Updates on new and changing regulations plus best practice in health, safety, quality and environment

Two employees injured after oxygen cylinder ‘fired’ into workshop

At Outsource we specialise in making sense of safety, allowing our clients to receive sensible and proportional advice on how to make their business activity as safe as possible.

The critical process of implementing a risk assessment and safe system of work was clearly disregarded when two employees suffered serious injuries after an oxygen cylinder fired into a workshop.

Two employees of an engineering company were seriously injured during disposal of old gas cylinders at the company site in Hull in January 2017.

It was heard by Beverley Magistrates how the defendant company were enlisted to decommission approximately eight or nine gas cylinders, believed to contain oxygen. The cylinders had been laid outside in the company’s premises. All pressure release valves were open to empty any remaining gas in the cylinders.

Following this process an employee began to remove the pressure release valves from each of the cylinders. When he attempted to remove the valve on the last cylinder it became clear that it was stuck and could not be removed. An additional employee assisted the other worker in trying to dislodge the valve using a hammer. During this time the cylinder and valve separated violently as the gas which remained in the cylinder was abruptly released.

The cylinder proceeded to fire into the workshop, striking two employees stood inside. The employees suffered serious injuries to their lower limbs. Both employees needed multiple surgeries to reverse the damage and spent several weeks in hospital. One of the employees struck by the cylinder has been unable to return to work.

HSE investigators found that there was no safe system of work in place for the decommissioning and disposal of the old gas cylinders. Furthermore the company failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment to identify the associated risks.

Redhall Engineering Services Ltd of Winestead Lane, Hull, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and were find £14,000 and ordered to pay costs totalling £2,687.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector James Harvey said:

“This case highlights the serious risks posed by gas cylinders and how the correct disposal as well as cylinder handling and storage is fundamental to ensuring safety.”

Posted by Roger Hart

Respirable crystalline silica health surveillance – are you compliant?

There’s a huge amount being written about respirable crystalline silica of late.  We’ve been speaking about this for the past 22 years and have completed many monitoring and sampling programs for respirable crystalline silica (RCS) since our consultancy first started back in the early 90’s and we think you need to know more about what’s expected of your respirable crystalline silica health surveillance programme.

In the past 22 years we like to think we’ve played a part in raising awareness amongst a lot of different people through construction and related trades through free talks at Working Well Together events through to stopping people I’ve walked past or even had in as trades at home and speaking to them about the real risks and the misconceptions on the dangers of RCS exposure.

Respirable crystalline silica health surveillance

For most contractors, the message is getting to them and we now see more people wearing the right equipment more of the time.  Yes, we still have a long way to go but things are improving.  But what about those businesses that have raised awareness in their workforces and supply chains.  The slightly bigger companies which have really started to address risks from RCS, and also construction dust in general, at their sites – are they now compliant?  Are they managing risks to the correct standards?

We think that the answer to that question is No.

HSE document G404: COSHH Essentials. Health surveillance for those exposed to respirable crystalline silica gives good advice on what you are expected to do to monitor the health of your workforce and we’d suggest that you review it.  Particularly because Regulation 11 of COSHH (Health Surveillance) is a key area of fines under HSE’s Fee For Intervention scheme, as we stated in our White Paper on Fee For Intervention.

If you’d like to delve a little deeper and make sure your occupational health provider is as competent as your Occupational Hygienist (that’s us) then also review the supplementary document here which provide questionnaires and more specific advice on what to include in this health surveillance programme and who the competent person should be for carrying out each stage of the health surveillance programme.

Summary of health surveillance for RCS exposed employees

Check the below and see if your current arrangements are compliant (extracted form the HSE supplemetatry guidance document available here

Baseline assessment for new entrants, before or shortly after first exposure to RCS, would include:
  • respiratory questionnaire (Example 1);
  • lung function testing (spirometry) to measure forced expiratory volume (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC). FEV 1 is measured to within current American Thoracic Society (ATS)/European Respiratory Society (ERS) stipulated accuracy of 150 mls (or 100 mls if below 1 litre). The results should be recorded to monitor how values change with time (see Example 1B); and
  • consideration of a baseline chest X-ray for comparison with future chest X-rays.
After that, for both new-entrant and pre-existing employees, annual health surveillance would include:
  • respiratory questionnaire; and
  • lung function testing.
After 15 years of exposure to RCS
For employees who have had 15 years of exposure to RCS while working for one
or more employer(s), the health surveillance for that year would include:
  • respiratory questionnaire;
  • lung function testing; and
  • PA (posterior to anterior) chest X-ray.
(This includes pre-existing employees with previous RCS exposure of 15 or more years at the time of introducing the health surveillance programme.)

Subsequent health surveillance (as detailed in Example 2) would be repeated annually (or earlier if indicated by the results of health surveillance or if a worker complained of symptoms in the intervening period). The employer may appoint a responsible person (supported by an appropriate health professional) so that workers can report symptoms.

Annual health surveillance would include:
  • respiratory questionnaire;
  • lung function testing; and
  • every 3 years, a PA chest X-ray.
In summary
To summarise the above health surveillance programme:
  • questionnaires and lung function tests at baseline and annually thereafter; and
  • PA chest X-rays at baseline, after 15 years, and every 3 years after that, unless advised otherwise by a health professional.
Posted by Roger Hart

Is your mask protecting you? Selecting and using dust masks

HSE have updated their guidance on selecting and using dust masks and can provide a helpful card which can then assist your staff in ensuring they get a good fit and the protection they need against dust. Many of us use dust masks everyday and its worth a recap on what you should expect of your RPE, how to make the best use of it and where you make mistakes which result in unnecessary exposures to the substance you’re hoping to protect yourself from.

Selecting and using dust masks

I’m glad to say that things have changed for the better over the past 10 or so years. I visit a lot of businesses when carrying out air monitoring or just through routine support visits under our Safety~net scheme and most clients are getting it right.  I think this is down to better education, a higher level of interest and the face fit requirements penetrating ever further through our industry and construction clients. Selecting and using dust masks often isn’t the problem.

However, there is one glaring error which I often see… not keeping the mask in a clean bag or container when it’s not in use.  It’s surprisingly common to work throughout your morning wearing a dust mask only to leave it on a bench or somewhere similar whilst you take a short break.  You then return, put it on and get a whole days worth of exposure in one breath because you didn’t put it back in a bag.

Take the example of RCS (respirable crystalline silica), the image below shows how much the limit is as an amount we can all visualise.  You don’t need a lot of dust in your mask to reach that limit and put your life at risk over the long term, there are thousands of deaths every year despite all of our best efforts and this is likely a significant contributory factor.

We’d also suggest a quick and simple test each time you put the mask on by breathing out a feeling for any signs of leakage around the nose or chin, if you have safety glasses on you also might get steaming of the lenses – this is a sign your fit could be better and needs to be adjusted.

Types of protection and their suitability

Finally here’s a recap on what type of dust mask you should be wearing. Some manufacturers such as Alpha Solway are even colour coding their masks to enable you to quickly tell if all your staff are wearing the correct rating – a great idea in our opinion. Each mask will be CE marked and will show its compliance to EN 149:2001,m if it doesn’t it’s not worth wearing so please check that first. Some suppliers will sell ‘nuisance dust masks’ which don’t these requirements, they’re not what you need and so don’t buy them.

There are three levels of FFP (Filtering Face Piece) masks, 1, 2 and 3;

  • FFP1 dust masks protect against low-level contaminants, 4x and are suitable for applications like hand sanding, drilling, and cutting.
  • FFP2 Dust Masks protect against moderate levels of dust, as well as solid and liquid aerosols. FFP2 Dust Masks have a higher level of protection than FFP1 – FFP2 masks protect against materials and would be suitable for tasks such as plastering and powered sanding.
  • FFP3 Dust Masks protect against higher levels of dust. They also protect against solid and liquid aerosols. FFP3 masks are suitable for protecting against hazardous dust such as RCS (respirable crystalline silica).
  • But: have you thought about reducing the level of dust generated?  Moving the work offsite where extraction can be used? Changing materials or design to reduce risks through less cutting?  Changing dimensions of the build to eliminate the need for cutting blocks, bricks or paving?

Finally, if its a disposable mask you should dispose of it.  Don’t take the chance of keeping on using the same mask for days and weeks when its might have become saturated with dust.  It’s just not worth it particularly when dealing with a higher level hazard like RCS.

Statistics on workplace ill health

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE):

  • There are currently approximately 12,000 deaths each year in the UK due to occupational respiratory diseases, over 70% of which are due to asbestos-related diseases or COPD;
  • These are long latency diseases (they take a long time to develop following exposure to the agent that caused them) therefore current deaths reflect the impact of past working conditions;
  • About 41,000 people who worked in the last year, and 147,000 who had ever worked currently have breathing or lung problems they thought were caused or made worse by work;
  • Each year there are currently an estimated 18,000 new cases of breathing or lung problems caused or made worse by work.
Posted by Roger Hart

Lyme disease and ticks – video; how ticks dig in

We’ve been talking about ticks and the risks of Lyme disease for years through this blog and on the talks which we provide for our Safety~net clients across the UK.

At the weekend we came across the video below which might be useful for toolbox talks to remind your staff who could be exposed to these risks.  Also take a look at our previous blog on risks from ticks here.

As a reminder here’s a list of some of the people which might be particularly at risk from ticks and Lyme disease;

  1. Architects
  2. Landscapers
  3. Landscape architects
  4. Environmental professionals
  5. Highways specialists
  6. Structural engineers
  7. Ground workers
  8. Arboriculture workers
  9. Forestry workers
  10. Farm workers
  11. plus foragers, hikers, mountain bikers and so on

Lyme disease and ticks – video; how ticks dig in

Tick removal

To minimize tick exposure, wear rubber boots and tuck pant legs into the boots so ticks have a hard time grabbing on, advise Mississippi State University experts. (Photo courtesy of Jerome Goddard. Used with permission.)

Perhaps the most important element of protecting your self is removing a tick correctly, we’ve summarised this below but you can also see this link for more information and to purchase a specialist tool if your staff are working in high risk areas; http://www.bada-uk.org/defence/removal/indextickremoval.php

  1. Grasp the tick as close to the  skin as possible and pull upwards with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick as this may leave the mouth parts embedded or cause the tick to regurgitate infective fluids.
  2. Remove any embedded mouth parts with tweezers or a sterilised needle.
  3. Do not squeeze or crush the body of the tick, because its fluids (saliva and gut contents) may contain infective organisms.
  4. Do not handle the tick with bare hands, because infective agents may enter through breaks in the skin, or through mucous membranes (if you touch eyes, nostrils or mouth).
  5. After removing the tick, disinfect the bite site and wash hands with soap and water.
  6. Save the tick for identification in case you become ill within several weeks. Write the date of the bite in pencil on a piece of paper and put it with the tick in a sealed plastic bag and store it in a freezer.
    1. DO NOT use petroleum jelly, any liquid solutions, or freeze / burn the tick, as this will stimulate it to regurgitate its stomach contents, increasing the chances of infection.tick-bite-lyme-disease-risk-assessment

Ensure that your staff are aware of the potential risk and know what to do.  Not all ticks will carry the disease but these simple precautions (and a pair of special tweezers) can help protect your staff from harm.

Posted by Roger Hart

Fit testing for hearing protection

Join me on one of our visits to industrial and construction sites around the country and you’ll see people wearing in-ear hearing protection badly.  Some might as well not be wearing it at all.  We’ll walk past even when we’re completing noise monitoring for a client and look across to see a friendly face smiling but with ear plugs hanging half out of the ears and being pretty much useless. So, has the time for fit testing for hearing protection finally arrived?

Fit testing for hearing protection: the current situation

We’ve got used to the requirement for testing face masks (fit testing of RPE) over the past few years – if you need this completing we can provide this as part of our support to you on our next visit to your site or offices – let us know on 01453 800100 if you require this.  But, we haven’t yet got used to the idea that hearing protection which is badly worn (ear plugs we’re looking at you here) really isn’t an effective control.

We know that some workers will still suffer hearing damage in spite of the controls we put in place.  Have a look at our blog on ototoxic substances (those which can lead to hearing damage, particularly when combined with higher noise exposures).  We also know that some workers will suffer hearing loss even though we think we’ve done our job well and provided good protection.  Could this be the result of poor practices, like removing hearing protection to hear a conversation?  Could it be because of their own particular physiology?  Could it be ototoxic substances?  Or, could it be that hearing protection was badly worn resulting in protection levels far below those which we would expect.  See also our blog on audiometry and let us know if you need support.

Fit testing for hearing protection: what are your options

The first option is the simplest and that is recognising the risk and following that up with education.  Get someone competent to sit with your staff (us for example) to explain about noise, protection and how to properly fit in ear protection.  If you want a quick way to do this also have a look at some online videos from the manufacturers – we’ve included one for you below from 3M.  If you feel you need to take things a step further then please get in touch and we can discuss your options.


Posted by Roger Hart

Hearing loss and ototoxic substances, chemicals damage hearing

I have to say this is an area which I can’t help but find fascinating: hearing loss and ototoxic substances.  Ototoxic substances are those which can lead to hearing loss even without noise exposure, combine them with the noise exposure which we see in industry and construction and you have a combination which might explain why some people experience hearing loss even at levels which we would otherwise assume to be safe.

Being safety consultants which can monitor noise, assess hearing loss and carry out air monitoring for any of the substances detailed below means we’re here and ready to assist you on this risk, if you need help please do get in touch or request us to call you back

Research: Hearing loss and ototoxic substances

Amazingly this isn’t even something new, research on this goes as far back as the 1970’s (Makishima et al., 1977) and the first ototoxic substance was actually discovered in 1944 when treating people for TB.  The next question you have is what kind of substances should you be concerned about?  Have a look below for some examples and also some jobs which may well put workers at a higher risk of hearing loss but please bear in mind that there are estimated to be more than 750 separate groups of ototoxic substances and most MSDS (COSHH) sheet won’t tell you if a substance falls into these groups as only a few of these groups have been studied in depth.

Ototoxic substances;

  • toluene
  • styrene
  • xylene
  • ethanol
  • ethyl benzene
  • arsenic
  • manganese
  • lead
  • trichloroethylene
  • mercury
  • carbon monoxide
  • carbon disulphide
  • hydrogen cyanide
  • tin
  • organophosphates
  • paraquat
  • germanium
  • cyanides

Plus some medicines have been defined as ototoxic including some anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombotic, anti-malarial and anti rheumatic drugs, loop diuretics and antibiotics.

Occupations and job types which may carry a higher risk

  • aircraft maintenance
  • printing
  • painting
  • dry cleaning
  • boat building
  • construction work
  • metal manufacture
  • leather manufacture
  • petroleum products manufacture
  • defence work (weapons firing)
  • furniture making
  • vehicle refuelling
  • firefighting
  • agriculture

So, what do you need to do next?  Well, you won’t find too much information on the MSDS sheets you have as very few manufacturers references substances which are ototoxic.  But if you do have concerns reference the chemicals above and feel free to call and ask for advice if you’re a client on a support contract.  If you’re not on a support contract call us anyway and we’ll be happy to talk about how we support similar businesses 01453 800100

Posted by Roger Hart

Hardwood dust levels are reducing, how will you be affected?

Hardwood dust levelsWe’ve monitored for soft and hardwood dust exposures for over 20 years now, carrying out dust monitoring in various workshops and factories across the country.  We think its unlikely you’ll be aware that hardwood dust levels will be reduced in line with a European Directive (the EU Carcinogen and Mutagens Directive (2017/2398).  In compliance with the EU Directive, the limit in Great Britain is proposed to fall from the current level of 5 mg/m3 (as an 8-hour time-weighted average or TWA) for hardwood dust to 3 mg/m3 in 2020 and then to 2 mg/m3 in 2023.  (Note: this is applicable to hardwood rather than softwood dust but where exposures are mixed, as is common in the industry, then the lower limit will apply).

Note: for any clients who are affected by this change please speak directly to Roger Hart on 01453 800100 to discuss the requirements, similarly, if you’re a new client and need some support please either call or request a callback

HSE is currently inviting feedback from all those who may be affected by this change.  They’d like to find out more about any additional actions you feel will be necessary to enable compliance with the new exposure standards.  These could be changes to your processes or improvements to your existing controls and the associated costs plus any expected health benefits.  We’d recommend that you make your views heard and if you’d like to do so just follow the link below.  The process should take no more than 15 minutes;

HSE Survey: Workplace exposure limit for hardwood dust to be reduced – how will it affect you? (Survey closes on Friday 20th July 2018)

You might ask why this is happening and the background is that it’s linked to two aspects. Firstly to address the fact that some hardwood dusts are carcinogenic (cancer-causing).  Take a look at HSE Document WIS 30 for more information on this aspect.  Secondly, Europe needs to bring member states into line with each other in order to address the wider issue of carcinogens and mutagens, hence the link to the directive cited in the opening paragraph.  In total 17 European member states will have to lower their current exposure limits for hardwood dust including  Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania.  Interestingly, Denmark and France already limit hardwood dust exposure to 1mg/m3, while in the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden it is currently 2mg/m3.

Is there a justifiable need to change the hardwood dust limit?

In short, we think the answer is yes. It’s been estimated that hardwood dust exposure affects more than 350,000 workers in the UK and around 3.3 million EU workers overall working in construction, forestry and furniture making. Exposure can cause sinonasal cancer, asthma and dermatitis.   With work-related cancer being the largest cause of work-related fatalities across the EU, accounting for 53% of all work-related deaths – around 102,000 people every year.

It’s not just hardwood dust, RCS (respirable crystalline silica) will also be affected

The commission also proposes a 0.1mg/m3 limit on respirable crystalline silica (RCS). Affecting approximately 5.3 million EU workers, around 500,000 of which are in the UK, RCS is present in construction, mining, gas and electricity industries and causes lung cancer and silicosis.

This time the UK would not be affected by the proposed change as our WEL (Workplace Exposure Limit) is already 0.1mg/m3. Most affected would be Cyprus, Greece and Poland, whose OELs for RCS presently stand at 1mg/m3.

Posted by Roger Hart

Audiometry (hearing tests) and why you should be doing these in your business

Hearing loss and the associated claims which have skyrocketed in the past 7 years are a major issue for all businesses.  Those within the construction and contracting sectors seem to be particularly targeted by claims and we’ve seen recent payout approach £30,000 for a single person.  What’s important to note here is that some simple changes in terms of Audiometry (hearing tests) can give you the evidence needed for the successful defence of these claims.

Audiometry (hearing tests) and defending claims

Over recent years the focus of claims has become, through changes in legislation, more on health aspects with hearing loss being perhaps the most common claim – as one observer put it ” the new whiplash”. For smaller businesses, these are difficult claims to defend as they don’t have the data on hearing to provide to their insurance companies.

You might well ask why don’t we do audiometry for everyone exposed to noise?  Well, the truth is that it’s been high cost and high impact in terms of production time.

Here’s the old way;

  1. Book in a specialist to arrive with an external hearing booth;
  2. Pay a significant amount of money for their time even if you have a smaller group;
  3. Lose a lot of production time as people make their way through the process;
  4. Miss those people who aren’t there on the day until you decide to repeat the tests – perhaps years later;
  5. Lack of the data you need to defend claims despite your high costs.

Here’s the new way;

  1. Arrange an audiometry test at site as part of your next visit from us;
  2. Test just one person without the need for a specific sound booth;
  3. Have the data on the same day and a copy also held by us;
  4. Lose a very small amount of time (perhaps 20 minutes);
  5. Pay a very small amount, as little as £20.00

What you might not know

Once we’ve completed your audiometry tests you’re armed to defend any hearing claim.  Even those staff who no longer work for you and may choose to seek to claim in future can be defended against with the right data.  Say, for example, a claim arrives which asserts a loss of hearing for a particular role but you have data which shows this persons co-workers did not suffer the same hearing loss doing the same role.  In that case, you have good evidence to defend yourself from any claim for hearing loss, even if that was for employment in 1998 and you still have staff which worked doing the same role but didn’t suffer the same loss.

Once you’ve carried out the first test how often should you repeat them?

Again, generally speaking;

  • Three months into employment (questionnaire and audiometry).
  • Every six months for the first two years of employment with an annual review thereafter if no problems are identified (questionnaire and audiometry).

 Great – how do I get this started?

Please contact us to find out more and integrate this service into your existing support package.  If you’re a new customer we can provide this as a one-off service and provide a quote for spirometry, please call 01453 800100 or email us, or we’ll call you back

Posted by Roger Hart

Spirometry (lung function tests), a new service and why you might need it

It won’t be news to any of our existing clients to say that occupational health surveillance is key in managing risk to your business.  We’ve long been involved in the monitoring and risk assessment of hazardous substances in the workplace and we’ve also been supporting our clients by recommending spirometry (lung function tests) for staff who are exposed to these risks.

What has changed over the past few years is the cost of carrying these tests out, and that change has been positive, we can now carry out spirometry as part of our normal visits to site whether that’s performing exposure monitoring, a site visit or an audit.

Key benefits of spirometry (lung function tests)

  1. The first benefit is that we can integrate this into our other work, meaning you don’t have to meet an expensive day rate cost for an occupational health specialist (often several hundred pounds which makes a small number of tests unviable;
  2. Spirometry and other health surveillance can often be required by law, under the COSHH Regulations (Regulation 11);
  3. Health surveillance is a key area which is reviewed by HSE Inspectors and is a major source of material breaches referenced under the Fee for Intervention Scheme (over £30m in fines last year);
  4. Good health surveillance has a real benefit to workers health and educates them about the risks present in the workplace when combined with good safety management;
  5. Health surveillance, when done properly can provide great protection from claims, and health claims are soaring;
  6. Health surveillance can also protect you from historic claims from a time before you even considered having these tests completed;
    1. Imagine a claim arriving and you were able to demonstrate to your insurers that other staff still with you had not suffered any ill health –  that would provide key evidence that the claimants suffering was probably caused elsewhere and by another employer.

What substance exposures might require Spirometry? (lung function tests)

The list below is helpful but not exhaustive.  One thing we’ve learned over the past 20 years is that there are an awful lot of people doing a whole range of tasks and so it’s hard to be specific.  If you’ve got a person who is exposed to a small amount of a substance but they’ve got other health aspects which mean their respiratory health may be compromised it might be worth including them.  It’s also, for the small cost, worth thinking of screening each working in their first 3 months of work, particularly if they are going to be exposed to any of the following substances;

  • Colophony fumes (exposure to solder fume)
  • Gluteraldehydes;
  • Grain dust and flax;
  • Hardwood and other dust exposure;
  • Isocyanate paint sprays;
  • Metal plating processes;
  • Organic dusts;
  • Polyurethane resins;
  • Reactive dyes;
  • Silica dust (respirable crystalline silica RCS);
  • Welding fumes.

Once you’ve carried out the first test how often should you repeat them?

Again, generally speaking, and using the guidance from HSE present here; Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/healthrisks/hsrespiratory.htm

  • Three months into employment (questionnaire and spirometry).
  • Every six months for the first two years of employment with an annual review thereafter if no problems are identified (questionnaire and spirometry).

 Great – how do I get this started?

Please contact us to find out more and integrate this service into your existing support package.  If you’re a new customer we can provide this as a one-off service and provide a quote for spirometry, please call 01453 800100 or email us, or we’ll call you back

Posted by Roger Hart

Colour coding and labelling of gas cylinders

Many businesses have gas cylinders stored, and in use, within production and other areas but the labelling of gas cylinders is often less understood.  Each cylinder comes with its own markings and these are a valuable source of information, these are required by the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009.  The BCGA (British Compressed Gases Association) has recently published updated guidance to help us all more clearly understand the labels.

A copy of the sheet can be downloaded from the BCGA website here: BCGA guidance TIS6 Labelling of Gas cylinders Please note that the system is not mandatory but is widely adopted in industry, notable exceptions being cylinders containing liquefied petroleum gas, e.g. butane and propane.

Each label includes up to eleven pieces of information, e.g. the contents of the cylinder, the hazards associated with the product and contact details for the company who supplied it. The BCGA guidance explains how different colours are applied to the shoulder and top of the cylinder to denote different classes of gas, e.g. inert, flammable, oxidising and, in some cases, specific gases. For example, an oxygen cylinder is white at the top, helium is brown, nitrogen is black and argon is dark green.

The colour of the gas cylinder body (as opposed to the top) does not signify anything and depends on the manufacturer’s preference. But there is an exception to this rule which affects acetylene. In the UK it is a legal requirement to paint the whole cylinder maroon. This is due to acetylene being an extreme fire hazard and a consistent colour code ensures they are quickly identifiable by the Fire & Rescue Service in an emergency situation.

Good practice on gas cylinder safety

We’d recommend a simple sheet covering the gases which you commonly use at your goods in point or outside of your gas storage area/cage. For higher risk applications such as the storage of oxygen and fuel gas cylinders the BCGA even have a model risk assessment on its website which you can review here; BCGA TIS15

If you’ve got questions on the manual handling of these cylinders then you can find out more in the publications section of the BCGA website.  If you’d like a safety consultant to run through these risks with you and help create a specific risk assessment within your business then please contact us to chat about how we could help; Call Me Back Request and one of our safety consultants will be in touch the same day.

Posted by Roger Hart
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