Health and Safety at Work

When it comes to your safety, don’t risk it

British Firm Fined for Mishandling Asbestos

March 17, 2011 By: admin Category: Asbestos, Construction, Hazardous substances, Health and Safety, HSE, IOSH, NEBOSH, Risk assessments

A demolition contractor has had to pay a fine after failures in handling and supervising removal of asbestos from a Nottinghamshire site.

Libra Demolition Ltd, based in Yorkshire, the Principal Contractor on the project to destroy constructions at Sandy Lane’s one-time Vesuvius Works undertook the job in the second and third quarter of 2008.

Many buildings at the site bore notifiable asbestos, getting rid of which must be done by a certified asbestos contractor and stated to the HSE.

During the united HSE and Environment Agency (EA) case, Worksop Magistrates’ Court discovered the constructions were demolished. However, no account of safe asbestos transfer or disposal was established and the HSE obtained no information of its dispatch.

This was uncovered on the EA finding Vesuvius site debris at an unendorsed waste disposal place.

On pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 22(1) (a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, Libra Demolition Limited was fined GBP 1,500 and told to pay costs amounting to GBP 10,000. Meanwhile, the EA brought additional charges.

Kevin Wilson, Health and Safety Executive Inspector, declared that it was wholly objectionable that Libra Demolition, the job’s main contractor with control over the location, had taken no notice of its obligations.

The business failed to monitor and manage the project and ascertain that notifiable asbestos was transferred safely by a recognized contractor under approved conditions, and hence miscarried its legal duties.

The risks of asbestos are widely known and contractors must realize that the HSE will not waver in enforcing regulations against organizations that discounts the law in this fashion, added Mr. Wislon.

Weeklong Health and Safety Campaign

March 14, 2011 By: admin Category: Health and Safety, HSE, IOSH, NEBOSH

picHealth and Safety Week of Action 2011, a weeklong campaign from 28th February to 5th March increased the awareness on workplace health and safety.

The campaign specifically gives attention to the cuts faced by the HSE, which it thinks can lead to inferior enforcement, and probably raise the injuries and illnesses at workplace.

Trade Union Coordinating Group organized the Health and Safety Week of Action 2011 campaign, which is also backed by a number of organizations like the RMT, NAPO and the NUJ. The campaign called the workers to lobby their MPs and included a gathering at House of Commons.

Irwin Mitchell, the law firm also backed the health and safety campaign. David Urpeth, the national head from workplace injuries, law firm said that the businesses should give greater importance to health and safety but still the figures show that 152 persons were killed at workplace between the months of April 2009 and March 2010 which is simply not the situation.

Sadly, with the cuts improperly handled by HSE that might directly affect the safety standards, there is a strong likelihood that the number of injuries and illnesses at workplace is going to raise. He added that only if higher attention is given to health and safety it will make sure that lesser lives are in danger and this can be achieved only if the government gives right weightage to health and safety and thinks two times about the cuts to HSE.

UK Labelled Partially Compliant on Asbestos by EC

March 08, 2011 By: admin Category: Asbestos, Hazardous substances, Health and Safety, HSE, IOSH, NEBOSH

asbestosThe European Commission (EC) has called on the UK to change some conditions in laws that relieve some restoration and maintenance activities from a EU Directive that protects the workforce from asbestos. It discovered that authorities in Great Britain are not compliant with three duties.

The EC’s 2009 Asbestos Directive institutes conditions that protect the workforce from risks related to asbestos, principally through precautionary measures. The EU directive covers work activities where the workforce might be, or are, endangered by dust from asbestos or substances containing the contaminant.

These three duties include apprising the answerable national bureau of asbestos works; performing health assessments once every three years, both prior to and during exposure; and preserving a record of workforce members who are, or might be, contaminated by asbestos in the work spot.

The European Commission got a complaint that Article 3(3) (a) and (b) of the Asbestos Directive has been inaccurately transposed in British legislation. This Article furnishes possible immunity from three obligations instituted in the Commission’s Directive covering activities involving only intermittent, low-intensity asbestos exposure – including, for instance, some restoration and upkeep activities – but the Commission opines that this has been misunderstood.

The demand was presented by the EU as a well-argued judgment under its contravention procedures. The UK has eight weeks toe the line and bring its laws on track with EU (European Union) legislation. If Britain fails to do so, the Commission may refer this case to the EU’s Court of Justice.

Network Rail to review Existing Report on Injuries

March 02, 2011 By: admin Category: Accidents, Health and Safety, HSE, IOSH, NEBOSH, Reporting

southern-railwaysIt has been revealed that more than 34% of the injuries of Network Rail staffs and contractors have gone unreported from the year 2005, according to the report published by Rail Safety and Standards Board or RSSB. The report says that no link between under-reporting and bonuses were found out. This report of 99 pages was approved by the board of Network Rail when the trade unions functioning there said that manipulation to tally the performance targets figures.

According to the report, approximately 500 to 600, cases might have gone unreported within in the period of 2005 and 2010. The need for targets, league tables and safety targets were criticized by the report and said the company should be improving the safety measures.

The RSSB officials found that most of the cases were not reported because Network Rail contractors and staffs were afraid to reveal the truth. When asked promising that the confidentiality will be maintained, the workers said the company did not provide a platform for open discussion about accidents or safety measures and if they reported such cases they feared assaults.

Network Rail has agreed to look into the matter and also said they will improve the safety measures. They will provide additional training on the needs of RIDDOR and improving its safety mechanism. The company also said it will have a discussion with the trade unions on this subject and re-evaluate the existing report and safety data.

OSHCR Guides Employers towards Higher Standards of Health Safety

February 24, 2011 By: admin Category: Accreditation, Consultants, Health and Safety, HSE, IOSH, NEBOSH

hazardThere has been a new scheme put up on the professional front for the health and safety standard scale. This is the introduction to health and safety register as a part of the UK health and safety system. This was done accordingly to Lord Young with the recommendations from the government’s report. This health and safety register is also called Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR). This was done as a precaution and also for common safety and also to create awareness about the safety.

By this OSHCR register, the professionals were able to refer to any health and safety advice and this also helped in increasing the awareness associated with the safety measures to be taken at work site. This was also an answer to any employers concern regarding their queries on the health and safety precautionary methods. The OSHCR is built of numerous quality professionals handling the health and safety of the employers. The heath care consultants spread around UK have come together for a good cause with support from the HSE.

In the application procedure, the individual will be checked for the membership status with respect to the professional body. Judith Hackitt, HSE Chairperson, spoke for all the organizations that had supported for the birth and growth of OSHCR, that even though there may be many good health and safety consultants around the world, who can give sensible advice to the employers, there will still be many who are not sure of what precautionary methods to be taken and what hazards are lurking behind in the work place.

For such workers the OSHCR will be of great help. This can guide them from the misperceptions associated with the health and safety at work. This has helped set a standard to the health and safety to be followed at the professional level and it also encourages one to follow if they do not meet the standards. This register is available free for use for all the employers from the birth of the spring.

Low Risk of Violence at Work, Declares HSE

February 22, 2011 By: admin Category: Health and Safety, HSE, IOSH, NEBOSH, Safety, Violence

violenceThe Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed the results of a fresh study on violence at work. It has discovered that the average risk of literal violence or threats in the workplace is low with just a marginal 1.4% of adult workers having been victims in one or more incidents of violence in the previous year.

The review that was published in mid-January has used findings in the 2009/10 British Crime Survey (BCS) as its basis.

The BCS 2009/10 results showed that about 318,000 workers were exposed to of violent incidents at work in comparison to approximately 327,000 in the BCS 2008/09.

As reported by the 2009/10 BCS, there took place almost 677,000 violent occurrences at work, constituting 366,000 threats and 310,000 real assaults.

The survey found that workers in protective services, such as police officers, were at highest risk of work-related violence, with nearly 10% having direct experience of threats or real violence in the year before their interviews. Others felt to be at risk are health professionals measured at 3.8%, and allied health and social welfare professionals at 2.6%. Those thought to be at least risk were professionals in the field of science and technology, and those working in printing, textiles and similar skilled trades.

It is estimated that 43% of workers intimidated or assaulted were repeat victims. The corresponding figure from 2008/09 was 36%. The current report found 17% had experience of two incidents, and one fourth of those surveyed were exposed to three or more violent incidents of workplace during 2009/10.

59% Respondents Applaud Health and Safety Officers for Apt Advice and Support

February 16, 2011 By: admin Category: Health and Safety, HSE, IOSH, NEBOSH

safety-conesBusinesses in the UK intend to operate and safeguard their employees with a great sense of social responsibility as confirmed by the recently concluded survey by the legal service, Norton Rose LLP. The survey reaffirmed the need for health and safety regulations at workplaces where a majority felt that it was ‘about right’ and did not affect the on-going operations in their workplace.

More than half of the 500 surveyed participants endorsed the Health and Safety regulations to be just and relevant in their workplaces and suggested to be left as it is without any change in it. The questions of the survey were framed to understand what the organisations thought of the rules governing health and safety regulations as they stand as of now and how it affects the functioning at workplaces. When surveyed more than three-quarters i.e. 78% cited that the only investment made is on organisation time due to paperwork and putting safety practices in action and that they do not add to any type of economic loss. 32% of the surveyed participants saw no reason to eliminate any of the existing health and safety regulations as they are all valid and was not affecting business economy in any way. Around 59% applauded the health and safety officials for providing good and timely information and counsel and feel it is majorly about right. Interesting 88% of the surveyed participants spoke about how they enjoyed a free hand in deciding the course of action to be taken in line with the health and safety rules in their workplace.

On the flip side the survey showed that nearly 32% thought the rules to be burdensome and tedious.

Commenting on the survey, Caroline May, present Partner and Head of the Planning, Environment, Health and Safety Practice at Norton Rose LLP said that alarming conditions in UK related to rules and regulations accompanied by growing cumbersome and tedious process is highlighting health and safety regulations to a great extent. This worry had only intensified by the 1998 ‘no win, no fee’ campaign claims and the prospect of the class action which majorly contribute to the compensation culture. However Lord Young’s review report on health, safety and compensation culture published last year has targeted it directly and is evidently on every one’s mind right now.

HSE Considering Ushering in ‘Fee for Fault’

February 08, 2011 By: admin Category: Health and Safety, HSE, IOSH, NEBOSH

picHSE – Health and Safety Executive – chairperson Judith Hackitt divulged in a recent talk that the HSE is deliberating on the introduction of a ‘fee for fault’ – levying charges on companies that “create risks”. The new step is part of an HSE exercise to reduce costs and increase revenues after the body had to deal with a budget reduction of 35%.

She alleged that the HSE believed this reasonable approach would be happily accepted by compliant organizations that see noncompliant ones as gaining unjust business advantage by resorting to shortcuts and evasion of the law. This kind of approach should be interpreted by businesses as a method to level the odds. The HSE, of course, realises that the plan will be required to have certain foolproof safeguards in place, ensuring that processes are clear and accountable.

Hackitt added that the HSE was likewise considering levying charges for many additional reference and advisory services.

She underlined the fact that both plans were in their preliminary stages. Hackitt added that organizations that are following regulations do not need to fear the new strategy that may be adopted by the HSE. By imposing the charges on those who break the law with impunity, the HSE is just reiterating the fact that these wrongs must be set right under the law.

The HSE chairperson noted that organizations established as not complying with laws during inspections will attract levies for work and any other processes that the HSE carries out following the issuance of official notices.

USDAW Castigates SNP over Defeat of Bill

February 01, 2011 By: admin Category: Health and Safety, HSE, IOSH, NEBOSH, Violence

violenceThe USDAW (The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) has castigated the Scottish National Party over the defeat of the Protection of Workers (Scotland) Bill.

Proposed by Hugh Henry, Labour MSP at Holyrood, the goal of the Bill was to extend the protection against assault on duty, now offered to emergency workers, to other public facing workers too. The Bill was, however, rejected by vote in the Scottish Parliament in December 2010.

The USDAW General Secretary, John Hannett, alleged that the SNP had “let down” Scottish workers. He stated that while there is legislation in force that puts many workers on the forefront of forestalling liquor sales to underage teens, these same workers have no protection against assault they may face as a result of their duties.

After close examination of the Bill’s proposals, the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee (EET) deemed that these would not offer any extended safeguards compared to those available now under other laws. For this reason, the EET advocated that Parliament not concur with the Bill’s general principles.

Iain Smith, MSP, the Convener of the Committee, said the EET recognized that much more was required to correct the current culture of disrespect and violence towards workers, but that the onus now rested on employers, as well as the Scottish Government and Parliamentary body.

On the other hand, the USDAW reiterated that Scotland’s workers wanted the SNP Party and Government to act. The Union said that mere words would not be a deterrent for an underage teen thug who attacks a shopworker for refusing to sell him alcohol.

HSE Denies Involvement in Cancellations of Sports Events

January 27, 2011 By: admin Category: Dangerous weather, Health and Safety, HSE, IOSH, NEBOSH, Safety, Slips and trips

ice-slipThe United Kingdom’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in a recent statement advised that its responsibilities do not include making decisions on the deferral or cancellations of sports and stadia events.

The Executive body emphasized that it was the ground management unit that was responsible for not just staging and managing these events, but also for decisions to put off or cancel events in the face of extremely poor weather conditions. The HSE was responding to media reports declaring that it was responsible for decisions to cancel sports events during inclement weather.

The responsibility for the regulation and implementation of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act at sporting events and stadia lies with local authorities. The Safety at Sports Grounds Act 1975 and the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987 provide the guidelines for ensuring safety at such venues. These pieces of legislation are held by the Local Government as well as the Department for Communities and must be implemented by local authorities and, where appropriate, the Football Licensing Authority.

The HSE also added that at times the ground management and event organiser are discrete entities as in the case of a stadium being used by a gig promoter to present a music show. In these instances, both teams should work together to make decisions pertaining to the safety of the event.

The statement advised that the ground management group should, without a doubt, consider local weather and other circumstances as well as any risks to the public at the event and employees before deferring or cancelling the event.