Dear All,

We wish a bright, merry and fantastic new year to all!

Our blog/newsletter had examined many topics over the past year, ranging from controlling infection to sitting at your desk properly. With an eye on the news and recent developments in 2014, we tried to convey an up to date message about health and safety practices. With the Health and Safety Executive as our lead, we envisaged to examine a diverse range of topics.

Controlling risk is the prime area of health and safety and this was a large component of our blog trail over the past year.  References to the law, regulations and guidance were examined.

In the workplace, the type of risk assessment carried out depends on the hazards associated with the job. One hazard of many different job roles includes the risks associated with manual handling. If workers are not properly trained, not supervised and the work not properly planned, there is a danger to health. This can manifest itself as musculoskeletal disorders. Examples of where this can occur include the use of vibrating equipment and lifting loads with the hands. With simple learned ways of lifting, correctly moving one’s body and using the appropriate lifting equipment, the risks to one’s health can almost be eliminated. Manual handling in the healthcare sector can also be a major area for concern.

There are so many different aspects to working on a construction site safely, i.e from wearing hard hats to operating mobile elevating platforms properly. It is the responsibility of the employer and is a duty on employees to ensure all are properly trained and are working in accordance with safety law. It is proposed that new CDM regulations will come into force in 2015 and changes will include improved coordination and efficiency.

For the purposes of one’s own health, and especially during this winter flu season, it is imperative that one takes simple steps, like washing one’s hands to keep away the bugs. There are many occupations where vigilant hygiene is imperative. These include the health care sector, working in hospitals, working with animals, handling waste and working in laboratories. Reporting accidents according to RIDDOR and adhering to the law under COSHH can be a daily necessity in these work environments.

As well as having to consider biological hazards in some work settings, there are chemical and operating hazards with other kinds of work. Occupational dermatitis can occur in many occupations, from hairdressers to workers using metal working fluids. With the proper equipment, such as gloves, splash guards, goggles and respiratory equipment, risk can be severely minimised. Working with lead, mercury, asbestos and food can lead to inhalation of fumes, dust, ingestion of vapour and chemical inhalation. As well as PPE for the worker, suitable dust extraction systems should be in place. Where explosive substances are used at work, employers have responsibilities under DSEAR. One such hazard could be, for example, the use of gas cylinders used in welding jobs.

Whilst most of us may not work in what are termed “hazardous environments” there are still risks, even if we are just sitting in the office at home or at work. Sitting properly at your desk and using DSE properly can eliminate or lower the risk of eye strain, arm pain, fatigue and musculoskeletal disorders of the upper limbs developing. The hazards with working with VDU’s must be minimised to prolong the productivity and mental wellbeing of the employee.


London ringing in the New Year last night…



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