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Council in Court – Asbestos in Schools

A Council has been fined after admitting to failures in how it managed asbestos across its schools.

A specialist contractor tasked with carrying out an asbestos survey by the council in 2004 said that dust and debris found in the boiler room containing asbestos fibres should be removed immediately under licensed conditions.

However, an HSE inspection in April 2010, as part of a national initiative to ensure that local authorities understand their duties in managing asbestos across their school estate, found that nothing had been done.

This was despite school staff and contractors alike regularly entering the boiler room in the intervening six year period.

HSE served a Prohibition Notice barring entry to the boiler house until it was made safe.

The Council was also served with two Improvement Notices regarding the management of asbestos in its schools elsewhere in the county.

The council was fined a total of £35,000 and ordered to pay £15,326 in costs after pleading guilty to a Regulation 10 breach of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2006) and a breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 – both in relation to failings across the school estate.

Source: HSE

 

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HSE Law Poster Changes

The Health and safety law poster must be displayed on all business premises. The employer has a duty under the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations (HSIER). The 1999 poster or leaflet must be replaced with the new poster or leaflet no later than 5 April 2014.

Source: HSE Website

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HSE Safety Construction Inspections Checks

Between 18 February and 15 March, inspectors will make unannounced visits to construction sites to ensure they are managing high-risk activity, such as working at height.

They will also check for general good order, assess welfare facilities and check whether suitable PPE such as head protection, is being used appropriately.

During 2011/12, 49 workers were killed while working in construction and 2,884 major injuries were reported. The purpose of the initiative is to remind those working in the industry that poor standards are unacceptable and could result in enforcement action.

Source: HSE website

Protectus Consulting can provide health and safety specialist to support your business in having a safe work environment. we can carry out a compliance review at regular intervals to ensure health and safety is implemented effectively. If you need to achieve CHAS accredited we can support you through this.

 

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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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Temperature in the Workplace

The law does not state a minimum temperature, but the temperature in workrooms should normally be at least:

  • 16°C, or
  • 13°C if much of the work is physical.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 lay down particular requirements for most aspects of the working environment. Regulation 7 deals specifically with the temperature in indoor workplaces and states that:

‘During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable.’

However, the application of the regulation depends on the nature of the workplace, such as a bakery, a cold store, an office, a warehouse.

The associated ACOP ( Workplace health, safety and welfare. Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Approved Code of Practice) goes on to explain:

‘The temperature in workrooms should provide reasonable comfort without the need for special clothing. Where such a temperature is impractical because of hot or cold processes, all reasonable steps should be taken to achieve a temperature which is as close as possible to comfortable. ‘Workroom’ means a room where people normally work for more than short periods.

The temperature in workrooms should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsius unless much of the work involves severe physical effort in which case the temperature should be at least 13 degrees Celsius. These temperatures may not, however, ensure reasonable comfort, depending on other factors such as air movement and relative humidity.’

Where the temperature in a workroom would otherwise be uncomfortably high, for example because of hot processes or the design of the building, all reasonable steps should be taken to achieve a reasonably comfortable temperature, for example by:

  • insulating hot plants or pipes;
  • providing air-cooling plant;
  • shading windows;
  • siting workstations away from places subject to radiant heat.

Where a reasonably comfortable temperature cannot be achieved throughout a workroom, local cooling should be provided. In extremely hot weather fans and increased ventilation may be used instead of local cooling.

Where, despite the provision of local cooling, workers are exposed to temperatures which do not give reasonable comfort, suitable protective clothing and rest facilities should be provided. Typical examples of suitable protective clothing would be ice vests, or air/water fed suits. The effectiveness of these PPE systems may be limited if used for extended periods of time with inadequate rest breaks. Where practical there should be systems of work (for example, task rotation) to ensure that the length of time for which individual workers are exposed to uncomfortable temperatures is limited.

HSE previously defined thermal comfort in the workplace, as: ‘An acceptable zone of thermal comfort for most people in the UK lies roughly between 13°C (56°F) and 30°C (86°F), with acceptable temperatures for more strenuous work activities concentrated towards the bottom end of the range, and more sedentary activities towards the higher end.’

Source HSE Website,  Wikipedia

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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

 

 

 

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Legislation Change to reporting of injuries

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR)

Changed – 6 April 2012

Historically if an employee was off for three consecutive days following an incident at work then the business was responsible for ensuring it was reported to the HSE within 10 days.

As of 6 April 2012, the trigger point for RIDDOR reporting 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.

The deadline by which the over seven day injury must be reported has increased to 15 days from the day of the accident.

What the business must do:

  • Review the H&S manual Review the accident policy
  • Review the accident form
  • Review content of training courses
  • Ensure changes are documented appropriately.
  • Communicate changes to employees and managers with specific incident reporting responsibilities.
  • Realign how the business analyse incidents and how they are recorded at board level.

Contact us if you need a review.

 

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Health and Safety at Work Act

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Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

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Data Protection Act

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Data Protection Act (Summary Information)

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Environmental Protection Act

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Environmental Protection Act Summary

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