Monthly Archives: October 2016

Ensure Staff are Protected when Dogs are on the Premises

Tips to Ensure Staff are Protected when Dogs are on the Premises

  1. Complete a risk assessment for the dogs you have on site, including guard dogs and visiting pets brought in from home. Consider how someone could be hurt and under what circumstances, for example, if a particular dog has a history of aggression. Have a clear policy on which dogs (if any) are allowed on the premises, and when.
  2. If there is a risk of biting, keep a muzzle on the dog when people are in the area. Make sure the animal is under control at all times, and that the lead and collar are strong enough to not be broken if it pulls.
  3. If people handle dogs or their waste, make sure there are suitable hand washing facilities nearby and bags to pick up faeces. Ringworm can be passed from dogs to humans if the spores are able to enter through breaks in human skin. Keep all dogs wormed and treated for fleas on a regular basis. Keep dogs out of food preparation areas, and clean up fouling immediately.
  4. Display warning signs to alert visitors that a dog is kept on the premises.
  5. Teach staff how to approach the dogs on site. Remember that all animals can be unpredictable, so it may be best for only trained workers to have access to the animals during the course of their work.

Dogs can present a risk to workers and members of the public if they are not properly controlled. Take action today to ensure that your staff are not at risk of being bitten.

Contact us should you require information or advice regarding this matter.


Ensure Your Workers are Protected when Procedures Change

Ensure Your Workers are Protected when Procedures Change

  1. Consult with employees in advance before making any changes to the workplace, including to work methods, equipment and layout. Often staff will know a lot about the potential hazards as they perform the tasks on a frequent basis.
  2. Risk assess any changes before putting them into practice. Look at how changing one element could impact on another work procedure – for example, by re-arranging the layout of the workshop without planning how workers will stay segregated from workplace transport, staff could end up having to cross traffic routes and therefore put themselves in danger of being run over.
  3. Develop a safe system of work for staff to follow. Write this down so workers can refer to it when needed.
  4. Ensure that the required training is provided, for example if new equipment is to be used for the first time.
  5. Supervise the new procedure to check that workers understand what they need to do, and that they follow the safe system of work correctly.
  6. Review the risk assessment periodically to ensure that you have captured all of the inherent hazards in the new work procedure. Ask workers for feedback – check that your controls are working to mitigate the identified risks.

Always take time to carefully plan your work procedures – never implement changes without assessing the risks first, and working out how to control them effectively.

Contact us should you require guidance.


Poor Scaffold Practice

Top Tips to Ensure Workers Stay Safe On and Around Scaffold

  1. Always ensure that unless your scaffold is erected to a recognised configuration (such as that contained within the National Access & Scaffolding Confederation technical guidance TG20:13), it is designed by a competent person with experience and training in this field. All scaffold erections must be overseen by a competent supervisor.
  2. Inspect your scaffold frequently. It should be inspected after installation, before being used for the first time, and following that at intervals of no more than seven days.
  3. Make sure you re-inspect scaffold in the event of any circumstances that could compromise its safety, such as high winds, or if it has been modified in any way.
  4. Ensure that inspections are undertaken by a competent person who knows about your particular scaffold system. Use a tag system if applicable so workers know when the last inspection took place.
  5. Train workers how to use and access the scaffold, and make sure they know not to make any changes to it, such as removing platform boards or toe boards.
  6. Ensure the scaffold is suitably guarded – use double guard rails and toe boards and make sure all open sides are protected. Platform floors must be free from gaps to avoid anything such as tools falling through. Avoid slips and trips by removing waste and spare materials, and ensure good housekeeping on the scaffold.
  7. Where possible, tie the scaffold to the supporting structure and ensure it is set on firm, level ground to stop any movement.

Over 60% of fatalities involving work at height include falls from structures such as scaffold. Make sure your workers are properly protected.

Contact us if you would like to discuss this further.


Spill Kits

There are many types of spill response equipment, but a typical spill kit will include a mobile bin with a lid containing oil- or chemical-absorbent pads, inert absorbent such as granules and plastic bin bags to store the spill.

One way to decide how to stock a spill kit is to carry out a spill risk assessment based on answers to the following questions:

  • How much would I spill in a worst-case scenario?
  • Who would be expected to clean it?
  • How would they go about it?
  • What is the potential pollution linkage, including source, pathway and receptor, for the spill?
  • What do I need to deal with the spill? For example mop, bucket, dust pan, vacuum cleaner, personal protective equipment, barrier tapes, warning signs, SDS availability/disposal containers.
    Could the spill involve special considerations such as confined space working, or a need for breathing apparatus?
  • Where will a spill kit be most easily accessible?
  • How will I maintain the kit?
  • What training should I give to employees to use the kit in an effective and safe manner?
  • Does my spill response procedure specify the location of the spill kit and how to replenish it.

Learning curve

In some cases, spills may become reportable to the authorities under regulations such as the Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 in the UK. Therefore, a formal reporting system for spills is required to record and assist with legal requirements.In case of doubt, it is better to report an incident that looks like it may meet the criteria than not report it at all.

Systematic reporting of spill incidents helps to detect any adverse trends and identify underlying causes. After a serious near-miss or incident, a formal summary of lessons learned is good practice, taking care to keep it simple and accurate and avoid naming individuals.

Contact us should you require assistance.



Prevent Varicose Veins & Back Pain: Look after Your Workers’ Feet

It may sound strange, but even in this day and age it is legal for employers to require female employees to wear high heels. TUC footwear guidance states that it is estimated that 80% of adults have a foot or leg problem, such as swelling or varicose veins. Many of these issues can often be attributed to or exacerbated by work activities. Wearing inappropriate footwear can lead to back pain, and could also contribute to an accident, for example, if heavy items are dropped onto poorly-protected toes in a warehouse.

6 Tips to Help Protect Your Workers’ Feet

  1. Where the risk assessment of a work activity indicates that risks to feet cannot be controlled by other means, then workers will need appropriate safety footwear. Any footwear provided for this reason needs to be done so free of charge, and you must show workers how to wear and look after it correctly.
  2. Consider all possible hazards to feet in your workplace, including how they could be crushed, run over or caught in machinery. Communicate these hazards and your identified control measures to workers. Consider what footwear is appropriate in specific environments – you might allow flip flops in office settings, but not in the machine shop, for example. Keep floors clean and dry, as this could cause a slip or trip no matter what the footwear might be.
  3. Investigate ground conditions that could cause problems for feet, for example, nails found on the floor that could puncture the sole. Provide puncture-resistant footwear in this scenario.
  4. Make sure the safety footwear provided fits properly – there should be ‘wiggle room’ for toes. Give staff a choice and consult with them over options – get feedback on styles to be ordered next time.
  5. Review your dress code on a regular basis to ensure that staff are not prevented from wearing comfortable shoes – get safety representatives involved to ensure dress codes do not affect staff safety.
  6. Prevent prolonged standing, as this can cause leg, hip and back pain. Offer options on whether staff sit or stand, adapt the workplace where feasible, and rotate jobs regularly.

Feet need to be comfortable and protected at work – so make sure your footwear policy allows this to happen.

Contact us should you require advice.