Age concern health and safety

Mature Employees

Mature Employees

Age concern health and safety

A recent survey regarding Age concern health and safety of Murray- Bruce involving 100 pensioners relates that only one of them referred to himself as old and did that by saying that he was “young at heart”!

In recent years the aging population is becoming a serious issue for the western economies, where the rising of the default retirement age(DRA) is the only solution for the ability of the economy to pay the pensions. The current economic crisis has broken the dreams of many hoping for an early and stress free retirement. Statistics suggest that in UK by 2033, those over 60 will represent the third of the population. Similar is the reality for Europe and Northern America. Younger employees are cheaper for the employers in relation with the taxes paid for them and their salaries, as well as more attractive with their qualifications more up to date, but now in UK there are still more workers aged over 50 than under 25.

Age concern health and safety

Older employees are not more prone to work- related accidents, but the risk of injury is bigger as well as longer the time for recuperation. The fatality rates triple over the age of 65, with the sectors of agriculture, construction and fishing representing the highest risk for the older employee. There is the added risk of chronic work related disease which usually becomes more unbearable with aging. Loss of eyesight, hearing acuity, joints problems such as osteoarthritis, diabetes and the very quickly increasing obesity promote heart, blood vessels and nervous system problems, all are part of becoming older. And consequently the risks for the older employee at the workplace are increasing. Other issues which may affect the productivity of your business would be the way in which older workers approach problem-solving- in most cases they bring experience to bear, while a younger employee would choose a different more reasoning approach. Of course there are many situations where experience and old common sense would be the better solution for the problem. Don’t have to forget that mature workers are not a homogenous group- it is more likely that man and women would experience different problems. In recent years are observed many cases where a career change was produced in later life in order to cope with the hard economic times, which represents a high risk of developing psychological problems and severe depressions.

So, health and safety consultants need to take all possible risks into consideration in order to give the best possible advise to managers and employees of the third age group. This way the risks at the workplace would be reduced as well as the health and safety accidents and injuries.

Health promotion activities are advisable because help conserve function and sometime represent improvements in weight, blood pressure, lipid profiles, however it is not clear for how long these changes persist. Some common- sense steps has to be taken in order to reduce the decay in performance produced by the aging process- appropriate levels of lighting, suppression of possible intrusive glare, elimination of shadows, adjustments to tools, availability of lifting appliances, appropriate hearing protection. Additional training, -may some of the older employees would be reluctant to that-for the correct use of tools and machinery.

There are of course advantages of having an older employee. The majority of them are more reliable, punctual and responsible with their job than youngsters. Apart from not having family and young children burdens, which make them being more concentrated at work, in lots of occasions they could be a balancing element in the team and their voice of experience and reason could be invaluable for your business.

May be working when desired, and being an active contributing part of society would keep us “young at heart” for longer. When you stop thinking, learning and developing your brain, than you become old for sure. Fingers crossed, we all get to old age with dignity and enjoy a long and fulfilling pensioners years. A well deserved break for many…

What do you think about Age concern health and safety?

Depression at work

Depression illness of the future

Depression illness of the future

According to countless studies and research depression is without a doubt a plague of the 21st century, among with cancer that is thought to be another stress related ill condition.

A recent study from the World Health Organization concludes that in high income countries around the year 2030 depression will represent the major cause of work related illnesses. In business terms this translates to lost working days and substantial work impairment.

Several recent researches were exploring the link between overtime working hours and the onset of a major depressive episode (MDE). The results based on  research which began in the 1980’s between British civil servants, found out that those who worked 11 hours or more per day were 2.3 to 2.5 times more likely to suffer MDE. Quite worrying results even after taking into account the social demographic, life-style and work-related differences between the participants.

Depression at work illness of the future

Now in UK one in every five people is suffering or have suffered from severe or light form of depression. This fact means that there are 155 million lost working days in UK every year or it accounts for 20% of sickness absence in the workplace.

It is clear that something has to be done, there is an urgent need for a change of attitude towards this condition, because it is costing money to the economy.

In times of severe economic downturn, the numbers of sufferers are increasing and consequently so is the costs for businesses. A very conscious risk assessment of your business activity needs to be conducted, so you reduce any possible work stress illnesses and depression for your workers.

Often this would help you spot organizational problems and their solution could improve production process. Try to Conduct team building sessions and extracurricular activities with your employees as they are proven to create better work atmosphere which automatically translates into benefits for the business.

In general improving the work conditions should highly reduce the risks and costs for your company. In many cases depression and work related anxiety problems occur because of the bad balance between personal and work life which the employee can experience. Many companies and employees swear about the advantages of remote working or working from home which reduces costs for the company while in the same time improves the personal life of the employee.

Long working hours, overtime and low rewards for the employee’s effort are some of the stress, anxiety and depression creating factors. A good company should take care of these problems and its people, this could be a differential factor which can convert it into successful business of the 21st century.

If you are suffering from depression and need help please check out this link www.supportline.org.uk/problems/depression.php

Any comments or experiences are more than welcome. Just leave your comments below and we will try to answer questions as often as possible.

 

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G4S Olympic Safety & Security

Holding Cell

Holding Cell

With all the news of G4S Olympic Safety & Security not being able to cope for the 2012 Olympics there has now been talk of bringing in the armed forces to do the job.

Here at the head office of safe 2 Use we were having a discussion about who pays for that service? I mean if G4S where going to charge £xxxx per head for each guard and now the armed forces (who are funded by tax) are going to do it do we get a tax rebate or cheaper tickets? I don’t know so let’s not start a heated debate.

Anyway before getting too political about it all we then started talking about some past health and safety audits and services we have completed for the security sector and thought it may be of interest to post our experiences.

As you can imagine doing a risk assessment for a night club bouncer, body-guard or bank security guard is not a simply task!

We have completed some very obscure jobs in the past and one of the most unusual tasks included a full risk assessment and evacuation procedure for a group of security guards who were testing forced entry into a holding cell that had been barricaded from the inside.

Basically they were simulating a scenario that a suspect had been detained in a holding cell and barricaded him self in. Unfortunately this type of cell had a door that opens into the cell and not out to the corridor. How would they be able to force entry into the cell?

The problem is holding cells only have 1 entrance/exit and the barricade had to be set up from inside leaving one very nervous and vulnerable guard inside the cell while the others were doing everything in their power to break the barrier and door in by brute force.

As you can imagine this was very high risk stuff and called for a lot of thought regarding method statement and control procedures. In fact if we get enough interest we may even post the solution we came to.

G4S Olympic Safety & Security

In the meantime we would love to hear any thoughts or suggestions how you may approach this scenario so please feel free to contact us at http://www.safe2use.com or leave a comment below.

So until next time stay safe and don't barricade yourself into a corner.

P.S. Did you know the armed forces are under the same obligation regarding health and safety as we are in the private sector?

 

Hand arm vibration, HAVS, White finger

Hand arm vibration, HAVS, White finger

Hand arm vibration, HAVS, White finger

Hand arm vibration, HAVS, White finger

In recent years the awareness of hand- arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) has increased, but there are nearly two million people in Britain still at risk of developing the condition at work. Essentially, this ill health problem could be occurring due to the continuous and repetitive use of hand held vibrating power tools which damages and provokes a disorder in the functions of the blood vessels, nerves and joints.

The consequences can be inability to do fine work and cold temperatures can trigger painful finger blanching attacks.

HAVS is a preventable disease, but once afflicted the damage is permanent and in many cases a cause of disability.

A significant reduction of those cases were observed after the introduction of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations in 2005. Since then the construction industry has been made aware of the risks involved of using power vibrating tools. Some improvement and new designs of machines have also been made.

There are still some sectors, like agriculture and marine where the risk of vibration related disorders seems to be increasing.

Vibration is a lost energy, so maybe a lower vibration process could be more efficient?
This would also reduce other risk elements like noise produced from mechanical equipment as well as reducing the spark chain.

A lot of suppliers have continually tried to reduce the vibration impact, avoiding risks for the workers and making their machines more desirable.

Business owners whom are using these kind of power tools needs to be aware that according to legal Regulations the exposure of vibration has to be “as low as reasonably practicable”, which means that it is not enough to just be below the limits stipulated in the law, but to reduce the risks for employees as much as possible.

Studies have demonstrated that if the exposure is regularly reaching the Exposure Limit Value, many of your workers will develop one of the vibration health conditions such as Hand arm vibration, HAVS, White finger.

Tool timers and vibration meters are not advisable, because they are not actually measuring the exposure of the worker, but only how long the machine is being used. They are similar to a watch but more expensive than most.

There is no legal requirement for continual monitoring of employees’ exposure to vibration.

What is contemplated for employer's to look for is for how often per week the worker’s exposure is likely to be and based on that information a risk assessment must be produced.

Your best tools for minimizing the risks of work related vibration diseases would be the continual improvement and upgrading of the machines, the right training, the correct risk assessment and in many cases the change of work processes to avoid the use of hand tools.

Sometimes the correct work procedure could not only save you money and time but also reduce risks.
A good example is the recent trial of the use of a slower spinning blade in a diamond cutting job. It was found that using the slower spinning blade was a better option for a particular grade of hard concrete, while at the same time there wasn’t a big difference in the speed of actual cutting. The process however was much smoother.

Hand arm vibration, HAVS, White finger needs to be prevented before it takes effect

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Getting to work during the 2012 Olympics

Olympic Traffic

Olympic Traffic

Is London’s 2012 Olympics going to involve lots of traffic jams, big crowds in the underground and busses? Most probably, yes, many of the London residents will get to work late during the event. So brave yourselves and prepare to run, dodge, squeeze and duck through the Olympic visitor crowds on your way to the factory, office or shop. Undoubtedly, the month of the event will mean lots of hard work, as well as some good earnings for many businesses in the area. But also there are going to be more congestion and crowds everywhere.

Some of the possible solutions could be annual leave for some employees to be taken during August- September.
Flexible or remote working could be another possibility for some business activities. Home and tele-working are becoming more and more popular for many companies, benefiting employees and employers alike. With a good IT preparation this could be the solution for traffic and crowd problems of your business during this summer.

From health and safety point of view the employers and employees have to be aware of the possible risks involved in working from home particularly musculoskeletal disorders, stress and feeling isolated.

If those are not viable solutions for your company, plan alternative routes to work. Maybe even making an investment in hiring private vans and busses for your employees to get to work and back without unnecessary hassle would be beneficial for everybody? It would also remove some pressure and help people concentrate at work.

If you have to hire more workers during the Olympics due to more demand of your services, don’t forget about the health and safety implications which are involved. Depending on your particular business activity, additional health and safety training may be necessary, and- or some changes in your policy may apply as well.

This summer is a good opportunity to embrace the Olympic spirit in your company. May be some extra curricular sports activities would benefit the team and create better atmosphere in the work place, which at the end will translate to a tangible business benefit.

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Workplace safety in the summer

Workplace safety in the summer

Summer is here ….(well, almost)

Let's talk about Keeping your staff safe and cool during the (hopefully) hot summer months.

It is always important to have nice and comfortable surroundings and atmosphere at the work place. Most business premises in the UK are well prepared and equipped for the cold winter, but what about the hot weather?

Having a happy and safe workforce is an important and not always easy task, it also involves many different factors including complying with health and safety regulations and complying with Workplace safety in the summer.

Many people consider working in a hot and worm environment more difficult than in a cold one.

Different regulations apply to the diverse industries and different type of premises.

Whatever the location from office buildings to factory floors, the law specifies that the minimum acceptable temperature to work in is 16C. There is no maximum legal temperature, but employers are expected to take actions so employees feel comfortable working during all-weather conditions.

Lots of buildings have central heating facilities, but not cold air conditioning. If this the case you may need to purchase, or rent fans or portable air conditioning units. Of course be aware of the risks which the use of additional electrical units involves like electrical overload, loose cables, noise and electrical insufficiency.

- Try to create where possible shaded areas using parasols, overhanging, trees.
- Make sure there is plenty of fresh water available for all staff in all locations.
- When possible, keep only the essential electrical units working, switching off those not used all the time and switch off some of the lights.
- Arrange extra work breaks and in some cases consider the option of working from home for some employees.
- Extra shades and blinds on windows are proven to be very effective against the hot weather.

Sticking to some of these basic guidelines should see you well through the summer months.

Workplace safety in the summer

Health and safety while playing conkers and other myths?

Incredible but a true….

Health and safety while playing conkers?

Health and safety while playing conkers?

Health and safety for Conkers?

Over the last few years there has been lots of silly rumors spread about certain absurd rules being enforced in workplaces that have been blamed directly on health and safety.

Recently, the government started talking about getting rid of the so-called health and safety “monster”.
This is actually good news because the reduction of many unnecessary regulations and “red tape” will hopefully make many lives easier and work more productive.

For many years, the problems were not as much in the legislation, but in the interpretation of it.

There are numerous funny stories out there where people are getting it all wrong.

What about children being banned from playing conkers?

"Health and safety while playing conkers?"

In some sleepy village deep in the country a well-intentioned head teacher decided that playing conkers was too dangerous and made pupils wear safety specs.
The story spread including misinterpretations and Chinese whispers and before long the game was banned in some schools.

The truth is that there is not a huge a safety risk playing conkers and the law doesn’t contemplate it as such.

Of course children need supervision in lots of situations but the uncertainty and fear of prosecution and being sued is causing lots of people to overreact to what may be labeled trivial matters.

(If you are unsure and need health and safety advice feel free to us the contact form here)

Another well-known concern regarding education (not including conkers) were the day school trips. Many teachers refused to take groups of students out to museums, parks and theatres being too worried about the fact that something could go wrong.

Among the funniest things blamed on health and safety is the throwing of mortar boards at graduation parties and was reported that many colleges banned their graduates from doing just that.

The reality is that the college’s real concern is the conservation of the hats for next year graduates.

A Firefighters work involves many risks and the law explains and takes into account many safety precautions for all Firemen. There was a case in one fire station which was built without a pole, which is a demonstrated quickest way for firefighters to get into their vehicle and get to saving lives. Well this was also blamed on health and safety law.

Again, this has nothing to do with health and safety legislation and poles are still widely used around the country for the purpose they were made for.
A really funny story is the one of the trapeze artists.

It was reported that the law requires them to wear hard hats, as building site workers do. And again it is a complete nonsense and such regulation doesn’t exist at all.

The list goes on and on. One of the most shocking ones, in my opinion is the fact that every year many companies forbade their office staff to hang Christmas decorations.

It does involves a low risk of falling down, but with a little bit of common sense and if provided with the right equipment anybody would do the job without having to be “qualified”.

Have we become a nation scared all the time of being sued? Or we simply have lost the good British common sense, which has done us so well over the centuries?
The truth is that health and safety is saving lives and protecting people from injury.

We say it is a great implementation of exactly the good old British common sense.

Health and safety while playing conkers?

Let us know what you think by contacting our safety advisors or leave a comment below

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Who has responsibilities under CDM?

OK we are receiving the above question a lot about CDM 2007 Regs so we thought we would post some help.

CDM?

CDM Responsibilities

Responsibilities

Client (not including most domestic clients)

All construction projects:

  • To check resources and competence of all appointed to that particular contract
  • Make sure suitable and sufficient management systems are in place for project welfare facilities
  • Make sure adequate resources and time are provided for each stage of the contract
  • You must provide information to designers and contractors before the project begins

Additional duties if the project is notifiable:

 

  • You must appoint a CDM co-ordinator and a principle contractor
  • Make sure there are adequate welfare facilities and a construction phase plan before work starts
  • Issue the CDM co-ordinator with information regarding the health and safety file
  • You must keep the health and safety file and provide relevant persons with contained information

 

CDM co-ordinators

Duties when the project is notifiable

  • You must assist and advise the client on their duties
  • Notify the HSE
  • As the name suggests co-ordinate with those involved with the project health and safety aspects in the design
  • Ensure the efficient flow of communication between all involved (Designers, Clients, Contractors)
  • communicate about ongoing design with main contractor
  • Collect, Identify and distribute pre construction information
  • Compose and keep updated the health and safety file

 

Designers

All construction projects:

  • Ensure that hazards and risks are eliminated or at least reduced during design phase
  • Provide information about any remaining hazards or risks

Additional duties if the project is notifiable:

  • Check a CDM co-ordinator has been appointed and client is aware of his/her duties
  • Make sure all relevant and required information is provided for the health and safety file

 

Principle contractor

Duties when the project is notifiable

  • In co-ordination with all contractors plan, manage and monitor all construction
  • Compose, develop and implement a written set of site rules before construction starts
  • distribute relevant parts of the plan to relevant contractors
  • Ensure and maintain adequate welfare facilities are maintained throughout construction
  • Ensure and check competence of all involved
  • Ensure site inductions and any further information is given to all workers
  • Regularly consult with the workforce
  • Liaise regularly with the CDM coordinator regarding ongoing design
  • Make sure site is secure

 

Contractors

All construction projects:

  • Make sure you plan, manage and monitor your workers and your own activities
  • Check competence of all workers
  • Provide information instruction and training to employees
  • Comply with the specifics of part 4 of the regulations
  • Ensure adequate welfare facilities for employees and workers

Additional duties if the project is notifiable:

  •  Ensure client has appointed CDM co-ordinator who has notified the HSE and ensure all are aware of their responsibilities
  • Co-operate with Principle contractor regarding site rules, planing and management of work
  • Provide the principle contractor with information regarding contractors who may be engaged during work
  • Ensure you provide principle contractor with all information required to be added to the health and safety file
  • Identify and communicate any problems you may see with the plan
  • Inform the principle contractor of any RIDDOR

Workers/Everyone

All work

  • Ensure own competence
  • Co-operate with others and ensure the health and safety of your self and anyone who may be affected by your actions
  • Report any identified risks

 

We hope this helps 🙂

 

Disclamer: This is not a representation of the law, all information believed to be correct at time of publication

 

 

 

 

Starting a Business in Recession

Fishing in a dirty river? Pros and Cons

New Business

Start a business now?

Some people believe that starting a new business during a period of deep economic crisis or recession could be profitable. For sure, certain activities and industries do benefit from the “dirty water” times and even strive while most others are struggling.
According to some experts during this last (and on going) crisis industries like fast food and (oh!!!) the luxurious and highly expensive stuff are having the best time making more money than ever. And of course the banks, which still have the dignity to announce big earnings and massive bonuses….but this is another story…..

So if you think you are a good fisherman and you’re about to start a new small business one of the uncomfortable “red tape” issues you have to bear in mind is health and safety. The law in the UK stipulates that whatever your economic activity is, you are responsible for the impact on the public, your employees and the environment. You have to consider different regulations according to the particular business that you are in some activities are more dangerous than others and are expected to comply with different safety requirements. Generally you may have to register with your Local Authority. If you have less than five employees you are not obligated to have a Health and Safety Policy. Here are some of the most common health and safety hazards for small businesses in an office environment and their possible solutions.

Electrical safety

One of the most common causes of personal injury and fire is the electrical safety issue. Although small offices are considered to be low risk, the more machinery you have in your office, the bigger the risk of electrocution or fire. As an employer you have responsibility for making sure the risk of electrical failure is low by regular checks of all the equipment and assuring that all your employees are trained to use it correctly. PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) testing is not a legal obligation, but knowing that all the electrical machinery is working correctly will save you money by avoiding replacement expenses. When testing or conducting regular checks the most important things to look for are
1. Looking for exposed wires with no insulation
2. Signs of overheating
3. Damaged or defective equipment
Most electrical appliances used in an office environment display signs indicating that the particular piece of equipment or machine is “double insulated” with high integrity insulation material, this reduces the risk of fire and electrical failure. Extra care should be taken with all the equipment which doesn’t display “double insulation” signs, it needs to be earthed and tested at least every five years. All inspections need to be carried out by a qualified person and particularly when your company employs five or more people.

Fire safety

All of your fire fighting equipment (extinguishers, fire blankets, axes, etc.) must be the correct item for the possible fire hazard identified in your risk assessment (electrical, chemical or wood and paper provoked fires) , your employees must be correctly trained on how to use the provided equipment and, or evacuate through the correctly marked fire escapes. Regular checks from the correct authority should be conducted to ensure all the equipment is the right one and working correctly.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

RSI needs to be contemplated in your risk assessment documentation. There are more and more law suits based on the RSI. Usually this is an injury associated with the quick typing positions such employed by a secretary. There are high risks for our wrists, fingers and tendons. To be able to comply with the law you have to provide your employees with the correct work stations, which promote the right back posture and helps to reduce the risks of the RSI. It has also been demonstrated that the regular tasks rotation reduces the risks of this injury.