Hello and welcome to the March edition of the monthly health and safety news letter.
Well there is really only one place to start and of course that is Covid 19/ Coronavirus.
Covid 19 / Coronavirus
Over the past 2 weeks I have made contact with most of my regular clients to discuss, one to one, the requirements of the Government guidelines , and how to meet them.
In some cases the Prime Ministers TV pronouncement on Monday 23rd March seemed to have muddied the water with regards to the definition of “ essential work”, or “essential workers”.
This was not helped by reports of overzealous policing over the course of the following weeks, this now seems to have been resolved.
Essential work is not to be confused with key workers such as Doctors, nurses , pharmacists, fire fighters etc and the like.
In the context of the Prime Ministers TV announcement essential meant– stay at home unless carrying out your work meets 3 conditions.
1-The work can only be done by being present in work and hence being there is essential.
2– The work activity is essential, as in there is obvious options as to whether the work takes place or not based on its impact. i.e it cannot be justified as essential
It is important to note– that the Government has not placed any prohibitions
on any industries such as manufacturing, engineering, telecommunications,
waste management or for that matter construction.
3- The work can be carried out in full compliance with Covid 19 /Coronavirus Government
Some public workplaces such as restaurants and bars, cafes etc had to close by Government decree, because the spread of the Covid 19 virus could not be satisfactorily guaranteed in public places– however, I noted with some degree of interest, that Trains are still running from Preston to Glasgow, or to London Euston along the West coast line on a daily basis, and much of the London underground network is operating – and not all flights in or out of the UK have been halted.
I hope that in the proceeding 2 weeks since the TV broadcast that everyone has now managed to plan their respective work requirements accordingly.
The situation is constantly under review and I will pass on any information as necessary until things return to normal.
The Government is carrying out daily news briefings which are televised.
In closing this article– we should all recognise the fantastic work that Doctors and
nursing staff are doing to deal with unprecedented medical issues.
We need to do or bit to keep you and your families safe, and as a benefit reduce
the pressure on the NHS to cope.
Some of you will know that we have e-learning courses available on our web site
There are a wide variety of courses which are categorised as follows:
- Health care
- Office environments
Due to some of the recently imposed furloughing, or where employees are forced to work
from home we have reduced the purchase price of all individual course purchase costs
We have also created a number of work sector bundles, here we have put 5 to 6 courses
together for the following sectors;
Construction –5 courses
General Health and safety –6 courses
Small business health and safety 1– 6 courses
Small businesses health and safety 2– 4 courses
This method provides significant savings on the individual course cost, whilst providing
an opportunity to upskill.
Fire safety warnings as millions work at home
With the increased numbers of people at home during the day, London Fire Brigade is warning of the potential for more fires as people adapt their daily routines and others are in isolation, and calling for people to think, take action and avoid becoming a further casualty for the NHS.
Firefighters are usually called to a larger number of domestic fires between 6pm and 8pm and there has traditionally been an increase in cooking fires during the weekend when people are at home for longer periods of time.
Cooking fires are a major concern as people are expected to cook more during the day and with schools shut and children at home, parents could get distracted.
An increase in smoking-related fires, which are the most common cause of fire deaths, is also thought to be a possibility as smokers may start smoking inside more as people are continually advised not to go out unnecessarily.
As people who don’t usually work from home set up temporary offices, there is also a risk of an increase in electrical fires.
Hazards include overloading plug sockets, using counterfeit or incorrect chargers for tablets, laptops and mobile phones and “daisy-chaining” – plugging multiple extension leads together or plugging many multi-socket adaptors into a single socket.
Man jailed for assault on emergency workers after using the threat of Coronavirus to avoid arrest.
Man sentenced to 31 weeks in prison for an assault on emergency workers
Wayne Harvey, from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, pleaded guilty at his first hearing to stealing a £750 Louis Vuitton handbag and assaulting a security officer at George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton on Wednesday 25 March 2020. Harvey walked into the A and E department at the hospital around 5.45am, and stole the handbag from the reception desk before leaving the department. He then attempted to flee on his bicycle but was stopped by the security guard, who pulled him off it.
Harvey told the security guard that he had a dirty needle in his pocket and the security guard pinned him down. As he struggled with the security guard on the floor, Harvey bit him in the upper left arm causing a red mark. He was arrested by police shortly after and during the arrest he claimed he had coronavirus. At Coventry Magistrates’ Court he pleaded guilty to one count of assault by beating of an emergency worker and one count of theft.
Gavin Naylor of the CPS said: “We will vigorously prosecute people who steal from and assault those who are putting themselves at risk to help the rest of society during this pandemic. The CPS stands behind emergency and essential workers and will not hesitate to prosecute anybody who threatens them as they go about their vital duties.
“Not only did the defendant commit a despicable crime, he also added to the already heightened state of fear and panic by making such a comment and using this threat to avoid arrest. The gravity with which the court viewed his offending reflects in the sentence imposed.”
Poor Management Control put workers at risk.
A Blackburn logistics Company has been prosecuted for failing to provide adequate fall prevention measures for workers replacing a roof at their premises.
On 29 May 2019, HSE inspectors visited a warehouse in Blackburn and observed two workers on the roof without any physical protection or any work equipment in place to prevent or minimise the distance of a fall.
Further investigation by also found that the roof of the warehouse was fragile and the employees were at risk of coming through it.
The company, Speed Drop Logistics Ltd, did not have any measures in place to prevent workers falling from or through the roof from which they could suffer personal injury or even death. The removal of tiles should have been carried out from underneath the roof using a scissor lift or a cherry picker. Scaffold should have been in place to create a barrier against and to minimise the distance of a possible fall.
Speed Drop Logistics Ltd of Manner Sutton Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1570.60.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Stuart Hadfield, said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standard.”