Week Commencing 04/12/2023 – In The News

Keep workers stay safe and warm, urges HSE

Great Britain’s workplace regulator, the Health and Safety Executive, is stressing the importance of protecting workers during the cold weather. It comes as the Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for ice and snow for parts of the UK.

John Rowe, head of operational strategy said, “We’re calling on all employers to take a sensible approach during the cold weather that is coming our way. There are lots of jobs that will be more difficult in the these conditions. Most employers will recognise this and make appropriate accommodations for their staff. That is the right thing to do.

“It’s also important employers ensure staff are working in a reasonable temperature. People working in uncomfortably cold environments are less likely to perform well and more likely to behave unsafely because their ability to make good decisions deteriorates.”

Read more on the HSM website.

Building Safety Regulator sets out three-year plan to create competent built environment and restore trust in sector

The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) has published its first three-year strategic plan outlining its overarching direction and vision to improve safety standards and galvanise culture change.

The plan from the Regulator has been consulted on with a Residents’ Panel and agreed by the Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities.

Its aim is to establish a vision to create a built environment where everyone is competent and takes responsibility to ensure buildings are of high quality and are safe.

The Regulator also emphasises its ambition to restore trust in the built environment. The plan sets out its mission for residents and building users to feel confident that the “tragedies of the past will never be repeated”.

Learn more about the plan on the SHP website.

HSE inspection identifies failures

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspection of W.S. Barrett and Son Limited’s site at Riverside Industrial estate in Boston, Lincolnshire, found the company’s workers were being potentially exposed to welding fume and dusts from powder coating.

Welding fume is carcinogenic and can cause other serious illnesses such as occupational asthma. Exposure to coating powders can also cause occupational asthma and skin irritation.

The inspection on 25 March 2022 found that an on-tool extraction system on the welding tools was in a poor state of repair and that Local Exhaust Ventilation systems, provided to capture welding fume and dusts from powder coating in order to protect employees’ health, had not been thoroughly examined and tested.

A subsequent HSE investigation found W.S. Barrett and Son Limited, a specialist manufacturer for the agricultural and horticultural industries, had failed to ensure that its Local Exhaust Ventilation systems, which controlled workers’ exposure to welding fume and dusts from powder coating , had been thoroughly examined and tested.

Visit the HSM website to read more.

Shout test to protect workers’ hearing

Research on noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) shows around a fifth of the British working population could be exposed to high noise levels while doing their job.

While Britain has seen new cases of occupational deafness significantly drop over the past decade, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is urging workplaces to consider the shout test to manage noise at work and ways to give workers’ ears a break.

HSE’s noise expert Chris Steel said, “If you are shouting at work and can’t be heard from two metres away, the chances are there’s a noise issue. Try it out for yourself and see if you can be heard.

“Preserving hearing at work is crucial as noise can cause temporary or permanent hearing damage.

“But there needs to be a balance. While too little noise reduction could cause hearing damage, too much could isolate the worker and lead to accidents.”

The issue of noise at work is the subject of a scientific report recently discussed by specialists in the field.

For more, visit the HSM website.

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