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Health & safety update - Sep 2009

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced some important changes to the first aid at work regulations that are expected to become effective from 1 October 2009. The main changes include the four day First Aid at Work course becoming a three day course and the launch of a new one day Emergency First Aid at work course. Also, the re-qualification course is expected to remain at two days. These changes are effective as of 1 October 2009.

Gas Safety: Carbon monoxide awareness

Health & SafetyYou’re probably familiar with the lethal danger of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home, but what about the danger it poses at work? Any equipment or appliance which burns fuel is as just as susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning as central heating systems.

Poorly maintained and defective appliances, as well as insufficient ventilation are the main causes of carbon monoxide poisoning in the workplace. Therefore, we advise that you take the following preventative measures:

  • Make sure that any work carried out on gas appliances is completed by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.
  • Ensure that the room containing your gas appliance is always well ventilated.
  • Get your chimney swept properly at least once a year by a qualified chimney sweep
  • Use an audible Carbon monoxide alarm as a useful back-up precaution. (Make sure that it complies with British Standard EN 50291 and carries a British or European approval mark.

The main symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include nausea and dizziness and one of the surest signs that Carbon Monoxide is present in the workplace is if these symptoms start to fade when you leave work.

Swine Flu pandemic raises litigation risk

Legal experts are warning employers to take adequate precautions for swine flu, as claims for health and safety failures and personal injuries are set to rise.

If employers don't take some steps to consider what will happen if someone is affected, there are myriad health and safety and duty of care regulations that would come into play.Caroline Doran, Partner in Employment Law at Sprecher Grier Halberstam

The better your preparation, the lower the impact!

As an employer, it’s imperative that you instill good personal hygiene measures, alongside a reliable business continuity plan highlighting the key issues to manage the impact of the virus.  The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) advise employers to appoint a pandemic coordinator and a deputy to be responsible for the creation of this plan.

By law, you must:

  • Complete an assessment of risk to employee’s health.
  • Have a clear emergency procedures policy in place if an event occurs which is a “serious and immanent danger to persons at work”.
  • Communicate relevant information about the emergency procedures to all employees.
  • Ensure that employees have appropriate training in the emergency procedures.

So... keep your employees informed, be prepared and make sure your health and safety is up to scratch.

Five Companies end up in Crown Court over Buncefield

Five separate companies are to being taken to the Crown Court for the explosion and fire which took place at the Buncefield storage depot at Hemel Hempstead in 2005 over breaches in Environmental, Health and Safety Laws. When 300 tonnes of petrol spilled over from a large tank and ignited, 43 people were injured, 2000 people had to be evacuated from their homes, the M1 motorway was closed for days and the local land and water courses were contaminated with chemicals.

The depot was used to store thousands of tonnes of petrol, aviation fuel, diesel and oil. A defective level gauge indicated that the tank was not full so the tank, which was being filled automatically, overflowed and a spark from the electrical circuits on a nearby lorry ignited the petrol fumes.

The Health and Safety Executive and Environmental Agency brought the charges against all five companies.

As part of Ceridian's Pay & People offer for small businesses, we propose a Health & Safety service that not only makes sure your business stays compliant with Health & Safety legislation, but covers you in the case of a claim and acts as your competent person. To talk to one of our qualified experts, call us on <!-- Vignette V6 Sun Jun 28 16:36:30 2009 --> <!-- Vignette V6 Sun Jun 28 16:36:30 2009 --> 0800 0482 737 or contact us online and we'll call you back.

  • 1st September 2009
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