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Mission Madness: Skyscraper daredevils push health and safety limits

The London Shard is the tallest building in the European Union (1,016ft), but that’s not stopping Alain Robert aka “spiderman” from setting his sights on climbing it. However, much to his disappointment, notably because of health and safety fears, the Shards’ owners were granted an injunction which prevents Mr Robert from putting one foot on its glassy exterior. Previous landmarks Mr Robert has conquered include the Empire State building and the Eiffel Tower. He has been arrested several times in the past for attempting unorthodox climbs but has also got permission several times to scale many landmarks. Mr Robert does not use any harnesses, only his bare hands and suffers from vertigo, but has managed to climb skyscrapers all over the world.

Many other illegal and risky challenges of the same calibre are done all over the world. One such episode included russian dardevils scaling the Mercury City Tower in Russia where the top of the building has a permanent temperature of below zero. They meticulously planned the whole escapade, sneaking past guards to facilitate their amazing conquest.

A group of Londoners have successfully and illegally climbed the Shard and now may be subject to legal action from the authorities. The group managed to bypass the buildings high security level. Three members of the group climbed nearly 80 stories and took breath taking pictures 40 miles across London. The Shard’s developer, denied the £435million building was a security risk.

The UK law on climbing buildings without permission would most likely result in the guilty party being charged with “tresspassing”. Also one may be charged with endangering the lives of others, ie “reckless behaviour” . The owner of a building that was “trespassed” would want to distance themselves from any liability connected to the person climbing it. It is not trespassing if the owner of the building has allowed permission to climb. One could get around the “reckless endangerment” accusation by climbing with full safety gear, but most daredevils don’t climb with health and safety in mind…

 

Not quite so exciting but one incident that does stop you in your tracks was where a person wanted to clean his windows so risked health and safety protocol by climbing out onto the balcony, which, was witnessed by shocked on-lookers. This  incident is being investigated by Bath & North East Somerset Council. He seemed to look perfectly safe (as caught on camera below) and this dosn’t seem to have been a stunt of any kind.

However, health and safety guidelines for cleaning windows include risk assessing the area and HSE advise “where external cleaning from height is the chosen method, using the safest equipment is the best approach to reducing risk.” but there isn’t a great lot of literature on cleaning the outside of windows. Some kind of mobile scaffolding is what is most ofden used.

The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has strict regulations on the use of scaffolds to ensure they are safe to use. Whenever scaffolds are in use (be it for window cleaning or some other outside maintenance work), fall protection such as guardrails and safety nets must be provided on scaffolds more than six feet high. Hardhats and footgear are standard. Rolling scaffolds for window cleaning must be securely locked in place before use.

 

 Watch it and cringe..

Sources:  sky news,  daily mail,  hse,  live leak,  cleanlink,  telegraph

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Tattoo Needlestick and Infection Control

Healthcare workers are often affected by needlestick injuries, however other occupations are also affected. Protectus have prepared with support from local Tattooist companies a training course, specifically aimed at dealing with the Health, Safety and Environmental issues faced by professional tattoo artists and body piercing artists. Needlestick injuries may also affect carers and children picking up used needles.

  • For more details about our courses either contact us or follow the link:

http://cluster24748.website-staging.uk/protectus.co.uk/training/

  • If you prefer the self training method, then we have developed a specialist training pack available for instant download:

http://cluster24748.website-staging.uk/protectus.co.uk/store/presentation-download/

Our training material is certificated, so that you can demonstrate to your clients that you are competent and taking their care seriously.

Blood borne pathogens

The major blood-borne pathogens of concern associated with needlestick injury are hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV. However, other infectious agents also have the potential for transmission through needlestick injury, including:

  • Human T-lymphotropic retroviruses I (HTLV-I) and II (HTLV-II).
  • Hepatitis D virus (HDV – or delta agent) which is activated in the presence of HBV.
  • GB virus C (GBV-C) – formerly known as hepatitis G virus (HGV).
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV).
  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
  • Parvovirus B19.
  • Transfusion-transmitted virus (TTV).
  • West Nile virus (WNV).
  • Malarial parasites.
  • Prion agents such as those associated with transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs).

Between 2002 and 2011, 4,381 significant occupational exposures were reported (increasing from 276 in 2002 to 541 in 2011).

72 significant occupational exposures reported between 2002 and 2011 involved ancillary staff. The majority of these exposures were due to non-compliance with standard infection control precautions for the handling and safe disposal of clinical waste.

Source: Health Protection Agency (HPA) report regarding healthcare workers, released in 2012.

The Health and Safety executive have provided a detailed COSHH bulletin SR12, this document provides essential reading and is relevant to the industry.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/guidance/sr12.pdf

Protectus Training

The Protectus Training course and self help pack provides information that helps employers (including the self-employed and franchisees) comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). Demonstrate compliance to other relevant health and safety legislation and provide a safe working environment that minimises the risk of exposure.

We have compiled a short summary of the Health and Safety Considerations for Tattooists, attend our training and ensure compliance to all applicable law.

Main Legislation

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

Age restrictions

A person must be 18 years of age before they can have a tattoo. This is a statutory requirement, with criminal penalties on conviction.

Records keeping

The keeping of records protects both the client and the tattooist and therefore the following details should be included in client records:

  • Date of the procedure;
  • Client’s name, address and telephone number;
  • Full details of the procedure;
  • A record of the type of the procedure
  • Medical history.

When assessing medical history, as a minimum a health declaration form should ask for information and history. Please discuss with us what types of forms can be used, we are here to help and can provide email guidance on some matters free of charge. Please get in touch if you have a question.

 Typical Questions

Check and know the history before any procedure.

  • heart disease.
  • medication.
  • pregnancy/breast feeding.
  • blood borne viruses such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C.
  • low and high blood pressure, epilepsy, diabetes, impetigo etc.
  • skin conditions such as eczema, warts and psoriasis.
  • allergic responses to latex, anaesthetics and adhesive plasters.
  • Conditions that compromise the immune system.
  • Heart disease/pacemaker.
  • Haemophilia.

What should be considered before performing a procedure

  • The tattooist should discuss client’s medical history.
  • Where a condition exists, or there be past history, written authorisation from the client’s doctor should be required before tattooing takes place.
  • The tattooist should record the clients’ response to health history on the client’s record card and consent forms.
  • Remember also that Data Protection legislation applies.

http://cluster24748.website-staging.uk/protectus.co.uk/data-protection-act-2/

Essential equipment to conduct hygienic procedures

  • Alcohol impregnated swabs (pre packed) for skin preparation.
  • Autoclave.
  • Disinfectants, disposable caps or trays for pigments.
  • Disposable latex, vinyl or nitrile gloves may be worn, but must be discarded after each client (they must be disposed of as clinical waste).
  • Disposable razor, kidney dish (autoclavable container for needles), paper tissues and paper towels, sharps container.
  • Spray bottle containing fresh skin preparation antiseptic.

After care advice

  • It is best practice to give out written after care advice as clients are often nervous or excited about their new tattoo and may not take in verbal advice.
  • Basically the treated area must be covered with a lint free sterile gauze which is taped to the skin with micropore tape – this permits ventilation of the damaged skin surface, helping the healing process.
  • The new tattoo should be kept dry to prevent the onset of infection.

Other things to consider

  • The practitioner or the client should be under the adverse influence of drugs, alcohol or other substances.
  • Tattooing should be undertaken in conditions of appropriate privacy.
  • Eating, drinking and smoking should not be permitted in the studio.
  • Tattoo machines (motors and frames) cannot be sterilised and should be carefully damp wiped between clients with 70% alcohol.
  • Because needles are repeatedly dipped into pigments during tattooing, it is  important that fresh pigments are used for each customer.
  • Pigment capsules should be firmly placed in holders while in use, to avoid the possibility of spillage. These should be made of autoclavable material e.g. stainless steel and should be cleaned and disinfected between clients and sterilised between sessions.

Finding a competent practitioner

Tattooists should be registered to operate with the local authority and should display their registration certificate. If the practitioner intends to perform your tattoo without asking for your medical history or personal details such as name and address, this indicates bad practice.

Ask your practitioner for Health, Safety and Neddlestick awareness training and certification.

The work that Protectus have completed with Tattooists in the UK, we can assure you the profession is very serious about Health, Safety and the care of customers.

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Corporate Manslaughter

Corporate manslaughter cases rise.  Ensure your business attends awareness seminars and receives training, Protectus can support with legal requirements. The number of corporate manslaughter cases opened by the Crown Prosecution Service jumped by 40% last year as prosecutors stepped up their use of recent legislation that has produced just three convictions to date.

There were more than 60 new corporate manslaughter cases opened in 2012, up from 45 in 2011. There have been only a few convictions but there will more to follow as there are more than 30 other prosecutions yet to be heard.

Companies that cut health and safety expenditure to help survive the recession could leave themselves liable to prosecution in the event of an accident.

What should you do?

We have prepared a comprehensive overview of your legal responsibilities to Corporate Manslaughter and we are running a number of open seminars on the subject.

  1. Attend one of the seminar sessions: http://cluster24748.website-staging.uk/protectus.co.uk/contact/
  2. Download our latest presentation material: http://cluster24748.website-staging.uk/protectus.co.uk/store/presentation-download/
  3. Whatever you do, ensure you are legally compliant and have assessed the risks in your business.

We are here to support, so please get in touch.

What is the Corporate Manslaughter Act?

Prior to 6 April 2008, it was possible for a corporate entity, such as a company, to be prosecuted for a wide range of criminal offences, including the common law offence of gross negligence manslaughter. However, in order for the company to be guilty of the offence, it was also necessary for a senior individual who could be said to embody the company (also known as a ‘controlling mind’) to be guilty of the offence. This was known as the identification principle.

On the 6 April 2008, the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (CMCHA) came into force throughout the UK. In England and Wales and Northern Ireland, the new offence is called corporate manslaughter, and in Scotland it is called corporate homicide.

The provisions in the Act which relate to deaths which occur in custody will be brought into force on 1 September 2011.  There is further information on these provisions later in this guidance.

Where any of the conduct or events alleged to constitute the offence occurred before 6 April 2008, the pre-existing common law will apply. Therefore, the Act will only apply to deaths where the conduct or harm, leading to the death, occurs on or after 6 April.  Therefore if the breach of duty is alleged to have occurred before 6 April 2008, for example where a building has been defectively wired or a person has been exposed to asbestos many years ago, the common law applies.

Individuals will not be able to bring a private prosecution for the new offence without the consent of the DPP (section 17).  This is unlike the position with allegations of gross negligence manslaughter against individuals where no such consent is required.  See below for further information regarding consent.

The offence was created to provide a means of accountability for very serious management failings across the organisation. The original intention was to overcome the problems at common law of ‘identification’ and ‘aggregation’ (the prosecution could not aggregate the failings of a number of individuals) in relation to incorporated bodies. The offence is now considerably wider in scope than simply overcoming these two problems and it now includes liability for organisations which could never previously be prosecuted for manslaughter.

The new offence is intended to work in conjunction with other forms of accountability such as gross negligent manslaughter for individuals and other health and safety legislation.

If you believe that you have an Asbestos problem in your business or handle Asbestos then please contact us or visit our Presentation download pages for the latest guidance.

http://cluster24748.website-staging.uk/protectus.co.uk/store/presentation-download/

 

For Further information regarding prosecution please visit the Crown Prosecution Service, There website is http://www.cps.gov.uk.

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Risk Assessment in the Workplace

Step 1: Identify the hazards

Walking around the workplace and communicating with everybody may help one become aware of the hazards not easily identified initially. Feedback from employees, visiting the HSE website for guidance, checking the manufacturers instructions for hardware and learning from the past, ie past recordings of risk etc may help identify hazards.

Step 2: Decide who might be harmed and how

For each hazard identified in Step 1, it must be clear who could be harmed  eg ‘people working in the storeroom’ or ‘passers-by’, rather than identification by individual names. There may be certain groups of people more at risk than others, for example, people with disabilities, expectant mothers, members of the public.

Step 3: Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions

Once the hazards have been identified, one must decide what to do about them. Legislation on good practice must be adhered and compared to in making continual changes to the safety within the workplace.

Step 4: Record your findings and implement them

A proper risk assessment would result in a proper check been made and queries about who might be affected and investigations done as required. Obvious significant hazards would be dealth with, taking into consideration the people that may be involved. The precautions would be reasonable and would almost eliminate risk, keeping it low at least. Involvement of staff and representatives ensure everybody is aware and complying with good safety procedures.

Step 5: Review your risk assessment and update if necessary

Protectus Consulting  provide full company Risk Assessments in all areas to ensure compliance with current legislation. Contact us today for a quote.

 

 

Sources and more information:  HSE Website

 

 

 

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Slips, Trips and Falls

Over a third of all major injuries reported each year are caused as a result of a slip or trip. These cost employers over £512 million a year in lost production and other costs. Slips and trips also account for over half of all reported injuries to members of the public. The acts that apply are:

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992

Employers have to ensure their employees and anyone else who could be affected by their work (such as visitors, members of the public) are kept safe from harm and that their health is not affected. This means slip and trips risks must be controlled to ensure people do not slip, trip and fall.

  • Employees must use any safety equipment provided and must not cause danger to themselves or others.
  • Manufacturers and suppliers have a duty to ensure that their products are safe. They must also provide information about appropriate use.
  • Employers must assess risks (including slip and trip risks) and where necessary take action to safeguard health and safety.
  • Floors should be suitable for the workplace and work activity, kept in good condition and kept free from obstructions.

What should you consider?

  • Provide Non-slip floorings in areas that can’t be kept dry and use cordless tools to avoid trailing cables across working areas. 
  • Organisation Workers need to be involved and committed to reducing risks. Give employees responsibilities to ensure that areas of the workplace are kept safe, eg getting spillages and objects cleaned up quickly, keeping access routes clear and ensuring lighting is maintained. 
  • Keep a record of who is responsible for which arrangements; take special care to include cleaning and other contractors. Make these details clear to everyone. 
  • The business should have a safe management system in place to prevent slip, trips and falls in the workplace.
  • Identify key areas of risk through risk assessment. Careful selection of materials, equipment and work practices can prevent or contain slip and trip hazards from liquids, fine powders and objects.
If in any doubt then please contact us, we are here to help you.