Week Commencing 17/10/2022 – In The News

Protecting lone workers through the winter months

Alarm clock in autumn leavesThe long, dry summer has drawn to a close and the clocks will soon be going back. With fewer daylight hours and colder, wetter weather conditions, organisations up and down the country are considering the changing risks their workers will face through the winter months and how they can best support them.

SoloProtect, a market-leading provider of lone worker safety solutions, looks at the risks faced by lone or remote workers in winter and how technology can be used to mitigate those risks and support colleague safety and wellbeing…

Reduced visibility

In practical terms, the dark reduces visibility which can make working outside or travelling more challenging. This can lead to an increased number of accidents, either with machinery or on the road, for example. In fact, statistics from RoSPA show a significant spike in the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on the road after the clocks go back and almost a third of people killed on the road are those who are driving for work.

Mental health impacts

For many of us, the dark can also exacerbate feelings of nervousness and can induce stress or loneliness, impacting both physical and mental health. This is particularly pertinent for those who work and/or live alone. Moreover, according to the NHS, around 2 million people in the UK are thought to be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)….

Read more about the risks lone workers face on the SHP website.

Freight containers – potential worker exposure

Stacked shipping containersPort and distribution workers who play a crucial role in making sure items are delivered to buyers in the UK could be putting their health at risk.

Approximately 63.2 million tonnes of goods were handled by UK ports in 2015 in freight containers. These containers are opened on arrival by workers at Great Britain’s ports and distribution centres around the country.

Workers who open or enter the containers could be exposed to dangerously low oxygen levels or to hazardous substances in the air which have built up as a result of limited ventilation while they are sealed.

To learn more about the potential risks to workers in their work with freight containers, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out research which involved visits to six ports and two distribution centres by HSE scientists.

For more on the research, visit the HSE website.

£440k fine after security guard injured

Back of someone wearing a security jacketA meat production company has been fined £440,000 after a security guard at an abattoir was seriously injured by a vehicle passing through the site gate.

The 63-year-old security guard, who was working for an independent security company, was on duty at the gated entrance of the Dunbia (UK) abattoir at Hatherleigh, near Okehampton, Devon early on the morning of November 29, 2018.

Her duties included operating the gates to allow delivery vehicles to enter and exit the site. She sustained serious leg and head injuries requiring surgery when she was hit by a vehicle towing a trailer leaving the site. She was holding the gate open at the time.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the system of work was unsafe and that the company’s risk assessments did not extend to the security guards. Risks had not been adequately assessed or controlled.

Read more on the HSM website.

Nestle fined after worker suffers injuries at chocolate factory

Bars of chocolateNestle has been fined after an employee suffered life-changing injuries at its factory in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The incident happened on November 30, 2020 when the man was drawn into a roller mechanism on a conveyor machine.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard how the maintenance technician was investigating a problem on the conveyor belt of a machine used to make chocolate sweets. While checking the machine, his sleeve was caught in a roller, which dragged his left arm into the machine, trapping it between the roller and a conveyor belt.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident at Nestle’s factory on Rowan Drive, Fawdon, Newcastle upon Tyne found that the company had not properly assessed the risk created by the rollers under the conveyor belt and failed to guard the roller, which was a dangerous part.

Learn more about the incident on the HSE website.

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