Monthly Archives: November 2017

Tips for Working Near Electrical Cables

  1. Do a risk assessment in advance to determine the hazards involved in the work activity. This should involve tasks relating to excavations through to working on or near the cables. Think about how electric cables could be disturbed, perhaps by the use of sharp tools, or by being crushed by machinery.
  2. Obtain the necessary drawings from the utility company so that you know exactly where the cables are – this should include both buried cables and those overhead. Ensure all parties involved in the work have a copy of the drawings.
  3. Provide training for workers on scanning and also on what different underground cables look like, from electricity through to gas and even telephone lines. Inform them that they must report any damage to cables that occurs during their work.
  4. Develop a safe system of work for all workers to follow. Whenever possible arrange for the cabling to be made dead by contacting the supplier.
  5. Make sure that the work is undertaken by trained workers and that it is always supervised by a competent person. Always ensure that workers dig alongside the cable rather than above it, and that they use insulated tools when digging.

Make sure that you have the necessary procedures in place to prevent an accident like this happening to one of your workers.

Contact us for guidance at Walker Health and Safety Services.

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Stress overtakes MSDs in Britain’s workplaces

The frequency rate of work-related stress and mental health problems among workers in Great Britain rose in 2016-17 to 1,610 per 100,000 workers, according to the latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) injury and ill health statistics. This is the highest rate for at least the past 11 years.

Stress symptoms

Stress affects different people in different ways, and everyone has a different method of dealing with it. The chemicals that are released by your body as a result of stress can build up over time and cause various mental and physical symptoms.

Defining cases of work-related stress

Defining a case of work-related stress is complicated and is the subject of a 128-page report commissioned by the HSE. The conclusion drawn from the report is that no simple and universal case definition is possible, largely because of the complex nature of work-related stress.

The report suggests that stress should not be treated as an ‘illness’ but rather as a ‘process’, where the emotional experience of stress largely resulted from exposure to psychosocial hazards at work, and in the worst cases led to impairments of physical and psychological health of clinical and behavioural significance.

In terms of determining the presence of a case, the five critical elements of an epidemiological case assessment framework are:

  • the report of experience of work-related stress (or equivalent)
  • evidence of exposure to psychosocial hazards associated with work
  • evidence of the onset of a new condition of clinical significance or of the worsening of an existing condition of similar level of significance
  • evidence of a significant consequence, either in terms of absence from work or change in frequency of visits to a general practitioner (or treatment for ill health)
  • lack of evidence of any major confounding individual difference or circumstance.

Employers need to be proactive with employees to help understand what steps they need to take to proactively support their mental health so that you can focus on growing the business

Contact us should you require advice or assistance.


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Prevent Injuries to Workers from Moving Machinery Parts

Hand and arm injuries caused by machinery parts are far too common, even in this day and age. Take the time today to check all of your machines for hazards, and ensure that any moving parts are properly guarded.

  1. Do a risk assessment to identify the hazards presented by each of the machines on site. See where a worker could get their hand pulled in by a rotating blade or roller, where a sharp blade could cut them, or where a machinery part could crush them, for example.
  2. Prevent access to these parts where possible, for example by enclosing the machine. Paint lines around machines to show workers the safe areas in which they should stand. Provide emergency stop buttons in suitable places and ensure they are visible and working correctly. Use interlocks where feasible on machine doors to stop the process should the doors be opened during the machine cycle.
  3. Use suitable guarding on areas that are hard to fully enclose. Use fixed, durable guards that cannot be easily removed.
  4. Train workers on the hazards identified and on how to use control measures such as guarding. Make sure they know not to remove any guarding without permission, and that the machine must be isolated from the power source first.
  5. Prepare in advance for maintenance and cleaning activities. Plan how workers should undertake these roles, and how guarding or other controls are to be safely removed. Use a checklist to verify that all controls are back in place and working correctly before the machine is put back into use.

Contact us if you require assistance.


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