Manual Handling

According to HSE statics over a third of workplace injuries are caused by manual handling.

Manual handling cover a wide variety of activities that includes lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying as well as twisting while performing one of these activities.

As manual handling injuries can have serious and long lasting consequences it is important that:

– They are avoided if possible (Eliminated) 

And, if this is not possible manual handling operations must be assessed and planned and staff/operatives trained in good manual handling techniques

Manual handling is covered by The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended).

What do I have to do?

The HSE website is giving the following advice:

To help prevent manual handling injuries in the workplace, you should avoid such tasks as far as possible. However, where it is not possible to avoid handling a load, employers must look at the risks of that task and put sensible health and safety measures in place to prevent and avoid injury.

For any lifting activity

Always take into account:

  • individual capability
  • the nature of the load
  • environmental conditions
  • training
  • work organisation
  • Reduce the amount of twisting, stooping and reaching
  • Avoid lifting from floor level or above shoulder height, especially heavy loads
  • Adjust storage areas to minimise the need to carry out such movements
  • Consider how you can minimise carrying distances
  • Assess the weight to be carried and whether the worker can move the load safely or needs any help – maybe the load can be broken down to smaller, lighter components

If you need to lift something manually

If you need to use lifting equipment

  • Consider whether you can use a lifting aid, such as a forklift truck, electric or hand-powered hoist, or a conveyor
  • Think about storage as part of the delivery process – maybe heavy items could be delivered directly, or closer, to the storage area
  • Reduce carrying distances where possible

Good handling technique for lifting

There are some simple things to do before and during the lift/carry:

  • Remove obstructions from the route.
  • For a long lift, plan to rest the load midway on a table or bench to change grip.
  • Keep the load close to the waist. The load should be kept close to the body for as long as possible while lifting.
  • Keep the heaviest side of the load next to the body.
  • Adopt a stable position and make sure your feet are apart, with one leg slightly forward to maintain balance

Think before lifting/handling. Plan the lift. Can handling aids be used? Where is the load going to be placed? Will help be needed with the load? Remove obstructions such as discarded wrapping materials. For a long lift, consider resting the load midway on a table or bench to change grip.

Adopt a stable position. The feet should be apart with one leg slightly forward to maintain balance (alongside the load, if it is on the ground). Be prepared to move your feet during the lift to maintain your stability. Avoid tight clothing or unsuitable footwear, which may make this difficult.

Get a good hold. Where possible, the load should be hugged as close as possible to the body. This may be better than gripping it tightly with hands only.

Start in a good posture. At the start of the lift, slight bending of the back, hips and knees is preferable to fully flexing the back (stooping) or fully flexing the hips and knees (squatting).

Don’t flex the back any further while lifting. This can happen if the legs begin to straighten before starting to raise the load.

Keep the load close to the waist. Keep the load close to the body for as long as possible while lifting. Keep the heaviest side of the load next to the body. If a close approach to the load is not possible, try to slide it towards the body before attempting to lift it.

Avoid twisting the back or leaning sideways, especially while the back is bent. Shoulders should be kept level and facing in the same direction as the hips. Turning by moving the feet is better than twisting and lifting at the same time.

Keep the head up when handling. Look ahead, not down at the load, once it has been held securely.

Move smoothly. The load should not be jerked or snatched as this can make it harder to keep control and can increase the risk of injury.

Don’t lift or handle more than can be easily managed. There is a difference between what people can lift and what they can safely lift. If in doubt, seek advice or get help.

Put down, then adjust. If precise positioning of the load is necessary, put it down first, then slide it into the desired position.

 

Further information can be found here.

 

 

 

Health and Safety in numbers

The HSE is running a ‘Helping Great Britain work well’ campaign following the publication of health and safety statistics.

The figures are very encoring although we can do better.

Figures from HSE

……………………………………………………2004/05           2014/15

 

New cases of ill health                                  545,000           516,000

Fatal injuries                                                   223                  142

Working days lost                                           35.2 million      27.3 million

Cost of new cases of ill health or injury       £17.4 billion     £14.3 billion (2013/14)

 

We can be proud of the trend but we still need to get it better and to enable this the HSE have identified 6 themes as part of the ‘Helping Great Britain’ campaign:

 

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

Tacking ill health – Highlighting and tackling the cost of work-related ill health

Managing risk well – Simplifying risk management and helping business to grow

Supporting small employers – Giving SMEs simple advice so that they know what they have to do

Keeping pace with change – Anticipating and tackling new health and safety challenges

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

 

If you would like to be part of the initiative please go to http://www.hse.gov.uk/strategy/index.htm#conversation and follow the HSE.

Training requirements

So what does HSE say about training:

‘Everyone who works for you needs to know how to work safely and without risks to health. You must provide clear instructions and information, and adequate training, for your employees.

Consider how much training is necessary. A proportionate approach is needed, for example a low-risk business would not need lengthy technical training. Providing simple information or instructions is likely to be sufficient.

Don’t forget contractors and self-employed people who may be working for you and make sure everyone has the right level of information on:

  • hazards and risks they may face, if any ;
  • measures in place to deal with those hazards and risks, if necessary;
  • how to follow any emergency procedures.

When you provide training, ask your employees what they think about it to make sure it’s relevant and effective. Keeping training records will help you to identify when refresher training might be needed.

The information and training you provide should be in a form that is easy to understand. Everyone working for you should know what they are expected to do.

Health and safety training should take place during working hours and it must not be paid for by employees. There are many external trainers who will be able to help you with your training needs but effective training can often be done ‘in house’. 

Some of your staff may have particular training needs, for example:

  • new recruits;
  • people changing jobs or taking on extra responsibilities;
  • young employees, who are particularly vulnerable to accidents;
  • health and safety representatives.

There are particular laws relating to the protection of young people at work and the functions and training of health and safety representatives.

Remember that staff will need extra training if you get new equipment or working practices change’.

We saw this video and hope this is not filmed in one of your offices!!!

 

Electricity at Work

Electricity is a familiar and necessary part of everyday life, but electricity can kill or severely injure people and cause damage to property.

There are simple precautions when working with, or near electricity that can be taken to significantly reduce the risk of electrical injury to you and others around you.

Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 gives the requirements that workplaces must follow.

From a simplified health and safety point of view we normally divide electricity into two areas:

  • Portable appliances; and
  • Fixed

Portable

Any appliance using a plug is classified as portable in that, no matter their size, they can be unplugged and moved to another place.

The inspection regime will depend on their usage and especially their mobility, so the more they get moved around the more often they should be inspected, ie a kettle in an office get moved more than a PC and should therefor get inspected more often.

However, in order not to have too many different inspection dates etc most offices will have their portable appliances inspected every one to two years.

Inspection normally takes basis in one of two forms;

PAT testing involve, a suitable trained person using a calibrated PAT tester, plugging the appliance into the PAT tester, which will then test the appliance and give either a pass or fail result. The person performing the PAT test must be suitable trained but do not have to be an electrician.

The other method is getting a suitable qualified person, normally an electrician, to physical examine/inspect the appliance, this is normally a slower and more expensive process hence must companies use PAT testing.

Fixed

Fixed electric appliances are wired directly into the mains normally though an isolator of some kind. Due to the nature they are not portable and as such should not be as likely to get damaged.

Inspection / testing will normally be undertaken by ad electrician (also called a ‘periodic inspection’). The frequency depend of the nature of the business but the suggested frequency is given in the table below;

Type of Workplace Suggested Period between Visual Check Suggested Period between Inspection & Testing
Commercial 1 year 5 years
Educational establishments 1 year 5 years
Hospitals 1 year 5 years
Industrial 1 year 3 years
Residential accommodation 1 year 5 years
Offices 1 year 5 years
Shops 1 year 5 years
Laboratories 1 year 5 years
Agricultural / Horticultural 1 year 3 years
Cinemas 1 year 3 year
Leisure complexes (excluding swimming pools) 1 year 3 years
Restaurants / Hotels 1 year 5 years
Theatres 1 year 3 years
Public houses / Bars 1 year 5 years
Marinas 4 months 1 year
Laundrettes 1 year 1 year
Petrol stations 1 year 3 years
Construction sites 3 Months 6 Months

 

This overview of Electricity at Work is very basic and simplified, for further information have a look at this PDF.

 

We saw this video and think it is very good

PUWER

Plant and equipment used at work falls into several legislations but the one we’re talking about today is Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)

PUWER generally covers any equipment which is used by an employee at work, for example hammers, knives, ladders, drilling machines, power presses, circular saws, photocopiers, lifting equipment (including lifts), dumper trucks and motor vehicles. Similarly, if you allow employees to provide their own equipment then it will also be covered by PUWER and you will need to make sure it complies. Examples of uses of equipment which are covered by the Regulations include starting or stopping the equipment, repairing, modifying, maintaining, servicing, cleaning and transporting.

What do the Regulations require me to do? 

You must ensure that the work equipment you provide meets the requirements of PUWER.

You should ensure that it is:

  • suitable for use, and for the purpose and conditions in which it is to be used;
  • maintained in a safe condition for use so that people’s health and safety is not at risk; and
  • inspected, in certain circumstances, to ensure that it is and continues to be safe for use. Any inspection should be carried out by a competent person (this could be an employee if they have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to perform the task) and a record kept until the next inspection.

You should also ensure that risks created by using the equipment are eliminated where possible or controlled as far as reasonably practicable by:

  • taking appropriate ‘hardware’ measures, eg providing suitable guards, protection devices, markings and warning devices, system control devices (such as emergency stop buttons) and personal protective equipment; and
  • taking appropriate ‘software’ measures such as following safe systems of work (eg ensuring maintenance is only performed when equipment is shut down etc), and providing adequate information, instruction and training about the specific equipment.

A combination of these measures may be necessary depending on the requirements of the work, your assessment of the risks involved, and the practicability of such measures.

What do I have to do?

If you are an employer and you provide equipment for use (such as hammers, knives and ladders or electrical power tools and larger plant), you need to demonstrate that you have arrangements in place to make sure it is maintained in a safe condition.

Think about what hazards can occur:

  • if tools break during use;
  • if machinery starts up unexpectedly;
  • if there is contact with materials that are normally enclosed within the machine, ie caused by leaks/breakage/ejection etc.

Failing to correctly plan and communicate clear instructions and information before starting maintenance can lead to confusion and can cause accidents. This can be a particular problem if maintenance is carried out during normal production work or where there are contractors who are unfamiliar with the site.

Further information can be found here. 

LOLER

Plant and equipment used at work falls into several legislations but the one we’re talking about today is Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)

LOLER

LOLER covers any plant and equipment that is used in any form of lifting whether this be slings, tackles, lifts, cranes, forklifts or attachments used, although it does not apply to escalators.

In addition to the requirements for safe design and construction, all lifting equipment should also be checked and maintained as necessary to keep it safe for use, so:

  • users may need to undertake simple pre-use checks (eg on lifting chains and slings), or make checks on a daily basis (eg for lift trucks)
  • in some cases, inspections and checks should be made on a regular basis, often weekly, but this may be on a monthly or quarterly basis (eg the checks undertaken by an operator on their crane)
  • employers should ensure that lifting equipment is thoroughly examined (normally once or twice a year but, in some cases, this may be more or less frequent)

These checks are necessary to verify that the lifting equipment can continue to be safely used

What is a ‘thorough examination’ under LOLER?

This is a systematic and detailed examination of the equipment and safety-critical parts, carried out at specified intervals by a competent person who must then complete a written report. This report must contain the information required by LOLER Schedule 1 , including:

  • the examination date
  • the date when the next thorough examination is due
  • any defects found which are (or could potentially become) a danger to people

Where serious defects are identified, the competent person carrying out the examination must immediately report this verbally to the dutyholder. This should then be followed by the written report, a copy of which must also be sent to the relevant enforcing authority.

When should ‘thorough examination’ be carried out?

In order to verify that lifting equipment and accessories remain safe for use, and to detect and remedy any deterioration in good time, thorough examinations are required throughout the lifetime of the equipment, including examinations:

  • before use for the first time– unless the equipment has an EC Declaration of Conformity less than one year old and the equipment was not assembled on site. If it was assembled on site, it must be examined by a competent person to ensure that the assembly (eg a platform lift installed in a building) was completed correctly and safely
  • after assembly and before use at each location– for equipment that requires assembly or installation before use, eg tower cranes
  • regularly, while in service– if the equipment is exposed to conditions that cause deterioration which is likely to result in dangerous situations. Most lifting equipment will be subject to wear and tear and so will need regular in-service examination. Some may be exposed to significant environmental conditions which may cause further deterioration. You have a choice:
    • arrange for thorough examination to be carried out at the intervals specified by LOLER (every 6 or 12 months, depending on the equipment – see below), or
    • conduct examinations in accordance with an examination scheme, drawn up by a competent person
  • following exceptional circumstances– liable to jeopardise the safety of lifting equipment, which may include:
    • damage or failure
    • being out of use for long periods
    • major changes, which are likely to affect the equipment’s integrity (eg modifications, or replacement / repair of critical parts)

What are the specified intervals for regular thorough examinationst?

Type of equipment 6 months 12 months Examination scheme
Accessory for lifting
Equipment used to lift people
All other lifting equipment

Further information can be found here. 

Winter driving

Even though we have not felt the winter weather as yet it is useful to consider the precaution motorist can (should) take for driving in winter weather. You might say ‘what has this got to do with Workplace Health and Safety’. Two reasons

  1. Many times driving is the workplace (and as such is covered under the Health and Safety at work ect act 1974)
  2. Getting staff safely to the workplace is beneficial to the Company Prior to getting to the car

Winter service  – to ensure all liquids, such as brake fluid, battery, screen wash,  coolant etc are not only topped up but also of the right strength for winter condition.

Tire tread is not only legal but also of sufficient depth to help in icy / snowy condition.

Equipment – in winter condition it is important that all cars, no matter how much they travel, carry extra equipment such as first aid kit, towrope, hi-viz vest / jacket, fire extinguisher, such as CO2 or powder, warning triangle, scraper, touch, spare tire (all this should be in the car all year round), and for winter specifically – blanket, shovel, boots and grit / salt.

Setting out

Planning – prior to setting out listen to the weather report for the area you will be driving to ensure that the routes are passable. Make sure you have map / satnav in case you need to deviate from your planned route. Bottle of water and even a flask of hot drink might come handy as will some food, in case the journey takes longer than planned or if you get stuck. Ensure you have warm clothing (gloves, hat and scarf) in the car and maybe even a change of clothing. Part of the planning is also to ensure your screen wash is full. Ensure you have plenty of fuel and a fully charged mobile. Always allow plenty of time.

Prepare the car – before setting out make sure that all windows and lights are cleared of snow and ice. Also ensure that any snow are removed from the bonnet and roof of the vehicle, nothing worse than breaking the vehicle and an avalanche of snow cascade down the windscreen making you unable to see in front of you or cascading off the roof onto vehicles behind you.

Setting off and driving – when setting off in icy or snowy condition ensure you do not over-rev the car as this will get the wheels spinning which will make it more difficult getting moving, this also goes for driving as you are more likely to skid. Speed when driving should be kept appropriate to the condition of the road. It is important not to drive too fast – more likely to skid or have an accident or too slow – more likely to get stuck or other vehicles having an accident due to overtaking etc. Avoid hard braking as this is more likely making the car skid.

Always making sure the distance between you and other vehicles are more than required under normal driving condition.

Emergencies – if you feel the car starting to skid steer into it and do not lock your brakes. If you get stuck try to rock the car forward and backwards, using the engine until the vehicle gets going, if this doesn’t work you might have to dig the vehicle out or using the grit / salt you are carrying to give grip. If the worst happens and you are unable to move the vehicle the first action is to call for recovery but depending on the weather that could take some time. Abandoning the vehicle should be the last thing to do, as the vehicle is likely to block the road in some form, which is why you have blanket, food and hot drink. If you as a last resort are abandoning the vehicle try to make it as safe as possible to other road users.

Do not panic.

Above is a guideline to winter driving and is not exhaustive. Most important of all, however, is that if you do not think it is safe to drive don’t.

Useful contact for further information:-

AA 

RAC

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)

Your local radio and television station

 

We found this neat video on YOUTUBE

Driving at Work

Driving at work is part of the employers’ duties under The Health and Safety at Work ect Act 1974, which states that the employer must ensure ‘so far as reasonable practicable’, the health and safety of all employees while at work.

So what must the employer do?

In line with managing most health and safety it comes down to:

PLAN

Assess the risk from work-related driving within the organisation

Ensure policy is in place covering how to organise journeys, driver training and vehicle maintenance

Ensure roles and responsibilities are defined

DO

Ensure that your plan is executed and this should include consultation with employees, training and information.

MEASURE

Monitor performance to ensure your PLAN is effective

Encourage employees to report near-misses and incidents

ACT

If your PLAN is not effective, you must review it and amend as necessary

Keep reviewing on a regular basis or when information warrant’s review

 

Further information can be found here on this PDF