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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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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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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.

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Respiratory priority areas – workplace awareness

Occupational respiratory disease is a big issue. Every year there are approximately 12 000 deaths due to occupational respiratory diseases. There are many trades and industries where by workers may be putting their lives and health at risk. If not taking precautions and ignoring the fumes within the air around them, workers may be prone to long term illnesses. Although a respiratory disease may arise in any industry, the main sectors include agricultural workers, construction workers, welders, bakery workers and vehicle paint sprayers.

Whilst some illnesses may be clearly linked to work, others may have a ‘latency’ period, some up to 30 years, which can make the link between work and the development of the disease difficult to establish. Respiratory diseases include asthma, COPD (Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and silicosis.

Workers in agriculture can be exposed to high levels of dust and micro-organisms. Grain workers include those who harvest, dry, store and transport grain. Those who look after livestock, are involved in vegetable cultivation and straw bailing are susceptible to contracting respiratory disorders. Bakery workers who work with high levels of flour dust and enzyme improvers are also susceptible.

For quarry and stone workers, the main risks here is exposure to dust and crystalline silica. Key activities of where exposures occur include stone masonry, demolition and stone floor laying. There is much awareness from professional organisations and suppliers about the risks of silica. Interventions have included leaflets outlining the dangers of working with dust, and, there have been events for employers to raise awareness. There is also a foundry worker initiative. Welding can give off airborne gases and very fine particles. If inhaled, can lead to a number of respiratory diseases. If there is mining of high silica stone, working in sand pits and blasting, there can also be health risks. Vehicle paint sprayers may contract occupational paint asthma from isocyanate paints.

Respiratory Protective Equipment

Other reasonable controls must be put in place before resorting to respiratory protective equipment (RPE). RPE should be used for short term and infrequent use only. It must be worn correctly and maintained. If, according to a risk assessment and adhering to the law, RPE must be used, then it must be suitable for the intended use, be right for the wearer, task and environment, and be properly integrated into the normal workplace environment. RPE must be manufactured according to the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002. It must have a CE mark on it; this will indicate that it has met the minimum legal requirements for its design. In addition to the COSHH Regulations 2002, RPE may be needed to comply with other legislation. This may include the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002, Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999, Confined Spaces Regulations 1997 and the basic requirement of Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, to which it is always necessary to maintain a safe working environment for employees.

Source  http://www.hse.gov.uk/

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Exercises to help alleviate muscle fatigue in sedentary work

There are many exercises that can be done which may alleviate the discomfort or even eliminate the onset of serious musculoskeletal disorders (MSD’s). MSDs cover any injury, damage or disorder to the joints of the upper/lower limbs or the back. Work-related MSDs develop over time and can also result from fractures sustained in an accident. Symptoms include muscle spasms, cramping and stiffness, pain and numbness in the joints, numbness or weakness in one leg, pain in the back or buttocks and repetitive strain injury. Causes of MSD’s include keyboard work and repetitive actions, working in tiring and awkward positions, manual handling (pushing, carrying, lifting), climbing stairs and standing in the same position, such as in retail and conveyor factory work. Repetitive work, without allowing time for sufficient recovery can cause muscle fatigue and inflammation.

Since performing exercises whilst at work is likely to cause interruptions, they would need to be performed during work breaks. Breaks should allow workers to vary their posture and should be taken before workers start getting tired, as it is more difficult to bounce back if one is already severely fatigued. Short, frequent breaks are more satisfactory than prolonged occasional breaks. The prevention of MSD’s could be overcome by appropriate work place design and the scheduling of short breaks and stretches. Task variation during periods of repetitive work, such as postural changes, may significantly help reduce muscle fatigue. Breaks that include physical stretching of the body may be more beneficial than just passive breaks.

Whether using a computer work station or at some other sedentary task, one of the first areas to elicit pain is the eye area, due to straining at the screen or at some close object. Exercises to alleviate pain include blinking the eyes more frequently and focusing on distant objects (causes less strain than focusing on nearer objects). If the neck is kept in a certain position over longer periods, upper limb disorders may develop. Neck glides are suggested to alleviate any discomfort. To do this, one should sit up straight, and glide the head back as far as it will go. Then glide forward and repeat 3 times. Shoulder shrugs can be done to help. To perform a shoulder shrug, one needs to sit up straight and bring the shoulders up towards the ears and repeat 3 times. Upper back stretches consist of raising the hands to rest on the shoulders, using the arms to push shoulders back. Keeping elbows down, this should be help for 15 seconds and repeated 3 times. For the hands, a forward press of the hands include gently unlocking ones’ fingers and keeping the psalms away from the body, gently stretching the forearm muscles, fingers and the muscles between the shoulder blades.

Even though some exercises may result in the work flow being interrupted, it is imperative to consider a way of integrating them into the daily work plan. Even though some of these exercises are conspicuous and may cause some embarrassment  (especially when doing them in a busy office!) there is no doubt that some kind of frequent daily stretching can increase circulation, productivity and alertness.

Sources

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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Tattooing Safety and UK Law

It is imperative to protect oneself and others in the Tattooing Industry. This includes the Client (person who is having the Tattoo administered on their skin) and the Operator (the person administrating the Tattoo). This article addresses general tattooing safety in relation to UK Law.

The Tattooing of Minors Act 1969 defines a tattoo as “…the insertion into the skin of any colouring material designed to leave a permanent mark”. Tattoos are a form of body adornment and a form of body modification because they are a permanent skin alteration unless removed. The Age of Consent prohibits tattooing of anyone in Great Britain under the age of 18 years.  The Tattoo specialist should make every effort to prove that the person requesting Tattoos are over the age of 18 years.  It is not sufficient to simply ask them their age.  As a minimum standard one should ask the client to produce proof of age such as a driving licence or passport. Both of these carry a photograph of the holder with an identity number and this may be recorded on the consent form should a photocopy of the ID not be possible.

As from the 1 April 2004 the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 had given Local Authorities powers to regulate businesses providing semi-permanent skin-colouring (e.g. micro pigmentation, semi-permanent make-up and temporary tattooing) and piercing. In London, local authorities use the London Local Authorities Act 1991, which includes powers to regulate micro pigmentation businesses. With regards to the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (HSWA), 1974, Section 2 of the Act places a duty upon every employer to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees, so far as is reasonably practicable. Section 3(1) of the Act is particularly applicable to business premises where the public may be affected by business activity (as is in the case of a Tattoo business), and states that: ‘It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment, who may be affected, are not exposed to risk to their health or safety’. Section 3(2) of the Act places a similar duty on every self-employed person. The HSWA also requires employers to provide information, instruction, training and supervision that is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their employees. This is relevant to persons employed in Tattoo parlours, self-employed operators and the Clients.

Other legislation includes The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations. Employers with five or more employees need to record the significant findings of any risk assessment. Appropriate training considerations are an important component of minimizing risk within any working environment. This covers issues such as ventilation, room temperature, lighting, cleanliness, room dimensions, workstations, flooring, windows, doors, and sanitation and rest facilities. This act also places duties on the maintenance of equipment in workplaces. This will include the Tattoo needles, PPE and all equipment used.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) focuses on work equipment rather than the workplace and applies not just to employers but also to anyone having control of work equipment or supervising its use. PUWER applies to equipment used for micro pigmentation, which by definition is not only work equipment but carries specific risks both to users and clients.  Duties are to ensure that equipment is fit for purpose, is used under suitable conditions, is maintained and inspected, that use is restricted where it is likely to involve specific health and safety risks, that information and training are provided to users and that protective arrangements are put in place in regard to dangerous parts.

The Supply of Machinery (Safety) (Amended) Regulations place duties upon those who supply machinery including manufacturers, importers and others in the supply chain. If at least on part of the machine moves (e.g vibration, rotating or cutting), and, if the movement results from external energy e.g. electricity/battery, then the machine falls into the remit of these regulations. Micro pigmentation equipment is classed as machinery. The exceptions are manually operated needle pens with no moving parts. The main parts of this legislation is that the responsible person/manufacturer should ensure that machinery and safety components satisfy the relevant essential health and safety requirements. Schedule 3 of the regulations detail the essential health and safety requirements, and, the machinery must be accompanied by instructions for safe use and maintenance. The responsible person must issue a declaration of conformity, which is issued with the finished product. This declaration will contain details such as the manufacturer’s address, the machinery type and serial number. The responsible person should affix the CE marking if they are satisfied it is safe.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) require employers and the self-employed to prevent, or control the exposure to employees and others of the dangers of using hazardous substances.  This includes exposure to chemicals and biological agents. COSHH sets out basic measures that employers must take to assess the risks associated with hazardous substances, e.g. liquids, aerosols, volatile fumes. Also, to implement any measures needed to prevent or control exposure and to establish good working practices. This includes the use and correct storage of the cleaning products and disinfectants required to effectively clean micro pigmentation equipment, and, to control contact with body fluids by wearing PPE. COSHH also requires sufficient information, instruction and training to be provided to employees. This includes the names of substances they work with, the handling of materials which may be contaminated with blood products, the precautions to protect themselves and other employees. This includes the disposal of materials containing blood products. Also information on how to use personal protective equipment and the emergency procedures to be followed, e.g. in the event of first aid administration and spillages.

 

 

 

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Burns

The owner of a Leicester care home has been fined £100,000 after a vulnerable 85-year-old resident died from serious burns. The elderly are at risk of injuries from burn incidents. To avoid the risk of burns the care home should carry out a risk assessment identify the areas that potentially lead to an elderly person being exposed to high temperatures. When conducting a risk assessment the following should be considered:

 

  • Hot running tap water
  • Radiators and Heaters
  • Hot pipework in any room
  • Kitchen – all areas
  • Hair tongs
  • Hot water bottles
  • Electric blankets
  • Baths and showers
  • Hair dryers

 

If hot water used for showering or bathing is above 44 °C there is increased risk of serious injury or fatality. Contact with surfaces above 43 °C can lead to serious injury.

The risk assessment of the building should identify the controls to be put in place to prevent potential burn risks to the elderly. Engineering controls can include: thermostatic mixing valves (TMVs); temperature-restricted, instant water heaters.

Sources

http://press.hse.gov.uk/2015/care-home-owner-in-court-over-death-of-vulnerable-resident/

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Swimming Pool Health and Safety

There are many risks associated with public and private swimming pools. Pool owners (including local authority clients), architects, engineers, designers and pool hirers need to have a vigilant awareness of safety in leisure pool activities. The HSE is the enforcing authority for pools occupied by local authorities, the defence force and educational establishments. All other pool establishments are regulated by local authorities (i.e in accordance with the Health and Safety (Enforcing Authorities) Regulations 1998). Also, the HSWA places duties on all (employers, employees and the self-employed) to ensure that all and the public are not affected adversely. There is much more legislation applicable, from the Diving at Work Regulations 1997 to Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 to RIDDOR, among others. The main parts of all UK law regarding public and employee health and safety can in some way be applied to the operation and management of swimming pools.

As well as a policy statement and risk assessment, a written Pool Safety Operating Procedure (PSOP) should be created. This should set out how the pool operates on a daily basis. It will include details of the equipment, manner of use and any hazards or activity related risks. It should set out what staff should do in the event of an emergency. It should set out how training is done and a record of regular checks to ensure compliance. All operators of pool facilities must report accidents according to RIDDOR.

Lifeguards should be effectively trained in how to carry out their role (preferably hold a qualification awarded by an appropriate national body). Life guards must also have knowledge of the enactment of legislation, e.g COSHH, HSW Act, RIDDOR, PPE, etc. They should understand cleanliness, hygiene, pool cleaning, pool water clarity, blind spots and first aid equipment. Lifeguards should use a facemask to separate themselves from direct contact with the casualty. The air supplied to casualties can be enriched by the supply of oxygen through suitable face masks.

There should be safety signs at appropriate places in the pool. The signs can include mandatory warning signs, emergency escape or first aid signs. Prohibition signs such as used for ‘no diving’ may also be needed in a pool. If there are sudden changes in the depth of the pool this should be clearly marked. The pool tank edge should be colour contrasted with the pool. The pool surrounds should be designed in such a way that the public do not get congested and there is free flow of bathers. If diving is allowed, springboards should only be installed over a separate purpose-designed pool. If pool hoists are part of the pool equipment, they should allow those with a disability to gain access to the pool, either with or without assistance.

Sources

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

 

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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/