Welcome to Safety Matters, your guide to what is new in the world of health and safety.
Have you got a water cooler because 1 in 4 are bad for your health
When Environmental Health Officers tested water coolers in parts of Scotland they found that 26% failed to meet one or more safety and hygiene standards. 9 out of 52 samples from plumbed in coolers and 14 out of 35 from bottle fed coolers failed due to bacterial contamination. The results suggest routine cleaning and maintenance is not being carried out. The types of bacteria found also suggest poor hygiene standards by those using them.
Workers avoiding eyesight tests could be safety risk
Workers of middle age are avoiding going to opticians and could be prosing a safety risk. A report by the College of Optometrists suggest that 1 in 5 drivers aged 35-55 have knowingly driven while having poor eyesight and 9% of workers of middle age operate heavy machinery with poor eyesight.
546 drivers underwent a voluntary sight check, organised separately by a well known opticians, and 25 were unable to read a number plate at the minimum distance required.
Requirements to register Workplaces updated
With effect from the 6th April 2009 business owners will no longer have to register their premises with the enforcing authority. Factory owners were required to complete the form F9 to notify the HSE, and office and shop owners were required to complete the form OSRI to notify the local council. These notifications were required as part of the Factories Act 1963 and became part of the requirement under The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.
There is, however, a requirement to register certain premises, those that require registering for food safety, such as where food is prepared, and premises where chemicals are manufactured.
New law poster unveiled by the HSE
The health & Safety Executive have unveiled a new version of the Law Poster, in a prominent place in the workplace, or to issue every employee with the Law Leaflet. The new poster is modern, eye catching and easier to read. Existing posters can still be used, but must be replaced by 5th April 2014, as long as they are readable and addresses of the enforcing authority and the Employment Medical Advisory Service (EMAS) are up to date.
Sub standard personal protective equipment on sale
It has recently been revealed that some retailers are selling fake or poor standard protective clothing. In the worst case the clothing conformed to 1% of the requirements under the European Standard. Clothing has been found on sale in two large supermarket chains, a car accessory chain and two multi-chain discount stores. Further government funded investigations are to be carried out long with calls to prevent sub standard goods from entering the country.
In addition there have been reports made on the miss-use of PPE, mainly relating to the construction sector. A survey has shown that cutbacks, due to the recession, have led to PPE not being replaced as often as it should.
First Corporate Manslaughter Act charge
A Gloucestershire company have become the first to be charged under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007. This follows the death of one of their employees when a pit collapsed.
Refurbishment sites targeted by inspectors
The HSE have stated that they will be targeting property refurbishment sites with specific attention being given to work at height, the avoidance of slip and trips and the identification and removal of asbestos.
Following some of these targeted visits in the East Anglia Region revealed improvements since the last targeted visits in 2008, however, a number of Prohibition notices were still served.