Tag Archives: Gloucestershire

Toolbox Talks/Short Safety Briefings – A Powerful Health & Safety Tool

OS Logo EmailDid you know that Outsource Safety can work with you to implement an effective and productive safety briefing programme through the use of toolbox talks that also serves to  demonstrate the communication of key health & safety issues to employees within your company?

Although there is a time and a place for in-depth safety training, short safety briefings, otherwise known as toolbox talks are fast becoming an integral part of an employee’s training programme. It can be used flexibly on an ad-hoc or planned basis with employees across the construction, industrial and other sectors, as a means of
communicating key Health & Safety messages.

At Outsource Safety, our toolbox talks have been developed to achieve maximum impact on the audience. We recommend a structured toolbox talk plan to ensure that the relevant key health & safety issues are addressed, communicated and documented.

The benefits of an effective Toolbox Talk programme

The benefits of a toolbox talk tailored programme as opposed to longer training sessions are as follows:

  1. Short Safety meetings boost employee awareness of safety and its importance in the workplace;
  2. Toolbox Talks presented by experts from an external company reinforces the importance of this type of training;
  3. These sessions can be tailored to fit in with the working day without taking people out of the workplace for whole days or several days at a time;
  4. Toolbox sessions are intended to focus attention on important safety issues, frequently reminding employees why procedures and other safeguards are in place and why it is important to follow them;
  5. Less chance of information overload, boredom and dilution of important safety messages that commonly occur with longer sessions;
  6. Can be used to communicate new issues but also as refresher sessions for older ones.

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

Form Not Exist.

£2m fine for a fall and injury at breadmaker

Warburtons Limited, a large national breadmaker has been fined £2 million plus costs of £19,609.28 after a worker carrying out routine mixing machine cleaning  lost his footing and fell nearly 2 metres to the floor below.falls from height

He was hospitalised and suffered a compression fracture to his spine and was unable to return to his work for several months. He was unable to return to his original role and was dismissed in December 2015 after a long period of sick leave.

An HSE investigation found that the firm routinely asked its employees to access the top of the mixers when they undertook cleaning tasks, in order to do this the workers had to access and then brace themselves to prevent themselves from falling.

It was found that supervision was not adequate and no training had taken place on how cleaning risks at height could be controlled.

HSE Inspector Mahesh Mahey commented;

“This case highlights how important it is for companies to fully assess the risks from work activities at height and to take appropriate action to prevent injury in the workplace.

This should have been prevented, falls from height is one of the biggest killers in the workplace and even falls from fairly low levels can be extremely dangerous. Mr Sears life has been changed forever but his injuries could have been more severe.”

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

Form Not Exist.

CDM Client and their Contractors fined more than £1.5m

A local authority and its two contractors have been fined in excess of HSE£1.5 million following two incidents involving roadworks on a busy Liverpool city centre road. A man died and another was seriously injured while attempting to cross Queens Drive in Liverpool during major resurfacing works which happened in the summer of 2012.

In the case, heard at Liverpool Crown Court, it was reported that on the 3 July 2012 a 74-year-old man suffered head injuries after he was hit by a car while using a crossing at temporary lights. One side of the Queen’s Drive dual carriageway had been put into a contraflow to allow vehicles to travel in both directions but temporary pedestrian lights were not working and no alternative was provided.

The Court also heard that on the 19th August 2012, 69-year-old Ernest Haughton died when he was struck by a car whilst crossing a single lane of traffic on the same road using a temporary pedestrian crossing.

Following complaints from motorists changes were made to the traffic control lights to alleviate congestion but this  resulted in the removal of the natural break in traffic flow needed to allow pedestrians to safely cross the carriageway.

When Mr Haughton died the temporary lights were removed but no alternative control measures were put in place to enable pedestrians to cross. In addition, a large A-frame sign was placed on the crossing which obscured the view of both pedestrians and motorists.

Liverpool City Council pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) and were fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £100,000 costs.

HSE investigators found that Liverpool City Council had failed to ensure that the arrangements for managing the roadworks were suitable, including failing to appoint a suitable co-ordinator for the work. Instead the council sought to delegate responsibilities to Enterprise Liverpool Limited who pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) and were fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £80,000 costs.

HSE found that Enterprise Liverpool Limited failed to ensure the designs for the traffic management were checked or approved and failed to check that the construction plan for pedestrian routes and provision of barriers was being followed.  At the time of the incidents they were found not to have provided a safe means of pedestrians crossing the works area or the carriageway.

Tarmac Trading Limited of Solihull, pleaded guilty to Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act, 1974 and were fined £1.3 million and ordered to pay £130,000 costs.

Tarmac Trading Limited, who were responsible for the provision and installation of the traffic and pedestrian management, failed to provide alternative assistance for pedestrians at the time of the first incident despite it being known that the temporary lights were broken. A temporary bus stop had also been placed in the middle of the road at the crossing.

HSE Inspector Jacqueline Western commented:

“The risks associated with road works are well known in the industry and specific guidance is available to assist with the planning and implementation. It is not unreasonable to expect that those who regularly engage in this type of construction work should be well aware of their roles and responsibilities.

The combined failure of all three dutyholders to comply with their duties on more than one occasion during the Queens Drive resurfacing project, led to one man losing his life and another suffering serious injury. It could quite easily have been two fatal incidents.

By engaging with the entire project team at the very start of a project, clients like Liverpool City Council, can ensure that a good health and safety culture is embodied throughout the life of the project. Ongoing communication and cooperation between the principal contractors and sub-contractors ensures that the project is being adequately planned, managed and monitored.”

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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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 fines increase by 43 percent

HSEBetween February 2016 and August 2016, health and safety fines totalled £20.6 million, compared to £14.4 million in February 2015 to August 2015 (please note that these costs may in fact be significantly higher as the data does not include sentences imposed in cases prosecuted by local authorities).

In the past few weeks alone there have been a number of high value, high profile fines, including:

It seems that for medium sized businesses fines are now routinely hitting the £1m point, indeed it has been argued that under the new Sentencing Guidelines ‘very large businesses’ (those with a turnover in excess of £50m) may see fines as high as £100m becoming common place.

Now may be the time to review your current board level arrangements for health and safety, ensure that you are treating it with the importance it deserves and documenting the good practice you have in place.  Consider a Gap Analysis from one of our experts as a good place to start.

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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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 more than trebles the number of Directors prosecuted for safety offences

Research by law firm Clyde & Co. has shown that the number of HSEcompany directors and managers prosecuted by HSE in the year to 31 March 2016 more than trebled from 15 to 46 persons.  In the same period the number of employees prosecuted has fallen from 10 persons to just 1.

According to the research of these 46 prosecutions 34 were found guilty and 12 were given prison sentences, the longest of which was 2 years.

We can only reach one conclusion from the data above and it confirms what we have seen from assisting the thousands of clients across the UK in both construction and industry, and that is that HSE are pursuing clients with a zeal not seen in the past 20 years.

A second conclusion seems to be that prosecutions against employees are becoming less likely, and perhaps less attractive to the enforcer.  Prosecutions against corporate bodies and directors bring with them valuable income from FFI at a time when the regulator is facing budget cuts. Its seems unlikely that the situation will change in the near future and change which could see all businesses covered by HSE from next year to increase the number of fines and prosecutions still further (see our post on this here).

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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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.

Dusts in construction, their risks and how to manage them

dust RCS crystalline silicaHealth in construction is a big issue and HSE are pushing hard to get the message out to clients of all sizes that health in construction is a very high risk.  The latest figures show that as many as 100 staff per week die from ill health causes through their job – and that’s just the construction sector!

With this in mind we are working with our clients to address these risks, educate their staff through training courses and toolbox talks and also running free sessions on the risks associated with construction dusts and how to manage them – the next of which is running in November 2016 at our offices in Stroud.  Check out this link for the talk which we gave to WWT (an HSE and Construction industry partnership organisation)

These talks won’t just give you an understanding of the risk present, they’ll give you clear and workable advice on how to manage them through changes in working practices and tool selection, we’ll also have expert advice from Dust Control UK on what equipment you can use to clean up dusts without exposing your staff and your clients to cancer causing Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS).

We’ll update you on the free course and also put a booking link here as soon as its live on our Eventbrite page, in the meantime feel free to look at these Workers Stories from HSE to give you some useful resources to raise the issue of construction dusts with your staff and click here to see HSE’s latest Health in Construction – The Facts poster HSE;


HSE enforcement under review, could HSE cover offices, shops and small business?

HSEIn a move which we suspected might come to pass some years ago it has been announced that health and safety enforcement may change for smaller businesses.

During July 2016 the HSE ran a consultation on health and safety enforcement allocation.  Chiefly, it looked at the role of the local authorities.  A range of options were considered, ranging from completely absorbing the LAs’ regulatory powers for health and safety, to allocating them greater duties.

This is something which we discussed on our Breakfast Club sessions for clients and on this blog some years ago.  We believe that this is likely to come to pass and the reason will be to bring the lucrative Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme into play for smaller businesses.

Passing the enforcement role to HSE from overworked EHO’s achieves three goals of the government as we see it;

  1. It eases the burden on councils at a time when their budgets are under stress from central government funding;
  2. It enables the introduction of Fee for Intervention (fee based enforcement) for the remainder of UK workplaces enabling it to reach smaller businesses and drive in additional revenue;
  3. The current situation for sectors such as the motor trade / motor vehicle repair are split untidily between HSE and the LA’s, this change would enable a simpler co-ordinated approach to this type of business which currently falls between HSE and FFI fines and the LA EHO’s and no FFI.

Likely timescales

So, when is this likely to happen?  Well, nothing in government moves quickly and so we won’t see any update on the consultation until 2017 with any changes happening in late 2017.  However, we do think a change is on the way and HSE are recruiting, watch this space…

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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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.

Occupational Health: Styrene Vapour Prosecution, Templetown Canopies Ltd

We’ve carried out many monitoring programmes which have involved exposure to styrene over the past 20 or so years.  The substance is in common use and because of this businesses and their staff can sometimes become too familiar with the substance and fail to take adequate precautions.

We also have heard staff assuring us that they don’t need to use protective equipment as they have developed a tolerance or even an immunity to styrene’s effects – wouldn’t it be good if that could ever be the case…

In the case below styrene exposure simply wasn’t guarded against and although HSE Inspectors know that small businesses have pressures on them they quite rightly won’t allow this as an excuse to endanger the health of their employees.

If you need occupation health advice, air monitoring for styrene or any other safety support please speak to your retained advisor or contact us on 01453 800100 to get some sound advice.

Styrene vapour not controlled by extraction and RPE

Templetown Canopies Limited from Tyneside has been prosecuted over the lack of controls regarding the use of the hazardous substance styrene during the production of fibre glass door and window canopies.

Styrene exposure causes irritation to the nose, throat and lungs and neurological effect including difficulty in concentrating, drowsiness, headaches and nausea.

HSE inspected the company premises in May 2013 issued an Improvement Notice. However, the company did not take action to comply with the Notice until they moved premises in March 2015 failing to adequately control exposure of their employees to styrene.

An extraction system should also have been in place to remove the heavier than air vapours and RPE provided with the correct filters (FFP3) to protect operators.

Employees exposed to styrene vapour for almost 2 years

Templetown Canopies Limited, of Shaftsbury Avenue, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) and was fined £8,500 and ordered to pay costs of £4,500.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Fiona McGarry said:

“Workers’ health was put at risk from exposure to styrene for a period of 22 months, even after the company had been made aware of the actions it needed to take.

Whilst HSE is sympathetic to the pressures faced by small businesses, this is simply not acceptable. Employers need to take action to ensure they are providing adequate control to protect the health of their employees.”

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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.

Socket covers – are they a danger?

socket protectorsMany clients who have members of the public visiting their premises have acted in good faith to put in place socket protectors (think schools, medical practices, car showrooms and similar).

You’re probably thinking that its a good idea and we would have been inclined to agree but research findings over recent years have led to their withdrawal, culminating in a Dept of Health Alert issued today which advises their removal in all NHS premises.

Why should I remove my socket inserts?

Children will be children and many games are based inserting blocks, sticks and cylinders into various sized holes. We’re all aware of the risk of a child picking up a pen, screwdriver, hair clip or similar and then inserting it into a socket – that’s probably why you purchased socket inserts in the first place.

However, were you aware that sockets produced since 1947 should have an internal shutter mechanism which prevents access to the live and neutral pins until the earth pin (top centre) activates the shutter to expose them.  IET members have argued that there have been no cases of children being harmed from sockets that have been left uncovered since a new generation of sockets were introduced in 1990.

Now consider this scenario, a child picks up a socket insert and places it in the socket upside down – both live and neutral are now exposed.  Also consider the fact that there is no British Standard for these inserts and their manufacturing tolerance is not always suitable – this leads to broken / damaged sockets and an even higher risk.

What should I do?

We have to agree with the findings of the safety alert, these inserts can cause more harm than good, our advice is that if you have them you remove them today.

Notes; don’t forget to still manage your risk but checking on the location and condition of your sockets and removing any appliance plugged into sockets which isn’t in use.

IET Wiring Matters 2012 number 44
Fatally flawed:

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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.

Supervision: How much is enough?

fork lift truckOne of the key things people learn on their first safety courses are key phrases used in health and safety.  We, like all professions, are awash with different phrases and acronyms and one of those is ITIS (as in healthandsafetyitis – a condition which can affect us all as some point on another).

However, the phrases behind this is important; Information, Training, Instruction, Supervision.  We are told in the classroom that no matter what, we never loose that responsibility to keep pushing the safety and health messages out to our staff.  But, the law often sees things in a different and generally quite stark light where things are either OK or not, adequate or simply inadequate.

The case below can therefore be helpful to shed a little more of this light on what a judge might think is appropriate, our only caveat is that this is one case and represents a specific set of circumstances.

A case has recently been heard by the Court of Appeal involving Dean Quantrell and TWA Logistics Ltd.  Quantrell was operating a gas powered lift truck to unload vehicles but somehow managed to end up underneath the truck and sustained leg injuries, exactly how this happened is unclear.

Quantrell asserted that he was travelling at low speed when his left foot slipped from the pedal causing him to overbalance and fall.  However, the judge at the first hearing in Liverpool was seemingly unconvinced by Quantrells version of events and noted that he had been inconsistent in his story during questioning. In addition, a reconstruction showed the events described to be all but impossible when moving at slow speeds.

The judge concluded that it was more likely that the accident occurred due to a sharp turn at high speed which caused it to tip and the case was dismissed.

The case was taken to the Court of Appeal where Quantrell argued that the accident had happened at low speed and confirmed story he had recounted was broadly correct. He alleged that there were several areas in which TWA Logistics had failed including inadequate training as it had not included specific instruction in driving gas-powered FLTs or familiarisation training at the workplace as required by the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) for lift trucks. He also felt that insufficient weight had been placed on the lack of enforcement over wearing a seat belt.

The court of appeal disagreed with both arguments and then dismissed Quantrells claim. It found that although the training was not fully compliant with HSE ACoP it had covered the “basic” element just not the required “specific” and “familiarisation” parts. HThe Court felt that there was no link between the accident and any inadequacy of training. The question of seat belt usage was also found to have been given sufficient consideration by the business and although enforcement was not rigorous, it had been reasonable.  Evidence being the business supplying buzzers to alert drivers when the seat belt was not used and notices being displayed to remind drivers to use seat belts.

So an interesting conclusion and one which will serve to give some assurance to safety managers and directors alike.  Our advice?  Make sure you keep records of any reminders, toolbox talks or disciplinary action take relating to safety, it great evidence when you need it.

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