THE BLOG WHAT'S NEW?

Are your FLT drivers fit to drive?

Forklift in warehouse facility

Are your FLT drivers fit to drive?

As the ‘medical considerations’ section of the HSE publication Rider-operated lift trucks explains, although there is no specific legal requirement for forklift truck drivers to undergo medicals, it is recommended that they do. This is because an employer would need to ensure those selected are able to safely control and operate lift trucks. Drivers should be reasonably fit, both physically and mentally, and possess the learning ability and potential to become competent operators.

Workers should be free from disabilities, either physical or psychological, that might pose a threat to their own health and safety or the safety of others who might be affected by them operating lift trucks. Fitness for operating should always be judged on a case-by-case basis. You will need to do a risk assessment to identify any hazards associated with the job and working environment and to identify areas of concern. Never allow anyone who is unfit because of alcohol or drugs (prescription or recreational) to drive a lift truck.

People with disabilities do not need to be excluded and may have developed skills which compensate for their disability. You should obtain medical advice about their suitability for the particular work they will be required to do. Reasonable adjustments may be required to enable some disabled people to work as lift-truck operators. The Equality Act 2010 is likely to apply.

The Drivers’ Medical Unit at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) publishes guidance aimed at health professionals regarding lift trucks on the road, but this can be applied to all work with lift trucks.

For most work with lift trucks, a standard of fitness equivalent to that for the Group 1 entitlement (ordinary driving licence holders) would be appropriate. Activities such as working in a particularly demanding environment, working at night, or moving highly toxic or explosive materials would probably be more appropriate to the Group 2 entitlement (heavy goods vehicle licence holders).

You may choose to screen potential operators before placement and then follow the guidelines for Group 2 licences, which require medical examination every five years from age 45, and every year from age 65 (in line with licence renewal periods). Always seek medical advice where there is any doubt about a person’s fitness to operate a lift truck.

It may be useful to apply a selection test to avoid wasteful attempts to instruct unsuitable trained. Read more about medical fitness and FAQs.

Contact us for further information.

 

Published · Updated

Display Screen Equipment – What you need to know.

A DSE assessment is an assessment of risk from the way we use computers, laptops, tablets and other display screens at work. Each workstation should be assessed, and the risks reduced as low as is practical.

A DSE assessment looks at how a user works at their workstation. Like any risk assessments, the aim is to identify the hazards and assess the likelihood and severity of harm to those that may be affected. Then, reduce the risk by altering the workstation or providing tools to make it comfortable.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations. These regulations lay out some key requirements for employers surrounding the use of DSE, one of which is the need to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of workstations used in the workplace.

2.—(1) Every employer shall perform a suitable and sufficient analysis of those workstations which – (regardless of who has provided them) are used for the purposes of his undertaking by users; or have been provided by him and are used for the purposes of his undertaking by operators The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 

Any workstation used by your business, regardless of who provides it, should be assessed. So DSE requirements apply to co-working spaces, remote working, temporary workplaces and your own offices.

Display Screen Equipment.

We have put together an infographic. I would recommend that you share the information with employees as it could be beneficial to them.

Contact us for further information.

Guest Blogging

If you feel that you could contribute to this blog then please feel free to send me a proposal of your guest blogging ideas and we can discuss these further info@walkersafety.co.uk . Please note any proposals must be of benefit to my readers from individuals with knowledge of their subject matter.

Published · Updated

What is ISO 45001?

What is ISO 45001 and why should my business get certified?

The importance of health and safety in the workplace can never be underestimated. As well as being written into law, ensuring staff aren’t at risk of injury or illness is also an integral part of being a responsible employer.

Maybe one of the biggest drivers for employers to take workplace health and safety seriously is that it allows you to show your customers and employees that you are committed to a safer workplace. This is one of the many reasons why organisations invest in ISO 45001 certification, the internationally recognised Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Management System Standard, which sets out the requirements for an organisation to ensure a safe and healthy workplace and to prevent work-related accidents and illnesses.

ISO 45001 is a framework that helps businesses to raise the awareness of health and safety risks among their employees as well as create controls that help them to mitigate or remove these risks from the workplace. By doing so, employers can help to keep their staff happy, healthy and safe, reducing the likelihood of absenteeism, injury, mental ill health and breaches of legislation. Not only can this reduce staff turnover, but it can raise your business’ reputation in the marketplace and benefit your bottom line.”

Why should I get my business ISO 45001 certified?

ISO 45001 certification is a fantastic way of presenting your organisation’s commitment to providing a workplace in which the risk of illness and injury to your workers, community or clients is minimised.

Achieving this accreditation in order to make your organisation a safer place to work is also a fantastic way to boost productivity by reducing the number of disruptive incidents. It can also help to boost your workforce’s morale.

The benefits in seven key points: 

  • Establish controls to ensure legal compliance
  • Increase health & safety awareness
  • Enhance your reputation
  • Reduce absenteeism
  • Reduce insurance premiums
  • Improve management of H&S compliance issues
  • Enhance management of health & safety risks

The certification can be achieved by businesses of any size and it is suitable for all organisations that are looking to improve risk management, protect their reputation and drive productivity at work.

How have ISO certifications helped organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic?

COVID-19 has certainly been a testing time for businesses, especially when it comes to keeping their workforce safe and healthy. But ISO 45001 has certainly supported businesses throughout the crisis.

“A robust framework of health and safety processes has meant that businesses with ISO 45001 have had the procedures in place to quickly assess the new risk and its implications for the health and safety of their staff, as well as the means to communicate these risks and what the business planned to do to control them”

How can I gain ISO 45001 certification? What are the requirements? 

Gaining ISO 45001 certification is a straightforward process, but it does require you to have some things in place before you start. You also need to be willing to change certain processes if required to gain certification.

For example, you need to determine the internal and external factors that affect your business, communicate roles and responsibilities clearly and adapt/react to changes. Other key actions include:

  • Supporting staff with training and the provision of personal equipment, etc.
  • Assessing existing procedures, assessments and planning how to identify and respond to emergencies.
  • Evaluating your current health and safety performance.
  • Striving for continual improvement in pursuit of better performance.

What’s the most effective way of getting certified?

The most straightforward way to gain ISO certification is through the use of an experienced external party that can assist you in creating, implementing and certifying your ISO 45001 management system. This will help to ensure your organisation has adopted the right processes from the beginning in order to achieve certification quickly.

Contact us to discuss your health and safety requirements, or to make an appointment to discuss 45001.

 

Health and Safety Enforcements and what to look out for

risk-assessment

Health and Safety Enforcements and what to look out for

If you’re found to be in material breach of Health and Safety law, you will have to pay for the time it takes the inspector to identify the breach and subsequently advise what you need to do to put things right. This includes investigating the issues themselves and taking any enforcement actions.

There are several key areas we’ve discovered are becoming more popular for the HSE to focus on. So, in addition to making sure your risk assessments are in place and up to date, here are some of the most common ones, and the most important checks you can make to make sure that you’re covered should an inspector turn up at your door.

CoSHH and occupational hygiene

Have appropriate COSHH assessments been completed for substances in use in your business?

If you’re welding, do you know the makeup of the fume and required control measures?

If welding is undertaken, can the fume be controlled at source via the use of on-tool extraction? Is Local Exhaust Ventilation a suitable alternative?

If you use metalworking fluids, have you assessed the risks to workers of long term exposure and  inhalation? Do you have bacterial testing measures in place with records kept?

Has appropriate training, instruction and supervision been given to employees about hazardous  substances within the workplace (consider cutting fluid, wood dust and welding fume) themselves? Have you communicated the risk / CoSHH assessment findings?

Has air/exposure monitoring been undertaken and recorded to ascertain suitable controls are in place?

Is Respiratory Protective Equipment required, if so what type?

Is a minimum assigned protection factor required?

Has face-fit testing been completed? (using a Fit2Fit accredited tester)

Has a DSEAR assessment been undertaken if required?

Can the dangerous substances identified be substituted for a less hazardous alternative, the quantity reduced, or the work process changed to reduce the risk?

Are measures in place to reduce employees exposed to effects of dangerous substance?

Do drivers have required training and licensing to drive the vehicle?

Is an appropriate evacuation and emergency procedure in place?

Noise and vibration

Have noise risk assessments been undertaken for the workplace and hearing protection zones / control measures implemented?

Have Hand Arm Vibration (HAV) and Whole Body Vibration (WBV) assessments been undertaken for the workplace and control measures implemented?

Is health surveillance in place where required for: Hazardous Substances, Noise and Vibration?

Machine maintenance and guarding

Has the task been risk assessed and a safe system of work developed?

Are all respective guards or interlocks in place? Have you inspected these prior to use?

Has the operational manual been reviewed to consider requirements for maintenance?

Have the operators and engineers been appropriately trained in process and maintenance  requirements?

Is there a lock-out, tag-out procedure in place?

Prior to starting the work has the machinery been purged of any stored energy or hazardous substances?

Workplace transport

Has an appropriate risk assessment been completed that considers transport?

Has this considered blind spots? Bends? Pedestrian interactions? Gradients?

Is the site large enough for activities required? Loading/unloading, reversing etc.

Are vehicle routes wide enough for the types of vehicle needed?

Do drivers have required training and licensing to drive the vehicle?

Has a one way or traffic management system been implemented? What are the pedestrian segregation controls?

Working at height

Is a suitable and sufficient Risk Assessment in place?

Has it been completed by a competent person with involvement of the employees undertaking the work?

Has it been communicated to relevant parties? (i.e. those completing the work and those who may be affected by hazards arising from the work.)

Is the work at height planned, organised and carried out by competent persons?

Are ladders being used? Are they the correct type? Have they been inspected before the task is carried out?

Has adverse weather been considered if working outside?

Is access equipment being used? If so, what is the maintenance schedule? Is it the right equipment? Has it had its LOLER examination?

Is a work-restraint system in place? Is it suitable to prevent employees from accessing the edge/an area where they could fall?

 

  • Did you know?
  • As of April 2022, the cost recovery rate for the Fee For Intervention is £163.

 

Contact us if you require further information.

Modern Slavery: Quick Facts

Judge

Modern Slavery: Quick Facts

In England and Wales, modern slavery is defined within the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (and similar legislation within Scotland and Northern Ireland). It includes the following crimes.

  • Slavery (whereby someone exerts ownership over another person).
  • Servitude (where someone is obliged to provide services through coercion and cannot change their position).
  • Forced or compulsory labour (where someone is forced to provide work or services under the fear of a penalty).
  • Human trafficking (arranging or helping someone to travel with the intention of exploiting them on arrival).

Modern slavery, which encompasses forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking, is a heinous crime still taking place in the UK. Perpetrators exploit their victims, using them as a commodity for economic gain. It is often hidden in plain sight, taking place in workplaces such as car washes, construction sites, fields and factories across the country.

Construction is a high-risk industry for modern slavery. The reasons are several-fold. The sector has a high reliance on temporary, agency and migrant workers, and workers are often employed in low-skilled jobs that attract the minimum wage. This type of employment already brings with it a high risk of exploitation, but the industry’s business models exacerbates the situation by relying on tight margins and a race to the bottom when contracting work. This combination can price out high ethical standards, and create an environment that criminality can infiltrate.

This topic covers the supply chain transparency requirements of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, as well as specific information on how slavery can be tackled within construction.

  • In England and Wales, modern slavery is defined within the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (similar legislation exists in Scotland and Northern Ireland). It includes the crimes of slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking.
  • Slavery is found throughout the UK. Victims come from every nationality, including people who are British and those who have a right to work in the UK.
  • The Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires all businesses with an annual turnover of more than £36 million supplying services or goods to the UK to publish an annual statement outlining the steps taken by the business to ensure its supply chains are free from slavery.
  • Although there is no set format for a modern slavery and trafficking statement, the Act defines the minimum requirements and suggests what should be covered.
  • Good practice within supply chains and procurement can help deter and protect against instances of slavery within the supply chain.
  • Organisations should have a clear policy on how to respond to potential cases of slavery.
  • Sector-specific initiatives such as the Construction Protocol are designed to tackle slavery in the construction industry.

Employers’ Duties

  • Under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and its equivalents in Scotland and Northern Ireland, companies with a turnover of more than £36 million who provide goods or services within the UK are required to publish an annual human slavery and trafficking statement.
  • All companies, regardless of size, have a duty to ensure that they are not complicit in any act of human slavery or trafficking and that their employment practices do not infringe on human rights. They have a moral responsibility to ensure that their supply chains are free from modern slavery.
  • All companies must ensure that employees have a right to work in the UK and that their documentation is valid.

Employees’ Duties

  • Employees should abide by any Codes of Conduct or policies relating to anti-slavery and human trafficking initiatives.
  • To be vigilant at work and, where instances of slavery are suspected, employees should report these to the relevant authorities.

Training

Training is an important part of any programme to raise awareness of modern slavery and to give employees the knowledge and competencies they need to spot the signs, know what to do if modern slavery is suspected, and conduct their work in a way that proactively reduces risk.

It should be carried out at every level within the business — from management to construction site workers — and should be specific to the area of work. Training for procurement professionals, for example, is going to be different to that of site supervisors.

Contact us if you require training or guidance with this topic.