HSE strategy

HSE has developed ‘A new health and safety system strategy’. In this document the HSE has identified the following six new priority themes;

 

The six strategic themes

box1     Acting together: Promoting broader ownership of health and safety in Great Britain

box2     Tackling ill health: Highlighting and tackling the costs of work-related ill health

box3     Managing risk well: Simplifying risk management and helping business to grow

box4     Supporting small employers: Giving SMEs simple advice so they know what they have to do

box5     Keeping pace with change: Anticipating and tackling new health and safety challenges

box6    Sharing our success: Promoting the benefits of Great Britain’s world-class health and safety system

 

The full 2016 HSE Strategy document can be downloaded from

 

 

 

HSE statistics

The HSE has published the latest statistics in their 2014/2015 Annual Report. The following Key Facts are from their report.

Ill health

1.2 million people who worked during the last year were suffering from an illness they believed was caused or made worse by their work, of which 0.5 million were new conditions that started during the year. A further 0.8 million former workers (who last worked over 12 months ago) were suffering from an illness which was caused or made worse by their past work. 2,538 people died from mesothelioma in 2013 and thousands more from other work-related cancers and diseases such as COPD.

 

Injuries

142 workers were killed at work, a rate of 0.46 fatalities per 100,000 workers. 76,000 other injuries to employees were reported under RIDDOR, a rate of 293 per 100,000 employees. 611,000 injuries occurred at work according to the Labour Force Survey, of which 152,000 led to over-7-days absence, with rates of 2,030 and 500 per 100,000 workers respectively.

 

Workplace risks

‘Dealing with difficult customers, patients, pupils etc.’ and ‘lifting or moving people or heavy loads’ were the two most common self-reported risk factors in the workplace, in a 2014 survey of workplaces.

 

Working days lost

27.3 million days were lost due to work-related ill health or injury (15 days per case). 23.3 million days were lost due to work-related ill health and 4.1 million due to workplace injury.

 

Economic costs to Britain

Injuries and new cases of ill health resulting largely from current working conditions cost society an estimated £14.3 billion in 2013/14 (based on 2013 prices).

 

Enforcement

586 cases were prosecuted by HSE in England and Wales. 70 cases were prosecuted by Local authorities in England and Wales. 72 cases were prosecuted by the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland. 12,430 enforcement notices were issued by all enforcing authorities.

 

The full report can be downloaded from

Home Working

Remote employees are owed the same duties and have the same rights as office based staff.  However, it’s advisable to adjust certain clauses in the contract to clarify responsibilities.  Review clauses such as place and hours of work, provision, use and maintenance of equipment, and insurance.  The contract should set out the working hours and breaks to comply with the Working Time Regulations, and clarify that the employee is responsible for regulating their working time and breaks.  It should be agreed who will pay telephone (internet) and electricity.

An express confidentiality clause helps to protect confidential information, and the contract should state how information is stored and what happens to that information when employment terminates.  The employee should be aware of their obligations under the Data Protection Act.

An employer should reserve the right to enter the employee’s home and insist that the employee comes into work in specified circumstances.

As with every other employee, the employer is obliged to ensure that the environment is safe and suitable. A risk assessment of the employee’s activities and their working environment should be carried out.  The main health and safety issues to be aware of are: fire, use and maintenance of equipment, first aid / accidents, and stress.  Consider implementing a specific remote worker induction plan – qsuk can advise.

Out of sight shouldn’t lead to out of mind, and employers should take care to provide the same training opportunities to remote employees, continue to appraise and integrate them into the wider team when possible, to avoid any potential discrimination claims.

It’s a good idea to start the arrangement as a time limited trial, with the option to revert to office-based working if desirable.  If it is necessary to end the arrangement, give reasonable notice before making any changes in the way that you would with implementing any other contractual change.

Stress at work

Although stress does not have, as yet, a direct regulation controlling it, it is still a health, safety and welfare issue and as such must be controlled as part of a company’s management approach.

We have covered stress in the Newsletter previously but it is an ongoing problem so we will cover it in more depth.

 

What is stress?

According to the HSE:

  •  ‘Stress is the adverse reaction people have, to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them.
  •  There is a clear distinction between pressure, which can create a ‘buzz’  and be a motivating factor, and stress, which can occur when this pressure becomes excessive.’

It is also worth noting that stress can be from elsewhere but manifest itself at work. It will still have to be dealt with but the solution might be different.

 

Why do we need to tackle it?

A HSE commissioned research has indicated that:-

– About half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress at a level they believe is making them ill.

– Up to 5 million people in the UK feel “very” or “extremely” stressed by their work.

– Each case of stress-related ill health leads to an average of 29 days lost.

– A total of 12.8 million working days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety in 2004/5.

 

Assessing stress in the workplace

With no direct regulation in place there are no ‘right’ ways of assessing stress, however, the HSE advocates companies to use their ‘The Management Standards approach’ – if you would like more information on this approach please contact us.

The HSE also provides an HSE Indicator Tool that is very useful and it can be downloaded, as well as a user manual from

Temperature

You must provide:

  • a reasonable working temperature in workrooms usually at least 16°C, or 13°C

for strenuous work (unless other laws require lower temperatures);

  • local heating or cooling where a comfortable temperature cannot be maintained

throughout each work room (eg hot and cold processes);

  • thermal clothing and rest facilities where necessary, eg for ‘hot work’ or cold

stores;

  • heating systems which do not give off dangerous or offensive levels of fumes

into the workplace;

  • sufficient space in work rooms.

 

Working in the sun

Too much sunlight is harmful to your skin. It can cause skin damage including sunburn, blistering and skin ageing and in the long term can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the UK with over 50,000 new cases every year.
A tan is a sign that the skin has been damaged. The damage is caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight.

Who is at risk?

If work keeps you outdoors for a long time your skin could be exposed to more sun than is healthy for you. You should take particular care if you have:

  • fair or freckled skin that doesn’t tan, or goes red or burns before it tans
  • red or fair hair and light coloured eyes
  • a large number of moles

 

Further information can be found on;

Temperature

Workplace health, safety and welfare – Approved Code of Practice and guidance

For further information or advice, just call 0800 458 9421 or email general@qsuk.com

Summer

Summer has at long last arrived but with it come the usual problems of heat, dust and radiation. Some we covered May’s Edition and a few more will be covered this month together with advice on best practises. Copy of May’s edition available here.

Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002.

This regulation came into force on 1 January 1993 with some small changes in 2002. The regulation require you to:-

 

            – Assess

                        The workstation to ensure it is suitable, as well as surrounding

                        area, such as lighting and glare.

           

            – Provide

                        Equipment and furniture that is suitable for the work carried

                        out and appropriate to the user.

           

            – Train and Inform

                        Provide employees with necessary training and information to

                        carry out task.

           

            – Establish

                        Establish whether employees are users.

           

            – Request

                        Provide users with eye tests and corrective lenses where

                        needed and where requested by employee.

           

WHAT TO DO 

Rather than going through what to do and how to do it we have attached a blank DSE assessment, which we strongly advise you copy for all employees who do use display screen equipment to complete.

 

Question and Answer

Q         Do we have to provide antiglare screens on all our computers?

A          No. There are debates as to the effectiveness of antiglare screens, but more importantly not all computers will be in a position where a glare would be a problem. Using the DSE assessment form sent with this Newsletter will help you to establish what you might have to do. Sometimes just repositioning the workstation or being able to pull the curtains will eliminate the problem. But until you have carried out a proper DSE assessment you will not be able to implement the proper solution. For further help call qsuk Ltd on 0800 458 9421

E-Learning Courses

Picture1

Working at height

This is an essential course for professionals operating in any environment in which there is a potential to fall. Core health and safety training that looks at what should be done in order to avoid serious accidents and injury.

Duration: 40 minutes

Approval: RoSPA, CPD

Cost: £20 + VAT

 

Picture2

Asbestos Awareness

Duration: 30 minutesThis online Asbestos Awareness training programme will help you to comply with current legislations. Anyone who may come into contact with asbestos fibres at work must be given adequate information, instruction and training.

Approval: RoSPA, IATP, CPD

Cost: £20 + VAT

 

 

Picture3

Health and Safety Essentials

This programme covers the key areas of Health and Safety that you are legally required to train your staff in. It provides an easy-to-follow but comprehensive introduction to the major topics that will keep your workplace safe.

Duration: 40 minutes

Approval: RoSPA, CPD

Cost: £20 + VAT

 

Picture4

Health and Safety for Managers

Duration: 40 minutesAn easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand guide for employees and managers who have a responsibility for health and safety. Leads through necessary steps and informs about different laws and legislations.

Approval: RoSPA, CPD

Cost: £20 + VAT

 

 

Picture5

Manual Handling

Duration: 35 minutesThis online Manual Handling training teaches you all you need to know about safe Moving and Handling, including lifting techniques, LITE, and why Manual Handling training is so important to your everyday health.

Approval: RoSPA, CPD

Cost: £20 + VAT

 

 

 

Picture6

Driver Awareness

This programme is for anyone who drives as part of their job. It looks at legal requirements and responsibilities involved in being a safe driver. It also covers what to do if you breakdown or have an accident.

Duration: 60 minutes

Cost: £20 + VAT

 

 

 

Picture7

Food Safety and Hygiene Level 1

It is absolutely essential that anyone who works where food is made, sold or served has a good understanding of food hygiene and knows how to handle consumables properly. This course covers all the basics.

 

Duration: 45 minutes

Approval: RoSPA, CIEH Assured, CPD

Cost: £20 + VAT

 

 

Picture8

Food Safety and Hygiene Level 2

Food Safety and Hygiene level 2 is a legal requirement for anybody who regularly handles food – whether during production, preparation or sale.

Duration: 60 minutes

Approval: RoSPA, CIEH Assured, CPD

Cost: £20 + VAT

Temperature in the workplace – Outdoor

When working outdoors the effects of the weather in the UK environment can potentially have a serious impact on an employee’s health if the risks have not been considered or properly managed. This impact may be immediate or it may occur over a long time period.

When working outdoors the weather can have influence an individual’s effectiveness and this is not readily managed using just engineering controls. In these circumstances some of the most effective ways of managing these environments are to introduce some simple administrative controls for example:

Cold environments

  • ensure the personal protective equipment issued is appropriate
  • provide mobile facilities for warming up, and encourage the drinking of warm fluids such as soup or hot drinks
  • introduce more frequent rest breaks
  • consider delaying the work – can it be undertaken at warmer times of the year without compromising on safety?
  • educate workers about recognising the early symptoms of cold stress

Hot environments

  • reschedule work to cooler times of the day
  • provide more frequent rest breaks and introduce shading to rest areas
  • provide free access to cool drinking water
  • introduce shading in areas where individuals are working
  • encourage the removal of personal protective equipment when resting to help encourage heat loss
  • educate workers about recognising the early symptoms of heat stress

Working in the sun

Too much sunlight is harmful to your skin. It can cause skin damage including sunburn, blistering and skin ageing and in the long term can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the UK with over 50,000 new cases every year.
A tan is a sign that the skin has been damaged. The damage is caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight.

Who is at risk?

If work keeps you outdoors for a long time your skin could be exposed to more sun than is healthy for you. You should take particular care if you have:

  • fair or freckled skin that doesn’t tan, or goes red or burns before it tans
  • red or fair hair and light coloured eyes
  • a large number of moles

Temperature in the workplace – Indoor

With the mini heatwave we have had we are looking at what the Law requires.

Temperature (indoor) in the workplace is covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which states employers must provide a ‘reasonable’ temperature in the workplace. So what does this mean?

Minimum workplace temperature

The Approved Code of Practice suggests the minimum temperature in a workplace should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsius. If the work involves rigorous physical effort, the temperature should be at least 13 degrees Celsius. These temperatures are not absolute legal requirements; the employer has a duty to determine what reasonable comfort will be in the particular circumstances.

Higher workplace temperatures

A meaningful figure cannot be given at the upper end of the scale due to the high temperatures found in, for example, glass works or foundries. In such environments it is still possible to work safely provided appropriate controls are present. Factors other than air temperature, ie radiant temperature, humidity and air velocity, become more significant and the interaction between them become more complex with rising temperatures.

Risk assessment

In addition to the Workplace Regulations, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to make a suitable assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees, and take action where necessary and where reasonably practicable.

The temperature of the workplace is one of the potential hazards that employers should address to meet their legal obligations. Employers should consult with employees or their representatives to establish sensible means to cope with high temperatures.

Policing Health and Safety

So who enforces health and safety law?

Health and safety law is enforced by inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or by inspectors from the relevant local authority.  Inspectors have the right to enter any workplace, and though notice may be given where the inspector thinks it is appropriate, a visit can also be made without giving any notice, and that’s the part that strikes fear into unprepared business owners.

On a normal inspection visit an inspector would expect to look at:

  • the workplace,
  • the work activities,
  • your management of health and safety, and
  • to check that you are complying with health and safety law.

The inspector may offer guidance or advice to help, and may talk to employees and their representatives, take photographs and samples, serve improvement notices and take action if there is a risk to health and safety which needs to be dealt with immediately.

 

How is health and safety law enforced?

On finding a breach of health and safety law, the inspector will decide what action to take, according to the nature of the breach.  Inspectors may take enforcement action in several ways to deal with a breach of the law. In most cases these are:

  • Informal

Where the breach of the law is relatively minor, the inspector may tell the dutyholder, for example the employer or contractor, what to do to comply with the law, and explain why.

  • Improvement notice

Where the breach of the law is more serious, the inspector may issue an improvement notice to tell the dutyholder to do something to comply with the law. The inspector will discuss the improvement notice and, if possible, resolve points of difference before serving it. The notice will say what needs to be done, why, and by when. The time period within which to take the remedial action will be at least 21 days. The inspector can take further legal action if the notice is not complied with within the specified time period.

  • Prohibition notice

Where an activity involves, or will involve, a risk of serious personal injury, the inspector may serve a prohibition notice prohibiting the activity immediately or after a specified time period, and not allowing it to be resumed until remedial action has been taken.

  • Prosecution

In some cases the inspector may consider that it is also necessary to initiate a prosecution. For example, a failure to comply with an improvement or prohibition notice, or a court remedy order, carries a fine of up to £20 000, or six months’ imprisonment, or both. Unlimited fines and in some cases imprisonment may be imposed by higher courts

 

Fee for Intervention

Since 1st October 2012 the HSE has operated a Fee for Intervention (FFI) whereby those who break health and safety laws are liable for HSE’s related costs, including inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action

Further information can be found here.