Health and safety for low risk businesses

Health and safety for low risk businesses

Health and safety for low risk businesses

Health and safety for low risk businesses

One of the direct consequences of the recent Lofsted Report that has now been approved is that “low risk” businesses will be freed from health and safety routine inspections.

Regular inspections of businesses known to have breached legislation in the past will continue and any companies committing new legislation breaches will surely be added to the inspection hit list.

Health and safety for low risk businesses

So what is considered to be a “low risk” business and what safety obligations would such a business have?

A business considered to be “Low risk” through the eyes of a health and safety officer would be shops, offices, pubs, restaurants and clubs.  Here are some basic steps you need to think about in order to comply with safety law.

1) Appointing a responsible person. – Depending on the size of your company, you would be able to deal with all health and safety issues yourself, appoint an employee who will be in charge of safety or may have an outside professional safety consultant. Bigger companies with more staff are more likely to need a health and safety advisor and smaller ones with only few employees may not. This all depends on the kind of industry you may be in and the level of understanding of health & safety regulations the appointed person has.  A professional safety advisor would save you time and money whatever the size of your business especially if you schedule a consultation just once or twice per year.

Health and safety for low risk businesses

2)Your health and safety policy - Is one of the basic requirements which the law contemplates. Every company in UK with more than five employees is obligated to have one. Essentially this is a written statement of all safety and health values and procedures your company is regulated by and committed to.  The policy should state very clearly who does what and how daily work is conducted safely for employees and anyone who may be affected by their work. You can write a policy yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. Have a look at our health and safety policy and risk assessment apps which are specifically designed to help you do it yourself.

3)Risk assessments – are without doubt your most important tools for identifying hazards in the workplace to prevent harm and protect people. A written statement of every step that needs to be taken to prevent hazards would give you a better understanding of how serious and real these hazards are.  Usually a competent person or an experienced member of the staff in charge of the particular job should be appropriate to write the assessment.  This should also be correct person to give the best solutions to prevent risks.  Check and update your risk assessments every time you have a new employee, new equipment or change of environment. It is highly likely that a change of usual circumstances would eradicate some of the dangers while leading to new ones. Our risk assessment app is free and available for anyone to use here Risk Assessment Template.

4) Training-- Everyone who works for you should know exactly what they are expected to do and how to do it. Training on how to work safely has to be conducted during working hours, as part of the general training for the job and is the companies obligation to keep all training records detailing what each  employee has been trained for.

5) First aid, ill-health and accidents - To prevent work accidents and people being injured you need to consider what risks are present in your specific workplace and what first aid arrangements you need to make.  You should then appoint a first-aider. You also need to have available a first-aid box at the premises , and employees need to be informed what to do in case of dangerous of emergency situations.  Under current health and safety law certain injuries and work – related diseases need to be kept on record and in certain cases reported.

Health and safety for low risk businesses

6) Welfare facilities, safety and health issues - You need to provide minimal welfare facilities, according to the needs of your employees and the public.  Minimal requirements are toilets and basins (when necessary disabled facilities), changing rooms, usually required when employees are wearing uniforms, drinking water plus a place to rest and eat. Recently many companies are creating additional spaces for breastfeeding mothers and pregnant employees to rest, etc.  The work area and environment needs to be healthy and comfortable , a good room temperature (at least 16C), good ventilation, suitable lighting, enough space, suitable seating and chairs, clean premises and enough rubbish bins.  The most important safety issues would be easy access around corridors meaning access areas are kept clean, tidy and without obstruction.  Emergency routes need to have appropriately displayed signage. Make sure all fire extinguishers and basic first aid kits are also kept up to date.

7) Health and Safety Law Poster - A valid and up to date version needs to be displayed so that any employee have easy access. You can also issue employees with the leaflet version of the poster if required.

We hope this quick guide will give you a better understanding and as always welcome any questions or feedback you may have

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Health and safety for low risk businesses

Written by a top health and safety consultant in Leicester

Winter health and safety

Winter health and safety

winter health and safety

winter health and safety

Over the last few years the weather really has been unpredictable all around Europe. Severe winters, extremely hot summers and not just that even a few volcano eruptions...

Also precipitation and wind levels have increased, not the kind of weather we are used to, especially in the northern part of the continent.

These recent climatic conditions have put even more pressure on the construction industry along with the economic recession and not to mention reductions of government expenditure for the sector.

Contractors are rushed to complete projects, no matter what the weather conditions are. We would like to believe this is without increased risk or however winter health and safety is a real concern.

During winter health and safety, the main concerns for building companies are frost, especially when conducting crucial processes of construction, such as setting concrete in wind, heavy rain and snow.

One of the most popular ways of protecting building sites and workers from the elements is the use of temporary roofs. This can often be achieved by using protection elements on site like scaffolding towers and similar structures creating barriers against the elements.

Winter health and safety

Severe weather conditions are known to affect completion dead lines for most construction projects, but more importantly they create dangerous hazards for the workforce and the public.

Windy, wet or snowy weather could create slip hazards not just for people but also reduces friction in objects that could fall from elevated areas,

On the other end of the scale the unusual high temperatures in summer the last few years, are known to have caused heat exhaustion and heat strokes among many workers.

Such risks are making building site winter health and safety more important and should never be compromised.

Conducting continuous risk assessments regularly when conditions have changed is a must and remember to keep walkways and work surfaces clean, salted and gritted when frost or snow is likely

The key is planning and is extremely important, and good planning is also  extremely cost-effective.

Where possible, any work at height should be avoided.

A good way to avoid it is by pre-assembling the elements of the build at ground level, ensure that you know where every post, clamp and hole is going to be, reducing considerable time of work on scaffold towers and reducing the possible risk of needing to drill a holes into new set concrete.

During the planning stage, managers should consider all forms of collective safety measures such as edge protections and fall prevention and even steel mesh barrier systems (compliant with the European Standard EN13374), safety net fans (approved to EN1263).
No matter what the weather conditions, a basic tool to protect workers is the use of an appropriate PPE (Personnel Protective Equipment).

It is an obligation of every employer to insure, the correct PPE is used, according to weather conditions, falling objects, use of chemicals, slippy surfaces, etc.

As a minimum requirement for a construction worker it is necessary to have a protective helmet (actually, any person authorized to be on a building site should wear one), gloves, eye protection, high visibility clothing, safety footwear and so on.

Certain measures are proven to give good results during severe winter cold conditions, such as working in pairs, providing warm welfare facilities, increasing calorie intake, or when possible choosing to work during the warmest hours of the day.
If a good planning process has taken place, a construction project will run smoothly and without weather or safety related delays. This is ultimately cost-effective, safe and generally a more productive way of building.

Winter health and safety

If you would like any help or advice on this or any other health and safety matter please feel free to contact us using the form below.

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Driving when tired

Driving when tired

driving when tired

driving when tired

 

While  at work , we are all depending on the clock. Many of us wish that the day would have twenty-five hours. At least…

It is important for each of us to be at work and do our job at the most appropriate time and if possible without delay.

It is though that punctuality is not as high a priority to mediterranean European’s s than to the British? But, we are not here to discuss how freakish and time obsessed our great nation is, however instead we are going to share few regulations that businesses are having to deal with concerning goods vehicles and driving when tired.

Managing a driver’s hours is not an easy task especially controlling how actively the driver is complying with the regulations their self. If you consider that when employees are far away from the office or the factory monitoring could be complicated when it comes to how they are dealing with sleep, rest, food and delivery times.

How do you know if they are driving when tired?

Implementing the latest technology within company vehicles is certainly quite helpful and would give a lot of information about the driving and resting patterns of the driver however there is one fact which is clear, serious sanctions could be imposed on the driver( loss of vocational driving license ) and may include a substantial monetary sum for the company.

Driver fatigue is a major issue for safety on the road. The obligation of managers and health and safety advisors is to prevent harm and raise awareness about the consequences.

The “Rules on Drivers “ is the guidance provided by the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency (VOSA) (Regulations EC 561/2006)

Maximum of 9 hours of driving per day, only possible to be extended up to 10h per day twice a week
regular breaks should be taken not more than every 4.5 hours of driving and they should be for at least 45 minutes.
maximum of 56 hours of weekly driving and not more than 90 for two weeks period
daily rest of at least 11 hours, and weekly one of 45 hours.

Most of the above is to prevent driving when tired.

Since may 2006 every large vehicle over3.5 tones has to have a digital tachograph, which records the working hours of the driver, the speed, details of the breaks taken and so-on. These rules are making it much easier for the Police and VOSA to detect drivers’ errors and negligence.

The aim is, that with the continuous improvement of technology, is expected that by 2020 the devices will be able to transfer info about drivers’ behavour and the traffic authorities would be able to run remote checks, without even stopping the vehicles.

Fatigue here is the major risk which drivers and managers are up against. A fatigued driver could make mistakes on the road which could lead to fatal consequences, in which case the company could be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter.

This is probably the most serious criminal offence which company could be prosecuted for, with possible fines up to £500.000.

There are three key areas of risk: the driver, the vehicle, and the journey.

Above all managers should be certain about the level of competence of their drivers.

Some younger employees might also need additional training and all drivers should be encouraged to take breaks, if they feel they are driving when tired.

The main priority should be safety above everything else including a punctual delivery time.

A good level of communication between the management, drivers and the safety expert is of a great benefit for the safe organization of the job and also the drivers’ feedback is essential to achieve desired results.

Good condition of vehicles, regular and preventive maintenance, a degree of knowledge from the driver to spot possible problems and quickly solve them, all are essential factors for the safe delivery of goods.

Correct and efficient planning of the journey is also a key for controlling the risk of fatigue. The highest risk times at the road are between 2am and 6am and 2pm until 4pm, so avoiding these times would be helpful; avoiding congested times and routes when possible; make sufficient time for unexpected circumstances; plan realistic delivery schedules. Always when possible, avoid night shifts, they are proven to be more dangerous factor than any other time for traveling.

And always remember, that it is more important to get there, than to rush and not get at all.

And finally, good organization is essential for this and any other kind of business.

For more information on health and safety visit health and safety advisor

And remember no driving when tired

If you would like any help or advice on this or any other health and safety matter please feel free to contact us using the form below.

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safety of loads on vehicles

safety of loads on vehicles

Safety of loads on vehicles

Safety of loads on vehicles

Our world depends on transport. We see it as absolutely normal to buy something on-line at 9 o’clock at night and expected to be on our front door step at 9 in the morning. It is highly unexpected and unusual to walk into a supermarket or any other shop and not be able to find the product we are looking for.

Transport businesses are thriving. Road haulage and warehousing companies have developed and improved their systems in order to make them reliable and trying to keep up with the rising demand of the last twenty or so years. When goods, food and drink or raw materials are not coming from abroad, or as a way to get to their final destination, lorries and driving are the most common and convenient way of transportation. Driving is essential, which automatically adds some more possible hazards to the whole process.

Of all industry sectors, road haulage and warehousing have one of the highest injury rates. For many otherwise low-risk companies, when it comes to loading and unloading goods to and from vehicles, these automatically become their most dangerous activities of the whole production process. Every year there are significant number of accidents involving loading and unloading with a considerable cost for the industry. The most common reasons for accidents are : struck by a vehicle ( often a forklift), falls from height, struck by a falling object and slips and trips.

It is simple and quite straightforward if a load is not properly secured on the vehicle it doesn’t matter how carefully it is driven, the goods would move and could provoke serious accident. Goods falling from a lorry on the motorway, shifting loads smashing through the bulkhead into the cab, unstable loads collapsing during unloading are some of the risks with possible fatal outcomes.

The legislation regulating safety of loads on vehicles and how goods need to be handled during transportation is made clear in the Road Traffic Act (section 40) and the Road Vehicles Construction and Use Regulations (regulation 100). The employer and the self-employed have obligations under the HSWA 1974 to ensure to reduce the risk to the employees and the public insuring to provide them with the correct training, information and use the appropriate equipment to carry on the job safely. Further guidance on how to comply with specific road regulations can be found at the Department of Transport “Safety of loads on vehicles”.

safety of loads on vehicles

It is a wide-spread misconception that the driver is the only one responsible for the safety of loads on vehicles. There is a difference in the degree of responsibility if the driver is loading and securing the load at their own premises and if they just pick up the loaded and secured vehicle from a distribution centre. Whoever is in charge of securing the load and the vehicle there are three basic elements to have in mind, if to be done correctly:

- the structure of the vehicle ( headboard, side walls, side posts)
- chocks, cradles, blockings etc.
- lashings ( webbing straps, chains, wire rope, rated securing nets)

The structure of the vehicle must be capable of withstanding the force of the entire load in the forward direction and half the weight of the load to the sides and rear. Positive fit - the process of packing out a box sided vehicle, and loading to the headboard are simple ways to ensure the load is not moving, while the vehicle is driven. It is easier to prevent the load from moving, than try to catch it, once is sliding and flying all around the place. You should bear in mind that the headboard is the last defence for the driver against load ingression into the cabin. When it is not possible to load the headboard, appropriate blocking should be put in place or building a bulkhead in front of the load.

chocks, cradles and blocking are used if there are gaps in the load, or if it is likely to roll and topple.

when it comes to safety of loads on vehicles the webbing straps are the most popular choice of lashings. You should be careful when using them to secure the load, as they are highly vulnerable to the weather conditions and cuts and abrasions from rough surfaces, these should always be used with special attention to detail and remember to look for signs of deterioration.

There are three main types of lashings methods: frictional, which would go from one side of the vehicle to the other and over the load; the most common way of frictional lashing are that the straps should be as close to vertical to the bed load, as possible; if needed, when the strap angle is very shallow additional empty pallets could be stacked on top of the load.

Direct lashing is when the straps have an attachment points on the vehicle and on the load and loop or belly lashing, where the lashing goes around the load.

When conducting a risk assessment for a load that should be transported from one place to another,  you should think about the type of load is going to be carried ( if there are any dangerous substances, food or drink, goods, etc. ) , these should be placed in such a way that it doesn’t move during transportation and try to facilitate the unloading, without creating situations where unloading would involve working at height, however if such risks could not be avoided try to make sure to take the appropriate safety measures.

safety of loads on vehicles

If you would like any help or advice on this or any other health and safety matter please feel free to contact us using the form below.

Contributed by one of our health and safety consultants in Birmingham

 

Working at heights risk assessment a simple how and why

Working at heights risk assessment

Working at heights risk assessment

Working at heights risk assessment

Over the last five years, falling from heights at work continues to be the most common reason for fatalities in the UK.

Lack of training, improperly planned work, misuse or complete lack of adequate PPE and equipment for working at heights, no working at heights risk assessment and poor or none supervision are the most encountered failures to comply with the law which lead in some cases to fatal consequences.

In fact for the period of 2011/2012 so far, there has been 3.600 injuries recorded, with 49 deaths on construction sites.

In most cases, simple attention to the basic regulations and a  working at heights risk assessment would make the difference between a fatal accident and a safe work site.

Working at height is essentially, any work which is not performed on the floor, all work which involves the use of ladders or steps (even if it is to change a light bulb in the office).

All work from ladders, scaffolds and platforms, as well as working on roofs, over tanks, pits and any separated from the floor structure.

A fall from a height of two or more meters is considered to be with possibly fatal outcome and serious precautions must be taken. A working at heights risk assessment should be completed first in all occasions.

Working at heights is regulated by elements of the following legislation: the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Workplace (HS and Welfare) Regulations 1992, the Construction (HS and W) 1996, the Work at Heights Regulations 2005 which apply to all work at heights with risk to cause personal injury.

And the most recent the Work at Height Amendment Regulations 2007, which extends the regulations to anybody working at heights giving instruction to people engaged in climbing or caving by way of sport, recreation, team building etc.

Working at heights risk assessment

The first and most important step when going to work at height is to conduct a conscious and reasonable working at heights risk assessment. Giving detail of all the measures which are going to be taken in order to ensure people’s safety. Take in to the account age, training, work experience and health condition of the employees to perform the job, the activity, the equipment to be used, weather environment, condition and stability of the work surface, duration of the job.

Identifying the hazards is essential and there are three big groups of falling from height hazards:

- Falls when a possible fall could occur around 2 meters and above safety precautions such as edge protection ( toe boards, guard nails, etc.) safety harness, maintaining safety distance from the edge, safety nets, are to be considered. Suitable protection also is required when the distance of falling is less than 2 meters.

Falling objects proper PPE (safety helmets and so-on) are to be used for anybody working underneath, suitable barriers, securing objects to structure, tools properly secured, exclusion areas needs to be allocated, when necessary, danger areas needs to be conveniently pointed with the appropriate signs and access restricted to the essential personnel.

If members of the public could be in danger provide suitable barriers, so nobody gets injured.

Falls from collapsing structures, all structures need to be designed by a competent and trained person, a competent employee, manager or safety consultant needs to inspect and eventually supervise the structure on a weekly (at least) basis or more often and check up of the structure after severe weather conditions for external structures is essential.

The most common equipment for working at heights are the ladders. Bearing in mind that fact, in 2007 the HSE and the Ladder Association have launched the national ladder replacement programme. The aim of the initiative is to maintain ladders and step ladders in good working condition in order to reduce risk for people. It help companies to upgrade their old ladders and step ladders at a discounted price.

Falls from height remain the most common work injury, so everything humanly possible to ensure safety should be done without hesitation. And when not…, consequences are not the nicest for anybody who would get involved in an accident.

So remember the first step it to conduct a working at height risk assessment.

Contributed by one of our top health and safety consultants in Sheffield

Effects of obesity

Effects of obesity

Effects of obesity

Effects of obesity

It’s all about the food…

We are what we eat…In recent years we are all so obsessed with our eating habits, more than ever before in human history. It just looks like the more we try to take care of ourselves and live healthy, the more the effects of obesity statistics are rising…

So there must be something we are doing wrong? Especially considering children’s effects of obesity and diabetes’s numbers are escalating at the speed of light.

When somebody is suffering from the effects of obesity, this essentially means that this person’s BMI(Body Mass Index) is over 30 kg per square meter. Typically, it is expected than an obese employee would suffer more ill-health and as a consequence of that the absences would be more often and prolonged and generally less productive than somebody with a healthier weight.

 

So the effects of obesity are costing employers as well as employees.

 

Cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, back pain, general difficulty to get around (factory and/or the office), problems to commute to and from work, driving, respiratory problems like apnoea are some of the most common consequences of obesity.

This builds a far less health and safety picture

 

Apart from that, some of the UK absenteeism is due to the effects of obesity related problems and cost the economy over £12 billion per year. Simple inconveniences like wearing a uniform or PPE also become a serious issue, if dealing with an employee with weight problems.

Even if working part-time, all of us spend a considerable amount of our time at the workplace. This in fact, makes it convenient for employees as well as employers to conduct safety and healthy eating awareness programs in the workplace.

 

Even if people are not suffering from the effects of obesity, such projects could be convenient due to creating an atmosphere of companionship (having lunch in good company is always fun) and provoke people to eat healthier.

Posters to remind and/ or e- mails and leaflets promoting messages like “5 a day” and/ or “Change 4Life”, would ensure people are being aware of the healthier option. Taking part of any other available campaign which could promote healthy eating habits may be a team building opportunity at the same time.

Try to make sure your employees are having the best possible healthy food alternatives. Ensure that kitchens and canteens provide the appropriate equipment and crockery, so people can prepare their own healthy breakfast options. If food shops and cafes are located on your premises make sure they offer healthy options to help combat effects of obesity.

Where possible provide free incentives of fruit, juices and mineral water. Many companies have such schemes. If a food dispenser is available, make sure there are healthy alternatives to the usual high in sugar, high in saturates, high in preservatives crisps and chocolates. When providing lunch during meetings and conferences, make sure to go for the healthier menu.

Health and Safety for Employees

Health and safety for employees

health and safety for employees

health and safety for employees

 

Some say, that a good entrepreneur or manager is somebody who is a good people motivator, more than anything else… Whatever their line of work is, motivating and inspiring the employees is one of the most important task a manager has to do. There are many situations when a good team would make the difference between an average business and a huge one.

How could Employee health and safety at work be an inspiring tool?

The general opinion is that health and safety for employee is boring but necessary. And we all know that very well when not complying with the regulations.

If an employee is given a health and safety task to complete a complaint would be the most expected reaction. For many SMEs it is quite expensive to have a safety consultant in the team looking after health and safety for employees, so the only solution is to appoint an employee with the safety paperwork, training and reporting of incidents. Even if you have a safety advisor who provides you regular updates, policies and risk assessments, you are still responsible to have all the documentation in order, certain assessments and method statements should be performed by yourself or an employee.

Engaging people with health and safety for employees tasks will give them better understanding of the purpose of health and safety regulations and training, while helping them learn new skills, which would be beneficial for the many more of tasks. Additional training might be necessary such as assessing risks, first aid, becoming a workstation assessor, as well as a chance for the employee to develop its own leadership and management skills. This would be a plus for the whole team, as it seems easier to accept the relevant orders to other employees when communicated by a colleague.

Giving employees autonomy to decide when and how to do their work should increase work satisfaction and also could be seen as a little promotion.

Generally giving tasks for employees to perform, which are usually done by supervisors would increase their sense of fulfillment and make them feel more valuable for the company.

Instead of seeing health and safety for employees as an additional burden of bureaucracy paperwork and boring nonsense you can make people within your organization accept it as part of their day-to-day responsibilities. In general it will improve job satisfaction and happiness. Especially because safety at work is so demanding and requires so much attention to detail issue, it is the perfect way to train your employees to acquire skills which later will be used for any other work project.

And of course, health and safety saves you money and more important, saves and improves quality of lives. Use it correctly and everybody will rip  their own benefits from it.

Please feel free to let us know what you think about health and safety for employees here or use the contact form if you would like more information.

Written by on of our top health and safety consultants Sheffield