It has recently been reported that a Lancashire private school has been fined £100,000 because one of its employees has contracted a lung disease due to exposure to high levels of silica dust over a period of many years. The stonemason had contracted silicosis. Silicosis is a form of occupational lung disease caused by inhalation of silica dust. It causes scarring and disease of the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing and fever.

As many system built schools were built between 1945 and 1980 there may be many risks when working on them today, and exposure to silica dust is only one of them. Many of these buildings had been designed as large estates with a large range of materials used in their original constructions. Asbestos was one of these materials. Many of these buildings would have been constructed with asbestos containing materials (ACM) which was used in structural columns and metal casings of buildings. Asbestos is found in many public buildings and is relatively harmless if work around it and exposure to it is managed properly. Problems can arise when workers or habitants are exposed to levels harmful to their health. The Health and Safety Executive and the Department of Education work together to ensure that the correct systems are in place so any asbestos hazard is controlled. Local authorities have responsibility for schools as do the school directors themselves. There is a legal requirement under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, whereby there is ‘duty to manage asbestos’ in non-domestic premises. Asbestos management systems must be also in place under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. There are duties on employers to ensure their employees in these establishments are protected from exposure to asbestos. This includes the management of repair and maintenance around asbestos suspect materials, and managing this risk so that exposure is at a harmless level. Effective management of asbestos in schools is an ongoing concern for local authorities and duty holders.

School authorities must by law, provide a comprehensive overview of system built premises within their estate. If unsure of where the asbestos levels are and it’s locations within their buildings, duty holders must undertake an assessment of their buildings. ’System built’ schools is a well known method of how schools were built in the education sector in the UK and survey inspections should be aware of the associated issues with asbestos in the construction of these buildings. It is important to ensure that everyone involved in asbestos management is fully trained and competent. Responsible persons can include maintenance staff, engineers, head teachers, bursars, contractors and care takers. Site personnel and contractors must all be briefed in the risks and possible hazards of working with asbestos and act accordingly if they suspect an exposure. All individuals must be trained to a sufficient standard of competency to be able to do the job safely. As per the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, the duty holder of all premises must have plans in place and measures necessary to manage the risks from ACM’s.

Schools must ensure that:

  • A recent survey has been done on the site
  • Refurbishment work undertaken should be added to all site records
  • Site personnel should understand surveys and associated registers so any asbestos related risks are evident
  • All personnel handling asbestos should be competent


Sources    wikipedia    hse

Many care home institutions have been in the news lately as a result of vulnerable residents’ injuries and incidences. Reports have come to light, some as CQC concerns, over safety concerns and the use of medicines. One reported incidence involved a resident falling from a first floor window and sustaining injuries. Other incidences included medicines not being administered safely. Some of these instances may have just been simple human error but in some cases it may have been deliberate neglect on the part of the care home provider. Whatever the cause of the offence, responsibilities and actions need to be taken to correct it and prevent it from happening again. Care homes have, of late, come under scrutiny. It is vital that there is a consistent and legal way of operating in these care institutions. Employers and employees must adhere to a legal framework under the umbrella legislation of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSW Act). The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 also is also applicable to all work duties.

Employers have a duty to protect their employees working in care homes, in so far as making sure they are properly trained to care for service users. Employers must also protect the health and safety of others who might be affected by the way their employees go about their work. This includes service users, volunteers, visitors and contractors. Employees must protect their own health and safety and that of others. Service users in care homes have different levels of independence and different needs. However, the care home needs to be maintained so that it protects the most vulnerable users. The National Health Services and Community Care Act 1990 (Community Care Act) places emphasis on promoting people’s independence. A balance must be sought between the Community Care Act and the HSW Act to ensure service users are not exposed to unnecessary risk. Risks can include falls, slips, mobility problems, incorrect medical care and supervision, scalds and lack of communication. Up to date risk assessments must be carried out if a service user’s independence level has changed, if there has been changes to the care home layout, mobility changes, equipment updates and changes, medicine administration changes and changes to other service users that can affect another care user. Apart from these changes, proper risk assessments should also have been done from day one and updated periodically.

The key duties of employers would be to assess risks to staff, service users and visitors. Appropriate health and safety arrangements, training and instruction should be arranged for all as appropriate. Employers can appoint competent health and safety persons to help them comply with health and safety law. The risk assessment should involve carrying out an examination on what could cause harm (hazards) and if enough has been done to prevent harm. A hazard is anything that can cause harm such as moving and handling service users, as well as such things as exposure to chemicals and electricity. Risk assessments must be included for manual handling and COSHH.

Training and instruction of employees (i.e care workers and other staff) is the best way to achieve safety compliance as it is the care workers who have direct contact with the service users. Even though the employers and care home owners are ultimately responsible, it is the care workers who need to comply with health and safety on a personal level with the care users. Night shift workers, young workers and those part time must have their extra training needs met. An efficient communication system from head managment to staff will ensure there are no misunderstandings with regards to responsibilites and will ensure that the care needs of service users is met.

Sources  hse website

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 rev’d 1999 (MHOR) require employers and employees to reduce the risks of injury from manual handling as far as is reasonably practicable. The employer must carry out a risk assessment on all manual handling tasks that pose an injury risk. These regulations should not be considered in isolation. All other workplace law should be adhered to and the best system put forward to reduce health and safety risks to the employee. Other regulations applicable are the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER).

MHOR is largely concerned with Manual Handling Risk Assessment & controlling risk.
Employers’ assessments will be ‘suitable and sufficient’ as long as they have considered:

  • all the types of manual handling operations
  • the physical capability of the employee, PPE, knowledge and training
  • risk assessments should not be carried out at the last minute
  • it must be considered how varied the manual handling tasks are, such as in construction or maintenance
  • it must be considered if handling takes place in more than 1 location, for example, making deliveries
  • the extra risk involved in emergency services such as fire fighting, rescue services

The risk assessment should be carried out by a competent person. They must be able to identify the hazards and draw valid and reliable conclusions. They must make a clear record of the assessment and know their own limitations and ask for outside help as needed. Any previous accidents involving manual handling should be identified and be part of the assessment.  The assessment should be kept up to date. It should be reviewed if there is a change in the manual handling operations. A record of any injuries should be recorded and steps to review the assessment carried out as needed.

In the effort to reducing manual handling risks, there should be an ergonomic approach i.e considering ‘fitting’ the manual handling operations to the individual, taking into account the task, the load, the working environment and capability of the employee. One may have to engage in mechanical assistance, however, some manual handling may still be needed. Examples of mechanical aids include hoists, trolleys, levers, chutes and handling devices. All handling equipment and PPE should be readily accessible. Basic good manual handling practice includes holding loads close to the body. The handler should be able to move in close to the load before beginning the manual handling operation. If working at floor level is unavoidable, it is preferable to use the leg muscles rather than those of the back. If the task includes lifting to shoulder height, an intermediate step to allow the handler to change hand grip will reduce risk. Injury can be reduced, if there is a controlled method of pushing or pulling, such as trolleys. If a worker is continually doing a manual handling job, breaks should be undertaken.

There are 4 factors where risk can be reduced in manual handling operations, they are the Task, the Load, the Working Environment and Individual Capacity. Briefly they are described below, however more detailed guidance is in the MHOR regulations.

The Task  The load must be kept close to the body, otherwise there will be stress on the lower back. Stooping, twisting and squatting should be avoided. The load must be stabilised as much as possible, for example a sudden gust of wind or movement by other people can take the handler by surprise and may cause an injury.

The Load  Eventhough the weight of the load is a large factor in its handling approach, other factors to consider are rigidity, resistance and shape. The load may need to be broken down into smaller parts, but in doing so, this should not increase the risk due to handling the smaller parts. When handling and moving people (for example in care homes and hospitals), individual risk assessments should be carried out and recorded in their care plan. When handling hot or cold materials or sharp objects, the load my need to be insulated and PPE used. Equipment used to move loads must have an easy to use braking system in use.

The Working Environment  Obstructions such as low work surfaces or restricted headroom may result in a stoop posture which may cause unnecessary strain on the back. Lighting and ventilation should be adequate and floors not slippery. Loads should be clearly maked with their weights. Assessing the working environment is subject to the Health, Safety and Welfare regulations 1992.

Individual Capacity  Physical ability declines with age and is subject to gender. Extra care should be taken when designing tasks for the elder age group. All employees should be fully trained and know how to handle loads by automated and mechanical aids as necessary.

Sources   hse website


Manual handling includes a wide variety of activities such as lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying loads and objects within the work place. Manual handling is the handling of loads (including people), i.e by human effort, as opposed to mechanical handling by crane, lift trucks etc. The effort may be applied directly or indirectly by hauling on a rope or pulling on a lever. Introducing mechanical assistance, for example, a powered hoist, may reduce but not eliminate manual handling since human effort is still required to move, steady or position the load. Manual handling related injuries can occur in almost any workplace, particularly where there is heavy manual labour, working in awkward positions, repetitive movements of arms, legs and back. These injuries can have serious implications for the person who is injured and for the employer.

Manual Handling disorders are injuries caused to the muscles and back that are work related, causing one or more of the Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). Symptoms include:

  • Pain, numbness & tingling
  • Muscle spasms, cramping and stiffness
  • Pain in the back or buttocks
  • Symptoms of nerve root pressure including leg pain, sciatica
  • Numbness or weakness in one leg
  • Symptoms of arthritis – pain and stiffness
  • Reduced worker productivity
  • Lost time from work, temporary or a permanent disability
  • Inability to perform job tasks

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. The total number of MSD cases in 2011/12 was 439 000 out of a total 1073 000 for all work-related illnesses. There has been a reduction in MSDs over the last 10 years.

Manual handling was reported to be the main cause of musculoskeletal disorders, followed by awkward working positions and keyboard work. MSDs can be broken down into (i) Back disorders (ii) Upper limb disorders (ULDs) and (iii) Lower limb disorders (LLDs).

(i) Back Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders affecting the back are a common work-related complaint. Since 2001/02 there has been a reduction in the estimated prevalence of work-related back disorders from 295 000 to 176 000 in 2011/12. Back disorders mainly occur in the construction and human health activities sectors.

Causes of back disorders

  • Manual handling (i.e. lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling) – the main cause
  • Working in awkward or tiring positions
  • Keyboard work, assembly of small and large parts
  • Age and gender
  • The reported cases were higher for males than females and the age group 16-34 significantly less than the other age groups as reported in 2011/12.

(ii) Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs)

ULDs affect the arms, from fingers to shoulder, and the neck.

Causes of Upper Limb Disorders

  • Manual handling (i.e. lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling) – the main cause
  • Keyboard work and repetitive actions
  • Working in awkward and tiring positions

The highest reports of ULDs is the human health activities, followed by construction and manufacturing operatives

(iii) Lower Limb Disorders (LLDs)

LLDs affect the legs and feet, i.e. from the hips to the toes

Causes of Lower Limb Disorders

  • Manual handling (i.e. lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling) – a high risk factor
  • the risks are increased when lifting is done simultaneously with knee bending, kneeling or squatting
  • Climbing stairs and ladders and standing in the same position, as in conveyor factory work
  • There is an increased risk of LLD for workers in occupations that include tasks that strain the lower limbs such as fire fighters, farmers, construction workers, carpet and tilling layers, minors and factory workers

Common manual handling injuries

The lower back. Muscle and tendon sprains. This is due to lifting and carrying boxes, equipment, handling people etc. The upper back can also be affected
The Shoulder/arm. Muscle and tendon strains. This is mainly due to handling people
The knees. Muscle and tendon sprains. Mainly due to slips and falls, squatting can cause strain here also
Ankles, neck, wrists and elbows. Injuries to these areas are due to a combination of manual tasks, handling people, slips, handling machinery and equipment

Sources   hse website

Working in an environment contaminated with dust, fumes, gases, mist, vapors and chemicals can put many stresses on a person’s health. Both employers and employees should make every effort to ensure the air in the workplace is comfortable and healthy to breathe. This may require a mixture of natural and artificial ventilation. Many employers install Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) or extraction systems. This should be efficient for workers to use and it should effectively ensure that harmful contaminants are not released into the workplace. Contaminated air should be filtered and discharged to a safe place. LEV may not always be necessary if the source of the contaminants can be eliminated by other means. However, if LEV is used, it must be installed correctly and working properly. Each year in the UK thousands of people die from occupational diseases such as asthma and lung cancer which could easily be prevented. According to the law, employers must adhere to the COSHH regulations (the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health). The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 require that employers provide effective and suitable ventilation. This means that employers must ensure that exposures are kept below Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) as identified in the work environment. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 places duties on anyone in control of a premises to take reasonable measures that there are no risks to health.

Ventilation considerations

  • Enclosed hazardous areas should have at least 12 air changes per hour.
  • If working in a heated area, the ventilation may have to be increased so that the air doesn’t become too hot
  • To protect against freezing and condensation, space heating may have to be installed

Apart from LEV, there are many other control methods that can be used. One control method is elimination and substitution. This involves eliminating or substituting a particular process or substance. For example anti-tack powders can be substituted by water based dispersions. Use of enclosed and automated processes are also cleaner. By changing the temperatures of materials in a process, fume levels may be reduced. Methods of handling materials at work can reduce dust and fume exposures. For example, sacks and bags that contain dust particles, should be handled under strict LEV. Segregating dusty processes at work can reduce the risk, for example, limiting the time spent close to dust and fumes. Relevant protective clothing can be worn, for example, goggles, gloves, aprons. Respirators should only be considered if other methods of dust and fume containment have been exhausted. Respirators should always be maintained and workers trained in their correct use.

Ventilation is not just there to remove fumes. It should also remove warm humid air. Fresh air should be drawn from outside the workplace. It should then be discharged from flues, chimneys or other processes. Movement of air through the workrooms should not cause a draught. Where possible natural ventilation, such as doors and windows, should be used.

Sources   hse website

Blood borne viruses (BBV’s) are viruses that some people carry in their blood which may cause severe harm to others or may cause no symptoms at all. The main ones are hepatitis B, C & D and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). These viruses are mainly found in semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk. Other bodily fluids that cause minimal risk are saliva, urine, faeces, and sputum. In the workplace, exposure can be through sharps, contamination through open wounds or splashes to the eyes, nose or mouth. One can also become infected if they breathe in contaminated droplets from the air. In many hospitals MRSA is a problem.

The two occupations most at risk are those who work in healthcare and those who work in laboratories. It has been reported that there has been infection rates of 30 in100 000 for nurses per year and 100 per 100 000 per year for health care workers. Another industry where there is a risk to workers is laboratory work, for example, blood typing in a hematology laboratory. Other areas of risk include working with animals (farming), dealing with waste material that may contain micro-organisms and working in an environment or with equipment that could be contaminated (e.g sewer work). There are various regulations that need to be adhered to, to protect the employee. These include the Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended) (COSHH).

There are many simple ways to control the risk of contracting a blood borne virus. Eating, drinking or smoking should be prohibited in areas where contamination can occur. Rest and meal breaks should be taken away from the main work area. Hand to mouth or hand to eye contact should be avoided. In almost every task, where there is a risk, gloves should be worn. Sharps, needles and glass should be carefully handled. Safer needle devices and blunt ended scissors should be considered. Eyes and mouth should be protected by using goggles and a mask. Skins should be covered using waterproof dressing and no wounds or scratches should be exposed in high risk working environments. Water resistant protective clothing and rubber boots should be used when walking on contaminated areas or where there is a likelihood to be splashes. Waste should be carefully disposes of. Hands should be washed regularly and after all work tasks. If the work involves the production of aerosols of either dust or liquid form, a vacuum, rather than a dustpan and brush, should be used. Appropriate respiratory protective equipment should be used as necessary.

Where possible, it may be possible for health care workers to be immunized against some BBV’s. Hepatitis, for example, can be immunized against. Heat or chemical decontamination procedures can be used to kill BBV’s. Spillages and contaminated objects should be de-contaminated in this way. The disposal of clinical waste is subject to strict controls, as required by COSHH. There is a legal duty under the requirements of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) to report all incidences.

Sources   hse

Electric Profiling Beds (EPB) are one of the key pieces of equipment in hospitals, respite and care homes.  The base of the bed is sectioned so that the mattress can be adjusted to support the user in the sitting position and prevent them from slipping down the bed. The height can also be adjusted and all is controlled by a handset. However, many care institutions have the standard hydraulic type beds. These are foot operated via a pump. These beds are flat with a backrest. The EPB’s are more versatile; however both types of beds have their uses. EPBs can position and mobile patients in a specific way to aid recovery, to increase safety and for better manual handling. The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended) apply to both types of beds. Regulation 4 of these regulations require employers, where reasonably practical, to ensure that their employees do not undertake any unnecessary manual handling operations that may cause risk of injury or harm.  With regards to manual handling operations employers must make sufficient risk assessments to identify steps whereby the use of these machines brings the lowest possible occurrence of harm to the patient, operator and the public.

Electric profiling beds are very useful, in that they reduce the need for staff to manually adjust the backrests and bed height. EPBs lower the risk of injury. Patients can reposition themselves more independently and prevent falling down the bed which can cause associated pressure damage. There is a knee break to prevent patients slipping down the bed. EPBs reduce many patient handling tasks to the occupant, the environment and the operator. EPBs can have many indirect benefits, including improved lung function, improved cardiac output, improved gut mobility, reduced muscle wastage, whilst maintaining joint flexibility.

However, EPBs can pose issues. They are heavier than normal beds and cannot be moved so easily. Some hospitals use bed pullers to move them but this is an additional cost. Electrical problems may arise due to trailing cables, during cleaning or if the bed is moved whilst plugged in. Additional electrical infrastructure may be needed for EPBs. There is a risk of entrapment or crushing, particularly if a foot pedal is accidently pushed, which is used to raise and lower the bed. The care institution needs to take into account the patient’s vulnerability in addition to moving and handling operations. Safe measures can include disabling the foot controls so they cannot be accidently operated. Staff should be trained, so that when cleaning and making beds there will be no inadvertent engagement with the controls. If musculoskeletal injury is a risk from staff, it would be advisable to replace standard beds with profiling beds. This would be an extra cost but would be justified with regard to adhering to the manual handling laws.

EPS are not defined as lifting equipment according to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), however there are requirements under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER). In compliance with PUWER, EPB’s must be safe for use, maintained, have protective devices and those who will use them should be trained in their instruction and use.

Sources    hse

With the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (the Act) having just being passed last month, things are definitely progressing forward with regards to human liberty. Human rights and equality in the work place are regulated under the Equality Act 2010. This Act covers nine protected characteristics, these are Age, Disability, Gender reassignment, Marriage and civil partnership, Pregnancy and maternity, Race, Religion and belief, Sex and Sexual orientation. These characteristics are diverse amongst any set number of employees.  There must be equal access to all areas of work for all employees. Health and safety excuses should never be used for discriminatory action. Employers who make reasonable adjustments to the workplace to accommodate a diverse workforce know that this makes good business sense. Examples include allowing religious holidays, flexi time for new mums and other adaptations to the working environment. Any barriers to job promotion or discriminatory behavior must be tackled for the health and safety of the workforce.

Characteristics protected by law

  • Age. Age discrimination is where someone is treated unfavorably, harassed or victimized  because of their age. The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 means that employers can no longer discriminate against employees on grounds of age.
  • Religion and Belief. Under human rights and anti-discrimination legislation, one has the right to their own religious beliefs or none at all. Under the Equality Act, one cannot discriminate against another because of their religion or belief. The applies to all areas of employment, in education, in providing services and in exercising public functions.
  • Sexual Orientation. It is unlawful to treat someone less favorably because of their sexual orientation or those whom they associate with. This is regulated under the Sexual Orientation Regulations 2003.
  • Disability. Under the Disability Discrimination Act one cannot be discriminated against because of a mental or physical disability. This applies to all areas of employment, in education, in renting/buying land/property and in having access to goods or facilities. The regulations deal with all modes of transport in regards to helping people with mobility, sensory impairments and learning difficulties. The legislation provides disabled people with rights in education and employment. Employers need to identify adjustments and support the employee in carrying out their job role.
  • Gender. It is unlawful to treat people differently because of their gender. Discrimination may be direct, done in a harassing or victimizing way or indirectly. Under the Equality Act it is unlawful to behave in this way.
  • Race. It is unlawful to discriminate on race, ethnicity, nationality or national origins. Under the Race Relations Act, it is unlawful to discriminate in employment, in education, in housing, facilities and services and in any public function.
  • Transgender. The Sex Discrimination Act prohibits gender re-assignment persons from being victimized.

The HSE is committed to embracing the diversity of Britain’s workforce. They promote an Equality Duty which includes specific objectives. One is to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimization. Another is to make sure there is equality of duty between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not share it. An example of a protected characteristic could be religion or gender. Lastly, to promote good relations between all, whether they have a protected characteristic or not.

Sources    hse    equality human rights


At low concentrations carbon dioxide is harmless. It is in the air we breathe. At room temperature CO2 is a colourless, odourless gas and does not support combustion. CO2 is a by -product of living organisms i.e it is produced from humans and oxygen-using bacteria. The concentration in fresh air is about 350ppm. However, at elevated levels, CO2 can be harmful and cause dizziness, headaches and asphyxiation. CO2 can accumulate in work areas such as trenches and cellars, i.e. in any confined space. For CO2 to be dangerous to life, it must be elevated to levels of v/v 50%. It is a very common hazard encountered in confined spaces. According to the law, CO2 is classed as a substance hazardous to health and regulations in its safe use must be adhered to according to Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH).  There are workplace exposure limits (WELs) for CO2; the HSE has set this as 5000 ppm for long term exposure and 15000 ppm for short term exposure. CO2 is considered a toxic hazard and so needs to be controlled. We need oxygen to breathe so when CO2 displaces oxygen there are then risks to health.

Carbon Dioxide has many domestic and commercial uses. It is used in the fermentation process of beer and wine making. It is also routinely used in the oil industry to decrease the viscosity and aid in the extraction of oil from fields. Dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) is used to refrigerate foods. The inhalation of elevated levels of CO2 can increase the acidity of the blood and cause adverse effects on the respiratory, cardiovascular and central nervous systems. So, it is important that work areas are frequently monitored, especially confined spaces and the CO2 level controlled as set out in COSHH. Carbon Dioxide can also be a by-product of certain industries, for example, coal fired power stations which can produce up to 30 000 te/day of CO2. CO2 is a by-product from the energy, pipeline and chemical industries.

It is vital to contain and not allow the release of CO2 to become a hazard. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a low carbon technology that captures CO2 and transports it offshore for safe underground storage. CO2 is transported by pipeline or via tankers from the capture site to an offshore installation. The CO2 is then stored in a deep geological formation such as a saline aquifer, or a depleted gas or oil well. It is contained so it cannot leak out to the surrounding environment.

Eventhough carbon capture and storage needs to be regulated, it must be considered that it is an emerging process that is not specifically addressed by GB law. Even though CO2 is not listed as a dangerous substance under the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 (COMAH), these regulations do apply to the CSS process chain. Other regulations that are applicable to the CSS process chain include the Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996 (PSR) and the Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations 1995 (OSCR). As CSS is a relatively new process, there are no large scale projects operating. However, future CSS operators will need to comply with existing health and safety law to ensure the safe capture, transportation and storage of CO2 so that it is not harmful to workers in the immediate vicinity or to the public or the environment.

Sources    ohsonline    hse

The HSE has very recently put forward a proposal to make changes to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007). Responses to the consultation began on 31st March 2014 and will end the 6th June 2014. There are many objectives under the new proposed Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015). The proposed changes will still fully include the EU Directives. It is proposed, subject to Ministerial and Parliamentary examination, that the revised Regulations will come into force in April 2015. To justify the proposed changes the HSE has done much research on the current CDM 2007. The HSE have also taken into account the Governments wider strategy on construction as included in Construction 2025. Construction 2025 is a joint strategy from government and industry for the future of the UK construction industry.

Changes will include improved coordination and efficiency. The regulatory package will be simplified with better worker protection. There will also be improved health and safety standards on small construction sites. There will be a replacement of the CDM-Coordinator role with a new role, that of the ‘Principal Designer’ (PD). The difference in the two roles will be to do with control and influence over the design, and the new appointed PD role will be more beneficial to the project as a whole. There is the view that the current role adds costs with little added value. The regulations will be structured so they are more straight forward, structured and easier to understand. There is the proposal to remove the current CDM ACoP and put in its place a clearer guidance on its interpretation. This is so everybody will understand what needs to be done to comply with the law. One approach will be to make the current CDM less bureaucratic with the aim to achieve improved standards. There will also be a focus on making clients more central to the construction project and encouraging them to take an active role in making sure that their project is managed properly to their requirements and to health and safety law.

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous sectors to work in and so there is the continuous need to improve the health and safety of this environment. From 2007/08 to 2011/12 there has been an average of 53 fatalities to workers from accidents. There has been, over a 3 year average, 31,000 new cases of occupational disease/ill health. Ill health can include musculoskeletal disorders, dermatitis or asbestosis. Occupational asthma is also a risk factor. Manual handling, ie lifting heavy and awkward loads can cause injury to the joints and muscles. Noise can cause hearing loss and vibration can cause e hand-arm vibration syndrome which is damage to the nerves and blood vessels. Exposure to cements and solvents can cause dermatitis. Falls from heights, entrapment or accidents from machinery are other concerns. However, these things are easily preventable if one takes precautions, reads up on the law and uses Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The key requirements on any construction site is to ensure that health and safety risks are assessed and there is responsible planning, organisation, controlling, monitoring and reviewing.

Sources   hse