Monthly Archives: January 2014

Health & Safety Law Poster

Employers have a legal duty under the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations to display the approved poster in a prominent position in each workplace or to provide each worker with a copy of the approved leaflet that outlines British health and safety law.

The HSE published a new simplified version of the Health and Safety Law Poster in April 2009 and all businesses must update to the new 2009 version by the latest 5th April 2014.

Go to www.walkersafety.co.uk and click on the safety sign banner to the left of the screen.

Order your poster and any other equipment you require today with UK Safety Store.

Contact us if you require advice.

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Noise in the workplace

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 require you to prevent or reduce risks to health and safety from exposure to noise at work.

Regulations require the employer to:

  • Assess the risks to employees from noise at work
  • Take action to reduce the noise exposure that produces those risks
  • Provide employees with hearing protection if the noise cannot be reduced
  • Make sure the legal limits on noise exposure are not exceeded
  • Provide employees with information, instruction and training
  • Carry out health surveillance where there is a risk to health.

How to protect workers

Firstly, find out if there is a noise problem.

  • Is the noise intrusive for most of the working day?
  • Do employees have to raise their voices to carry out a normal conversation when about 2m apart for at least part of the day?
  • Do employees use noisy power tools or machinery for more than half an hour each day?

Then, assess and control the risks:

  • Measure the noise levels
  • Put in a programme of noise reduction if needed
  • Maintain plant and machinery
  • Look for quieter processes.

Provide information, instruction and training. Tell workers:

  • The likely noise exposure
  • What  is happening to control risks and exposures
  • Where and how people can obtain hearing protection
  • How to report defects in hearing protection and noise-control equipment
  • What their duties are under the Noise Regulations 2005
  • What they should do to minimise the risk, such as the proper way to use hearing protection.

Implement health surveillance:

  • Provide regular hearing checks in controlled conditions
  • Tell employees about the results of their hearing checks
  • Keep health records
  • Ensure employees are examined by a doctor where hearing damage is identified.

Ignoring a noise problem in the workplace can cause misery to employees who may suffer deafness and tinnitus. This can be prevented and at the same time, save money and court appearances by assessing noise now.

Don’t wait for a claim.

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Cameron’s red tape crusade: self-employed ‘exempt’ from health and safety law

This report is taken from the SHP Website.

One million self-employed people will be completely exempt from health and safety law when the Deregulation Bill comes into force, David Cameron announced this morning.

In a speech to the Federation of Small Businesses, the Prime Minister outlined the relaxation or removal of over 3,000 regulations, which includes “needless” health and safety regulation. “We will scrap over-zealous rules which dictate how to use a ladder at work or what no-smoking signs must look like,” he said. “We’ve changed the law so that businesses are no longer automatically liable for an accident that isn’t their fault. “And the new Deregulation Bill will exempt one million self-employed people from health and safety law altogether.”

Richard Jones, head of policy and public affairs at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, said that while IOSH supports the simplification of legislation and guidance, it is against lowering standards that could lead to more accidents and deaths: “We think it would be unhelpful, unnecessary and unwise to exempt certain self-employed from health and safety law, as the Government is proposing – causing more of a hindrance than a help.

“It’s important to remember that health and safety failures in the UK cost a staggering £13.4 billion per year, double this once you take into account the cost of occupational cancers and property damage. Whereas, good health and safety saves lives, supports business and sustains the economy.

How do we feel about this? Anyone have any thoughts?

 

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Health and Safety – Legal duties for migrant workers

The same law applies to migrant workers as to any person at work and this is also true even if the migrant worker is working illegally in the UK. This means that the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Regulations made under the Act always apply.

The employment relationship for migrant workers can sometimes be complicated. Migrant workers may be at increased risk in the workplace because:

  • Migrant workers are sometimes not able to easily understand English and many do not wish to admit to their limitations in English, for fear of losing their job or not being employed in the first place. Therefore, health and safety training and instruction in English may not be effective whether such communication is verbal or written.
  • Many migrant workers come from countries where health and safety standards are low and where health and safety legislation is undeveloped.
  • There are often cultural differences too, which may affect the workers’ approach to health and safety in the workplace, their attitudes to health and safety and their perception of risk. Many come from countries where taking risks in the workplace is ‘part of the job’.

Tips for Managing Migrant Workers

  1. Attitude to health and safety: they may have different expectations about health and safety responsibilities. So make sure they understand the importance of health and safety in your workplace.
  2. Communication: they may have problems communicating in English. Make sure communication is clear and effective, for example by providing information in other languages, visual formats or simple English if necessary.
  3. Competence: before they start at your workplace, check that they have the occupational qualifications or skills needed for the job, and assess skill levels gained from overseas qualifications.
  4. Training: they may be completely unfamiliar with workplace risks, and may have never done the sort of work they are required to do – so make sure induction training is clear and simple.

If you employ migrant workers, take action now. They may be at increased risk. Don’t take that risk!!!

contact us for advice.

 

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Business benefits to health and safety

Poor health and safety leads to illness and accidents that could prove an huge drain on the company finances. Simple but effective health and safety practices pay for themselves. They also improve the company’s reputation among customers, regulators and employees. Given the considerable increase in penalties under health and safety legislation, the cost of non-compliance is likely to exceed by a long way the cost of compliance.

Having bad health and safety provisions can harm a business. It can reduce productivity, damage products, equipment or premises, there could be considerable fines and legal costs if prosecuted, plus insurance premiums could rise.

Most competitive tendering now requires businesses to disclose any health and safety investigations and convictions.

Many customers won’t deal with businesses that have a bad health and safety record and good employees might not want to work for a company like that.

Having safe and healthy working conditions will make it easier for a business to attract and retain customers, employees and business partners.

If you would like an audit to see if the company complies with health and safety legislation, contact us.

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Five steps to risk assessment

This is a straightforward process for assessing risks in the workplace.

How to assess the risks in your workplace, follow these five steps:

  1. Identify the hazards
  2. Decide who might be harmed and how
  3. Evaluate the risks and decide on precaution
  4. Record your findings and implement them
  5. Review your assessment and update if necessary

Don’t  overcomplicate the process. In many organisations, the risks are well known and  the necessary control measures are easy to apply.

Ensure that you involve your staff or their representatives in the  process. They will have useful information about how the work is done that will  make your assessment of the risk more thorough and effective. But remember, you  are responsible for seeing that the assessment is carried out properly. When thinking  about your risk assessment, remember:

  • a hazard is  anything that may cause harm, such as chemicals, electricity, working from  ladders, an open drawer, etc; and
  • the risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other  hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.

If you require assistance, contact us….

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Its important to carry out Risk Assessments?

For many businesses the management of health and safety issues and keeping up with the multitude of regulations can seem like an overwhelming task.

For some companies the answer is to ignore it and convince themselves that it does not apply to them.

What are your legal responsibilities?

According to Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, all employers have a duty to ensure that – so far as is reasonably practicable – the health, safety and welfare of all employees is looked after.

The Act also requires that employers of five or more employees have a written statement of their health and safety policy and that this is, along with any revisions, communicated to the workforce.

It is also important to carry out a Risk Assessments. Three reasons why…

1. Financial reasons: There is considerable evidence, that effective safety and health management in the workplace contributes to business success. Accidents and ill-health inflict significant costs, often hidden and underestimated.

2. Legal reasons: Carrying out a risk assessment and implementing what you have written down are not only central to any safety and health management system, they are required by law.

3. Moral and ethical reasons: The process of carrying out a risk assessment and implementing what you have written down will help to prevent injuries and ill-health at work.  Employers are ethically bound to do all they can to ensure that their employees do not suffer illness, a serious accident or death.

Risk assessments are good for business!

So don’t put it off any longer and get started on your risk assessment today.

Contact us if you require advice…

 

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New Year Resolutions – Health and Safety

After over-indulging at Christmas you may feel that dieting and exercise should be your New Year’s resolution. That’s all well and good, but in addition to getting fit, why don’t you do something that could potentially have a lasting positive impact not just for you, but for everyone around you?

If everyone can get through 2014 with the aim of working safely, the benefits could be extensive. From employees to Managing Directors, everyone can do their bit to bring about improvement.

It is important to remember that small steps can help to achieve a health and safety culture.

Now is as good a time as any to decide that you’re going to take that positive step.  Nobody should accept a situation where they know that  a serious accident could occur at any minute, but at the same time, they have not done their bit to do something about it.  Even something as basic as tidying up after making a mess, could have benefits.  Improved housekeeping sends out a clear signal to all staff and visitors and is something that in theory, should be easy to achieve.  Workers at all levels need to have health and safety in the backs of their minds.

Employers must ensure that people are safe during their business activities and that all staff have a level of health and safety understanding. Failure to have policies and procedures can lead to substantial business costs ranging from downtime, reputational damage, absenteeism and of course, personal liability for directors.

Remember, you can do all this at the same time as getting into shape for a marathon!

Contact us should you require assistance from a dedicated and committed health and safety person!

 

 

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