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Health & Safety related news to keep you up to date

Brexit - Good for our Health & Safety ??
July 2016

Democracy has taken its path and it seems that, eventually, Brexit will happen.... is this good for Health, Safety and the Environment.. ?
There is no question that Health, Safety & Environmental legislation has increased during our time within the European Community but I don't think any of us can deny that some of it, at least, has protected workers, driven a reduction in accidents and injuries and created a greater environmental awareness. Whether this has been lost in the mass of less obvious and minutae of 'Elf n Safety Gone Mad' who knows, but lets be realistic here, it's unlikely that the current Health, Safety and Environmental legislation that is in place as a result of our time in Europe will be revoked.
Brexit, together with the current operating methods of the Health and Safety Executive places MORE responsibility on ALL of us as employees and employers. The Health & Safety Executive has virtually stopped making unannounced visits to the workplace, unless there have been reports of unsafe practices or conditions by someone. The Health & Safety Executive is now, almost, an Incident Investigation Bureau who respond to incidents and maintain an online presence for guidance and advice. The responsibility is placed even more so now on employers to provide a Safe Place of Work and a Safe System of Work, and for employees to work within the Safe Systems implemented by the employers.
You only have to look at the high level of fines being levied on employers for breaches of Health and Safety AND Environmental Responsibilities to see that this now has become the modus operandi of the Health and Safety Executive in seeking compliance, Police yourselves, follow the requirements and if it goes wrong we will fine you, heavily, and possibly even send you to prison...
We can argue if this is the right approach, but like it or lump it, it's the approach we are working within.
I'll end this post with a consistent theme from my updates,
Employers, Provide a safe place to work and provide adequate Information, Instruction, Training and Supervision for your workforce to be able to safely conduct their work.....
Employees, follow the Safe System of work within your workplace, report unsafe conditions and unsafe acts to your supervisor/site manager, Don't do a job you're not trained or competent to do and comply with site rules for PPE......

Is there any Good News in Health and Safety ?
June 2016

Well, Yes, there is, it's not all Doom n Gloom,

Accident rates are falling in many sectors, thankfully fatalities are reducing, but there is little room for complacency as most life-changing accidents at work are deemed as preventable in the subsequent investigations.

High on the list of major contributing factors is people overriding safety systems be they physical mechanical guards or ignoring Safety Procedures and Safe Systems Of Work that they are fully aware of in order to, 'Get the job done'

These fall into two general categories, a 'One Off' event where an person will do the wrong thing for the right reason in the belief that they can do it safely and it will help keep the job moving. The other is where over time the Safety Systems have been ignored by staff, supervisors and managers and because nothing bad happened the situation was allowed to continue.

It may be that the work itself changed due to new machinery or processes and no new Risk Assessment had been conducted, perhaps new training skills had not been identified and people were allowed to figure things out for themselves.

In any event, the process of review and implementation does not have to start from a management position. Indeed, it's quite likely that the person who is actually doing the job has considerable experience and who better to be consulted when there is change, or when you do your annual Risk Assessment review, (Has yours been reviewed at least annually AND THE FINDINGS RECORDED).

Don't be caught out folks, start including your Health, Safety and Environmental responsibilities from the beginning of any planned change and from the BOTTOM UP as well as the TOP DOWN, that way you have less opportunity for important safeguards to fall through the gaps......

May 2016

When is a Hazardous Substance Not a Dangerous Substance ?
Can a substance be both ?
Can a mix of Hazardous Substances create a Dangerous Substance ?

It's a minefield out there guys, folks are trying to catch us out every which way... but help is at hand, initially in the form of the MSDS, yes, the MSDS that most people put in the file, if one even exists. tick the box on the check list, 'Is the MSDS for all substances used in your operations available", and then get on and use the substance for the job.

BUT, what happens when the ENVIRONMENT you are using the hazardous substance in creates a Dangerous Substance, or Explosive Atmosphere ?

Do you even know when this change takes place, how it can occur and your responsibilities for each condition ?

You really need to, because all of a sudden the Offences you commit jumps in quantity AND severity of punishment.

The lowly MSDS will help guide you in the first instance as to the properties, controls and risks of the substance, there is an HSG document to help you control and segregate substances and there are Purpose built storage cabinets to help store products safely. BUT CAVEAT EMPTOR,

In recorded field trials an "Approved" 30 minute Fire Cabinet failed to protect the products inside within TWO MINUTES of being in a Fire Situation, within THREE MINUTES, the products inside were exploding, catching fire and releasing smoke, fumes and toxic waste into the atmosphere.

Seek help and guidance, Patrick Haines can help you with this, to protect your workforce, comply with the legislation, protect the environment and others affected by your business activities.

Finally, studies have shown that 40% of businesses that suffer a major fire are out of business within TWO YEARS, whether they're insured or not.......

Why wait, call Patrick Haines now and lets work together to keep things safe,

Health & Safety is Expensive...
May 2016

...it certainly is for some employees, it costs lives !! and for employers it costs jail time and millions.

A company has recently been fined £1,000,000 for continually ignoring their environmental responsibilities.

A Landlord has been jailed for covering up a Fall from height that killed an ex-serviceman suffering from epilepsy and PTSD when he and fellow ex-service personnel were coerced into, 'Cash in Hand' work on his private house. The scaffolding contractor was fined £75,000 for his part in the incident.

So, yes, Health & Safety is expensive when you disregard your responsibilities to your employees and those affected by your operations.

We can safely say that in the cases shown above the company's and individuals would have saved LIVES, MILLIONS of pounds and avoided jail had they followed well established legislation and guidelines to protect both WORKERS and EMPLOYERS.

Save LIVES, Save MONEY and improve the ENVIRONMENT..... it's easy....... just comply.

On a brighter note.... the sun is shining at the moment, are you ready for it ? do your employees work out of doors for a significant part of their work ? if so are they aware of the dangers of exposure to the sun and elements, have you provided adequate Information, Instruction, Training and Supervision to ensure both their safety and your compliance.

Contact Patrick Haines Safety for advice and practical guidance on any health, safety and environmental related issues...


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