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Health & Safety Update - Oct 2008

health and safetyWelcome to a new, regular section in Ceridian Connection - the Health & Safety update. Every month, we will give you a brief overview of the latest developments in Health & Safety that may affect your business.

Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide – How much should offenders be fined?

Since April this year, companies found guilty of the new offence of Corporate Manslaughter, or Corporate Homicide as it is known in Scotland are to be fined between 2.5% and 10% of their annual turnover.  Although draft guidelines have been sent to judges by the Sentencing Advisory Panel, the definitive guide will not be available until later in the year. It is already being argued by the Centre for Corporate Accountability that these fines are too low to be effective as a prevention of the offence and that they should range from 15% to 40% instead.

Restaurant faces a £11,500 fine over serious burn!

A restaurant owner has been fined £11,500 and ordered to pay £3,084 in costs after a chef suffered severe burns on his foot by hot oil. The chef slipped when standing on greasy kitchen equipment to clean a canopy and his foot plunged into hot cooking oil. The owners were convicted for not properly assessing the risks before allowing the work to go ahead and also for not implementing a safe structure of work for cleaning equipment a high level.

Are you a Chemical company that imports or manufactures 1 tonne or more per year of chemicals?

If so, then you are required to register with REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemicals Regulations) before 30th November 2008. Even though this pre-registration is not a legal requirement of REACH it is recommended by the UK Competent Authority.

Accident Reporting

The HSE has updated their guidance on the Reporting of Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) to take account of minor legal changes elsewhere and to remind employers that the simplest way to account an incident is to inform the Incident Contact Centre (ICC) by calling 0845 300 99 23 (local rate).

RIDDOR places a legal duty on employers, people who are self-employed and those who are in control of premises to report work-related deaths, major injuries or over-three-day injuries, work related diseases and dangerous incidences.

You can report directly to the ICC where your report will be sent onto the appropriate authority. You should then receive a copy of the information which you can check for any errors and then keep for your records for your future reference.

It is important that you also make sure that all work-related injuries are noted in your Accident Book and also that all relevant forms are completed. This ensures that you are complying to the Data Protection legislation. You must keep all completed accident report forms for a minimum of 3 years.

Visual Display Units (VDU) - Some FAQ’s

  • How long should I work at a VDU
  • Do VDUs give out harmful radiation?
  • Can working with VDUs cause skin reactions?
  • Can VDUs bring on epileptic fits?
  • I use a laptop, are there any precautions I need to take?
  • Can using a mouse cause me any problems?

The answers to these questions and many more can be found by reading the following leaflet on 'Working with VDUs': http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg36.pdf

A Reminder - the Regulations require employers to:

  • Examine workstations to assess and reduce risks.
  • Make sure workstations meet the specified minimum requirements.
  • Make sure employees have breaks or changes of activity.
  • Provide eye and eyesight tests on request, and spectacles if needed.
  • 1st October 2008
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