October Health & Safety Bulletin

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One in Five Managers Don't Follow H&S Protocols Following an Accident

One in five managers admitted not following health and safety protocol after every employee injury or incident, new research has shown.

The study, commissioned by law firm Hugh James and conducted by Atomik Research, polled 2,000 full time and part-time employees across the UK, and revealed gaps in fire safety procedures.

Some 46% of UK workers had also not received workplace training on what actions to take during a fire event or even general health and safety policies.

It also discovered 42% of workers did not know when fire doors were last inspected and more than a quarter - 28% - did not know when fire extinguishers were inspected. A third did not know where an accident log book was located or even if there was one.

One of the few positives from the study was that 89% of workers said they took health and safety seriously.

Confusion

Mark Harvey, a partner at Hugh James, said: "Not only does there appear to be some confusion around existing legislation amongst managers and employees, but there is also a lack of understanding when it comes to the consequences of misconduct in the long-run.

"With over a third of all employees - 36% - admitting to not feeling competent enough to know all health and safety policies in the event of an emergency, it's important that everyone in the workplace understands that they have a vital part to play when it comes to being responsible for one another to avoid mishaps in the future."

Harvey welcomed the Health and Safety Executive's finding that recent data showed a continuation of the downward trend in non-fatal workplace injuries reported, but said the sector 'needed to ensure employers and managers truly report what is happening in the workplace.'

He said: "We urge companies to put real emphasis on providing the right health and safety training to employees to avoid future misconduct - whether it's putting in place the correct procedures for regular fire drill tests or simply keeping accident log books up to date."

Part-time work

The survey also revealed disparities between full and part-time workers in relation to health and safety training. Part-time staff were particularly at risk of missing out on adequate training with 47% stating they had not received a health and safety induction since joining their firm. This was compared to less than a third of full-time employees.

Part-time workers also felt less competent than full-time counterparts in the event of an emergency with 43% admitting they didn't feel they would know enough should an incident occur.

It also showed part-time workers felt under 'additional pressure' in the workplace when it came to taking breaks. Nearly two thirds - 61% - of part-time workers said their employer didn't actively encourage them to take a break compared to 47% of full-time workers.

Source: SHPOnline, August 2017



£140k fine plus costs Following Flash Burns

A security equipment manufacturer has been handed a £140,000 fine after a worker sustained flash burns from a highly-flammable substance.

Sheffield Magistrates' Court heard this week that a worker at Pyronix's Rotherham plant was dipping baskets, which contained printed circuit boards (PCBs), into fluorocoat thin film coating to provide humidity protection when the incident occurred in April 2015.

The PCBs had batteries installed before the dipping process and as the worker was removing a basket from out of the tank, she saw a "burning cloud" go through the tank. The worker was unable to avoid being burned after the highly-flammable isoalkane substance ignited. She sustained flash burns to her face, neck, chest and both arms.

Fluorocoat creates a water repellant coating for electronic components. It has a flash point of 7 degrees Celsius and the product's safety data sheet cautions users to "keep away from heat/sparks/open flames/hot surfaces".

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that changes needed to be made in the planning of the manufacturing process.

After the incident, modifications were made to the tank and process, which included not installing the PCB battery until after dipping, adding local exhaust ventilation to the tank and additional measures to control static. Employees also received additional training.

Pyronix of Hellaby, Rotherham pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The company was fined £140,000 and ordered to pay £3,133 in costs.

Source: IOSH Magazine, August 2017



Company Fined £250,000 plus costs After Crushing Leaves Worker with Brain Damage

A passenger air transport firm has been fined after an employee suffered brain damage after being crushed by hangar doors in Bedfordshire.

St Albans Crown Court heard how an employee of Signature Flight Support London Luton Ltd was injured while she was opening the doors of Hangar 219 at Luton Airport to move aircraft inside. On moving one of the doors the employee became trapped causing crushing injuries resulting in severe brain damage.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred on 28 April 2015 found that the company failed to conduct an adequate planning or provide adequate training and written instructions.

Signature Flight Support London Luton Ltd of Hangar 63, Percival Way, London Luton Airport, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It has been fined £250,000 and ordered to pay costs of £19,483.50.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Andrew McGill said: "The injured person's family have been left devastated after this incident. Her husband gave up work to care for her daily and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Employers must provide suitable systems of work, training, information and supervision to ensure safety. If a safe system of work had been in place prior to this incident, it could have prevented the life-changing injuries sustained by the employee."

If you have any questions or want to understand the insurance implications and/or cover on the above scenarios please contact us.

Bulletin prepared in conjunction with Direct Safety Limited.

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