WHS has highlighted the issue of mental health many times in the past. Each year approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health condition and at least 1 in 6 employees experience common mental health problems in the workplace; this is often due to the perceived stigma and fear of discrimination. The culture of fear and silence around mental health can prove costly to employers.
WHS can now offer a new course, an FAA Award in First Aid for Mental Health. This 6-hour, Level 2 qualification is suitable for managers and supervisors, and provides the knowledge of how to recognise a range of mental health conditions, how to start a supportive conversation, and when and how to signpost a person to seek appropriate professional help. Attendees will learn how to recognise and manage stress, and understand the impact of substance abuse. They will learn about the first aid action plan for mental health, how to implement the plan, and how to promote a positive mental health culture within the workplace.
Details of this new FAA Award in First Aid for Mental Health (Level 2 RQF) are as follows; the course will take place at the Wenlock H&S Ltd offices in Jackfield, Telford:
Dates: 3 June 2019 (Monday)
Duration: 1 day (6 hours)
Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch and refreshments included
Book early! Spaces are limited. Contact Vicki on 01952-885885 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
IOSH Managing Safely
Following the previous IOSH Managing Safely course run at the WHS offices, and in response to demand, we are pleased to offer the following dates for further courses:
Duration: 3 days
Dates: 9, 10 & 11 July (Tuesday – Thursday) 22, 23 & 24 October (Tuesday – Thursday)
Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch and refreshments included
First Aid Training
Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses for the remainder of 2019 (to enable you to plan well ahead) are as follows.
– 25 April 2019
– 28 May 2019
– 26 June 2019
– 25 July 2019
– 21 August 2019
Courses are also held at WHS training rooms, at just £75 + VAT per person However, please note that refreshments only are included with these courses; no lunch is provided.
Can we remind all our clients to notify us please of all accidents and incidents immediately. All too often we are informed only after the HSE or insurance company gets involved, and at that late stage we can’t help you significantly as we won’t have carried out any investigation. We can’t assist if we’re not told!
FFI Fee Rate Rise – TAKE NOTE!
The HSE has raised (from 6 April 2019) the hourly rate levied against its ‘Fees For Intervention’ visits to…wait for it…
£154 per hour!
The fee can be levied by the HSE and local authority inspectors where a breach of legislation is identified – and, from experience, some are far more stringent than others. Don’t forget that housekeeping, public protection, vehicle and pedestrian segregation, equipment inspections, vibration and noise assessments and other basic issues, which many perceive as relatively low risk, are still subject to long-standing legal requirements and MUST be followed correctly. Failure to do so constitutes a ‘breach’ of the law and FFI will apply. In severe cases of course, such breaches could also result in enforcement or prosecution.
So get your act together before it costs you dear!
HSE 2019 Campaigns
This list may not be exhaustive but the HSE have informed us of the following nationwide campaigns (which will also be carried out by local authority inspectors). Health remains the big issue and two major campaigns will target:
– Respiratory control and protection through the month of June
– Materials handling (manual handling) through October
These campaigns apply to ALL industries, will cover ALL types or premises as well as sites, and will be carried out by both the HSE AND the local authority enforcing bodies. In addition, any company can request assistance from a visiting officer free of charge. The VO can visit the premises and give advice to help towards compliance. VOs have no powers of enforcement so these visits will not result in enforcement against the company – unless, of course, the advice is not followed, then the company is asking for it!
– Post-Grenfell (and rather too late in our opinion) the HSE and local authorities will also be targeting tower blocks – both under construction and existing – looking specifically at cladding and fire protection.
HSE Safety Bulletins
The HSE has issued two very important safety bulletins in relation to specific health & safety issues; therefore, all HSE inspectors have been instructed to look for these issues when making site or premises visits. Both are common sense but you’d be well advised to double-check that sufficient controls are in place; non-compliance would result in at least FFI being levied, at worse, enforcement:
– Platform lifts maintenance and control; refer to: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/platform-lifts.htm
– Mild steel welding fume; refer to: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/mild-steel-welding-fume.htm
The HSE provides very sound guidance on their website about woodworking, both in terms of health & safety; indeed there is a specific and very valuable ‘Woodworking eBulletin’ on:
As above, health is now a major priority for the HSE and, as wood dusts are obviously very high-risk, a series of in-depth COSHH advice sheets has been produced specifically for the woodworking industries and are freely available to download from: https://bit.ly/2P1FH4q
WHS frequently hears reluctance of employers to properly control wood dusts (typically: “it’s impossible, you know what it’s like”!!) but there really is no excuse in this day and age for ignoring the issue. And the advice sheets are a valuable resource to demonstrate both why this is necessary and how to achieve compliance – although there should never be any doubt these days as to WHY we need to comply! All workers deserve both a safe and a HEALTHY environment in which to work, simple.
Scaffold Advice from the HSE
The HSE also provides very sound guidance on their website about scaffolding, which is particularly useful for those engaging and, thus being responsible for, scaffolders:
The ‘Scaffold Checklist’ covers, in great detail, both the legal requirements and recognised industry expectations with regard to:
– Design, both general and bespoke (TG20)
– Competence and supervision
Any business engaging scaffolders should not do so on price alone. Use the HSE’s checklist to guide your decision based on the proven competence of both scaffolders and scaffold designers; you must have evidence. So a timely reminder that ANY engaging party is responsible in law for ensuring that those appointed are appropriately trained and competent, and that they provide, and adhere to, good site-specific design and risk assessments. So please do contact WHS whenever you have need to engage scaffolders and we can assist to ensure compliance….
before it’s too late, as this clearly illustrates: https://bit.ly/2VPK1Gh
Pay to be Paid?!
It has come to our attention that some local authorities are now asking suppliers to pay extra to be ‘paid early’ and this is being included in tenders with a scored response! This totally unethical practice, which is apparently becoming widespread, actually means that businesses are being asked to pay extra to be paid on time!
We appreciate that local authorities are scratching around for funds to pay for essential work, but this is not the way to do it; if a council can’t afford to pay on time, then it can’t afford to commission the supplies or work, end of story. If any of our customers are asked to do this, please do let WHS know immediately. We have access to various pressure bodies who can name and shame, and hopefully get this practice stopped; your company name will not be mentioned to avoid black marks (another unethical practice).
We mention wood dusts above and the need to comply with the law. As with ALL dusts, the law says (quite rightly) that we should:
– Avoid cutting, drilling, etc where possible i.e. avoid producing dusts altogether
– Suppress at source where cutting, drilling, etc is unavoidable i.e. prevent the dusts becoming airborne through water suppression, vacuum, capture, etc
– Use PPE (RPE) as a last resort only, not a first choice control to avoid inhalation, or an additional precaution
– Ensure all RPE wearers are face-fit tested regularly (and, by implication, remain clean-shaven)
The vast majority of premises visited by WHS understand this now, although some still have woefully inadequate or non-existent controls; you have been warned, the HSE (or local authority) will take action if they spot non-compliance.
However, what most companies fail to realise is that inhalation of dusts must be prevented in ALL circumstances. This includes sweeping up of sawdust, plaster dusts, etc. Respiratory problems can happen to anyone exposed, even those not involved in the work itself, and WHS has examples of occupational asthma and other ailments resulting purely from the dry-sweeping of dusts.
Suppress (damp down) or vacuum ALL unavoidable dusts; dry-sweeping is unacceptable and (by implication) illegal. Better still, as the law says, don’t produce them in the first place!!
Drain Cleaner – a Warning
It has been brought to our attention that some drain cleaners, which are readily available on the internet or over-the-counter, would be highly dangerous if used incorrectly or by inexperienced people. Some of these are highly concentrated sulphuric acid which is highly corrosive and can cause burns to skin burns or worse.
As an example, we know first-hand of one such product, bought in B&Q, that was so strong that it not only dissolved the blockage, it dissolved the drain cover as well!
Although some of these products do state on their websites that they are for ‘trade and professional use only’ many others do not display any such warnings nor do they have downloadable MSDS data sheets detailing the hazards and describing essential precautions. And, as we’ve said above, even those with website warnings and data sheets are being freely sold over the counter in general DIY stores such as B&Q for anyone to buy (which is unbelievable).
Our advice to anyone requiring an industrial-strength drain un-blocker is to (a) allow WHS to assess the proposed product thoroughly before purchase so that we can recommend the safest, and (b) use it only under the STRICTLY controlled conditions proscribed in our assessment, and only by STRICTLY authorised personnel.
Apart from the obvious hazards with these products, there are also risks of producing hydrogen in extreme circumstances and the subsequent risk of explosion, mixing with other cleaning chemicals and the subsequent risk of eruption, and leaving unseen residues around the drain cover which others could touch later (e.g. in showers). These are SERIOUSLY hazardous products which, we reiterate, are made all the more dangerous because they are freely available to anyone to buy on-line or in-store.
The other worrying aspect of this is that some bodies (e.g. housing associations and building managers) are leaving these products on the premises for general use. This is a HIGHLY DANGEROUS practice as, in untrained hands and without SPECIFIC PPE, these products can obviously cause severe injury or harm. Even similar products intended for domestic use (e.g. Mr Muscle) have strict controls printed on the packaging so, even these, could prove extremely dangerous in unauthorised hands so should never be held for general use.
ALWAYS assess any such products before purchase (and contact WHS for assistance). Our advice would be to ban products with high concentrations altogether and strictly control the rest, and NEVER leave them on the premises for cleaners or general use.
Just look at this warning from the Police: https://bit.ly/2Kr140v
Who would have thought that a simple item like a lanyard, something that so many of us wear, could cause so much damage? So, our advice to all readers is to remove all large objects, such as lanyards, chunky necklaces and brooches, etc, from your person before driving to avoid additional injury in crash situations, or even a lesser situation where air-bags are deployed.
Even spectacles can cause severe injury to the head in such situations – but, if you need them for driving, the risk of removing them is greater than the risks resulting from contact with air bags!
A reminder that the following national minimum wage per hour rates apply from 1 April:
– £8.21 25 years old and over
– £7.70 21 – 24 years old
– £6.15 18 – 20 years old
– £4.35 School leaving to 17 years old
– £3.90 apprentices under 19 years old or those over 19 in the first year of apprenticeship
As always, the following prosecutions represent only a small percentage of those that successfully go through court each month. And never forget, even if the HSE doesn’t prosecute, the knock on effects of enforcement (prohibition and improvement notices) can be phenomenal.
And don’t forget the £154 per hour for merely a telling off too!
Work at height
– Karro Foods was fined a total of over £1.86 million after two workers fell 4 metres through a roof-light and sustained serious injuries. The two company employees had been instructed to go onto the roof to investigate a leak, but neither had been told about the roof-lights nor given any form of fall-protection.
– TS Rigging Ltd was fined a total of almost £40,000 after a worker fell 6 metres from a luxury house-boat undergoing restoration in dry-dock. Access to the rear of the boat was by ladder, which twisted during his descent, causing the fall
– H&M Distribution Ltd was fined a total of over £67,000 after an agency delivery driver fell from his wagon during delivery of beer kegs. The driver had been using a pallet-truck to move kegs from the wagon but fell backwards from the edge of the raised tail lift. He sustained serious injuries, some of which were as a result of several kegs falling on top of him.
N.B. These cases are an important reminder that the Work at Heights Regs relate to ALL UK industry, NOT JUST CONSTRUCTION!! All employers must assess the risk, pass on the information and provide adequate protection against falls down or (as in this case) through.
– AR Signs Ltd was fined a total of almost £37,500 after a worker suffered serious burns when he struck an underground electric cable whilst installing a post for a sign for a hotel. The worker had been using a breaker but no CAT scan had been carried out, nor any service drawings obtained; no risk assessment had been carried out and he had not even been trained to use the breaker!
N.B. Again, another case illustrating the point that legislation applies to ALL UK industry
– Faiveley transport Tamworth Ltd was fined a total of £135,000 after exposing workers to uncontrolled hand-arm vibration over a 10 year period. Workers had reported high vibration levels and lengthy periods of use but no action had been taken and there appeared to be no intention to do so. The result was that several workers developed symptoms of HAVS (hand-arm vibration syndrome).
– Fine Organics Ltd was fined a total of over £241,000 after exposing workers to harmful chemicals and causing long-term skin damage. The company had failed to carry out adequate risk assessments, prevent chemical release and spread of contamination, properly decontaminate affected areas, and provide health surveillance.
ALL of the following injuries could have been avoided. The laws are there for good reason and there is NO excuse for non-compliance in this day and age; these cases should have disappeared with the Victorians
– UKF Stainless Ltd was fined a total of over £51,000 after a worker lost two finger tips in unguarded machinery. The company had failed to risk assess, install suitable guards, establish safe systems and train employees; a pretty damning indictment really.
– Derek Anthony Ltd was fined a total of £24,000 after a worker’s finger was wrenched off by a rotating drill bit. The worker had been wearing loose rigger gloves whilst de-burring holes in steel when the tip of the drill bit snagged his right hand glove, drawing it in and severing his finger. The pillar drill was being operated in an unguarded state despite risk assessment, and training and supervision had been inadequate. But, to compound the risks…loose gloves with a drill? Where’s the common sense?
– Renault Retail Group UK Ltd was fined a total of over £217,000 after placing its employees in danger by using faulty vehicle lifts over a 12 month period. The company failed to ensure its equipment was maintained in good working order and that faulty equipment was withdrawn from use. Appalling complacency.
– Contour Showers was fined a total of almost £19,500 after a worker sustained tendon and ligament injuries to his left index finger when he was cut by a metal cutting saw as he was trying to clear a blockage. There was no safe system for maintenance, no locking-off of isolation procedures, inadequate guarding and no risk assessment; all basic stuff.
– Edward Flitton, trading as Hever Ironworks, was given a community order of 120 hours unpaid work and fined £300 after a part-time machinist suffered life-changing tendon injuries whilst drilling holes in aluminium casings.
Yet another case of gloves becoming entangled in a moving drill bit – but this time, this had been specified in company policy! There had been no appropriate safe system or work in place, and no employers’ liability insurance either, neither had the incident been reported to the HSE. Talk about making matters worse for yourself!!
WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885
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