Making Sense of Health and Safety

Health and Safety News

We scour the Internet for Health and Safety related news items on an almost daily basis.

The news articles and clippings, curated by MD Safety, highlight the requirements for compliance with UK Health and Safety Legislation and best practice across all industry sectors.

The majority of the information and cases will apply to a greater or lesser degree to our broad range of Clients and lessons to be learned will be able to be gained.

Businesses advised to review fire risk assessments

Businesses are being advised to review fire risk assessments if they have to close or adapt.  The Staffordshire Fire and Rescue advice comes after recognition that any businesses still open, for example supermarkets and distribution centres, may have additional stock and people working, which could adversely affect means of escape and staff understanding of safety measures. For those businesses forced to close under the current guidance, the fire risk should be mitigated by completing full shut down procedures, including isolating any electrical items. The risk of arson should be reduced by ensuring premises are secure, with any rubbish, bins or skips moved away from buildings. 

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Lone working

A summary of your duties to protect lone workers

Protect lone workers from  stress and other work-related health problems

How to make sure lone workers are healthy and safe

How to train lone workers,  keep in touch with them and monitor their health and safety

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Protect home workers

As an employer, you have  the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers.  When someone is working  from home, permanently or  temporarily, as an employer you should consider:

- There will always be  greater risks for lone workers with no direct supervision or anyone to help  them if things go wrong.

- Keep in touch with lone  workers, including those working from home, and ensure regular contact to make  sure they are healthy and safe.

- If contact is poor, workers may feel disconnected, isolated or abandoned. This can affect stress levels and mental health. 

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HSE issues exemption for the manufacture and supply of biocidal hand sanitiser products in the UK

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has taken steps to support hand sanitiser manufacturers as UK production is increasing to tackle Coronavirus.  Due to unprecedented demand for biocidal hand sanitiser products during the coronavirus outbreak, HSE is providing derogations that will assist the UK manufacture and supply of biocidal hand-sanitiser products that use propanol as their active ingredients. During the temporary exemption, biocidal hand sanitiser products containing Propan-2-ol will not be required to obtain a product authorisation if they meet the relevant WHO-specified formulation II.

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Coronavirus advice for employers

People unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus (COVID-19) can obtain an isolation note through a new online service. Isolation notes will provide employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work.

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Building firm fined after worker injured

Stan England Builders Limited has been fined following an incident when a worker suffered serious injuries after falling from a mezzanine level and wooden platform.  Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that on 31 March 2016, Alan Ness was working at a residential property in Banchory. He began taping areas on the ceiling of a mazzine level. He gained access to this level by a wooden platform which had a ladder propped against it. As he was working close to the edge of the mezzanine level, he lost his footing and stumbled a drop of 18.5cm onto the wooden platform. He was unable to regain his footing and fell a further 2.5 metres head first onto the floor below. He sustained head, back and neck injuries.

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£600,000 fine for yoghurt manufacturer

A Telford yoghurt manufacturing company has been fined £600,000 fine after two employees suffered serious injuries following the release of an acidic cleaning solution.  Telford Magistrates heard that, on 1 January 2016, one of the employees of T M Telford Dairy Ltd suffered serious burns from contact with 1% nitric acid cleaning solution that had a temperature of 650C, when working on a faulty valve on a “cleaning in place” system on the company site in Donnington Wood.  The valve blew off under pressure and the hot acidic cleaning fluid surged out, hitting the roof overhead and spraying on to the workers. While trying to escape from the acidic cleaning fluid, one of the engineers fell from a hooped ladder and sustained a head injury.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information and advice

The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE) are leading the UK government response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  

You can get up-to-date information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and what you need to do on GOV.UK.

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Banksman crushed by a shovel loader on large waste and recycling site

A waste management company pleaded guilty to causing a life changing injury to one of its employees.  Folkestone Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 27 February 2017, an employee of Viridor Waste Management Limited was crushed by a reversing 22.5 tonne shovel loader driven by an on-site contractor at Viridor’s Crayford Materials Recycling Facility site in Crayford. The injured employee was working on foot in the area in his role as banksman, assisting a lorry to manoeuvre into a bay while a shovel loader reversed out of the bay independently, knocking him to the ground and driving over the lower half of his body. He suffered very serious internal injuries and multiple serious fractures, both with significant life changing effects.  An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Viridor Waste Management Limited failed to organise the workplace in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles could circulate in a safe manner. This prosecution is the fourth in 4 years for this company, two of which related to fatal incidents.

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Furniture giant in court over serious DSEAR and COSHH failings

The parent company of Oak Furnitureland has been ordered to pay £398,000 plus £94,904 in costs after council inspectors discovered uncovered solvent tins, faulty PPE and poor ventilation at its Swindon workshop.  The investigation also covered numerous manual handling accidents and workplace transport incidents, which resulted in injuries to employees.  Officers from Swindon Borough Council visited the warehouse in 2016 following a complaint by a member of staff. The council’s health compliance team discovered the company was preparing room divider sheets, which was not a registered activity at the warehouse.

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