of the vibration hazard, including the number of employees at risk, allowing for an overall risk evaluation. Those tools or processes of greatest risk should be prioritised and addressed first. It is important that the person carrying out any such assessment is competent to do so.

The basic measures for reducing occupational exposure to hand-transmitted vibration are to eliminate/reduce vibration by using alternative methods or equipment. Vibration transmission to the hands can be reduced by using tools fitted with “anti-vibration handles”.

Organisation at work, job rotation and suitably timed rest breaks may help to reduce vibration exposure. However, it should be remembered that the mathematical relationship between vibration magnitude and exposure time means that a large reduction in time is required before any significant effect on vibration magnitude is seen and it should, therefore, be considered low down the hierarchy of control.

It is important to provide information to employees on the risks associated with hand-transmitted vibration, as well as information on signs and symptoms of HAVS and why these should be reported to their employer, or, if applicable, to the occupational health staff as soon as they are identified.

Employees should be instructed on the actions required to minimise the risk and ways in which they can contribute to risk reduction and control, for example by maintaining good blood circulation, warming both hands and body prior to starting work in cold conditions, keeping warm while working, ensuring that tools are properly maintained, and reporting defects.

Further preventive measures include regular maintenance of vibrating tools and equipment. Information on how to correctly maintain items can be provided by manufacturers or suppliers. It is of equal importance to replace worn parts, correct unbalanced equipment and maintain anti-vibration mounts and devices.

Contact us should you require assistance.

Best Practices for Using Safety Labels

If you want your business to run compliantly and efficiently, it’s important to pay attention to best practice in implementing health and safety policy.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website contains useful information on the workplace laws that cover the processing, manufacturing and packaging of a wide range of goods, including:

 

  • Cosmetics
  • Electrical products
  • Fireworks
  • Foodstuffs
  • Gas appliances
  • Medical devices
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Toys

These laws therefore cover a wide range of equipment and accessories.

Packaging and labelling

As well as the safety of the goods themselves, there are guidelines about how they are packaged and marked or labelled. These are to ensure the safety of workers who handle the goods and transport them, as well as the consumers who buy them. Appropriate safety and warning labels ensure workers are aware of dangerous goods and hazards, so goods can be handled, stored, transported and distributed according to best practice.

Packaging labels are used to make sure goods are handled according to the nature of their contents by indicating, for example, if they contain something that is fragile, hazardous or delicate. They are used by manufacturers to ensure the safety of their products during storage and distribution.

Safety labels

There is a huge range of safety labels available that are designed to meet all business labelling needs. For example, most workplaces use access labels to indicate entrances and exits, accessible areas, prohibited areas and convey other access-related instructions. Fire safety labels are used to guide employees and visitors in the event of a fire, while first aid labels are used to address the treatment of injuries.

Among general safety labels are those that warn of potential hazards, such as very hot water in a washroom or hot surfaces in a kitchen. Responsible employers should clearly label where water suitable for drinking can be found and apply warning labels to outlets where the water is not suitable for drinking.

There are also specific types of safety stickers and hazard labels available for:

  • Electrical hazards
  • Places where a hearing loop has been installed
  • Places where mobile phones are prohibited or allowed
  • Potential sudden loud noises
  • Toxic materials
  • Work areas that are unsafe for people with pacemakers.

Legal requirements

In addition to general legislation, special requirements apply to several business sectors. These include retailers, as well as those who manufacture, process or distribute the following:

  • Food and drink.
  • Precious metals.
  • Products for children.

Taking the time to ensure your business is complying with workplace law is very important. If you have any doubts or questions, it’s always best to check with your local trading standards office, as this is a good way to make sure you are trading legally. You can also use your local office to report anyone trading illegally.

Finally, while complying with the law is essential, best practice for using safety labels should also become part of your internal business processes, as it will help minimise the risk of accident or injury, ensuring your employees are working in a safe, healthy environment.

Contact us should you require assistance.