Week Commencing 07/12/2020 – In The News

December Hazard of the Month Announced!

New Hazard of the Month: Working at Height

Over the month of December, we are focusing on the Hazard of Working at Height.

Working at Height is a serious issue that is relevant to almost every profession due to it covering a wide range of work practices, such as unsafe ladder usage to working on fragile roofs. It is our Christmas Hazard because who would know this better than Father Christmas himself? Every year he is certain to brush up on his working at height knowledge in the run-up to that special night of the year when he delivers presents to every rooftop in the world!

You can learn more about safe working from height on our Research Blog, a tailored piece of writing that takes a detailed look at particularly topical areas of the sector, or risks that are repeatedly overlooked.

In addition, you can also get your knowledge up to scratch with our RoSPA Accredited Working at Height online training course which you can complete from anywhere, even the North Pole as long as it has Wi-Fi! You can get 10% off this and our Alcohol & Drugs Awareness course (because intoxication and heights is a definite no go and as funny as it sounds, a drunk Santa could definitely ruin Christmas!) with the code WaH20!

Check For CE Marked Toys This Christmas

CE markingWith online shopping occurring at unprecedented levels this Christmas, it is important that you make sure you check that any children’s toys you order within the UK and Europe are CE marked if this is required.

Where a product (or material) is intended for use in play by children, of less than 14 years of age, it will be required to be CE marked before that product can be placed on the market in the UK or Europe. This shows that is has been assessed to ensure that children will not be exposed to any harm.

However, from 1st January 2021, the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking will be the new UK product marking that will be used for goods being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). It covers most goods which previously required the CE marking.

You can learn more from the CE Marking Association.

Report Reveals PPE Failures During First Wave of the Pandemic

Surgical Face MaskA report titled “The supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic” by the National Audit Office has revealed important aspects that could and should have been done much better in supplying PPE during the first wave of the pandemic.

Key points include:

  • Of the 32 billion items of PPE procured between February and July, only 2.6 billion items were delivered to front-line organisations in that period.
  • The social care sector received approximately 331 million items of PPE from the government between March and July (14% of the total PPE distributed and 10% of their estimated need).
  • Orders totally £214 million were made for 75 million respirator face masks which the NHS will not use for the original purpose.

You can read more conclusions from the report HERE.

Company Fined £120,000 After 5 Metre Fall

A warehouse where racking is stacked with cardboard boxes.A Glasgow based company has been fined after an employee fell through a fragile plasterboard ceiling, sustaining life-changing injuries.

On 5 November 2017, a 24-year-old warehouseman was retrieving stock from a mezzanine in his company’s warehouse when he stepped on to an unguarded area of fragile plasterboard. The employee fell through the plasterboard, landing on a concrete floor at the bottom of a stairwell, which was a drop of more than five metres. He was taken to hospital where he was initially unresponsive and diagnosed as having a skull fracture, bleeding on the brain and other significant injuries. He has been left with cognitive difficulties, hearing loss, facial palsy and problems tasting food and the family has been significantly impacted.

The case was investigated by Glasgow City Council who found that:

  • The company had a generic risk assessment for a wide variety of activities within the premises. The risk assessment did not refer to or identify any risks associated with working on or accessing the mezzanine level.
  • The company had not implemented any control measures for employees working near the plasterboard.
  • Stock was being stored very close to the plasterboard and employees were regularly called upon to access this area to retrieve stock.
  • It was entirely foreseeable that an employee might step onto this unguarded plasterboard.
  • The incident had happened as a result of the company’s failure to identify the risks of staff accessing the stock items stored near to the plasterboard ceiling on the mezzanine area.

Alfa (Wholesale) Limited, a wholesale grocery, catering supply and household goods company, pled guilty to a contravention of Sections 2(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £120,000.

Read more on the case from SHPOnline.