Monthly Archives: October 2013

Highways work begins as part of Telford Town Centre expansion

Work will begin today on the road infrastructure in Telford town centre to aid the £450m redevelopment of Southwater and Telford Shopping Centre.

Work will start with improvements to Malinslee Roundabout which are expected to be completed by February 2014 in time for the opening of the new ASDA store and the Southwater development.

The Highways Agency will also be installing traffic lights on the Forge roundabout and widening the carriageway around the island to three lanes to improve traffic flow to and from the M54 with the aim of reducing queues on to the motorway. The work will be completed before March 2014.

Work to make the Box Road two way will be completed by March 2015 with each section of the road opened to two way traffic when completed.

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Costs for PPE-related Accidents Each Year!

The PPE Regulations 1992, Regulation 4 states:

‘Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work, except where and to the extent that, such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective’.

This means in practice that PPE should only be used as a last resort but can be used in conjunction with other control measures. The PPE Regulations 1992 are supplemented by PPE requirements in other regulations such as those relating to asbestos, lead, noise and hazardous chemicals.

The PPE Regulations 1992 also require you make sure that:

  • The PPE is assessed for suitability.
  • It is compatible with other types of PPE that is also needed.
  • It is properly maintained and cleaned.
  • Accommodation e.g. a locker or bag, is provided for it to prevent damage or contamination.
  • Training is provided for your staff so that they know how to wear the PPE, any restrictions on use and how it protects them.

By virtue of Section 9 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, no charge can be made to your staff for the provision of PPE which is used only at work, so you need to provide this for them.

Why PPE Fails and What You Must Do 

Even though PPE is provided, accidents still happen. This is because:

  • The wrong PPE is provided and does not protect the worker e.g. a respirator for dust is      provided when the hazard is a vapour.
  • The worker does not wear the PPE, maybe because it’s not comfortable.
  • The PPE does fit properly.
  • The PPE is not compatible with other types of PPE.
  • The PPE is broken or poorly maintained.

You should:

  • Properly assess your PPE and make sure it’s suitable.
  • Choose good quality products which are CE marked.
  • Choose equipment that suits the wearer and is comfortable – consider the size, fit and weight.
  • Instruct and train people on how to use it.
  • Supervise people and never allow exemptions for those jobs that only ‘take a few minutes’.

It’s very easy to think that once PPE is provided, the job is done – in practice, it’s only just begun. Take action now to prevent PPE accidents in your workplace.

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Hairdressing health and safety laws

The National Hairdressers’ Federation (NHF) has welcomed a recent decision by the European Commission (EC) not to press ahead with proposed changes to health and safety laws affecting salons.

As part of its drive to cut red tape, the EC has announced it will not be taking forward proposals which, the NHF said, could have banned salon staff from wearing high heels, required them to wear elbow-length gloves when washing hair and limited the amount of time they could spend with clients on the salon floor.

According to the NHF, the reforms could have cost salons and barbers in the industry as much as £75 million a year, if enacted to the full, based on calculations by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

While welcoming the news of the shelving of the proposals, a source at the Federation said the hairdressing industry should not assume the proposals are “dead and buried”.

There are plans for the EC to carry out impact assessments in early 2014 on the cost of introducing the laws.

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Display Screen Equipment (DSE)

Many jobs now require the prolonged use of display screen equipment and legislation places specific duties on employers regarding its use. Take a look at our thoroughly revised and updated topic to make sure you are aware of what needs to be done.

Display screen equipment (DSE) is covered by the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 (as amended), which promote the safe and effective use of DSE.

All aspects of the equipment and workstation are considered part of work with DSE.

The way in which DSE is used may lead to upper limb disorders, fatigue, stress or eye discomfort.

Excessive force, repetitive activities and poor postures are the three components perceived to be the biggest contributors to ill health associated with DSE work.

Appropriate set up of all features of the workstation can prevent discomfort from work with DSE. Contact us if you require a workstation assessment.

Selection of peripheral items for use with DSE can greatly improve the user’s comfort and effectiveness. Items must be selected for the person or the task to ensure suitability.

Rest breaks and changes of activity are essential in ensuring safe and effective work with DSE.

Checklists can be used to assess DSE work and ensure the workstation is suitable for the user to complete the required tasks.

Contact Walker Health & Safety Services for your health and safety requirements.

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Manual Handling

Manual handling injuries account for over a third of all accidents reported to the enforcing authorities each year. Under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended) the employer has legal duties to:

  • avoid the need to carry out manual handling operations wherever possible;
  • if manual handling cannot be avoided the task should be automated or mechanised in some way, in order to reduce the amount of manual handling required;
  • if manual handling cannot be avoided, an employer must assess the risks involved with the operations and take steps to avoid them.

This assessment is necessary to ensure that employees do not suffer injuries from manual handling tasks and it is important to note that there is no maximum weight given for manual handling tasks.

Most of the assessments can be done in house and will just require a few minutes’ observation to identify ways to make the activity less hazardous, i.e. less physically demanding.

When making these observations employees should be consulted, as more often than not they are aware of what the problems are and the easiest ways of avoiding them. The overall responsibility for suitable assessments remains with the employer.

A general assessment of risk, as required by Regulation 3(1) of the Management Regulations may indicate the possibility of injury from manual handling operations; in this case a more specific assessment should be carried out. How detailed this further assessment needs to be will depend on the circumstances. In general, the significant findings of the assessment should be recorded and the record kept, readily accessible, as long as it remains relevant.

Assessments need not be recorded if:

  • it could be easily repeated and explained at any time because it is simple and obvious
  • the manual handling operations are of low risk, only going to last a very short time and the time taken to record the assessment would be disproportionate.

When making a more detailed assessment the following categories should be considered:





(These can be easily remembered by the acronym TILE)


In many cases manual handling operations will involve some twisting, i.e. moving the upper body while keeping the feet static. The combination of twisting and lifting and twisting, stooping and lifting are particularly stressful on the back. Where the handling involves twisting and turning then a detailed assessment should normally be made.

However if the operation is:

  • relatively infrequent (up to approximately 30 operations per hour or one lift every two minutes); and there are no other posture problems;
  • then the guideline figures in the relevant part of this filter can be used, but with a suitable reduction according to the amount the handler twists to the side during the operation.

As a rough guide:

  • Twisting beyond 45º reduce the weight by 10%
  • Twisting beyond 90º reduce the weight by 20%


The guideline figures for lifting and lowering apply to carrying operations where the load is:

  • held against the body;
  • carried no further than about 10 m without resting.

A more detailed assessment should be made for all carrying operations if the load is carried over a longer distance without resting or the hands are below knuckle height or above elbow height.

Pushing and Pulling

For pushing and pulling operations (whether the load is slid, rolled or supported on wheels) the guideline figures (below) assume the force is applied with the hands, between knuckle and shoulder height. It is also assumed that the distance involved is no more than about 20 m. If these assumptions are not met, a more detailed risk assessment is required.

Men Women

Force required to stop or start the load 20Kg 15Kg

Sustained force to keep the load in motion 10Kg 7Kg

There is no specific limit to the distance over which the load is pushed or pulled as long as there are adequate opportunities for rest or recovery.

Reviewing the assessment

The assessment should be kept up to date. It should be reviewed if new information comes to light or if there has been a change in the manual handling operations.

The assessment may also need to be reviewed if an injury occurs, or an employee becomes more vulnerable to risk due to illness, or the onset of disability or pregnancy.


An employer must also provide training regarding manual handling. This should include manual handling risk factors and how injuries occur, good handling technique, appropriate safe systems of work, use of mechanical aids.

Remember that training by itself cannot overcome:

  • a lack of mechanical aids
  • unsuitable loads
  • poor working conditions.


  • Consider avoiding the need for manual handling by re-engineering the process.
  • Consider reducing the risk by minimising or reducing the load/task.
  • Appoint persons who have been adequately trained for manual handling assessments, and ensure that all work activities where manual handling cannot be avoided are adequately assessed.
  • Conduct manual handling assessments of work activities taking into account the task, the individual the load, and the environment – TILE!
  • Provide handling aids and equipment.
  • Train staff and maintain training records.
  • Record the assessment and keep it up to date. Review the assessment if new information comes to light or if a change in manual handling operations occurs.


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Changes to the RIDDOR Regulations come into force today.


The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 come into force today.

The main changes made by these Regulations are:

  • A simplified and shortened list of specified reportable injuries (“major injuries”) to workers sustained as a result of a work-related accident.
  • A clarified and shortened list of reportable dangerous occurrences (near-miss events).
  • A simplified and significantly shortened list of reportable ill-health conditions in workers (replacing 47 specified ill-health conditions with 8 categories of work related diseases).
  • A simplified list of dangerous occurrences within the rail-sector, and removal of the requirement to report suicides on railways.

No changes are being made to:

  • Recording requirements;
  • Reports of fatal accidents;
  • Reports of accidents involving non-workers including members of the public;
  • Reports of accidents which incapacitate workers for more than seven days;
  • Requirements to preserve certain incident sites at mines, quarries and offshore workplaces pending investigation and subject to overriding safety needs.

Minor changes in wording have been made to the requirements for reporting gas hazards and injuries.  It remains a defence in proceedings to prove that the organisation was unaware of the circumstances which gave rise to a reporting requirement, provided they have taken reasonable steps to be made aware.

A new regulation (15) restricts the need to report the same incident twice, provided that all the information required in respect of the multiple reporting requirements has been given and timescales are met.

New categories of reportable injury to employees

The list of major injuries is now contained within regulation 4 rather than within a schedule. Fractures other than to fingers, thumbs and toes are still reportable though with the caveat ‘as diagnosed by a medical practitioner. ‘Any amputation’ as a category has been replaced with ‘amputation of an arm, hand, finger, thumb, leg, foot or toe’.

Dislocations, chemical/ hot metal injuries to the eye, electric shock related injury, heat induced illness, hypothermia, and unconsciousness (in general), injuries requiring resuscitation in general and those requiring admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours are no longer reportable as major injuries.

The sight loss category has become, ‘any injury diagnosed by a registered medical practitioner as being likely to cause permanent blinding or reduction in sight in one or both eyes’.

Next there are three new categories:

  • Any crush injury to the head or torso causing damage to the brain or internal organs in the chest or abdomen;
  • Any burn injury (including scalding) which covers more than 10% of the whole body’s total surface area or causes significant damage to the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs;
  • Any degree of scalping requiring hospital treatment

Loss of consciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia is an altered category (previously loss of consciousness caused by asphyxia or exposure to substances was reportable).

Another new category is:

  • Any other injury arising from working in an enclosed space which leads to hypothermia or heat-induced illness; or requires resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours.

Note. For the time being we do not have a definition of ‘enclosed space’.

Changes to Reportable Disease Categories

Reportable occupational diseases are now summarised in regulation 8 as follows:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, where the person’s work involves regular use of percussive or vibrating tools;
  • Cramp in the hand or forearm, where the person’s work involves prolonged periods of repetitive movement of the fingers, hand or arm;
  • Occupational dermatitis, where the person’s work involves significant or regular exposure to a known skin sensitizer or irritant;
  • Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, where the person’s work involves regular use of percussive or vibrating tools, or the holding of materials, which are subject to percussive processes, or processes causing vibration;
  • Occupational asthma, where the person’s work involves significant or regular exposure to a known respiratory sensitizer; or,
  • Tendonitis or tenosynovitis in the hand or forearm, where the person’s work is physically demanding and involves frequent, repetitive movements.

And regulation 9 adds two further categories:

  • Any cancer attributed to an occupational exposure to a known human carcinogen or mutagen (including ionising radiation); or
  • Any disease attributed to an occupational exposure to a biological agent.


The regulations have essentially been redrafted with some sections imported from the old regulations into the new structure. Even where requirements are very similar such as in the list of general dangerous occurrences there are subtle differences in wording.

Contact us if you require assistance.

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