Our Blog

September 17, 2020

COVID Test shortage: considerations for your business continuity

As we head towards autumn our schools have opened and the majority of staff have now returned to the office.  We feel we are making progress and the new normal is starting to become normal for many of us. As part of this new way of working we are all...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 15, 2020

KN95 face masks, poor standards and forged paperwork

As clients return to their workplaces the issues of personal protection will arise and a significant number of clients will have instances where face coverings or true PPE will be required and we are now seeing large amounts of KN95 face masks.  Suppliers have been quick to spot this and...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 3, 2020

Coronavirus: Return to Work Planning Risk Map

Most of us are planning and finessing our return to work risk assessments.  We've created a Return to Work Planning Risk Map for the use of our retained clients some weeks ago and now is the time to share that with the wider community with the aim of easing everyone's...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
May 15, 2020

Coronavirus and HVAC, how your HVAC System can help

As we get closer to larger and more complex buildings and even shared office space coming back into use we need to think more widely on the issues of risk management.  You should now review Coronavirus and HVAC. The Building Services Engineering Association have recently introduced new guidance which has...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
May 12, 2020

Hand sanitising and surface sanitising, choices and options

We're beginning the process of returning to work.  As we do so we have choices to make and we also face shortages of supplies including those of what to supply and use for hand sanitising and surface sanitising.  We know that the message until now has been based on hand...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
May 11, 2020

Exit plan for coronavirus, our observations

With the announcement. from Boris yesterday we have new information and are now awaiting the accompanying guidance on the Exit plan for coronavirus.  Some have commented that the statements made raise as many questions as they answer and this is perhaps inevitable at this stage and given the unknowns surrounding...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
May 1, 2020

Coronavirus demarcation of workplaces, examples of good practice

As we consider the return to our workplaces the issue of demarcation and social distancing becomes more and more relevant.  We all realise that the current lockdown and furlough situation is not sustainable in the longer terms and we must make efforts to adapt our lives and workplaces to fit...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
April 30, 2020

How long can Coronavirus survive on different surfaces?

When preparing your workplace for reoccupation you have a number of issues to consider one of which is how long can Coronavirus survive on different surfaces?.  For our clients support under our Safety~net competent person service we have created a risk map document which guides you through this process.  This...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
April 20, 2020

Coronavirus Q&A

Following on from a recent IOSH Webinar we thoughts we'd share a Coronavirus Q&A which took place which we hope you'll find useful during the lockdown.  We are still working, albeit from home, but are completing a range of work for clients, particularly those in the construction sector. It looks...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
April 17, 2020

Coronavirus risk level for different groups, assessing the risk

As we begin our move away from the first stage of the pandemic we begin to face the need for a staged return to work.  As part of this many clients will be facing difficult questions around managing this return whilst keeping their staff safe from harm. As part of...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
April 9, 2020

Working during the coronavirus lockdown: social distancing advice from HSE

Those businesses which do have to remain open have a clear responsibility to their staff who are still working during the coronavirus lockdown. there are a number of things which you can do to help control the risk including; establishing a rota for use of all communal and welfare areas to...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
April 9, 2020

Coronavirus RIDDOR reporting requirements (COVID-19)

For those businesses who still have to operate throughout the shutdown, there is a potential for the change relating to coronavirus RIDDOR reporting requirements to affect you.  In more typical times diseases are only to be reported when a doctor confirms their presence, examples would be vibration white finger or...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
April 6, 2020

Coronavirus: Should my business still be open?

One of the current questions we are seeing being asked by clients and project contacts is around coronavirus: Should my business still be open? The government guidance here lists what businesses must remain closed and specifies some which can remain open but it is not definitive. This will leave some businesses...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
April 6, 2020

Coronavirus: Cleaning your workplace before re-occupations

At some point, we will need to plan for the return to our workplaces and with that, the question arises of Coronavirus and cleaning your workplace before re-occupation. There's some good guidance already available from the government here but we thought it would be useful to boil down both that and...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
March 25, 2020

Coronavirus Risk Assessment

Your coronavirus risk assessment needs to be based on facts and these are often scarce or too confused to be useful. To help combat this for our clients we've got some resources below which may e of use to you. Current UK government guidance puts the chance of dying from Coronavirus...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
March 19, 2020

Drivers visiting site and coronavirus

We're getting reports of visiting drivers being denied access to welfare facilities at sites due to concerns over coronavirus. Whilst we understand the will to protect your staff as far as possible during the outbreak we have to advise clients and others that you cannot refuse access to welfare.  In fact,...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
March 18, 2020

Coronavirus should I self isolate flowchart

Please find below a coronavirus should I self isolate flowchart which you can display within your workplace and also use to plan your actions.  Please note that this is based on best current advice and you should always review the latest government guidance available here; https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response If you have any questions...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
March 18, 2020

Coronavirus risk map

I'm sure a lot of businesses are thinking about their response to Coronavirus. Please find below a coronavirus risk map which might assist in deciding on what precautions would be appropriate in your business. Please do be aware that this information is general and not specific to any business and...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
March 18, 2020

Coronavirus face masks: are they effective?

You only have to travel a short distance to see a number of people wearing a large range of different masks.  We've heard they can be a good idea, we even see hospital staff wearing them, but are they effective and should you and your staff be using them? Coronavirus face...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
March 18, 2020

Coronavirus and your office: small steps to help prevent infection

Here are a few simple thoughts on Coronavirus and your office to implement during the outbreak; Signing in: if you still have visitors to site which are essential then ask reception staff to sign these people in, don't share pen and paper across multiple people. Split your essential teams: if you have...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
March 18, 2020

Coronavirus COVID-19: advice on the symptoms and tracking cases

Please find below some updates and guidance on the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak which may be of help. Firstly, there are many trackers out there but the one which we have used and recommended from the start is John Hopkins University one as shown in the graphic and available here.  The spread...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
February 4, 2020

Hand Arm Vibration: Competency for HAVS Health Surveillance

Our recent support work across our client based and in particular two Improvement Notices issued by HSE on which we have assisted have highlighted the issue of competency when it comes to Competency for HAVS Health Surveillance.  It's easy to get lost amongst the science and application of the regulations,...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
January 7, 2020

3D printing, managing the risks

Many companies and educational establishments are now incorporating 3D printing into their activities.  Whilst 3D printing brings great new possibilities it also brings some specific risks which must be managed. There are various 3D printing technologies but this post refers to Fused Filament fabrication (FFF) and uses the CLEAPSSS Design and...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
January 6, 2020

HSE to visit any site carrying out welding activities in January to March period

Fabricated metal inspections HSE will be inspecting sites that carry out metal fabrication in January to March 2020 to check compliance with the law. The focus will be on control of exposure to welding fume and metalworking fluids.  All welding fumes (including mild steel) are now classed as carcinogens. Metalworking fluids...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
January 6, 2020

£600,000 Fine for Property Developer over HAVS risk assessment

A property management and development organisation has been fined after five employees developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).  Between 2009 and 2014 five employees of Places for People Homes Limited used vibrating powered tools to carry out grounds’ maintenance tasks.  The company has been fined £600,000 and ordered to pay...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
September 12, 2019

Understanding the impact of business to business health and safety ‘rules’

A recent report published by the HSE entitled “Understanding the impact of business to business health and safety rules” makes interesting reading: https://www.hse.gov.uk/regulation/assets/docs/understanding-impact-business-to-business-health-safety-rules.pdf?utm_source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=construction-jul-19&utm_term=pdf-download&utm_content=blue-tape The report raises a number of points, and will give all consultants food for though.  The findings that stand out for me though, were: 39% of SMEs thought that...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
September 12, 2019

Breakfast Clubs Invite, October and November 2019 dates

Need more advice on Health & Safety and HR Issues?  Join us for breakfast at one of our free clubs and meet our Chartered Safety Practitioners, HR Partners (HR Champions) and like-minded businesses.  Share your ideas and experiences over a coffee and get the answers you need there and then! We'll...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 26, 2019

HSE Targets Principal Designers 2019/20

Are you acting as a Principal Designer? If you are you may be the subject of a visit as HSE Targets Principal Designers in its current year plan (you can find all our posts on Principal Designers and prosecutions by click here to find out more about HSE requirements for...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 20, 2019

HSE update: Mild Steel Welding Fume is Carcinogenic

You may have seen the recent HSE update announcing mild steel welding fume is carcinogenic and IARCs new classification of it as a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent).  This has caused a huge amount of questions for both our helpline for existing client supported under Safety~net and also from our work monitoring...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 18, 2019

Dust Extraction Classes on Vacuums – What class do I need?

Firstly, good for you for even stopping to ask yourself about Dust Extraction Classes.  A lot of people are still using extraction equipment which is designed for domestic vacuuming - something not designed or capable of protecting you from hazardous dust.  Think about it, would you take something you know...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 14, 2019

HSE to target all businesses in dust exposure inspections

Please find below an update from HSE regarding their focus on dust exposure across all sectors of industry - if you need support or advice on dust exposures including air monitoring please contact us or request a call back from one of our safety consultants or an occupational hygienist.  We...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 14, 2019

HSE to focus on construction health in June

Please find below an update from HSE regarding their focus on construction health - if you need support or advice on dust exposures including air monitoring please contact us or request a call back from one of our safety consultants or an occupational hygienist.  We have many years of experience...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 14, 2019

Managing the Transition from OHSAS18001 to ISO45001

Designing, implementing and maintaining management systems such as ISO45001 can seem daunting and time consuming.  Outsource Safety can help you and ensure that your systems are effective, efficient and focussed on your business risks and needs. With an integrated management system, all the elements work together, with each function aligned behind...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
May 24, 2019

3M faces court case over ear defence

How Effective are your Ear Protectors? A recent lawsuit against 3M and Aearo Technologies, who were found compliant in providing defective Combat Arms Earplugs (ear protectors), falsifying test results and misrepresenting the Earplugs performance to obtain a multi-million dollar contract with the US military, has resulted in 3M agreeing to pay...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
April 25, 2019

Children and Construction Site Dangers: Stay Safe, Stay Away – Free Video

With the Summer holidays looming and many constructions sites situated near to where children play and have access to, extra care needs to be adhered to, to ensure all safety measures are in place. Children are often attracted to the noise, trucks and materials on a building site but are...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
April 25, 2019

HSE increase FFI hourly rate by 20%!

It may be time to review your health & safety policies and set in place the correct measures following the announcement that the HSE are increasing their FFI hourly rate from £129 to £154 with effect from the 6th April 2019. This has been the second increase since the scheme...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
April 17, 2019

Overhead Power Strike Death – Do you communicate your Risk Assessments to the workforce or are they just a paper exercise?

From the provision of health and safety policies, risk assessments/method statements and toolbox talks to the delivery of Safety~net contracts, Outsource Safety can hold your hand through the mine field of health & safety requirements and procedures, ensuring you are covered for most eventualities. Communication of risk to the workforce in...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
April 16, 2019

Hot Cutting Work & Potential Explosion Risks – how aware are you?

Scarily many lives have been lost over the years by incorrect use of hot works application. The need to understand how to conduct a dynamic risk assessment when dealing with potentially flammable goods is crucial. Failure to do so can result in a tragic outcome, as occurred in the following...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
March 20, 2019

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...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 18, 2018

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...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 16, 2018

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 it's worth a recap on...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 9, 2018

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...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 6, 2018

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...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 5, 2018

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...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
July 4, 2018

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

We'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...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 27, 2018

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...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 27, 2018

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...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 25, 2018

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...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 21, 2018

Visualising harmful emissions (COSHH, Air monitoring and Occupational Hygienists)

As Occupational Hygienists we've been involved in air monitoring for hazardous substances for over 20 years and we've visited a vast array of business in that time. We've monitored construction dust such as wood and crystalline silica from cutting blocks and bricks, we've visited artists foundries and workshops and monitored...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart
June 19, 2018

Key contractor and scaffolding specialist fined £63,000 for unsafe scaffolding

The current Work at Height Regulations were put into action in 2005 and we've been working with hundreds of our clients to put in place workable solutions to keep people safe at height since we started the business in 1994. Key amongst these risks is unsafe scaffolding. All contractors should have...  read more

Posted by Roger Hart