Frequently Asked Questions:
Why bother with Health & Safety, we know what we are doing and we have been doing it for years and no one has been hurt or injured.
It is about protecting:
– Your Investment
– Your business
– Your staff and contractors
– Your customers & general public
We provide a professional service tailored to the needs of your business to ensure compliance and good practice.
In order to benchmark health and safety compliance & performance at work.
Where do you start?
Health and Safety is fundamental all business activities.
Dependant on the nature of your business, the list of activities you undertake and their impact will vary.
Breaking down these activities is the key to understanding how to support the business needs.
We offer an array of solutions from strategic, high-level policy issues to specific operational controls, covering reviews, risk assessments and training, as well as documentation and policy development or support.
How do I know if my contractors are compliant in H&S?
Ensuring that your contractors are doing a good job is not just satisfying a Service Level Agreement (SLA), but making sure they are right for your business is important. We offer a range of;
Bespoke documentation to assess the compliance of your contractors
How do I review my fire risk assessment?
The first step reviewing your fire risk assessment is to look at your current document;
– Is it still applicable to my organisation?
– Am I doing any new activities that could be a fire risk since the document was produced?
We offer our customers a full Fire Risk Assessment review, it provides organisations with an independent professional assessment to detailing good practice and highlighting areas of concern to ensure compliance with the relevant legislation and to achieve good practice for your staff, contractors, customers and the general public depending on the nature of your business.
May I have more information on where I stand on property compliance?
Property compliance is both broad and varied covering commercial sites such as factories, retail units to residential units e.g. apartment blocks and HMOs
– Comply with all relevant legislation
– Workplace procedures are in place and being reviewed
– Contractors being managed depending on the potential risk.
We offer our customers a Property Compliance Audit which gives an overview of compliance and good practice and also provides recommendations for further action if required.
We create a Management System Matrix to monitor & manage compliance.
What do I do if my colleagues are complaining about the conditions of their working environment?
Your initial approach should be to assess the work environment.
It could be as simple as a temperature control and adjusting the air conditioner.
Could also have a more deep-rooted cause.
You may not be able to find the solution in a timely manner!
Our workplace environmental assessments will assess the workplace environment, providing you with an assignment of possible issues and how to verify, and provide solutions to rectify them.
How do I go about reviewing sustainable policy?
What you do and how you approach sustainability must fit with your business needs and add value. You will need a combination of activities to fully understand and develop the process. A strategic level management review would help you at the start of this process. It would give you a good understanding of your current position allowing you to decide whether an informal or a formally recognised system is ideal for your organisation.
Why should we use Ablemarsh Safety Consultants for our training?
“We had a very productive day on site with Ablemarsh today and now understand the minor non-conformity we have, with “Dynamic Risk Assessment”. You are the first organisation who has managed to get the message across. This is so timely, as the minor will be raised to major if we haven’t addressed this issue by March. Very good indeed. I felt like I had some invaluable training today. Maria Adams, Office & Compliance Manager.
We would like to say that Ablemarsh did an excellent days training for our engineers. They went in quite disinterested but ended up really enjoying the course.
Pat Smith Director, The Ardent Group
The feedback was excellent with an average 95% rating your presentation as excellent. Comments made by delegates included:
- Very Informative
- Absolutely Fantastic
Bill Fallon Chief Executive, NASBM
What is the cost of the training you deliver?
Prices vary according to
– Online method
– Length of course
– The speciality of the subject
Please email, or call us and we will provide you with a competitive quote that meets the requirements of your business
We provide professionally qualified trainers
Certificates are issued on a successful completion of the course & assessments (if required).
What are the benefits of having health and safety in a business or workplace?
The inescapable fact is that ‘Good Health is Good Business’. Get it right however, and employees will feel a part of an organisation that cares, that is professionally run and efficiently managed. To feel part of that culture will cause them to conduct themselves accordingly.
The construction industry is a good example of an environment where there is everything to gain by outwardly demonstrating high standards of health and safety compliance. Clients and Principle Contractors are too concerned about their own legal and financial security to risk employing the services of organisations who do not themselves adopt the highest standards of safety management.
Why Should we choose your company?
We offer a Safety Advisor who will implement agreed, specialist actions on your behalf and manage safety on an ongoing basis. Based on an initial audit to determine your needs, a suitable chosen advisor will build a robust, simple and transparent safety management systems that is fully in tune with your business needs and budget. We concentrate on a pragmatic approach, with the accent on improving safety whilst minimising onerous procedures and complicated documentation.
What are the consequences in the event of prosecution against my company?
The negative effects of a prosecution are potentially far more serious than they may appear at first sight
Increased insurance premiums
Loss of confidence by existing clients and potential clients
Loss of staff confidence and morale
Probing enquiries are frequently asked openly in prequalification questionnaires.
What is the minimum/maximum temperature that should be maintained in the workplace?
The law does not state a minimum or maximum temperature, but the temperature in workrooms should normally be at least:
• 16°c or
• 13°c if much of the work involves rigorous physical effort
A meaningful maximum figure cannot be given due to the high temperatures found in, for example, glass works or foundries. In such environments, it is still possible to work safely provided appropriate controls are present. Factors other than air temperature, ie radiant temperature, humidity and air velocity become more significant and the interaction between them become more complex with rising temperatures.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 lay down particular requirements for most aspects of the working environment.
Regulation 7 deals specifically with the temperature in indoor workplaces and states that:
‘During work hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable’.
However, the application of the regulation depends on the nature of the workplace, such as bakery, a cold store, an office a warehouse.
These Regulations only apply to employers – they do not apply to members of the public for example, with regard temperature complaints from customers in a shopping centre or cinema.
Are turban-wearing Sikhs exempt from the need to wear head protection in the workplace?
Yes. Sections 11 and 12 of the Employment Act 1989 as amended by Section 6 of the Deregulation Act 2015 exempts turban-wearing Sikhs from any legal requirements to wear head protection at a workplace. A workplace is defined broadly and means any place where work is undertaken including any private dwelling, vehicle, aircraft, installation or moveable structure (including construction sites).
There is a limited exception for particularly dangerous and hazardous tasks performed by individuals working in occupations which involve providing an urgent response to an emergency where a risk assessment has identified that head protection is essential for the protection of the individual e.g. such as a fire fighter entering a burning building, dealing with hazardous materials.
The exemption applies only to head protection and Sikhs are required to wear all other necessary personal protective equipment required under the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992. The exemption does not differentiate between employees and other turban-wearing Sikhs that may be in the workplace, e.g. visitors. However, it applies solely to members of the Sikh religion and only those Sikhs that wear a turban.
Employers are still required to take all necessary actions to avoid injury from falling objects by putting in place such safe systems of work, control measures and engineering solutions e.g. restricting access to areas where this may be an issue. Where a turban-wearing Sikh chooses not to wear the head protection provided, the exemption includes a limitation on the liability of the duty-holder should an incident occur.
What breaks am I entitled to under the working time regulations?
The Working Time Regulations 1998 states the following provision for rest breaks at work and time off:
Rest breaks at work
A worker is entitled to an uninterrupted break of20 minutes when daily working time is more than six hours. It should be a break in working time and should not be taken either at the start, or at the end of a working day.
Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, regulation 10, a worker is entitled to a rest period of 11 consecutive hours’ rest in each 24-hour period during which he works for his employer.
However, there are a number of special circumstances in which the entitlement to rest periods does not apply, for example, where the activities involve a need for continuity of service or production or where there is a foreseeable surge of activity. Also, if a shift worker changes shift, it may not be possible for them to take their full rest entitlement before starting the new pattern of work. In such a case the entitlement to daily and weekly rest does not apply.
An adult worker is also entitled to one day off a week; this can be averaged over 2 weeks.
Young or adolescent workers
If a young worker is required to work more than four and half-hours at a time, then they are entitled of a break of 30 minutes. A young worker is also entitled to twelve uninterrupted hours in each 24-hour period in which they work. Both these entitlements can only be altered or excluded in exceptional circumstance. Young workers are also entitled to 2 days off each week and this cannot be averaged over 2 weeks.
How do I manage asbestos in the workplace?
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012) require persons/companies in control of workplaces to manage asbestos in buildings. A practical effort should be made to identify the presence, nature and conditions of any asbestos present. Where asbestos is in poor condition it is probably best to have it removed – a licenced asbestos removal contractor will probably be required. Where asbestos containing materials ae in sound condition and doing a useful job (i.e. fire protection) it is probably best left in situ – but information on the location and type of asbestos must be recorded.
This information will be required to ensure a system of routine checking on the condition of the asbestos is carried out and most importantly that nobody carries out any unauthorised work on asbestos-containing materials.
Is it correct that my workstation is to be checked?
The law now requires that all computer workstations should be assessed by the employer. The assessments should be carried out by someone who has been trained.
The issues to be covered include an ergonomic assessment of the workstation, the relative height of the chair – desk – screen; spacing of keyboard and screen; lighting, glare and reflections; arm or wrist resting provision and adjustability to suit different individuals. Getting the workstation right will eliminate most of the strains an employee might otherwise suffer.
How can I tell if a product I work with is hazardous to my health?
All hazardous substances must be labelled to warn the user. The standard warning is a black cross on an orange or yellow background, below which a word showing the grade of hazard is given – ‘Irritant; Corrosive; Harmful; Toxic or Very Toxic’. A similar style of warning is often used to warn if a product is highly flammable. These warnings are very important and are why hazardous materials should never be decanted into unlabelled containers.
Does an employer have to provide a first aid kit?
Yes. The employer must make an assessment of their likely first aid requirements and then ensure the kit is regularly checked and topped up. This could include a small kit for the vehicle of travelling employees.
What are the most common causes of accidents in the workplace?
Below are the most significant causes of accidents in the workplace.
Falls from height: This is the greatest cause of deaths at work. Work at height should be avoided whenever possible, or properly risk assessed.
Any equipment used must be suitable and properly maintained and staff must be properly trained.
Workplace Transport: This is the second biggest killer at work. Persons in control of worksites must properly assess hazards from all moving vehicles on site and put in place proper controls: – separating vehicle and pedestrian routes; dedicated parking areas; good signage; speed controls; artificial lighting etc. One significant aim should be to avoid the need for lorries to reverse wherever possible and we would encourage lorry owners to have reversing cameras and warning beepers fitted to their trucks for when reversing cannot be avoided. Effective maintenance of vehicles and properly
trained drivers are the other important controls.
Slips and trips: Not a common cause of serious injuries but the biggest cause of people being off work – and readily preventable. Slips are usually the
result of floor contamination – i.e. spilt oil, leaking water pipes or building entry points where wet people shed water upon entry. The critical control is to ensure that spillages are quickly and efficiently dealt with and that floor surfaces are chosen for their resistance to slip. Provision of suitable footwear may also be necessary for certain areas. Trips are most readily prevented by good housekeeping – maintaining a tidy workplace.
Musculoskeletal disorders: A major cause for work time lost with huge numbers of people suffering chronic injuries. Controls include avoidance of
significant manual handling or repetitive tasks and improved workplace and/or task design, plus proper training of staff and supervisors.
Stress: Now regarded as the biggest cause of work time lost due to ill health. Larger employers are now expected to have introduced stress management policies appropriate for their business. This involves consulting staff and using other information available (ie sickness records, complaints etc.) to identify hazards present and practical control measures to introduce at their workplace.
Should induction training be provided by the employer?
Yes. Induction and orientation should be provided to all new employees at commencement of their employment. This should include information, instruction and training in safe systems of work, awareness of fire arrangements and procedures (evacuation, nearest fire exits, routes, and meeting point) together with an introduction to the appointed first-aider and fire marshal. This also applies to outside contractors and service providers whilst on site.
How often should fire marshals be trained?
Suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training should be provided at commencement of the appointed, and thereafter refresher training every 2 years (maximum).
What are the responsibilities of the Health & Safety Officer/Responsible person?
As the appointed person, you may be held responsible for any breaches of Health & Safety both in the Criminal and Civil Courts. You therefore have a substantial corporate and personal liability, together with your Employer.
How often should the fire alarm be tested?
Weekly, upon the same time and day of each week (during normal business hours).
How often should fire evacuations be practiced?
At 6 monthly intervals.
Do I have to test electrical appliances?
Yes. Testing of the mains electrical system is required at 5 yearly intervals, together with portable electrical appliances being tested on an annual basis (for high usage wear and tear items), or every 2-3 years for lower usage items.
Manual Handling FAQ’s:
1. What can be done to help prevent manual handling injuries?
In simple terms, the main thing is a risk assessment, though there are other considerations: Firstly, does the load need to be moved at all?
If so, can it be moved mechanically? For example, by using a handling aid, such as a pallet tuck, an electric or hand-powered hoist, or a conveyor?
Advice on the many different types of lifting and handling aids is contained in making the best use of lifting and handling aids.
If manual lifting s the only option, then there are a number of things that can be done to reduce the risk, including:
– Making the load smaller or lighter and easier to lift,
– Breaking up large consignments into more manageable loads,
– Modifying the workstation to reduce carrying distances, twisting movements, or the lifting of things from floor level or from above shoulder height.
– Improving the environment – e.g. better lighting, flooring or air temperature can sometimes make manual handling easier and safer.
– Ensuring the person doing the lifting has been trained to lift as safely as possible.
2. Are there any recommended weight limits for manual lifting?
The law does not identify a maximum weight limit. It takes places duties on employers to manage or control risk; measures to take to meet this duty will vary depending on the circumstances of the task. Things to be considered will include the individual carrying out the handling operation, e.g. strength, fitness, underlying medical conditions, the weight to be lifted and distance to be carried, the nature of the load or the postures to be adopted or the availability of equipment to facilitate the lift.
There is no universally safe maximum weight for any load; however, there are varying degrees of risk. The guidance on the Manual Handlings Operations Regulations gives basic guideline figures for lifting and lowering which indicate when a more detailed risk assessment should be carried out.
3. What should manual handling training course involve?
Although training can be important In raising awareness and reducing risk, it should not be assumed that training alone will ensure safe manual handling. It should be supplemented with monitoring and reviews of procedures to ensure that the training is understood and being applied. Reporting problems such as unsafe working conditions or accidents need to be reinforced by good supervision.
Training should cover:
o Manual handling risk factors and how injuries can occur;
o How to carry out safe manual handling including good handling technique;
o Appropriate systems of work for the individual’s tasks and environments;
o Use of mechanical aids;
o Practical work to allow the trainer to identify and putright anything the trainee is not doing safely
4. What is the correct lifting technique?
There is no single correct way to lift. The technique for lifting will depend on many things, such as the weight and size of the item. For example, it would be easier to pick up something that is boxed and has handholds than something awkwardly shaped or where the weight is unevenly distributed. The content of any training in good handling technique should be tailoured to the particular situation or individual circumstances under which the manual handling takes place. However, HSE has published guidance which contains illustrations of good handling practice.
Check the HSE Guidance – Manual Handling at work: A brief guide.
5. Is there such thing as a ‘no lifting’ policy?
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 do not prohibit individual types of manual handling or endorse ‘no lifting’ policies. However, manual handling should be limited to those times when it cannot be avoided and only where the risk has been assessed and minimised. Employers cannot simply pass on the risk to employees and a balanced approach to risk is advocated to ensure that workers are not required to perform tasks that put them at unreasonable risk.
6. Are there any tools that will help me make a risk assessment?
HSE has produced a series of tools that assess some of the risks involved in manual handling. These include the MAC tool for most manual handling tasks, the ART tool for assessing repetitive movements and the RARP tool for pushing and pulling operations.
7. What is the law on manual Handling to protect employees?
Employers have a legal obligation under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk to employees from the manual handling of loads. This is a legal requirement and the Regulations must be complied with.
The Regulations set out at a hierarchy of measures that should be followed to reduce the risks from manual handling. These are set out in regulation 4 (1) and are as follows:
• Avoid manual handling operations so far is reasonably practicable,
• Assess the risk in any manual handling operations that cannot be avoided and
• Reduce the risk of injury so far as reasonably practicable