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Health and Safety Update - Dec 2008

doctorWelcome to your Christmas serving of Health and Safety news, keeping you updated and on track so that you can keep your business in shape for December.

This month we look at some of the biggest changes made to the First Aid work regulations, new guidance to help employers manage violence in licensed and retail premises and more.

Changes to First Aid at Work Regulations

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced changes to the First Aid at Work Regulations, which is likely to come into place as of October 2009. This will be the date from which employers will be expected to implement the changes outlined by the HSE.

The amendments will see shorter First Aid courses, more frequent refresher training and more ‘basic’ first aiders trained in emergency first aid. The four-day First Aid at Work course will soon become a three-day course, and those who take part will be required to take a two-day refresher course every three years. The changes will also see the introduction of a new one-day Emergency First Aid at Work course.

Tackling violence in licensed and retail premises

The HSE has introduced new guidance for use by employers in the licensed and retail sector, which provides practical advice on how to assess and tackle the risk of violence to staff. Feel free to download a copy for your review: Managing work-related violence in licensed and retail premises

The advice is primarily based on feedback given by people who work in pubs, clubs and shops, and the experience that they have had in tackling violence where they work. This insightful guide also identifies who may be at risk in the workplace and the control measures that employers should be putting in place to prevent them.

Interestingly, although the main focus of this guidance is to help tackle work-related violence towards employees, you may find that some of the control measures can also be applied to reduce the risk of violence towards customers and members of the public, therefore helping to reduce the risk of crime against your business.

HSE warns companies to isolate machinery properly after double fatality

Companies are being prompted by the HSE about the dangers of failing to make sure that machinery is turned off properly before maintenance and cleaning is carried out. These warning have come into place following the deaths of two workers in November 2005, who were cleaning inside a food mixer which unexpectedly started up without warning.

Although the workers had switched the machine off and pressed the emergency stop button before entering it, a wiring error in the machine's control system allowed it to start up without warning. If the electrical power supply to the machine had been turned off, then this could have been avoided, even with the wiring error in the control.

Regulation 16 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 covers the requirement for emergency stop controls and requires that:

  • Every employer shall ensure that, where appropriate, work equipment is provided with one or more readily accessible stop controls unless it is not necessary by reason of the nature of the hazards and the time taken for the work equipment to come to a complete stop as a result of the action of any control provided by virtue of regulation 15(1).
  • Any control required by paragraph (1) shall operate in priority to any control required by regulation 15(1) Regulation 15(1) is concerned with the provision of stop controls.
If anyone had tested the emergency stop on the plant the wiring error would have come to light, and the machine would have not been able to start, but it was never tested.HSE Inspector

Remember, regular Health and Safety inspections on all machinery are a must, as is adequate training on all machinery for workers who operate them.

As part of Ceridian's Pay & People offer for small businesses, we propose a Health & Safety service that not only makes sure your business stays compliant with Health & Safety legislation, but covers you in the case of a claim and acts as your competent person. To talk to one of our qualified experts, call us on 0800 0482 737 or contact us online and we'll call you back.

  • 1st December 2008
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