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Facilities Management Southern achieves OHSAS 18001 AND ISO 14001

Facilities Management Southern a leading UK business undertaking all aspects of Installations, Service and Maintenance across the entire spectrum of Mechanical and Electrical equipment have successfully achieved the internationally recognised ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard and BS OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Standard.

This is an excellent accomplishment for the business achieved with the support of Protectus Consulting Ltd. Richard Smith – Director ensures the highest standards are met to the clients’ specifications.

Mr. Richard Smith ensures that the business meets Legislative Compliance and Good Practice within Industry and ultimately it’s Corporate Social Responsibilities with every project they undertake.

In addition to achieving the BS OHSAS 18001 and ISO 14001 standards the business have attained the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS).

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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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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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Gold status membership of LRQA for Protectus

congratulations

Protectus Consulting have recently achieved Gold status membership of the Consultant Network Group LRQA (Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance). LRQA provides compliance solutions in the areas of risk management, product safety and regulatory affairs. LRQA is an independent provider of quality assurance in certification, validation and training to international standards. LRAQ is recognized worldwide and has a staff of over 9,000 operating globally. Lloyds Register provides companies operating in the energy and transportation sectors with recognition of their management standards to national and international accreditations. Key standards and schemes include ISO standardization (and updates) in the areas of quality, health and safety, security, the environment and energy, medical devices, food safety, construction and risk. LRQA audits companies’ management systems to ensure they meet the standards of their chosen standards or schemes. LRQA also provides training courses in all areas of quality assurance and auditing.

Protectus Consulting works with a varied number of clients to support their accreditation of ISO 14001:2008 and OHSAS 18001:2008. Protectus Consulting is an all round consultancy of health and safety services in the areas of construction, the environment, health care services, fire safety services, food safety services, public health and all workplace office environments. Protectus Consulting also has on-going training courses in all areas of the workplace, including health and safety law. Protectus Consulting has a proven track record in supporting companies in their achievement of CQC, CHAS and Achilles.

Chat to our team today to find out how Protectus Consulting can help your business.

Lloyd’s Register compliance assurance services for the energy industry

Sources    LRQA   wikipedia

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Portable Electrical Equipment at Work

Nearly a quarter of all electrical accidents involve portable equipment. ‘Portable Equipment’ is defined as not being part of any fixed installation. However, when it is used it is connected to a fixed installation by means of a cable, plug and socket. This equipment can be hand held or resting on a stable surface. Portable electrical equipment used at work includes vacuum cleaners, kettles, computers, microwaves, battery chargers, PC projectors, hair dryers, food mixers, toasters, small TV’s etc. This includes items that are manufactured or purchased in-house. However, some equipment pose a much greater risk of shock, for example, electric drills. All portable equipment needs to be maintained according to the risk that is imposes. Employers have a duty to maintain any portable electrical equipment at work, whether it is the employees’ own or supplied by the business. The equipment should be used according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and made according to UK and/or EC product safety standards. Any hired equipment should have up to date certification.

Portable electrical equipment can be of two types, i.e Class I (earthed) and Class II (double insulated). Double insulated equipment is the safer of the two, as it has an extra insulation within the construction. Some electrical equipment may need a portable appliance test (PAT). For other equipment, a visual inspection, for example, checking the cables; may be all that is required. All portable equipment should be visually inspected at various intervals, how often depends on how the equipment is used and the environment it is used in. All equipment can be effected by mechanical damage, dusty atmospheres, corrosive conditions and natural hazards such as temperature or pressure. Damage to equipments can include visible wires, damage to the plug, signs of overheating or cables trapped under furniture. A PAT should be performed on equipment that is not double insulated. Damaged or faulty equipment should be removed from use and repaired by a professional. This should be a competent person who knows how to use the test equipment and interpret the results. Checks may need to be recorded, including any replacement parts and repair services carried out. All faulty equipment should be withdrawn from service and marked faulty until it is safe to use again. Some equipment will need a dated test label if it is the kind of equipment that needs to be tested periodically. If portable equipment is used outdoors a residual current device (RCD) should be used to provide enhanced protection against the effects of electric shock.

There are general requirements under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR). This applies to the use of electrical equipment within the workplace and imposes duties on persons who work with or near electrical equipment. All electrical equipment must be maintained to prevent electrical burns, fires, shock and explosions. Also, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) places duties on employers to ensure equipment is maintained in good working order.

Sources   ofcom    hse    stfc

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How the Law Regulates Safe Lifting Equipment in the Health Care Sector

To prevent accidents in the Health Care sector, lifting equipment should be properly maintained and operated by trained individuals. There are two sets of regulations that apply to the use of work equipment, these are the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). LOLER 1998 is more concerned with equipment being able to lift properly with minimal risk, whereas PUWER is about the general suitability of the equipment and its use by trained staff.

LOLER 1998 is a set of regulations which were created under the Health and Safety Act 1974. The purpose of the regulations is to reduce the risk of injury from using lifting equipment at work. The regulations say that the equipment should be strong enough for use, and, that it should be marked to indicate safe working loads. Other areas in the regulations include installing the equipment in such a way that it is positioned to minimize risk, that it is organized and operated by a competent person and that it is regularly inspected and maintained as appropriate. LOLER 1998 does not apply to all equipment used to lift a load, equipment must be defined as “work equipment”. This equipment is defined in the regulations as “work equipment for lifting or lowering loads and includes its attachments used for anchoring, fixing or supporting it”. Basically, any equipment used by an employee at work will come under this definition. Examples of instances where LOLER 1998 would not apply can include a member of the public purchasing equipment for home use or where equipment has been loaned by an employer to someone for personal use. However, in the latter case, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 would apply, i.e to provide safe equipment and maintain it, as is practically possible.

If LOLER 1998 applies, examination of the equipment is necessary during its lifespan. After the initial installation, the equipment would need to be checked to ensure it is in working order. If lifting equipment is used regularly, and, exposed to conditions that might cause deterioration, in this case the equipment would need to be inspected regularly to prevent serious or fatal injuries.  According to the regulations, this type of equipment would have to be checked every 6 months or less.  For equipment not involving people, it should be checked yearly. The competent person checking the equipment must have theoretical and practical knowledge of the equipment. They must be able to detect defects or weaknesses. Regulation 9 of LOLER 1998 outlines specific requirements for the formal inspection of lifting equipment. The findings must be recorded and inspections made in line with the requirements of schedule 1 of LOLER 1998. Outside of routine examinations, equipment may need to be maintained, this includes replacing worn or damaged parts, lubrication and making routine adjustments.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) places duties on employers and equipment owners to ensure that the equipment is right for the job. Under these regulations, the equipment should also be maintained in a safe condition, inspected so that it is installed correctly and used by trained personnel only. The equipment should also have suitable health and safety measures, i.e emergency stop controls, clearly visible markings and warning devices. It should clearly state the safe working load.

As well as the two regulations outlined above, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 are applicable as well.

 

Sources     wikipedia    hse

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Achilles Services for Procurement Professionals

Achilles helps buyers of goods and services to reduce cost and risk by qualifying potential suppliers. Achilles assesses a broad range of industries including construction, finance, mining, cement, oil and gas, public sector, service industries, transport and utilities. Assessment includes desktop assessments and on-site audits of suppliers’ premises. Buyers frequently have the heavy task of qualifying and evaluating suppliers in terms of legal and financial risk. Suppliers need to be able to establish themselves through qualifications, compliance and experience. Achilles is a scheme that assesses suppliers in terms of environment, legal, financial, information on products and services, health and safety, capability, corporate social responsibility (CSR), reliability and quality. Achilles collects and validates information in these areas; that which procurement professionals need. Each industry is looked at differently and may include accident records, turnover and geographical area. All service providers in the supply chain are welcome. Assessment includes on-site audits, desktop assessments and monitoring of contractor and sub-contractor documentation and permits. Achilles can offer the buyer a complete view of a suppliers’ supply chain risk.

How Achilles helps suppliers
Achilles matches over 77,00 suppliers with 800 of the world’s largest buying organizations. As a supplier, having the Achilles accreditation ISO9001 has enormous weight in attracting buyers and initiating real opportunities. With this stamp of approval, the buyers knows that the supplier has gone through a rigorous evaluation and audit process to achieve this universal standard.

How Achilles helps buyers
Buyers can be confident that Achilles will provide validated supplier information. Buyers are supported through the key stages of the procurement process, which includes finding suppliers, pre-qualifying them, evaluating, monitoring and auditing. Achilles looks beyond procurement for the buyer, i.e at health and safety, finance, CSR/carbon reduction. Achilles has accurate and up to date information on suppliers. There is a centralized community model where data is shared. Achilles ensures that suppliers  are compliant in terms of legal and corporate responsibility.

Achilles helps businesses identify and manage risks in their supply chain. As of 2013, Achilles has a database of over 790+ of the largest buyer organizations and over 93,000 suppliers in eleven different industry sectors. Achilles operates globally in different markets. Achilles increases the business opportunities for both buyers and sellers. It reduces risk and increases the visibility of the whole supply chain. Achilles is one of the major schemes representing the SSIP-C Forum  (Safety  Schemes in Procurement- Competence Forum (SSIP-C Forum)).

Protectus Consulting supports suppliers wishing to gain the Achilles accreditation ISO9001. Protectus Consulting have extensive experience in helping companies be prepared for the Achilles in-house audits and online assessments. Contact one of the team today here for an informal no obligation discussion.

Sources   hse    achilles    youtube
Image source    achilles

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Avoid Heat Stress at Work

Heat stress, also known as Hyperthermia, is a raised body temperature where the body has not regulated its heat properly. It occurs when the body produces or absorbs more heat than it dissipates. Heat stress is where the body gains heat faster than it can get rid of it. The most common cause of hyperthermia is heat stroke. An adverse side effect of some drugs can also cause hyperthermia. In relation to the workplace, heat stroke is the main cause of heat stress.

Obviously during the summer months there will be elevated temperatures all around due to the season, but for some jobs the risk of heat stress poses an issue all year around. Some workplaces that pose risk include bakeries, compressed air tunnels, foundries and smelting operations. Other work environments where heat stress may occur include mines, brick-firing and ceramics plants, laundries as well as glass and rubber manufacturing plants.  As well as air temperature, other factors like work rate, humidity and clothing may also cause heat stress, either as primary cause or as a combination.

Environmental causes of heat stress include air temperature, air flow, air humidity, radiant heat (sun, kiln). Heat stress caused by the worker themselves can include hydration, clothing and medical conditions. Causes at the work place include work pace and work load. There are personal risk factors associated with developing heat stress. A person that has been acclimatized to working in hot environments routinely will be less susceptible to heat disorders than a person who just enters that environment. Also those that are physically fit can cope better with heat stress. Other stress factors include age, obesity, use of medication and state of health.

Symptoms of heat stress include nausea, dizziness, heat cramps and excessive sweating. Where there has been suspected heat stress, the worker should be moved to a cooler environment. Any restrictive clothing should be loosened. They should not be cooled down too quickly otherwise they may shiver. If the worker is alert they should be given oral fluids like juices, energizing sports drinks. Alcohol and caffeine should not be given. Continued work under conditions where there is heat stress can lead to heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is a more serious condition and this is caused by depletion of both water and salt from the body. Signs and symptoms are the same as mild shock and medical attention should be sought immediately. Signs of heat stroke include shallow respiration, fainting, weak pulse, sweating and nausea. Heat stroke is a more serious condition where the body’s core temperature will rise above 41 degrees celcius. This can result in loss of consciousness, brain damage and death.

 

Prevention of Heat Stress in the Workplace

  • The temperature should be controlled as much as possible by air conditioning and fans. There should be physical barriers placed up against radiant heat if possible
  • Automated ways of reducing the work rate should be in place where possible
  • There should be periodic breaks and cool rest areas
  • Workers should be encouraged to drink regularly, ie during and after work
  • Personal protective equipment should be in use which would protect workers in certain hot environments. But this protective equipment, whilst protecting from a hazard, may add to heat stress. A balance in the form of breaks from working in these hot environments needs to be followed.
  • In the risk assessment, employees should be identified who may be more susceptible, for example, those on medication or where there are mobility challenges
  • Employees working in a possible heat stress environment should be trained and given information on how to cope in these hot conditions. Employees health should be monitored.

If a worker is exposed to environmental conditions that could cause heat stress, the employer must mitigate against exposure. An appropriate work rest cycle must be followed and or personal protective equipment if necessary.

 

Sources   wikipedia   hse   work safe bc

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Asbestos Today

Asbestos fibres are naturally present in the environment in Britain, but in very small doses that we have become acclimatized to. The danger occurs when the amount of fibres in the air are concentrated and inhaled. This may be many hundreds of times the natural occurrence.  The effects of breathing in and exposing oneself to asbestos may cause acute and fatal diseases later on in life. Asbestos related deaths results in around 4500 a year. Asbestos causes four main diseases, one fatal one is mesothelioma (this is a cancer that develops from the cells of the mesothelium, which is the protective lining of most of the internal organs of the body) and lung cancer which is always terminal. Non-fatal diseases include asbestosis (a chronic inflammatory medical condition that affects the lungs), although not fatal, this can be very debilitating. So for these reasons, the use of asbestos has been banned since 1999.

However, asbestos has been used all over the world in building materials since the mid-nineteenth century. One of the uses was as asbestos insulating board in ceilings, windows and door panels. It was also used as a sprayed coating i.e as fire protection on structural supports like columns and beams. Asbestos was also used in toilet cisterns, water tanks, pipe insulation, as floor tiles, in cement mixtures…actually it was used in almost most places in the home. Up to 50% of the building material in any home may contain asbestos today, but it is only lethal if it is disturbed and inhaled. It is best to leave it alone rather than remove it. The main types of asbestos can be categorised as blue, brown and white but this is this is not distinctively clear; asbestos has many guises and can be difficult to detect, especially if mixed with other materials.

asbestos in the home

asbestos in the home

However, asbestos can be managed. The best way to treat asbestos is not to touch or disturb it. That way it won’t release the deadly fibres. But many times there are accidents in the home and in commercial buildings and so the materials may crack, break, fall or expose themselves in such a way that allows the asbestos fibres to escape and be a hazard to humans.  A professional licensed removal firm is vital to remove asbestos. Full body coverage and a respiratory apparatus is essential when dealing with this deadly material. Asbestos cannot be vacuumed or disposed of in a normal rubbish bin. It needs to be taken to specialized disposal sites.

Simple steps to managing asbestos

  • Plan on working around and not disturbing these materials if possible
  • Those that are working around asbestos need to be trained. This will include how to protect one’s health, how to recognise asbestos, what equipment to use, emergency procedures and waste disposal
  • When working at heights in a suspect asbestos area, risk assess for falls or ‘maintenance’ that could cause asbestos to be exposed through breakages
  • The workers need to have the correct equipment to work on the different kinds of asbestos materials, for example, working with textured coatings and working with cement containing asbestos are two different asbestos related envirnoments
  • Make arrangements for the correct disposal of asbestos waste

 

Sources   hse   Wikipedia   the guardian   take5andstayalive

image   hse

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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.