The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) regulates the obligation to report deaths, diseases, injuries and “dangerous occurances” at work or associated with the work place. Employers are responsible for making sure RIDDOR is in operation in the workplace; it is an offence not to adhere to it. Employers are required to report and keep reports of all accidents and injuries at work.

However, the Health and Safety Executive has proposed new changes to streamline the current RIDDOR regulations to make things more simple in the reporting of accidents. Proposals were published early July 2013 and are likely to come into effect on October 1st this year. The changes will also include implementing some EU Directive requirements. Even though these changes are on track for happening in the next few months, they will still require parliamentary approval. The proposals are intended to produce a benefit to businesses over a ten year period amounting to a figure of over £5million. There were previous rule changes implemented in April 2012. At this time, the over three day reporting requirement changed to over seven days. Also, the deadline of the over-seven-day injury had also increased to fifteen days from the day of the accident. Previous to this, there were some other changes effective from September 2011.

It has been reported that there has been some opposition to these changes, notably from the Chair of the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum, which is a multi-party forum made up of organisations representing the waste and recycling industry, including representatives from HSE. It has been argued that this new legislation could pose concerns over possible discrepancies in the data of the reporting of accidents. However, the HSE upholds a rigorous inspection routine and there will be no changes to its policy or strategic objectives.The IOSH had concerns also over plans to change the reporting requirements involved in occupational diseases and non-fatal accidents to members of the public.

Proposed changes for October 2013

  • The classification termed “major injuries” will be replaced by a shorter “specified injuries” list. Specified injuries include fractures, amputations, loss of sight, crush injuries, serious burns among others.
  • The 47 types of industrial diseases that can be reported will be replaced with 8 categories of work related illnesses. Some of these include carpal tunnel syndrome, severe cramp, occupational dermatitis, occupational asthma and occupational cancer.
  • The number of “dangerous occurrances” will be reduced from 27, including incidents relating to the failure of freight containers, the carriage of dangerous substances by road and minor injuries at mines and quarries. These occurrances are specified near miss events. Not all will require reporting but most will.

Information is  available by the HSE to help businesses familiazise themselves with the upcoming changes.  There is going to be no changes to fatal accidents, accidents to members of the public or accidents that cause a worker to be out of work for more than seven days.

 

Sources   wikipedia   lets recycle   hse   track rec

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, employers have a legal duty to ensure, as best they can, that the health, safety and welfare of their employees is maintained. Employers have also legal obligations under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Under this act it is an offence to possess, offer to supply or produce controlled drugs without authorisation. An employer is accountable if they knowingly allow a worker to continue work if they know them to be intoxicated. This can put the health of that employee and others at risk. The employee is required to take reasonable care of themselves as others can be affected by what they do. There is extra legislation in place for workers in the transport industry, i.e under the Transport and Works Act 1992. In this industry it is a criminal offence for workers to be unfit through drink and or drugs. This includes work on railways, tramways and guided transport systems. Most businesses regard alcohol as a fairly minor problem, however there are always concerns. Concerns for company owners include loss of productivity, safety concerns, effect on team morale, bad behavior and bad communications.

Some organizations now treat alcohol dependence as an illness and target rehabilitation rather than labeling it as a problem. This can encourage employees to seek treatment as they feel supported in this environment. This positive approach can help employees recognize the dangers of alcohol misuse and can be a long term aid to their recovery. At work, alcohol or drug misuse can produce sub-standard work and damage the reputation of the organization. So, it is imperative that all concerned make a positive approach to tackle any onset of suspect alcohol abuse.

Guide for developing an alcohol misuse policy in the workplace

The HSE has four steps for dealing with both alcohol and drug problems at work.

  1. Is there a problem?
    The first step would be to find out how knowledgable employees are about the effect of alcohol on health and safety and the rules on alcohol use as they understand them. It needs to be observed if certain employees or an employee are drinking during working hours, during and after shifts or doing heavy drinking outside of work. As well as observing this, further information needs to be explored in relation to sickness absence, productivity and any disciplinary problems. Heavy drinking may begin when one is under excessive work pressure and where drinking and entertaining is a normal part of doing business.
  2. Decide what to do
    If an employee is highlighted as having a suspect alcohol problem, they have the same right to support as if they had a medical condition. There should not be immediate dismissal or disciplinary action. The courts would not look favourably on this. The employer must make a reasonable effort to help the employee get the support they need. In a bigger organization, the staff nurse and occupational health practitioner would be consulted. Given time and help most people are able to gain control over their drinking and regain previous work productivity.
  3. Taking Action
    Support of other managers and employees is necessary when introducing chances to the work drink policy or instigating a new one. Local alcohol advisory services may be able to help train managers and employees recognize if a fellow colleague has a drink problem. Many larger organizations have a written policy on alcohol tolerance policies as it pertains to their business. Some companies, especially those in the safety sensitive areas, use alcohol testing and screening of employees to detect if there are any problems. Testing may be occasional or random, and, especially may be used for new applicants. Screening is never a complete answer and must be supplemented by a professional assessment of an employee.
  4. Checking what you have done
    The policy initiated should be checked regularily as it applies to the work-force, work culture and its ease of use in monitoring and supporting staff in relation to alcohol misuse at work. It should help sustain a positive culture, drive away any prejudices and any changes should be easily communicated.

 

Sources    hse   acas

A biocide is a substance that can destroy, render harmless, deter or  prevent the action of any harmful organism. They are highly regulated because of their possible implications on human health and the environment. They need to be compliant with directives and regulations. All aspects of biocidal products are regulated by the EC directive i.e Biocides Regulation (EU) 98/8/EC. There was a change in the regulation on 22 May 2012 called (EU) 528/2012. This will repeal and replace Directive 98/8/EC and will be applicable as of 1 September 2013. This new regulation was published on 27 June 2012, and the following are the main changes to this EU Directive that will come into affect later this year. The new EU Biocides Regulation repeals and updates the Biocidal Products Directive 98/8/EC (BPD). Its aim is to simplify and streamline existing EU requirements, without reducing the level of protection to human health and the environment.

Even though new changes will be brought in, the basic mechanisms already in place will remain as they are. The new regulation will establish a two step process of approval. The first step is the evaluation of the active substance at the Union level. The second step is the authorization of the product at the member state level. The new regulation will maintain this two step process, with the view that some biocidal products are authorized at the union level giving them direct access to the entire union market. Another objective of the regulation is to improve the functioning of the internal market. The new directive will also remedy a number of weaknesses that were identified with the current Directive 98/8/EC. Areas of the regulation to be updated include reducing animal testing by making the sharing of data compulsory and encouraging a more flexible and intelligent approach to testing. Another new addition will be a dedicated IT platform to submit applications. This will also be used for providing the public with information. This platform will also be used to record decisions. Another aspect will be on strengthening rules on data waiving ie if data doesn’t need to be submitted it will be made clear that that is do. There will be information on articles and materials tested with biocidal products, so it will be a kind of information highway and research resource. There will be an equilibrated fee structure between all member states. Before manufacturers place biocidal products on the market they will need to hold data on active substances in their product they wish to sell. There will be binding deadlines and mutual recognition dispute settlement. The European Chemicals Agency (ECA) will have an active involvement in scientific work on biocides. They will also provide technical and scientific backup to the Commission and the Member States under this new Regulation.

A little bit more on Biocides

Sources   wikipedia   hse   ec.europa

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM), define legal duties for the safe operation of construction sites in the UK. These regulations apply to the whole of the construction project, from its inception to the final result. Duties are placed on clients, designers and contractors. The CDM regulations help to improve health and safety in the industry, ensure that the correct personnel are on site to manage risk and that focus is put on effective planning to manage those risks. Construction is one of the UK’s biggest industries and most dangerous. According to HSE, between 2010 and 2011, the number of workers killed from construction was 50, which was an increase from the year before. Worldwide, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) at least 60,000 people are killed every year on construction sites. This worldwide death toll is around the same number as the amount of soldiers and civilians killed through state based armed conflict each year. People may also suffer from ill health and serious injuries as a result of falls, being crushed, inhalation, noise pollution and being electrocuted.

The HSE is currently planning to redraft the CDM 2007 for re-issue in 2014 as there are certain parts of the current legislation that could be improved (according to report below) to make the construction industry less of a hazard. The HSE carried out an evaluation of the current CDM 2007 in 2010. The aim of the evaluation was to avoid a reduction in standards and to retain those aspects that added value or enhance them.

The outcomes from the report included the findings that some small project owners assumed that CDM did not apply to them. Also, that some clients ‘take on’ coordinator duties by not appointing a coordinator at the appropriate time. All those on a construction project that have legal duties are known as ‘duty holders’. Duty holders need to be appointed early in order to gain advice from coordinators and contractors. Sometimes they are not appointed early enough and this can lead to problems. Other findings included some organizations overstepping their role and providing ‘design’ duties even though they weren’t qualified to do so. Where there are projects with multiple contractors, there were reports of confusion over who was the principal contractor. Also, one of the key concerns with CDM 1994 was to reduce the amount of paperwork – this hasn’t happened with CDM 2007. Some designers were reported to be focused on construction risk but not on ‘whole life’ issues, such as operation, maintenance and demolition. Other findings from the report was that some designers did not have a sufficient understanding of the construction processes. These are some of the issues produced from the report.

Looking to 2014, it is believed that some of the proposed changes the HSE is considering are:

  • Duties for domestic premises
  • Applying the CDM requirements to all projects where there is more than one contractor
  • Replacing the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) with a series of guidance notes
  • Replacing the design phase duties of the current CDM Coordinator with a new “Project Preparation Manager”

 

CDM – A look at safe roof design best practice

 

Sources    wikipedia   hse  nebosh   tuc   instcs   shse

As announced in the Queen’s speech on 09 May 2013, there may be exemption for some self employed workers from current health and safety legislation. There are no cuts to regulations, rather, the removal of some self employed from the responsibility to create a safe working environment as long as they do not pose a risk to the public. It is restricted to entrepreneurs who do not employ others. If the self employed were to injure themselves (and in doing so, not pose a risk to their environment), then, it is not normally in the public interest to prosecute the person who injured themselves as they have already suffered harm at their own doing.

These changes could affect around one million self employed people. It has been reported that the bill has been introduced because the government wishes to highlight its commitment to small businesses. There is the view that health and safety legislation is putting unnecessary strain on small businesses. The Coalition seems to want to cut down on unnecessary red tape for those who are running their own workload.

However, according to statistics from Unite the Union, self employed people can make work more dangerous in certain instances. According to Unite the Union, there is a fatality rate of 1.2 per 100,000 for the self-employed as against 0.5 per 100,000 for employees. To add to this statistic, there may be some confusion, as some self employed people may not know whether they are exempt from health and safety law or not. Some may assume that they do not pose a risk to the public in going about their work, and, in doing so could possibly put others at risk. So, relaxing the rules does concern some people. Because of these changes, a level of protection may be removed that currently exists and this may lead to an increase in deaths, injuries, and illnesses.

Some self employed people many not have adequate knowledge and an awareness of the risks to be able to assess whether their work environment is a threat to others. Courts may have a hard time trying to define ““no potential risk of harm”. Obviously, there is no such thing as absolutely no risk, it is related to degree of risk. Attempting to categorize risk according to sector will also be fraught with problems as many sectors may have blurred areas, for example, an office worker in the hazardous chemical manufacturing plant. In some sectors, health and Safety law may be mistakenly not followed.

However, in the UK, the Health and Safety at Work Act imposes a duty on self employed people to have the responsibility so that they or the public are not exposed to significant risks. The law varies in different countries. In Sweden, for example, the self employed are only covered in relation to chemicals and machinery to protect their safety and that of others. Occupations of the self employed vary widely. Not all self employed will be exempt, only those that pose no risk to the public. Obviously workers in high risk areas like agriculture or construction wont be exempt. However, those working at home, for example,  on IT takes may be exempt as they pose practically no risk to the public.

It was pointed out in the Queen’s speech that this deregulation would only apply to low risk jobs but there is a need to be clear on what is considered a dangerous profession. The law is not there to create an unnecessary burden but to teach society to be responsible, have common sense and to learn in a way that will aim to enhance existing laws to mature naturally, so that future generations can learn from experience.

 

 

 

Sources  ier   aviva   telegraph  rospa work place safety   gov.uk   unison

 

The recreational use of marijuana, has, within the last year, been made legal in the US states of Colorado and Washington. Amendment 64 was passed by voters, which was the measure to seek the legalization of marijuana for recreational use by adults. This will allow adults to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana from speciality marijuana dispensaries and grow up to six plants in their homes. However, marijuana still remains illegal under federal law in the US. This means that, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is a federal agency, isn’t involved in monitoring the manufacture, sale and use of marijuana in any format. In the US states, where it is now legal under state law,  it is legal to smoke it in the privacy of one’s home and personal stash is restricted, however, selling it without a license is not. Even though this still remains a federal offence, proponents don’t foresee federal agents interfering in states that have legalized marijuana.

It is up to State officials to determine the health and safety protocols for the production and sale of marijuana and issue licenses for its sale. Under state law there is no real way to address the public health issues that may stem during the production of marijuana. Safety risks in production range from impurities in the marijuana to moulds and pesticide residues. Moulds may develop due to poor air quality associated with the cultivation of marijuana plants in homes. There is currently a laboratory in Colorado that tests for medical cannabis. They test samples for potency and for the presence of solvents. It has been stated that E. Coli and Salmonella has be found in the cannabis flowers. Marijuana is susceptible to pests and to mould.

New standards would have to be devised, not only to detect impurities, but also to confirm the strength of the active ingredients and representation of such on labels. The assurance of regulation such as this may make the market for this product more attractive. This may even help marijuana products compete better with the medical market, if it is backed by stringent quality control measures and is known not to contain contaminants harmful to health. Regulators face the huge task of making sure pot products are not a hazard to public health. There is currently no quality control tests in the production of marijuana, and, no protocol for recalling contaminated pot products.

A report just before the legalization of marijuana, from the Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP), had cited a public health and safety concern involved with the production and distribution of marijuana. These included considering a safe way of distributing dried marihuana to individuals who use it for medical purposes. It has been suggested that it could be distributed through pharmacies, as these premises have experience with distributing therapeutic products. As well as the presence of microbes and mould, there may be electrical fire hazards, stemming from the cultivation of marijuana in homes.

Marijuana is a Class B drug. Effects on the user include periods of relaxation and heightening of the senses. Downsides include impaired co-ordination and increased risk of accidents. Prolonged use can also lead to anxiety and depression. There has been proven positive effects on the use of cannibas in medical use but a balanced view should always be sought and the risks acknowledged.

 

Sources   the huffington post   HSE   drug free   CNBC   NBC news   hc-sc

According to the HSE, from 11th May, there will be new regulations regarding the use of needles and other “sharps” in the healthcare industry. The new regulations will supplement the already in place health and safety legislation. There will be new guidelines set out to control the risk of injury from sharps. “Sharps”, as well as syringes,  include blades and scalpels that are used in healthcare (dentists, hospitals, clinics, laboratories). Injuries from sharps is a well known risk in the healthcare industry; concern is over the 20 or more diseases that can be transmitted which include Hepatitis B, C and HIV. The Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations will come into force on 11 May 2013. The new regulations will be in support of the  EU Council Directive 2010/32/EU (the Sharps Directive), which already forms the main components of the health and safety law in the UK.

Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013
These regulations apply to employers, contractors and workers in  healthcare. These regulations help all to understand the legal aspects of working with sharps. These regulations should be followed in conjunction with The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, COSHH and RIDDOR.

Regulation 5(1)(a)
Avoid the unnecessary use of sharps. An employer should ensure that sharps are only used where necessary. Needle- free equipment should be used where possible and practicable to do so.

Regulation 5(1)(b)
Use safer sharps (using protection mechanisms).A “safer sharp” is a medical sharp that has features on it that minimises injury when handled. Essentially it eliminates recapping. “Safer sharps” are made to cover the needle after use. However, if, for example, the patient moves during the injection, the device may not protect the healthcare worker. So, care must be taken during all stages of use. Safer sharps have to be practicable. They must not compromise patient care, be reliable and the healthcare worker should have control over the device with ease of use. If the safety mechanism is integral to the device (i.e not a separate accessory) then it would be easy to use and pose minimal risk. Some kind of signal  to the user that the device is correctly activated i.e visual or tactile would be desired. If a safer sharp is not available, the employer should ensure there are safe procedures for the disposal of sharps used. In certain circumstances, where the patient supplies the needle to the healthcare worker to use, e.g for the injection of insulin, the employer should ensure that part of the risk assessment should allow for this and that there are safe systems in place.

Regulation 5(1)(c)
Prevent the recapping of needles. Needles must not be recapped after use unless the risk assessment has identified that recapping is itself required to prevent a risk.

Regulation 5(1)(d)
Place secure containers and instructions for safe disposal of medical sharps close to the work area. COSHH requires that systems are in place to dispose of contaminated waste safely. Clearly marked disposable containers must be near to the areas where the needles are used. Where the healthcare worker operates outside a clinic environment, for example in a patients home, the employers must supply disposable sharp bins.

 

According to the  Sharps Regulations, there must be information on training for employees. The information communicated to the employees must include knowledge of possible risks, relevant legal duties and good practice. All employees must be trained in the use and disposal of sharps. Also, the procedure for reporting an injury must be followedd rigorously. An employee must report an injury as soon as is practically possible. The record of the injury should include who was injured, when and where. Where the employee has been exposed to a blood borne virus, the employee must have immediate access to medical advice and post-exposure prophylaxis and counselling as appropriate.

 

Insafe safety syringe and 2010/32/EU Directive


Sources:   HSE

RIDDOR’s over-three-day injury reporting requirement has changed. The trigger point has increased from over three days’ to over seven days’ incapacitation (not counting the day on which the accident happened). Incapacitation means that the worker is absent or is unable to do work that they would reasonably be expected to do as part of their normal work. If you need help with online reporting of a RIDDOR or an incident investigation we can provide chartered independent consultants to work with your staff in this area.

In addition, the deadline by which the over-seven-day injury must be reported has also increased from ten days to fifteen days from the day of the accident.

The reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations (RIDDOR) changed as of the 6th April 2012. RIDDOR places duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises (the Responsible Person) to report serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences (near misses).

The HSE has a list of the different injuries, diseases, dangerous occurrences, flammable gas incident and dangerous gas fitting that must be report. Reporting can be done online or by phone for reporting fatal and major injuries only. It is advisable that the person filling in the online report is competent and understands how to complete this form. The company should keep a copy of the online report and record accident details within the accident book. It is recommended as good practice that all near misses, injuries, diseases, road traffic collisions and dangerous occurrences are investigated and remedial actions put in place. Employee and witness statements could be taken during the investigation of the incident.

Further details on RIDDOR reportable can be found on the HSE website. Protectus Consulting have specialists that can investigate incidents and serious cases such as death with your team.

A West Yorkshire firm was today fined £250,000 for safety offences after a gas explosion in an industrial bakery oven ripped through its factory – killing a father of two and badly injuring another worker.

Andrew Jones Pies, of Huddersfield, which is now in administration, was also told by a judge at York Crown Court to pay £124,896 in costs. Imposing the penalty, the judge said the company had ‘failed dismally’ and that, though he understood the company was not in a position to pay the fines and costs, his judgement reflected the level of failings by the company.

The explosion at Andrew Jones Pies in Old Leeds Road, Huddersfield, happened after a baker made apparent repeated attempts to light the 30-year-old oven unaware that more and more gas was building up to a critical flashpoint inside the baking chamber.

When the gas did ignite, the blast blew the large oven door off its hinges hitting him. The 37-year-old baker, who was standing in front of the oven, was hit by the door and then trapped when part of the roof collapsed.

The deceased, who had worked for the company for 12 years, was pronounced dead at the scene. A colleague, was also badly injured.

The former award-winning pie company, now in administration, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after its investigation into the incident found serious safety breaches.

The court had heard that a supervisor, had started work early so he could light the two large ovens before other workers arrived. One had apparently failed to light and at around 5am it exploded.

HSE found the company’s procedures for operating the ovens were inadequate and informal. The bakery workers had not been given sufficient instruction or training in their use, or the potential hazards arising and precautions necessary to operate them safely.

The company failed to appreciate that direct-fired ovens could potentially fill with a flammable mix of gas and air if repeated unsuccessful attempts were made to fire them up.

The investigation also discovered that an explosion relief panel on the back of the oven, which should have safely vented excess pressure, had at some time been rigidly fixed in place. The modification may, however, have pre-dated the firm’s ownership of the ovens.

The company, was found guilty of a breach of the Dangerous Substances and Explosives Atmospheres Regulations 2002. The firm was also found guilty of two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 between the same dates.

Source: HSE Website

 

New online guidance has been launched to make it easier for employers to understand what they need to do to check and protect their workers’ health.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published new guidelines on health surveillance, which may be needed if there is a risk that workers could be exposed to chemicals or other hazardous substances likely to harm their health.

Developed with industry, the clear and simple guidance makes it easier for employers to decide whether their workers need health surveillance, how to go about it and how to use the results. The guidance also makes it clearer when action is not needed, saving lower-risk businesses, such as those that are office- based, from wasting time and money.

Past exposure to harmful substances at work is responsible for an estimated 12,000 deaths each year.

The new online guidance replaces HSG61 “Health Surveillance at Work”.

Source: HSE website