Monthly Archives: September 2017

Preventing Accidents Involving Employees and Workplace Vehicles

Many workers are injured each year by moving work vehicles that either didnt see them or started unexpectedly. Take the time today to check your vehicle management plan to ensure that your workers are protected.
Tips to Prevent Accidents Involving Employees and Workplace Vehicles
  1. Undertake a risk assessment to determine where the hazards involving pedestrians and vehicles are. Walk around your site to identify where vehicles are or could potentially be in the vicinity of employees and others. Identify how someone could be run over, reversed into or even crushed against a building or another vehicle.
  2. Prevent the need for vehicles to reverse whenever possible, by using one way systems and the correct signage to make the routes clear. If using a banksman, make sure they are trained and competent to do the job.
  3. Always aim to keep vehicles and pedestrians separate. Provide designated walkways for workers to use, and install barriers to keep vehicles away from these areas. Ensure that vehicle routes have good visibility, and introduce speed limits.
  4. If workers need to approach vehicles such as excavators, prevent the vehicle moving by ensuring the driver puts the handbrake on and removes the ignition key.
  5. Don’t allow drivers to use mobile phones whilst using workplace transport, or for them to have headphones on these are both a major distraction. Ensure that drivers have good visibility in the cab/driving seat check that windows are kept clean, that wipers work properly and that reversing sensors and alarms are working correctly.

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Ensure Ladder Jobs are Carried Out Safely

Ladders are often useful pieces of equipment for short-term, low risk jobs, but serious (if not fatal) accidents can occur if they are not used correctly. Take the time before starting any job to check that your ladder procedures are fit for purpose.

Tips to Ensure Ladder Jobs are Carried Out Safely

  1. Do a risk assessment for the task you intend to carry out that involves working at height. From looking at the risks involved, check whether a ladder is the correct piece of access equipment to use. As a general rule, ladders should be used for no more than 30 minutes duration for low risk work, perhaps in hard to reach places where other access equipment would not fit.
  2. Plan the work properly and include step-by-step instructions for workers to follow. Communicate to workers and contractors what jobs can be carried out on ladders, and the conditions under which they can or can’t be used – for example, preventing their use outside in windy weather.
  3. Train workers to use ladders safely. Make sure they know to position them correctly on the ground to ensure stability, and that they know to check the floor for contaminants such as oil first.
  4. Ensure workers know how to check ladders before each use, to look for any faults such as missing rungs, broken platforms or damaged feet. Make sure they are clear on how to report these ladders as faulty straight away so that the equipment can be fixed or disposed of accordingly.
  5. Supervise workers who use ladders and make sure they maintain three points of contact on the ladder at all times.

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Understanding Stress

Understand what “stress” really means

Stress is something which we will all experience at different times in our lives. It will occur when we perceive that we are experiencing levels of pressure that we find difficult to cope with (ie either too much or too little pressure). A certain level of pressure, or challenge, is necessary to enable us to get the most out of life, but pressure should not be confused with stress. Stress, mismanaged, can cause both mental and physical illness.

Some common causes of stress                    Some common effects of stress

  • Bereavement.                                                           High levels of anxiety.
  • Serious illness of a loved one.                               Low self-esteem.
  • Moving house.                                                          Inability to concentrate
  • Excessive workload.                                                Being more prone to accidents.
  • Loneliness.                                                                Headaches/migraine.
  • Financial worries.                                                     Depression.
  • Home/work conflicts.                                              Panic attacks.
  • Boredom.                                                                  Chest pains.
  • Relationship problems.                                          Stomach problems.
  • Being bullied or harassed.                                     Relationship problems.

Proven coping strategies for managing stress

Turning to food, alcohol or nicotine does not work, and might worsen the situation. Try some of the coping strategies below instead.

  • Learn to recognise your own early warning signs — you might, for example, find yourself becoming very anxious, irritable or tearful.
  • Work out what is really causing you stress. It is all too easy to blame one source. In reality stress usually comes from a variety of sources, one of which might even be you. Do you ever question the expectations you have of yourself and others? Review what action you could take to reduce or eliminate the things that are causing you stress.
  • Make time for a short period of relaxation every day. Do something which you enjoy and which fits into your life. This does not need to be difficult or time-consuming.
  • Do not give up on exercise or feel it is a waste of time. Make sure you make time for moderate exercise each day, such as swimming or walking. It will make you feel fitter and far more in control.
  • Eating and drinking sensibly can really help. Try and ensure that you:
    • eat a balanced diet, and do not skip breakfast — it will boost your energy levels
    • eat complex carbohydrates, eg pasta and wholemeal bread, rather than refined carbohydrates, eg cakes and pastries, as this can help keep your sugar levels in balance and prevent mood swings
    • eat lots of fruit and vegetables, as this can help support your immune system which is often affected when an individual is under stress
    • drink plenty of water, as this will help rehydrate your body and flush out toxins
    • keep your intake of alcohol and caffeine within sensible limits — caffeine is not just in tea and coffee, but is also found in chocolate and some cola drinks.
  • Manage your time effectively. Cut out time wasting and establish priorities by identifying what you:
    • must do
    • should do
    • like to do.
  • Learn to say “no”. It is easy to find yourself with too much to do because you take on too much. Alternatively, make a compromise — accept the work but explain you will not be able to do it for several weeks.
  • If you feel you have insufficient challenges in your life, set yourself some new goals — ones that are realistic and achievable.
  • It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. Other people can often be very helpful and give practical and useful advice. If you need help, turn to someone you trust or contact one of the national helplines. Your own GP can also be supportive at these times.

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Don’t Ignore HSE Advice or Notices

It is imperative that you always comply with any enforcement given by the HSE, if directors and company owners fail to do so they could end up with a prison sentence.

Tips to Ensure Your Premises are Safe for Workers and Members of the Public

  1. Check the boundaries of your premises to ensure that there are no gaps or holes in fencing and hedging. Lock up your workplace securely at the end of the day and when the site is unoccupied.
  2. Remove the keys from transport and machinery when not in use by trained workers, to prevent unauthorised use.
  3. Lock up gas cylinders in a cage or other similar device, to prevent them being damaged or set fire to. Store flammables such as paint or solvents in a suitable area away from ignition sources, and dispose of waste properly.
  4. Cover up holes and trenches with boards and put guards and barriers around any areas which persons could fall into, including water.
  5. Remove ladders or cover them up with boards to prevent trespassers climbing onto structures and falling from height.
  6. Maintain machinery, work equipment and lifting equipment properly. Stick to defined maintenance and testing schedules, and repair any defects or faults straight away.

If you require advice, please contact us.

 

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