Archive for the ‘Industrial and Site Safety’ Category
Are you prepared for the nippy spell? If not, it’s time to switch on the heating, stock up on thermals and buy a good snow shovel. Every year people are caught out by ice, sleet and snow, so take the time to stock up on essentials.
Here’s how to keep safe this winter:
- 1. Think health and safety
It’s easy to slip and slide during winter – so think health and safety. Spread grit on your driveway to stop you falling over and invest in a pair of snow boots with deep treads and a gripping soul. You might also want to fill your cupboards with plasters, antiseptic and bandages – just in case. Snow, ice and sleet can catch you off guard, so always be ready for bad weather.
- 2. Buy a snow shovel
A good snow shovel can dig your car out of several feet of snow – so pop online and order one. They come in all different shapes and sizes and are available at affordable prices. There’s nothing worse than being stranded at home, so what you waiting for?
- 3. Test your heating
To avoid hyperthermia throughout the dark months it’s essential to test your heating. Have an engineer check over your boiler – but make sure they’re on the Gas Safe Register. You certainly don’t want your house to be cold during winter, so call in a professional sooner rather than later.
- 4. Seal up drafts
Chilly drafts are extremely unpleasant, especially when it’s freezing outside. So, walk around your house and seal up any holes or gaps. Fix any broken glass and maybe consider getting double glazing for extra protection. Drafts excluders are also extremely useful and help keep cold winds from blowing underneath doors and through the sides of windows.
- 5. Wrap up warm
Whether you’re in or out it’s essential to wrap up warm. Throw on several extra layers and snuggle under a duvet. You really don’t want to catch a cold, so make sure you’re toasty at all times. Hot water bottles and electric blankets can also help you to stay warm while in the house. They are relatively inexpensive to buy and will help you save money on electricity.
So there you have it, 5 ways to stay safe, healthy and warm this winter.
Most businesses are aware of the importance of providing a first aid kit on their premises. It not only ensures that staff – and indeed visitors – have access to basic emergency equipment in the event of accident or illness, but also helps to keep businesses on the right side of the law in terms of their health and safety obligations. No office should ever be without a fully-stocked first aid kit – in fact, they should have more than one if they have more than 100 staff.
However, one area of health and safety that businesses could overlook is that of their offsite staff. Although some businesses are based almost entirely on the road, such as tradesmen, others with a headquarters are likely to have staff who spent the majority of their time away from the office. For example, sales representatives or new businesses executives who are either usually found at the offices of prospective clients or on the road to their next destination.
Out of sight should not mean out mind, though, especially when it comes to health and safety. Offsite staff need to be provided with their own first aid kits, albeit ones that have been adapted for travel (in a nylon case with zip closure). One kit per one offsite staff member is recommended.
What should be in the kit?
Just like office first aid kits, travel versions need to come equipped with everything you’d need to deal with a minor medical problem. So plasters, a range of bandages and dressing should be in there, along with safety pins and sterile wipes for dealing with cuts that could become septic. Additionally, tape, gloves, a foil blanket, burn dressing, eyewash and clothes cutters should be in the kit.
Keeping up with changes
Even if you’ve already issued your offsite staff with travel first aid kits, it’s worth keeping up with latest recommendations on best practice. The British Healthcare Trade Association recently worked with the British Standards Institute to come up with a new British standard for first aid kits in the workplace. Based on the minimum requirements set out by the Health and Safety Executive’s approved code of practice, the kits are designed to deal with a wide range of common workplace injuries and illnesses, meaning they’re more comprehensive than previous kits.
A little preparation could go a long way – ensuring your staff stay safe and keeping you on the right side of the regulations.
The old saying about prevention being better than cure is never more appropriate when it comes to the work of a fire safety officer. Their many tasks can and are responsible for fires not starting in the first place and, when they do, having those concerned acting in the safe and trained method for evacuation and fire fighting.
A fire safety officer is a teacher. He or she is responsible for seeing that all the requirements of handling an emergency in the workplace are fulfilled. Exit signage, fire safety doors, assembly points, staff instruction, correct notices displayed in all the right places, regular checks of all fire extinguishers and actual drills for evacuation procedures are all the responsibility of a fire safety officer.
A fire safety officer is also a qualified first aid operator and someone who knows about the different types of fires and the different types of fire extinguishers used to fight fires according to its type or class.
Fire safety officers are also responsible for inspecting buildings and workplaces looking for potential fire hazards, fire traps and the proper use of exits, fire exit signs, and assembly points. They will check the paperwork for a workplace’s fire safety instructions and procedures.
Safety in the workplace is your top priority. The obvious reason is to ensure that all people and to a lesser extent all plant and equipment are safe and out of harm’s way. But there is another reason and that is productivity. If your workplace is not safe then this will have an impact on your bottom line.
Cables are a source of accidents. Power cables if frayed or broken can cause electrical outages and even electrocution. But there are many other types of cables in most offices, factories, shops and warehouses. Telephones and computers are often the source of many cables.
If you have long cables and these are in walkways then there is a strong chance workers will trip over these cables, perhaps fall and be injured and possibly damage the equipment. A computer crash because of a ripped cable could have a serious downside.
The solution to dangerous cables can be quite simple; the shorter the cable the better. Place desks and other pieces of furniture in such a way that cables are against a wall or at least not in a walkway.
If cables must cross a corridor, place them under the floor covering or bind the cables together and place inside a fixed tube or form of protective covering.
If your business has more cars than spaces then it may be necessary to regulate use of the car park. There will usually be a select group of senior staff who will have their car space with an appropriate sign – reserved for the managing director.
Some businesses have decided to charge staff to park in the company parking lot, [a] to encourage more people to take public transport and [b] to reduce the number of staff seeking to park at work.
Signage must always be well placed and easy to read. Signage can be on a wall, a pole or post and even painted on the ground. Some of the information signs you should consider include;
- Disabled parking
- Visitor parking
- Reserved parked
- Private parking
- No parking
A common and important sign seen in most public and private car parks contains the following message. “All vehicles and their contents are parked here solely at the risk of the vehicle’s owner.” This is for insurance purposes mainly and to encourage people to lock their cars and not leave valuables in the car.
The effect of a spill will vary. A giant oil spill in the ocean can have devastating consequences for many years. In your workplace the result of a spill depends on what and how much has been spilt. The most important thing is that prevention is better than cure. Know the right way to handle hazardous and volatile materials and treat them with the utmost respect.
But accidents do happen and if one does, be well prepared with your recovery routines. As with a fire in a building, you need a sound evacuation program and should run drills to help prepare for the real emergency if and when it happens.
Here are some simple steps you should take once a spill occurs in your workplace.
The first step is to stop the flow of the hazardous material. You want to find the source of the spill and seal it and the sooner the better. Now that there is no more of the substance escaping you need to contain that which has escaped.
Finally, having stopped the leak at its source and contained what has been spilt, you can begin the cleaning up process. How you clean and with what will depend on the type of material. Oil, paint and dangerous chemicals all require their own particular method of handling and in all cases the workers require the appropriate protective clothing, goggles and footwear.
A workplace should be a place of safety but sometimes there is a build-up of gases or dust and both these substances can become highly flammable. That in itself will not cause an explosion but should the gas or dust mix with air and be ignited, then serious injury, death and destruction can occur.
The employer has a definite obligation to prevent any build-up of gases, mists, vapours or dust and a further obligation to prevent sparks or other sources of ignition to be let loose in such a dangerous situation.
Typical workplaces where an explosive atmosphere is likely to occur are locations using spray-painting devices on motor vehicles or in silos and other places where grain is poured and stored. Fumes and dust can easily be created and when mixed with air and ignited, an explosion will almost certainly occur.
Governments issue regulations regarding the safety of workplaces. Employers must designate areas or zones within their operation listing them as potential areas of explosive atmosphere. Equipment which could produce a spark or other form of igniting the gas or dust is strictly controlled within each zone.
Employees working in such dangerous zones must be provided with protective clothing including such things as non-static footwear. Every care and precaution must be taken when working in areas likely to produce an explosive explosion.
There is no doubt a forklift truck is a brilliant piece of equipment. They can move in and out of tight spaces, take up little space, are cheap to run and have great strength for serious lifting work.
But the operation of a forklift is not a simple matter. For example, a forklift can overturn from unexpected angles and its operation follows strict rules and regulations. Only a trained and qualified person should operate a forklift.
If there is a mechanical or other operational fault, the machine must not be operated until repaired. Only a qualified person can carry out a proper inspection before the forklift is put to work. Failure to operate a properly maintained forklift can result in serious damage, injury or even death.
A forklift can leak fluids which may cause slippage. A qualified person will place mats under a forklift and know how to inspect for any leaks. The forks when raised may drop unexpectedly and only a qualified operator will know to have people well clear when the machine is in operation.
A forklift can tip over if the weight being lifted is not correctly balanced and only a qualified driver will know how much to lift and how to place the load correctly.
The general health and safety rule is that hard hats are required in any workplace where accidents are likely to happen at any time and in workplaces where objects can fall from one level to another. Building sites are a prime example in which tools, nails, clamps and other pieces of building material can and do get knocked or dropped. The most obvious trade or occupation in which hard hats must always be worn is the construction industry.
Any occupation where an employee is likely to bump their head against any sort of fixed object requires all workers to wear a hard hat. There could be beams or pipes or other hard objects in the workplace. A hard hat will give protection against such accidents.
Then too there are exposed electrical conductors which are a danger to workers. Hard hats are essential in workplaces were these objects are present.
Of course a hard hat must be maintained in good condition and always worn the correct way. No hard hat can be guaranteed to prevent an injury in every situation but a hard hat can and does significantly reduce the damage which can be caused by an accident in the workplace.
Lifting a box may cause an injury. An injury can be anything from a slight inconvenience up to serious damage to your back and other muscles. There are several steps you can take to prevent injury.
- Check the weight before lifting. The size of the box does not necessarily indicate its weight
- Check the contents. Are the contents well packed?
- Are there handles? If not, how will you grip the box?
- If the box has to be lifted up high, use steps or a ladder
- Use your legs and your arms rather than your back
There are other sound tips when holding up a box. Make your movements slow and smooth rather than rushed and jerky. Always face the box front on and never on an angle. The best ‘place’ to carry the box is between your waist and your shoulders.
If you have to perform a lot of lifts, take your time. Have a short break between lifts. Make sure you warm up beforehand with some simple stretching exercises. If the box is too heavy, do not lift it yourself but use a machine such as a forklift. Remember always that safety comes first and prevention is better than cure.