November Health & Safety Update
Wayne Dunning, Health & Safety Manager at the ELAS Group, comments on this month’s latest H&S cases.
HSE releases annual injury and ill-health statistics
New statistics show the number of injuries and incidents of ill-health across UK workplaces is still too high. The annual HSE report shows that 581,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries in 2018/2019, with 1.4 million workers suffering from work-related ill health. Figures also show that there were 147 fatal injuries at work as well as an estimated economic costs of £15 billion in 2017/2018.
Despite Great Britain continuing to be one of the safest places to work, the reported figures highlight there are still areas to be improved upon to prevent fatalities, injuries and ill-health. The figures highlight the scale of the challenge HSE currently faces in making Britain a healthier and safer place to work.
Revised guidance: exposure to welding fume
In February 2019 the HSE issued a safety alert to inform industry of a change in relation to the control expectations for exposure to welding fume including that from mild steel welding. This followed new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans.
The HSE has now revised its guidance
. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health direct advice for welding to help make sure exposure to any welding fume released is adequately controlled has been published, along with the HSE’s web pages on how to manage exposure to welding fume.
Welding of materials such as mild steel need to be controlled as noted above, but the is not exhaustive as many materials whether, welded, brazed or burned will produce a fume/vapour or even a gas. This can be breathed in and cause serious damage/injury to a person. You must ensure the correct controls need to be in place. You also need to prove that you have done as much as possible to stop a person breathing in the fume/vapour or gas. PPE, such as masks or respiratory equipment, will need to be fitted securely without leakage. In the new year, HSE inspectors will be visiting businesses across the country to check compliance with the law. Remember, as an employer you should know the risks, plan your work and use the right controls when welding.”
MSDs account for almost a quarter all UK working days lost due to work-related ill health.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are injuries or pain in the human
musculoskeletal system, including the joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and structures that support limbs, neck and back. Regardless of your business or industry, you should always think about your employees and if they’re subjected to any repetitive motion or strain. A risk assessment should be carried out which may also lead on to an ART assessment (Assessment of Repetitive Tasks). Brexit brings no changes to health & safety
Your duties to protect the health and safety of people affected by your work will not change with Brexit. Our guidance through ELAS will help you to comply with the law. You should continue to manage risk in your business in a proportionate way. The HSE have made
minor amendments to regulations to remove EU references but legal requirements and health & safety standards will remain the same as they are now. Charity fine after resident fell down stairs and was fatally injured
A registered charity was fined £40,000 after an elderly resident fell down the stairs at one their care homes and was fatally injured. The HSE found that the charity failed to identify and implement adequate measures to control the risk of care home residents falling down the stairs.
It’s hard to believe that this type of accident could happen as care services are monitored or checked through other 3
rd party organisations. People in care are subject to care plans and all risks present should be identified. If you’re ever unsure on whether you’re doing everything possible to protect the people in your care, we recommenced getting in touch. Company fined after employee suffers hand and leg injuries
An aluminium extrusion company has been fined £133,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6346.30 after an employee suffered serious leg and hand injuries whilst carrying out maintenance on a machine. An investigation by the HSE found that an unsafe system of work has been used, with no risk assessment in place. It also uncovered that staff had be inadequately trained.
Maintenance work usually involves the isolation of machines/equipment, working at height, working with fumes, vapour and gasses and can be classed as a high risk task. It’s shocking to think that maintenance work is often not seen as important as other regular tasks within a business, however there is just as high a chance of an accident occurring!
Company fined after worker injured by moving vehicle
A warehouse operative was struck by a fork lift truck leading to a £20000 fine and costs of £5724.05. The HSE inspection uncovered that the company failed to have the appropriate systems in place to ensure people and vehicles move around the warehouse in a safe manner.
Thousands of businesses use vehicles within the workplace, whether powered or non powered, and pedestrians are at heightened risk due to not having adequate controls in place. Workplace is hot on the HSE’s agenda therefore we recommend you assess your current controls.