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The height of good sense: Best practice when working at height 28/05/2019

More than 4,000 people a year in the UK suffer major injuries from falls while working at height and it is a major cause of workplace death. While the majority of these incidents occur in construction, other sectors of employment are also affected. Most of the major injuries are associated with falls of less than two metres. 

The Work at Height Regulations (2005) state that employers have a duty to assess the risks, plan, and supervise all workers who work at height. The Regulations require all employers to ensure that any task which is to be carried out at height has been properly planned, is fully supervised and that it is only carried out by those who are competent to do the work. They must also ensure that operatives receive thorough instructions and training, and that they are given all the necessary information required in order to carry out their tasks. 

Work must be planned, organised, supervised, and carried out by competent persons, using the following six steps:

Avoid

Wherever it is possible, work at height should be avoided if there is a risk of serious injury associated with the work. Can components or structures be brought to ground level or to a safe space for repair or maintenance, rather than working on them at height? 

Prevention of falls

Clearly, the risk of falls is the greatest hazard associated with working at height. Both the worker above ground level and those below could be injured in the event of a fall, so preventative measures must be implemented where working at height cannot be avoided. Guard rails on scaffolding or mezzanine levels are an obvious solution, but in other situations harnesses and fall arrest systems may be appropriate as an extra control measure, particularly if the job at hand involves a lot of movement; is particularly high; or where the weather conditions are extreme.

Mitigate falls

In some situations, the risk of a fall cannot be eliminated entirely even when correct preventative measures including guard rails and personal protective equipment (PPE) is used. In such cases, it is vital to minimise the danger and consequences of a fall to both the individual working at height and those below. Minimising the distance of a potential fall is one preventative measure which can be implemented, as well as enforcing an exclusion zone on the ground to safeguard employees from being injured by falls from above. 

Training and awareness

In addition to all the above actions, health & safety guidelines recommend erring on the side of caution and taking additional measures to contribute to fall prevention if it is not reasonably practicable to avoid. This may include additional instruction and training for employees on safe working practices at height and the correct use of PPE and safety apparatus, the demarcation of edges with painted lines, and fostering a safe culture in which employees are encouraged to identify instances of colleagues working unsafely and report them immediately. 

Protect those on the ground

As well as the risk of falls, dropped tools or equipment can pose a serious risk of injury to workers and individuals on the ground or on levels below. It is therefore recommended that protection schemes to prevent injuries to people below from dropped tools are set up – including securing all tools from falling and taking every precaution underneath workers to prevent any objects that are dropped from falling on those standing below. 

For those who do not work at height very often or are unsure about which type of access equipment to use, it is important that the risks are assessed and the right equipment for the job is selected.

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 apply to all work at height where there is a risk of a fall which is liable to cause personal injury. It places duties on employers, the self-employed, and any person who controls the work of others (e.g. facilities managers or building owners who may contract others to work at height) to the extent they control the work. It is the responsibility of all companies involved in working at height to know the law surrounding worker safety and dropped objects, and to follow it accordingly.

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Are your flammable liquids stored safely? 01/05/2019

In most laboratories and industries, the use of hazardous and combustible materials is part of the regular routine and is unavoidable. On a daily basis the improper storage of such materials puts people, the environment and property in danger.

A worst case scenario, such as the one described in the following example, could happen to anyone. As a result of a minor accident in a laboratory or industrial premises, a small fire breaks out. Quantities of flammable material stored incorrectly on a shelf quickly accelerate the speed of the fire. In this instance, evacuation times and fire extinguishing times are reduced, resulting in potential injury and damage to the premises – in such cases, the negligent handling and storage of hazardous materials has serious consequences. The general lack of safety measures, along with the failure to mitigate the risk of fire spread, could possibly lead to insurance issues.

Additionally, the laboratory manager and safety manager could face prosecution, and the personal liability of the company’s senior management may be involved. Substantial costs for disposal and renovation would arise and incalculable production losses would ensue. Furthermore, the associated damage to the company’s reputation could have potential long-term effects.

Hazardous materials are therefore always very much a current topic for every business. In order to avoid accidents and to protect employees in the best possible way, hazardous materials must be stored in the correct way, for example in a safety storage cabinet. Particularly strict storage regulations concerning the handling of hazardous materials must be observed, as defined in global regulations such as GHS (Globally harmonised system) directives and guidelines of the European Union and the rules and laws of the individual country.

Specifying appropriate safety storage cabinets

In this context the most important regulation is BS EN 14470-1:2004: Fire safety storage cabinets. Safety storage cabinets for flammable liquids.

Safety storage cabinets with a proven fire resistance class in accordance to BS EN 14470-1 help provide industries with a less risky local storage of toxic, flammable or potentially explosive substances in modern workplaces.

A safety storage cabinet manufactured to BS EN 14470-1 provides a series of safety measures that protect the stored hazardous materials against the fire. First of all in the event of fire, the drawers as well as the doors close automatically through thermal release. If no door open arrest system is used, the doors must close automatically from every position when released. The doors close at 122° F maximum and the closing sequence is completed within 20 seconds – starting from any position. The automatic closing works using a fusible link. These fusible links are located within the door open arrest system. The ventilation spigots and the drawers. As a consequence, in the event of fire all mechanisms close automatically.

Once the automatic drawer and door have closed, the air ducts will automatically shut. Following this, the gaps of the safety storage cabinet become totally sealed between the door and frame through special intumescent seal protection strips which, when exposed to fire, expand and seal hermetically to avoid heat entering the cabinet.

Jointly, the steel body and the insulation within prevent a critical temperature increase inside the cabinet – the steel body alone does not offer any protection and in fact it is a strong heat conductor. Underneath the robust steel surface are multiple layers of fireproof mineral fibre insulation material and these insulation boards prevent temperature increase within the cabinet.

Some safety storage cabinets can with stand fire over a time period up to 90 minutes. In spite of the fact that this heavy exposure to temperatures exceeds 1,000°C, the containers used for storing flammable liquids and hazardous materials remain safe and perfectly intact.

Only such cabinets will allow sufficient time for the personnel to evacuate the premises and the firefighters to enter the building, preventing a minor and extinguishable fire from turning into an uncontrollable one.

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Focus on fit testing 02/02/2019

When specifying Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) which includes Respiratory Protective Devices (RPD) it is important to consider the role of Fit2Fit and the needs of the user in addition to the performance characteristics of the RPE says the BSIF.

The importance of protecting workers from hazardous dust and fumes is not a new topic of debate. For some 2,000 years, the potential dangers have been recognised.

Fast forward to the present day and the issue remains a hot topic for debate and a key area of international safety legislation. So much so that 2018 saw the introduction of the ISO 16975-3:2017 – a new standard specifically designed to provide guidance on how to conduct a fit testing of tight-fitting Respiratory Protective Devices (RPS).

Designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the seal between the wearer’s face and the respiratory interface specific requirements for conducting RPD fit testing outlined in the new standard include:

  • Qualifications/competencies of fit test operators
  • Specific fit testing procedures
  • Interpretation of fit test results
  • Record Keeping

We need to drive mindsets away from pure respirator performance to the relationship between respirator and each individual user. In the past a lot of disposable respirators were introduced to the market to purely meet the EN 149:2001+A1:2009 standard, without necessarily considering the individuality of the user, how it fitted them and how it was used.

If someone fits a particular disposable FFP3 mask – that would then apply to any FFP3 mask product – These are assumptions that are being made – WRONG! It is important to reinforce the message that if a respirator model is changed then the wearer needs to undergo a new fit test.

Where a tight-fitting face mask is required, a fit test on that mask and the person wearing it needs to be carried out. This is a legal requirement detailed in the CoSHH regulations. 

Some people still don’t understand whether fit testing is a requirement for them or don’t know enough about it to make an effective judgement. Fit testing is also seen by some as time consuming, expensive or not applicable to them e.g.: ‘I only wear a mask once a week, so its OTT and not needed’.

Regardless of how often a mask is used – if its being used as an item of PPE it needs proper fit testing. Its also recommendable that regular fit testing is undertaken – ideally at least once every two years.

Recent research indicates that up to 50% of all RPE used does not offer the wearer the level of protection assumed and one of the major reasons is that it simply does not fit! Yet, under the regulations RPE must be correctly selected and this includes, for many types of RPE, a face piece Fit Test conducted by a competent person. So how can you be sure the person conducting the fit test is competent?

Despite not being qualified to do so, some people think they are competent enough to fit test. RPE fit testing should be conducted by a competent person, anyone carrying out the fit test must be appropriately trained, qualified and experienced.

In view of these major concerns the British Safety Industry Federation, along with the HSE and other industry stakeholders have developed a competency scheme for Fit Test Providers. The Fit2Fit RPE Fit Test Providers Accreditation Scheme is designed to confirm the competency of any person performing face piece fit testing.

What makes a Fit2Fit accredited tester competent? They have passed an industry recognised exam and therefore demonstrated they have a thorough knowledge of the HSE guidance on fit testing and can demonstrate they have the know how to fit test in practical circumstances.

If you or your employees require a fit test, then by using a Fit2Fit accredited tester you will be doing enough to demonstrate best practice and making sure the user of RPE is properly protected and has an effective seal on their mask.

A list of accredited, competent fit testers can be found by going to www.fit2fit.org and clicking on the ‘Find a tester’ tab. Why take the risk of using a non-accredited tester when it’s so easy to source a fit test from a competent Fit2Fit tester?

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Benefits of a Registered Safety Supplier 17/07/2018

The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) is the trade association for organisations involved in the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and safety related products and services. From this position, the Federation believes strongly that occupational users have a right to expect their safety equipment to be of good quality, to protect them adequately, and to be fully compliant with all relevant regulations and requirements

Furthermore, the BSIF believes passionately that all users, specifiers and purchasers of such equipment deserve to be serviced and supported by capable, knowledgeable and responsible suppliers.

All member businesses of the BSIF involved in the supply of PPE and related safety equipment are required to sign up and adhere to the requirements of the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme which places a number of obligations on the organisation. They are required to:

  • Make a formal and binding commitment that all PPE and related products supplied will comply with the requirements of the applicable regulations.
  • Maintain a quality management system and embed within it an Industry Code of Practice statement.
  • Have the capability to manage a product recall process and take other corrective actions in compliance with British Standard’s PAS 7100:2018 or equivalent.
  • Submit to the audit of one product per year randomly selected from their offering. For PPE this will include testing of the product to one or more clauses from any EN product performance standard to which certification is claimed. For safety equipment outside of mainstream PPE and not regulated by publicly available standards, it will include an audit of their quality policy and all relevant regulatory documentation.
  • Commit to educate and accredit customer facing staff to the Ofqual level 2 BSIF Safe Supply Course and Qualification or other appropriate qualifications.
  • For Importers and Distributors, demonstrate that they comply with the “Obligations and Responsibilities” required under the PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425 by maintaining the appropriate BSIF Compliance Protocol or equivalent for each product.

This provides a significant layer of confidence for users and a differentiator for suppliers from competitors who do not make such commitments. When sourcing PPE and related occupational safety equipment buyers can look for the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme logo, which is the shield shown here.

Ofqual level 2 Safe Supply course

Furthermore, member companies commit to their customer facing staff working towards attainment of the Ofqual level 2 Safe Supply course, a publically recognised qualification which adds to the professional development of the individual and to the capability of the organisation. The course comprises four modules which cover the legal aspects of supplying PPE, CE marking and certification of products, the ‘policing’ of PPE by market surveillance authorities, and user management of safety.

This is another significant differentiator for the member company from competitors who do not demonstrate such a level of commitment. Qualified staff provide a responsible source of supply of PPE based on knowledge, capability and a clearer understanding of the needs of their customers.

End user companies can join the growing number of exponents of the scheme by registering as supporters on the dedicated supporter’s website: www.registeredsafetysupplierscheme.co.uk

When registering here supporters can find additional resources and news of networking events. Their company logo will be displayed, along with their commitment to always seek to source their PPE and related safety equipment needs from a BSIF Registered Safety Supplier.

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BSIF supporting Maintec 2018 20/06/2018

The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has announced its support for Maintec, an exhibition dedicated to maintenance, plant and asset management, which will be held at the NEC, Birmingham on 6th and 7th November 2018. 


The BSIF, which provides support and guidance on a wide range of occupational safety issues, will be attending Maintec 2018 in recognition of safety being an increasingly important addition to the maintenance engineer's job responsibility. 

The show has a proven track record of attracting visitors from across multiple industries including energy, manufacturing, automotive, hazardous environments, aerospace, utilities, oil and gas, food and drink, rail, ports and marine – all of which require the highest standards of safety training and equipment on a daily basis. 

Following the announcement of Bosch Rexroth’s event sponsorship last month, the new partnership is just one of the enhancements the event organisers are making to this year’s Maintec.
 
Tim Else, director at Western Business Exhibitions, confirms: “It vital that Maintec remains a platform for the maintenance, reliability and asset management communities to meet, learn and do business.

“Following feedback from our audience, we have made some important changes to the format of the event this year. One of our commitments to the Maintec visitor audience is to increase the range of manufacturers and suppliers that they can meet during the event. We are pleased to be able to host the BSIF and their members on our showfloor and extend the existing ongoing partnership between the BSIF and Western Business Exhibitions.”

This is the second edition of Maintec since its acquisition by Western Business Exhibitions; in 2017, WBE delivered the most successful event in the shows’ recent history, delivering a 62% increase in visitor numbers and attendance of engineering teams from 15 of the UK’s top 20 manufacturing sites.

Limited spaces now remain for Maintec 2018. For exhibiting options and availability contact Jos Diamond, event manager, jdiamond@western-be.co.uk and 07818 574303. 

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Workshop on smart PPE 20/07/2017

The CEN-CENELEC sector forum PPE has organised a workshop on smart PPE which will take place on Thursday 7th of September.

The purpose of the workshop is to bring together people from different types of companies to discuss practical issues experienced and how standards should deal with these.

All participants get the opportunity to give a short presentation on what they are doing in terms of smart PPE and there will be the chance for discussions in small groups.

The workshop takes place at the CEN-CENELEC meeting centre in Brussels. It is free of charge, but registration is necessary.

All practical information (including registration) is available on https://www.cencenelec.eu/News/Events/Pages/EV-2017-028.aspx

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PPE: Training for customer-facing staff 30/03/2017

The quality of training available for health and safety professionals is a significant contributor to the UK being regarded as one of the safest of all countries in the developed world, says Ian Crellin, marketing manager, British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF). Here he outlines the organisation's recently-launched Safe Supply Accreditation training course

Providing a safe working environment requires the application of theoretical safety skills and the application of leadership and the understanding of behaviours. The safety professional will always apply proportionate risk assessment and recognise the hierarchy of controls that are required as a start point in the elimination of hazards which have the potential to cause harm to the individual. Within the hierarch of controls the final control listed is that of providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE is often regarded as the last line of defence but, utilising PPE as a control is often the most practical and proportionate method of keeping workers safe.

PPE is a highly regulated product stream whose design, manufacture and performance standards are controlled by European legislation adopted into UK law. However, up until now there have not been any publicly accredited PPE training courses, available for commercial operators in PPE in the UK.

Safe Supply Accreditation programme

Anyone can sell safety products but the BSIF believe that you should not buy safety from just anyone. The capability of the supply chain is vitally important for users to get the appropriate support and the BSIF has launched the Safe Supply Accreditation training course and award to ensure that users are able to rely on good product advice from their suppliers.

The objective of Safe Supply Accreditation programme is to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) market knowledge and learning input for customer facing individuals operational in the UK Safety & Health Industry. The course content is designed to impart information and develop confidence in the principles associated with the legal essentials of the market and the fundamentals of managing safety (their clients) how Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is approved for use in occupational safety and how the market is regulated by the enforcing authorities.

The course will help enhance the capability and develop the expertise of individuals within the supply side of the safety and health market, contributing to the improvement of Occupational Safety and Health in the UK.

They will understand and appreciate 'what makes PPE different', a regulated industry with product design and manufacture, highly regulated to support user safety and facilitate a single market within the European Union.

The first module covers the Legal Essentials of operating in this market. Candidates will learn the relevant elements of the legislation understanding how they can better support their clients within the limits of the law.

The second module of the course is on Managing Safety. Managing Safety is what their clients must do effectively and efficiently every day. This module will help commercial operators understand more clearly the challenges that users face in carrying out their responsibilities.

The third module covers CE Marking and the Product Approval through which the candidates will appreciate that product design and manufacturing is controlled by the PPE Directive/Regulation and they will learn the structure of the CE marking process and the institutions involved including, but not restricted to the role of the Notified Body. They will then be able to assist clients in identifying appropriately marked PPE products to support their safety and health programmes.

The final module of the Safe Supply Accreditation programme covers Market Surveillance and through this the candidate will know who is responsible for policing the market in both product safety and safety policy. They will learn who to go to when there is a question over the ‘fit for purpose’ status of PPE and they will understand and appreciate why market surveillance of PPE is so important and its role in occupational health.

The Safe Supply Accreditation Award will be a publicly recognised Ofqual controlled qualification for PPE commercial operators. 

Training customer facing staff in this way is one of the terms of the BSIF’s Registered Safety Supplier Scheme, an assurance to the market that their PPE is provided by a reliable, capable supplier. 

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Respiratory disease: Greater focus needed 30/11/2016

Following a recent investigation conducted by the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) that showed just four UK local authorities are committing to spend money in order to tackle work-related respiratory diseases, the Federation launched a new report encouraging participation

The BSIF is committed to changing the current mind-set towards occupational health, and include it in the conversation on public health. To demonstrate further commitment to the HSE’s Helping Great Britain Work Well scheme that placed more priority on health than ever before, the BSIF commissioned an investigation into local county and unitary authorities to find out respective spend on work-related respiratory disease. Through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, 402 councils were contacted. 

The justification for this research comes after the Federation’s concern that the 2012 Health and Social Care Act – that gave local authorities responsibility for public health spending, supported by a ring- fenced grant and a specialist public health team – hadn’t yet recognised the impact of occupational health. The BSIF wanted to know how much is currently being spent on occupational health within these local authorities in order to understand the scale of their activities and recommend how to achieve their task. 

Of the 217 local authorities that responded to the FOI, just eight reported allocating any funding to respiratory health, and within those eight, only four stated that the funding was specifically related to in-work projects. The funding was mostly supporting employee-focussed smoking cessation programmes. The investigation showed that most councils across the UK are not investing in work-related respiratory health programmes.  

The latest HSE stats published in October 2016 highlight the very real and continuing threat of occupational respiratory diseases, and the BSIF is concerned that investment in tackling this risk is very low. In the past year, there were approximately 12,000 associated deaths due to occupational respiratory diseases, with 30,000 individuals reporting breathing or lung problems they believed were caused or exacerbated by work.  

Central government has previously prioritised other health initiatives, including preventing premature deaths within the NHS, publishing dedicated campaigns on cancer, heart disease and improving fitness, without mentioning the workplace. The Federation is committed to ensuring that the importance of occupational health is considered and that in the future all conversations on general health include occupational health.  

In addition to the call for occupational health to be highlighted as part of public health, the report identifies how local authorities, with the support of the BSIF and BSIF members, can achieve positive outcomes:

•  Local Authorities should dedicate a set amount of their budget to tackling work related respiratory disease 

•  Local Authorities should commission targeted publicity campaigns to raise awareness of the diseases

•  Local Authorities should support training in the correct use of Respiratory Protective Equipment

•  Local Authorities should ensure that all tight fitting Respiratory Protective Equipment is competently face fitted by Fit2Fit Accredited face fitters

•  Local Authorities should ensure that all personal Protective Equipment is supplied by Registered Safety Suppliers

•  Local Authorities should access the willing support of BSIF members

Alan Murray, BSIF CEO said: “More than 31 million people are now in work and the issue of workplace illness will not disappear. Occupational health is public health. Work-related respiratory illnesses are a huge threat to UK society and must start to be given the critical focus they need.” 

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Final call for entries to BSIF Safety Awards 19/04/2016

The BSIF Safety Awards are open to all in the industry who have shown product innovation, exceptional customer service, and through safety excellence, illustrate dedication to improving occupational health and safety. The entry deadline is 6th May 2016.

The three award categories that companies can enter are: 

Product Innovation – This award is dedicated to new products that are contributing to improvements in the health and safety industry through their innovation. Last year this award was won by 3M for the Organic Vapour End of Service Life Indicator. 

Service Awards – This award celebrates companies offering exceptional and innovative service solutions, voted for by the entrants’ own customers, ensuring that the accolade is a true reflection of the service given.  The 2015 winner was Capita Health Safety and Environmental Consultancy, scoring highly on all levels of service provision from administration and invoicing, day to day service delivery, account management, governance and service improvements. 

Safety Excellence – Based upon case studies submitted by members, this award recognises major improvements in occupational safety created in 2015/16. Last year Brammer and the Royal Mint picked up the trophy for their success in reducing hand-related injuries to zero. 

For information on how to enter and the judging criteria, please visit www.bsif.co.uk.  

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Safety Awards: Open for entries 12/02/2016

Submissions are now open for this year’s BSIF Safety Awards which are open to all in the industry who have shined in exceptional customer service, product innovation and are dedicated to improving occupational health and safety.

 The Awards promote the importance of innovation whilst underlining the highest standards of occupational safety and health. There are three award categories that companies can enter: 

Product Innovation – This award is dedicated to new products that are contributing to improvements in the health and safety industry through their innovation. Last year this award was won by 3M for its Organic Vapour End of Service Life Indicator. 

Service Awards – This award celebrates companies offering exceptional and innovative service solutions, voted for by the entrants’ own customers, ensuring that the accolade is a true reflection of the service given. The 2015 winner was Capita Health Safety and Environmental Consultancy, scoring highly on all levels of service provision from administration and invoicing, day to day service delivery, account management, governance and service improvements. 

Safety Excellence – Based upon case studies submitted by members, this award recognises major improvements in occupational safety created in 2015/6. Last year Brammer and the Royal Mint picked up the winner’s trophy for their success in reducing hand-related injuries to zero. 

Commenting on the awards, Alan Murray, CEO of the BSIF said “Celebrating successes at the Safety & Health Expo is one of the most exciting times of the year and highlights how much our industry has to offer. Winning a BSIF Safety Award is an excellent marketing opportunity for the recipient and leads to lots of deserved publicity.”

The entry deadline is 5pm on 6th May 2016. For full information on how to enter and the judging criteria please visit www.bsif.co.uk

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