Monthly Archives: August 2015

Tips for Avoiding Hazardous Substance-related Fires

Accidents can be prevented if correct procedures are in place. Sometimes it’s the more simple tasks that can slip under the radar in the risk assessment process, which can prove to be fatal in relation to higher-risk industries or practices.

  1. Always undertake a risk assessment for all tasks where hazardous substances could be released, either intentionally or unintentionally. This involves detailed analysis of what could go wrong in a process, and what the outcomes could be, such as a fire or explosion.
  2. Introduce control measures to preferably eliminate the risk entirely or, if that is not possible, to reduce the risk as far as reasonably practicable. Ensure that only designated, trained personnel are allowed in the vicinity, and that only the minimum amount of substance needed is stored or used on the premises.
  3. Isolate processes and equipment, to ensure that hazardous substances cannot leak and escape into the air. Ensure, where possible, that good ventilation is in place before any work takes place.
  4. In relation to flammable substances, take measures to avoid ignition sources, such as welding, in the area. Make sure that all maintenance work is properly planned, and takes into consideration any substances in the area.
  5. Have detailed emergency plans in place and safe operating procedures to ensure that staff know how to do their job safely and what to do in the event of something going wrong.

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Driving Licence Checks

The photo card driving licence and its paper counterpart were introduced in 1998 with the paper element allowing details to be entered that could not be included on the plastic card itself. These include any endorsements and the categories of vehicle the holder is entitled to drive.

This information will now be stored electronically and therefore will not be shown on any written documentation associated with the licence. From 8th June 2015, these details can be only obtained and checked via the DVLA online driver record system or in writing by post.

In addition, the paper counterpart (or the older-style paper driving licence) cannot be used or relied upon to carry the correct information about driving endorsements or the vehicle categories available to drive by the holder.

It is also important to note the change in procedure if you have to surrender your driving licence to a court in the event of receiving an endorsement. If you include the paper counterpart with your submission, the photocard element will be returned to you but the paper counterpart will be retained.

The paying of fines and the allocation of points will continue in the normal way.

For business drivers or for anyone driving for work, another important change is how you can provide proof of your driving record to an employer or car hire firm as your photocard or paper licence will no longer be enough in itself.

Drivers will need to access the DVLA’s Share Driving Licence service, which went live on 19th May 2015. They will also be expected to access details themselves, print them and submit them to a car hire firm or employer. Or they can call the DVLA and give a third party permission to check your driving record verbally (such as over the phone).

With many employers hiring vehicles on an as-needed basis, it is important to check with the car/van hire firm what information they will need. Other than downloading information as described above, drivers can obtain a special code (from which allows the vehicle hire firm access to your record for 72 hours in order to make any necessary checks. This process can apply to both holders of a photocard and a paper licence.

Drivers and employers may not be aware of how many of the current procedures are changing. Like with the abolition of the paper tax disc, they might assume it is business as usual with regard to licences.

The onus is very much on the driver and/or employer to obtain the information they need beforehand in order to drive a vehicle. We very much hope drivers and employers will not be caught out by this, such as being faced with a nasty surprise when trying to collect a vehicle ahead of an important business journey.

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How to Keep Your Young Workers Safe

Young workers, and those on work experience, often do not have the knowledge or experience to spot unsafe practices, and they may be keen to demonstrate their abilities without thinking about the potential consequences. Having clear instructions and control measures in place, and the correct level of supervision, will ensure that they stay safe – and you stay out of court.

5 Top Tips for Keeping Young Employees Safe in Your Workplace

  1. Risk assessment is key. You should already have risk assessed your work activities, but you should review the assessments to ensure they have taken into account the specific needs of young workers, including factors such as a lack of maturity or physical capability. An example is manual handling, whereby a young worker might not be able to carry the same weight as an adult.
  2. Full training must be given on the work activity, and the associated hazards and control measures. Ask for young workers to explain the information back to you, if you are unsure whether they have understood it.
  3. Ensure there is the correct level of supervision. Often, young people are unaware of the specific hazards they may encounter in the workplace, especially if they are new to work.
  4. Select suitable work activities in relation to the young person’s psychological capacity and ability to understand and follow instructions. Certain high-risk activities such as those involving hazardous substances, excessive heat or cold, vibration or noise may need to be avoided if the risks cannot be suitably controlled.
  5. Establish clear rules as to what young workers can and cannot do in the workplace. It might be useful to put up signage on certain machines that should not be used, or areas not to be accessed, as a visual reminder.

If you require further information, please contact us.



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