Monthly Archives: July 2015

Health and Safety Blog.

As we sit blogging, we wonder if people read the contents.

So our question to you is:

1. Do you forward these blogs to employees, as we feel some of the content matter is very important to them and they should be included.

2. Is there a subject you would like us to write a blog about? Is something on your mind which you would like us to answer?

3. Do you have any stories you wish to share (Or remain anonymous) where health and safety has been questioned or not listened too.

4. Would you like us to visit to talk about health and safety in the workplace?

Contact us at

We look forward to hearing from you!


Health and safety responsibilities – 12 essential facts every director needs to grasp

An article taken from IOSH and RoSPA.

Calling all directors – the onus is on YOU to manage health and safety. Here IOSH President Elect, and RoSPA OSH Policy Advisor, Dr Karen McDonnell tells you what you need to know when it comes to taking control of health safety in the workplace…

  1. The board has not just a legal but a moral duty to ensure that the organisation manages effectively for good health and safety outcomes. The universal Plan, Do, Check, Act approach (HSG65) demonstrates how to integrate health and safety into standard management practice.
  2. The overall goal must be to ensure that safe and healthy systems of work are in place so that, so far is reasonably practicable, employees and others affected by the organisation’s activities do not suffer avoidable harms.
  3. This is not just about ensuring that the right controls and precautions are in place at the workface but that the right policies, effective processes, competent people – and above all, the right culture – are in place to enable the organisation to work safely at all times.
  4. All managers must manage for safety and health, fully involving all staff and volunteers. Remember, you can only do H&S with people, not to them!
  5. Obeying the law is important but should be regarded as a basic minimum. H&S needs to be seen as a key business performance issue, not a bolt on extra or a regulatory compliance burden. As with any other key business outcome, the board needs to establish meaningful measures of performance for 1) systems, 2) culture, 3) safe working and 3) the extent of H&S failures.
  6. If it is to be safe, avoid accidents and incidents and the legal and financial consequences that can flow from these, the organisation needs to be risk led not law led. Risk profile your business What are the hazards? Who can they harm? How are you going to manage the risk? This must become embedded within your organisation, not a bureaucratic nightmare!
  7. Your staff are your biggest asset, encourage the transfer of positive safety behaviour to road, home and leisure activities. Your staff are more likely to be absent from work as a consequence of an accident that happens outside the workplace.
  8. The board and the management team must ensure that there is suitable risk literacy in the organisation – avoiding ignorance among staff of significant risks as well stopping them going over-the-top when confronted with trivial ones.
  9. The organisation must develop an open reporting and investigation culture. You can only find out how to make things go right if you are prepared, honestly and professionally, to establish why they go wrong.
  10. All board and SMT members and all senior managers must lead on H&S, not just giving clear indications of what the corporate priorities are but by being prepared to lead personally by example in the attention they give to working safely. They should regularly assess their own performance against the advice in INDG 417.
  11. The board must reinforce the message that good H&S pays! Good H&S is good business – the hallmark of a professionally managed organisation.
  12. Finally, the board must recognise and celebrate outstanding H&S performance through safety award schemes – which, as we’ve discussed in the past, are a great way to boost both standards and morale!

If you require further advice, please contact us.




Maintaining Safe Machinery

There are many cases of machinery accidents where the end results are limb amputations and serious crushing injuries. Always make sure that the hazards associated with your machines have been identified, and that employees are aware of the consequences of tampering with any guarding put there to protect them.

5 Tips for Maintaining Safe Machinery

  1. All machines should be subject to a risk assessment before they are used for the first time. The assessment should refer to any manufacturer’s information on the correct operation and potential hazards relating to use, as well as legislation and industry guidance. Make sure these findings are communicated to employees.
  2. Operatives must be trained in the use of the machines before they can use them. Less experienced employees may also need close supervision whilst they obtain a high level of competence. In my experience, all operatives require refresher training on the safe use of machinery at regular intervals, no matter how experienced. Over time everyone gets a little complacent.
  3. Introduce safe working procedures and method statements, for maintenance and cleaning operations as well as production activities.
  4. Ensure all machines with dangerous parts are effectively guarded, preferably by fixed or interlocking guards rather than removable guarding. Regularly inspect guarding for signs of wear, dirt or tampering.
  5. Make sure that all emergency stop buttons are positioned near dangerous machinery parts so that they are visible and can be reached easily. Include them in your documented inspections of the machine, ensuring they are kept clean and in good working order.

If you require assistance contact us.



Asbestos Removal Planning and Procedures

Asbestos is the silent killer that can take many years to catch up with those who breathe it in. Unfortunately, in many cases, it leads to mesothelioma and other cancers for which there is no cure. Something as simple as planning the work properly – and sticking to that plan – can stop people breathing in these deadly fibres.

5 Steps to Take Before Asbestos Removal Starts on Your Premises

  1. Before any work takes place, make sure you have shared all of your organisation’s findings in relation to your asbestos survey (including the location, type of asbestos and the amount) and your asbestos risk register (detailing the up-to-date information on any asbestos removals, changes or deteriorations in any areas).
  2. Ensure that the asbestos removal company has undertaken a risk assessment and has a method statement which details how the work will be done safely and what control measures are needed. The written plan should include how they intend to prevent exposure to those in the vicinity, and how they will reduce the spread of a potential release into the air, as well as emergency procedures.
  3. Depending on whether high-risk asbestos-containing materials are involved, your contractor may need to be licensed to do the work. Check with your local HSE Inspector or Environmental Health Officer – but it’s safest to work on the basis that a licensed contractor will be required.
  4. Check what training the contractors have received in asbestos removal – there are different levels of training depending on the nature of the work.
  5. Establish beforehand how the asbestos is to be disposed of – it is a legal requirement that all asbestos-containing materials are removed as hazardous waste.

If you require further advice, please contact us at Walker Health and Safety Services.


Stress in the Workplace

Indicators of stress:

  • fatigue, anxiety, poor motivation
  • making mistakes, having accidents
  • deteriorating relationships with colleagues, irritability, indecisiveness, absenteeism, excessive smoking, drinking, overeating, etc
  • physical symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness and general aches and pains.

Long-term health effects:

  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • ulcers
  • thyroid disorders
  • gastrointestinal disorders
  • psychological effects, such as anxiety and depression
  • other behaviours, like skipping meals, drinking too much alcohol and excessive smoking.

Work-related stress hazards:

  • poor physical or environmental conditions, eg noise, heat, lighting or cleanliness
  • excessive workloads
  • irregular working patterns
  • changes in working times or unsocial hours
  • task-related factors – physically or mentally beyond the individual’s capacity, repetitive or boring, etc
  • interpersonal factors – day-to-day interaction with people, abuse and harassment
  • role ambiguity – no clear idea of what is expected
  • role conflict – opposing demands are made
  • little or no recognition for work done
  • personal threat – to personal safety or fear of redundancy or dismissal
  • lone working
  • major changes occurring within the organisation
  • pressure from time constraints or deadlines, etc

Your responsibilities

  • Raise any issues of concern with your line manager or human resources department
  • Accept opportunities for counselling when recommended
  • Cooperate and be meaningfully involved in the risk assessment process
  • Be supportive of colleagues

Report cases of bullying or harassment!

Did you know?

Fact 1: According to the HSE, work-related stress accounts for over a third of reported ill health.

Fact 2: 480,000 people in Britain believe that they experience work-related stress at a level that makes them ill.

Fact 3: The cost of stress to society as a whole is over £3 billion per annum.

Do you know?

  • Where to obtain information and guidance?
  • How to seek help and support?

Talk to your health and safety representative if the answer is NO to either of these questions.

Alternatively contact us!