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Latest Health & Safety News

Highlighting the human cost of poor health and safety

Figures for workplace accidents, incidents and ill-health published recently by Health and Safety Executive once again demonstrate that while the UK continues to be one of the safest places to work in Europe, too many workers are still being injured or made ill by work. 

In year 2013/14, there were; 

133 fatal injuries 

77,593 other injuries reported under The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). That equates to 304.6 injuries per 100,000 employees.

An estimated two million people in 2013/14 suffering from an illness they believed was caused or made worse by current or past work.

An estimated 28.2 million working days were lost due to work related ill health or injury in 2013/14. 

The cost to society from such injuries and new cases of ill health due to current working conditions is an estimated £14.2 billion (2012/13 figures based on 2012 prices).

The industries in which workers are most likely to be injured by their jobs remain largely unchanged– with Construction (1900 major/specified injuries), Agriculture (292 major/specified injuries), Manufacturing (3159 major/specified injuries) and Waste and Recycling (486 major/specified injuries) among the higher risk sectors. 

Heath and Safety Executive Chair Judith Hackitt comments: “These latest figures remind us what health and safety is really about. We should remind ourselves what these numbers actually mean – the number of times in the last year someone went out to work and either did not return home to their loved ones or came home with life changing injuries”

The Government, Employers, Employees and all others responsible for the workplace must focus on ensuring that death, injury and illness are never accepted as a natural consequence of someone simply doing their job. 

Pernix Safety Management provides health, safety services to organisations of all type throughout the UK. We pride ourselves on a track record of enabling our clients to be amongst the safest through the application of sensible and proportionate risk management 

For more details place contact us on 01733 331300 / 07597793626 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

HSE Demands Fire Safety by Design in Construction

 The HSE has published an open letter to the construction industry reminding those involved in the construction of timber-framed (TF) buildings of the importance of fire prevention and the legal responsibilities of Designers in particular. 

It states “All those making design and procurement decisions that significantly affect fire risk should consider and reduce the risk and consequences of fire during the construction phase through DESIGN. Failure so to do may constitute a material breach1 for which HSE will apply its Fee for Intervention scheme those duty holders who have contributed to the breach”

Over the last few years the increased use of TF construction particularly in larger residential accommodation has resulted in a number of serious fires. Unlike traditionally built property, a timber-framed building is at the greatest risk of fire during the construction phase due to the amount of exposed and unprotected combustible elements.

HSE research has shown that Fires in timber framed dwellings under construction had on average larger areas of damage compared to dwellings of no special construction. Out of total fires in timber framed dwellings under construction, 24% of these resulted in damage of an area of more than 100 m2 compared to 4% for dwellings of no special construction

The letter, which has been produced in cooperation with the Structural Timber Association (STA), sets states the practical measures to be taken as including;   

• An assessment of the particular site and its constraints when the method of construction is being considered.

• For timber framed structures, assessment can be undertaken using STA’s ‘Design guide to separating distances during construction’.

• The assessment should identify that where there is insufficient separation distance to allow a Category A structure, the appropriate level of Category B or C to match the site constraints (unless an alternative fire engineered solution is developed by a competent person) should be recommended.

• The appropriate category frame should be specified to the manufacturers. 

• Timber frame manufacturers, including non-STA members have a significant role to play in ensuring appropriate specification and procurement of frames. Manufacturers should be advising their customers of the guidance and requirements. Use of the STA audit checklist may assist manufacturers in compiling records to demonstrate the steps they have taken to discharge their obligations under CDM Regulation 11 and record who has made specific decisions.

• Any specific information and instructions that must be followed to guarantee the specified category or approved solution to be achieved on site must be passed to the Principal Contractor.

• The Principal Contractor must adhere to the conditions required to achieve the specified category of structure.

• The Principal Contractor must devise and apply appropriate fire precautions during the build, including control of hot works, provision of fire warning and extinguishing systems, provision of means of escape etc.

Pernix Safety Management provide health, safety and fire services to the construction industry and have wide experience for assisting and support designers, and other duty holders. 

For more details place contact us on 01733 331300 / 07597793626 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Drivers – Are you sitting comfortably?

 Driving remains one of the most hazardous occupations in the UK. Each year almost 3,500 people are killed on the roads and 40,000 are seriously injured. 

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) approximately a third of all road traffic accidents involve a work related driver, and estimates that there are approximately 20 deaths and 250 serious injuries every week involving business road users. 

This is obviously a major concern for employers and employees alike and results in continued efforts to reduce risks through improved driver selection, training and behaviour. However, there is a second aspect to the hazards and risks of driving which relates to ill health and disability through driving for prolonged periods with a poor posture, which is only now receive more attention.  

Research conducted by leading Ergonomists in the UK has demonstrated that drivers can develop long term joint, muscle and spinal injuries through simply not adjusting their seats properly. The resultant injuries are said to be a major contribution to the time lost through sick leave, treatment and care. 

There is growing recognition of the need to raise awareness, inform and educate drivers, particularly those in the high mileage bracket, of the simple but effective means by which they can reduce the risks to their health and improve comfort while driving.  

These include

Adjust the seat distance - The distance should be adjusted so that with fully depressed pedals, your knees remain slightly bent (about 120 degrees). If the knee straightens, you are too far back. If it's bent close to 90 degrees, it's too close.

Adjust the rake of the seat - This should be as parallel as possible to the steering e.g. an upright angle of about 110-95 degrees

Adjust the steering height - The steering height should be adjusted to as parallel to back angle, and to a clear view of the dashboard through the rim. The ideal adjustment should also allow us to grip the wheel properly with our palms just lower than our shoulders.

Adjust the steering distance. Where adjustable, this should be adjusted with the steering wheel height, to as parallel to the back as possible. While gripping the wheel properly, our elbows should be bent at about 120 degrees. 

Adjust the seat height. This should allow us to see forward clearly, while still having a clear view of the dashboard, and proper height relative to the wheel and pedals. In most cars, the proper height for forward vision should allow us to place five fingers (a hand width) between our head and the ceiling.

Adjust the head restraints. Place the headrest to a height just above your eyelids, and (more importantly) -- as close to the head as possible (2-3cm). A head-restraint further than 7cm increases the risk of whiplash. Keep in mind that while driving our head bends forward a bit more. If you cannot adjust the head-restraint to the proper distance, you need to compensate by increasing the backrest tilt.

Adjust the Lumbar support – Move the support up and down and in or out to ensure it fits snuggly into the small of your back. 

Pernix Safety Management have over 20 years experience in providing health and safety and driver training, information and advice 

For more details please contact us on 01733 331300 / 07597793626 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Health as well as Safety in Construction

 Safety on construction sites continues to improve with fewer fatal and serious accidents reported each year. However, death and disability through exposure to health hazards on UK sites continues to be a major concern, with an estimated 100 workers killed and over 30,000 injured each year and one, which is leading to further initiatives by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

During September and October 2014 HSE Inspectors will visits construction sites up and down the country to ensure high-risk activities particularly those affecting the health of workers, are being properly managed. If unacceptable standards are found Inspectors will take immediate enforcement action

Among the health hazards under the spotlight of the current month long HSE campaigns are;

Silica dusts, which are commonly found in many building materials and workers, exposed through construction and demolition processes. They can lead to fatal and disabling diseases including, Silicosis, which makes breathing more difficult and increases the risk of lung disease, and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which is a group of lung diseases, including bronchitis and emphysema, resulting in severe breathlessness, prolonged coughing and chronic disability. 

Asbestos, similarly to Silica Asbestos is still widely found in buildings built before the year 2000 and is often released during contraction and refurbishment operations. Again it attacks the respiratory system leading to Lung damage and disease including Asbestosis, mesothelioma, and related Lung Cancers 

Hand – Arm Vibration, where workers are exposed to vibration when using powered tools and machinery leading overtime to disabling nerve and tissue damage and recognised diseases including Vibration White Finger. 

Pernix Safety Management have over 20 years experience in assisting employers in the construction industries to protect their workers from occupational health and safety hazards. 

 

For more details please contact us on 01733 331300 / 07597793626 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Gas Safety - Are you covered?

The hazards of using gas as a fuel in domestic and commercial properties including fire, explosion and asphyxiation are well known.  Likewise the means of control though suitable design, construction and maintenance of gas installations.  

However, householders, tenants and employees are repeated being exposed to these hazards and risks due to Landlords failing to arrange the necessary maintenance and servicing of appliances in the properties they are responsible for; and also the poor quality workmanship of incompetent gas installers and fitters who do not hold the necessary qualifications.

In the year to date 10 Landlords have been prosecuted for falling to have arrangements in place and 36 gas fitters prosecuted for dangerous and illegal work. These have resulted in fines running to thousands of pounds and some offenders given prison sentences. Sadly it would appear that the numbers of these offences are continuing to rise year on year.

If you are responsible for the installation and use of gas appliances in domestic or commercial property you must ensure that you know and comply with the relevant legal requirements including those under The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, Health and Safety at Work Act, Workplace (Health and Safety) Regulations and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations. If you are a Gas Installer or Fitter you must be qualified, and registered (Gas Safe) to do so. 

For more details please contact us on 01733 331300 / 07597793626 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

New CDM Regulations in 2015

The Construction Design and Management Regulations 2007 are to be replaced in 2015 following recent consultation conducted by the Health and Safety Executive.

The main proposed changes are in response to the review of health and safety legislation and guidance conducted by Professor Löfstedt in 2012. He concluded that the Regulations were still misunderstood and often misinterpreted leading to excessive paperwork and diverting the focus from the practical management of health and safety. 

The new Regulations are likely to be enacted in late 2015 and will feature;

  1. A new format, designed to make the Regulations easier to understand; 
  2. The replacement of the current CDM coordinator role with that of a principal designer; 
  3. The replacement the Approved Code of Practice with targeted guidance; 
  4. The replacement of the current the detailed and prescriptive requirements for individual and corporate competence with a more generic requirement; 
  5. Applying the Regulations to domestic clients in a proportionate way.

Pernix Safety Management will be providing seminars and sector specific guidance on these changes in the coming months. For more details please contact Us on 01733 331300 / 07597793626 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

Construction

Construction firms found cutting corners on health and safety will feel the “full weight of the law”, the Health and Safety Executive has warned, after announcing a two-week inspection blitz on sites across the UK. The regulator said it will make unannounced visits across the country to tackle occupational health on construction sites.

Starting this week, inspectors will be looking at potential respiratory risks from dust including silica materials.

HSE chief inspector of construction Heather Bryant said: “Let me be clear: poor risk management and a lack of awareness of responsibilities is unacceptable. Companies who deliberately cut corners can expect to feel the full weight of the law.”

Inspectors will also be checking for exposure to other hazardous substances such as cement and lead paint as well as manual handling, noise and vibration.

The HSE said for every fatal incident in the construction industry, it is estimated that a worker was at least 100 times more likely to die from a disease caused or made worse by their work.

In 2012/13, 39 construction workers were killed. However, more than 500 deaths a year are due to silica exposure alone, according to the HSE.

Ms Bryant said the construction sector had made progress in reducing the number of people killed or injured by its activities.

She added: “We need to tackle where workers are being unnecessarily exposed to serious health risks, such as silica dust, which can have fatal or debilitating consequences.

This initiative provides a chance to engage with these firms and help them understand what they need to do, so they can put in place the practical measures to keep people safe.”

COSHH

New Approved Codes of Practice (ACOP) for Control of Substances Hazardous to Health and Legionnaire's Disease

 

The HSE has recently published new editions of the Approved Codes of Practice (ACOP) for Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) (L5) and Legionnaire disease, The control of Legionella bacteria in water systems (L8) 

For COSHH, these new additions are aimed at clarifying the duties and actions required in relation to incidental exposure to biological agents for example in heath or veterinary care when treating potentially infectious humans and animals, as opposed to work related exposures for example in the sewage and water treatment industries. 

Further guidance has also been included for those deliberately working with biological agents in laboratories, and healthcare premises.

For Legionella, the ACOP has been revised to separate the central requirements for risk assessment, competence, the control scheme and reviewing, which remain in the ACOP, from the technical guidance on risks with specific water systems, including Evaporative Cooling Systems, Hot and cold water systems, and other risk systems, which are now published as a Guidance document (HSG274 Parts 1-3) 

For further information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Petroleum

The Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014 come into force in October 2014 – Are you ready? 

Currently the storage and dispensing of Petroleum is covered by a number of specific pieces of legislation including 

Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928 

The Petroleum Spirit (Motor Vehicles etc) Regulations 1929 

The Petroleum (Mixtures) Order 1929 

Petroleum (Transfer of Licenses) Act 1936 

The Petroleum (Liquid Methane) Order 1957 

The Petroleum (Regulation) Acts 1928 and 1936 (Repeals and 

Modifications) Regulations 1974 

The Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928 (Enforcement) Regulations 1979 

The Petroleum Spirit (Plastic Containers) Regulations 1982 

 

Additionally these are supplemented by an equally large number of Approved Codes of Practice and Guidance. 

The aim of the Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014 is incorporate all of the above into a single set of Regulations. Likewise, there will be further revocations and revisions of the Approved Codes of Practice and Guidance, in order to simplify requirements.  

 

The new Regulations will however introduce some limited new requirements affecting   

petrol filling stations; 

people who store petrol at home, clubs, associations etc; 

designers/manufacturers/suppliers of portable petrol storage 

containers; 

Petroleum Licensing Authorities (PLAs); 

workplaces that do not dispense petrol.

 

For further information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Health and Social Care

Revised health and safety guidance for care homes:

The HSE has announced the publication of a revised guidance which is intended to help those providing and managing care homes, and to give them a better understanding of the real risks and how to manage them effectively.

It has been extensively rewritten, with a number of new topics, and brings together key messages on risks to both workers and residents.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg220.htm

IOSH 
Pernix Safety Management - Director – Alan Hurst C.M.I.O.S.H
Registered Office – Peterborough, Cambs, PE3 6FB
Contact 01733 331300 / 07597 793 626 enquiries@pernix-safety.co.uk
 
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