Published · Updated

What is RIDDOR?

What is RIDDOR?

What is RIDDOR?

RIDDOR rules and regulations

There are certain rules and regulations regarding RIDDOR, these include keeping all records up to date, having an accident book so accidents that don’t need to be reported to RIDDOR can be recorded.

RIDDOR 2013 changes

There are certain rules and regulations regarding RIDDOR, these include keeping all records up to date, having an accident book so accidents that don’t need to be reported to RIDDOR can be recorded.

It is advised that RIDDOR records are kept for 5-6 years however the minimum they must be kept for is 3 years.

In October 2013, new RIDDOR regulations came into place, there were some changes, the list of ‘major injuries’ in RIDDOR 1995 was replaced with ‘Specified injuries’ in 2013.

The 1995 schedule that detailed 47 different types of industrial disease was replaced with eight categories of reportable work-related illness.

There was also a change in the types of dangerous occurrences that needed to be reported, in 2013 there were less.

Who is the responsible person?

In many different workplaces RIDDOR applies, In 2013 RIDDOR was revised, now it requires a responsible person to report to the enforcement agency, as well as keeping records.

A responsible person is –

  • An employer (or employee who works for the employer).
  • A self-employed person.
  • A person in control of a premises.
  • A specified person for mines, quarries and offshore activities.
  • We can help direct you, Walker Health and Safety Services

The responsible person only needs to report to the HSE when a accident or incident has occurred in relation to work. So, if something happens to a worker when they are on their way home from work. It doesn’t need to be reported under RIDDOR.

What is RIDDOR reportable?

RIDDOR reportable, deaths and injuries must have occurred – As a result of an accident to workers, self-employed and non-workers that has caused injury to them.

Or from a work-related accident that arise out of or in connection with work, the work itself must have contributed to the accident, as well as whether any plant, substance or equipment were involved. The condition of the workplace can also have an impact on whether an accident is reportable.

It is important to report any accidents and incidents as they are warnings that there are uncontrolled hazards that need identifying and eliminating to help prevent any more accidents in the future, or worse a serious accident that could cost someone their life.

What doesn’t need to be reported under RIDDOR 2013

There are certain things that don’t have to be reported under RIDDOR 2013, it is important to know what these are so that you don’t end up not making a RIDDOR report when you should have done.

  • If someone dies, or is injured, as a result of receiving dental or medical treatment.
  • If armed forces personnel are killed or injured whilst on duty.
  • If someone dies, or is injured, in a road traffic collision. However, if someone is killed or injured whilst unloading/loading a vehicle, whilst working adjacent to the road, by a train, or by a substance escaping from a vehicle, then this is reportable under the regulations.

Contact us for further information.


Warehouse health and safety tips

Warehouse health and safety tips

Warehouse health and safety tips

Why health and safety in a warehouse environment is so important

Health and safety procedures are paramount in any workplace, but warehousing roles present specific risks that all workers should be aware of. First, it’s important to note that we understand how easy it can be to to let initial training fall to the wayside as you grow in confidence and find yourself in an everyday routine – this is normal in many jobs.

However, letting your guard down in a high-risk environment can not only put you in danger, but it can also expose your colleagues to the risks of the work place too. So, it certainly pays to be educated when it comes to warehouse health and safety.

What are the warehouse requirements in the UK?

Whether you are an employer or an employee, there are certain requirements that must be met within the warehousing industry. Below are some of the main legal requirements for employers in the UK warehousing industry:

  • Employers, supervisors and managers must provide employees with adequate and appropriate welfare facilities. These include appropriate toilet facilities, adequate rest breaks and somewhere safe to eat and drink.
  • Environmental requirements such as lighting, temperature, cleanliness, floor conditions, falls or falling objects, ventilation and transparent doors must all be addressed by an employer by law.
  • Best practice must be maintained by management to ensure employees feel listened to, valued and considered in work place decisions.

It is imperative that all aspects of health and safety training are covered by management. These include training in:

  • Fire safety
  • Vehicles safety
  • Slips and falls
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Manual handling

Why is training so important for warehousing staff?

Warehousing logistics are complex, and typically this type of work environment never sleeps. For this reason alone, it can be a manic environment to be in, especially if you’re not up to date with recent training strategies.

There are a huge range of benefits to training warehousing staff, not least to improve efficiency, increase staff morale and offer job fulfilment, but also to equip staff with everything they need to stay safe at work.

As we have stated, warehouses pose a plethora of risks, from moving vehicles to high objects, there is the potential for all kinds of incidents to occur, and so it is vital that every person on the premises is equipped with the skills and knowledge to safely handle any workplace eventuality.

Fire safety

Due to the size and layout of most warehouses, the need for up to date and accurate fire safety training is absolutely paramount. Regular fire safety assessments and subsequent training is actually a workplace requirement regardless of the industry you’re in, but in the case of warehouses which have a number of hazards, it’s even more important that this is kept on top of.

Did you know?
In 2004 (England and Wales) fire and rescue services attended over 33,400 fires in non-domestic buildings. These fires killed 38 people and injured over 1,300.

Things that must be carried out by employers, supervisors or management include:

  • Appointing a person or persons to carry out any preventative or protective measures required by the Fire Safety Order.
  • Make all employees aware of the risks of fire in your particular premises.
  • Allocate appropriate people to carry out certain fire safety related roles.
  • Inform any visitors (non-employees) of the risks of fire in your particular premises.
  • Must consider the presence of any dangerous substances and the risk this presents to relevant persons from fire.
  • Provide appropriate information and training to employees during normal working hours, about fire precautions in the workplace. This must first be done as soon as employment commences, and be updated regularly.

Some important fire safety measures which should be carried out in the workplace include:

  • Regular fire drills– offering regular (weekly) fire drills will help to enforce the fire safety procedure for all employees and will help to prepare the team in the case of a real-life fire.
  • Weekly fire alarm testing– testing your fire alarms once a week in accordance with fire alarm regulations ensures your fire alarms are fully operational at all times.
  • Emergency lighting – Emergency lighting and exit signs are vital parts of a thorough fire safety procedure, and in the case of warehousing where there can be many hazards and obstacles this is a crucial aspect of the overall health and safety of employees.
  • Fire evacuation plans and wardens – it is important to ensure a plan has been put in place by management and has been effectively communicated to all relevant employees as to what to do in the case of a fire, and which individuals will be on hand to act as fire wardens in these scenarios.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Effective and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is often required as part of a larger health and safety strategy within a warehouse environment. It is important to ensure that you are wearing the appropriate attire to carry out your role, however this must be in conjunction with other measures in the case of your PPE failing.

It is a legal requirement here in the UK to supply all workers with appropriate PPE, and in a warehouse environment these can include:

  • Hard hats
  • High visibility jackets
  • Safety shoes
  • Eye protection
  • Hearing protection
  • Respiratory masks

Along with appropriate training in the appropriate PPE, regular risk assessments must also be carried out in the warehouse to ensure the right PPE is in place. Where new risks occur, old measures may need to be removes, and different PPE may need to be put into place.

Vehicle safety

In most warehouses in-house vehicles are an essential aspect of every day. Used typically for the safe moving and handling of goods, workers operating such vehicles are required to hold specific licenses.

Did you know?
According to RIDDOR, there were 26 deaths in the workplace caused by being struck by a moving vehicle in the year 2016-17.

Training is essential not just for those handling warehouse vehicles, but also for others who may come into contact with vehicles during their working day. Thorough training on how to use vehicles, and knowledge of best practice can help to maintain a safe environment. Here are some things to consider:

  • Regular vehicle maintenance to ensure things are running as they should be
  • Enforce a strict speed limit for warehouse vehicles. This may differ depending on whether pedestrians are active in the area, but typically you must never exceed 5mph
  • Any employees being trained up to use vehicles such as forklifts must be of the correct legal age, which is 18 years of over

Slips and Trips

In any work environment there’s likely to be a risk of slips and trips, whether that’s in the kitchen or out on the shop floor. In a warehouse it can occur more easily due to things such as the surface of the floor, cables from vehicles or spills.

Here are some things you can do to avoid accidents from happening:

  • Make sure that things are neatly put away, so that they don’t cause falls or are in people’s path
  • Cord covers need to be placed across cords, if they are on the footpath or in an open area, this helps to prevent them as a trip hazard.

Manual Handling

A huge part of your work in a warehouse will likely involve moving and handling large, often heavy goods. Doing so without the proper training however can lead to severe injuries, some of which can even put you out of work.

Did you know?
Injuries whilst lifting, handling or carrying represents the largest number of non-fatal injuries in the workplace. In 2016/17 there were 122,000 reported injuries of this nature.

Luckily, there are simple things you can do to prevent injury from moving and handling goods, these include:

  • Ensuring control measures are in place. If you are unaware of any, speak to your supervisor or manager about this. Control measures are there so that people don’t end up hurting themselves or getting an injury from lifting something too heavy
  • Use appropriate machinery as and when necessary such as lift trucks, pallet trucks and trollies to avoid accidental injury – these should be used wherever possible
  • Ensure your manual handling training is up to date – do you know the manual handling weight limits? It’s 20-25kg – if you don’t know this, or the proper ways to handle heavy goods then ask for more training first

Incorrect handling can lead to a wealth of physical conditions, including the following:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Work related upper limb disorder


As well as the way you hold yourself and handle goods in transit, the way you pack them can also make a huge difference to your physical wellbeing. Below are some of our tips for the safe packing of goods:

  • Make sure that pallets are packed correctly, this can ensure the stability of the load
  • Securing your packed loads is important. Use shrink or stretch wrapping to offer additional support to pallets
  • Are your pallets safe before loading? If you can spot any splinters, breaks, holes or other obvious damage – then don’t load goods onto it
  • Don’t apply unnecessary weight by climbing or leaning on the pallets either before or during use. Standing on pallets before they are used can cause significant damage and can compromise the safety of the load

Are you up to date with healthy and safety procedures in the workplace?

Health and safety aren’t as straightforward as we might like, especially in high-risk environments such as warehouses. But it’s crucial that we stay educated and up to date with both theoretical and practical training in order to stay safe at work.

If you are unsure about any aspects of today’s guide, it may be worthwhile to have a conversation with your manager about training opportunities. After all, it pays to be prepared.

Contact us for further information.


Understanding common electrical signs, symbols and labels

Understanding common electrical signs, symbols and labels

Understanding common electrical signs, symbols and labels

Electricity is an essential part of our everyday lives and is present in most, if not all, workplaces and homes. Despite its usefulness, it is dangerous, as contact with it can result in death or severe injuries. It can also cause damage to property from electrical-related fires and explosions.

Every year, approximately 1,000 accidents (30 of these fatal) at work involving electric shock or burns are reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Most fatalities are caused by contact with overhead or underground power cables. Even where electric shocks are not fatal, they can still result in permanent life-changing injuries.

Electrical-related fires are not uncommon either. In the Fire and Rescue Services statistics for England (2019/2020), there were:

  • 14,308 fires in non-domestic premises
    – 17 fatalities and 877 non-fatal casualties.
    – 2,219 fires were caused by electrical distribution and 1,629 fires were caused by electrical appliances.
  • 28,494 fires in dwellings (homes)
    – 199 fatalities and 5,152 non-fatal casualties.
    – 3,081 fires were caused by electrical distribution and 3,145 fires were caused by electrical appliances.

Those who work directly with electricity, e.g. engineers, electricians and overhead lines staff, are at a higher risk. However, it is also a risk for other workers and the public who use electrical equipment and appliances at work and at home.

The dangers of electricity are often underestimated, especially in low-risk environments such as offices and when people are at home. The mains electrical supply in these types of environment is 230 volts, which may seem low. However, to put this into perspective, a voltage of just 50 volts is enough to cause the heart to stop and prevent breathing. Therefore, everyone must take electrical safety seriously, whether they are at work or at home.

If there is a risk of electrical injuries at work, employers have a legal duty to prevent, reduce or control the risks. It requires them to put precautions in place, e.g. providing employees with electrical safety training and information and instruction via safety signs and labels.

Avoiding electrical hazards

A hazard is something that has the potential to cause harm. Risk is the likelihood of harm occurring and the severity should it happen. Electricity is a hazard that can cause death, severe injuries and property damage, and it is a risk in almost all workplaces and homes.

The hazards present and the level of risk will depend on:

  • The task, e.g. working on live electrical equipment will be a higher risk than using an electrical appliance in an office.
  • The training and competence of workers, e.g. those in training will be more at risk than those with a higher level of competence.
  • The electrical systems, processes or equipment involved, e.g. working with higher voltages will be more hazardous.
  • The environment, e.g. using electrical equipment outdoors will be a higher risk than using it indoors.

Common electrical hazards

Some examples of common electrical hazards include:

  • Electrocution, electric shock and burns, e.g. contact with live electrical parts.
  • Eye damage and burns, e.g. from electricity arcing.
  • Fire, e.g. from faulty, defective or damaged electrical equipment.
  • Explosion, e.g. using unsuitable equipment that could be a source of ignition in an explosive atmosphere.
  • Other hazards that can result in injury, e.g. an electric shock causing a fall from height
  • Interruption of safety-critical equipment due to a loss of power.

Electrical accidents

Electrical accidents can occur for many different reasons, such as:

  • Not isolating electrical installations and equipment properly before working on them.
  • Working on or near live electrical systems that were assumed to be dead.
  • Inadequate information and instruction provided on the risks.
  • A lack of training and competence to undertake tasks involving electricity. Inadequate training is one of the main causes of electrical accidents.
  • An unsafe safe system of work.
  • Using the incorrect type of equipment, which is not suited to the environment, e.g. using electrical equipment in wet conditions.
  • Using faulty, damaged and defective electrical systems and equipment.
  • Poor design and construction of electrical installations and wiring.
  • Overloading of electrical systems causing them to overheat.
  • Inadequate maintenance, inspection and testing of electrical systems and equipment.

Minimising the risks

There are many precautions that can minimise electrical safety risks and far too many to mention in this article.

Some examples include:

  • Ensuring the electrical installation is installed to a suitable standard and maintained by a competent person.
  • Selecting the most suitable electrical equipment for the task and environment. Looking at safer alternatives where possible, e.g. low-voltage equipment.
  • Using protective devices such as circuit breakers, fuses and residual current devices (RCDs).
  • Ensuring people working with electricity are trained and competent. Those who are at risk from using the equipment should have an awareness of electrical hazards and precautions.
  • Not misusing electrical equipment, using it for its intended purpose and storing it properly after use.
  • Maintaining electrical equipment regularly, e.g. PAT testing.
  • Completing a pre-use check of equipment to ensure that it is safe.
  • Having enough sockets and not overloading them to prevent overheating and fire.
  • Not routing electrical cables where they could be damaged or where someone could trip.
  • Switching off electrical equipment and sockets before plugging in or unplugging, and during maintenance, cleaning, repairing or adjusting.
  • Having procedures in place to deal with emergencies and adequate first aid provision to deal with electrical injuries.
  • Switching off all non-essential electrical equipment at the end of the working day.

Further information on electrical hazards and precautions can be found on the HSE’s electricity webpage and in their electrical safety guidance.

There are many different measures to prevent, control or reduce the risks of electrical hazards. Those selected must reduce the electrical risks to the lowest possible level. One of the measures used is electrical safety signs.

Electrical safety signs and symbols

Before providing safety signs, employers must first look at eliminating electrical hazards wherever possible, e.g. using non-electrical equipment. If it is not possible, they should then look at other means of avoiding or controlling the risk. For example, they can substitute higher voltage equipment for lower voltage or battery-powered equipment.

Electrical safety signs are examples of administrative controls. They are lower in the hierarchy as they do not remove the hazard. However, they are still important control measures. Safety signs can reduce the risk by providing information on the hazard and giving instructions on preventing exposure.

A safety sign is defined in the Safety Signs and Signals Approved Code of Practice as “a sign providing information or instruction about safety or health at work by means of a signboard, a colour, an illuminated sign or acoustic signal, a verbal communication or hand signal”.

The purpose of safety signs is to communicate health and safety information to workers and others at risk from the hazard.

There are five main categories of safety sign:

  • Prohibition sign – Prohibits behaviour likely to increase or cause danger. They are circular-shaped and are RED with a white background, red band and crossbar.
  • Warning sign – Gives a warning of a hazard or danger. They are triangular-shaped and are YELLOW with black symbols or text.
  • Mandatory sign – Prescribes specific behaviour and what must be done. They are circular-shaped and are BLUE with white symbols or text.
  • Safe condition sign – Gives information on emergency exits, first aid, or rescue facilities. They are rectangular-shaped and are GREEN with white symbols or text.
  • Fire safety signs – Gives information on fire protection arrangements. They are square or rectangular-shaped and are RED with white symbols or text.

All safety signs should have the appropriate universal symbols or pictograms to account for those who have difficulty reading and limited English skills. Signs displaying just text will not be compliant. Some have supplementary text (usually at the bottom) with further information on the hazard or instructions. If text is used, it must meet the category of the sign.

PAT labels

Faulty, damaged and defective electrical equipment is a common cause of accidents and is often due to a lack of maintenance. Electrical appliances and equipment should be subject to regular maintenance to identify any issues that could create a risk to users or others. Portable appliance testing (PAT), also known as PAT testing, is an example of an effective maintenance method.

According to the HSE, PAT testing is “the term used to describe the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they are safe to use”. The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) refer to it as the in-service inspection and testing of electrical equipment.

 PAT testing involves a combination of visual inspections and electronic tests. After an electrical item has been PAT tested, labels are often attached to indicate the test date and whether it is safe or not.

They usually contain the following information:

  • The appliance identification number or asset number.
  • The signature or initials of the person who carried out the PAT test.
  • The date of the PAT test.
  • Whether it has passed, failed or being inspected. Failed equipment must be removed from use immediately.
  • Some labels also have a re-test date. The HSE does not recommend this, as the tester is not responsible for determining the frequency of tests; the duty holder is. However, a re-test date can be added to the label if they have been informed of the necessary frequency.

PAT labels do vary, and there are many different types, for example:

  • Passed labels are usually green but can be blue, purple or black to account for different periods before the next test.
  • Failed labels tend to be red but are sometimes amber.
  • Some have barcodes that can be scanned by certain PAT testing equipment, which gives a maintenance history for the appliance.
  • Some are circular or rectangular-shaped.
  • Some can be personalised with the company details.

There is not a specific requirement for PAT labels to be a particular colour, size or shape. However, PAT labels are covered in the IET Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment. The Code of Practice is widely accepted, and many PAT label suppliers will follow the requirements within.

Regulations and standards

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

The main law relating to electrical safety is the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. These regulations place duties on employers, the self-employed and employees. It aims to prevent and reduce the risk of death and injury from electricity in the workplace.

The main requirements of the regulations are as follows:

  • Electrical systems must be of good construction and maintained to prevent danger.
  • The strength and capability of electrical equipment must not be exceeded.
  • Electrical equipment must be protected if used in adverse or hazardous environments, e.g. in wet conditions.
  • Electrical conductors must be protected and insulated if dangerous.
  • Precautions such as earthing and other protective measures should be provided where required.
  • Electrical systems and equipment should have a means of isolation and supply cut-off in dangerous situations. It also covers working on dead equipment once isolated.
  • Workers shouldn’t work on or adjacent to live conductors unless there is no other way. Further precautions will be required for live working.
  • There should be adequate space, access and lighting around electrical equipment when working on it.
  • People must be competent or supervised to work on electrical systems and with electrical equipment.

The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996

The requirement for electrical safety signs comes under the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. Where there is a significant electrical risk that cannot be eliminated or controlled by other methods, employers must provide safety signs and maintain them by law. The Safety Signs and Signals Approved Code of Practice provides further guidance on the requirements of the regulations.

When and where to use safety signs should be based on the findings of the risk assessment. They should only be used where they can further reduce the risk. They should be clear and legible, and employers should avoid using too many signs, as it can confuse people.

To comply with the regulations, employers must also provide employees with suitable and sufficient instruction and training in the meaning of safety signs, including the measures to take in connection with them.

BS EN ISO 7010

BS EN ISO 7010 is an international standard. According to the British Standards Institution (BSI), BS EN ISO 7010 standardises the look of safety signs and their meaning for international use and for the purposes of accident prevention, fire protection, health hazard information and emergency evacuation. The shape and colour of each safety sign and the design of the graphical symbols is according to ISO 3864 series.

ISO 7010 was introduced so that safety signs were consistent across Europe. In 2013, it became a European Normative (EN), which meant it was adopted by European Law. As a result, all member states had to adopt the standard, which included the UK. The UK has now left the EU, but BS EN ISO 7010 is the British version of the standard and still applies.

It is important to note that British Standards are not law. However, BS EN ISO 7010 is referred to in the Safety Signs and Signals Approved Code of Practice (ACOP), which provides guidelines on complying with the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. An ACOP is a legal series publication, and the HSE can use it as evidence of non-compliance with the regulations. Therefore, it is wise for employers to follow the standard with regards to their safety signs.

PAT testing and labels

There is no legal requirement to carry out PAT testing, but it is an effective way of showing that electrical equipment has been effectively maintained. Maintenance is a legal requirement under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998. The frequency of PAT testing should always be based on the findings of a risk assessment.

There is also no legal requirement to use PAT labels, but it is recommended as it shows that the equipment has been tested, the result and the date of the test. It also provides evidence that an effective maintenance regime is in place.

There are guidelines for PAT testing, including labels, in the IET’s Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment, 5th Edition.


Electricity can kill people. It can also cause severe injuries and damage to property. Therefore, electrical safety must be taken seriously by all those who may be directly or indirectly exposed to electricity.

Electrical signs and symbols provide workers and others with information on electrical hazards and instructions on preventing harm. Labels, such as those used in PAT testing, inform people that electrical equipment and appliances are safe to use or not. Signs, symbols and labels are a useful way of communicating health and safety information to employees and others, which can reduce the risks.

Employers have many legal duties regarding electrical safety in the workplace. They should use the top options in the hierarchy of control to prevent and reduce the risks in the first instance. If this isn’t possible, safety signs can be used where the remaining risks are significant. If safety signs are used as a control measure, employers must ensure they comply with the relevant laws and standards. It is also vital to ensure that those at risk from electricity understand the message to keep themselves and others safe.

Contact us for further information.


Published · Updated

Mental Health in the Construction Industry

Mental Health in the Construction Industry

Mental Health in the Construction Industry

Even with rigorous health and safety procedures, the construction sector is notorious for health issues, serious injuries and perilous fatalities.

Physical health and safety are paramount in jobs sectors like construction and manual labour. Given the numbers of serious injuries (and deaths) that occur, occupational accidents increase without proper support and guidance.

The Chartered Institute of Building reported that 26% of construction workers had suicidal thoughts and 97% experienced work-related stress.

Without support, recognition, and even hope, employees still continue to battle with invisible disabilities, like mental health.

Discover how employers can support staff who are suffering from mental health in the workplace And see what steps and guidance is needed for dangerous job sectors like construction.

What is workplace mental health?

Physical injuries or serious accidents in the workplace always come with risk assessment and management strategies. ‘How to apply immediate care’ or ‘how to eliminate the root cause’– businesses will spend thousands on implementing these legal and moral obligations.

But when it comes to workplace mental health, less is done to identify issues (let alone handle them). Nearly 70 million workdays are lost every year because of mental health issues – costing the UK economy £2.4 billion annually – (according to Mentalhealth).

But we need to look beyond the numbers and focus more on individual cases – especially in the construction industry. Taking full care of your staff leads to a happier workplace, efficient production, legal compliance, and overall wellbeing security.

Employers’ duty for employee mental health

It’s normal for construction industries to prioritise ‘health and safety’. This job sector is regrettably notorious when it comes to work-related accidents and injuries.

But the biggest concerns that employers had, were ensuring injuries weren’t long-lasting or physically impairing.

But this is only half of an employer’s lawful obligation. Staff wellbeing is a legal duty of care, under the Health and Safety at Work, etc (1974).

The act places a duty on all employers to, ‘ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work’ of all employees and non-workers found on their work premises.

In recent times, the conversation on mental health has become more public and inclusive. From athletes becoming ambassadors to creating conversations in our classrooms, mental health is no longer an invisible condition.

How to supportive mental health in the construction industry?

One of the most significant steps to take when supporting construction workers is concentrating on physical and mental health in the workplace.

Here are steps for building a supportive culture in a construction workplace:

Track mental health

From bullet journals to employee assistance programmes, ask your staff to track their mental health state. This can be done through five-minute app quizzes, or actively filling in mood trackers.

This data can be collated daily or once a week. But ultimately, all parties will recognise staff wellbeing and where further support might be needed.

Interactive training and services

Introduce training sessions, courses, and services where employees can gain information and support for mental health.

Through interactive methods, you can raise awareness and create safe spaces for conversations. And employees can share ways to control triggers and how to manage it through everyday living.

Train your management

Some of the most effective daily support comes from direct managers and supervisors. Walker Health and Safety Services can support you with your training needs.

Your management will likely have a better understanding and sense when their team-members are not feeling like themselves. Whether it’s a work issue or a personal problem, managers are sometimes the first to pick up on the atmosphere.

Utilise this by providing mental health training and coaching for your management. And teach them to discover the roots to problems; or manage it with the right tools. You could even train a qualified employee to stand as a mental health first aider.

Grow positive mental wellbeing

As an employer it’s your responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace environment. When it comes to mental health issues, look out for signs, educate your staff, and raise awareness.

You’ll likely still face mental health incidents, and some may go on undetected. But deal with them through your mental health policies and procedures as soon as you’re aware.

Mental health awareness is just an important obligation as legal compliance and hazard awareness. By caring for your staff on all levels, you’ll hold a secure workspace for your staff – and grow positive mental wellbeing.

Contact us for further information.

Guest Blog – David McDermott

Published · Updated

Fire Safety Doors

Emergency fire exit sign direction to doorway in the building green colour and narrow.

What are fire safety doors?

A fire safety door is a crucial safety feature of any building in which people live, work or visit. A fire safety door is a sealed door between compartments or areas. They act as a barrier to the spread of fire, heat and smoke, limiting its effect whilst allowing enough time for occupants to evacuate to a place of safety.

At a glance, fire safety doors don’t look too different from the other internal doors in a building. However, they need to be sturdy enough to stop the fire but otherwise easy to use under everyday circumstances. These dual roles are reflected in the doors’ design. A well-designed timber fire safety door will delay the spread of fire and smoke for perhaps up to 30 minutes, without causing too much hindrance to the everyday movement of people and goods. In other words, fire safety doors save lives.

How to identify a fire safety door

When you’re trying to identify a fire safety door, follow this simple check:

  • Certification. The most reliable way to identify a fire safety door is to look for its certification label.
  • Signage – Fire safety door regulations require signage clearly indicating that a fire safety door is indeed a fire safety door; this is not always upheld.
  • Gaps – The gaps around the tops and sides of the door should be less than 4mm thick. You can use a pound coin to check this; these are roughly 3mm thick.
  • Intumescent Seals – An intumescent seal is a heat-sensitive material which prevents the spread of flame and smoke by swelling in the event of a fire, and thus sealing the gap between door and frame. Check the frame and door profile for a thin strip running down the middle.
  • Hinges – A fire safety door should always have a minimum of three hinges.
  • Closing Mechanism – A fire safety door should close itself firmly from a halfway-open position and should not stick.

The differences between a fire safety door and a fire exit door

The issue of fire safety doors and fire exits can be confusing. A fire safety door is an internal door.

Examples of locations of fire safety doors include but are not limited to:

  • Stairwells, where they protect the stairs from corridors opening on to them.
  • Kitchens / catering facilities.
  • Storage areas that house combustible materials such as paper and card.
  • Boiler rooms.

Fire safety doors have to be kept closed at all times unless certified fire safety door retainers are installed (not just a door wedge), which hold the fire safety door open until a fire alarm is set off.

A fire exit door on the other hand, is an external door. It can be left open and does not have to be fire resistant. The purpose of the fire exit door is to allow a quick and unhindered escape through a well-lit door into a place of safety while stopping unauthorised access from outside the building.

Fire exits doors should open easily and, wherever possible, in the direction of traffic flow. If it is a security door that is usually kept locked but will be used by members of the public in an emergency situation, it will have to be fitted with a panic or push bar. By enabling the swift passage of people to a place of safety, the final exit door will have performed its function; it does not have to be a fire safety door to accomplish this.

Fire exit doors can also be opened from the outside if, for example, a panic bar with a key lock override is fitted. Fire exits must never be obstructed and have to be clearly marked and well lit. Best practice dictates that fire exit signs are fitted above fire exits.

Types of fire safety doors

The effectiveness of a fire safety door, as well as the type required, is determined by its location in the building and the types of fire dangers it faces. There are various types of fire safety doors, ranging from different materials to different fire ratings and levels of protection.

Types of fires safety doors include:

Wooden Fire Safety Doors – Particleboard, flax board, timber or mag board are some of the different materials used to make the solid core found in most wooden fire safety doors. A lipping around the core with a veneer finish, MDF or plywood glued to the core or a timber frame with a laminated outer finish are some of the different ways in which the core is finished. Provided that the necessary fire rating is met, any of these finishing methods can be used. It is worth noting that you should always remember to use fire-retardant paint if you plan on painting a fire safety door made of wood.

Steel Fire Safety Doors – Whilst glass or wooden fire safety doors are known to provide around 30 to 60 minutes of fire protection on average, steel fire safety doors can extend this time to up to four hours. Thanks to their durable and strong nature, these fire safety doors may be preferred over other available options when enhanced security is required. In applications where higher levels of hygiene are necessary, such as hospitals and kitchens, among others, steel fire safety doors are also preferred as they are easy to clean.

Glass Fire Safety Doors – For internal doors that comply with all the necessary fire safety regulations, pyropanel glass fire safety doors are increasingly seen as a better looking alternative to the traditionally popular wooden and steel fire safety doors. Fire-rated glass must be used on all pyropanel fire safety doors. To prevent the spread of smoke and flames, fire-rated glass has been tested and approved as an effective barrier. It is also possible to prevent the spread of heat with some types of fire-rated glass. While ordinary glass cannot withstand temperatures over 120°Celsius, fire-rated glass can survive temperatures exceeding 900°Celsius. It is important for your glass fire safety door(s) to comply with the applicable fire safety guidelines, especially given that building fires normally burn hotter than 600°Celsius.

Double Fire Safety Doors – Double doors are an excellent fit for buildings with a higher number of occupants or wider door openings.

Pre-hung Fire Safety Doors – In a new build or large construction, pre-hung fire safety doors can be used to save money and time. A single package made up of various components, including the architraves, frame and leaf, is supplied ready for installation when using pre-hung fire safety doors. These doors are installed once all of the construction work is complete to decrease any risk of damage to the door, which would render it non-compliant with the applicable fire safety regulations.

Fire safety door ratings

The FD rating assigned to fire safety doors is dependent on the amount of time it can stand up to fire. A thorough fire risk assessment must be carried out when selecting a FD rating. Fire safety doors providing 30 minutes and 60 minutes of protection have an FD30 and FD60 rating, respectively. FD ratings are assigned after stress testing according to the guidelines laid out in BS 476 part 22:1987.

Some of the commonly seen ratings include:

  • FD30: 30 minutes of protection.
  • FD60: 60 minutes of protection.
  • FD90: 90 minutes of protection.
  • FD120: 120 minutes of protection.

Fire safety door regulations

Fire safety doors are a legal requirement in all non-domestic properties, such as businesses, commercial premises and public buildings. They are also required in residential flats and houses of multiple occupancy. In the event of a fire, internal fire safety doors are meant to divide the building into separate compartments. This way, for the amount of time indicated by the FD rating of the doors, occupants have a protected way out of the building or space.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 brought together several different pieces of legislation into one. It applied to all non-domestic premises, including communal areas of residential buildings with multiple homes. The Order also designated a “Responsible Person” for fire safety whose duty is to undertake assessments and manage risks, with the Order enforced by Fire and Rescue Authorities. The Order also covered any house in multiple occupation (HIMO) with shared facilities of any height.

The Fire Safety Act 2021 establishes new rules for any building, including flats, from two-unit conversions to multiple flats in purpose-built blocks. The Act prepares the ground for secondary legislation to implement the recommendations made in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry phase one report.

All fire safety doors must satisfy the disability regulations under the Equality Act 2010.

Fire safety door requirements for domestic buildings

In domestic buildings above two levels, every door leading to the stairwell at all levels must be a fire safety door, where the door leads to a habitable room.

Fire safety doors are also required:

  • In loft conversions.
  • Between a house and any integral garage.
  • Between the business and residential elements in a mixed-use building.

According to the new Fire Safety Act 2021 apartment owners or leaseholders need to make sure that fire safety doors are compliant by ensuring that:

  • The fire safety door(s) is fire rated. You will be able to tell if you have a fire safety door on your flat/apartment if it has a label attached to the head confirming its certification number and manufacturer. Alternatively, it may have a coloured plug inserted by the manufacturer which confirms that the door is at least a 30-minute resistant fire safety door.
  • The fire safety door(s) should be at least 44mm thick.
  • The fire safety door should be affixed to the door frame by three certified or BS approved hinges made of steel. These hinges should not be leaking oil, and should include intumescent material pads at the back of each hinge plate.
  • If the fire safety door is fitted with a letter plate, that is the plate that covers the letter box, then the door must have a certificate to prove that it is fire-resistant and smoke-stopping.
  • The fire safety door handle and lock must be fire rated and certified. They must be comparable with the door installed.
  • The gap between the door and frame must be between 3mm and 4mm and up to 10mm at the bottom of the door.
  • The fire safety door should have a self-closing device fitted either at the top or centre of the door.
  • The fire safety door should fully close onto its rebates; that is, the door stops.
  • The fire safety door must not be twisted in its frame and should sit flush into its rebates.
  • The fire safety door frame or the edge of the door must have combined heat and cold smoke seals installed. Older doors may have a 10mm seal, whilst later doors will have 15mm seals.
  • The fire safety door frame must be in a good state of repair with no major failings. It should be secured to its opening correctly with fire stopping being provided where the frame and wall meet along the top and either side.
  • The fire safety door must open fully and close unhindered at a reasonable speed.
  • If the fire safety door has glazing, then it must be rattle free and should be correctly installed with appropriate glazing proprietary systems in place. Any glazing panel in the door should have a Kitemark or be stamped to show that it will provide at least 30 minutes of fire resistance.
  • Unfortunately, cat flaps are not permissible in fire safety door installations. So, if your apartment/flat door has a cat flap it is not compliant with the Fire Safety Act 2021.

Fire safety door requirements for non-domestic buildings

The guidelines are categorised into two separate sections, based on vertical and horizontal escape routes, when it comes to commercial and non-domestic properties. The process of evacuating all occupants of a building with multiple levels using a flight of stairs is referred to as vertical evacuation. On the other hand, occupants move horizontally, into a fireproof compartment or space on the same level/floor, to get away from the fire, in horizontal evacuation.

While the decision between horizontal and vertical evacuation is made independently, per building, the safety and speed of each option when it comes to the evacuation of a building’s occupants is the main determining factor, with vertical evacuation being the best fit in most cases.

According to the Fire Safety Order 2005, this route must be lined with fire safety doors at the very least. The door’s surroundings, location and building type are all considered in an independent evaluation used to determine the most suitable FD rating of the fire safety doors to be installed.

In accordance with Article 3 of the 2005 Fire Safety Order, the installation of fire safety doors in a commercial building is the duty of a “responsible person”.

Fire safety door frame regulations

Door frames, to go with certificated fire safety doors, should conform to the requirements stated on the door leaf’s data sheet. Frames certificated to meet the requirements of specified door leaves can be purchased from the door leaf manufacturer, a company licensed to manufacture the door frames, or a distributor.

Fire safety door frames or linings can be made from various timbers and timber-based materials. They must match the species, type and density, profile and frame dimensions given in the door leaf’s data sheets and confirmed in the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Fire safety door frames should be of the material types, density and dimensions, including the size of the stop, stated on the fire safety door leaf’s data sheet.

Fitting new fire safety doors into existing frames is risky because the existing frame may not be fit for purpose or compatible with the certification of the new fire safety door leaf. If you are fitting new fire safety doors and components into existing frames there are a number of checks that should be made on the frame before taking the decision to only upgrade the door leaf. If it is not compatible, then certification becomes invalid.

Fire safety door frames should be fitted into partition walls that have at least the same proven fire resistance as the resulting fire safety door assembly.

The limitations on the size of gap that is permitted between the door leaf and the frame is extremely important and is documented on the door leaf manufacturer’s data sheet. In general, the gap should be between 2mm and 4mm along the two long edges and across the top of the door leaf.

Fire safety door maintenance regulations

Article 17 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO/FSO) makes it a legal requirement to ensure that fire-resisting doors and escape doors are correctly installed and adequately maintained in order for them to be fit for purpose. The RRO/FSO applies to all buildings other than domestic housing, and replaces 118 pieces of previous fire legislation, including the old fire certificate.

The law now shifts responsibility from the fire authorities for fire safety to whoever has day-to-day control of premises. The authorities have the power to enforce the RRO/FSO and do prosecute or even close buildings down where breaches are discovered.

Just like any other passive fire protection system, it is essential for a fire safety door to perform as intended in the event of a fire. Any slight alteration to the door or its surroundings can affect the performance. As such, a fire safety door should be regularly checked to ensure it functions correctly and will perform to its designed standard in the event of a fire.

Periodic checks should be carried out at least once every six months although newly occupied buildings may require more frequent checks in the first year of use. Where the fire safety door is in high use, it should be checked more frequently than other doors in the building, for example once per week or month.

Regulations for installing fire safety doors

Depending on what type of fire safety door you buy, for example set versus assembly, you will need to have them installed in different ways. If you are installing a fire safety door set, the installation needs to meet EN 1634. If you are installing a fire safety door assembly, then the installation will need to meet BS 8214 2016. Any ironmongery used as part of a fire safety door assembly will need to meet BS EN 1906:2010 and BS EN 1935.

British standard for fire safety doors

Fire safety doors must conform to a British safety standard known as BS 476 Pt 22.

BS 8214: 2016 is the code of practice for fire safety door assemblies.

BSI, the British Standards Institution, has revised BS 8214 code of practice for fire safety door assemblies. The updated standard gives recommendations for the specification, installation and maintenance of timber-based fire safety doors. BS 8214 now includes updated guidance associated with the sealing between the door assembly and the surrounding structure.

The recommendations are applicable to timber-based hinged or pivoted pedestrian door assemblies or door leaves, fitted into frames of any material.

Other changes to the revised standard from its predecessor, BS 8214:2008, include new fire precautions in the design, construction and use of building to ensure the standard is harmonised with recently revised BS 9999 code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings.

BS 8214 was revised with suppliers of door assembly components in mind, many of whom are looking for ways to align their offering with the reliability of assembly offered by door sets. The revised standard reflects changes in the industry to meet its usability, particularly in relation to the installation and maintenance of fire safety doors, and is particularly relevant to those who work in the fire performance and smoke control sectors.

Contact us for further information.