News & Blogs

News: Protecting lone workers

Lone workers can be at greater risk of harm as they may not have anyone to help or support them if things go wrong.

Employers should provide training, supervision, monitoring and support for those working alone.

HSE’s free to download leaflet ‘Protecting lone workers: How to manage the risks of working alone‘ is for anyone who employs lone workers, or engages them as contractors etc, including self-employed people or those who work alone.

The leaflet is supported by lone working webpages which include advice aimed at lone workers themselves.

Digital tools from Electrical Safety First helping to keep consumers safe

In the UK, the response rate to an electrical product recall or safety notice is less than 20%. With low levels of product registration, manufacturers can find it very challenging to trace affected products, leaving consumers unaware that they have a potentially dangerous appliance in their home.

The leading consumer charity Electrical Safety First has developed some free digital tools that will help people check for electrical product recalls and register their appliances.

This useful document contains more information.

News: Ventilation in the workplace and COVID-19

Adequate ventilation (including air conditioning) can help reduce risk of spreading coronavirus in workplaces.

HSE’s updated guidance will help you identify poor ventilation in work areas and take practical steps to improve it. This can help reduce the risk of COVID19 spreading in your workplace.

HSE’s updated guidance includes a new video setting out the key advice, and there is information on:

  • Identifying poorly ventilated areas and using CO2 monitors
  • Improving natural ventilation
  • How to improve mechanical ventilation
  • Air cleaning and filtration units
  • Ventilation in work vehicles.

HSE also have some examples of how businesses have improved ventilation to reduce COVID-19 transmission in the workplace.

News: PPE Consultation 2021

HSE is consulting on changes to the PPER 1992 and encourage you to draw the attention of your stakeholders and other interested parties to this consultation launching on Monday 19 July 2021 and running for 4 weeks.

The consultation can be accessed via HSE Consultation Hub from this date.

The aim of the consultation is to understand the impact on stakeholders and businesses of extending the scope of the employers’ duties under the PPER to workers and not only employees.

Why is the HSE making changes to the regulations?

In November 2020, a judgment was handed down in the judicial review action in the High Court brought by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) against the Secretaries of State for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Work and Pension (DWP), which decided that the government had failed to properly transpose Article 8(4) and 8(5) of EU Directive 89/391/EEC  (“the Framework Directive”) and Article 3 of EU Directive 89/656/EEC  of 30 November 1989 (“the Personal Protective Equipment Directive”) into UK law.

The Framework Directive sets out the minimum standards for health and safety through a series of general principles, and the Personal Protective Equipment Directive (“PPE Directive”) sets out the minimum health and safety requirements for the use of personal protective equipment in the workplace for workers.

The UK implemented the PPE Directive through the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992  (“PPER”) which places duties on employers to their ‘employees’ in regard to PPE. The High Court found that the PPE Directive required these duties to be extended to ‘limb (b) workers’ and not only ‘employees’. Therefore, HSE is making amendments to the PPER in order to align with the court’s judgment.

What does this mean?

Employers will have a duty to provide limb (b) workers with the same health and safety protections in respect of PPE as they do currently for employees.

Options on how to achieve the extension of the provisions to workers in the legislation will not be presented during the consultation as the key legislative changes are being made to align with the court decision.

For any enquiries, please contact HSE directly on ppeconsultation2021@hse.gov.uk

News: Fire Safety Act 2021

On the 19th March 2020, the Home Office introduced a new fire safety bill to improve fire safety in certain residential premises. This bill received Royal Assent on the 29th

April 2021 and is known as the Fire Safety Act 2021 (FSA 2021).

The FSA 2021 makes amendment to article 6 of the RRFSO 2005 and focuses mainly on ensuring that apartment entrance doors and external wall systems (including balconies and windows) are a part of the common areas and therefore come under the RRFSO.  The FSA has received Royal Assent but is being held back until the Government produce guidance on how to apply the FSO to the prescribed features mentioned in the FSA plus how they will be enforced.

You can download a copy of the act here.

News: HSE releases annual workplace fatality figures for 2020/21

The HSE revealed provisional data last week which shows that a total of 142 were killed at work in Great Britain in 2020/21; this is an increase of 29 from the year before (though the number of deaths that year was lower than in other recent years).

Over the past 20 years there has been a long-term reduction in the number of workplace fatalities; the average annual number of workers killed at work over the five years 2016/17-2020/21 is 136.

The three most common causes of fatal injuries continue to be:

  • Workers falling from height (35)
  • Being struck by a moving vehicle (25)
  • Being struck by a moving object (17).

The data also continues to highlight the risks to older workers with around 30 per cent of fatal injuries in 2020/21 involving workers aged 60 or over, even though such workers only make up around 11 per cent of the workforce.

The figures relate to workplace incidents. They do not include deaths arising from occupational exposure to disease, including COVID-19.

A fuller assessment of work-related ill-health and injuries, drawing on HSE’s full range of data sources, will be provided as part of the annual Health and Safety Statistics release on 16 December 2021.

Read more on the HSE website or download the full report here.

News: Building Safety Bill published

This week saw the long-awaited publication of the Building Safety Bill, the next step in reforms to give residents and homeowners more rights, powers and protections, with the aim of making homes safer.

The wide range of changes being introduced in the bill will overhaul regulations and have a big impact on the construction, maintenance and management of residential buildings.

The bill also sets out the framework to improve compliance, with tougher penalties for those who break the rules and mandates developers to belong to a New Homes Ombudsman scheme.

It is estimated that be it will be 9 – 12 months before the bill gains Royal Assent. It could then take another 18 months for secondary legislation and transition to the main regime; therefore even if all goes to plan, the bill may not come into force until 2023 – 2024.

A handy one page document summarising the bill can be found here.

All the information relating to the bill can be found here.

 

Announcement: IOSH Managing Safely in Social Housing

We are absolutely delighted to announce that, after several months of hard work, we have had our IOSH Managing Safely in Social Housing course approved. The three-day course has been developed, and will be delivered, by social housing professionals and can be run virtually or face-to-face.

What makes the course specifically for the social housing sector?

In designing this training we have taken the standard IOSH Managing Safely course and tailored each module to be specifically aimed at managers within social housing.

We’ve gone through the hazards, case studies and information within the course and made them relevant to the specific nature of the social housing sector.

The course has then gone through IOSH’s rigorous approval process to ensure it meets their high standards.

Trainers

We have several health and safety specialists who are approved to deliver the course; all are experienced trainers who have worked in the social housing sector for many years:

How can I find out more or book a course?

If you have any queries about the course or would like to book, please email training@housingcompliance.co.uk or call Vicki on 07974 578103 . We’d love to hear from you.

Asbestos – HSE Prosecutions for failings…..

The importance of understanding your responsibilities for the management of asbestos… 

There have been two press releases this week from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) with regards to asbestos and a failure to manage its’ presence….

In the first case, Newnham College has been fined for failings that exposed employees and subcontractors to asbestos during refurbishment of a flat owned by the college.

Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard that in March 2018, employees of Newnham College and subcontractors were carrying out a refurbishment of a flat on Grange Road, Cambridge when asbestos insulation debris was discovered in the floor voids after work had been carried out in them. No asbestos refurbishment survey was carried out prior to insulation debris being found. One employee, who contaminated his gloves and clothing with loose asbestos debris, did not have asbestos awareness training and spread asbestos from his clothing outside the flat.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that there was inadequate planning and management of the refurbishment work of a flat on Grange Road, Cambridge when asbestos insulation debris was discovered in the floor voids after work had been carried out in them.

The college pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. It has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,450.28.

In the second case, a property owner and his building contractors were both been sentenced after a refurbishment project of an old hotel was found to contain asbestos containing materials (ACMs) on site while work was still taking place. The hotel had been left derelict for several years, allowing it to be subject to vandalism and squatting and had been soft-stripped by its owner. Asbestos surveys identified the presence of ACMs, but these were not managed appropriately nor removed prior to the work. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified that the former hotel was being refurbished and partially demolished whilst ACMs remained in-situ. Some of these ACMs were licensable products (e.g. asbestos insulating board which contains amosite). Due to the extent of the spread of asbestos dust and debris throughout the building and the lack of adequate control measures, workers and visitors to the properties were at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres.

The building contractors pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and were fined £22,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000 and the property owner pleaded guilty to breaching S3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £7,500.

You can read both of the prosecution details in full on the HSE website here