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Health & Safety Update - Nov 2009

This year the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) is encouraging employers to ‘stress the positives’. Find out how you can do your bit to ‘stress the positives’.

Crane Hire Company faces £125,000 fine

A crane company has been fined £125,000 and ordered to pay £264,000 following a crane collapse in 2005 in which two people lost their lives.

The deceased men were working on the jib of a crane as a third man worked on the mast. He was instructed to begin de-torquing the crane’s mast bolts and should have done so one-by-one, and then re-tightened each bolt in turn. However, he was not trained in this job and he failed to re-tighten the bolts, leaving them partly undone – causing the crane to collapse.

The Health and Safety Executive Inspector Peter Collingwood said that the accident could have been prevented if a thorough risk assessment had been carried out, and if employees had received adequate training and supervision.

Many accidents each year occur through the incorrect use of cranes.  Any lifting activity must comply with the Lifting Operation and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER.)

Generally, the Regulations require that lifting equipment provided for use at work is:

  • strong and stable enough for the particular use and marked to indicate safe working loads;
  • positioned and installed to minimise any risks;
  • used safely, i.e. the work is planned, organised and performed by competent people
  • subject to ongoing thorough examination and, where appropriate, inspection by competent people.

Asbestos – The Hidden Killer

The Health and Safety Executive is re-launching this campaign (previously launch in October 2008) to help tradesmen and maintenance workers know when they might be working with asbestos and what they can do to protect themselves.

Faulty lift claims life

The Health and Safety Executive is investigating the death of a 50-year old woman who lost her life after being trapped in a lift shaft on the eight floor of a block of flats. Witnesses said she had struggled to free herself but was struck by the top of the doorway as the lift rose to the floor above. The victim’s daughter had repeatedly contacted the local council a number of times to tell them that the lift was faulty so action could be taken.

This incident is a stark warning to all employers, landlords and owners alike, to carry out thorough risk assessments on all facilities on their property. Whether being used by employees or members of the public, if a lift is faulty then provisions must be made to prevent injury.

Lifts are covered in Health and Safety legislation under Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) and Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER.) Lifts must be inspected and maintained by an experienced person annually if used for lifting goods, or bianually if used for lifting people. If a lift is reported as faulty it must be taken out of service, as it could cause an injury or an incident.

A provision must be made for:

  • Regularly inspecting lifts for faults
  • Testing and recording of alarm and intercom systems on a weekly basis
  • Actions to be taken in a fire “Do Not Use” signs on lifts that are not designated as fire lifts.
  • Evacuation of disabled people must be considered (such as providing an evacuation chair.)
  • Maximum weights must be signified.

An employer has a duty of care to ensure that these are being carried out. If these checks are being carried out by a third party it’s important that you obtain test certificates, maintenance and inspection records from the company responsible.

As part of Ceridian's Pay and People offer for small businesses, we propose a Health and 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 November 2009
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