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Fire Risk Assessment Frequency – How Often?

Fire Safety Management and Fire Risk Assessment must be Improved.
This blog post is to raise awareness and highlight employers obligations.

Sickening tragedies like Grenfell can be prevented by improving fire safety management. Fire Risk Assessment, Fire Safety Engineering, Evacuation Planning, Training and Fire Equipment Maintenance all needs to improve. Fire risk assessment procedures along with health and safety software systems can help this, ensuring traceability, an audit trail and the facilitation of risk assessment & corrective action through automated reminders.
To provide a statistical example: The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service mention stats from a DfE publication stating that in 2015 there were more than 600 fires in British Schools and each large fire causes £1.5M of damage on average, according to insurers.*

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 covers general fire safety in England and Wales. In Scotland, requirements on general fire safety are covered in Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, supported by the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006. Article 3 of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 clearly states that employers have fire safety responsibility.
Failure to comply with fire safety legislation is a criminal offense.

For fire safety compliance you must:
-Carry out a fire risk assessment
-Ensure sufficient training as fire safety training is a legal requirement for all staff.
-Have fire safety arrangements
-Ensure provision of information to employees.
-Have appropriate fire safety equipment installed and maintained.

The HSE clearly state on their website that: ‘As an employer (and/or building owner or occupier) you are required to carry out and maintain a fire safety risk assessment. This is under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which applies in England and Wales, and under Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act. The fire safety assessment can be carried out either as a separate exercise or as part of a single risk assessment covering other health and safety risks.
You need to make sure that, based on the findings of the assessment, you take adequate and appropriate fire safety measures to minimise the risk of injury or loss of life in the event of a fire.’ (www.hse.gov.uk/risk/faq.htm#q9)

Legislation doesn’t state a precise frequency for conducting a fire risk assessment however Article 9, (3) of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that it needs to be kept up to date and done again if there has been significant change in the environment:
‘Any such assessment must be reviewed by the responsible person regularly so as to keep it up to date and particularly if—
(a)there is reason to suspect that it is no longer valid; or
(b)there has been a significant change in the matters to which it relates including when the premises, special, technical and organisational measures, or organisation of the work undergo significant changes, extensions, or conversions, and where changes to an assessment are required as a result of any such review, the responsible person must make them.’

The HSE state on their website that:
‘You should review your risk assessment:
• if it is no longer valid
• if there has been a significant change
Your workplace will change over time. You are likely to bring in new equipment, substances and procedures. There may be advances in technology. You may have an accident or a case of ill health. You should review your assessment if any of these events happen.
Remember to amend your assessment as a result of your review.
There is no set frequency for carrying out a review. ‘
(www.hse.gov.uk/risk/faq.htm#q10)

Frequent Fire Risk Assessment is best to improve safety. It is also important to be able to demonstrate your compliance should you receive a visit from the HSE or a Fire Officer.
Safesmart recommend that the responsible person completes a fire risk assessment at least once per year or when there has been a significant change in the environment as mentioned in Article 9, (3) of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

 

If you would like advice about fire risk assessment frequency. Perhaps regarding how often to do a fire risk assessment in changing environments. Contact us to speak to our fire safety consultants. Our consultancy can help you make sense of Fire Safety and Health & Safety and regulations to ensure your business is meeting its obligations. Click our solutions menu to see all the fire safety and health & safety services we provide as well as our fire safety engineering: extinguishers, alarms etc. Discover easier fire safety management with Smartlog too.

 

Sources:

*: http://authority.manchesterfire.gov.uk/documents/s50005706/162.08.09.16.%20Fire%20Safety%20in%20Schools%20Building%20Bulletins%20100BB100.pdf
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005: www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/1541/contents/made 

 

 

DSE Training

DSE Training Article Picture

 

DSE stands for Display Screen Equipment.

This article provides insight into DSE Training and answers frequently asked questions regarding UK legislation.

The HSE state that DSE Training is a legal requirement for all staff who look at desktop computer screens, laptops, mobile phones, tablets and any other appropriate display screen equipment ‘for continuous or near-continuous spells of an hour’ [1]  These people are called DSE users.

 It is the legal duty of all employers to provide Display Screen Equipment Training.

Failure to provide adequate DSE training is a breach of DSE regulations meaning employers may face prosecution and fines. Providing DSE training also helps protect you from liability claims from employees; for example perhaps regarding back pain from working position.

There are various benefits of DSE Training such as reducing the likelihood of postural and visual problems, as well as fatigue and stress. When a work environment is more comfortable, productivity and employee satisfaction is also likely to increase.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the UK authority for health and safety state legal requirements about Display Screen Equipment in document L26 the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002.[2]

 

What is DSE Training?

 DSE training stands for display screen equipment training. It is a form of training to inform DSE users how best to use the equipment and how best to position themselves in relation to the equipment. Its purpose is to lower the risk of posutural and visual problems as well as fatigue and stress. [3]

 

Is DSE training a legal requirement?

Yes the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) document L26, Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002 states on page 8 that display screen equipment training is required for all staff using display screen equipment

‘for continuous or near-continuous spells of an hour’. [1]

 

Who does the HSE regard as DSE users?

On p8 of HSE document L26.

The HSE state that people in these situations need DSE Training:

‘It will generally be appropriate to

classify the person concerned as a user or operator if they:

(a) normally use DSE for continuous or near-continuous spells of an hour or

more at a time; and

(b) use DSE in this way more or less daily; and

(c) have to transfer information quickly to or from the DSE;

and also need to apply high levels of attention and concentration; or are highly

dependent on DSE or have little choice about using it; or need special training

or skills to use the DSE.’ [1]

 

What is classed as DSE Equipment?

In document L26 the HSE have stated that:

‘ “display screen equipment” means any alphanumeric or graphic display screen ’ [4]

The most common type of display screen equipment in the work environment are desktop computers. It must also be remembered that laptops, mobile phones, tablets and Point of Sale computer tills or tablet size screen displays are also classed as display screen equipment.

 

What is not classed as DSE Equipment?

The HSE mention in general that tablet style interfaces for public usage and not workstations for individuals are exempt as well as small screen old style cash registers. However it must be remembered that work station areas Point of Sale (POS) systems and tills areas with tablet of desk top computer screens do come under DSE Regulations and therefore DSE training applies in accordance with prolonged usage;  ‘for continuous or near-continuous spells of an hour’. [1]

On page 11 of HSE document L26 it states that:

 Nothing in these Regulations shall apply to or in relation to –

(a) drivers’ cabs or control cabs for vehicles or machinery;

(b) display screen equipment on board a means of transport;

(c) display screen equipment mainly intended for public operation;

(d) portable systems not in prolonged use;

(e) calculators, cash registers or any equipment having a small data or

measurement display required for direct use of the equipment; or

(f) window typewriters.

21 Where any of the exclusions in regulation 1(4) apply, none of the duties

imposed by the DSE Regulations will apply to or in connection with the use of the

equipment that is excluded. However, the proviso at paragraph 8 applies here too.

Employers should still ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health

and safety of those using the equipment are not put at risk. The general duties on

employers and others under the HSW Act, and other general health and safety

legislation (see paragraphs 6-8), are still applicable and particular attention should

be paid to ergonomics in this context. Ergonomics7 is the science of making sure

that work tasks, equipment, information and the working environment are suitable

for every worker, so that work can be done safely and productively. Ergonomic

factors relevant to DSE work are discussed further in Appendix 1.

[5]

Is DSE Training just for desktop computers and work space setup or is it for laptops too?

DSE training does incorporate workstation set up and it is for both desktop computers and laptop computers as well as mobiles and tablets when applicable regarding usage time length.

Regarding laptops in particular in appendix 3 of HSE document L26, p50 it’s written: ‘Portable DSE, such as laptop and notebook computers, is subject to the DSE Regulations if it is in prolonged use.’ [6]

Prolonged use is what’s stated on p8 of the same document ‘for continuous or near-continuous spells of an hour’ [1]

 

I use a Phone or Tablet, do I need to do DSE training?

 On page 13 of HSE document L26 it’s stated that DSE training is needed for mobile phones and tablet (personal organiser) usage when applicable. ‘mobile phones and personal organisers that can be used to compose and edit text, view images or connect to the Internet. Any prolonged use of such devices for work purposes will be subject to the DSE Regulations and the circumstances of such cases will need to be individually assessed.’

The HSE write clearly that ‘It cannot be assumed that such devices, having much of the functionality of full-sized DSE, are excluded because their screens are ‘small’. However, mobile phones that are in prolonged use only for spoken conversation are excluded under regulation 1(4)(e) because their display screens are incidental to this kind of use.’ [7]

Regarding ‘prolonged use’ and ‘individually assessed’. Prolonged use is what’s stated on p8 of the same document, ‘for continuous or near-continuous spells of an hour’. [1]

 

When does DSE training need to be given?

All current staff who are DSE users need to do DSE training and before new employees start work they need to complete DSE training. This is stated in regulation 6 of HSE document L26. ‘Every employer shall ensure that each user at work in his undertaking is provided with adequate health and safety training whenever the organisation of any workstation in that undertaking upon which he may be required to work is substantially modified.’ [8]

 

In paragraph 90 of document L26 it’s written:

‘Newly recruited users, and existing employees whose duties are

changing in a way that will make them become users, should be given training

before they start doing the work that will make them a user.’ [9]

 

Before doing DSE training a risk assessment of the DSE area needs to be done. Answers to FAQs regarding risk assessment can be found here www.hse.gov.uk/risk/faq.htm

 

How often should risk assessments of DSE workstations be done?

The HSE state online on their webpage titled ‘FAQs – Display Screen Equipment’ that:

‘An assessment should be done when a new workstation is set up, when a new user starts work, or when a substantial change is made to an existing workstation (or the way it is used). Assessments should be repeated if there is any reason to suspect they may no longer be valid – for example, if users start complaining of pain or discomfort.’ [10]

 

How often should DSE training be done?

The HSE state that DSE training should be done whenever there is a change in the workstation environment, change of DSE device, period of absence from work suffered from related health conditions. To ensure the safety of your employees Safesmart also advise that DSE users complete training at least once a year and also when it is identified that a DSE user is using their equipment in a way that may damage their health.

In paragraph 93 on p30 of HSE document L26 is states that: ‘Training will need to be adapted to the requirements of the particular DSE tasks, be adapted to users’ skills and capabilities and be refreshed or updated as the hardware, software, workstation, environment or job are modified. (A

workstation should be regarded as having been ‘substantially modified’ for the

purposes of regulation 6(2) if there has been a significant change to it, as set out

in paragraph 45.) Where people have been absent from work for long periods,

consider if special training or retraining is needed as part of their rehabilitation,

particularly if they have suffered from visual, musculoskeletal or stress-related ill

health. Organisations should develop systems for identifying the occasions when

any of these needs for training arise.’ [11]

 

Can our office manager just do the DSE training?

Yes they can however it must be ensured that the content is sufficient to comply with DSE regulations. Online training courses help ensure the completeness and consistency of training to help ensure compliance. Competent training must be provided.

 

Does the HSE allow online courses for DSE training, no need for on-site training too?

In document indg345[12], the HSE state that they allow online health and safety training and they do not state that you also need on-site training for any type of health and safety training, online training is sufficient. It is only First Aid Training which needs to be practical and on-site. [13]

 

The training just has to be appropriate and adequate.

In HSE document indg345 the HSE state that:

‘The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires you to provide whatever

information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as

is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of your employees.’ [12]

 

‘Everyone who works for you needs to know how to work safely and without risks to health. You must provide clear instructions and information, and adequate training, for your employees.’ [14]

HSE document indg345 states that:

On p4: ‘Don’t forget that though there are many external trainers who can help you, much effective training can be done ‘in-house’.

On p4 it also mentions that the following methods can be used for health and safety training:

‘Choose your training methods and resources

Choose your methods, for example:

▬ giving information or instruction;

▬ coaching or on-the-job training;

▬ training in the ‘classroom’;

▬ open and distance learning;

▬ in groups or individually; and

▬ computer-based or interactive learning’ [12]

 

Does some form of DSE training need to be done before online DSE training can be done?

No it is perfectly acceptable to do online DSE training in the first instance. Part of DSE training is using the DSE equipment for the first time to adjust it and ensure it is comfortable for the individual to use long term.

 

What is the consequence of not doing DSE training?

Failure to provide DSE training for DSE users is a breach of the HSE Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002. This means that if employers, who are ultimately responsible for the health and safety of their employees, don’t ensure the provision of DSE training they may face prosecution and fines. A £20,000 fine used to be the case for most health and safety offences however employers now face unlimited fines for serious breaches of health and safety legislation employers and can also face imprisonment. Providing DSE training also helps protect you from liability claims from employees; for example perhaps regarding back pain from working position.

See the following link for information about HSE sentencing penalties regarding prosecution and fines: www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/enforcementguide/court/sentencing-penalties.htm

 

Online DSE Training

Safesmart’s Health and Safety Management Software called Smartlog features online training courses. DSE Training is one of the 16 online training courses provided on Smartlog, which is for unlimited users at an affordable fixed price per year. Click here to find out more: www.safesmart.co.uk/what-is-smartlog

If you have any further questions about health and safety or DSE training in particular, please contact us.

 

Sources:

[1] – P8, paragraph 15, http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l26.pdf  (accessed 09/06/2017)

[2] – http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l26.pdf  (accessed 09/06/2017)

[3] – P19, paragraph 48, http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l26.pdf  (accessed 09/06/2017)

[4] – p6, http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l26.pdf  (accessed 09/06/2017)

[5] – p11 http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l26.pdf (accessed 09/06/2017)

[6] -p50,appendix 3, http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l26.pdf (accessed 09/06/2017)

[7] – p13, paragraph 25, http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l26.pdf (accessed 09/06/2017)

[8] – p29, regulation 6, http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l26.pdf (accessed 09/06/2017)

[9] – p30, paragraph 90, http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l26.pdf (accessed 09/06/2017)

[10] – HSE -FAQs – Display Screen Equipment, http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/faq-dse.htm (accessed 09/06/2017)

[11] – p30, paragraph 93, http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l26.pdf (accessed 09/06/2017)

[12] – Health and safety training – indg345, http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg345.pdf

[13] – HSE- First aid training providers, www.hse.gov.uk/firstaid/first-aid-training.htm (accessed 09/06/2017)

[14] – HSE – Provide training and information http://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/provide.htm (accessed 09/06/2017)

 

 

School Health and Safety Training

 

School Health and Safety Training Cover

School Health and Safety Training

School Health and Safety Training p2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original written for and published in: THE VOICE – Issue 14/ Spring 17  The National Association of School Business Management Magazine

 

Health and safety training is a legal requirement for all organisations. To ensure a safe working and learning environment in schools and comply with legal obligations, ongoing health and safety training is essential. There are many school health and safety training options available, including classroom, on-site, off-site and online. Paul J Williams and Tom Southern from Safesmart, a NASBM Approved Partner for health and safety software and services, consider why and how online school health and safety training systems can improve efficiency.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reminds us that legislation(1) requires employers to provide suitable information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure employees are equipped with sufficient skills, knowledge and experience to prevent them from coming to harm in the workplace. ‘The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires you to provide whatever information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of your employees.’(2)

This is extended by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which identify situations where health and safety (H&S) training is particularly important, for example when people start work, on exposure to new or increased risks and where existing skills may have become rusty or need updating.

In school, the following examples of H&S training are needed as a legal requirement: Fire Awareness, Display Screen Equipment, Manual Handling, First Aid, and Safeguarding Children. Others are required depending on staff roles. Effective training contributes to making staff competent in H&S and helps schools avoid the distress and sadness caused by accidents and ill health, as well as the financial implications.

To avoid non-compliance, a record of H&S training should be kept up to date, with details of who in your school has completed which training course, which staff are trained sufficiently and whether their certificates or licences are still current? Some schools have a number of paper files holding personnel details and copies of certificates, often only having adhoc monitoring of who needs a training refresher. This may be suitable for very small schools but when you expand and have more staff, paper-based systems become ineffective and inefficient. and tracking expiry and renewal requirements becomes more and more time consuming.

The most efficient way of logging who has undertaken the required school health and safety training, is with a software system that can record the progress of an individual’s staff training with reminder functionality for taking ‘other’ training courses, thus avoiding non-compliance. Online training software improves efficiency further. Delivery is quick and precise, training can be completed more efficiently at a convenient time and pace, without the need for scheduling dedicated training days, which can save time and money, and completion of online courses can be registered easily. Moreover, document management functionality can ensure your H&S policy is seen by all.

Online training can also be interactive and engaging, helping to improve knowledge retention. According to CommLab India’s website, a gamified approach to safety training caused a 45 per cent reduction in safety incidents and claim counts at Pep Boys, a car garage chain. The website also states that learners had an 11 per cent higher factual-knowledge level, a 14 per cent higher skill-based knowledge level, and a 9 per cent higher retention rate as per a meta-analysis of instructional effectiveness of computer-based simulation games.(3)

A key efficiency from online training is cost saving, with some onsite H&S training costing several hundred pounds per day. Having information stored online in the cloud offers information security and means that data is not lost if an incident such as a fire occurs. This ensures an audit trail is still visible and that compliance can be shown. People are used to online platforms and online learning ensures training consistency amongst all staff.

Ultimately, the efficiency and effectiveness of online training systems allow more time to be spent educating and inspiring pupils.

 

The following may help you to decide which H&S training software is right for you: www.safesmart.co.uk/choosing-health-safety-software

Safesmart is a NASBM Approved Partner for health and safety software and services (www.safesmart.co.uk/smartlog-4-schools).

 

References:

(1) and (2) HSE INDG345 (Health and Safety Executive), p1, www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg345.pdf

(3) www.commlabindia.com/resources/elearning-statistics

 

Effective training contributes to making school staff competent in H&S and helps schools avoid the distress and sadness caused by accidents and ill health, as well as the financial implications.

Online training can also be interactive and engaging, helping to improve knowledge retention.

Top tips:

A: Schools need to keep an up-to-date record of who has completed H&S training and when.

B: Using online training software saves your school time and money and can help knowledge retention.

 

 

Choosing Health and Safety Software

Choosing Health and Safety Software

 

Health and Safety Software helps organisations manage compliance with functionality such as risk assessments, maintenance checks, incident reporting and training. Good H&S software should make legal compliance efficient and ensure that there is an audit trail. It should also be good value for money.

When choosing health and safety software there are various different providers and decision making can be difficult. This Blog Post outlines key things to think about when choosing Health and Safety Software.

Health and Safety Software can be tailored to the needs of your organisation from schools and universities to healthcare and hospitality. The level of tailoring and customisation depends on the provider. Equally for services such as consultancy, assessment, safety equipment supply and servicing the provider’s background and experience should be carefully considered to ensure it matches your sector requirements.

 

Key points to consider when choosing Health and Safety Software:

Remember the Acronym: F A S T   U S P    or   A P T    F U S S

 

Functionality, Accessibility, Scalability, Technology              Users, Support, Price

 

Functionality:

- Legal compliance
- Audit trail
- Online or offline
- Mobile and device optimisation
- Risk assessments, custom and templates
- Build your own functionality
- Photo evidence
- Document management, policies etc.
- Site maintenance checks and tests, custom and templates
- Reminder notification, escalation functionality (email/text/phone)
- H&S Training Courses, topics covered, bespoke development.
- Accident and Incident Reporting (RIDDOR)
- Software and Training Course Accreditation
- Industry and specific requirements
- Organisational structure
- Association recommendation

Accessibility:

- Ease of use
- Loading speed
- Language
- Help prompts/guides
- Login functionality
- Security

Scalability:

- Multiple sites
- Number of users
- International sites
- Cloud storage space
- Management structure

Technology:

- Software speed
- Software reliability
- Software Integration
- Apps, mobile, tablet functionality
- Server security
- Software encryption
- ISO Accreditation
- Virus protection
- Back up server
- Device (e.g. tablet) provision
- Continual upgrades

Users:

- Branding customisation
- Cost for number of users
- Adding users
- User Language
- Check and Test Accountability
- User admin rights

Support :

- Software usage training
- Help and Instructional Information
- Customer Account Manager
- Good customer service
- Happy customers
- Customer retention rates
- Telephone, email, onsite support
- Organisational restructuring
- Adding sites and user management
- Building & digitising risk assessments plus Maintenance Checks
- Building bespoke H&S Training Courses

Price:

- Per module cost or All in One Package
- Cost per site
- Annual/Monthly Subscription
- Contract period
- Discounts available
- Servicing and software packages
- Software upgrading included

 

The above summary highlights the key things that should be considered when choosing health and safety software.

Additionally software demonstration and free trial periods should be taken before making a decision to see which software is right for you.

Ultimately, price is a key factor and if suppliers also offer services such as on-site assessment, audits, training, consultancy, fire equipment supply etc. Packages can be negotiated and significant cost saving can be achieved.

We hope that you choose the solution that it right for you.

Safesmart’s Smartlog Software caters for many different organisations requirements and the fact that we are the only Preferred Supplier for the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and a NASBM approved partner highlights the suitability of our software for varying environments that feature in the education sector.

As well as the education sector we supply NHS establishments and work with various care homes and hospitality venues. As well as online software, Safesmart also offers fire equipment: inspection, maintenance and installation for things like: extinguishers, alarms, fire doors etc.
Contact us for more information:

info@safesmart.co.uk
01908 320 152

A School Trip You Don’t Want to Go On

A robust health and safety policy is paramount to any organisation, but those working in the education sector will understand the magnitude of responsibility they have to ensure a safe learning and working environment for not only their students and staff but for the many contractors and visitors who may be on the premises at different times of the day.

Educational establishments are fairly unique as many will contain a variety of different buildings over one, or sometimes multiple sites, and there will most probably be grounds for sports.  These premises will also be host to a multitude of events over the academic year with varying numbers of extra visitors to the site.  Add into the equation children of any age and it’s enough to test the hardiest of Health & Safety Managers, however this responsibility usually falls to one or more individuals as just a small part of their normal job role.

According to the Health & Safety Executive, you can attribute 55% of health and safety-related accidents to trips and falls, and that percentage is just for the education sector.  90% of those accidents result in a broken bone, and some of them will be life changing for the injured party.

Slips and trips unfortunately are inevitable.  People fall; it’s human nature.  I’m clumsy, I know firsthand. However, that isn’t an acceptable excuse and if the right precautions and measures are implemented, some of those accidents can be prevented.

When conducting your regular risk assessments pay particular attention to slip and trip hazards on your premises, both within the school buildings and the grounds.  The HSE states the most common areas for these accidents to occur are corridors and outdoor areas, followed by stairs, but this will be different for each establishment.  Historical incident records will give you an indication of areas where changes may need to be made.

Next, identify who may be most at risk to slips and trips, taking into account staff, pupils and also external visitors to the site.  Identify what precautions are currently in place and decide if they are adequate or if additional measures need to be implemented. As with all risk assessments it’s important to document your findings as well as any action taken. You may find you need to change the matting in your entrances to minimise the amount of water being brought inside, or a change to specially designed slip resistant surfaces in high-risk corridor areas may be needed.  This can help to provide a permanent reduction in the amount of slip and trip accidents in that area.

The approach to slips and trip hazards needs to stretch further than just your risk assessment though, as there are so many people that are exposed to the risk and, as such, they should be involved.  Create a policy for your organisation that is dedicated to slips and trips.  Start the document with an outline of your organisation’s responsibilities, and then follow it by defining the responsibilities of key groups, such as pupils, caterers, cleaners, teachers and lecturers, maintenance staff and the board of governors.  Each group’s responsibilities will relate to their specific area of work and will include points such as reporting spills as a matter of urgency, wearing ‘sensible’ footwear, using the correct cleaning solutions for the type of flooring or simply maintaining a clear desk policy.

The way you communicate your policy is key for maximum engagement and you should ensure all stakeholders are trained appropriately.

Finally, by keeping an annual tab on slip and trip accidents you can directly attribute a decrease in them to the measures you have put in place and quickly identify any areas of concern in the future.

The HSE website contains a fantastic area of their website dedicated to slips and trips (here), and have also produced the leaflet Watch your step in Education, which has several detailed case studies and also practical advice of how to implement changes.

Safesmart can help avoid slips, trips and falls with our health and safety consultancy.

Our Smartlog software can also be used to do risk assessment for actual out of school trips.

RIDDOR – Reporting of Accidents and Incidents

Accidents within the workplace happen each and every day. This is to be expected, especially when we think of working environments with machinery or hazardous chemicals. However, the truth of the matter is that accidents can happen in any workplace, from building sites to offices and schools. Although this may be the case, many people fail to report these incidents to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive). A reason behind this could be the complexity of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) which were put in place in 1995. According to RIDDOR, not all accidents need to be reported and this could be a source of confusion as to what constitutes as a reportable incident.

Who is affected?

You could be forgiven for thinking that RIDDOR only affects employees but this isn’t the case. Anyone within the workplace who is injured as a direct result of that environment is reportable. This includes employees, self-employed individuals and members of the public, e.g. customers, service users etc.

Recording

Although it is not necessary to report every incident or injury, it is recommended that all are recorded. This is an incredibly useful practice and can make it much easier to establish a timeline of events.

What should be reported?

Differentiating between what should and shouldn’t be reported can be tricky but it is necessary for compliance with RIDDOR.

Deaths of workers and non-workers which were directly caused by a work-related accidents should be reported. It should be noted that this doesn’t include suicide.

In terms of injuries, there is a complete list of ‘specified injuries’, all of which are reportable. These include fractures (other than digits), serious burns, loss of consciousness, amputations, scalping which requires hospital treatment, injuries which are likely to cause permanent loss of sight, injuries which cause damage to organs and incidents which lead to hypothermia or heat related illnesses.

Absence

Specific accidents should be reported if they lead to the incapacitation of a worker or self-employed individual for a number of consecutive days. For example, if an employee is unable to attend work for seven consecutive days due to an injury gained within the workplace, this should be reported. It should be noted that the day of the incident doesn’t count but weekends and rest days do.

If an employee is absent from work for three consecutive days, due to an injury gained within the workplace, this doesn’t have to be reported but it does have to be recorded. In accordance with the 1979 Social Security Regulations, an accident book should be kept for this reason.

Disease

Occupational diseases are those which are likely to have been caused by exposure to the workplace environment or activities completed within the workplace. Workers and self-employed individuals should report such diseases if they have been directly caused by their workplace. Ailments within this category include, asthma, hand arm vibration syndrome, carpel tunnel syndrome, dermatitis, cramp, tendonitis and cancer.

Dangerous Occurrences & Gas Incidents

Specific dangerous occurrences should be reported to the HSE, even if these incidents don’t lead to injury. Just some examples of the type of incidents in question include, the release of dangerous substances, the collapse of load bearing parts and equipment hitting power lines, as well as others.

Those that work with flammable gas, whether suppliers, distributers or fitters, are required to report any accidents involving gas. These can include death, a loss of consciousness and injuries which required treatment within a hospital.

Non-Workers

Members of the public within the workplace can include customers, service users, students or even just passers-by. Accidents involving non-workers should be reported if it leads to them being taken straight to the hospital for treatment

Further information on RIDDOR can be found online.

Safesmart’s online Smartlog Software includes a log book for accident reporting (RIDDOR).

What’s new?

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You are now able to upload photo images to your risk assessments. When answering a question you now have an option to upload an image. For guidance steps please see the help sheet within Help.

 
For more information please contact us.

Can Office Lighting Affect My Workers?

 

Professional environments can have significant effects on workers with factors such as productivity, concentration, mood and even health at risk. Environmental factors can include temperature, space, air quality and lighting. Lighting is often an overlooked issue but it can be hugely influential to an employee and an overall workplace environment. We will take a look at how lighting can affect workers and what the best solution may be to combat this.

Brightness

It may seem like an obvious point but different activities require different levels of brightness. The problem with this is that many workplace environments offer a standard brightness level, regardless of the work which is being completed. Work which requires high levels of concentration e.g. manufacture is going to require a different type of lighting to standard office work. Working under dim lighting can have a variety of drawbacks, especially if the work requires concentration. Under these circumstances the eyes are forced to work harder which can lead to strain, headaches, drowsiness and eventually a lull in productivity.

The solution to this particular problem is simple- tailor your lighting to the job at hand. Introducing dimmer switches will allow you to offer a range of different brightness levels and will offer a certain degree of control to employees.

Natural vs. Artificial

One of the main consequences of working indoors is the necessity of artificial lighting. Natural lighting can have biological and psychological effects on the body, for example when we are exposed to natural light the body realises its daytime and we feel awake and alert. This same cannot be said for artificial lighting which can confuse the body. As well as affecting alertness, it has been shown that artificial lighting can negatively affect mood, the immune system and even the endocrine system.

Combating this problem can be difficult as space comes at a premium and only so many windows can be installed within a building. Fortunately there are ways in which to get around this issue. For example introducing mirrors within strategic places can help to bounce natural light throughout the workplace. You could also consider basing a meeting place, such as a water cooler or eating area within a part of the building which receives lots of natural light. This way employees will be periodically exposed to this type of light, if only for a short amount of time. This is an incredibly important issue for business owners, as it has been shown that exposure to natural light and overall productivity are inextricably linked.

Type

Due to location or orientation, some buildings have very little natural lighting, if any at all. When this is the case, artificial lighting is the only option and so choosing the right type becomes pivotal. Fluorescent lighting is a popular choice due to its energy efficiency and cheap running costs but it can be unforgiving in a working environment. LED bulbs are often a better option as they are available in a wide range of colours and brightness’s. They can also be connected with a phone or tablet and controlled via Bluetooth. This way, the colour and brightness of these lights can be changed at the tap of a button, offering a greater degree of versatility for working environments.

Utilising a variety of different lighting types could be the best solution. Mimicking natural light involves more than a standard overhead bulb. Placing lights within alcoves or even under desks can create a much more comfortable atmosphere and therefore more favourable working conditions.

A Guide to Fire Safety Information for Landlords

 

Landlords have many obligations when it comes to health and safety within their buildings and protection against fire is no different. The regulations which cover fire safety include both the Housing Act (2004) and the Regulatory Reform or Fire Safety Order (2005). In accordance with the Fire Safety Order, landlords or their equivalent (building managers, owners etc.) become the ‘responsible person’ of their premises. This person is obliged to complete a fire risk assessment for their property and make any necessary modifications in accordance with this assessment. The overall process can become quite complex due to the various combinations of factors which can affect many premises. With this in mind, the following is a quick and simple guide to fire safety information for landlords.

Identification

When completing a fire risk assessment, the landlord’s first step is to identify potential hazards and any individuals who could be at risk. When inspecting a property for hazards, the responsible person should look for three different things- sources of ignition, sources of fuel and oxygen. Sources of ignition can include everything from cigarettes and electrical equipment to candles and even lighting. Sources of fuel, which is basically everything but obviously highly flammable materials will be most at risk. Finally, the responsible person should take into account sources of oxygen but this will normally be the same across standard properties.

Another important aspect of the risk assessment is identifying the potential escape route available to residents and employees. The landlord should look into factors such as room arrangement, outdoor fire escapes and communal areas.

When identifying people at risk, the assessment should not only cover those that live or work at the premises but anyone who could possibly be there during a fire. This can include, friends, family members and custodial workers. The landlord should then assess how each person will escape the property in the event of fire. Considerations should be made to age, language barriers and disability as well as many other important factors.

Modification

Once all of the hazards have been identified as well as the people at risk, the responsible person should make the necessary changes to remove these hazards. Obviously, not all risk can be removed from an environment but the landlord can make all of reasonable modifications available. This can include a wide range of changes, including the installation of fire detection systems, extinguishers or even fire doors. Landlords may also have to create an emergency plan which include information on any special considerations given to particular individuals. All of those involved should be informed of these changes and the responsible person is obliged to offer further information. This can include fire safety tips for residents and possibly even training sessions for workers.

Review

Safety measures are only effective as long as they still apply. It is for this reason that landlords are required to review their fire risk assessments regularly. The regularity of this review is up to the responsible person but the more frequent the better. Also, a review should be carried out immediately if any changes take place within the premises, e.g. new residents move in, the layout is changed, heating changes etc.

It should also be noted that the responsible person will have to complete a new fire risk assessment if there are any changes within the legislation (unless otherwise stated).

This is only a brief look at fire safety information for landlords. Much more information can be found online, including further details on the risk assessment process. Landlords can also find out more about the type of buildings which are affected by this legislation and whether this is relevant to them.

The Regulatory Reform Order 2005 – Do You Know Your Responsibilities?

Open book

We all know the dangers of fire and the terrible devastation it can cause and as a business owner you have a legal responsibility to ensure that the chances of it happening on your premises are as limited as is reasonably possible.  That’s a big responsibility but it’s reassuring to know that the majority of fires are preventable if the right behaviours and procedures are adopted in relation to fire safety management.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 was put in place by The Government to provide small and medium-sized businesses in England and Wales with a framework from which to work. If you are new to fire safety, it being a new responsibility to yourself, or if you’re setting up a new business, then it’s important you make yourself familiar with what your responsibilities are.

Who is responsible for fire safety will depend upon the individual circumstances of your business.  It’s officially defined as ‘the responsible person’, which for you could mean the employer, the managing agent or owner of the premises or the occupier, or even a mix of all of those.

If you don’t know where to start the good news is there are several sources where you can find detailed information, which I’ve listed for you at the bottom of the page.  This is by no means an exhaustive list and please bear in mind information has a tendency to change as new and amended guidance is introduced.

Here’s a quick overview for you of what your business is responsible for:

  1. Fire Safety Risk Assessments – the aim of this exercise is to identify any potential fire hazards and also the people within your premises who may be at risk, especially those who may be at greater risk either because of the location of their work or because they have special needs. This must be done regularly and thoroughly with findings noted as well as any actions carried out as a result.  You may wish to do this at the same time as your other risk assessments. You can find guidance on what your fire safety risk assessment should include here.
  2. Risk reduction – you must take action against any hazards identified in your fire risk assessment and either eliminate or minimise the risk as much as is reasonably possible.  This will include things such as ensuring any flammable substances on the premises are kept well away from sources of ignition, securing heaters so they cannot be knocked over, keeping on top of clearing rubbish, such as old cardboard boxes which could easily ignite. Risk reduction measures also include the presence of the correct type of fire fighting equipment and ensuring its upkeep with routine maintenance and regular testing of the apparatus. There should be adequate early detection and warning systems.  Again, every risk reduction measure implemented should be recorded.
  3. Planning – map out a fire safety and evacuation plan detailing what needs to happen in the event of a fire and what plans are in place to ensure people are able to evacuate as quickly as possible.  This includes keeping exit routes clear and clearly signed, installation and maintenance of easy to use emergency doors and allocating a safe meeting point.
  4. Training – ensure all employees are trained on what to do in the event of a fire as well as advising them of any new fire risks as and when they occur.  Also make them aware of who they need to advise of any fire hazards they encounter. It is your responsibility to carry out a minimum of one fire drill each year, the results of which must be recorded.
  5. Consideration – you must take into consideration all potential users of your property, not just employees.  This change was introduced to the 2005 update and ensures that risks are minimised not just for employees but for anyone else who may be on the premises such as visitors or members of the public.

 

Further Information: