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01/04/2019

March 2019 Newsletter and Legal update

Welcome to the March 2019 newsletter and legal update

This issue at a glance:

  • SMSE "new website - it's here"

  • DSE Assessment

  • Staffordshire company fined after exposing worker to HAVS

  • Company fined after exposing workers to harmful chemicals

  • IOSH Managing Safely - 2019 open course dates

  • Staff Safety - are employers doing enough

  • eLearning courses available

 

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SMSE are excited to announce our new website is now live see www.smseurope.co.uk new features include on line training booking and a client portal

 

 

 

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Staffordshire company fined after exposing worker to HAVS
A train refurbishment company has today been sentenced after exposing workers to hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard how Faiveley Transport Tamworth Limited exposed its workers to uncontrolled and unrestrained exposure to vibrating tools from 2005 to 2015 at their Amington site in Tamworth. Company employees used a number of vibrating tools including sanders and air-fed cutting equipment to refurbish train doors.

In 2015, one of the members of staff raised concerns regarding symptoms similar to HAVS as a result of exposure to the air-fed cutting tool used to remove rubber seals from train doors. Despite the company being made aware of this, it failed to take prompt action to manage the risk of exposure to HAVS. Later, another member of staff reported that he used grinders up to eight hours a day often until his hands hurt.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Faiveley Transport Tamworth Ltd failed to consider the risk to both its employees and agency workers of exposure to hand transmitted vibration (HTV) tools over a prolonged period of time. The investigation found that there was little or no oversight by management to control exposure to vibrating equipment and there was an absence of a safe system of work including control, monitoring and maintenance measures.

The investigation also found measures to conduct a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of that exposure were not taken, instruction and training on tool use was not provided and the company did not have health surveillance in place.

Faiveley Transport Tamworth Ltd of Graycar Business Park, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £90,000 and ordered to pay costs of £45,000. Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Theresa Hewkin said: “This was a case of the company completely failing to grasp the importance of HAVS health surveillance.

“If the company had understood why health surveillance was necessary, it would not only have ensured that it had the right systems in place to monitor workers’ health but would have identified from the outset that one of their employees has primary Raynaud’s phenomenon and should not have been made to work with vibrating tools because of his likely heightened susceptibility.”

 

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Company fined after exposing workers to harmful chemicals..

A chemical manufacturing company has today been fined after failing to manage the risk of exposure to chemicals harmful to health, resulting in workers being exposed to chemicals which caused long term damage to their skin.

Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard how employees working with chemicals at Fine Organics Ltd (now trading as Lianhetec), Seals Sands, Teesside, were regularly exposed to the chemicals, which can cause sensitisation of the skin, from October 2013 to December 2016. Workers suffered rashes and in some cases were unable to continue working at the site.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Fine Organics Ltd had multiple failings in their handling of hazardous substances. They failed to conduct a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, failed to prevent the release of hazardous substances, failed to prevent spread of contamination, failed to properly decontaminate and they failed to have in place an effective system of health surveillance.

Fine Organics Ltd, of Seals Sands, Teesside, pleaded guilty to breaching 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £224,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,098.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Julian Nettleton said: ‘This was a case where the company failed to assess the risk and failed to implement appropriate control measures to manage the risk of exposure to these chemicals. If this had been done, then workers would not have been exposed to the chemicals and suffered harm as a result.

 

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Staff Safety – Are employers doing enough?

 

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Whilst the number of any deaths in the workplace is too many, when this figure is compared to data from 20 years ago, the number of fatalities within British industries has almost halved thanks to increased regulations and health and safety concerns moving higher up the board room agenda.

However, in more recent years this level has remained broadly level, with the average number of workers killed at work over the past 5 years averaging at 141. This clearly demonstrates that even though health and safety at work has become more of a priority, more must be done in order to reduce the level of fatalities even further.

When you break these statistics down by industry; construction, agriculture and manufacturing experience the highest numbers of workplace deaths in the UK, but fatalities can occur in any sector as no industry is immune to risk. For example, those working in ATEX environments are exposed to potentially explosive atmospheres and lone workers, such as teachers, security and medical staff, who regularly perform their role without supervision from colleagues, are all exposed to varying degrees of risk.

Lone workers, in particular, face increased levels of risk compared to those working within teams of multiple employees. This is only exacerbated further if employees are not appropriately supported through specific health and safety processes and devices - ensuring that in the event of an incident on site, they can quickly and easily call for help.

Establishing a proactive safety culture - No matter the industry or size of the organisation, safety must be a paramount consideration for all businesses. In the UK, there are a number of regulations in place to ensure that employers implement strict procedures to assure the wellbeing of staff and visitors on site. But instead of seeing this as a tick-box exercise to follow in order to be legally compliant, businesses should adopt safety regulations as part of their workplace culture and promote this to the workforce to ensure they fully understand the risks if they do not comply. Integrating safety procedures as a part of an employee's day to day tasks will help to position them as less of a chore and more of an essential task within their role.

By establishing a proactive safety culture, health and safety managers can also foster a positive practice of continually looking to identify new ways in which to improve safety processes further, through incremental process improvements or technology overhauls. Regular safety audits are a good way to evaluate procedures throughout the organisation and also review any issues or changes since the most recent audit, such as hiring new staff or introducing new machinery. This way, employers can regularly review safety practices and keep on top of any potential risks that could endanger the workforce.

The role of technology - In addition to encouraging a proactive safety culture throughout an organisation, technology solutions are also key to safeguarding staff.

Depending on the environment and the job functions of employees, there may be several safety systems that should be implemented such as alarms to alert in case of fire or intruders trying to illegally access the building.

Personal safety devices are also essential, particularly for those organisations that employ lone workers. Without regular contact from colleagues, lone workers cannot rely on other members of staff to raise the alarm in the event of an incident. Therefore, lone worker safety devices are an essential tool to ensure that isolated members of the workforce are supported. These can come in a number of different forms, including integrated panic buttons that open up communication channels with managers, and tilt sensors that can detect when the user is in a horizontal position and automatically raise the alarm to nominated individuals to quickly respond and resolve the situation.

Complacency could be deadly - The UK has one of the lowest rates of fatal injury rates in Europe but that fact should not be an excuse for organisations to become complacent when it comes to health and safety. As businesses grow and evolve, so too can health and safety hazards that could lead to disaster for those that are not embracing a proactive safety culture. Therefore, with a continued focus on improvements to safety, especially within industries such as manufacturing and agriculture that typically employ high numbers of lone workers, the number of injuries and fatalities across UK industries can be reduced even further

 

Don’t forget we also offer the following e-Learning courses visit www.smseurope.co.uk/e-learning/ for more information

  • Asbestos Awareness
  • Asbestos Awareness for Designers and Architects
  • Manual Handling
  • Legionella Awareness
  • Level 1 Food Safety and Hygiene for Manufacturing, Catering and Retail
  • Fire Marshall (including Care Home)
  • Basic Fire Awareness (including Care Home) and Fire Extinguisher

 

 

 

Email: office@smseurope.co.uk

Safety Management Services Europe Ltd

40 Commercial Street

Tadcaster

North Yorkshire

LS24 8AA

01937 836111

www.smseurope.co.uk

 

 

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