It’s that time of year again so may we, at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd, wish all our customers and colleagues a
very happy, healthy and safe Christmas, and New Year
In addition, please note that our office will close from 5pm on Friday 20 December 2019 and re-open at 8am on Thursday 2 January 2020.
Forthcoming dates and fees for courses for the remainder of 2019 and early 2020 are as follows. Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or email@example.com to book.
Note that all courses will be held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford. However, if any organisation requires attendance by 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements and agree costs.
Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses are as follows:
Duration: 1 day (6 hours)
Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Cost: £85 + VAT per person
WHS can also run the full 4-day First Aid at Work course for companies who need additional skills and wish to send 4+ candidates; contact Vicki for fees. However, do initially discuss first aid requirements with your own WHS consultant to assess whether the 4-day course is actually appropriate for your circumstances.
IOSH Managing Safely
Duration: 3 days
Dates: 28, 29 & 30 January 2020
Cost: £395 + VAT per person
As usual at this time of year, we like to recognise, in a small but significant way, the commendable efforts that some of our clients have made over the last year to tangibly ensure the health & safety of their personal, the public and others. Although we have already seen early but disturbing signs that some companies are becoming either complacent or cash-strapped and, thus, standards seem to be all too easily falling, others demonstrate an exemplary commitment to ensuring the well-being of their workforce and the safety of others. So this year we have two clear winners, both of which are shining examples of how things should be done – and how easy it can be if the commitment is there and personnel are valued.
Morris Property Ltd of Shrewsbury.
Working within the 150 year old Morris & Co Ltd group, Morris Property Ltd have expanded into commercial development and contracting over the last decade and, during that time, have shown continual improvement to health & safety and a commitment to ensuring legal compliance. Management are intrinsically involved with maintaining standards and have allowed us to recommend and do what we think is necessary to ensure that health & safety remains paramount throughout the Company’s operations.
Matt Kershaw, Health & Safety Co-Ordinator for Edgebourn Building Contracts Ltd of Stourbridge.
Matt has always shown commitment to improving standards through the Company’s systems in his role as Health & Safety Co-Ordinator, with a clear commitment to training the workforce. He has always worked with the mantra ‘if you wouldn’t do it yourself, then why ask others to do so?’, so has demonstrated a clear empathy. He has spear-headed compliant safe working systems, and personally monitors their effectiveness with a view to continual improvements where necessary.
Congratulations to both our winners; they set a benchmark of achievable construction-based health & safety. Photos will be included in the January 2020 newsletter – well done indeed!
Help with Dyslexia
Dyslexia can be a significantly debilitating condition which, with no obvious outward signs, can be hidden from employers and others, causing anxiety and suppressing confidence. It is a common issue and can cause extreme stress when sufferers are required to write paperwork or undertake courses and tests.
WHS is well aware of the issues and we completely understand the reluctance of individuals to tell employers and, often, us as well. However, it is vital that those who need to know are told so that assistance can be offered. For example, WHS can offer assistance to those taking course and tests if we are informed beforehand – in confidence if necessary.
However, WHS has now taken a step to help both our subscribed employers and their employees to access appropriate government funded assistance. The Government’s ‘Access to Work’ scheme (established as a result of the 2010 Equality Act) is aimed at ensuring people can, not only work towards employment, but also stay in employment by offering practical help for all types of disabilities – including dyslexia. And the best thing about the scheme is that it’s free to employers who have less than 50 employees, and they only charge a nominal amount for larger employers.
The website gives details: https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work
but isn’t brilliant; it can be confusing and onerous when it comes to sorting what is actually available. However, WHS now has access to a dyslexia specialist in the Telford area who can (free of charge) give first-hand assistance to help individuals through the process of accessing available help – which can include tailored software to help with the writing or understanding of paperwork.
Unfortunately, we can only offer the specialist’s service to those within the broad Telford area – but, if you are local and think you or your employees could benefit from this service, please do not hesitate to contact the WHS office. You don’t get much free these days – so take advantage!
COSHH Assessment Changes
Our COSHH assessment format is changing; the changes will come into affect (at no cost to you) as your documents are re-issued at renewal. The same information will be contained – but in a different order. The changes are primarily to make the documents more user-friendly so the information that must be known by workers is foremost, whilst other information required by management and emergency services (requiring technical details about substances) will be last.
So some timely reminders at this point:
An Important Reminder
You may have seen on national news that Wood Flour Mill of Bosley (under the ownership of Wood Treatment Ltd) has been charged with Corporate Manslaughter, and a director and 2 manager charged with gross negligence, following the deaths of 4 employees in July 2015; the extensive uncontrolled wood dust exploded causing the mill to collapse and fires to break out:
This was an appalling case resulting from management’s complete disregard for the safety of employees despite previous warnings. We await the outcome of the court case; the sentencing is likely to be considerable.
But a reminder – dusts can kill, and some airborne dusts resulting from flammable materials can kill by exploding. Significant concentrations (i.e. uncontrolled) wood, grain, dusts, sugars, even coffee and cocoa, can explode if there is an ignition source. And that ignition source could be as simple as heat from tools and static from mobiles. As stated above, COSHH assessments are legally required – for very valid reasons. And, in circumstances where flammable dusts are produced, they are absolutely vital. The COSHH assessment must dictate that airborne dusts are prevented as well as further appropriate controls, PPE, etc, something that certainly didn’t happen in this case, with the result that 4 innocent people lost their lives.
Mobile Phones Whilst Driving
Many of you will have heard in the media that the Government is planning to close the loophole whereby drivers cannot be prosecuted for taking photos, scrolling social media or using their mobile phones for anything other than making calls or texting whilst driving: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-50250730
It never ceases to amaze us at WHS just how many people try to find loopholes to enable them to carry on doing what is clearly extremely dangerous – whether driving or whilst in the workplace! Whether it’s illegal or not, driving without full concentration is dangerous!
Employers are reminded they are wholly responsible for the behaviour of their employees whilst at work – and this includes whilst driving for work. Those of you who haven’t yet put together a company driving policy should consider this a priority; lay down strict company rules about how you expect your employees to behave behind the wheel, including whether use of mobiles is allowable using blue-tooth (and under what circumstances) or banned completely whilst driving.
Remember, employers are liable for any fines emanating from employees’ breaches of road traffic law unless a sound driving policy is in place and signed by the driver. And prosecutions of employers do happen where accidents have happened as a result of bad driving, tiredness, poor vehicle maintenance, etc.
If you need assistance putting a driving policy in place, do contact the WHS office.
The presence of radon gas within both new-build and existing sites in the UK is all too often overlooked. Many of you will have an appreciation of the very real risks to people living or working within affected regions (in a nutshell, radon is carcinogenic) and will know what has to be done to combat those risks. Others may be totally unaware of the risks and oblivious of the (often very simple) ways to control them.
WHS will be issuing a risk assessment for radon within your annual health & safety packs as from January 2020. The issues don’t just apply to design with new properties; it can affect existing properties as well. Any business owner or manager working from a static premises must make sure that the risk assessment is read, digested, and recommendations are acted upon. And don’t overlook the fact that your own house may be affected as well, so it’s doubly important that you act at home as well if you find your house may be affected.
As a starting point, everyone should make themselves familiar with the UK map from Public Health England, available on: https://www.ukradon.org/information/ukmaps which clearly shows areas of the country potentially affected or clear. Further information can be sought from: https://www.ukradon.org/
However, if anyone would like an email copy of the risk assessment in advance of your annual pack, please do feel free to ring the WHS office.
Yet Another Victim of Asbestos
On 2 October 2019, father of 5, Phil Moreton passed away, becoming yet another victim of the killer asbestos-related disease mesothelioma. The thing to note about this case is that Phil evidently contracted the disease whilst playing on building sites as a youngster.
36 year old Phil had only been diagnosed 5 weeks before his death. He deteriorated very quickly, losing 5 stone in weight, and was unable to even hold his baby boy in his final days. Read the story and hear heart-rending testimony from Phil’s widow: https://dailym.ai/2WQGkBK
Can we just make yet another plea to everyone, whether you’re an employer or an individual doing DIY, please make absolutely sure you do NOT disturb asbestos. For the sake of your family, make sure you have an asbestos survey before you touch anything in buildings built or started before 2000. And, if you don’t know, don’t touch!
Just imagine how bad Christmas will be for Phil’s wife and children.
With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs
First off this time, we highlight the consequences of, what can only be described as very poor management. And do note also that management is just as likely to be held personally accountable these days as the businesses themselves.
You may wonder why the worker himself was not prosecuted. The Company was held to be responsible because they had provided insufficient information, instruction, supervision, training and safe working practices. No employer can ever assume that employees know how to do things properly.
Work at height
Work at height in any industry is just as dangerous, therefore weekly and pre-use inspections are required regardless of the type of work. The Work at Height Regs require recorded access equipment inspections:
and in addition, where temporary ‘structures’ are used, such as scaffold, towers, temporary staircases, etc:
Plant & vehicle segregation
Machinery & guarding
STAY SAFE! IT’S THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT YOU CAN GIVE TO YOUR FAMILY
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
Get in touch today to discuss
your Health & Safety needs.