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Health and Safety over the years

Obviously, from the picture above, there was little concept of Health and Safety in the early 1900s. However, a need for Health and Safety regulation had begun in the UK in 1833 with the appointment of the first factory inspectors. This was because of the Factories Act 1833. However, before this, was The Factories Act 1802 which regulated factory conditions, with particular regard to children in both cotton and woollen mills. Initially, these early Acts were to protect children in factories. The 1819 Cotton Mills and Factories Act stated that no children under 9 were to be employed and that children aged 9-16 years were limited to 12 hours’ work per day. This would seem appauling by today’s standards where it is illegal to employ a child under 15 years of age; and only under certain conditions.  It wasn’t until The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 in the US that instituted the first nation-wide restrictions on the use of child labor.

The Inspectors that were appointed, as a result of the Factories Act 1833, had good authority i.e they could introduce new regulations and laws to ensure the Factory Act. By 1871 the Factories Act was extended to almost every workplace. All workplaces now began to respect minimum standards. The Mines Act 1842 came into force because of the amount of fatalities and health risks to workers. Changes to the mining industry included the reporting of accidents, training, and, making the mines safer for workers. In 1893 the first female inspectors were appointed. The Quarries Act came into force in 1894. Before this inspectors could only inspect quarries using steam power, but this Act now allowed them to inspect all quarries.

Fast forward 50 or so years and we have the Agriculture (Safety, Health and Welfare Provisions) Act 1956. This provided safeguards for children and agricultural workers who come in contact with machinery and farm equipment. This Act laid down laws for the reporting of accidents, provisions for clean sanitary conditions and the prohibiting of lifting of excessive weights. Due to a major incident at the Windscale nuclear site in 1957, the Nuclear Installations Act was passed in 1959. This Act is responsible for licencing and regulating all nuclear reactors in the UK. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 introduced a new system which consolidated detailed regulations into more understandable rules for all workplaces globally. It produced more of an engaging system for employees and employers. Shortly after this, the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) was formed and a year later the HSE was set up. The HSE undertook the requirements of the Health and Safety Commission and was responsible for enforcing health and safety legislation in all workplaces in the UK. A number of regulatory organisations were now governed by the HSE. The HSC encouraged positive attitudes to health and safety in the workplace and the understanding of risk assessment to better ensure a safer work environment. There would now be safety representatives in the workplace.

In the 1980s many major Acts were introduced including the Control of Lead at Work Regulations 1980, Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1985, Asbestos (Licensing) Regulations 1983 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations in 1988. In the 1990s, up to the present day, manyimprovements have been made in (including Acts introduced) rail safety, nuclear research, control of genetically modified substances, offshore gas rig safety, manual handling, PPE, construction, gas safety and the control of major hazards. Today, health surveillance of staff, risk assessments, and the protection of staff in every way possible to meet legislation and regulations is the norm. The HSE is continually introducing measures to make Health and Safety less bureaucratic and easier for all.

 

A brief look at Health and Safety in the US, to the 1920s

Sources  hse   the independent   neverblendin

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Loosening the Red Tape around the Reporting of Accidents

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) regulates the obligation to report deaths, diseases, injuries and “dangerous occurances” at work or associated with the work place. Employers are responsible for making sure RIDDOR is in operation in the workplace; it is an offence not to adhere to it. Employers are required to report and keep reports of all accidents and injuries at work.

However, the Health and Safety Executive has proposed new changes to streamline the current RIDDOR regulations to make things more simple in the reporting of accidents. Proposals were published early July 2013 and are likely to come into effect on October 1st this year. The changes will also include implementing some EU Directive requirements. Even though these changes are on track for happening in the next few months, they will still require parliamentary approval. The proposals are intended to produce a benefit to businesses over a ten year period amounting to a figure of over £5million. There were previous rule changes implemented in April 2012. At this time, the over three day reporting requirement changed to over seven days. Also, the deadline of the over-seven-day injury had also increased to fifteen days from the day of the accident. Previous to this, there were some other changes effective from September 2011.

It has been reported that there has been some opposition to these changes, notably from the Chair of the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum, which is a multi-party forum made up of organisations representing the waste and recycling industry, including representatives from HSE. It has been argued that this new legislation could pose concerns over possible discrepancies in the data of the reporting of accidents. However, the HSE upholds a rigorous inspection routine and there will be no changes to its policy or strategic objectives.The IOSH had concerns also over plans to change the reporting requirements involved in occupational diseases and non-fatal accidents to members of the public.

Proposed changes for October 2013

  • The classification termed “major injuries” will be replaced by a shorter “specified injuries” list. Specified injuries include fractures, amputations, loss of sight, crush injuries, serious burns among others.
  • The 47 types of industrial diseases that can be reported will be replaced with 8 categories of work related illnesses. Some of these include carpal tunnel syndrome, severe cramp, occupational dermatitis, occupational asthma and occupational cancer.
  • The number of “dangerous occurrances” will be reduced from 27, including incidents relating to the failure of freight containers, the carriage of dangerous substances by road and minor injuries at mines and quarries. These occurrances are specified near miss events. Not all will require reporting but most will.

Information is  available by the HSE to help businesses familiazise themselves with the upcoming changes.  There is going to be no changes to fatal accidents, accidents to members of the public or accidents that cause a worker to be out of work for more than seven days.

 

Sources   wikipedia   lets recycle   hse   track rec

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Preventing Unnecessary Exposure to Hydrocarbons

Hydrocarbons are organic compounds consisting entirely of carbon and hydrogen; there are many different kinds which result from differing molecular structures. Some of the most common hydrocarbons include methane, ethane, propane and butane. They are mainly found in crude oil. Extracted hydrocarbons in liquid form are called petroleum and in gaseous form are called natural gas. Hydrocarbons are the main source of the world’s electricity and gas production. Offshore oil rigs do pose a major hazard. Any or all of these events could occur:

  • Fire and release of hydrocarbons
  • Explosion resulting in the release of an explosive cloud
  • Oil release into the sea

HSE’s Offshore Division (OSD) is the directive responsible for the offshore oil and gas industry.  The OSD is responsible for regulating the UK’s Continental Shelf oil and gas rigs. The OSD tries to ensure that investigations of past hydrocarbon releases are thorough, so to avoid a re-occurrence. There have been 139 major and significant releases in 1999/2000. From 2005/2006 onwards hydrocarbon releases have plateaued to 70 to 80 per year. Offshore employers and the self-employed on rigs have a duty to ensure they work by the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR). DSEAR protects workers against the risk from fire and explosion. The safe production and processing of hydrocarbons is necessary.

 

Mankind

Duty Holders (those responsible for maintaining the oil/gas rig) have a responsibility to consider the adverse health effects as well as the immediate effects such as fire and explosion. Any real side effects caused by hydrocarbons usually result in exposure of concentrations of thousands of ppm. Health effects include asphyxiation, narcosis (leads to unconsciousness), cardiac arrest and aspiration. Hydrocarbons with a higher molecular weight are more likely to produce a narcotic effect. Hydrocarbons may be released through intentional (e.g sampling, maintenance) or accidental (eg leaks from pipes or somewhere within the plant). If the breach was through e.g maintenance there should be respiratory protective equipment for staff, de-gassing and de-pressurising systems in operation to contain the release. Prevention is the way of managing accidental breach. There must be an identified escape route (outside of any confined spaces), alarms in all areas on the rig, disaster training and the use of respiratory protection. Respiratory protection needs to be within easy reach of staff and they need to have been trained in how to use this quickly, as the effect of hydrocarbons on the body can occur within a few seconds. On rigs there must be effective fire and explosion control to detect leaks early on. A temporary refuge area must be maintained to house workers temporarily in the event of hydrocarbon release.

 

The Environment

Wildlife and ecosystems can be damaged through oil spills. Accidents can occur from crude oil leaking through the sea surface and from refined oil leaks from tanker ships. Spills at sea are much more damaging than on land because they can spread for hundreds of miles covering everything in a thin and deadly oily film. Vessels must be contained within effective pressure to contain the hydrocarbon. There should be risk based inspections to identify any signs of corrosion in the pipework.

The use of petroleum can react negatively with the environment causing the release of greenhouse gases into the air. Also, the earth only has a finite reserve of oil so there is concern over depleting this energy reserve and the effects it could have on sustaining future generations.

 

Sources   HSE website    wikipedia

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Health and Safety during the decommissioning process

The Wylfa Nuclear Power Station is on the island of Anglesey, North Wales. It houses two nuclear reactors (490 MW Magnox). Reactor 2 was retired in 2012, and Reactor 1 may operate until 2014 according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Wylfa had, in 2009, applied to the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) for consent for its decommissioning. But this can only be valid for 5 years and since the plant is still operational, it is seeking a new decommissioning consent. Any nuclear reactor plant considering decommissioning, must submit to the ONR an Environmental Statement (ES), which includes an environmental impact assessment. Wylfa is just one of the 37 licensed nuclear reactors in the UK regulated by the ONR. The function of ONR is to protect people and the environment from the hazards associated with the nuclear industry.

Where a licensee wishes to quality for a decommissioning consent, they must demonstrate a strategy of how all redundant and operational nuclear plants, that they are responsible for, can be decommissioned safely. Site inspections would then be carried out throughout the decommissioning process to ensure the site is maintaining nuclear safety. An environmental impact of decommissioning for the nuclear plant must be undertaken according to the legislation of the Nuclear Reactors (Environmental Impact Assessment for Decommissioning) Regulations 1999 (EIADR). If the project is considered acceptable HSE grants consent for the decommissioning project.

Environmental Statement (ES)

This must include the impact on the environment of the decommissioning, and must identify mitigation measures to prevent and reduce any adverse effects on the environment. It should include details of dismantling and clearance of the site, where possible. Details of the environmental effect of each stage of the decommissioning must be included, and, also where there is uncertainty in the later stages. Effects on the environment should include the direct, indirect, secondary, cumulative, short, medium and long term, permanent, temporary, positive and negative effects. Attempts should be made to contact the general public and special interest groups about the proposed decommissioning plan. Where possible the impacts should be expressed in measureable quantities. The mitigation measures of significant and minor affects should be included.

The following must be included in the ES

•         Air and climate. The could include the impact of dust from the demolition of buildings. Depending on the source, dust may also be contaminated with radioactive material and asbestos. There may be dust emissions from vehicles travelling to and from the plant.

•         Flora and fauna (ecology). There may be accidental spills and changes in the water table. There may be disruption of local habitat by storage of materials, earth movements and site clearance. There may be Radiological impacts on wildlife.

•         Landscape and visual. There may be temporary visual impacts like construction works.

•         Material assets (including archaeology and cultural heritage). There may be removal, alteration of buildings or destruction of sensitive archaeological deposits.

•         Population (socio-economics). There may be loss of jobs, Sellafield, for example, employs 10,000 people.

•         Soil (including geology, hydrogeology and contaminated land). Some sites may be historically contaminated. Many sites were used during World War 2 as airfields or munitions manufacturing, this was during a time when environmental standards were not as strict as today.

•         Water. There may be accidental spills which can distress aquatic life.

 

Sources: Wikipedia    HSE

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RIDDOR Legislation

RIDDOR’s over-three-day injury reporting requirement has changed. The trigger point has increased from over three days’ to over seven days’ incapacitation (not counting the day on which the accident happened). Incapacitation means that the worker is absent or is unable to do work that they would reasonably be expected to do as part of their normal work. If you need help with online reporting of a RIDDOR or an incident investigation we can provide chartered independent consultants to work with your staff in this area.

In addition, the deadline by which the over-seven-day injury must be reported has also increased from ten days to fifteen days from the day of the accident.

The reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations (RIDDOR) changed as of the 6th April 2012. RIDDOR places duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises (the Responsible Person) to report serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences (near misses).

The HSE has a list of the different injuries, diseases, dangerous occurrences, flammable gas incident and dangerous gas fitting that must be report. Reporting can be done online or by phone for reporting fatal and major injuries only. It is advisable that the person filling in the online report is competent and understands how to complete this form. The company should keep a copy of the online report and record accident details within the accident book. It is recommended as good practice that all near misses, injuries, diseases, road traffic collisions and dangerous occurrences are investigated and remedial actions put in place. Employee and witness statements could be taken during the investigation of the incident.

Further details on RIDDOR reportable can be found on the HSE website. Protectus Consulting have specialists that can investigate incidents and serious cases such as death with your team.

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Mission Madness: Skyscraper daredevils push health and safety limits

The London Shard is the tallest building in the European Union (1,016ft), but that’s not stopping Alain Robert aka “spiderman” from setting his sights on climbing it. However, much to his disappointment, notably because of health and safety fears, the Shards’ owners were granted an injunction which prevents Mr Robert from putting one foot on its glassy exterior. Previous landmarks Mr Robert has conquered include the Empire State building and the Eiffel Tower. He has been arrested several times in the past for attempting unorthodox climbs but has also got permission several times to scale many landmarks. Mr Robert does not use any harnesses, only his bare hands and suffers from vertigo, but has managed to climb skyscrapers all over the world.

Many other illegal and risky challenges of the same calibre are done all over the world. One such episode included russian dardevils scaling the Mercury City Tower in Russia where the top of the building has a permanent temperature of below zero. They meticulously planned the whole escapade, sneaking past guards to facilitate their amazing conquest.

A group of Londoners have successfully and illegally climbed the Shard and now may be subject to legal action from the authorities. The group managed to bypass the buildings high security level. Three members of the group climbed nearly 80 stories and took breath taking pictures 40 miles across London. The Shard’s developer, denied the £435million building was a security risk.

The UK law on climbing buildings without permission would most likely result in the guilty party being charged with “tresspassing”. Also one may be charged with endangering the lives of others, ie “reckless behaviour” . The owner of a building that was “trespassed” would want to distance themselves from any liability connected to the person climbing it. It is not trespassing if the owner of the building has allowed permission to climb. One could get around the “reckless endangerment” accusation by climbing with full safety gear, but most daredevils don’t climb with health and safety in mind…

 

Not quite so exciting but one incident that does stop you in your tracks was where a person wanted to clean his windows so risked health and safety protocol by climbing out onto the balcony, which, was witnessed by shocked on-lookers. This  incident is being investigated by Bath & North East Somerset Council. He seemed to look perfectly safe (as caught on camera below) and this dosn’t seem to have been a stunt of any kind.

However, health and safety guidelines for cleaning windows include risk assessing the area and HSE advise “where external cleaning from height is the chosen method, using the safest equipment is the best approach to reducing risk.” but there isn’t a great lot of literature on cleaning the outside of windows. Some kind of mobile scaffolding is what is most ofden used.

The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has strict regulations on the use of scaffolds to ensure they are safe to use. Whenever scaffolds are in use (be it for window cleaning or some other outside maintenance work), fall protection such as guardrails and safety nets must be provided on scaffolds more than six feet high. Hardhats and footgear are standard. Rolling scaffolds for window cleaning must be securely locked in place before use.

 

 Watch it and cringe..

Sources:  sky news,  daily mail,  hse,  live leak,  cleanlink,  telegraph

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Corporate Manslaughter

Corporate manslaughter cases rise.  Ensure your business attends awareness seminars and receives training, Protectus can support with legal requirements. The number of corporate manslaughter cases opened by the Crown Prosecution Service jumped by 40% last year as prosecutors stepped up their use of recent legislation that has produced just three convictions to date.

There were more than 60 new corporate manslaughter cases opened in 2012, up from 45 in 2011. There have been only a few convictions but there will more to follow as there are more than 30 other prosecutions yet to be heard.

Companies that cut health and safety expenditure to help survive the recession could leave themselves liable to prosecution in the event of an accident.

What should you do?

We have prepared a comprehensive overview of your legal responsibilities to Corporate Manslaughter and we are running a number of open seminars on the subject.

  1. Attend one of the seminar sessions: http://cluster24748.website-staging.uk/protectus.co.uk/contact/
  2. Download our latest presentation material: http://cluster24748.website-staging.uk/protectus.co.uk/store/presentation-download/
  3. Whatever you do, ensure you are legally compliant and have assessed the risks in your business.

We are here to support, so please get in touch.

What is the Corporate Manslaughter Act?

Prior to 6 April 2008, it was possible for a corporate entity, such as a company, to be prosecuted for a wide range of criminal offences, including the common law offence of gross negligence manslaughter. However, in order for the company to be guilty of the offence, it was also necessary for a senior individual who could be said to embody the company (also known as a ‘controlling mind’) to be guilty of the offence. This was known as the identification principle.

On the 6 April 2008, the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (CMCHA) came into force throughout the UK. In England and Wales and Northern Ireland, the new offence is called corporate manslaughter, and in Scotland it is called corporate homicide.

The provisions in the Act which relate to deaths which occur in custody will be brought into force on 1 September 2011.  There is further information on these provisions later in this guidance.

Where any of the conduct or events alleged to constitute the offence occurred before 6 April 2008, the pre-existing common law will apply. Therefore, the Act will only apply to deaths where the conduct or harm, leading to the death, occurs on or after 6 April.  Therefore if the breach of duty is alleged to have occurred before 6 April 2008, for example where a building has been defectively wired or a person has been exposed to asbestos many years ago, the common law applies.

Individuals will not be able to bring a private prosecution for the new offence without the consent of the DPP (section 17).  This is unlike the position with allegations of gross negligence manslaughter against individuals where no such consent is required.  See below for further information regarding consent.

The offence was created to provide a means of accountability for very serious management failings across the organisation. The original intention was to overcome the problems at common law of ‘identification’ and ‘aggregation’ (the prosecution could not aggregate the failings of a number of individuals) in relation to incorporated bodies. The offence is now considerably wider in scope than simply overcoming these two problems and it now includes liability for organisations which could never previously be prosecuted for manslaughter.

The new offence is intended to work in conjunction with other forms of accountability such as gross negligent manslaughter for individuals and other health and safety legislation.

If you believe that you have an Asbestos problem in your business or handle Asbestos then please contact us or visit our Presentation download pages for the latest guidance.

http://cluster24748.website-staging.uk/protectus.co.uk/store/presentation-download/

 

For Further information regarding prosecution please visit the Crown Prosecution Service, There website is http://www.cps.gov.uk.

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Risk Assessment in the Workplace

Step 1: Identify the hazards

Walking around the workplace and communicating with everybody may help one become aware of the hazards not easily identified initially. Feedback from employees, visiting the HSE website for guidance, checking the manufacturers instructions for hardware and learning from the past, ie past recordings of risk etc may help identify hazards.

Step 2: Decide who might be harmed and how

For each hazard identified in Step 1, it must be clear who could be harmed  eg ‘people working in the storeroom’ or ‘passers-by’, rather than identification by individual names. There may be certain groups of people more at risk than others, for example, people with disabilities, expectant mothers, members of the public.

Step 3: Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions

Once the hazards have been identified, one must decide what to do about them. Legislation on good practice must be adhered and compared to in making continual changes to the safety within the workplace.

Step 4: Record your findings and implement them

A proper risk assessment would result in a proper check been made and queries about who might be affected and investigations done as required. Obvious significant hazards would be dealth with, taking into consideration the people that may be involved. The precautions would be reasonable and would almost eliminate risk, keeping it low at least. Involvement of staff and representatives ensure everybody is aware and complying with good safety procedures.

Step 5: Review your risk assessment and update if necessary

Protectus Consulting  provide full company Risk Assessments in all areas to ensure compliance with current legislation. Contact us today for a quote.

 

 

Sources and more information:  HSE Website