Introduction

Hello and welcome to the April edition of the monthly health and safety newsletter

Another month passes and Covid19 dominates the news and social discussions. I hope you are all well and coping with the restrictions on our lives both at work and at home.

Inside this issue:

  1. Covid-19 – Summary
  2. Covid-19 – Queries
  3. Covid-19 – RIDDOR Reporting
  4. Covid-19 – Construction
  5. In Court – Fine after worker loses her thumb
  6. In Court – Fine after girl crushed by metal gate at primary school

Covid-19

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said that the UK’s lockdown will continue for at least three more weeks. Mr Rabb talked about five points to influence the government’s decisions on social distancing:

  1. Making sure the NHS can cope;
  2. Evidence showing a sustained and consistent fall in daily death rates;
  3. Reliable data showing the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels;
  4. Being confident in the range of operational challenges, like ensuring testing and the right amount of PPE, are in hand;
  5. Being confident any adjustments will not risk a second peak.

He said he could not provide a definitive timeline but said the Prime Minister’s warning at the outset of the epidemic that it would take about three months to come through the peak still applied. And he added that he wants to be “upfront with British people” about when the government can relax measures.

Covid-19 Queries

If you are no longer going into work– should you still carry out Statutory examination and test on equipment if no one is using it ?

  • Yes–you must still carry out legal inspections and tests, and now actually might be the best time with most if not all workers at home. However, if the contractor who would normally carry out the inspection is furloughed, or not able to travel– them make a record of the equipment and the reason that it has not been inspected. Carry out a simple risk assessment on the condition and serviceability of the equipment.

Working from home– risk assessments –should my Employer to do this?

  • Yes– although you may be at home, if you are working then you are still the responsibility of the Employer.
    Using computers, at home is not the same as using computers for work and dis-play screen assessments should be carried out.– although that does not apply to the use of Laptops.
  • Where separate keyboard and monitors are used then an adjustable chair is a legal requirement, the Employer should provide this, or pay for one.

Should I tell me home insurance company that my circumstances have changed and that I am working from home?

  • No– the Employers insurance covers all workers.

Covid-19 RIDDOR

The question arises—should you notify the HSE if an Employee contracts Covid-19?

You must only make a report under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) when:

An unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus:

This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence.

A worker has been diagnosed as having COVID 19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work:

This must be reported as a case of disease.

A worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus:

If a worker dies as a result of exposure to coronavirus from their work and this is confirmed as the likely cause of death by a registered medical practitioner, then you must report this as a death due to exposure to a biological agent using the ‘case of disease’ report form. You must report workplace fatalities to HSE by the quickest practicable means without delay and send a report of that fatality within 10 days of the incident.

 

Covid-19 Construction Sites

The Government has confirmed that construction sites should continue to operate during the current coronavirus pandemic.


In his letter to the UK construction sector in April, Alok Sharma, the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, also confirmed that the Site Operating Procedures published by the Construction Leadership Council are aligned with Public Health England (PHE) guidance that must be implemented in the workplace The principal safety and health measures include:

  • Travel to work
  • Personal hygiene
  • Toilets
  • Canteen behaviour (social distancing, disinfecting of surfaces, non-sharing of cups and utensils)
  • Social distancing
  • Self-isolation when showing symptoms
  • Avoid close working

The article can be found using this link

Fine after workers loses her thumb

A poultry processing company was fined for safety breaches after an agency worker had her thumb severed on a moving part of a processing line.

On 24 April 2017, the Chesterfield Poultry Ltd worker was rehanging chickens on a hook coming from an overhead conveyor at a site on Coulman Street, Coulman Road Industrial Estate, when one of the chicken’s feet came out of the shackle.

As she went to insert the foot back into the hook, her thumb got stuck, and she was pulled around with the conveyor. Further around the line, there was a fixed upright post attached to a drip tray and as she got to this point her thumb met the post and her thumb was traumatically severed.

The HSE’s investigation found there was no emergency stop for the worker to stop the conveyor from her working position when she became caught in it. Chesterfield Poultry Ltd (CPL) trading as Iqbal Poultry (IQP) of Coulman Street, Thorne, Doncaster pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £5,046.29 costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Eddy Tarn commented: “The moving shackles passing the fixed pole – that supported the drip tray – created the danger zone that the worker was drawn into.

“Companies must ensure that measures are in place to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery and provide a means to stop machinery should an emergency happen.”

 Read more on the IOSH website.

Fabricator fined after Girl crushed by metal gate at Primary school

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that on 17 May 2018 the girl had been leaving an evening gymnastics club at the school in Streatham when the sliding gate fell on her. She suffered multiple fractures to her pelvis as well as internal injuries.

The manual sliding gate, which is more than five metres long and 1.7 metres high, was designed and manufactured by Metalart Fabrication Limited. It was installed by Metalart at the school, which is attended by 1700 pupils, in February 2018 after a paper delivery lorry damaged a previous, two-leaf swing gate.

However, an investigation by the HSE found that the mechanism in place to prevent the sliding gate from overrunning and falling over as it was opened (a small stop welded to its guiding rail) was insufficient if the gate was opened robustly.

When the gate was opened at the time of the incident, it became disengaged from the rollers holding it up, when its momentum caused it to ‘ride over’ the stop. With nothing to hold it in position, it fell on the girl. The company made changes to the gate’s stop mechanism on the morning after the incident and an HSE specialist verified its safety.

Metalart Fabrication Limited, of Oldfields Road, Sutton, Surrey pleaded guilty to breaching Section 6(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The company was fined £19,327, including full costs of £1,147 and a victim surcharge of £180.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Sarah Whittle said: “The failure to fit suitable end-stops meant that the gate was an accident waiting to happen and could have fallen on anyone at any time with life-threatening consequence.