Monthly Archives: December 2016

Protect Your Workers’ Backs with These 5 Tips

Often, safety issues can end up taking precedence over health issues, but it is imperative that action is taken to ensure both the health and safety of employees – so make sure you identify today where your health risks may lie.

  1. Do a risk assessment to identify how workers could be affected by manual handling activities, in relation to musculoskeletal disorders (where injury or damage could be caused to the tissue or joints within the back or limbs). Consider whether workers actually need to move loads in the first place, and whether mechanical aids could be used instead.
  2. Consider the most appropriate aid that could be used, such as a pallet truck, trolley or a conveyor. Ensure that aids are inspected and maintained properly.
  3. If workers need to move loads by hand, make sure that the loads are as small and light as possible. Reduce the distance that loads need to be carried, and limit awkward movements such as stooping or twisting. Ensure good lighting is available and that routes are kept free from obstructions.
  4. Give workers effective training – tell them what the risk factors are and how injuries could occur within their tasks. Show them how to use mechanical aids properly and how to lift correctly. Ensure training is tailored to the task.
  5. Where possible, label loads so that workers can see how heavy items actually are before lifting them. Get them to test loads before moving them to check that they are confident in their ability to move them.

Contact us for advice.

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Don’t Let ‘Elf and Safety’ Ruin Your Workplace Festivities!

A few years ago, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released their 12 Myths of Christmas to enable workplaces to get the balance right between safety and fun, and to dispel the myths around whether workplaces should allow festive decorations in the first place. The key messages were that

(1) health and safety is often wrongly cited as the reason for stopping Christmas activities from taking place, and

(2) companies should assess the risks and look to provide suitable equipment (such as stepladders) to prevent workers standing on desks or moveable chairs that could give rise to an injury.

Top Tips to Maintain Workplace Safety During the Festive Season

Trees

Christmas trees are one of the major fire hazards of the season as dry trees catch fire easy and burn quickly, creating toxic fumes. If you opt for a real tree, check that it has been freshly cut – if you bang it on the ground and lots of needles fall off, it’s likely to already have dried out. Instead, choose a tree with green needles and a sticky trunk. Take the tree down before it dries out, and keep it well watered whilst it’s up.

Fairy Lights

It’s a myth that fairy lights need to be PAT tested every year – instead, give them a check over and look for any damage before using. Don’t overload sockets, and be sure to use the correct fuse as stated on the packaging. Always switch fairy lights off at the end of the day, and replace blown bulbs promptly.

Decorations

Ensure that decorations are non-flammable, and where possible shatterproof in case they are dropped. Keep decorations away from heat sources such as radiators, lights and heaters. Make sure they don’t create a trip hazard by keeping them away from walkways, and ensure that fire exits are not blocked in any way. Always ensure that any steps and ladders used for accessing heights are placed on a level surface, and they are fully locked out in position for stability. Take the above steps to ensure that your workplace stays safe this Christmas.

Have fun, and enjoy the festive period!

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Tips to Prevent Worker Exposure to Metalworking Fluids

The risks from coming into contact with metalworking fluids are well-known, yet there are still companies who do not protect their workers from developing serious health problems associated with the substance. Take the necessary steps to make sure your company is not one of them.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the cases of ill health amongst the workers and found that the measures put in place by the company to prevent or control exposure to metalworking fluid mists were inadequate. There were also failings in the company’s health surveillance provision. Metalworking fluids are often used as lubricants or coolants and are widely used across many manufacturing industries, with the dangers of breathing them in being well-known.

  1. Conduct a risk assessment across all machines and processes to identify where exposure could occur for your workers. Communicate the identified risks to workers and teach them how to use the precautions you put in place, such as the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  2. Take action to minimise skin exposure. Prevent skin coming into contact with the substance when using or moving parts/tool pieces, or when undertaking maintenance, by wearing suitable gloves and using face shields.
  3. Prevent mists of metalworking fluid from entering the workspace. Enclose machinery operations to reduce the likelihood of mists escaping, and ensure that extraction is used to control them at source. Make sure there is a time delay on machine doors so that no one can open them before the extraction has fully finished.
  4. Introduce health surveillance for workers where exposure cannot be prevented. For skin, this should involve regular skin checks by a suitably trained person, and for breathing, at least an annual health questionnaire in the first instance.
  5. Control bacterial contamination within the fluid, as this can cause irritation of the respiratory tract. Microbiological dip slides can be used to test the fluid for this purpose. Regularly check your metalworking fluids to ensure sump oil is not dirty or smelly, as this could indicate a problem that needs resolving.

Contact us, if you require information.

 

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