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The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

The HSE has developed Draft Guidance on the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The final versions of both the draft Regulations and guidance will be available on 6 April 2015.

The Regulations will come into force on 6 April 2015. There will be a transition period of 6 months from 6th April to 6th October 2015.

 

The key changes likely are:

  • Clients will need to appoint a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor
  • There will no longer be an official role of CDM coordinator
  • The domestic client is no longer exempt under the CDM regulations and has duties
  • Designers and principal designers must have suitable skills, knowledge and experience.
  • Client’s duty to provide pre-construction information

Sources

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/draft-l153.pdf

 

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Occupations that pose a biological hazard

Occupations that involve working closely with humans, animals and biological waste pose risks to the worker’s health. Most of those reported are diarrheal diseases, but needle stick injuries can occur where viruses are transmitted. The control of exposure within the workplace is governed by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). Additional advisory information is available from the Department of Health and the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP). Specific advice is available on specific blood borne diseases such as Hepatitis, HIV, TB and vCJD etc. There is also advice available on laboratory settings, clinical waste, post-mortems and funeral undertaking. The HSE do not generally deal with clinical matters as they are dealt with elsewhere.

Micro-organisms are found almost everywhere and most are harmless. Some of them do very important jobs such as their use in the making of medicine, cleaning up oil spills. Half of the oxygen we breathe is attributable to micro-organisms. However, some micro-organisms can cause disease when employees are exposed to them at work. These include bacteria, viruses, fungi and internal parasites. Most of the time one picks up an infection, but they can also cause allergies and be toxic. There are different hazards associated with the different occupations. Some of these are listed below.

Occupations where there is direct physical contact with humans

This includes nurses, care workers, undertakers. Here, workers may provide assistance with feeding, washing, dressing. Sources of infection include direct skin contact, body fluids, human waste. In occupations where there is unpredictable behaviour like spitting, scratching etc., there are risks of infection. An example here would be custodial workers.

Activities where there is contact with human waste

This includes nurses, ancillary health care workers such as porters, cleaners, sewerage workers, drain cleaners, refuse collectors, crime scene investigators, doctors, laundry workers and emergency service workers. Human waste may be on spoiled laundry, clothes etc.

Activities that involve the cutting/piercing of human skin

This includes post mortem technicians, tattooists, acupuncturists, dentists, nurses, doctors, undertakers. Sources of infection could come from blood. Even hairdressers and beauticians may also be at risk, because there is direct skin contact.

Activities where there is direct physical contact with animals

Occupations include farmers, veterinary workers, kennel/cattery workers and animal rescue workers. Sources of infection can come from direct skin contact, infectious aerosols and body fluids. Animals can be unpredictable and may bite or scratch.

Activities where there is direct physical contact with animal waste

This includes occupations where there is direct physical contact with animals and includes poultry processors, slurry spreaders, abattoir workers, park cleaners and grooms.

Activities where there is cutting of animal skin

This includes butchers, abattoir workers, veterinary workers and poultry processors.

When working with humans, animals and biological waste, there are many hazards that pose a risk to the worker. The approach would be to assess the risks and have control measures in place to protect against them. When assessing the risk involved with people and animals, one must consider both the living and the dead. Once a risk assessment within the work area has been carried out, there are duties under COSHH to stop workers being exposed to sources of infection.

 

Sources   hse.gov.uk

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Health and Safety is top priority for Care Homes

Many care home institutions have been in the news lately as a result of vulnerable residents’ injuries and incidences. Reports have come to light, some as CQC concerns, over safety concerns and the use of medicines. One reported incidence involved a resident falling from a first floor window and sustaining injuries. Other incidences included medicines not being administered safely. Some of these instances may have just been simple human error but in some cases it may have been deliberate neglect on the part of the care home provider. Whatever the cause of the offence, responsibilities and actions need to be taken to correct it and prevent it from happening again. Care homes have, of late, come under scrutiny. It is vital that there is a consistent and legal way of operating in these care institutions. Employers and employees must adhere to a legal framework under the umbrella legislation of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSW Act). The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 also is also applicable to all work duties.

Employers have a duty to protect their employees working in care homes, in so far as making sure they are properly trained to care for service users. Employers must also protect the health and safety of others who might be affected by the way their employees go about their work. This includes service users, volunteers, visitors and contractors. Employees must protect their own health and safety and that of others. Service users in care homes have different levels of independence and different needs. However, the care home needs to be maintained so that it protects the most vulnerable users. The National Health Services and Community Care Act 1990 (Community Care Act) places emphasis on promoting people’s independence. A balance must be sought between the Community Care Act and the HSW Act to ensure service users are not exposed to unnecessary risk. Risks can include falls, slips, mobility problems, incorrect medical care and supervision, scalds and lack of communication. Up to date risk assessments must be carried out if a service user’s independence level has changed, if there has been changes to the care home layout, mobility changes, equipment updates and changes, medicine administration changes and changes to other service users that can affect another care user. Apart from these changes, proper risk assessments should also have been done from day one and updated periodically.

The key duties of employers would be to assess risks to staff, service users and visitors. Appropriate health and safety arrangements, training and instruction should be arranged for all as appropriate. Employers can appoint competent health and safety persons to help them comply with health and safety law. The risk assessment should involve carrying out an examination on what could cause harm (hazards) and if enough has been done to prevent harm. A hazard is anything that can cause harm such as moving and handling service users, as well as such things as exposure to chemicals and electricity. Risk assessments must be included for manual handling and COSHH.

Training and instruction of employees (i.e care workers and other staff) is the best way to achieve safety compliance as it is the care workers who have direct contact with the service users. Even though the employers and care home owners are ultimately responsible, it is the care workers who need to comply with health and safety on a personal level with the care users. Night shift workers, young workers and those part time must have their extra training needs met. An efficient communication system from head managment to staff will ensure there are no misunderstandings with regards to responsibilites and will ensure that the care needs of service users is met.

Sources  hse website

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Common Sources of Accidents in Health and Social Care settings

Slips and trips
Slips and trips are the most common accidents that can occur and make up for one third of all accidents. Slips can result in broken bones. Most slips occur on wet or contaminated floors. Many health and social care providers make use of smooth vinyl on their floors which can lead to an increased risk of slip accidents. However, approaches should be done to integrate best practice in this area to prevent slips and trips. A simple risk assessment carried out by employers will help mitigate against risk. Attention should be given to what could cause harm and control measures should be in place. For example, simply cleaning up spillages immediately and using signs to make aware the floor is unsafe to walk on are all quick and easy steps. There are many simple ways to prevent slips by employees and service users in health care settings. Entrance matting can be used near entrances so any liquids are not brought into the building. Leaks from machinery should be fixed.  Trailing cables and any trip hazards should be out sight. The correct cleaning fluid should be used for the floor type. The floor should not have loose, damaged or worn floor tiles. These should be replaced immediately. Lighting in walkways and in slopes and steps should be adequate. Falls from windows can also occur where residents are in a confused mental state. Windows should be fitted so they are too small for individuals to fall through, and sills are not accessible to sit on.

Scalding and burning
Burns can occur to vulnerable individuals in care home settings. Those with a reduced mental capacity, a sensory impairment or those who cannot react appropriately are at risk. Sometimes hot water storage temperatures are kept high to fill the hot water demand, for the efficient running of the boiler and controlling the risk from Legionella bacteria. Apart from running water accidents there may be risk of burns from hot pipes and radiators. Where there is a risk of burns from radiators, the surface should not exceed 43°C. A risk assessment should be carried out to identify risks to vulnerable individuals. This should be part of completing the individual’s care risk assessment. It should be considered whether the service user is likely to run a bath or shower when unattended. This is a particular issue with someone whose mental capacity is impaired. A person’s lack of mobility may mean they are unable to respond safely to hot surfaces and running water. Precautions should be taken where a person’s sensitivity to heat is impaired, for example, lack of feeling in legs. Service users must be able to call for assistance via a lever or by pressing a button. Hot water should be engineered (via thermostatic mixing valves) so that it never reaches above 44°C in vulnerable patient settings. Showers should be fitted so they can never be at a temperature to cause scalding. Radiators and pipework should have low temperature heat emitters or be placed out of reach.

Bed rails
Bed rails are used to prevent falls, however sometimes they can cause other risks. If bed rails are poorly fitted they may cause a person’s neck, check or limbs to become trapped in them. Trapping can occur between the bedrail and mattress, headboard or other parts because of poor bed rail positioning. A risk assessment should be carried out by a competent person taking into account the vulnerability of the occupant, the bed, the mattress and all associated equipment. The mattress must fit snugly between the rails, and, gaps that could cause entrapment should be eliminated.

There are many other factors that can be a risk to vulnerable patients in care and social care settings. All staff should be well trained in risk assessment and know how to prevent accidents. Laws that are applicable are the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA), the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR), and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).

Sources   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.