Hello and welcome to the May 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:
Coved 19 update:
Despite daily Coved 19 briefings and the National broadcast by the Prime Minister
on Sunday 10th May there is still much confusion across the UK both socially and
in work sectors as well as across National regions and indeed the British Isles with
Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all taking a different path to the Prime Minister.
I highlight the current situation as detailed and publicised by the Government in
conjunction with medical and health experts.
People who can’t work from home should be “actively encouraged” to go to work.
That was one of the key messages from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s on Sunday,
together with being told to avoid using public transport to get there.
Mr Johnson mentioned construction and manufacturing as examples of the sorts
of industries where restarting would now be explicitly encouraged.
Coved 19 and Schools:
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson was joined by deputy chief medical officer
for England, Dr Jenny Harries on Saturday. These were the main headlines:
- Mr Williamson says, as part of a cautious phased return, children in reception, Year 1 and Year 6 will be allowed to return to school on 1 June, but only if rates of infection are decreasing;
- He says policies such as reduced class sizes, keeping children in small groups and “rigorous hygiene” will create a “safer system” when schools open;
Construction site 15-minute rule:
The Coved 19 guidelines have stipulated that it was acceptable in some circumstances that construction workers could work side by side, or back to back for up to 15 minutes where for reasons of health and safety or practicality that was the only way that the task could be carried out.
However, on the 25th May, the Government has now removed any restriction on
social distancing providing it can be done safely.
Grenfell Tower and Building Regulations:
Everyone is aware of the Grenfell Tower Tragedy, and the subsequent public enquiry that is being carried out, phase 1 of the enquiry looked at the fire and how it spread and how the emergency fire fighting teams responded and whose conclusion were published on the 30th October 2019.
Phase 2 which has currently been suspended due to Coved 19 is focusing on the refurbishment and design and specification of the cladding system, and the role that all companies and organisation had in the refurbishment. Although there is still much the enquiry has to do in order to complete the investigation, and publish its findings we can already be certain of some of the recommendations to be made and no doubt I implemented before the year is out.
New buildings above certain heights ( 11m) will almost certainly require sprinklers to be fitted, and that external cladding will have to be zero fire rated, meaning that even when the heat is applied the cladding will not ignite and allow the fire to spread.
IOSH Managing safely:
Compass HSC is as many of you know a licensed provider of this 3 days certified course widely recognised across the UK as a highly credible management certificate by the Health and Safety Executive, and safety organisations such as the British Safety Council and RoSPA.
We have recently developed a distance learning version of the course as a response to Coved 19. Compass HSC uses Moodle as its Virtual Learning Environment, or VLE. Students on our courses will use Moodle to access course resources, lectures and submit assignments.
Each of our courses offers a personalised learning experience that has been tailored perfectly to match the Key Learning Objectives of the Course or Qualification.
- All module information in one place
- Links to online resources
- Activities for you to participate in
- Videos of teaching sessions
- Important news and announcements
- Electronic assignment submission
- Mobile friendly so you can use it on your phone or tablet.
- Own account, own pace
- You can study at any time (excluding scheduled lessons)
- You can study from anywhere
- No classroom attendance required
- Enrol at anytime
- Access to extensive e-learning materials
- Re-visit the course content as much as necessary
Contact us for more details.
Company fined for serious breaches of the Dangerous Substances and explosive atmospheres Regulations.
The parent company of Swindon-based Oak Furniture land has been fined nearly £400,000 for failing to protect its employees from hazardous and explosive conditions at its premises in Cheney Manor Industrial Estate.
In court JB Global, which owns the furniture company, pleaded guilty to significant breaches of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations (DSEAR) and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) following a prosecution by Swindon Borough Council.
Sitting at Aldershot Magistrates’ Court, Judge Pattinson ordered the company to pay fines totalling £398,000 and costs of £94,904.
Investigations into various health and safety breaches at the company began in 2016 following a complaint by a member of staff. After visiting the business, the Council’s Health Compliance Team was alerted to the fact the company was preparing room divider sheets, which was not a registered activity at the warehouse.
Evidence showed the preparation of the sheets was carried out in a highly explosive environment and not enough action was taken to mitigate the risks to employees.
JB Global was prosecuted for failing to prevent/control the exposure of employees to sol-vents and wood dust under DSEAR as well as failing to carry out risk assessments and of failing to prevent exposure to substances hazardous to health under COSHH
What’s interesting about this case is the level of fine imposed by the Magistrates Court and its relevance to the new sentencing guidelines giving courts greater powers than before. Magistrates Courts were limited to fines of a maximum of £20k or a 6-month custodial sentence.
The DSEAR regs are widely misunderstood, and in the context of this case, wood dust in fine concentration, and in a confined space such as in a duct is highly explosive.
Wood dust inhalation can lead to serious lung disease such as Asthma and cancer in extreme circumstances.
The workplace exposure limit ( max exposure) for softwood is 5mg/m3 over 8 hours
WEL for hardwood is 3mg/m3 over an 8 hour period
These quantities are extremely low almost to be impossible to imagine.
1 grain of sugar weighs approx. 0.2mg—5 grains = milligram-15 grains =3mg
Those of you who work with timber, and particularly in a woodworking machine work-shop need to have a proper dust extraction system fitted to keep wood dust down below the WEL