Commodious | Regulation Changes, Health and Safety News 26/04/21

A weekly roundup of the most important news concerning health and safety developments, enforcements and regulatory changes.

Return to workplace updates and guidance as Coronavirus alert level decreases

As lockdown restrictions are eased across the country, many people will be returning to workplaces after long absences. Government guidance to reduce the risk of COVID-19 remains the same for some controls:

  • Social distancing.
  • Adequate ventilation.
  • Frequent cleaning.
  • Good hand hygiene.

Other issues will need to be addressed such as examining and testing equipment that hasn’t been used for a long time and checking for increased risks of Legionnaires’ disease.

The increased risk of Legionella is due to buildings being closed or operating at a reduced capacity. Where water systems have been totally or partially unused, stagnant water can harbour the Legionella bacteria. Find out more about Legionella with our Legionella Awareness Training Course Online.

Finally, advice reiterates the importance of performing a COVID-19 risk assessment. Risk assessments are fundamental to identifying hazards in the workplace and minimising the potential risks. If you don’t know how to be a COVID risk calculator, check out our guide.

Drayton Manor fined £1 Million after court finds operating company in breach of HSWA

The tragic death of 11-year old Evha Jannath in May 2017 occurred when the young girl stood up whilst riding the Drayton Manor Theme Park Splash Canyon river rapids. She fell into the water and after 18 minutes when staff finally managed to reach her it was sadly too late.

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that there had been 14 previous occasions when riders had fallen into the water on the Splash Canyon river rapids ride. On one such occasion, a 10-year old boy was rescued by members of the public after staff failed to notice.

The investigation also concluded that the signage in place instructing riders to remain seated was not adequate or was poorly visible, staff training was lacking, the Splash Canyon ride was understaffed and there was no emergency plan in place for the ride.

In light of the failures revealed by the investigation, the theme park was fined £1 million after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA).

All of the failures highlighted by the investigation could have been avoided if the park operator had followed the risk assessment procedure that underpins the HSWA and kept risk assessments updated.

Make sure your risk assessments are up to date and act on the findings! For information on how to conduct a risk assessment, try our Online Risk Assessment Training Course.

Post-Implementation Review: Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012

The HSE will begin consulting a wide range of stakeholders in May 2021 about the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. This will be part of the second post implementation review (PIR) of the Regulations, proceeding the first PIR published in 2017.

Findings of the previous PIR were that the Regulations were practical to implement and effective in their effort to protect workers and others from the risks of exposure to asbestos dust and fibres. This second PIR will intend to establish if the regulations continue to meet their objectives, remain appropriate and are still the best means to minimise asbestos exposure.

Expect to hear more from us when the outcome of the consultation is released. Until then stay safe and fulfil your obligations with our Asbestos Awareness Online IATP Course and Certificate.

Workplace Exposure Limits (WEL) Post-Brexit

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 require measures to be taken to protect workers from dangerous exposure to substances hazardous to health. As part of COSHH, WELs help to limit how much workers can come into contact with hazardous substances.

According to the HSE, the legal framework in the UK “continues to ensure standards of protection for those working with hazardous substances are maintained.” However, moving forwards it intends to review scientific data, evidence and economic analysis and will consult stakeholders on any revised limits. Interestingly, the HSE intend to “consider, and apply as appropriate, any limits set under the EU regime that are significant to GB.”

Keep up to date by checking back for future news on COSHH and WELs. In the meantime find out more in our COSHH Regulations FAQ and fulfil employer obligations with our COSHH Awareness Online Course and Certificate.

Stress Awareness Month

We are now at the end of Stress Awareness Month and in recognition the HSE has launched a new stress indicator tool (SIT) that measures the attitudes and perceptions of employees towards work-related stress.

The tool can be used freely for up to 50 employees and can help business owners to understand workplace stress and how they can prevent, reduce and manage stress.

Currently the recommended factors to monitor in the workplace are:

  • Demands.
  • Control.
  • Support.
  • Relationships.
  • Role.
  • Change.

Poor management of these factors is thought to lead to poor health, lower productivity and increased rates of accidents and sickness.

Talking about feeling stressed can be difficult, but it is an important first step. To help manage work-related stress in the construction industry, the HSE has also produced a Work-related Stress Talking Toolkit in an attempt to get more people talking about stress.

Recent Enforcement of Health and Safety Legislation

School in Cambridge fined after member of the public suffers fatal head injury in fall

On 17 February 2017, a family member attending a school show tripped over a small retaining wall and suffered a serious head injury. The family member died six days later in hospital.

Investigation by the HSE concluded that the area was not adequately lit. In addition the pedestrian site safety assessment failed to identify the risk of tripping over the wall or take into account the effect of poor lighting on pedestrian safety at night.

This tragedy was easily avoidable and the risk should have been spotted in the risk assessment. Slip and fall injuries in the workplace are one of the most common accidents. You can improve awareness of the risk from slips, trips and falls with our Slips, Trips And Falls Online Course.

Construction company fined after apprentice falls while working at height

The apprentice fell 2 metres while removing a flat roof. The investigation by the HSE found that there was insufficient supervision of the work and the operatives had not received working at height training.

The construction company pleaded guilty to breaching the Working at Height Regulations 2005 and has been fined even though it is in liquidation.

Don’t fall foul of missing training obligations, make sure you’re covered with our Working At Height Online Course