Attack of the killer tomatoes, honestly…

Nine people working at a vegetable packing plant were hospitalised with carbon monoxide gas poisoning. A fire officer attending the incident contacted the National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC) for help in determining the source of the gas, which appeared to be a storage area full of tomatoes.

NCEC confirmed that the carbon monoxide levels around the tomatoes, which were measured by the fire officer using detection, identification and monitoring (DIM) equipment, were high enough to disable staff, but he should also eliminate other possible gas sources as a precaution. It was explained to the fire officer that the gas was added to tomato storage areas to slow the ripening process and reduce freezer burn.

Ref: NCEC news release

If you’ve got questions or need support on safety in the industrial, contracting or construction sectors please contact us for sensible and proportionate advice on 01453 800100

Contact form

Please complete the form below and we promise to respond within 24 hrs. If you need more urgent help just call 01453 800109 and ask for Andrea.

Passenger Lifts, requirements for test beyond the statutory inspection

You may or may not (we hope the latter) be aware that if you have a passenger lift you need to carry out a check once every 6 months to ensure that it remains in serviceable condition.  This is much like an MoT on a vehicle and most clients are aware of this requirement.

However, other workplace checks (in addition to the statutory inspection/examination and test) should, reasonably, be conducted by the dutyholder.   Have you considered carrying out checks to make sure the lift drops to the ground floor with its doors remaining open in the event of a fire?  Do you know how to respond in the event of a lift becoming stuck between floors?  Find out more about what might reasonably be expected of you below.

Role of the dutyholder

As the dutyholder you are legally responsible for ensuring that the lift is safe to use and that it is thoroughly examined. These responsibilities include:

  1. maintaining the lift so that it is safe to use;
  2. selecting and instructing the competent person;
  3. ensuring that the lift is examined at statutory intervals (every 6 or 12 months) or in accordance with an examination scheme drawn up by a competent person;
  4. keeping the competent person informed of any changes in the lift operating conditions which may affect the risk assessment;
  5. making relevant documentation available to the competent person, e.g. manufacturer’s instructions and maintenance records;
  6. acting promptly to remedy any defects;
  7. ensuring that all documentation complies with the Regulations; and
  8. record keeping.

Other periodic checks should also be made. One of the main checks is to ensure that when the fire alarm goes off the lift returns to the ground floor, doors open and that the car remains there.

Another check is ensuring that the lift alarm activates in the event of a fault or breakdown and that communication system (if installed) works, plus;

  • Emergency lighting should also be checked periodically.
  • Normal function tests should also be conducted.

The frequency of these additional checks should be decided from the findings of a risk assessment. Some factors to consider include:

  • The frequency of use;
  • Location;
  • Age of the equipment;

Further information regarding thorough examination and testing of lifts can be found by visiting http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg339.htm

If you’ve got questions or need support on safety in the industrial, contracting or construction sectors please contact us for sensible and proportionate advice on 01453 800100

Contact form

Please complete the form below and we promise to respond within 24 hrs. If you need more urgent help just call 01453 800109 and ask for Andrea.

HSE issue an appeal to West of England employers as new figures underline importance of workplace safety

hseThe HSE have released their latest figures relating to deaths, injuries and ill health at work for 2013/14.They have made the statistics applicable for each local authority area so that they can see how businesses in their locality are performing in terms of health & safety.

The Health and Safety Executive is marking its 40th anniversary with an appeal for businesses in Bristol, Bath, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire to prioritise the wellbeing of their workers in 2015.

Figures show that 4 people across the West of England died in 2013/14 and 3,449 suffered injury as a result of work related activity.

Workplace illness statistics also released for the same period showed that across the West of England, 61,400 people were estimated to have been made ill through their work.

Nationally there were 133 deaths at work and more than 79,500 injuries (through RIDDOR) in 2013/14.

The HSE acknowledged that this “is a huge reduction from when HSE was formally established in January 1975 to enforce the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 – the statute that underpins all health and safety legislation, and that is credited with making the UK one of the safest places to work in the world. In 1974/75 a total of 651 employees alone were killed, and that is without including self-employed workers whose deaths were not recorded in the same way”.

However, the HSE are urging employers to take more measures in 2015 to ensure that they protect their workforce by improving their health, safety and welfare policies and procedures.

The HSE reported that the following areas were most at risk

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Waste & Recycling
  • Agriculture

They also highlighted the following workplace activities as areas that needed specific attention

  • Falls from height
  • Inadequate guarding on machinery
  • Poorly maintained equipment/machinery
  • Poor management of workplace transport

Harvey Wild, HSE Head of Operations for the South West, said:

“The families of the workers in the West of England who sadly lost their lives last year have just had to spend the festive period without their loved ones, while hundreds of other workers were made ill through their work or had their lives changed forever by a major injury”.

“The figures offer encouragement that we are continuing to head in the right direction, but they also show that we can still go further and challenge the industries where there is room to do more”.

HSE Chair, Judith Hackitt, added: “In the 40 years since HSE was formed, we’ve worked with businesses, workers and government to make Britain a healthier and safer place to work”.

“For the last eight years we have consistently recorded one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries to workers among the leading industrial nations in Europe. However, in HSE’s 40th year it is right that we acknowledge the progress we’ve made and look to a future of striving to bring down these statistics even further.”

Information on tackling health and safety dangers in workplaces is available on HSE’s website at www.hse.gov.uk[1].

Outsource-safety are a health & safety provider with specialists in construction, manufacturing and transport who work with businesses every day to ensure that their health and safety policy and procedures are of the highest standards.

If you’ve got questions or need support on safety in the industrial, contracting or construction sectors please contact us for sensible and proportionate advice on 01453 800100

Contact form

Please complete the form below and we promise to respond within 24 hrs. If you need more urgent help just call 01453 800109 and ask for Andrea.