It's been 12 months since the HSE launched their mythbusting
campaign and from recent reports in the press of triangular
flapjacks being banned in schools as they are dangerous, it seems
that the campaign is still needed.
From their analysis of the first 100 cases the underlying issue
appears to be poor customer service or an excuse to cover an
unpopular decision rather than deal with the consequences.
As a Health & Safety practitioner you have a responsibility
to ensure that the individuals in your organisation have safe
working conditions. However, you also have a responsibility to
clearly communicate the reasons behind why you are enforcing
policies and processes. If you cannot justify the reason to
yourself it is time to think again about the way you are
implementing the policy.
Adopting a risk based approach to situations will certainly help
but the role of the health & safety professional should also be
to provide a sense of reason, proportion and balance that underpins
the need to protect people from serious threats within the
For a reminder on the basics have a look at the FPA
Fundamentals of Health and Safety DVD or download on
fire-stream along with the accompanying training information pack
which provides all the basics you need to conduct training across a
wide variety of topics. Subscribe to the video via
fire-stream and access the TIP PowerPoint presentation and quizzes
12th April 2013
Draft guidance issues on proposed first aid
New draft guidance has been published by the HSE on the proposed
changes to the provision of first aid in the workplace. Following
recommendations by Professor Löfstedt, a consultation held at the
end of last year has resulted in two pieces of guidance from the
HSE. The changes which are expected to take effect from 1 October
2013, subject to final approval by the HSE board and ministers.
The changes focus on:
- Helping business to make an assessment of the first aid
requirements within their specific workplace and to put in place
the necessary provision and competent personnel
- The removal of the HSE approval process for training providers
which will allow businesses a greater flexibility when choosing a
suitable provider and training that is right for their workplace.
Providers will still need to meet standards set by the HSE.
The legal requirement for ensuring an adequate number of
competent people in line with their first aid needs assessment are
in place will not change.
Until the new guidance is in force, the current legal
requirements remain in place. For further information on the
proposed changes go to the HSE website at
27th February 2013
The IET has recently published the 4th edition of the
Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of
Electrical Equipment. This code has some important changes
for the PAT regime, they include.
- Frequency of
- Annual testing has never been a requirement. The new Code of
Practice expands on this and places more emphasis on a thorough
risk assessment to inform the type and frequency of testing
- Current pass labels require the date of next inspection to be
listed. New guidance states the date of inspection should be listed
NOT the next due date.
- New and
Second hand equipment
- A new chapter is included on new and second hand equipment and
- The microwave leakage test has been removed from the standard
PAT requirement but is still valid and should be conducted
following a separate risk assessment
- Other changes
include rented accommodation, trip times for RCD
devices and criteria for testing and isolating fixed
Further information on the changes can be found at www.theiet.org
27th February 2013
Remember, remember the 5th of
Are you in the midst of any bonfire and firework display
preparations? There have been a number of high profile tragedies
relating to public displays over recent years and the HSE, amongst
other bodies, have produced a number of guidelines to help with
anyone selling, storing or organising a fireworks display.
Links to these sites are:
For general advice about smaller/home events
For general advice
For specific advice on public displays
Important facts you may not know!
Fireworks for private use, and from a registered seller, can
only be sold:
- between 15 October and 10 November - around Bonfire Night
- between 26 December and 31 December - for New Year's Eve
- three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year
For the rest of the year, you will only be able to buy fireworks
from shops that are licensed to supply them.
You can let off fireworks :
- until midnight on Bonfire Night
- until 1.00 am on New Year's Eve, Diwali and Chinese New
Rospa Firework Top Ten Safety Code for Adults
- Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable.
- Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time.
- Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch
- Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand well
- Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from
- Never return to a firework once it has been lit.
- Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them.
- Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators.
- Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
- Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe
Have a safe and enjoyable bonfire night.
24 October 2012
Action in the Event of Fire New
Thinking back to last month's entry when we discussed the
fundamentals of a good induction programme, what could be more apt
than this month's blog starting with a shameless plug for the FPA's
latest edition of the 'Action in the Event of Fire' online video
All too often we overwhelm people with information about what
should and should not be done when events occur. The video explains
the proper sequence of actions to take should a fire break out in
the workplace. Fortunately for most of us we hope never to have to
use the sound, practical advice presented in this revised edition.
However, being aware of what is required and what you can safely do
is extremely important and as an employer you have a duty to ensure
that all your staff are clear on what they should do if they
encounter such a situation.
What better way of providing this information than in an 11
minute production which highlights the key points and actions on
discovering a fire.
See the preview on firestream: /our-videos/new-edition-action-in-the-event-of-fire.aspx
or on out FPA YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/FPAPublications
For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
24 October 2012
Health & Safety - an occupational
In our June entry we looked at the occupational health
perspective in health & safety and the links that could be
established with HR in dealing with stress. It seems we were ahead
of the game!
Researchers from University College London have published their
analysis of 13 existing European studies covering nearly 200,000
people. They found that 'job strain' was linked to a 23% increased
risk of heart attacks and deaths from coronary heart disease.
Individuals were followed over a seven year period and asked
whether they had excessive workloads or insufficient time to do
their job as well as questions around how much freedom they had to
According to the report in The Lancet, work stress could occur
in any occupation but was more common among lower skilled workers.
Those who have highly demanding jobs but little control over
decision making could raise their risk of heart attack by a
"Though stresses at work may be unavoidable, how you deal with
these pressures is important and lighting up a cigarette is bad
news for your heart," advised Professor Peter Weissberg, medical
director at the British Heart Foundation.
"Eating a balanced diet, taking regular exercise and quitting
smoking will more than offset any risk associated with your
With stress now the most common cause for absence maybe now is
the time to look at a more inclusive policy which will help create
a culture of Health & Safety within your organisation.
19 September 2012
Induction - the basics
When a new person starts in your organisation it is all too easy
to throw everything at them in the first week and expect them to
remember it for the remainder of their time with you. Yet
induction provides an ideal opportunity to start embedding the
culture of your organisation and to make clear what is expected in
terms of performance and behaviour of that individual. It is also
the ideal opportunity to start to instil your health & safety
culture, to lay the foundations of how health & safety is
viewed and the responsibilities of everyone in the
There will be many other elements that form part of a
comprehensive induction programme and it is important to ensure
that health & safety is not seen as a bolt on or something that
has to be done and this is the only opportunity to do it. By
developing a structured induction programme you can begin to
introduce topics and ensure that health & safety becomes part
of the everyday work of all individuals.
When planning the induction remember the basics:
- Identify the key information that needs to be delivered in the
first day/week of being on site; what is absolutely essential to
know - e.g. fire alarms, evacuation points and first aid
- The induction should include a longer term plan for the job
specific/equipment specific training that will be required to carry
out their job role e.g. fork lift training, decontamination
procedures, distribution of PPE, Display Screen Equipment
- Consider if there is an opportunity to provide some refresher
training at the same time for the rest of your workforce e.g.
manual handling training
Key areas you should be covering during the process:
- Health & Safety
Policy of the organisation - this could be part of your company
- Health & Safety
contacts for the organisation
responsibilities for H&S, including
- The accident reporting
- The fire and emergency
- Hazards specific to the
- Risk assessments and
specific risk assessments required
- Location of welfare
facilities, canteen and rest rooms
- Procedures for
reporting defects or hazards
- Disciplinary measures
for non compliance with requirements
Why not take a look at the materials that FPA publish to assist with the
14 September 2012
A gold standard in health and
As the nation is gripped by Olympic fever and TeamGB work their
way up the medal table, let's consider those who enabled this to
happen. The building of the Olympic Park has been heralded a
success on many levels in terms of legacy sustainability, methods
of construction and amongst others, health and safety.
Various case studies and reports have been published by the
Olympic Delivery Authority and the HSE, amongst others, which
demonstrate the best practice that has been achieved throughout the
construction phase, and these provide some valuable insights for
businesses in other sectors. The HSE report entitled Safety
Culture on the Olympic Park in particular makes for
The key factors identified as contributing to the success of the
project demonstrate the fundamental principles of a successful
health and safety management system which all businesses are
required to adopt.
In summary, they include:
- Setting safety as a priority and integrating this from the
outset through clear standards and requirements
- Setting a consistent commitment through the supply chain to the
same Health Safety and Environment standard
- Engaging with contractors and allowing them to develop their
own good practices and processes
- A recognition of the prestige of working on the Olympic Park
and striving for excellence in all activities, including health and
- The scale and length of the project allowing time for
initiatives to become embedded and tailored as necessary to ensure
- A belief by workers in the genuine commitment to health and
safety within organisations, due to a consistent message reiterated
across the Olympic Park over time.
Examples of good practice were distilled into case studies
providing evidence that through engagement, worker involvement and
organisational commitment it is possible to develop a strong safety
Our March firefly blog entry highlighted the steps needed to
create a change in behaviour to a health and safety culture and
judging by the success of the Olympic Park project, albeit on a
larger scale, if you ensure that these fundamental practices are in
place, it is possible to achieve a positive safety culture on any
Further reports can be found at:
Apply best practice steps to your organisation, no matter how
large or small a company you are, by taking a look at the Fundamentals
of Health and Safety video here on fire-stream.
07 August 2012
Are you ensuring your employees work safely?
According to a recent TUC survey, one in five workers whose job
requires safety equipment say their employers are making them pay
for it themselves and therefore breaking the law.
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations follow
sound principles for the effective and economical use of personal
protective equipment (PPE), which all employers should follow. PPE
is defined as all equipment (including clothing affording
protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or
held by a person at work and which protects them against one or
more risks to their health and safety. Waterproof, weatherproof or
insulated clothing is only covered if its use is necessary to
protect against adverse climatic conditions.
By law, employers must provide staff with PPE such as protective
clothing, gloves, helmets and boots free of charge. However, in the
survey 11.6% said their employers were failing to do so, while
another 8.9% said they were charged if the equipment was damaged
and needed replacing. Two thirds (60%) said they had to clean their
equipment themselves or pay for it to be cleaned, despite the law
stating that the employer should take responsibility for ensuring
equipment is cleaned and maintained.
In addition, as an employer, you need to provide appropriate
accommodation to store the PPE when not in use and this should be
separate from normal outer clothing storage arrangements.
Finally it is not enough to simply provide the PPE; as an
employer you need to ensure your employees have adequate and
appropriate information, instruction and training.
For more information on how to ensure you are staying within the
law and ensuring that your employees work in a safe environment,
have a look at the Get Your Kit On! and the Fundamentals of Health
and Safety videos here on fire-stream. We offer a free
7-day trial of any single video on fire-stream to all new customers
- why not take us up on this offer and try either of these
03 August 2012
Fee for Intervention (FFI)
The HSE have now confirmed they intend to introduce a fee for
intervention scheme, subject to final parliamentary approval, which
will come into effect from 1 October 2012. The proposed
Regulations will mean HSE have a duty to recover its costs for
carrying out its regulatory functions from those in material breach
of health and safety law.
A material breach occurs when you break the law and the HSE
inspector judges this is serious enough to notify you in writing
either by a notification of contravention, an improvement or
prohibition notice, or a prosecution. Examples of material breaches
include not providing guards or safety devices to machinery, or
materials containing asbestos in damaged condition.
FFI will only apply to those who break the law so to ensure that
you are covering your requirements why not re-acquaint yourself
with our blog entry from 16 January 2012, take a look at our Fundamentals of Health
and Safety video or read FPA publications Fire Risk
Management in the Workplace and Essentials of Fire Safety
Management. The proposed Fee for Intervention hourly rate for
2012/13 is £124, so the investment in learning what you need to
know is definitely worth making.
17 July 2012
Extinguishing fires at work
Portable fire extinguishers are a vital part of an
organisation's fire protection but it is important to remember that
the main role of fire extinguishers is to extinguish or contain a
fire until evacuation has been achieved and the fire and rescue
services are able to intervene. It is not the sole solution,
although first-aid fire fighting with an appropriate portable
extinguisher can effectively stop a small fire from growing into a
large fire, significantly reducing fire losses.
Your fire risk assessment will identify when fire fighting
equipment is necessary to safeguard people, and it is the role of
the responsible person to ensure that the premises are
appropriately equipped. The responsible person must also nominate a
sufficient number of people to use it, and ensure that they receive
Employees with no training should not be expected to attempt to
use a fire extinguisher and it should be explained to staff during
training sessions that they should only attempt to tackle a
fire if they are confident to do so without risk to
themselves or to anybody else. Remember, you should always
raise the alarm before attempting to tackle a fire.
Those using an extinguisher should not:
• attempt to fight a fire on their own;
• let the fire come between them and their means of escape;
• continue to fight the fire if it continues to grow or if it
threatens to spread;
• continue to fight the fire if their initial attempts have not
Fire safety instruction should begin on an employee's first day
as part of induction training with follow-up training sessions on
the instruction on the appliances available and practical guidance
on their use.
Which extinguisher should you use?
Extinguishers are colour coded, to help users select each
Water: colour code red
Suitable for fires of solids, wood, paper, cloth.
Foam: colour code cream
Suitable for fires of liquids, fats, paints and oil.
Powder (multi-purpose): colour code
Suitable for fires of solids, wood, paper, cloth, liquids,
fats, paint, oil and electrical equipment.
Carbon dioxide: colour code black
Suitable for fires of liquids, fats, paint, oil and
Wet chemical: colour code yellow
Suitable for cooking oil fires. Also suitable for
combustible solid fires.
For comprehensive advice on choosing and using fire
extinguishers, and action in the event of fire, see the Extinguishing
Fires at Work video here on fire-stream. Every subscriber to
this video also receives a free download of the FPA's Fire
17 July 2012
Health and safety - an occupational health
Very often health and safety brings to mind risks relating to
chemicals, machinery or situations far removed from the individual
wellbeing element. However, as part of your duty of care, the
welfare and wellbeing of the individual should remain central,
whether this is a physical or mental risk.
The recent Safety and Health Expo, held at the NEC in May,
provided an opportunity to focus on this aspect with seminars
running in the Occupational Health Theatre. The link between HR and
occupational health bridges the gap with health and safety and
reminds all professionals about the continuing need to focus on the
wellbeing of the staff. With stress now listed as the number one
cause of absence - overtaking more traditional health and
safety issues such as back pain - there has never been a
greater need to look at a more inclusive policy which will help
create a culture of health and safety within your organisation.
As an HR professional you are looking to manage the absence
levels within your organisation; as a health and safety
professional you are looking to ensure that individuals work safely
so they can go home safely every day. By working together in this
area, there is much to be gained from harnessing the expertise and
communication power to promote a culture of wellbeing and
awareness. No one wants staff to be absent due to any illness or
injury, and by being more aware of the issues affecting your staff
you can start to provide some training and awareness in order to
address these before they become a real issue.
So, ideas you could use include: develop a clear policy on
stress management, work with HR and Training to ensure your
managers have training in how to identify and support individuals,
raise awareness of mental health issues and ensure that mechanisms
are in place to help people access the support they require. This
may seem less relevant than regulatory training but consider this:
those who are suffering the effects of stress or ill health are
likely to be less productive and prone to making more errors which
could lead to more serious and potentially life changing accidents
especially if they are using equipment or driving. Now this really
does have an effect on the health and safety professional.
19 June 2012
Lone working applies to many industries and sectors, and must be
addressed as part of employee welfare by law. Indeed, lone workers
should not be at more risk than any other employees. The Health and
Safety Executive (HSE) defines lone workers as 'those who work by
themselves without close or direct supervision.'
Examples of lone working could be people working in shop
premises, home workers, people working outside of normal working
hours eg cleaners and security staff, farmers and forestry workers,
service workers eg district nurses and estate agents, or trades
people such as decorators, plumbers and electricians.
Lone working can be associated with a number of hazards, and
common ones are violence, abuse, accidents in remote areas where
help or rescue may not be immediate, and accidents that result from
lone working, eg lifting an item which should be lifted by two
Employees should carry out a risk assessment for lone working
practices. Lone working risk assessments should cover:
- Whether there is safe access and egress
- If necessary machinery or equipment can be handled alone
- If any hazardous substances used could pose a health or safety
- If the work involves lifting heavy loads that require more than
- If there is a risk of violence
- Whether young, pregnant or disabled workers particularly are at
risk if they work alone
- If the lone worker's first language is not English whether
suitable arrangements are in place to communicate clearly, in
particular what to do in the event of an emergency
- What would happen if the lone worker became ill, had an
accident or there was an emergency
- If the type of work should not be undertaken alone, eg confined
Advice for employees
- When carrying out risk assessments always involve workers or
- Put relevant control measures in place
- Review risk assessments annually or whenever there are changes
in working practice
- If lone work can't be conducted safely then assistance should
be put in place
Simple advice and procedures for your lone workers to follow
- Prepare a daily work plan so you and others know where you'll
be and when - and stick to it
- Have a contact at head office or some sort of base who you can
check in with at designated times
- Develop procedures to be followed if you do not check in as
- Be called/contacted periodically by your contact
The FPA's Fundamentals of Health and Safety DVD
has a section on lone working. It's available to buy at the FPA
Shop or as a video download here on
19 June 2012
Exploding the PAT myth in low-risk
Dealing with electricity in the workplace sends shivers down the
spine and it is not surprising that there is a lack of
understanding around the requirements of the Electricity at Work
It's important to ensure that the equipment your staff are using
has been checked and maintained and the risk of potential injury
minimised. However, there is a myth within these regulations that
in order to do so, a regular portable appliance testing (PAT)
regime is required.
The HSE has recently updated the guidance relating to portable
appliance testing in low-risk environments. What is clear is that
not everything electrical needs to have a formal PAT every year.
The law requires that you must maintain electrical equipment if it
can cause danger, but the law does not say how you must do this or
By adopting a blanket PAT regime you will cover a number of
eventualities. However, by adopting a risk based approach you can
implement a more practical and efficient system of testing.
Determining the level of maintenance needed should be based on the
risk of an item becoming faulty as well as the construction of the
equipment. Not every item needs a yearly PAT inspection; a visual
check by every user in some cases may be enough.
The HSE INDG236 guidelines are now available and include
equipment in hotels etc, previously covered in HSE leaflet INDG237
which has been withdrawn. It contains an invaluable checklist with
suggested interval times for checking equipment as well as
practical advice on how to conduct visual checks.
09 May 2012
Keeping the jubilee a celebration
In the midst of jubilee celebrations, don't forget to take care
when using ladders or working at height for any task - including
hanging bunting! Follow some simple steps to make sure you stay
safe and enjoy the celebrations:
- Carry out a risk assessment before undertaking any work at
height, and make sure all such tasks are planned and carried out by
- Take steps to avoid, prevent or reduce risks.
- Choose the right equipment and select collective measures to
prevent falls (such as rails and platforms) before other measures
which may only mitigate the distance and consequences of a
Set-up for ladders
- Check equipment before use to make sure it's not damaged or
- Secure it using any locking devices
- Ground should be firm and level and not slippery
- Have a strong upper resting point (not plastic guttering)
- Ensure there is space to fully open if it's a stepladder
- Use ladders for short periods of time (maximum 30 minutes)
- Use ladders for light work (up to 10 kg)
- Leaning ladder angle 75° - 1 in 4 rule (1 rung length out for
every 4 rungs up)
- Always grip the ladder when climbing
- Do not overreach - as a guide, make sure your belt buckle
(navel) stays within the stiles and keep both feet on the same rung
or step throughout the task
- On leaning ladders, don't work off the top three rungs as these
provide a handhold
- On step ladders, don't work off the top two steps (top three
steps for swing-back/double-sided stepladders) unless you have a
safe handhold on the steps
- Avoid side-on working
from 9 to 5 and Fundamentals
of Health and Safety videos on fire-stream both contain
information on working at height.
09 May 2012
Latest quarterly fatal injury statistics
The HSE recently published the latest quarterly fatal injury
statistics for the period up to 31 December 2011. This means there
are statistics available for the first nine months of 2011/12. 203
fatalities occurred during the nine months reported on.
The statistics cover deaths to employees and members of the
public in the workplace as reported under the provision of RIDDOR,
and for the vast majority of such reportable accidents the Health
and Safety at Work Act, 1974 is the main legislation applicable. To
view the statistics go to: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/fatalquarterly.htm
Avoiding accidents and injury at work and becoming one of these
statistics is of paramount importance. For more information on
basic health and safety training, including accident reporting,
take a look at Fundamentals
of Health and Safety on fire-stream. We're currently offering a
free, 7-day trial of any single video to new customers - why not
view at this video and try out fire-stream for free?
09 May 2012
Workplace temperature... too hot or too cold
- what's legal?
We all thought Spring had sprung early with the mercury soaring
over the last week across the UK, so the sudden change to ice and
snow this week was a shock to the system. As an employer, it is
difficult to manage the changing conditions within the workplace,
so here is a reminder of the legalities surrounding temperature
control in the workplace.
Temperatures in the workplace are covered by the Workplace
(Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which place a legal
obligation on employers to provide a "reasonable" temperature in
the workplace. Interestingly, the law does not state a minimum
temperature, but the approved code of practice suggests that the
temperature in workrooms should normally be at least:
13ºc if the work is mostly of a physical nature.
However, additional considerations need to be made depending on
the nature of the workplace where workrooms could be uncomfortably
high, for example in a bakery, or in colder conditions such as food
storage and packing environments.
As an employer you need to make allowances for the changing
conditions and be prepared for all eventualities. Unusual patterns
of weather are not excuses for failing to ensure your employees
have a comfortable environment in which to work. Remember that
ultimately their safety and wellbeing remains your
05 April 2012
Now spring is officially here consider taking some time to
spring clean the area you work in, whether that be your desk,
office or workspace; tidying up and cleaning comes with health
benefits at work too.
- Declutter your work space or desk. Remove, recycle or file away
anything you don't really use. Try not to use your desk as a
storage space; free up space and give yourself room to work.
- Consider the position of your monitor, keyboard, phone and
filing trays on your desk. Is your monitor positioned at the
correct height and distance from you? Are your phone and filing
trays positioned within easy reach without the need to stretch or
- Think about under your desk and the floor around you too. Have
you plenty of leg room to position yourself comfortably at your
desk. Is your chair at the right height and position in relation to
your desk and monitor, so your posture is correctly supported?
- Think about excess paper, boxes and other potential
combustibles. Is your bin overflowing? Consider potential fire
hazards and remove or reduce any risks you can see.
- Give your office some fresh air. Perhaps you have a ventilator
system or sit near a window. You don't need a window open
constantly, just enough to offer a change of air every so often and
to regulate the humidity. Plants are also good for maintaining good
air quality; consider having one or two on or near your desk.
- The sunnier, lighter days that come with spring help with
natural lighting in a work space. But don't let glare or
reflections affect you. Reposition your screen (and desk if need
be) so that you're not facing a window, but instead be at 90
degrees to the light. If facing a window is unavoidable make
sure there are blinds that you can control when the spring days get
The FPA's Fundamentals of Health and Safety DVD
has a section on display screen equipment (DSE) and ergonomics to
help you make the most of your workspace in a way that is best for
you. It's available to buy at the FPA
Shop or as a video download here on
05 April 2012
Health and safety: changing perceptions - a
health and safety manager's perspective
With the continuing debate around health and safety, it was
interesting to listen to IOSH President Subash Ludhra in his
opening speech at the 2012 IOSH conference highlighting the need
"to get conference visitors, the media, politicians and the public
to think long and hard about their perceptions of safety and
"To those who think we have created too many
laws relating to health and safety in the UK - let's remind them
that the number of regulations has actually halved since the Health
and Safety at Work Act in 1974 and recent reviews have confirmed
that our regulations are by and large fit for purpose.
"And to those who tell us 'We can't afford
health and safety', as safety and health practitioners, we must
make it clear that they simply can't afford to be without it."
As a health and safety practitioner, it is sometimes easy
to forget that at the most fundamental level health and safety
is purely about working safely so you can go home safely every day.
It's not meant to be about bureaucracy and paperwork and officious
individuals policing your every move.
To create a culture of health and safety requires a change
in behaviour, and the first step is to help people understand the
reasons policies are in place. And most importantly for you as the
health and safety professional is to help educate rather than
merely enforce; you are in a position to help change people's
perceptions of the industry and those working within it.
In his closing speech, Subash challenged all health and
safety practitioners to "be prepared to be different and make
change happen." So if you are responsible for delivering the
health and safety message in your organisation, stop for a
moment and think about the message you are delivering. Behind all
the gory stories, videos and anecdotes, the underlying message
should simply be: work safely so you and your colleagues can go
home safely every day.
14 March 2012
All in the name of health and safety
The FPA recently attended the IOSH 2012 conference and
exhibition in Manchester where the theme of the event was 'changing
perceptions'. Delegates were challenged to alter the perception and
reputation of health and safety in the minds of the media and of
We hear the media reports of 'health and safety gone mad' with
anecdotes of health and safety regulations being used to the
extreme apparently replacing common sense. So how do we strike the
Speaking at the IOSH conference, Professor Neil Budworth,
Corporate Health and Safety Manager, E.ON UK, admitted "We need to
be strategic partners and work with businesses to deliver benefits.
We've become process and policy-obsessed."
Health and safety requirements exist to saves lives, and
protect business continuity and reputation. They're there for
a good reason. But health and safety shouldn't be
presented as an excuse or a barrier to something without balanced
reasoning. Sensible risk management - not over compliance that is
beyond common sense - should strike the right chord.
FPA Publications launched the new
Fundamentals of Health and Safety Training Information
Pack at IOSH 2012 too. It's a complete training solution
in one easy package to offer basic health and safety induction
training across a wide variety of topics. Comprising:
- Fundamentals of Health and Safety DVD,
- a ready-made PowerPoint presentation for the trainer (with an
accompanying booklet of notes and background on the slides),
- delegate handouts,
- quizzes and
- delegate certificates,
it offers a balanced and engaging introduction to health and
safety for staff across a broad range of industries and
environments. An e-version of the TIP is also available on
fire-stream, accompanying the Fundamentals of Health and
Safety video download. Subscribe to the video via
fire-stream and access the TIP PowerPoint presentation and quizzes
The FPA ran a prize draw at IOSH 2102 for one lucky visitor
to our exhibition stand to win a free copy of this new TIP...
and the winner is... Paul Diss-Evans, Health and Safety Advisor
at Scottish and Souther Energy. Congratulations Paul!
14 March 2012
What is RIDDOR and what is changing in April
RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous
Occurrences Regulations) is simply the law that requires employers
and other people in control of work premises to report and keep
- Work-related deaths
- Serious injuries
- Cases of diagnosed industrial disease and
- Certain dangerous occurrences (or near miss accidents)
There are no exemptions from the requirements of RIDDOR so all
organisations, large and small must comply. You must keep records
and produce these RIDDOR reports when asked by the HSE, local
authority or other inspectors.
What must be reported?
- they result from a work accident
- A worker sustains an occupational injury
- they result from a suicide on a relevant transport system
- they result from an act of physical violence to a worker
Major injuries including:
- A fracture, amputation or dislocation of the shoulder, knee,
hip or spine
- Loss of sight (temporary or permanent)
- Chemical or hot burn to the eye or any penetrating injury to
- Injury resulting from electric shock or electrical burn leading
to unconsciousness, resuscitation or admittance to hospital for
more than 24 hours
- Any other injury leading to hypothermia, heat induced illness,
unconsciousness, resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more
than 24 hours
- Unconsciousness caused by asphyxia or exposure to a harmful
substance or biological agent
- An acute illness requiring medical treatment
Over seven day injuries
Currently, and until 6 April 2012, any injury sustained that
requires an employee or self employed person to be away from work
or unable to perform their normal work duties for more than three
consecutive days (not counting the day of the accident) has to be
reported. From 6th April 2012 the law will introduce the
over seven day injury category. This will change the requirement
from over three days to over seven days. Any injury necessitating
fewer than seven days away from work must still be recorded but
does not need to be reported. If you are an employer who has an
accident book, the record you make in this will suffice.
Injuries to people not at work
Any injuries to members of the public or people who are not at
work if they are injured following an accident that arises out of,
or in connection with, work and are taken from the scene of an
accident to hospital for treatment.
Occupational diseases must all be reported following written
diagnosis from a doctor stating they are suffering the one of these
conditions and the sufferer has been doing work activities listed
for that illness.
A dangerous occurrence is a certain, listed near miss event. Not
every near miss requires reporting. There are 21 categories of
dangerous occurrences that are relevant to workplaces. The full
list can be found in A guide to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases
and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.
How do you report a RIDDOR?
All incidents can be reported online at www.hse.gov.uk/riddor. A
telephone service remains for reporting fatal and major injuries
only; call the Incident Contact Centre on 0845 300 99223.
Further health and safety resources
The FPA's new DVD outlining the basics of health and safety
practice in the workplace, Fundamentals of Health and Safety,is
available to buy from the
FPA shop or available as a video to stream or download here on
The DVD is also part of a forthcoming Training Information Pack,
available early March in the shop, or as a free download to
accompany the video on fire-stream. Don't forget, free 7-day trials
are available for fire-stream - just get
in touch if you would like to try fire-stream for yourself.
06 February 2012
How many fire wardens should my company
This is a question we often hear. The answer depends on the
outcomes of your fire risk assessment and the size of your
premises, which means the answer will vary from one
organisation to another.
Fire risk assessments are required by law for virtually every
workplace and must be recorded in situations where five or more
staff are employed. A fire risk assessment will help to identify
hazards that can be removed or reduced and to then decide the
nature and extent of the fire precautions required to protect
people against the fire hazards that remain. In addition to those
findings, the measures that are or will be implemented to reduce
the risk of fire must be included, as well as details of any people
identified as being particularly at risk.
It's the duty of the person responsible for your organisation's
premises to ensure the fire risk assessment is carried out. In
brief, the person responsible for the premises must:
ensure that the premises are equipped with
appropriate firefighting equipment and take measures for
firefighting on the premises; and
establish appropriate procedures, including safety
and fire evacuation drills, to be followed in the event of
It is important that a sufficient number of
competent persons are nominated to implement the evacuation
procedures and whatever steps are required for the effective use of
fire fighting equipment on the premises. Many organisations fulfil
this requirement by the appointment and training of fire wardens
(sometimes called fire marshals) to assist during an evacuation of
the premises, and in the use of the fire extinguishers
The number of fire wardens an organisation appoints will
depend primarily on the size of the premises and the level of risk.
The size of the premises is an important consideration as one of
the principal roles of a fire warden in the event of fire would be
to conduct a sweep of a part of the premises (maybe a floor or part
of a floor for example - i.e. dependent upon size) safely and
without putting themselves at risk. In general there should be not
less than one fire warden appointed per floor and arrangements
should also be made for their absence (sick or on holiday etc) by
appointing and training a deputy for each.
Fire wardens can act as the eyes and ears of the
person appointed to manage fire safety by constantly being alert to
the hazards and associated risks of fire in their workplace and
reporting any problems before they are allowed to develop.
To learn more about the role of the fire warden,
read the FPA's new publication Fire Warden
Handbook. The book is available to buy from the
FPA shop, or available as a free download when you subscribe to
Role of the Fire Warden video here on
06 February 2012
How can I, as an employer, benefit from
observing H&S regulations and nurturing a H&S culture
It's not just about complying with red tape. Besides preventing
injury, accidents and consequent loss of productivity, following
health and safety guidelines means you can avoid high levels of
staff absence, liability problems and reputational damage - not to
mention potential fines, prosecutions, and increased insurance
Creating a working environment in which a culture of respect for
health and safety regulation is widespread can save your company
its money, time and reputation.
Statistics from the HSE for 2010/11 revealed:
- 1.2 millionworking people were suffering from a work-related
- 171 workers were killed at work;
- 115 000 injuries were reported under RIDDOR;
- 200 000 reportable injuries (over 3 day absence) occurred
- 26.4 million working days were lost due to
work-related illness and workplace injury;
- Workplace injuries and ill health (excluding cancer) cost
society an estimated £14 billion (in 2009/10);
- The most frequent causes of injury in the workplace were manual
handling, slips and trips, and falls from height.
16 January 2012
What are my legal obligations as an
The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 is the foundation of
British health and safety law. It details the general duties
employers have towards their employees and to members of the public
as well as the duties employees have to themselves and each
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
gives employers specific requirements to manage health and safety
under the HASAW Act. It is these regulations that require every
employer to carry out risk assessments.
Generally, employers have duties under the HASAW Act relating
- The health, safety and welfare at work of employees and others
whether part time, casual, temporary or homeworkers, on work
experience, government training schemes or on site as contractors -
basically anyone working under their control or direction.
- The health and safety of anyone who visits or uses the
workplace and anyone who is allowed to use the organisation's
- The health and safety of those affected by the work activity,
for example, neighbours and the general public.
The employer's responsibilities are more easily clarified in
this 10 point list showing some of the key actions required by law
that apply to nearly every organisation.
- Obtain employer's Liability Compulsory Insurance and display
- Ensure that the organisation has competent health and safety
advice available. This does not have to be an external
- Develop a health and safety policy that outlines the health and
safety management system.
- Undertake risk assessments on the business activities that
include details of the required control measures.
- Ensure that relevant actions are taken following the risk
assessment to prevent accidents and ill health.
- Provide basic welfare facilities, such as toilets, washing
facilities and drinking water.
- Provide free health and safety training for workers.
- Consult workers on health and safety.
- Display the health and safety law poster or give workers a
leaflet with the information.
- Report certain work related accidents, diseases and dangerous
Across the UK there are three separate legislative regimes which
govern fire safety:
- England and Wales
- Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
- The Fire (Scotland) Act 2004 and the
- Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006
- Northern Ireland
- The Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006
- The Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010
All require a similar approach to fire safety based on risk
assessment and a management commitment to ensure suitable fire
safety standards in premises and to maintain a staff culture of
fire safety. Broadly, the requirements are as
- There should be aclearly defined fire safety policy in place to
ensure the protection of all those in or on the premises - such as
staff, residents, guests and visitors - which must include
arrangements for planning, organisation, control, monitoring and
review of fire safety measures. This responsibility sits squarely
with those responsible for the workplace they have control
- It's not just a management responsibility to ensure the safety
of occupants - everyone has their part to play in ensuring that the
premises remain safe, the risk of fire is minimised and that in the
event of a fire everyone can evacuate safely.
- An emergency evacuation plan must be developed and implemented
in line with the findings of the fire safety risk assessment(s). It
should include procedures for all those occupying the premises,
including disabled people.
Further information on your obligations as an employer can be
found in a range of publications available from the FPA (Fire
Risk Management in the Workplace and Essentials of Fire
Safety Management are examples).
16 January 2012