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Keeping the Docs in order

Businesses that have five or more employees must have a health and safety policy. If fewer than five employees nothing needs to be written down. The main sections of this policy would be:

  • A general statement of health and safety at work, and this would set out the general health and safety commitments and the objectives, this section deals with ‘What you intend to do’
  • A requirements section for setting out responsibility referring to who does what, i.e ‘Who will be involved’
  • A future plan should be included which will outline how the future objectives would be achieved which is ‘How you will put it in place’

The policy statement could include additional actions that include ways of reducing hazards and risks. Other mentioned arrangements could be for example, staff training, improved lighting, non-slip flooring, using signs to highlight risks, additional PPE to be used etc. The health and safety policy statement is a simple statement about the businesses’ commitment to health and safety and should not be long or time consuming. All businesses need certain arrangements and procedures in place to ensure accidents are being prevented during the day to day operations of the business. It is good practice to record all of these details in the policy statement.

All employees should be given a health and safety induction when they first start work. This would cover basic evacuation procedures, fire and company rules. The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) 1995 includes the minimum requirements for the provision of safety signs at work. Employers are required to use safety signs where there is a significant risk to health and safety. These are to be used outside of engineering/design controls that need to already be in place to reduce the risk to what is reasonably practical. Signs should not be used as substitutes for regulated legal ways of controlling risk. Signs must be displayed in areas clearly seen be employees. If English is not the first language of an employee, instruction should be given on what the sign means. However, most, for example, prohibition/warning signs are self-explanatory, and the images are sufficient to display the messages clearly. The first aid box should be clearly labelled. The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR), places duties on employers and the self-employed to report specific injuries and dangerous occurrences at work. Records must be kept of this.

It is mandatory to show the health and safety law poster in all businesses. There are various versions of the poster, the most appropriate one should be selected for the business. According to the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969, most employers are required by the law to insure against liability for injury or disease to their employees arising out of their employment. A copy of this certificate of insurance must be displayed so the employees can easily see it. Since 2008, it could be displayed electronically, but employees must have easy access to it.

Sources    hse.gov.uk    healthandsafetyworksni.gov.uk

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The Law, the Environment and Waste Management

Much effort has been done worldwide over the past decades to decrease our carbon footprint.  If not managed, the effect of waste on the environment can be detrimental. The consequence of waste materials on the natural ability of animals to thrive can be toxic as it can distort their food chain and kill off species. There can also be effects on soil, water and the contribution to global warming. The effect on the economy can include the accumulation of debris build up which can prevent a sustainable future for generations to come.

Disposing of solid municipal waste via landfills and incineration can have many effects. Ingested materials may give rise to asthma and respiratory diseases. Environmental effects include soil acidification and the potential contamination of water. Incineration can cause possible vegetation damage. Composting may include the potential for exposure to harmful bacteria and fungi. Recycling has no significant effects on man or the environment.

Types of waste that can have some toxicity on the environment include municipal solid waste which is usually waste from offices which can include construction debris. Industrial solid waste includes solvents, paints, sludge’s, rubber, glass, straw, abrasives etc. Types of waste that can cause a substantial threat to the environment includes agricultural waste, hazardous waste and nuclear waste. These kinds of waste can produce major or substantial threats to public health and the environment if they are not discarded of carefully.

With regard to the law, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 includes legislation on enforcement, controlled waste and duty of care. This act places a duty of care on any one who manages controlled waste; to take responsibility on how they control that waste so that they minimise harm to the environment or man. A recycling contractor must be authorised by the environment agency and any third party managing waste must have a Waste carriers licence. Businesses can transport their own waste to a licensed commercial waste site without the need for a licence. Electrical items must be dealt with according to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (Amendment) Regulations 2010. Other environmental legislation include the Environment Act 1995. This legislation established the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency as the regulating bodies for contaminated land, control of air pollution and conservation. Other regulations include the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 and the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989.

One can contribute towards a greener future by recycling in the office and at home. In the office, paper, plastic, food, ink cartridges, mobile phones, CD’s and books can all be recycled. A waste contractor could be sourced and employees informed of a new waste management system. Waste prevention can include the efficient use of raw materials and packaging. In the office one could use recycled paper and promote a paperless communication environment with emails being used instead. Using the waste hierarchy of the ‘three R’s’ i.e Reduce, Reuse and Recycle will contribute to decreasing our carbon footprint on the planet.

Sources   hse.gov.uk

always-everywhere

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Hard hats!

All workers on construction sites are required to wear hard hats. Other work sites where hard hats are mandatory include manufacturing, welding and the oil and gas industries. This is necessary to comply with the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992. The hard hats must be maintained and not be damaged (the shell or suspension must be capable of protecting the worker’s head). Hard hats should be purchased from a reputable known supplier; there are fake hard hats on the market. The hard hat must fit the person properly. To be safe, the hard hat must be worn as snugly as possible. Site rules should make it mandatory for workers and site visitors to wear hard hats. One should not wait until they are on site to wear a hard hat; they should be worn before site entry. Many accidents can occur within the first few seconds of site entry. Self -employed contractors should wear their own hard hats. If one is required to wear hearing protectors, the hard hat should not get in the way and be able to be correctly worn as well.

Unexpected injuries to the head and body can occur because of objects falling or being thrown from a height, protruding unprotected end of a scaffold poles, material falling off a load being lifted by a crane, projections not being covered or capped and insufficient headroom on a scaffold. These are just a few examples of how a head injury can occur, anything could happen on a building/construction site!

The hazards are many in this type of work environment. Workers can trip or slip because the access to or from the work place or the workplace itself is not safe. Trips are the most common cause of injuries on construction sites. Unsafe platforms or the absence of guard rails can pose a risk to workers. There is a risk of workers being knocked down by reversing and moving vehicles. Materials may roll off or be kicked off platforms. There is a risk of structures or a building collapsing on a building site because of weak supports. Structures can also unexpectedly collapse during demolition. Scaffolding may collapse because they have been overloaded or because ties have been removed too quickly. Wearing a hard hat in these situations may prevent or lessen injury. Hard hats may also protect from electric shock or burn hazards.

The result of not wearing a hard hat can be tragic. The suddenness of a head injury causes the brain to knock against the skull and possibly cause blood vessels to break.Head injuries can include concussions, paralysis and memory loss. Speech, sight and the other senses may also be affected. Paralysis may result in the worker being wheel chair bound.

 

Sources    hse.gov.uk     ohsonline.com

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Making it safe for all your workers

Whilst the previous blog examined risk assessment, this post will now consider how these risks should be controlled paying particular attention to vulnerable workers. When controlling risk it should be considered whether it is possible to eliminate the risk altogether or if not, to control the risk so that the chances of it occurring are reduced and in accordance with what is ‘practically possible’.  Are the controls rigidly being applied and monitored? As an employer, your workers need to have the right information, instruction and training. They need the right information so they are aware of the hazards they face in their work role. They need to understand the measures in place to control the risks and the emergency procedures. Some workers will require extra control measures in place.

Agency and contract workers are entitled to the same health and safety protection as ordinary employees. The providers of temporary workers and the employers that employ them need to co-operate  and communicate clearly with each side and come to an agreement on how the health and safety of agency workers is managed. Under the guidance of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 each side must exchange information that they both need to ensure the safety of the workers. Temporary workers, before they start work, should be covered by risk assessments and be assured that measures have been taken to protect them.

All employers have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments when employing persons who are disabled. A health and safety risk assessment should be carried out to decide what adjustments may be required. These can include changing the way things are done, making changes to overcome physical barriers and providing extra equipment.

Employers who employ home workers need to carry out a risk assessment on the work activities of their employees. The employer is only responsible for the equipment supplied to the employee. Most work at home would be low risk office type work. However, if there are more risky activities such as the use of adhesives or soldering, for example, then the necessary PPE should be supplied and maintained. Lone workers should also have their environments risk assessed. Risks posed to these workers can include manual handling, medical suitability of the worker and violence. A transient worker is someone who works away from their normal base of work. They can be in the office sometimes but generally have no fixed work base. Risk assessments need to be done on the type of work they are doing, ie whether working alone, working at night, the provision of PPE if required etc. Young and new works and those whose first language is not English need that extra bit of support. Young workers may lack experience, lack maturity and be unaware of the risks. Students and trainees on work experience are covered under health and safety law as if they were employees.

Extra risks posed to expectant or new mothers include risks from lifting or carrying loads. Other risks can occur when standing or sitting for long periods, exposure to infectious diseases/toxic chemicals and working long hours. Working conditions must have ample rest rooms and be in close proximity. Post-natal depression and mental and physical fatigue can occur and these work stresses must be considered for. Regulations to protect new and expectant workers are given under the Pregnant Workers Directive 92/85/EEC.

Health and safety regulations to protect the health and safety of all workers include the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Equality Act 2010.

Sources    hse.gov.uk

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Walking the tightrope: Have you assessed the risks properly?

A risk assessment is the first step in risk management. It is about identifying the risks and laying down the control measures. For specific risks there is other specific regulations that also need to be adhered to, but the general approach to risk is the same in all situations. One of the first steps, for example, when working with machinery or chemicals is to check the manufacturers’ data sheets as they will be informative about the risks. Accident reports can provide useful information on the likelihood of specific risks occurring. There may also be different risks that could occur during cleaning and maintenance. When exposed to some risks for a short period of time there may not be danger to health, however, when exposed for longer periods of time, for example, exposure to noise, there may be long term health risks. A stepwise approach to risk assessment for small and medium size businesses is below:

  1. The hazards should be identified and those at risk identified
  2. The risks should be evaluated (i.e is the risk high or low)
  3. The actions to mitigate against the risks should be put forward
  4. The control measures should be put in place
  5. The risks should be reviewed as appropriate and monitored

1. The hazards should be identified and those at risk identified

Workers should be consulted as they may know first-hand what risks are being encountered in the daily work role; these risks may not be immediately apparent to management or someone on the outside coming in to do a risk assessment. It should be observed how tasks are actually carried out in the workplace; this may be different from the manual. Changes in production cycles, cleaning and maintenance should all be risk assessed. The aspects of work with the potential to cause harm (i.e the hazads) should be identified. It should also be considered how workers interact with these hazards and thereby affect the overall risk. It should be considered how one worker affects others, for example, one worker painting will not only expose himself/herself to fumes but others also.

2.  The risks should be evaluated

Some workplace risks will be already known and readily identified. For workplaces of low risk, for example, an office, the control measures may be readily available. For high risk processes, for example a chemical plant, there would need to be a detailed health and safety risk assessment. The extent of harm should be considered, which could range, for example, from minor damage to multiple fatalities. The possibility scale of risk occurring could be improbable, possible (but not very likely), probable, inevitable (over time).

3.  The actions to mitigate against the risks should be put forward

The objective of this step is to provide protection for the worker. Referring to good practice and the law should be used as a guideline. New control measures need to be introduced if the risks are new or the old risks are now higher. Preventative measures should not pose any further risk, but provide health and safety protection for the workers. The decisions regarding the control of the risks should be made during the early stages of the work process, for example, at the design or purchasing stages.

4. The control measures should be put in place

The work needed to be done to prevent or eliminate the risks should be prioritised. This depends on the severity of the risk and the likely outcome of an incident. So, the conclusions of the risk assessment should be to identify if the risk is adequately controlled, the options for reduction of risk and risk priority, others affected and whether steps could be taken to improve the level of protection offered to workers.

5. The risks should be reviewed as appropriate and monitored

As workplaces hardly ever stay exactly the same, for example, when new equipment and substances are introduced. These could lead to new hazards. Changes, accidents and near misses in the workplace should be investigated and the risk assessment reviewed.

Sources    hse.gov.uk     osha.europa.eu

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Approved code of Practice (ACOP) for driver operated lift-trucks

The ACOP gives advice on how to comply with the law. There are many regulations within health and safety law which apply to the working of rider operated lift trucks. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act), the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (LOLER), the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM).

The first thing the ACOP concerns is training. Employers should not let anyone operate fork lift trucks if they have not had the proper basic training. Operators must also be fully trained before they are allowed to teach. Lift trucks used for training must be in good mechanical condition. Records should be kept of each employee who has completed the basic training and testing in accordance with the ACOP. Lift truck operators should be physically and mentally fit and to be safely able to control the vehicle. People with disabilities need not necessary be excluded from working with lift trucks. Reasonable adjustments may be ok to do providing operation of the lift truck is safe; the Equality Act 2010 will apply. Even though there is no legal requirement to issue certificates for basic level training, they do provide evidence that operators have received the relevant training. There is no such thing as a lift truck ‘licence’.

When lift trucks are in operation, their safe use is utmost. Pedestrians should be prohibited from being in these areas. Audible warning notices and flashing beacons should be used where necessary. All surfaces used by lift trucks should be firm and level. Some lift trucks are designed to operate on uneven surfaces. The work areas must be adequately lit.

There are various approaches to controlling the use of lift trucks. There should be a device fitted to prevent unauthorised use, such as a programmable fob. On LPG trucks, the gas supply should be turned off if the truck is left for some time. There should be enough parking areas so that lift trucks are comfortably parked. They should not be used in areas where there are flammable vapours or gases. Direct ignition could cause an explosion. LPG fuel cylinders should be changed outside buildings and away from sources of ignition.

People should never be lifted on the forks or on the pellet. To allow people to work at height, lift trucks can be used with integrated working platforms. This isolates the truck controls so that only the person on the platform can control the truck movements. A non-integrated platform is one where the platform is controlled solely by the truck operator. If driving a lift truck on the public road, the driver must comply with the appropriate legislation. The law requires that all vehicles should work correctly and non-lifting parts (e.g tyres, brakes, lights) should be regularly be inspected. Before the beginning of each shift, the lift truck operator should check the tyres, pressure, fuel levels, lights and look for any cracks or damage.

Sources    hse.gov.uk

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Hazards of Waste Management

The health hazards concerning waste management and recycling include skin contact, injection, ingestion and inhalation. Occupational diseases which can be attributed to working in the waste industry include dermatitis, skin cancer, microorganisms invading the body and blood borne viruses. Employers and managers of waste management/recycling firms have a duty to protect their employees from exposure to harmful substances. The Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) contain the relevant legal requirements. Risk assessments must be carried out to ensure harmful exposure to waste is not encountered by employees. Employers must consider the work tasks of their employees and also how this can affect others working around them. There is a simple step by step process for how employers can find out more about their worker’s exposure to hazardous substances.

  1. Finding out what the health hazards are from the microorganisms and harmful substances
  2. Singling out who might be harmed
  3. Finding out how harm can be prevented?
  4. Putting in place appropriate control measures?
  5. Making sure those control measures are used
  6. Monitoring and reviewing the risk assessment regularly

New recruits, trainees and young people are particularly susceptible to working in this kind of environment and extra measures must be in place to protect them from the start. All workers need to be retrained and informed as appropriate.

Personal protective equipment is critical when working with waste/recycling. Clothing should include safety boots, cut resistant trousers, gloves, safety goggles, plastic aprons/bodysuits, and ventilation masks. A respiratory apparatus may be needed in some situations. On mobile trucks there should be hand wash basins and or hand wipes/gels. There should be emergency decontamination and emergency arrangements in place. Contamination could occur from split bags, contact with animal and human waste or contact with chemicals. There should be a readily available supply of clean water and the identification of local welfare facilities. Facilities and equipment should be kept sufficiently stocked and in good working order. Strong cleaners should be avoided as these could cause dermatitis. There should be first aid facilities on collection vehicles. As a minimum there should be a suitably appointed first aid box and an appointed person to take care of first aid arrangements. A health surveillance may be a legal requirement if a person is exposed to biological agents, solvents, dusts and fumes. Specific occupational diseases must be reported to RIDDOR.

How one should protect themselves when working in waste management depends on the nature and types of materials being collected, the levels of containment (e.g bags, wheelie bins), the routes of exposure and whether it is urban or rural. WISH (The Waste Industry Safety and Health) is a forum made up of organisations and representative involved in broadly representing the waste management industry. It has representatives from HSE. Its aim is to provide information and identify solutions for those working in the waste industry and those affected by its activities. WISH endorsed guidance on available on the HSE website.

Sources    hse.gov.uk

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Checklist for safe cleaning practices in the office

Employers have a duty to protect workers’ health according to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). Cleaning office surfaces and floors can pose health risks to workers if not correctly done. Many cleaning products are hazardous to health, if they become ingested, inhaled or come into contact with the skin. The worker using the cleaning products must be competent and understand the hazards and the risks. Examples of hazardous substances used in the office include photocopier toner and developer fluids, domestic cleaning materials (bleach, toilet cleaner, floor cleaner), substances found in maintenance departments (paints, solvents).

When using cleaning products…

  • Water proof, slip resistant footwear should be used
  • Skin creams are good for conditioning the skin
  • Chemicals should be stored away from vulnerable people and children. A cool, dry dark place is best and they should be used before the use by date
  • One should always read the label for guidance and put the cap back on the bottle immediately
  • Any splashes should be washed off the skin immediately
  • Continued use from some products can cause occupational dermatitis, others can cause asthma
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn. It may not be necessary to wear gloves and goggles. A face mask may be necessary to protect from splashes
  • Splashes with caustic soda can cause blindness
  • Bleach should not be mixed with any other chemicals, as this can give off a dangerous chlorine gas
  • One should check their skin for dryness and soreness, this should not be ignored, treatment should be sought
  • Dispose of any waste liquid safely
  • The office work areas must be well ventilated when cleaning (open windows and doors)
  • Workers should be aware of the risk of using the product and understand how to dilute it if so required

When using step ladders to aid office cleaning…
Although leaning ladders can be used in the office, they are more likely to be used outside or adjacent to the office for example, when cleaning windows or a task where a great height need to be reached. For all other general office maintenance, step ladders are most often used. Using Ladders or Step Ladders is regulated by the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR).

  • All four feet of the stepladder should have level contact with the ground
  • One should not overreach
  • Generally, one should always position the step ladder so that it directly faces the work area, however in tight spaces it may be safer to work side on.
  • The ladder must be locked in position correctly
  • One should not stand on the top three steps, unless there is a suitable handhold
  • Only light materials and tools should be carried on them
  • When one cannot maintain a handhold on the step ladder, for example changing a light bulb or putting a box on a shelf, it needs to be risk assessed – taking into account the height of the task, whether a handhold is still available before and after the task and whether it avoids side loading or over-reaching.
  • In the working position the ladder should support 2 feet and one hand. Hands should only be free for brief moments, during which time the full support of the body is by the two feet
  • One should try to avoid work that imposes a side loading, such as side-on drilling through solid materials (eg bricks or concrete)

 

Sources   hse.gov.uk

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The Event Organiser

The Event Organiser is responsible for ensuring that the visiting crowds are safe so far as is practically possible. Both the crowds and venue can present hazards. Risks posed by the crowd include crushing, trampling and aggressive/dangerous behaviour. Risks posed by the venue include slipping due to inadequately lit areas, moving vehicles sharing the same space as pedestrians, collapsing fences or barriers, hot cooking equipment on food stall, failure of equipment (such as turnstiles) and people being pushed against objects due to crowd sway.

Barriers are the most common method of crowd control used at events. Barriers manage the behaviour of the crowds and they are used to line out routes. High perimeter fences can provide physical security at an outdoor event. They can also be used to shield hazards from people. If barriers are used they must be risk assessed and this will all depend on various factors. These include the weather, topography of the soil, the crowd numbers, the underground pipes and cables (these could restrict the use of using poles to erect the barriers), the event layout and the load on the barrier (e.g crowd or wind pressure). The barrier or fence must not pose greater risks than those that it is intended to control. The use of Stewards will help with an all-round control of risk on the ground.

The Event Organiser will have many challenges to comprehend with, especially with larger crowd numbers. An initial assessment of an event and the safety plan should include the duration of the event, the crowd number and type (eg older persons or disability needs), the scale and type of event and the location. It’s sensible to liaise with the venue owner / management and with the emergency services when making a safety plan. Specialist contractors may have to be hired to man events and to ensure health and safety and emergency procedures are in place.

When the event has been risk assessed and a safety plan in place, the Event Organiser then needs to manage the event or manage contractors. There should be health and safety arrangements in place to control risk. As soon as the event starts, one should move away from the planning and paperwork and concentrate on each phase of the event. If hiring specialist contractors to manage health and safety at an event, the event manager will have to explain site hazards and control measures already in place, safe speed limits, parking and toilet facilities and emergency arrangements to the contractors. The contractors may have to add extra safety measures, like barriers, fencing, safety signs and other ad hoc requirements to make the event safe. A number of people may share the monitoring role during the event itself. There should be excellent communication systems in place for this. Feedback after the event has taken place must be encouraged and lessons learned.

The event organiser must thoroughly plan for incidents and emergencies, for example, a fire or structural failure. All incidents should be planned for, for example, severe weather, the act being cancelled and the unavailability of key staff. For all, but the smallest low risk events, the event emergency plans must be communicated to the police, ambulance services, rescue services and fire services. As emergencies can occur very quickly, emergency routes should not be obstructed and they should be sufficiently lit.

Sources   qub.ac.uk    hse.gov.uk    sussex.ac.uk

 

Event Safety Checklist
(Source  sussex.ac.uk)

Event Safety Checklist Yes/No

 

Have the following key personnel been identified? Event Organiser, safetyManager, chief steward, stewards?
Do you need any special permissions e.g. Temporary Road Closures,Temporary Event Notice, etc?
Is the site suitable for your event?
Have you carried out a risk assessment to make sure you have all thenecessary health and safety measures in place?
Who will be responsible for health and safety at the event?
Have you provided necessary information e.g. maps, site plans, details of gas,electricity, water supply and an outline programme of events?
Do you know how many people you are expecting?
Do you know where the entrances and exits on your site are?
Are the entrances and exits controlled, stewarded, suitable for disabled persons,and appropriately signed?
Do you have trained, briefed and clearly identifiable stewards?
Have you met the needs of disabled people?
Have you set up a reliable system of communication between key people?
Are crowd control barriers necessary?
Are emergency procedures in place and have these been agreed with the emergency services?
Can emergency vehicles get on and off the site easily?
Do you have effective fire control measures in place?
Do you have adequate first aid facilities?
Do you need any other special arrangements e.g. for lost property, drinking water, toilets, noise control, car parking?
Has a person been allocated to make decisions in an emergency?
Do you have an emergency plan?
Are there arrangements for stopping the event during an emergency?
Have you ensured as far as reasonably practicable that any contactors are competent? Have you obtained contractors health and safety policies, training document, public liability insurance and safety method statements?
Have you agreed risk assessments for the contracted work and the preventative and protective steps that will apply when work is in progress?
Have you obtained food safety documentation from any catering contractor?
Have you arranged for adequate waste provision?
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Protecting yourself from bad weather at work

The weather can affect an individual’s work output and ultimately their health and safety. A cautionary approach is necessary to ensure good work practices in challenging weather conditions. For work indoors, the law doesn’t state a minimum temperature, however it should be at least 16 degrees Celsius. The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 say the temperature “shall be reasonable”. Also, the Workplace Regulations, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 place responsibilities on employers to make a suitable assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their workers. If there is a requirement to operate at a lower temperature, for example, in chilled foods production, then protective gear must be worn. A definitive figure cannot be given for working indoors because of variations in radiant temperature, humidity and air velocity.

Hot weather
Although a sunny day is a welcome surprise for most of us, for those who work outdoors it can get very uncomfortable. To avoid UV radiation and burning one should cover up and wear loose clothing. One should check their skin regularly and wear sunscreens. ‘Heat stress’ is what can occur when the body cannot control its inner temperature. The body then increases the blood flow to the skin’s surface and sweats. Where there is a risk of heat stress, a risk assessment must be carried out. When doing this, one should consider the work rate, the working climate and worker clothing and respiratory protective equipment. When outdoors one should keep in the shade, rehydrate regularly and take frequent breaks.

Cold weather
If left unchecked, working in cold environments can pose unnecessary cold stress on workers. When working outdoors in cold weather, workers may need to use personal protective equipment. The working hours should incorporate frequent rest breaks and warm liquid intake. To reduce slips on ice, frost or snow, a weather risk assessment may need to be carried out in areas that pose a risk. Warning cones and grit should be used. Gritting should be done on walk areas that are likely to be damp or wet with temperatures below freezing. When working in low temperatures, compliance with British/European Standards ensures one is working to the minimum standard expected. All insulating gloves and protective must be to British/European Standards.

Strong wind
When working outdoors and there is a threat of strong winds one should stop work at places where there is a risk of falling objects. Scaffolding and materials should be secured. Workers should be able to evacuate to a safe shelter to avoid exposure to strong winds. One should clear of windows in case of breakage of glass. One should not work at height or perform lifting to higher levels.

Lightening and persistent rain
If there is a risk of lightening, workers should stay away from metal pipes and cables. Metal objects should be removed from the body. Workers should not continue working around water or exposed areas. One should not stay under lampposts, trees or work poles. One should not use plugged in power tools; battery alternatives should be considered or the work delayed to a later date. There is always a risk of electric shock or electrocution if there is leakage of current from wet electrical equipment. If there is persistent rain one should not stay near steep slopes, culverts or shelter in drainage pipes to avoid the danger of flooding. Work should only be resumed work when flooded water has been drained away.

Sources   labour.gov    hse website