EXCELLENCE IN HSE COMPLIANCE
Risk assessments are vital in ensuring you protect your employees and business – they also ensure you are complying with the law. Risk assessments should be carried out at any time you or your employees carry out work which could cause individuals or others injury or ill health.
Risk assessments are crucial in health and safety management to assist in reducing incidents/ accidents and to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Be mindful of who is conducting your risk assessments as the individual should be competent, able to evaluate the risk, categorise sufficiently and identify hazards and control measures required to reduce the risk.
We can break down how we carry out our risk assessments into five steps to ensure our assessments are correct and sufficient:
1 – Identify the hazards
A hazard is a source of potential harm which can be identified by using numerous techniques such as asking employees, looking at your accident records or inspections of your workplace
We must not confuse a ‘hazard’ with a ‘risk’. When evaluating a ‘risk’ we could consider the chance or probability of a person being harmed when exposed to a ‘hazard’
2 – Consider who could be harmed and how
You need to consider who could be exposed to the hazards – you, your employees, members of the public, contractors or clients
3 - Evaluation of risks and control measures
This step is where we consider how we would protect those exposed to the hazards – we would consider can the hazard be removed or can we control the risk so injury is unlikely. It is important to identify the control measures that need to be implemented to reduce the risk of injury or harm.
4 – Document findings
This step allows us to evidence what we have considered and identified as potential hazards, who could be exposed to the hazards and how we intend on reducing/ eliminating the potential risks and hazards. It is also good to get into the practice of documenting findings – if there are 5 or more employees it is a legal requirement to do this
5 – Review your risk assessments regularly
The potential hazards and risks could change on a regular basis so it is always good practice to review your risk assessments regularly and make any required amendments. The review of a risk assessment would be required after an incident/accident, where there is a change in process, equipment or personnel.
We can assist you with carrying out Risk Assessments within your company or we can review your existing assessments to ensure they are suitable and efficient – for more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Beast from the East has hit the UK and the temperatures externally have plummeted over the last few days.
How will this affect those who have to work externally?
The NHS define frostbite as ‘damage to the skin and tissue caused by freezing temperatures – typically temperatures below -0.55C’. Frostbite commonly effects the extremities such as hands, feet, ears, nose and lips however any part of the body can be effected.
In severe cases of frostbite the blood supply to the tissue is lost causing the tissue to die (gangrene). Surgery will be required to remove the dead tissue or in very severe cases amputation may be required.
If the temperature outside is 1.70C and the wind is blowing at 8kph it would take less than 30 minutes to contract frostbite on exposed skin. This is not really cold so the colder and windier it gets the less time it will take to develop frostbite.
So here is what you can do:
1. Know the conditions – have an understanding of how long individuals can be exposed to specific weather conditions to prevent them developing frostbite. Winter weather can change rapidly with very little warning or notice. Regularly monitor the weather to ensure you can modify your safety strategy.
2. Limit the amount of time workers are exposed – It doesn’t take very long to be seriously afflicted with frostbite, there are many charts and graphs available to calculate time it will take to suffer frostbite, allow time between for workers to return to warm environment. Remember to allow time to safely shut down work and clear away any tools/equipment.
3. Create warming stations – strategically placed warming stations allow workers to gradually raise the temperature of their skin. Warming stations do not have to be too warm as raising the temperature too quickly can result in workers feeling discomfort or pain.
4. Cover body parts – Cover the body parts that can be covered. Wool has great insulating properties. Tight fitting garments can increase the danger of frostbite.
5. Knowing the symptoms of frostbite – recognising the symptoms and intervening before frostbite occurs.
Symptoms of Frostbite
Symptoms of frostbite include:
· Cold skin and prickling feeling
· Feeling of numbness
· Red, white, bluish-white or greyish-yellow skin
· Hard or waxy looking skin
· Clumsiness due to muscle and joint stiffness
· Blistering after rewarming in severe conditions
Cherie Coughlan, Managing Director of CoreGenic Group offers a brief explanation of how accidents are defined, how many are occurring in the UK Construction sector, the wider impacts of an accident in the workplace, how they are calculated for reporting purposes and what three things an organisation can do to ensure staff are working in safe environments.
A recent HSE investigation highlights the dangers of poor working practices identified through social media.