The Head of Field Operations for the HSE (Mr David Ashton) addressed the IOSH Conference in February 2013 and presented an update on Fee for Intervention (or FFI). It seems that somewhere between a quarter and a third of inspections carried out by the HSE since the cost recovery scheme came into force on 01 October 2012 have found a material breach. This equates to about 1400 invoices having been raised by the HSE for FFI. When a material breach is identified, then the HSE can recover cost from the duty-holder (the company).
For further information about FFI and how the scheme works, read these previous blog articles:
There are several programmes across the UK to support a month-long drive to improve standards in one of Britain’s most dangerous industries: the Construction Industry. Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will visit sites across the county where refurbishment or repair works are taking place.
For a four week period from 18 February they will make unannounced visits to construction site to ensure duty holders are managing high-risk activity, such as working at height. They will also check for general good order, assess welfare facilities and check whether suitable PPE, such as head protection, is being used appropriately.
According to the HSE, during 2011/12, thirty (30) construction workers were seriously injured in Leicestershire and Rutland, while nationally there were 49 deaths and more than 2,800 major injuries.
The original Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1988 (COSHH) came into force in October 1989, it was implemented to protect those who may be exposed to hazardous substances in the workplace: not as some cynics had said “to place an unnecessary burden on the employer ie to cosh them over the head.
The regulations have been amended and replaced several times over to the present Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended), yet nearly 25 years later there are some employers who remain blissfully ignorant of the requirements of the regulations.
In defence of the employer, many have come to rely on the “external Consultant”, without realising that some of whom have had very little training with regards to chemicals. In other cases the employer has delegated the task of carrying out COSHH assessments to a member of the work force as an “add on” to their workload.
Lots of people put out small fires in their homes or at their businesses quite safely. Some people, however, are killed or injured as a result of tackling a fire that is beyond their capabilities. Here are some simple rules to help you decide whether you should tackle a fire:
- Only tackle a fire when it is in its very early stages.
- Give consideration to your own safety and the safety of other people and make sure you can escape from the fire if you need to. Never let a fire block your exit.
- Think about the position of yourself, the fire and the escape route.
- Remember that fire extinguishers are only for fighting a fire in its very early stages. Never tackle a fire if it is starting to spread (of has spread) to other items in the room or if the room is filling with smoke. More people are killed by the smoke than by the fire (in the order of 70% of fire deaths are caused by smoke and fumes).
- If you cannot put out the fire or if the extinguisher becomes empty, get out and get everyone else out of the building immediately, closing all doors behind you as you go.
- Telephone the fire brigade.
If you need to know how to use a Fire Extinguisher, then come on one of our fire safety training courses with supervised hands-on instruction in Fire Extinguisher use.
Learn how to tackle a small fire
Although lifting equipment is useful for moving heavy and awkward loads and reducing the risks associated with the manual handling of loads, it is not without its risks. These include crushing injuries from the movement of heavy loads, injuries from falling loads and injuries arising from the failure of equipment in use. The use of lifting equipment is subject to the provisions of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). In brief, these regulations require that the lifting equipment provided is:
- strong and stable enough for the particular use and marked to indicate safe working loads;
- positioned and installed to minimise any risks;
- used safely, ie the work is planned, organised and performed by competent people; and
- subject to ongoing thorough examination and, where appropriate, inspection by competent a competent person.
A lot of businesses potentially expose workers to the risk of falls from height. Some do this by the nature of their work (lightning protection systems inspection, window cleaning, etc) while others don’t realise that they are doing it. The picture below is an example of a task that may well involve work at height: replacing a lamp in a car parking area:
work at height lamp change
This sort of work needs a bit of planning. It is not sufficient to send someone out armed with a ladder to do this work. Maybe a scaffold tower or some form of MEWP? Getting there, but what about controlling vehicle movements in the car park, and so on. The point is, a risk assessment is required for all work at height.
What do you do, as a contractor, if you discover asbestos (unexpectedly) on a site that you are working on?
The first sensible step is to stop work and warn others of the potential presence of asbestos and then inform the site manager and your supervisor and manager. It is essential that you do not disturb the asbestos and the HSE information on the right is a useful approach to action to take if you do accidentally disturb the asbestos.
There is an useful series of asbestos essential publications available from the HSE website.
Make sure that you know what asbestos is, where is can be found and what to do to avoid contact with it asbestos awareness training is important in this regard.
The HSE have a “myth busting” panel – a group to consider the validity of some of the statements or myths that circulate the world of health and safety. The panel considered:
Non-licensed contractors working with Asbestos need annual refresher courses
Their decision was to let common-sense have its rightful place:
Employees carrying out non-licensed work activity with asbestos need the right information, instruction and training to carry out the work safely and should be refreshed at least once a year. This does NOT mean that they need to be trained from scratch and annual reissuing of certificates is not a legal requirement. Refresher training should be appropriate to the employees’ roles and needs.
Here is this week’s round up of things spotted when doing fire safety visits. I have started with something fairly mundane but, nevertheless, important: wedged fire doors. On many occasions, people tell me that they need to have the door wedged open because ___________ (fill in the blanks with a plausible, if not well thought out excuse/reason).
This may look something like this:
Other times, fire extinguishers have been brought in to act as the door wedge – not a nice situation to be explaining or justifying to the fire officer!
From a fire safety point of view, there are many things that we find on site that can make you shudder when you stop and think about it. How about smoke detectors that are really only ceiling decorations because they have been covered for the temporary works (that finished months ago):
The principle is fine, for the duration of the work (although there should be a simple system in place to ensure that it is removed when the work is completed). Surprisingly, this is something that I see a lot of.
In the next picture you will see an isolation point on the wall, to the left of the clock: