Health and Safety Update - Jan 2012
Welcome to this month’s edition of the Health & Safety briefing. In this issue we provide information on:
- Assessing Health & Safety risks in the workplace
- Independent regulatory challenge panel launched
- Recent prosecution
Assessing Health & Safety risks in the workplace
A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm. It’s an important step in protecting your workers and your business, as well as complying with the law.
It helps you focus on the risks that really matter in your workplace – the ones with the potential to cause real harm. In many instances, straightforward measures can readily control risks, and for most, that means simple, cheap and effective measures to ensure your most valuable asset – your workforce – is protected.
The law does not expect you to eliminate all risk, but you are required to protect people as far as ‘reasonably practicable’.
Assessing the risks in your workplace can be done by following the five steps below:
- Identify the hazards
- Decide who might be harmed and how
- Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
- Record your findings and implement them
- Review your assessment and update if necessary
When thinking about your risk assessment, it’s important to remember:
- a hazard is anything that may cause harm, such as chemicals, electricity, working from ladders, an open drawer etc;
- the risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.
Independent regulatory challenge panel launched
An independent panel to consider challenges to health and safety regulatory advice has now been established. Ministers asked for the panel to be established following a recommendation in the Löfstedt report, which proposed that the Government introduced a challenge mechanism that allows for cases of incorrect, over-application of health and safety legislation to be addressed.
The Health and Safety Executive is supporting the new panel, which will look into issues raised by business where they believe a HSE or local authority health and safety inspector has given advice that is incorrect or disproportionate. The panel will not look at issues where other independent appeals processes exist, such as for enforcement notices or prosecutions.
The panel will be chaired by Tricia Henton, an experienced former regulator at the Environment Agency and is comprised of independent panel members who have the competence and experience to assess advice that has been given on regulatory matters.
Metal firm’s safety flaws exposed after Worker crushed at metal firm
A Rotherham firm has been prosecuted for safety failings after a maintenance engineer was crushed by a 1.5 tonne weight landing on his back.
The worker suffered a broken shoulder, two cracked ribs and the tops of three vertebrae were snapped off when he was trapped between the counterweight of a large zinc galvanizing machine and a junction box.
The incident, on 27 September 2010 in Rotherham, prompted an investigation by the HSE, and resulted in Yorkshire Spin Galvanising Ltd pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs.
Statistics from HSE reveal there were 27 people killed in the manufacturing sector during 2010/11 and over 3,800 major injuries were reported.
Ceridian provides a range of Employment Law and Health & Safety services, with our partner, Ellis Whittam. These services form part of our overall HR & Payroll packages for SMEs. For more information, contact us online, or call today on 0800 0482 737.