Amendments to the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 are effective from 1 October 2013, to reflect that HSE will no longer have to approve first-aid training providers and the qualifications they offer. Employers still have the same duties to ensure that their first-aid personnel are trained to a suitable level, and that trainers are competent, but are able to select training providers who they see as best suited to their own circumstances.
There are two new documents to explain the provisions and to tidy up previous amendments brought about by other minor changes to the law. These are a revised guidance note L74, “The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 – Regulations and Guidance” and information booklet GEIS3 called ‘Selecting a first-aid training provider”. Both are available free of charge at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l74.htm and http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/geis3.htm
From 1 October, there are changes to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR). The intention is to simplify reporting requirements in areas of major injuries (where there is a shorter list of “specified injuries”), industrial disease (where eight categories of reportable work-related illness replace 47 specified conditions), and dangerous occurrences (fewer types need to be reported).
Reporting requirements for fatalities, accidents to members of the public, and accidents resulting in incapacity from normal work for more than seven days are unchanged. There is also an obligation to record (but not to report) injuries that cause a worker to be incapacitated for more than three days. More information can be found in free leaflet INDG453, downloadable from http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg453-rev1.pdf
The long lead-in time for replacement of the statutory poster “health and safety – what you need to know” expires in April 2014 and the few remaining copies of the old version should be replaced by that date.
A foreign student was found dead at his lodgings in Bethnal Green, London as he approached the end of a seven week placing with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The Intern, a German national from the University of Michigan, allegedly worked excessively long hours, often working through the night.
A flatmate told reporters that this had involved returning home from the office at 6am on three consecutive occasions. Commentators reflected that this type of work pattern has been described as “part of the job” and reflects a culture where long hours are seen by many as a sign of dedication and commitment. The bank is in the process of conducting an internal review, and has confirmed that it does not instruct its workers to remain at the office for extended shifts.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have issued around 10,000 invoices in the first eight months since they have been mandated to charge employers when dealing with a statutory breach. Invoices are processed in two-monthly batches and the most recent tranche covering April and May 2013 saw a total of £1.3m billed. Recipients have a right to challenge the charges, and to date there have been 249 queries of which only a minority have resulted in a change of heart.
The average invoice is just under £500 but this is expected to fall in coming years, as it reflects HSE’s own costs. All Government agencies are required to cut their cost bases and this will feed through to lower charges. For their part HSE has already trimmed £71m from a £230m budget.
In an initiative running to March 2014, HSE is paying particular attention to roof work at all commercial premises. Inspectors are being told that they must proactively inspect any roof work that they come across and must take robust enforcement action where necessary.
Guidance booklet HSG33 explains how to work on roofs in safety, and aims to reduce the current toll of an average nine deaths per year and over 30 major injuries mainly suffered by those involved in cleaning, inspecting or painting, in particular on fragile roofs.
The period for submission of comments on various Approved Codes of Practice is now over. This includes those for the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002, and L8 which is concerned with the prevention and control of legionella.
The responses are being reviewed. Subject to the outcome of the consultation and ministerial approval, the revised ACOPs will be published by the end of 2013. The last date for view on the proposed consolidated version of Approved Code of Practice L143 “Work with materials containing asbestos” is 30 September 2013. This document will incorporate Approved Code of Practice L127 which deals with the management of asbestos in non-domestic premises. This represents a challenge, as it has been agreed that all codes will be limited to 35 pages as a maximum.
Following a Government-initiated review, it has been decided that HSE should remain as a separate entity. The alternative was to spread its functions among other departments.
The review is ongoing and once it has been decided exactly how HSE should be structured, a new Chief Executive will be appointed. The previous incumbent, Geoffrey Podger, has left the Civil Service and moved to New Zealand where he is helping to set up a new national safety system. In the meantime, HSE has bucked the trend and been given provisional authority to recruit 24 new inspectors, those post are due to start on 4 November 2013.
Not a new document, but an important deletion from HSE’s catalogue is the Approved Code of Practice to the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. This document has been withdrawn and will not be replaced.
There are no changes to the regulations themselves. A revised version of HSG65, now re-titled Managing for Health and Safety, has been released to help fill any gaps brought about by the withdrawn document, and follows a “plan, do, check, act” approach to safety.
Dartford Magistrates’ Court fined Kenard Engineering Company Ltd £10,000 with around £2,000 costs after a 17-year-old apprentice was thrown three metres when struck by a bolt of electricity. Along with another engineer, the injured worker was relocating a pillar-mounted crane and was in the process of reconnecting the three-phase electrical supply. All the cables had white insulation and an incorrect guess had been made as to which needed wiring to the earth connection.
The company admitted failing to ensure their systems of work were safe by allowing someone without the proper competence and experience to wire up the crane. The charge was made under Regulation 4(1) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.