Category Archives: Health and Safety

Machinery Safety: Quick Facts

Machinery can pose a wide range of hazards to users and bystanders. As such, the control of machinery hazards is of paramount importance. Adequate training and instruction must be provided.

This blog provides an overview of the measures that need to be taken to protect operators and others from the hazards of machinery.

  1. The principal mechanical hazards are from contact with moving parts of the machinery resulting in entanglement, crushing, cuts, stabbing, punctures, fractures or amputation of fingers, hands or limbs.
  2. A risk assessment of all machinery must be carried out. It will help to define an action plan to eliminate or reduce the identified hazards.
  3. Before selecting employees to work with equipment, the job and personal attributes required for the job need to be specified. This will ensure that unsuitable candidates are not considered.
  4. Where employees cannot be completely excluded from hazards, a safe system of working should be adopted. The level of supervision should increase as the level of risk increases.
  5. If there are risks of serious injury or death, and no more secure method of risk reduction is practical, then a permit-to-work system should be introduced
  6. Training should be carried out to ensure that operators understand the hazards on the machinery, the precautions to be taken and the procedures to be adopted to ensure that they can carry out their tasks safely. Read our previous blog on staff working with machinery. https://blog.walkersafety.co.uk/2016/07/staff-working-with-machinery/

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Managing Stress

Actions to Address the Causes of Workplace Stress

To address the common aspects of working life that can cause stress, managers should regularly do the following.

 

Review workloads, targets and deadlines.

This may involve:

  • Reviewing the volume of work each employee is expected to achieve in order to assess whether it is fair, reasonable and realistic
  • Consulting employees about their workloads to establish how they perceive management’s expectations of them
  • Recognising that all individuals have their limits and are different in their abilities
  • Reviewing whether the demands being made on particular individuals are within those individuals’ personal coping resources
  • Taking steps to identify and cut out any unnecessary or duplicated work.

Examine working patterns and hours.

This may involve:

  • Accepting that it is detrimental both to individuals and the organisation if employees work excessively long hours
  • Examining ways of reducing working hours to a manageable and reasonable level, by considering strategies such as imposing a maximum number of permitted hours per week on all staff, monitoring whether employees take proper breaks and holidays, reviewing and/or redistributing workloads and/or recruiting additional staff
  • Offering employees a choice, wherever possible, as to their working patterns and the number of hours they work
  • Facilitating alternative ways of working, e.g. job-sharing or home working.

Review employees’ jobs and how they are done. This should involve:

  • Providing every employee with a clearly written job description which details their responsibilities, duties, objectives and priorities
  • Giving individuals more control over their day-to-day work whenever possible
  • Finding ways of giving employees opportunities to do different or more challenging work from time to time
  • Listening to employees’ views about their work and the ways in which it is performed.

Examine whether communication is effective. This may involve:

  • Reassessing how communication takes place in the organisation, e.g. if it is all conducted by email, seek to spend more time talking to people face-to-face
  • Introducing email etiquette and guidelines to encourage staff to think about when email communication is or is not appropriate and provide examples
  • Checking (rather than assuming) that each employee properly understands how his or her job fits in with the organisation as a whole
  • Consulting staff regularly about matters that might affect them
  • Providing individuals with regular face-to-face feedback on performance, remembering that a little bit of praise can go a long way
  • Encouraging employees to raise any workplace problems they may have, including problems related to workplace stress, while making sure that everyone knows they can do so without fear of recrimination.

Provide adequate training, support and resources. This should involve:

  • Ensuring that no employee is promoted or transferred before he or she has received the necessary training for the new post
  • Consulting each employee about his or her training needs, while recognising that different people need different amounts of support
  • Making time to provide individuals with relevant training and coaching.

Examine the prevalent management style. This may involve:

  • Conducting an attitude survey to find out how employees view the organisation’s management
  • Offering management training to all those who have supervisory responsibility for staff
  • Encouraging an open, consultative management style
  • Providing coaching to any managers whose traditional style is perceived as authoritarian or dictatorial.

Implement a bullying and harassment policy and associated complaints procedure. This will involve:

  • Recognising that workplace bullying happens, rather than denying its existence
  • Recognising that bullying can take many forms
  • Making and communicating a strong management commitment to the elimination of bullying and harassment in the workplace
  • Taking all complaints of bullying or harassment seriously
  • Investigating any complaints promptly with a view to putting a stop to any behaviour that is causing offence or distress
  • Providing awareness training on harassment for all staff
  • Taking disciplinary action against any employee who is found to have bullied or harassed a colleague.

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Epilepsy in the workplace: a 10 step guide

Epilepsy is a neurological condition affecting around 600,000 people in the UK — so it’s essential that every employer knows how to help those with the condition. Health, safety and ergonomics consultants System Concepts lay out the 10 key actions to take.

What every employer needs to know

The majority of people diagnosed with epilepsy are likely to be classified as disabled by the Equality Act 2010. This means that employers must make reasonable adjustments for people with epilepsy, and complete appropriate risk assessments.

There are many different types of epilepsy, but people who have it have a tendency to have epileptic seizures. A seizure is a sudden burst of electrical activity in the brain, which causes a temporary disruption to the way the brain normally works. Seizures can range from the person remaining alert and aware of their surroundings, through to the person losing awareness and becoming stiff, falling to the floor and/or experiencing uncontrollable, jerky bodily movements.

If your organisation has an employee with epilepsy, these are the 10 key actions you should take.

  1. Understand the nature of the condition. Have a private talk with the affected employee to discuss how the condition affects them. Ask about:
    • medication requirements (particularly at work)
    • how well their epilepsy is managed
    • type, duration and frequency of seizures
    • any associated musculoskeletal issues
    • any medication side effects
    • any warning signs that they are about to have a seizure.
  2. Identify any triggers for seizures. This will help you work out how these can be eliminated or reduced to minimise the risk as much as possible. Consider:
    • temperature
    • light
    • stress
    • tiredness
    • flicker
    • season
    • whether the work is indoors/outdoors
    • computer screens, etc.
  3. Understand the individual’s requirements during and after a seizure. Once you know these, you can ensure that appropriate provision is made, eg a suitable place for rest/recovery, such as a first-aid room with appropriate facilities. Questions to ask would include:
    • the likely recovery time
    • the individual’s preferences for recovery (location, need for sleep or rest, desire to be accompanied, ability to continue working, practicalities of recovering at work or home)
    • when paramedics are required or when first aiders should be able to manage the situation.
  4. Develop a care plan. This should be an individual care plan that sets out the details of the above three points.
  5. Consider allocating the person a dedicated locker. This would allow them to store items needed during/after they have a seizure (if not fully controlled by the medication). This could be used for:
    • their care plan
    • a breathable pillow
    • a blanket
    • any required medications
    • a spare change of clothes.

    Ideally, their line manager and first aiders would have a key to the locker for use when the individual is unable to access the contents themselves.

  6. Organise the individual’s work. Working hours, tasks and the pace of work should all be evaluated to ensure:
    • targets and workload are manageable
    • lone working is avoided
    • driving is not required
    • shifts that might influence seizures or medication times are avoided
    • adequate breaks are given
    • there will be at least one first aider on site with the individual at all times.
  7. Complete a DSE workstation assessment. This may indicate that certain equipment may be useful. Someone who has epileptic seizures is likely to require a:
    • LCD screen
    • fully padded chair with armrests, high backrest, headrest and braking system
    • padding around any hard surfaces or sharp corners (such as the desk)
    • wireless headset
    • large space around the workstation, free of any hazards (such as loose cables).
  8. Ensure their safety in the workplace. Things to consider would include:
    • implementing a buddy system or asking the individual to wear a fall-activated or pendant alarm
    • reducing the need for them to use stairs, wherever possible (the importance of enforcing this is dependent on the nature and frequency of their seizures)
    • (with the individual’s permission) inform everyone who regularly comes into close contact with them about the nature of their condition and how to react in an emergency situation — this includes site first aiders, close colleagues, reception staff, canteen staff and security staff.
  9. Provide easy access to an accessible toilet. If they are at risk of seizures, an accessible toilet offers more space and:
    • the risk of injury is reduced
    • they can use the alarm pull cord to request assistance, if needed
    • the door can be opened from the outside in the event of an emergency
    • how they will make their way to their nearest fire escape route
    • what assistance they will need to get to the nearest fire escape route
    • how they will travel down stairs to the final fire exit, including use of an evacuation chair and who is trained to use it
    • what assistance they will need outside of the office at the assembly point. Complete a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) for the individual.Epilepsy at work is a more common issue than you may have realised, and employers need to be aware of their responsibilities to help employees with this neurological condition.

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Mobile Devices: Quick Facts

Networked mobile devices, cloud-based data management and 4G networks mean we can now work almost anywhere. Flexible working can save costs and improve the work-life balance of employees, resulting in more staff working while travelling and away from the office. This means an increasing use of mobile devices (laptops, tablets and smartphones).

However, mobile working comes at a cost: it has introduced ergonomics risks including musculoskeletal strain (eg “text thumb” or “tablet neck”) and digital eye strain. This topic explores the health risks associated with mobile devices and advises on how to ensure the safe use of mobile devices.

  • Mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones are covered by the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 (as amended), which promote the safe and effective use of equipment with alphanumeric or graphic screens.
  • Mobile working includes working on a train, in a car, at home, in a hotel/café, when visiting other workplaces, and when working at your own workplace.
  • Sustained use of mobile devices can lead to poor neck and back posture and musculoskeletal strain from repetitive actions, as well as eye strain.
  • Employers can provide peripheral equipment to improve employees’ posture, comfort and wellbeing.
  • Organisations must provide training and information for staff who make prolonged use of mobile devices, or for whom mobile working forms a significant part of their work.

Contact Walker Health and Safety Services for further assistance.

 

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Vaping – Not safe at all!

E-cigarettes may be more harmful than we think, researchers have warned in a new study that may cause employers to review their corporate vaping policies.

The findings, which were published in the journal Thorax, have concluded that vaping disables key immune cells in the lung that keep the air spaces clear of potentially harmful particles, and as a result can boost inflammation in the body.

In July 2016, there was an article published on the Gov.uk website – Use of E-cigarettes in Public Places and Workplaces. Advice to Inform Evidence-based Policy Making. The advice said that, in contrast to the known harm from exposure to second hand smoke, there was at that time no evidence of harm from second hand e-cigarette vapour and the risks were likely to be extremely low.

However, the new findings have prompted researchers to suggest that while further research is needed to better understand the long-term health impact of vaping on people, e-cigarettes may be more harmful than we think, as some of the effects were similar to those seen in regular smokers and people with chronic lung disease.

With the fast evolution of technology, some workplace policies may become outdated. As such, employers should regularly review, amend and update their policies. Some employers may find that the smoking policies they  have do not cover e-cigarettes at all.

If, as an employer, you decide that you want to introduce policies to control vaping on the work premises within working hours, then you should decide whether you want to treat vaping in the same way as smoking. It may be recommended that the company support employees who choose to vape by assigning them a separate vaping area to the smoking area, to prevent passive smoking and so that smokers trying to quit will not be tempted. Whether you choose to introduce a policy for vaping or not, you should consider the views and comfort of all your staff: smokers, vapers, and non-users. Allowing vapers free range may affect the comfort of non-users and may not be practicable in certain workplaces, such as an office.

When making a vaping policy you should consider the following.

  • Make a distinction between smoking and vaping and make sure that the policy sets rules on both practices.
  • Consider bystanders, and non-users and their comfort. Ensure smoking/vaping areas are not in close vicinity.
  • Adapt your policy to limit exposure and uptake of vaping by children, young people or young workers, eg if the role involves working with children your policy may ban smoking and vaping in their view.
  • Conduct fact-finding investigations if you receive allegations of smoking in breach of the workplace policy, as some e-cigarettes can be easily mistaken for cigarettes.

if you require advice, please contact Walker Health and Safety Services.

 

 

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Employee PPE Responsibilities

PPE is designed to protect workers from workplace hazards and risk but PPE doesn’t last as long as you’d think. Once you have the equipment, your job isn’t over! It all depends on how often your PPE is used and in which conditions. PPE is provided by employers and needs to be inspected regularly to measure and test safety, but who should be in charge of carrying out those checks and determining when replacement is necessary? Is it the employer? The department manager? Or should there be employee PPE responsibilities? The easiest answer is that there should be a dedicated employee or team of employees who are responsible for each type of equipment.

Assigning an important task to your employees helps them take ownership of their well-being and safety. Of course, ultimately, it’s the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe work space through correct health and safety procedures and measures but having someone responsible for routine checks is a good idea with a more overarching view taken on, say, a quarterly basis.

Consider having a monthly check on all PPE that is given to employees. Inform employees that any damaged items are reported immediately, and all damaged equipment is replaced before the employee returns to work.

A Good PPE Program:

  • Conducts a Workplace Survey
  • Assesses Safety Measures
  • Selects Appropriate Controls
  • Selects the Right Equipment
  • Conducts Fit Tests
  • Trains Employees on Equipment Use
  • Offers Management Support
  • Maintains and Stores Equipment Correctly
  • Audits the Programme RegularlyAlways keep a stock of equipment on your premises. That way if equipment needs replacing, you can replace it quickly and safely. But keep in mind that some types of equipment can break down over time even if they’re unused (like hard hats and dust masks), but that’s only for equipment that has a date stamp on it.
  • It’s important to create a culture of responsible PPE use in the workplace. Having well stocked supplies and employees seeing the regular deliveries of new equipment will generate a sense of responsibility. When employees see a lack of commitment to PPE on the employers part (i.e. not regularly restocked and not up to regulation standards) they are much less likely to have that same motivation to implement a safe environment for themselves or others. Lead by example – you want to set a great example for your employees and demand that safety is taken seriously. If you do not adhere to safety standards it costs both you and your employee money – perhaps in sick days, compensation, or lost time at work.
  • If your employee reports faulty equipment and you do not replace it, then you are responsible. Make sure your employee knows that reporting damaged equipment is key for their safety.

A brief guide can be found here http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg174.pdf

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Do employers have to provide sun cream?

With British temperatures rising each summer, most people are aware of the dangers of skin cancer and sunburn; however, when your employees work outside, how can they protect themselves from summer heat waves? Sun cream is one of the easiest and most logical answers – outside of protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses – but do employers have to provide sun cream for employees?

The simple answer is no, they don’t. There is no legal obligation for employers to provide sun cream. The PPE at Work Regulation of 1992 notes that employees must be provided with suitable PPE for work conditions, and that means work conditions and weather should be taken into account.

It is advisable that employers provide sun protection advice and training as part of any health and safety training.

To protect workers provide appropriate clothing, hats and eyewear. Consider limiting sun exposure by scheduling work when the sun is not at its hottest, if that is possible! Allow workers to take frequent breaks in shady areas, and provide adequate drinking water.

This guidance leaflet provides further information which could be pasted onto employees.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg337.pdf

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Summer Newsletter

Winter Newsletter

Tackling Health & Safety in 2018 (6)

In each newsletter we will be exploring the top 8 pieces of workplace health and safety legislation that you should be aware of. In our Spring Newsletter, we explored the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. If you haven’t done so already, you can read our Spring Newsletter here.

In this edition of our newsletter, we have chosen to talk about Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 and Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

Under these regulations, to protect your workforce, you are required to:

  • Avoid, where reasonably possible, the necessity for employees to carry out manual handling activities that involve the risk of injury.
  • Produce risk assessments so the chance of injury through manual handling is reduced.
  • Ensure employees involved in this work are given information on how much each load weighs.
  • You should also consider, in the risk assessment, an individual’s personal characteristics, such as their strength and understanding of how to lift safely.

Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

This section outlines that as an employer, you must:

  • Make sure appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)is supplied without cost to the employee. PPE includes safety helmets, protective goggles, facemasks, gloves, ear defenders, air filters, protective footwear and overalls.
  • Ensure PPE is suitable for the specific types of risk in the workplace environment.
  • Give workers information, instruction and training on the use of PPE.

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7 Common Workplace Safety Hazards

Just like safety issues in the home, such as work hazardsmaintaining electrical appliances and protecting children from hazardous materials, a workplace needs adequate maintenance and protection to keep employees safe. Sensitive problems such as bullying can be addressed by training and the implementation of proactive management policies, but other common health and safety hazards that can have a serious physical impact need to be addressed by supplying the correct safety equipment. Here is a quick guide to what employers should be aware of to ensure workplace safety.

  1. Chemicals

When employees have to handle harmful or dangerous chemicals as part of their work, to stay safe, they must wear protective clothing, including specially treated gloves. It is also essential that any potentially harmful substances are labelled, and the correct signage is in place to warn of workplace hazards.

  1. Confined spaces

The Confined Spaces Regulations 1997 are intended to protect workers from unsafe work practices. As an employer, you need to ensure a safe work system is in place should it be necessary for anyone to enter a confined space in the workplace. That system is likely to include enforcing restricted entry policies and posting appropriate warning signs.

  1. Electrics

Electrical safety is an important issue in workplaces; especially where there is a risk that heavy-duty equipment might cause electric shocks. Warning signs must be in place, and information about how to treat victims of electric shock should be readily available.

Remember that extension leads may also be a safety hazard and use only surge-protected types in your workplace.

  1. Forklifts

Forklift trucks are used in warehouses and yards for moving heavy loads from one area to another; they are also capable of inflicting serious injury unless safety guidelines are followed. Most responsible employers use floor signs to ensure drivers and pedestrians are aware when forklifts are operating in a particular area, as well as floor tape and wall signs to demarcate areas where forklifts are not permitted.

  1. Lockout or tagout

Using a lockout or tagout procedure ensures machinery is properly shut down after use and will not be operated again until it is safe to do so. It’s important to pay attention to lockout systems and procedures, as countless accidents occur every year when these are not implemented. Use high visibility lockout tags to indicate who is authorised to use machinery and when.

  1. Poor housekeeping 

Your home is kept free from hazards by good housekeeping practices: spills are mopped up promptly to prevent slips and falls, visible dirt is cleaned away, and household waste is carefully disposed of. Those same principles apply to a workplace; so good housekeeping is an essential component of minimising accidents at work. It’s important to warn employees and customers when floors have been recently cleaned and may still be wet, or when cleaners are at work on-site dealing with waste.

  1. Working at height 

Specialist equipment has made a great difference to the safety of employees who have to work at height. You can now source platforms with handrails, bespoke safety helmets and kits for roofers, so there’s no excuse for unsafe working practices that could cause harm.

 

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The Importance of a Clean Workplace

Industrial CleaningMaintaining high levels of hygiene should be an essential element of how any workplace operates. As an employer, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires you to have a general duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all your employees, so far as is ‘reasonably practical.’

The issue of hygiene is a part of this legislation, so you need to be sure you are providing the facilities and information for your employees to create a hygienic and clean workplace.

Why is workplace hygiene important?

There are potential dangers for any workplace if there is little or no emphasis on why hygiene is important. Primary among these risks is the possibility of infection, whether it’s through poor personal hygiene, slapdash office cleaning or badly managed washroom facilities. You can prevent many of these problems by having a strategy for maintaining a hygienic workplace.

Personal hygiene

This refers to the habits, cleanliness and appearance of your employees. It can be a sensitive area for employers and managers, so an official policy can diffuse any awkwardness by setting down exactly what is expected from everyone. Depending on your business, there may be options to provide shower facilities if employees exercise before work or rely on a bike for transport, and you can ask that hair washing and grooming facial hair is a part of usual personal hygiene for work. Hand washing and the use of hand sanitisers are also key tools to help prevent the spread of illness.

Washroom facilities

Your policy on hygiene requirements should ensure that washrooms equipped with running cold and hot water are provided for all employees. You should also provide hand soap, toilet paper and towels for drying hands. This allows employees to attend to their personal hygiene when they have finished using the facilities. If you contract the cleaning of toilets and washrooms to an outside agency, you should be clear about the levels of cleanliness you require and how often cleaning should be done.

Kitchen

Kitchens can be a health risk if proper cleanliness is not observed. Any area where food is prepared or hot drinks are made should have a high level of cleaning, including preparation surfaces, utensils and cups, mugs, plates and cutlery, where provided. Your employees are entitled to complain if they consider there is a health risk through poor maintenance and cleaning of the kitchen area, but you can also encourage them to take responsibility to protect themselves and practice a good hygiene regime.

Office cleanliness

Employees should be encouraged to be responsible for cleaning and maintaining their own work areas or workstation. This can be part of your hygiene policy so everyone is aware of it and agrees with it. Surfaces can be cleaned with disinfectant to reduce the possibility of bacterial infection, and desks should be kept tidy and as clutter-free as possible. If employees have individual bins, it’s important to ensure these are emptied on a daily basis.

Good hygiene makes good sense

When your employees are aware of why it is important to have a hygienic workplace, they are more likely to follow your policy guidelines and create a pleasant and safe environment in which to do their jobs. If everyone is vigilant, sickness levels in the workplace can be significantly reduced.

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Carrying out a COSHH Assessment

ChemicalsCOSHH – Control of Substances Hazardous to Health – falls under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. It requires that employers either prevent or reduce their staff’s exposure to materials that are dangerous to their health.

Many substances that are health hazards may appear obvious, such as chemicals and radiation, but you should also be aware that other substances can be harmful. Chemicals will have labels to warn you of their toxicity and danger, but other dangers include fumes and dust from sanding wood or from cutting silica. Bacteria also pose threats, and asbestos still appears in older buildings and should be removed safely.

In terms of health and safety, you must protect your employees from the potentially dangerous consequences of handling, manufacturing or being in areas where there are hazardous substances.

Harmful substances can get into the body in a number of ways. They could be breathed in or get onto the skin, thus damaging it, or in certain situations, they may permeate the skin, and enter the body that way. There is also a risk of swallowing a harmful substance, and you need to understand the effects of exposure by any of these routes.

Other considerations are how long people work with the substance and how often. Also be aware of those who could be exposed even if they do not work directly with a hazardous substance. It’s not just your workforce who could be affected, but also contractors, maintenance workers and other visitors, including members of the public. Cleaners or other part-time staff undertaking specific tasks may also be at risk of accidental exposure.

Legally, you must protect your employees with safe working practices, appropriate training and the right personal and protective equipment when required. Check legislation and regulation to keep your workforce safe and to protect your business.

The Difference Between Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and COSHH Assessments

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Workplace Temperatures

work place temperatureIt may not happen very often, but when the UK is sweltering in a heatwave it’s not always everyone’s idea of bliss.

There are regulations that govern the temperature of indoor workplaces, these are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, they state that the minimum indoor workplace temperature should be at least 16C. If the work involves what is called ‘rigorous physical effort’, then the minimum temperature should be at least 13C.

However, the specified minimum temperatures are not absolute legal requirements, but the employer does have a duty to ensure staff work in reasonable comfort.

In terms of a maximum working temperature, the HSE do not specify a specific limit as high temperatures can vary in different workplaces – for example a kitchen and glass works. In high-temperature working environments such as these, the HSE says that it is still possible for employees to work safely providing that all necessary safety controls are in place.

Here are a few suggestions that employers could do:

  • Utilise air-conditioners by replacing hot air with cold, or vice-versa
  • Use humidifiers to dehumidify or humidify the air in the workplace
  • Increase ventilation in the workplace, or redirect air movement onto or away from employees
  • Put up barriers to either shield or insulate the work area, or restrict access to certain areas
  • If protective clothing is worn, then employers should ensure that employees are not wearing too much than is required to be safe
  • Review the rules and propose alternative uniforms / dress codes to improve levels of comfort e.g. short sleeves
  • Make sure employees are given appropriate training and provided with supervision
  • Seek professional medical advice for any ‘at risk’ employees e.g. those who are pregnant, are on medication or have an illness or disability

Health and safety

  • After eating a meal in a restaurant, a diner requested a toothpick but was told he could not have one on health and safety grounds. The panel reassured him: “There is no health and safety regulation which stops toothpicks being handed out in a restaurant… whether or not to provide toothpicks is about cost and customer service, not health and safety.”
  • A council emailed an instruction to remove a flag from the inside of one of their windows stating that it breached health & safety legislation. In fact, it was the council’s own policies rather than legislation that led to the worker receiving the email.

If you have any questions relating to this newsletter, please contact Walker Health and Safety Services Limited. Info@walkersafety.co.uk 08458340400

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Display Screen Equipment: Quick Facts

Many jobs now require the prolonged use of display screen equipment (DSE) to complete work tasks, more time is spent seated in one posture and reports of ill health relating to work with DSE have risen. DSE now incorporates much more than just computer screens in an office.

This topic offers advice on the safe use of DSE in the workplace and examines various related health issues. It also looks at how to arrange a workstation and how to conduct DSE risk assessments to identify potential risks and hazards.

  • Display screen equipment (DSE) is covered by the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, which promote the safe and effective use of DSE.
  • All aspects of the equipment and workstation are considered part of work with DSE.
  • The way in which DSE is used may lead to upper limb disorders, fatigue, stress or eye discomfort.
  • Excessive force, repetitive activities and poor postures are the three components perceived to be the biggest contributors to ill health associated with DSE work.
  • The appropriate set up of all features of the workstation can prevent discomfort from work with DSE.
  • Peripheral items for use with DSE can greatly improve the user’s comfort and effectiveness. Items must be selected for the person or the task to ensure suitability.
  • Rest breaks and changes of activity are essential in ensuring safe and effective work with DSE.
  • Checklists can be used to assess DSE work and ensure the workstation is suitable for the user to complete the required tasks.

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Safety and Car Parks

Car park owners, and any contractors operating car parks on their behalf, have a responsibility to ensure that car parks are safe to use.

Many organisations operate car parks. This can be as part of the organisation’s overall commercial activity or as a utility for employees.

Car parks can present many hazards. People in the vicinity of the car park can be hit by moving vehicles or crushed against other objects by vehicles. Crime can also occur in parking areas, both against vehicles and against individuals who use the car park as well as those who may work in such establishments.

Under the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 and subsidiary legislation, car park owners and any contractors operating car parks on their behalf, have a responsibility to ensure that car parks are safe to use.

Car park hazards

Car parks owned or used by an organisation can range from simple ground-floor level parking areas to multi-storey or underground complexes.

There are several hazards associated with car parks including:

  • over-parking and site congestion resulting in dangerous manoeuvres, blocking of pedestrian routes, etc
  • lack of properly segregated and/or poorly marked parking areas without clearly defined pedestrian routes
  • carelessly parked cars that obstruct pedestrian routes and reduce the visibility of other drivers and pedestrians
  • lack of safe, segregated routes from the parking area to the workplace (including poor surfaces, lighting, etc)
  • security concerns of crime against individuals using or working in car parks as well as vehicle-related crime
  • poor maintenance of car park equipment and facilities resulting in equipment failure and accidents

In extreme cases, failure to manage car park facilities can result in serious incidents and even fatalities.

Personal safety

A number of hazards may have to be considered including:

  • weather extremes and the potential for ill health
  • being struck by vehicles if moving around the car park

Criminal activity is common in some car parking areas with crimes involving theft from vehicles or, more seriously, theft and/or assaults on persons.

Inspection and monitoring

In general terms, when inspecting car parks, those with responsibility should ensure that:

  • all markings and signage are clear and in good condition
  • height/width restrictions are in good condition
  • horizontal or vertical barriers (if fitted) are working correctly
  • car park users are parking vehicles correctly and following rules
  • pedestrians are using routes appropriately
  • there are no issues of over-parking.

General good housekeeping is also important because if obstructions are left blocking traffic routes, or if driving or walking surfaces become littered, slippery or too dirty, they may cause significant risks to health and safety.

All ancillary equipment should be subject to appropriate inspection and maintenance procedures. This may include, for example, automated gates or barriers, lighting, CCTV, payment machines.

Contact Walker Health and Safety Services if you require assistance.

 

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