Health and safety legislation requires employers to take proactive steps to remove or reduce risk of injury to employees in relation to the use of display screen equipment (DSE) and manual handling activities. But aside from the legal responsibilities, there are good business reasons for employers to address MSDs in their workplace. Some of the main causes of MSDs include: vibration, poor posture, heavy lifting, repetitive tasks, poorly designed work areas, incorrect lifting techniques and pulling or pushing heavy loads. Studies have indicated that factors such as workload, lack of rest breaks and reduced recovery time have an impact on MSDs. So how should you manage MSDs in your workplace?
8 Top Tips for Preventing MSDs in Your Workplace
- Adopt an ergonomic approach which involves the workforce and safety representatives.
- Ensure management and workers have an understanding of the issues and are committed to action on prevention. This commitment may be expressed through strong leadership and having appropriate systems of work in place. You should thus develop a local policy on prevention and management of MSDs and ensure that everyone is clear about their responsibilities.
- Managers and workers need to be competent in order to prevent MSDs. The HSE recommends that prevention of MSDs should be an integral part of health and safety training, with emphasis on risk factors and how these may be avoided.
- Carry out a risk assessment in respect of MSDs, ensuring that all parties are involved in the process and that everyone is clear about their responsibilities in the risk control process.
- Provide managers and workers with training and information on MSDs so they can assist in the identification of the early warning signs. Training should also include safe working methods, correct operation and use of equipment and the importance of reporting early symptoms of MSDs.
- Following confirmation of an MSD, prompt action should be taken to review the risk assessment and to verify that existing control measures are effective. You must investigate work-related injuries as appropriate.
- Carry out regular checks to ensure the risk control measures are effective. Where monitoring uncovers deficiencies within the risk management programme, a formal review of performance should be carried out.
- Plan work so that there are breaks or changes in activity, especially where an employee works exclusively at a computer.
Failing to identify and manage musculoskeletal risks in your workplace may lead to enforcement action. Make sure you protect the health of your workers.
If you are an employer, or someone in control of a premises, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, your duties extend to managing risks from legionella bacteria which may arise from work activities. More specifically, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) provide a framework of actions to enable you to assess, prevent or control legionella risks.
In the event of a visit to your premises, HSE Inspectors will score your management performance against four topics, judged to be key in the effective management of legionella risks: risk assessment, a written control scheme, implementation of the control scheme and record keeping. So, where should you begin?
7 Top Tips for Managing Legionella in Your Workplace
- Start by carrying out a risk assessment. This must include:
- Management responsibilities.
- The name of the competent person and a description of your system.
- Details of key personnel competence and training.
- Any potential risk sources.
- The means of preventing the risk or controls in place.
- Monitoring, inspection and maintenance procedures.
- Details of any inspections and checks carried out.
- Your arrangements for regularly reviewing the risk assessment.
- If the legionella risk assessment identified a low or negligible risk, you may not need to do anything else apart from review the assessment every two years. However, if there is a foreseeable risk of legionella infection, then you must implement a written control scheme.
- The most common method of control is temperature, and this should be your initial line of defence. Ideally, cold water should be stored below 20°C and distributed to all outlets within two minutes of running the tap to reduce the potential for bacterial growth.
- Hot water should be stored at 60°C and distributed and supplied to all outlets above 50°C within one minute of operation. Be aware that temperatures above 55°C may give rise to scalding risks.
- Pipes and tanks should be insulated where necessary to prevent heat gain or loss. Shower heads should be dismantled and descaled.
- Prevent stagnation by introducing routine flushing programmes and reducing the volume of stored water.
- Audit and review your assessment regularly and when there are changes in legislation, guidance or operation.
Don’t wait for an Inspector to visit. Manage legionella risks now to protect your staff and avoid fines.