Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to book places.
All necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and relevant information clearly passed to candidates.
Please reiterate to all candidates the absolute need to make their way up to the WHS offices and log in immediately upon arrival to avoid being charged for parking. Parking is free for all WHS visitors but there is only a 20-minute window for our staff to register for vehicle and avoid the charges – therefore, candidates should avoid parking up too early with the intention of waiting in their vehicles!
Please enquire about other courses available, both classroom and non-classroom based; the full range is also detailed on our website:
1-day Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; strict Covid-specific controls will still apply for the moment and will be advised within the joining instructions. Spaces are therefore limited and demand is always high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment:
Cost: £85 + VAT per person
A 3-day IOSH Managing Safely course:
Dates: 7, 8 & 9 September 2021
Cost: £395 + VAT per person
The following very recent HSE prosecution serves as a warning to anyone tempted not to report serious injuries or occurrences to the HSE as required under RIDDOR:
Site manager, Paul Adams, was jailed for 6 months for failing to report an accident on his site that resulted in an amputation. A 1.7-tonne excavator had been provided for site clearance for a new house build in Surrey, equipment that was totally unsuitable for the work; the operator’s request for a 3-tonne excavator was rejected and he was pressured by Adams to use the smaller machine. The excavator tipped whilst digging, crushing his leg which later had to be amputated.
As if the accident itself wasn’t bad enough, things were made worse by Adams, who had 50 years construction experience, failing to report the ‘major injury’ to the HSE or investigate the accident properly. This was a clear breach of the RIDDOR Regs and Adams was jailed for 24 weeks and ordered to pay costs of £2,033.
THE HSE HAVE EYES EVERYWHERE!!
Just a reminder and warning that, yes, the HSE does have eyes and ears everywhere! Non-compliant and dangerous practices can be spotted by HSE inspectors going about their normal personal business and, as we have illustrated many times in our newsletters, the public are very good at reporting breaches to the HSE as well.
To illustrate the point, enforcement was recently placed on a worker for using a Stihl saw without dust suppression; the HSE inspector was just wandering past to fetch his lunch from Tesco! If you are working, you are on show; if you are working non-compliantly, make no mistake, you can be spotted and enforcement will follow.
SERIOUS SAFETY ALERT
With thanks to www.gov.uk for the important illustration
The UK’s national product safety regulator, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), has issued a Safety Alert relating to a chainsaw disc attachment being incorrectly sold for use with angle grinders.
The attachments are not designed for this type of use and reports have been received of injuries caused by kick-back when the wheel grips the surface and, as a result, turns sharply.
Anyone who has purchased these attachments are urged to withdraw them from use immediately and return them to the seller if it is believed they were marketed as being compatible with angle grinders. WHS would also suggest that sellers be reported to the OPSS if they continue to market and sell them as suitable attachments; you may be saving someone from very serious injury or death.
Further information can be found on the Government website:
STIHL PRODUCT RECALL
Manufacturer Stihl has recalled a limited product range of cut-off equipment because of possible faulty assembly. The items in question are the TS 410 and TS 420 models but only if they are within the serial number ranges: 189442634 – 190001700
The fault relates to the possible over-tightening of the flywheel-to-crankshaft connections during assembly which may cause the flywheel to break apart during use. Anyone affected is urged to remove the item from use immediately and contact their local Stihl dealer as soon as possible for a free repair.
CUTTING EQUIPMENT SAFETY – A REMINDER
A relevant reminder to everyone who uses powered cutting equipment in workshops or elsewhere (or at home for that matter!). Effective guarding of blades is legally required for very good reasons – as is all health & safety legislation. The consequences of ignoring the legal requirement can, and still does, cause serious injury, misery and even death. As an example:
Borrowdale Construction Homes Ltd was fined a total of £32,567 after a worker’s hand was severed by an inadequately guarded mitre saw being used to cut skirting. The guard had been propped up, exposing the full front of the blade; during the work, the mitre saw fell forward severing part of the unfortunate worker’s hand.
This incident doesn’t bear thinking about and has obviously ruined the individual’s life. But, unbelievably in this day and age, it happens all too often that guards are removed or propped back, risking this type of accident again and again. Any worker found doing this must be disciplined or removed; this cannot be tolerated – the risks are just too great for both the individual and, as this case demonstrates, to your company.
ALL EQUIPMENT WITH MOVING PARTS – ANOTHER REMINDER
The regulations and requirements do not just apply to cutting equipment; all equipment with moving parts is potentially lethal:
A worker narrowly escaped being strangled to death when his high-viz vest became entangled in an unguarded rotating spindle on a print machine. Only the quick action of a colleague saved the unconscious victim from death. The Company, Alfaplas Ltd was fined a total of over £164,000 for failing to guard dangerous parts of the equipment.
So, a reminder that the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, apply to ALL industries and require that the moving or hazardous parts of ALL work equipment MUST be properly guarded, or suitable alternative measures established to prevent any risk of contact during operation.
WORK AT HEIGHT – SHOCKING STATISTICS
There is a need to reinforce what falls from height mean to UK industry and individuals every year.
10 million people work at height in some form or another each year, and each and every one of them deserves to be able to do their job and return home safely each night. But it is an inexcusable fact that work at height STILL accounts for more occupational deaths than any other cause. The shocking statistics speak for themselves; work at height accounts for:
Astonishing figures – and these don’t just apply to the industries traditionally involved in work at height. A large percentage of the work at height prosecutions highlighted in previous newsletters have related to general businesses asking their employees to access heights with insufficient thought and inappropriate equipment. Every business can make a difference if we just abide by the legislation that simply requires good risk assessment, suitable equipment to prevent falls, and adequate and appropriate training.
Thankfully, the following accident is rare these days but is worth highlighting to illustrate that, again, legislation is there for good reason and compliance cannot be allowed to drop.
Logistex Ltd was fined a total of over £203,000 after an employee was electrocuted whilst servicing an air-compressor. The systems had not been tested or visually checked since installation and an incorrect isolation switch had not been identified. The Company had therefore failed in its duty to manage risk and were, therefore, found guilty of actually ‘creating’ the risk.
As a footnote to this awful incident, the victim wasn’t found for over an hour – an illustration of just how vital it is to ensure lone working is avoided, even in a live workshop environment.
FIRE RISK ASSESSMENTS
As you will all know no doubt, there is a legal requirement that all work premises (including all public buildings) have suitable fire risk assessments (FRA). The level and detail to be included in the FRA will obviously vary according to the size and nature of the premises. However, we would remind businesses that the complexity of many structures and working environments may well require the assistance of suitably qualified health & safety professionals.
This is particularly true where the structures are large, have multiple occupancy, are open to the public or where fire risks may be introduced by the nature of the work being undertaken. It is not adequate in these situations (and we stress that this list is not exhaustive) for the owner or manager to do the FRA him/herself if untrained. Please contact WHS for further information.
Summer may be here but the requirement to wear appropriate PPE never goes away, despite the sun shining! PPE is there for a reason, and the removal of any of it makes the risk of personal injury go sky high.
High-viz vests are worn to ensure workers can be seen – so, if you really insist that it’s too hot to wear that skimpy yellow vest, you must write a sound risk assessment to justify why and how you intend to control the risks. A failure to do that would be a double breach of the law.
And taking it off to get a tan also exposes the worker to the very real risk of sunburn and/or skin cancer. So maybe that’s a treble breach! Not worth the risk.
POST-COVID RETURN TO WORK
There has been an element of both confusion and belligerence right across UK industry regarding the right of employers to require their employees to return to the workplace after working from home or isolating. Some has emanated from genuine concerns about individual safety, whilst others seem to stem from a rather selfish preference to continue working from home because it suits for a variety of reasons.
In a nutshell, unless there is a genuine concern about poor Covid-prevention measures at the workplace, i.e. it’s a definite legal ‘health & safety’ issue, then the employee has no right to refuse to come into work. The employee would have been employed on the basis of that work address, so the contract still stands.
This has already been tested in court with the very recent case brought by an employee of Leeds Laser Cutting Ltd, and the employee lost his case. In the judge’s opinion, adequate Covid-safety measures had been implemented by the Company and there was no reason for the employee to consider his return to work unsafe. The judge commented “I do not consider that any belief that there were circumstances of serious and imminent danger were objectively reasonable”.
Having said that, we must remind all businesses that, despite the removal of Covid restrictions by the Government, ALL businesses remain wholly responsible for the health, safety and welfare of all employees (and others affected by their business) so the implied implication that many of the controls should remain in place would be prudent.
The requirement to isolate is still in place so the removal of controls would risk the business being disrupted still further as infection rates climb. Our message would be to be very careful before dropping your guard.
Further information, including industry-specific guidance can be found on the Companies House website:
The use of ‘standing desks’ has been an issue for a while now as a significant number of offices use them to enable people to ‘move around’ more rather than being seated at a desk for 8 or more hours a day.
As with all work situations, the use of standing desks must be risk assessed, and with this particular issue, that risk assessment must relate to both the individual user (for obvious reasons), the suitability of the work to be undertaken in this way, and the total working environment. It must be borne in mind that standing for long periods is a risk in itself, quite apart from posture at the desk. Equally, DSE risk issues also come into play.
WHS can help with risk assessment; please contact the office. However, there is no one way to risk assess standing desks as each workplace and every employee will have different issues; therefore, your WHS will need to visit the premises to observe before an adequate assessment can be made.
This type of stupidity is all too common; when will people learn?! No wonder 99 people fall from height each day. And this was on a wet day too!
But we concentrated on work at height in the last newsletter so we’ll take a look at some of the issues which have resulted in prosecution recently.
The serious harm done by lead fume and particulates is often overlooked in construction, despite the fact that there are specific regulations (similar to the asbestos regs) requiring lead surveys, strict controls and health surveillance. Any business dealing with lead flashings, pipework or paint, etc MUST make themselves familiar with the requirements; extensive information is contained in your WHS pack. Failure to do so may result in serious health issues or worse and prosecution.
Holgate was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter because, although faulty brakes had been reported by the driver several times, he had failed to rectify the issue. The Court found a ‘shocking picture of a company culture with a complete disregard of safety and maintenance; Judge Mr Justice Fraser said that a replacement valve would have only cost £200 and that the crash was a ‘disaster waiting to happen’.
Yet another example of just how important risk assessment for every type of task is vital.
The Company was found to have both an inadequate fault reporting system and a poor and totally non-proactive maintenance regime.
ALL equipment, no matter when it is, is legally subject to regular PUWER checks and inspections. This particular equipment was a large static machine and there was no excuse at all for the lack of pro-active maintenance and thorough checks. However, PUWER applies to ALL work equipment because even small tools carry some level of risk; failure to carry out checks and inspections will result in enforcement.
And the last word…accidents happen at home as well!
Prof. Brennan has said that “It was the most unexpected and terrifying experience of my life. I didn’t think it could happen to me…… I sustained multiple injuries and fractures, including a swollen, bruised and cut face, fractured tooth, three broken ribs, knee-cap, tibial plateau and toe. I just feel lucky to be alive.” The Professor has since posted photos of his horrendous injuries on the No Falls Foundation website as a warning to others: https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/2021/04/14/shattered-lives-prof-peter-brennan/
RoSPA has stated that every year approximately 6,000 people die as a result of home accidents, falls being the most common cause.
Health & safety is important at home as well as at work. BE CAREFUL!
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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