Health and safety - facts not fiction


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A sensible, risk assessment approach to managing your health and safety responsibilities.

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  • Introduce self: Aim for this session: introduce SMEs to health and safety. Only 45 minutes – so a taster session – there are 3 key things I would like to come out of this session and that I would like you to go away with:
  • We all know who the HSE are, the ministry of misery. The negative messages are constantly repeated by newspapers, Jeremy Clarkson, radio DJ’s that increase their popularity by publicising perverse decisions and sound bites.
  • Pretty topical at the moment, with street parties, jubilee celebrations and the olympics There are no regulations banning people from hanging bunting at weddings and village fetes or flying flags for sporting events. HSE encourages people to have a bit of common sense about their attitudes to risk, not to make everything risk-free. There won't be an army of inspectors cutting down bunting or insisting flags are lowered. HSE exists to prevent people being killed or seriously injured at work, not to stop people celebrating in style. Top 10 worst health and safety myths There is no shortage of daft decisions being blamed on health and safety. Over the years, the Health and Safety Executive has tackled some quite incredible myths about what health and safety bans or orders people to do. It's hard to tell where some of these ridiculous and baffling myths originate, but they all have one crucial thing in common - they are not required by health and safety law. To mark the launch of the new Myth Busters Challenge Panel, HSE has published its top ten worst myths. We want people to work with us to challenge these myths - the time has come to end the madness!
  • The reality: This is one of the oldest chestnuts around, a truly classic myth. A well-meaning head teacher decided children should wear safety goggles to play conkers. Subsequently some schools appear to have banned conkers on ‘health and safety’ ground or made children wear goggles, or even padded gloves! Realistically the risk from playing conkers is incredibly low and just not work bothering about. If kids deliberately hit each other over the head with conkers, that’s a discipline issue, not health and safety. NOTE: in October 2007 IOSH sponsored the World Conkers Championship – no one wore safety equipment. We’ve said it all before, but there are still too many reports that HSE and health and safety law are responsible for all sorts of bans – cheese-rolling events, knitting in hospitals and even toothpicks! In reality HSE has banned very little outright, apart from a few high-risk exceptions like asbestos, which kills around 4000 people a year. Too often health and safety is used as a convenient excuse, but it’s time to challenge this and remind people to focus on the real risks – those that are still causing people to be killed, injured or made ill at work. Challenge the myths, tackle real risks!
  • And in 2008 HSE has been running a ‘Myths’ campaign – in this kind of cartoon format The reality. We have not banned stepladders – nor have we banned ladders! Despite this, the allegation is regularly repeated and some firms have fallen for the myth and acted upon it. For straightforward, short-duration work stepladders and ladders can be a good option, but you wouldn’t want to be wobbling about on them doing complex tasks for long periods. A large number of workers are seriously injured and killed using ladders and stepladders each year. So: Yes, we want people to use the right equipment for the job Yes, there are some common-sense rules for using them safely. But no, we have not banned them!
  • But let’s be clear – risk assessment is not intended to create a risk free society We must be careful we don’t play into the hands of our critics by over-estimating risk and over-specifying precautions
  • It benefits society by protecting those who need to be protected – so reducing harm and suffering keeping people – often trained and skilled - in work that they are competent to do – thereby benefiting the employer, and the economy, and keeping them off state subsidies Proper risk assessment should allow people to carry out learning and innovative activities by allowing them to do what they need to do – but within an environment where they are not threatened by risk to life and limb. With creation of risk come responsibility to ensure it is effectively controlled – and proper risk assessment allows those responsibilities to be effectively discharged
  • Health and safety law The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act) is criminal law aimed at protecting employees and others who may be affected by work activities. It is enforced mainly by HSE and local authorities. Health and safety legislation does not, in general, impose duties upon someone who is not an employer, self-employed or an employee. It is not possible to sue for damages under the HSW Act itself although a breach of health and safety regulations may be cited as part of a civil claim for compensation based on a breach of statutory duty. HSE and local authority health and safety officers have no power to investigate incidents or pursue enforcement action in relation to most purely voluntary activities (subject to limited exceptions such as where a volunteer is in control of non-domestic premises). When health and safely law applies The HSW Act and the regulations made under it apply if any organisation, including a voluntary organisation, has at least one employee. The Act refers to employers and the self-employed as ‘dutyholders’. The HSW Act sets out the general duties that employers have towards employees. It also requires employers and the self-employed to protect people other than those at work (eg members of the public, volunteers, clients and customers) from risks to their health and safety arising out of, or in connection with, their work activities. The HSE homepage has information on a range of topics to help you decide what you need to do about many common types of risks.
  • In addition to ourselves, h&s is also enforced by LA EHOs/Public Protection Department – EHO on our stand today to help and advise. Inform, advise & help – website, publications, seminars, trade press etc Preventive inspection – generally not pre-arranged Investigate accidents Investigate complaints - confidential Enforce the law – range of tools available to us – verbal advice, letters, Improvement, Prohibition Notices, Prosecutions. Research (often by HSL) Same legislation, but employed by LAs. In Wales we work together – this year we are planning to look at caravan parks, catering re slips & trips & dermatitis.
  • HSE is not responsible for enforcement in: Aviation – but airports Shipping – but ports, docks Consumer Protection Environmental Protection
  • Other examples: LA’s also enforce: work activity at sports events work activity in places of worship, pre-school child care(EXCEPT where they are in domestic premises), mobile vendors, horticultural activities in garden centres, theatres, museums and art galleries, storage of goods in retail or wholesale premises which are part of a transport undertaking.
  • HSE is committed to helping voluntary organisations undertaking low risk activities to comply with health and safety duties and avoid unnecessary bureaucracy. Dedicated web pages will help voluntary organisations undertaking low risk activities to understand their health and safety duties and when health and safety law applies to them.
  • A checklist [1] for village and community halls and web pages [2] for the voluntary sector have been developed in response to recommendations included in the Government-commissioned report into health and safety, Common Sense, Common Safety . The checklist has been designed to provide simple information to managers of a village or community hall, to help them provide a healthy and safe environment and take a sensible and proportionate approach to comply with health and safety duties. The web pages aim to help voluntary organisations in low risk areas to understand their health and safety duties and they bring together, in one place, links to tools to help them comply. This includes the new Health and Safety Made Simple website, which will be suitable for those voluntary organisations who employ staff; the village and community halls checklist for those who manage such premises; and the office risk assessment tool for voluntary organisations working in low risk office premises.
  • Our Health and safety made simple site takes you through the basic steps you need to follow to ensure you comply with the law in relation to your employees. We have developed tools to help employers complete their risk assessments for low-risk office environments , shops and charity shops . The Health and Safety at Work Act also requires employers (and the self-employed) to protect the health and safety of other people, such as members of the public and volunteers, who may be affected by their work activities. So, as a voluntary organisation, you need to consider them if they could be hurt by your activities. More on how civil law and health and safety law applies We have developed a simple checklist that summarises the areas you may need to consider if your organisation has responsibilities for managing a hall .
  • Risk Assessment On its own, paperwork never saved anyone. It is a means to an end, not an end in itself - action is what protects people. So risk assessments should be fit for purpose and acted upon.
  • Useful distinction to make: consider chemical dispersed from a small bottle to correct typing mistakes could also be found in a degreasing bath. Same hazard but very different risk.
  • Risk assessments for low-risk activities An employer’s legal duty to do a risk assessment is one that often causes concern. This isn’t about creating huge amounts of paperwork but rather it’s about identifying sensible and proportionate measures to control the risks. The Health and safety made simple site provides advice on how to do a risk assessment. Some voluntary organisations may also find our risk assessment tool for low-risk, office-based environments helpful. Risk assessments of higher-hazard activities Dutyholders organising higher-hazard or more risky activities should use the risk assessment process to ensure their employees and volunteers are appropriately protected.   These organisations will normally know what to do, based on their experience and knowledge. They will appreciate the need for volunteers to have appropriate levels of information, training and protective equipment so activities can be carried out safely and without harming health. The preventive and protective measures should reflect the actual risks that employees and volunteers face in their respective roles. So a volunteer might reasonably expect similar protection to a paid colleague who does the same type of activity.
  • Concerns often arise when people confuse civil law obligations with an organisation’s duties under health and safety law. I hope to clarify the differences between the two types of law and how health and safety law applies to voluntary organisations. Our Health and safety made simple site takes you through the basic steps you need to follow to ensure you comply with the law in relation to your employees. We have developed tools to help employers complete their risk assessments for low-risk office environments , shops and charity shops . The Health and Safety at Work Act also requires employers (and the self-employed) to protect the health and safety of other people, such as members of the public and volunteers, who may be affected by their work activities. So, as a voluntary organisation, you need to consider them if they could be hurt by your activities.
  • Under the common law, voluntary organisations and individual volunteers have a duty of care to each other and others who may be affected by their activities. Where something goes wrong, individuals may, in some cases, sue for damages using the civil law if they are injured as a result of another person’s negligence. But, for a negligence claim to succeed, the injured person must show that the defendant had a duty to take reasonable care towards them, and they have suffered the injury through a breach of that duty. The injured person must also show that the type of loss or injury for which damages are being claimed was a foreseeable result of the breach of the duty. Liability in individual cases is a matter for the courts, depending on all the circumstances of the case and the actions and standards it is reasonable to expect from each of the parties involved. If the court decides that a particular claim does not have merit, then it will reject it. It can also reduce any damages awarded to reflect the extent of any contributory negligence on the part of the injured person.
  • Health and safety - facts not fiction

    1. 1. Health and Safety Health and SafetyExecutive Executive Breakout Session B7 ‘Elf &Safety’ the facts, not the fiction.
    2. 2. • Who or what is HSE• HSE & Voluntary Sector
    3. 3. Who or what is HSE?
    4. 4. Kids must wear goggle to play conkers
    5. 5. Who or what is HSE?
    6. 6. • Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the national independent watchdog for work-related health, safety and illness.• We are an independent regulator and act in the public interest to reduce work-related death and serious injury across Great Britain’s workplaces.• HSE’s emphasis is on prevention, during a visit we check the standards of health, safety and welfare in your business and give you advice on how to prevent people being made ill or injured at work.
    7. 7. Myth: HSE has banned stepladders
    8. 8. Risk management is NOT about• Creating a totally risk free society• Generating useless paperwork mountains• Scaring people by exaggerating or publicising trivial risks• Stopping important activities• Reducing protection of people from risks that cause real harm and suffering
    9. 9. So what do we advocate?• Sensible health and safety management
    10. 10. Sensible risk management IS about • Ensuring that workers and the public are properly protected • Benefiting society • Enabling innovation and learning • Those who create the risks being required to manage them responsibly • Exercising responsibility
    11. 11. Health and Safety Legislation• Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974• Management of health and safety at work regulations 1998
    12. 12. WHO else enforces health & safety? • LOCAL AUTHORITIES – Environmental Health • SAME LEGISLATION • SAME POWERS
    13. 13. HSE enforces in…• Construction • Nuclear installations• Agriculture • Offshore industries• Factories • Onshore major• Quarries hazards• Utilities• National/local government• Police/hospitals/ education
    14. 14. Local authorities enforce in…• Most offices • Catering• Retail businesses • Hotels• Wholesale businesses • Residential accommodation• Leisure industries • Etc…
    15. 15. HSE and the voluntary sector
    16. 16. Managing low risk - what do voluntaryorganisations need to do?• If your voluntary organisation is an employer• If your voluntary organisation has responsibility for non-domestic premises (eg a village or community hall)
    17. 17. Risk assessment is too complicated for me to do! • Carrying out a risk assessment should be straightforward. Its about focusing on real risks and hazards that cause real harm and, more importantly, taking action to control them.
    18. 18. HOW? Hazard and RiskHazard: Anything thatcan cause harm Risk: The chance, that someone will be harmed by the hazard
    19. 19. Risk Assessment• Low risk activities• Higher hazard activities
    20. 20. How do civil law and health and safetylaw apply• Understanding which type of law applies• Civil law and the duty of care
    21. 21. How to contact HSE• Complaints and Advisory Team on 0300 0031647 in office hours.• Search on HSE•