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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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The Construction Worker – Manual Handling and Noise

The biggest health risks for the construction engineer can result from manual handling, vibration, biological hazards, dust/fumes, being injured/loss of life due to machinery and noise pollution. This article addresses manual handling and noise.

Manual Handling

Even though manual handling is a part of the construction environment, there is no reason for one to injure oneself. All it takes is a little bit of planning and time to set things up properly so that the workers are not at risk. Handling things incorrectly can lead to musculoskeletal disorders. These disorders are mostly non-fatal, however, they cause much discomfort with many days being taken off work. There is no ‘safe’ weight limit for any one person; it is advised to seek guidance for weight lifting procedures from the Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHOR) as outlined by the HSE. The employer should not leave it up to the employee to decide whether they should lift the weight. There are duties on the employer under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations to ensure that there are controls in place to minimize the risk to workers. Trolleys, cranes, lifting trucks, leverage devices, pulleys and other aids are all available to be used on the work site so that manual handling is not necessary. Manual handling does not only apply to lifting and lowering but also to pushing and pulling. The workers must be trained in how to lift stuff correctly using these manual aids. If suitable and light loads are ok to be lifted manually, the workers must know how to lift correctly by bending the knees and beginning in the squatting position etc.

Noise

How does ones assess if there is a high noise level? If one has to raise their voice to have a normal conversation when standing about 2 metres apart, for at least part of the day, then noise levels on the site may be at a level which could damage health. Noise can result in many distressing conditions such as tinnitus, difficulty having a conversation or using the phone and general hearing loss. If it is not possible to remove the construction worker from the noisy area or provide them with quieter equipment, then hearing protection and hearing protection zones may be appropriate. However, hearing protection should not be the solution for extended use and over long periods of time. Construction workers should be frequently rotated to other less noisy areas and the work alternated between workers. Workers should be trained in how and when to use the hearing protectors and the aim should be at least below 85 dB of noise at the ear. On a noisy construction site or oneone where it may become a risk to health, a noise risk assessment should be carried out. This may include measuring the noise exposure over the day and observing the working patterns.

Source

http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/faq-noise.htm

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Pallet Safety

PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) covers the safety of work equipment involving pallets and the use of them. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 is also applicable. These regulations cover the hazards and risks of using pallets in the work place. Pallets consist of a flat platform that are used with forklift trucks or other transportation means. They are used to transport goods between distances and to stack at height.

Incorrect use of pallets and falling pallets can cause many accidents in warehouses and storage facilities. Different pallets need to be used for different loads. For example, pallets used for carrying boxes of pens will be different from pallets needed for carrying heavy electrical equipment. Considerations should be given to the pallet load, i.e will it be liquid, solid or powder. Considerations should be given to the type of restraints used, pallet stacking, the pallet climate (i.e. in a cold warehouse or a hot house) and what the pallet is made out of. Pallets can be moved in different ways, i.e by forklift, cranes, automated equipment and bar slings – these all need to be risk assessed. Pallets need to be properly maintained. Re-usable pallets should be marked as such. Pallets should not be dragged along the ground as this can result in fraying and fatigue cracks. When goods are unloaded from one level to another, and there is a risk of injury, so forklift operators should be protected.

Pallets can be made out of different materials, i.e. wood, plastic, pressed wood, corrugated cardboard, and metal. Wooden pallets should be fastened at each end with two or more nails. The wood should not be rotting or fraying apart. Plastic pallets can be susceptible to brittle fracture in cold environments. They should be checked so that they are not distorted by heat or cold temperatures or chemical environments. Pressed wood and corrugated cardboard pallets should not have signs of water retention or flaking. Metal pallets should not be corroded or damaged in any way.

Pallets handled by a crane should only be fitted by a suitable attachment. Forklift operators should ensure that the forks are spaced so that maximum support is given to the pallet.  Both pedestrians and moving vehicles (i.e forklifts) in a warehouse need to be able to move freely. Warehouses should be designed to reduce the risks from reversing vehicles and driveways should be clear. General health and safety should be clearly communicated for all in these kinds of work environments.

Forklifts out of control!!!

Sources

http://www.hse.gov.uk/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdz7T3dNlWg

 

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Display Screen Equipment

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) i.e computer workstations, laptops and other VDU’s can sometimes be associated with neck, shoulder, wrist and arm pain. VDU’s can also cause eyestrain and fatigue. In offices and places of work the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002 give advice and recommendations on how to use workstations in a way that helps controls the risk to the body and health. Display screen occupations include word processing workers, data imputers, typists, journalists,  financial dealers,  librarians and  web analysts. There are other occupations that involve working with visual display equipment that is a bit different from the normal visual display unit, these include air traffic controllers and security room operatives. Although there may be different kinds of screens used, there is still the risk of strain to the body. Emplyers should ensure that the regulations are adhered to and that the employees understand them.

For the display screen itself the characters should be well-defined and clearly formed. The image on the screen should be stable with no flickering or other forms of instability. The brightness and contrast should be easily controlled by the operator and the screen should swivel and tilt easily. If possible, the screen should be free of reflective glare that could cause discomfort. The keyboard should be tiltable so to avoid fatigue to the arms and hands. The work surface that the computer or laptop is on should be sufficiently large with a low reflective surface. One should be able to arrange their documents and related equipment comfortably around the VDU. The work chair should be stable and allow the user to adjust it with ease. The back of the seat should be adjustable both in tilt and height.

Suitable lighting is necessary for the working environment; there should be appropriate lighting between the background and the screen environment. Workstations should be designed so that sources of light from windows and other openings don’t cause glare on the screen. There should not be continuous disturbing noise from the workstation, for example from a printer nearby. There should not be excessive heat or radiation coming from parts of the workstation. An adequate level of humidity should be established.

One of the main concerns with any workstation is the eyes. The regulations require employers to provide users with eye tests if they so require. Special corrective appliances (ie glasses) should be provided by the employer where it meets the requirements of the DSE regulations in the use of the DSE equipment.

Sources

http://www.hse.gov.uk/

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Work at Height

10 million workers are estimated to be carrying out jobs involved in working at height every year in the UK. Falls are the biggest causes of death and injury. However, if one uses their safety harness and work at height gear properly (see video below!) all should be ok.

There are some very simple approaches to considering whether to work at height in the first place. If it is “reasonably practicable” not to work at height, then one shouldn’t. It work at height is necessary, one should minimise the distance of a possible fall.

The law (Work at Height Regulations 2005) says that ladders can be used for work at height, if a higher level of fall protection is not justified because of the low risk and short duration of use. The ladder must be secured on level and stable ground. If one is required to stay on a leaning ladder for 30 minutes or more, then alternative work at height equipment should be used. There are a few myths surrounding the use of ladders…ladders are not banned from building sites if it’s sensible to use them…one does not have to be qualified to use a ladder, just competent…and walking up and down of stairs in one’s course of work is not working at height…

Fall arrest equipment and safety harnesses can be used on a work site to prevent falls. For example, a lanyard connected to an anchorage point restricting the distance a worker can go, hence preventing him/her from reaching the edge. A lanyard may have a shock absorber attached to it. The best anchorage point for a harness is above head level. If a worker does fall while having a safety harness, he/she must be rescued within an average of 18 minutes or they may suffer health effects due to suspension trauma.

When erecting a scaffolding system, falls can be prevented by erecting an advance guard rail system. This is where temporary guard rail units are locked in place from below. They are in place before the operator accesses the platform to fit the permanent guard rails. If this cannot be done, workers can wear a safety harness to arrest any falls during its construction. If using a scaffold tower, it should have safety features such as an exit and entry door. Guardrails must be fitted with an inbuilt access ladder or staircase. Scaffold towers must be built by a competent person and inspected regularly.

Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPs), if used, should have guard rails for arresting falls. A harness could also be used by the worker to further protect them. MEWP’s should not be used in extreme weather conditions as they can become unstable. They shouldn’t be operated near overhead cables or power lines.

So, if one is an employer, controls work at height or works for themselves, then they have responsibilities under UK law. All work at height must be properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people. All the appropriate equipment must be used and maintained, the work area risk assessed and hazards mitigated against.

Sources

https://www.gov.uk

www.Slideshare.net

http://www.hse.gov.uk

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Work at Height

We are proud of what our clients achieve in their work and would like to share what they do with you. Working at height is an everyday task for some of them.

RF Fixing Ltd has extensive experience in all aspects and systems of curtain wall installation. Providing a professional, reliable service and with an impeccable health and safety record, they pride themselves on delivering projects safely, on time and within budget. We are proud to be a part of their team.

For more information and to see some of the other projects RF Fixing Limited has completed visit their website.

 http://www.rffixing.co.uk/projects/

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Protect your Hands

The best kind of gloves to use in the work place are non-powdered, ‘low-protein’ single-use latex gloves. ‘Low-protein’ means manufactured to the European Standards indicated by EN420. In powered latex gloves, NRL (Natural Rubber Latex) proteins can leach out of the glove materials and attach to the powder particles. The proteins can then become airborne and become inhaled, which can cause asthma and uticaria. These can then be hazardous to health under COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations). If an employer’s assessment leads to the use of latex gloves, they should be low-protein and powder free. If these kinds of gloves are used, the employer must carry out a risk assessment to monitor if occupational asthma is likely or has occurred.

When deciding on the gloves to be used, one must identify the substances that are going to be handled (eg work in laboratory, work in hairdressing), the hazards prevalent to the work, the task and the size and user comfort of the gloves. If the user is using the gloves in a ‘wet work’ situation, for example, hairdressing, gloves must be chosen to meet the European Standard EN374-2. Frequent contact with water, especially in conjunction with soaps and detergents, can cause dermatitis. Some chemicals and products that contain an active agent that is an irritant may guide you on what gloves to wear with their use. Glove manufacturers may produce guidance on breakthrough time, i.e the time it takes for the chemical to permeate through the glove material and meet the inside. Gloves must be selected to meet the task, for example, sterile gloves, food grade gloves, etc.

One should be aware of the health risks associated with chemicals. One should use tools and methods to prevent skin contact with hazardous substances. One should ensure that the hands are washed and dried regularly, especially after wearing and before wearing protective gloves. Contact dermatitis is a common problem in many industries. Other hand related ailments include burns, abrasion and nerve damage due to vibration, skin cancer and skin discoloration (depigmentation). Suitable gloves should be used. Skin care products can help maintain the skin in good condition and retain its protective function. There are some creams that provide a semi-resistant barrier against chemicals. They do not provide full protective function as do PPE and gloves, however, they may facilitate the cleaning process by allowing the use of less powerful cleansers.

Source

http://www.hse.gov.uk/

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Risk – The HSE 5 step process

           Step 1 – HSE – Identify the hazards

  • Identify the hazards associated with the task or activity
  • Consider People, Equipment, Materials and the Environment
  • People hazards cover a number of issues. Consider training, capabilities/restrictions, supervision, communication, adequate numbers and human error
  • Equipment hazards will relate to the equipment used and will also cover tasks associated with the repair, maintenance, handling, cleaning, storage and operation of the equipment
  • Environmental hazards are all about the surroundings one is working in. Consider poor lighting, heating and ventilation, poor access/egress, tripping/slipping hazards, restricted space/visibility and other activities taking place nearby

         Step 2 – Who can be harmed?

Consider:

  • Permanent workers in the area
  • Migrant workers – consider language restrictions
  • Agency workers
  • Contractors and visiting workers
  • People visiting the area
  • The general public and children walking alongside the site
  • Intruders who break into the site
  • The risk assessment should consider all those people who could potentially be harmed if controls fail

          Step 3 – What are the current controls?

  • Identify what control measures are currently in place for each hazard
  • In some cases there may be no controls, perhaps because the hazard
    hasn’t been considered.  At the other end of the scale, there may be good controls in place because the hazard is obvious and easily controlled
  • When trying to identify the current controls, they can be broken down in 3 ways:
    (1) Physical controls (e.g. a metal fence around a construction site)
    (2) Procedural controls (e.g. a safe working procedure for the task)
    (3) Behavioural controls (e.g. adequate supervision and monitoring of behaviour)

          Step 4 – Record the risk assessment

  • The findings must be recorded
  • Any organisation with more than five people is required to record
    their risk assessments
  • It should be stated clearly what task/activity the risk assessment covers
  • It should be ensured that the hazards and controls are clearly listed
  • An appropriate member of staff should sign off the risk assessment
  • One should make sure that the completed risk assessments are readily available to those who might need them

          Step 5 – Review the risk assessment

  • Risk assessments must be reviewed on a regular basis (at the very least
    once every year)
  • The period of review should reflect the hazards, the greater the hazards
    the more frequent the review
  • One needs to review the risk assessment as the work activity changes – e.g if the site is structurally changed, less staff etc
  • Following monitoring techniques, one should identify if the risk assessments need changing
  • Any changes should be followed with maintenance inspections
  • Safety committee meetings, safety inspections, occupational health surveys should be regularly scheduled
  • Accident and ill health investigations should be undertaken

Source http://www.hse.gov.uk/

 

 

 

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COSHH for Beauticians and Nail Bars

Ingredients used in nail lacquering, hair dressing, electrolysis, tattooing and some other treatments can cause allergies and/or ill health to the recipient. It is the duty of all salons, nail bars and beauty therapists to comply with COSHH (the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 as amended) to protect workers health and safety. Keeping the workplace ventilated and using good hygiene techniques is a must. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may be needed for some tasks and nail work will need an extractor hood or downdraught table. Hands should be washed frequently and spillages mopped up quickly. All equipment should be kept clean and washed after use. All products should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place and away from direct sunlight.

In nail bars, nuisance odors and dusts must be kept to a minimum. The dust generated from filing acrylic nails can cause asthma, headaches, dizziness and nausea. Dust from nail treatments in general can cause wheezing and chest tightness. Single use sterile instruments should be used wherever possible and work on the clients’ nails must be close to the ventilation hood. The use of dust masks are not an adequate control measure. Single use gloves must be used for handling nail products. Skin creams are good for the condition of the skin and can help against contamination. Barrier creams do not provide a full barrier against products and solvents. UV nails and acrylic liquid can cause dermatitis. A competent engineer must examine the ventilation system to ensure it is working correctly. An occupational health professional must be consulted if workers have sore throats, runny noses, breathing difficulties or skin problems that seem connected to the work. Chemical products should be stored correctly with the labels facing the outside. Heavier items and corrosive chemicals should be stored on lower shelves. Chemicals should never be stored in open containers. Hazardous waste should be disposed of through a specialist contractor.

Treatments such as electrolysis, ear piercing and tattooing are a risk due to contact with blood. Re-usable equipment that may become contaminated with blood should be sterilized. Needles, swabs and gloves must be put in a clinical waste disposal unit. Splash proof eye protection and disposable plastic aprons should be used. Contact with products can damage the eyes. It is advised to avoid using chloromethane (ethyl chloride) as a skin anesthetic; this can cause cancer. All equipment should be kept in efficient and effective working order. It is advised that workers have Hepatitis B jabs. Workers should not take work clothes home but should use a specialist laundry contractor. Sterilization procedures should be written down and procedures followed by trained staff.

Sources   hse

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5 Star Certification Success

Success for TEAMFORCE Labour

Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme (RISQS)

Following preparation with our team and an audit by Achilles in June this year, we are pleased to announce that TEAMFORCE Labour (www.teamforcelabour.co.uk) has had its certification against the Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme (RISQS) renewed for another 12 months.

TEAMFORCE supplies and recruits labour and specialists in the following industries, civil, construction and railways. This accreditation enables them to continue to provide  its customers with talented and dedicated people. The TEAMFORCE strong ethos and investment into Health & Safety, advanced systems and processes will ensure that personnel carry out their work safely and effectively.

The audit was particularly successful and resulted in Team Force being awarded a 5 star rating from Achilles, the highest available.

The 5 star rating is designated when the highest standards have been consistently maintained over 2 consecutive years.

Gerry McCarthy (Managing Director) stated, “The five-star rating means that TEAMFORCE Labour continues to be formally recognised as a capable provider of services to the Rail industry. We achieved the highest rating by successfully proving we have robust processes, procedures and documentation in place. This achievement is as a result of the continuous team work in the company.  Achieving this 5-star rating increases our visibility to Network Rail, LUL/Transport for London, passenger, light rail and freight train operators, rolling stock organisations, main infrastructure contractors and other rail products and services providers in the management of supply chain risk”.

What is RISQS?

RISQS, formerly known as Achilles Link-up, has been developed to provide a service for the qualification of suppliers for all products and services that are procured by the industry. RISQS supports Network Rail, LUL/Transport for London, passenger, light rail and freight train operators, rolling stock organisations, main infrastructure contractors and other rail products and services providers in the management of supply chain risk.

For more information about RISQS please contact our team to discuss.