Chapter 4 – Procedures

Chapter 4 – Procedures

Procedures

We have considered the activities we expect employees to participate with whilst at work and environments where work takes place. To safeguard the health, safety and welfare of employees and others we have established our procedures.

Our procedures define safe working practices to avoid unnecessary risk and they must be followed at all times; some procedures apply to contractors. We are committed to continuous improvement and therefore if you have an idea that will improve safety then please let us know.

The Proprietor must control situations to ensure risk of harm is eliminated or at least minimised.

Asbestos

There are no health risks to people working in a premise, so long as any presumed asbestos containing materials (ACMs) remains in good condition and are not disturbed.  However, if the materials are abraded, drilled or worked on with power tools the dust generated may contain asbestos fibres and there will be risks to anybody exposed.  To ensure that risks from ACMs are reduced to the lowest reasonably practicable level we will operate the following procedures:-

  • we will not allow work on a known ACMs;
  • an Asbestos Register listing the locations and conditions of all known and presumed ACMs will be kept on our own properties;
  • clients will be requested to supply information on their own premises – ie an asbestos survey or register;
  • the Asbestos Register will be brought to the attention of any person who might disturb or work on or near to a known or presumed ACM;
  • before any work near to a known or presumed ACM is allowed to commence a risk assessment will be carried out and a method statement written.  We may refer the issue to our safety advisors. The risk assessment and method statement will identify how the work will be carried out without exposing any person to risks from asbestos fibres.  Where necessary, arrangements will be made for additional samples to be taken and analysed;
  • the persons who will be doing the work will receive suitable training. They will be informed about the hazards and the precautions they need to take to ensure their health and safety;

Any employee observing damage to any suspected Asbestos Containing Materials should report this to a Supervisor or the Client representative.

If during the course or your work you encounter a material that may contain asbestos and you were not informed about it before you started work, you should immediately stop work and take advice from your Manager.  Work will not be allowed to recommence until the material has been identified and a safe system of work agreed. 

Display Screen Equipment

We will take all reasonable steps to secure the health and safety of those who work with display screen equipment (DSE).

We acknowledge that health and safety hazards may arise from the use of this equipment.  It is our intention to ensure that any risks are reduced to a minimum.  Whilst it is generally recognised that the use of DSE can be undertaken without undue risks to health, it is appreciated that some employees may have genuine reservations and concerns.  We will seek to give information and training to enable a fuller understanding of these issues.

Arrangements for Securing the Health and Safety of Workers

We will,

  • carry out an assessment, or provide information for self-assessment, of each workstation, taking into account the DSE, the furniture, the working environment and the worker;
  • take all necessary measures to remedy any risks found as a result of the assessment;
  • take steps to incorporate changes of task within the working day, in order to prevent intensive periods of on-screen activity;
  • review software to ensure suitability for the task;
  • arrange for the provision of eye and eyesight tests prior to employment and at regular intervals thereafter and where a visual problem is experienced;
  • contribute to any corrective appliances (glasses or contact lenses) where required specifically for working with DSE;
  • advise you, and all persons applying for work with DSE, of the risks to health and how these are to be avoided.

Procedures for Dealing with Health and Safety Issues

Where you raise a matter related to health and safety in the use of DSE, we will:-

  • take all necessary steps to investigate the circumstances;
  • take corrective measures where appropriate;
  • advise you of actions taken.

Where a problem arises in the use of DSE, you must adopt the following procedures:-

  • inform a responsible person immediately;
  • in the case of an adverse health condition advise your own general practitioner.

Information and Training

We will give sufficient information, instruction and training as is necessary to ensure the health and safety of workers who use DSE.  This provision also applies to persons not in direct employment, such as temporary staff and contractors.

The Proprietor is responsible for users of display screen equipment and will also provide appropriate training.

Eye and Eyesight Tests

Regular Eye and Eyesight Tests

You are entitled to an eye and eyesight test at intervals recommended by the person who carried out the previous test.  All tests are specifically for users of DSE and must be arranged through us.

Visual Discomfort

Where you experience visual difficulties and have reason to believe that these may be caused by work with DSE, we will offer an eye and eyesight test.

Costs of Testing

The costs of eye and eyesight tests will be met by us, provided that testing has been arranged through us.  Where you obtain a test independently and without our knowledge, even if the test is specifically related to display screen use, we shall not be responsible for the costs incurred.

Supply of Glasses

Here glasses are found necessary, specifically for the use of DSE, we will pay towards the cost of the corrective lens. If you prefer enhanced frames you will pay any balance of cost yourself.  Evidence of purchase must be produced.

Rest Breaks

The purpose of a break from DSE work is to prevent the onset of fatigue.  To achieve this objective, we will seek to incorporate changes of activity into the working day.

There is no prescribed frequency or duration of breaks from DSE work.  Where possible, users will be given the discretion to decide the timing and extent of off-screen tasks.  If you know that your DSE workload does not permit adequate breaks you should bring this to the attention of the person responsible for DSE assessments as listed in the Summary of Responsibilities section of our Safety Policy.

Users of DSE are encouraged, and will be expected, to take the opportunities for breaks.

Communication of Risk Assessments

Completion of risk assessments and the information collated as a result of this process can only be of benefit if communicated to the people who are likely to be affected by the hazards.

We will communicate the findings of risk assessments using the following methods:

  • induction – we will make employees aware of our hazards and control measures during the induction process,
  • availability of information – copies of risk assessments are readily available for all employees to read,
  • training – assessments and control measures to manage risk will be communicated as part of on going training,
  • contractors and visitors – contractors and visitors will be made aware of any hazards they are likely to encounter whilst at our premises prior to commencing work, 

Review

All risk assessments will be subject to periodic review, a formal review taking place at least annually. Any changes must be communicated to those affected. Managers and competent persons will be tasked with conducting the review.

Note: Wirehouse Employer Services Limited has provided us with guidance notes on the subject of risk assessment, these can be found to the rear of this document; they include:

  • example copies of risk assessments for common hazards,
  • forms ready for use

Electrical Safety

Electricity can kill and the risk is often underestimated as it cannot be seen. It can cause burns, shock, fire and fatalities.  We acknowledge our duties as described in the Electricity at Work Regulations and will take the necessary precautions to prevent any accidents or incidents occurring.

Fixed Installations

Fixed installations include wiring, electrical sockets, switches, isolation boxes, fuses etc. that are installed at our workplace. Damage to any fixed installation must be reported and a repair will be arranged with minimum delay. The completion of any electrical work must only be conducted by competent electrical engineers.

We will ensure fixed electrical installations are safe and will accomplish this by ensuring installations, modifications, maintenance, inspection and testing are completed following relevant procedures established by the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) and their regulations.

We understand preventative maintenance is the key to help minimise accidents. We have in place an internal periodic monitoring system to identify electrical faults; all faults must be reported and the necessary action arranged for repair.

We will arrange for a competent electrical engineer to inspect and test our electrical installations at a period of every 5 years or less for commercial properties. Domestic properties require testing at least ten yearly intervals.  Documentation must be kept to reflect the findings of this visit.

Portable Appliances

A portable appliance is generally any electrical equipment that has a plug. These must be treated with the same respect as fixed installations. Plugs can get damaged, wires and pins can become loose and leads can get split or flattened increasing the risk of a shock, burn of fire.  Plugs that get hot, smell or spark should be put out of use and a repair arranged.

To ensure appliances are safe to use we will ensure;

  • a register of all equipment is maintained – this must include any home working equipment, mobile phone chargers, extension leads and any personal items that are permitted to be used at work – e.g. radios
  • periodic internal monitoring checks will be conducted that will include a review of electrical appliances
  • all employees should visually check equipment periodically before use and report any defects
  • portable appliance testing will be organised at appropriate intervals, the frequency of inspection and testing will depend on the equipment and the environment in which it is used
  • all inspections, testing, maintenance and repairs will be conducted by a suitably competent person
  • the use of extension leads will be monitored and ‘daisy chaining’ must be avoided

Any electrical or general contractor engaged to undertake work will be requested to prove competence and testing arrangements for their own equipment. 

Under no circumstances must any employee undertake any electrical work, unless they are authorised and qualified to do so.

The Health and Safety Executive suggest a testing frequency for portable appliance in the guidance document HSG107 as follows;

Table 1 Suggested initial maintenance intervals

Type of business

User checks

Formal visual inspection

Combined inspection and test

Equipment hire

N/A

Before issue/after return

Before issue

Battery operated equipment (less than 40 V)

No

No

No

Extra low voltage (less than 50 V ac), telephone equipment, low-voltage desk lights

No

No

No

Construction

110V

equipment

Yes, weekly

Yes, monthly

Yes, before first use on site then 3-monthly

230V

equipment

Yes, daily/every shift

Yes, weekly

Yes, before first use on site then monthly

Fixed RCDs

Yes, daily/every shift

Yes, weekly

Yes, before first use on site, then 3-monthly (portable RCDs – monthly)

Equipment site offices

Yes, monthly

Yes, 6-monthly

Yes, before first use on site then yearly

Heavy industrial/high risk of equipment damage (not construction)

Yes, daily

Yes, weekly

Yes, 6–12 months

Light industrial

Yes

Yes, before initial use then 6-monthly

Yes, 6–12 months

Office information technology rarely moved, eg desktop computers, photocopiers, fax machines

No

Yes, 2–4 years

No if double insulated, otherwise up to 5 years

Double insulated Double insulated symbol with a square border inside another square border (Class II) equipment moved occasionally (not hand-held), eg fans, table lamps

No

2–4 years

No

Hand-held, double insulated Double insulated symbol with a square border inside another square border (Class II) equipment, eg some floor cleaners, some kitchen equipment

Yes

Yes, 6 months – 1 year

No

Earthed (Class I) equipment, eg electric kettles, some floor cleaners

Yes

Yes, 6 months – 1 year

Yes, 1–2 years

Cables, leads and plugs connected to Class I equipment, extension leads and battery charging equipment

Yes

Yes, 6 months – 4 years depending on type

of equipment it is connected to

Yes, 1–5 years depending on the equipment it is connected to

Falls

Falls are often discussed along with slips and trips but they are very often much more serious – and potentially fatal.  Falling from height, falling into an excavation or falling from a vehicle are some common workplace accidents that can all be avoided by proper planning, assessments, training and supervision.  You must remember that what you might fall onto is also an important consideration when considering the potential risk of completing a task at height.  Even falls from vehicles and cabs should be considered as these are also a common cause of workplace injuries.

Before any work at height is undertaken it must be suitably assessed to either avoid doing it at all or to work out the best and safest way to complete it.  This includes the use of ladders through to scaffolds and access equipment.  You are encouraged to speak to our safety advisors when planning any height work or before engaging contractors to complete this work for us.

Installers working on unfamiliar sites or construction environments are particularly at risk and information on site hazards should be sought before starting work in the form of a site induction.

Fire Safety

Accountability

The Proprietor has ultimate responsibility for fire safety at our own site and is responsible for ensuring any points identified as a result of completing the fire risk assessment are addressed. Our fire safety policy is prepared to ensure the safety of anyone at our premises.

Statutory Fire Safety Obligations

The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order places specific duties on our business. In the interest of fire safety we must comply with our duties.

Responsibility

All Supervisors must ensure our fire safety information is brought to the attention and observed by staff, contractors and visitors. Every member of staff must participate in fire safety training.

As an employee we rely on you to help maintain our fire safety standards. You must report any unsafe condition or damaged/missing equipment to your manager.

Our fire safety arrangements must be continuously assessed to ensure these are satisfactory. Anything likely to have an adverse effect on our fire safety arrangements must be reported and/or rectified immediately.

Fitters – if not offered a safety induction by our clients on the first visit, must request information on fire safety arrangements – including how to raise the alarm and what to do if they hear the alarm.

If you are in any doubt regarding your duties and responsibilities, please ask.

Hazardous Substances

A hazardous substance can present itself as a liquid, dust, fume, gas, powder, solid or as a bacteria, virus or bodily fluid. Injury or ill health can be caused through substances absorption through skin or eyes, ingestion, inhalation or skin puncture.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations, require that we assess and control exposure to hazardous substances defined in these regulations.  (Some substances are covered by other regulations – such as medicines, asbestos and lead).

We acknowledge our duty and will assess the risk from exposure to employees or other persons to substances we use, store or create.

We will do this by adopting the following course of action;

  • maintain a register of substances we use or create
  • evaluate the risk to health of each substance
  • decide what precautions are required to be implemented
  • record assessments
  • provide information and training to those how are or may be at risk
  • decide when the assessment needs to be reviewed

When completing the risk assessment of the substance we will consider;

  • the number of people affected
  • the risk to health – especially consider pregnant and young persons
  • how to prevent exposure
  • how to reduce the frequency or duration of exposure
  • what other steps might be required to achieve a suitable control of exposure – e.g. information, instruction, training, personal protective equipment

For man-made substances, the material safety data sheets (MSDS) will be filed with the substance register and used to complete the risk assessments. For other substances, such as bodily fluids, viruses, bacteria and dusts more detailed assessments or monitoring techniques may be required to establish the level of risk.

Some substances present a low risk if used in isolation, however if combined with other substances can create a significant hazard. Employees must read and understand safety information provided on the product packaging and on the safety data sheet.

We will ensure that anyone required to undertake assessments receives suitable training and instruction and is therefore competent.

In certain circumstances the risk assessment may determine that employees require expert advice and monitoring. This may include:

  • sampling or personal monitoring to determine air quality
  • health surveillance to establish any effects on personal health
  • engineering controls such as ventilation systems

Wherever this is the case, a policy and procedure will be prepared and communicated to those in involved.

The assessments must be reviewed regularly, the intervals between review must be commensurate with the potential for harm, e.g. less harmful products should be subject to a formal assessment every 2 years, others more often.  Records connected with ill-health must be kept for 40 years.

Following a standard hierarchy approach to control measures, personal protective equipment (PPE) will only be used as a last resort or as a back-up measure during testing or modification of other controls.  Where it is used as a control measure – the type, design and BS EN standards should be recorded in the assessment.

Where we engage contractors, similar approaches to assessment and control of exposure should be expected, for example cleaners using their own chemicals would be responsible for completing their own risk assessments and arranging for safe storage if left on site.

Storage locations for hazardous substances should be ‘suitable’ and information on safe storage is obtained from the data sheet.  Typically, chemicals should be kept with consideration to ventilation, temperature, spillage, security arrangements, away from food production and product and unauthorised persons – e.g. vulnerable adults and children.

Those using hazardous substances should be familiar with the symbols used to identify the types of hazard associated with the products.  These are detailed below.  Some substances can cause serious skin problems – such as dermatitis. These should always be reported and investigated and may be reportable as occupational diseases under the RIDDOR regulations.

Substances should never be decanted into unmarked containers and they should be stored with suitable caps and lids.

Further information can be found on the HSE website or in ‘COSHH Essentials’ – INDG136

Safety data sheet, image text outdated.

Light Boxes & Electrical Installation

Electricity can kill, injure and cause property damage.  Shocks can leave you with severe injuries and burns and often these will be permenent. Furthermore, shocks can lead to secondary injuries when working at height including falls from ladders or work platforms.

If you undertake an installation without first undertaking some basic electrical safety checks and precautions you are putting yourself at risk – as you will not necessarily know the standard of workmanship and condition of the circuit you are working on.  If you do not undertake safety checks after completing the work – you risk leaving a dangerous instalation  for the next person.  This includes installing wiring into spurs.

In these scenarios and any resulting accident, fire or civil claim, you are unlikely to be insured if your operative is not deemed to be ‘competent’.

The law therefore requires that anyone undertaking work on or with electrical equipment or systems is competetent for the task being completed.  They do not have to be an electrician but they must have the the skills, knowledge and training to prevent injury to themselves and others.  Your employees may have received some training or instruction from a qualified electrician or they may have attended a formal course – you need to decided if they and their work would be deemed ‘competent’ by the enforcement agency. The HSE will refer to the BS7671 (IEE Wiring Regulations) and the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC) for definitions of competence in any criminal action or prosecution.  The level of competence can be tested by answering some basic questions;

  • Was there a written scheme of work in place?
  • Did it identify the circuit to be worked upon?
  • Was it properly isolated and tested before work commenced?
  • Was the unit installed correctly – or ‘like for like’ if it was replaced?
  • Was a verification test completed?
  • Was a minor works certificate completed in full with all the resistence and test results recorded?

This type of work is classed as a ‘electrical maintenance task’ and the client must be provided with certification – eg a minor works certificate.  This can only to be competed in full by someone with the correct testing tools and knowledge of testing techniques.

You are therefore strongly recommended to take the following position when approaching this type of work;

  1. Install the signage up to but not including the electrical installation if your operative is not ‘competent’ and advise the client to arrange their own electrical installation using a suitably trained person.
  2. Undertake the full instalation – only after you are confident that the work undertaken will stand up to scrutiny from an electrician and the HSE.

The NICEIC recommend training courses for operatives undertaking this type of work – these are available to attend as open courses and details are available on their web site.

The sessions are the ‘Safe Isolation’ and ‘Assessory Replacement’ courses and you will need a multifunctional tester and isolation kit as a condition of attendance.

Further information;

Link to trained electricians for your client to refer

Link to courses

Link to minor works certificate

Electrical safety guidance

Lone Working

Since you cannot be with them in an emergency, (they wouldn’t be lone workers if you were) we must go as far as we can in helping employees to help themselves.

Consider protection as consisting of two components; prevention and response. Prevention is achieved by embedding ways in which employees avoid difficult situations in the first place. Response is there when protection fails. While prevention may reduce the number of occasions where a lone worker will get into a situation which will result in their harm, ‘reduce’ is not the same as ‘eliminate’, so there will always be a need for response services.

Response with prevention in isolation are still insufficient; adding training and management will result in a culture of safe working, in other words – protection.

Prevention

Prevention starts with a well thought out policy leading to sensible procedures which are developed in consultation with the lone working employees and the management team.

Response

Sooner or later Prevention will fail and an employee will need a Response; and it must be fast and effective.

Training

Training binds Prevention and Response together. Training should cover:

  • Application of policies and procedures
  • How to make best use of Lone Worker Response devices
  • Awareness and how to avoid potentially dangerous situations
  • How to manage dangerous situations
  • The role of personal responsibility for personal safety

Management

Good management has to balance the needs of the organisation against the needs of the individual. Management must protect the organisation in law with its reputation and effectiveness intact, while protecting the individual employees out on their own in the community, other workplaces or in transit between them.

A manager with responsibility for protecting Lone Workers needs to consider many factors; among them:

  • How best to achieve protection for both the organisation and Lone Workers without jeopardising the work they are employed to do?
  • What can be done in-house and what can be outsourced?
  • How will initial and follow-up training be delivered? In-house or outsourced?
  • How will Lone Workers be motivated to always follow the procedures laid down for them, including use of Lone Worker Response services?
  • What reports will help manage the contract and how will they be delivered?
  • Regular reviews with Lone Workers

Prevention and Response without Training and Management will not be an effective policy because when it is most required to work – it will not keep people safe.

Prevention + Response + Training + Management = Protection

When putting the policy and risk assessment together pay particular consideration to:-

  • the remoteness or isolation of workplaces;
  • any problems of communication;
  • the possibility of interference, such as violence or criminal activity from other persons;
  • the nature of injury or damage to health and anticipated “worst case” scenario;
  • vehicle and load hazards;
  • personal protective equipment required;
  • supervision and welfare;
  • portable first aid kits;
  • availability of first-aider;
  • means of summoning help;
  • means of raising alarm;
  • fire fighting equipment;
  • training and supervision;

Manual Handling

Activities involving manual handling can attribute to personal injury if the task is not carried out following simple basic principles. The term manual handling refers to an activity where human effort is needed to perform some of the following (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Lifting
  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Reaching
  • Carrying

We recognise the potential for injury associated with manual handling tasks and where possible will introduce mechanical means for lifting or aids to help avoid excessive effort.

Where it is not possible to avoid manual handling we will assess the risk and provide you with manual handling training appropriate to the tasks you are required to perform whilst at work.

We understand that we all have different capabilities due to differences of strength, previous injuries, nature of the load etc. It is therefore important that if you believe a task is beyond your capability you must ask for help.

All staff will receive moving and handling training to enable them to work safely and we have and maintain a range of mechanical aids to help you lift and move objects safely.

Noise at Work

Noise at work can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. People often experience temporary deafness after leaving a noisy place, but usually recover their hearing within a few hours. Permanent hearing damage can be caused immediately by sudden, loud, explosive noises, for example, from guns or cartridge-operated machines but hearing loss is usually gradual due to prolonged exposure to noise. People may only realise how deaf they have become when damage, caused over the years by noise, combines with hearing loss due to ageing. Hearing loss is not the only problem. People may develop tinnitus (ringing in the ears), a distressing condition which can lead to disturbed sleep.

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations lay down key limits to noise exposure. These are:

  • lower exposure action values
    • daily or weekly exposure of 80 dB
    • peak sound pressure of 135 dB
  • upper exposure action values
    • daily or weekly exposure of 85 dB
    • peak sound pressure of 137 dB.

The steps we are required to take depend largely on the level and type of noise exposure. For example, a noise exposure of just over 80 dB-A may only require basic controls and recommended hearing protection for certain tasks. Over 85 dB-A would require more rigorous controls and the establishment of a mandatory hearing protection zone with appropriate health surveillance.

Noise sources in excess of peak sound pressure values will need specific assessment by a competent person and specific controls. 

The aim is to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of our employees and visitors while they are at work, in relation to noise exposure, and to comply with all relevant legislation, including:

  • Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005
  • Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005
  • Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

Employer Responsibilities

To ensure that we prevent or reduce risks to health and safety from exposure to noise at work and that our policy will be clearly understood throughout the company, we will:

  • assess the risks to employees from noiseat work
  • take action to reduce noise exposure and, consequently, from risks arising from noise at work
  • provide employees with hearing protection, where required, if noise exposure cannot be reduced by other methods
  • make sure that the legal limits on noise exposure are not exceeded
  • provide employees with information, instruction and training
  • carry out health surveillance (audiometry) where levels indicate it is required
  • review this policy at least annually or more frequently if significant changes occur.

Procedure

To fulfil our responsibilities as outlined above, we will:

  • identify all operations within the business where there is a noise risk and who is likely to be affected
  • carry out an initial noise survey
  • ensure that the risks to employees from noise at work are assessed by a competent person, where we have identified a potential problem
  • take the necessary action to reduce the noise exposure that produces these risks, ensuring that the legal limits of noise exposure are not exceeded
  • provide employees with suitable hearing protection where noise exposure cannot be reduced enough by using noise control techniques
  • provide our employees with adequate information, instruction and training in order to understand the noise risks that they may be exposed to and how to use noise control techniques and the hearing protection provided
  • carry out health surveillance where the noise risk assessment has identified there is a risk to health
  • review, and amend as necessary, the noise risk assessment on an annual basis, when significant changes or accidents occur or when we have any reason to believe the assessment is no longer valid.

Occupational Health

Health surveillance is the early detection of adverse health risks associated with a work activity. It allows staff at increased risk to be identified and additional precautions to be taken as necessary. It is also a means of checking the effectiveness of the existing control measures.

A questionnaire will be completed upon induction and repeated as deemed necessary if issues are raised.  External occupational health services will be engaged to support employees who are assessed as requiring specific help after initial screening.  Particular attention will be paid to noise, vibration and respiratory issues.

Office Safety

The office areas do not contain the same hazards as the external areas but there are issues to address to ensure everyone’s safety working in the office.  An office risk assessment has been completed and it will be communicated to staff.

The assessment addresses issues such as;

  • Safe access including vehicle and pedestrian segregation
  • Manual handling
  • Display screen equipment
  • Fire and electrical safety
  • Chemicals
  • Trips and falls
  • Workshop safety

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the generic name given to items of protective clothing and equipment used by individuals to control their exposure to hazards. Where it is not reasonably practicable to control exposure to hazards by any other means, we will provide you with suitable PPE free of charge.

We will determine where, when and what PPE needs to be used when we conduct risk assessments. We will also identify any standards that apply to the PPE that you will need to use.

Items of PPE will be selected to be compatible and, wherever possible, you will be consulted during the selection process.

If you are required to use PPE, we will ensure that you are instructed in its use, maintenance and storage and, where necessary, that you are provided with written information. You will also be told how you can obtain replacements. PPE damaged through natural wear and tear will be replaced free of charge. You will be charged for equipment damaged through negligence or lost.

Areas where PPE must be used will be identified through the completion of risk assessments and the appropriate warning signage will be displayed.  You are responsible for using PPE as directed.

PPE is issued by the Supervisors and you will be required to sign to acknowledge receipt.  All PPE remains our property and must be returned on leaving.

If you experience problems using PPE you should bring this to the attention of your Supervisor immediately.

Failure to wear PPE as identified in risk assessments or as instructed by us is a serious breach of our health and safety rules.  It will be considered as gross misconduct, which could lead to summary dismissal.

Subcontractors engaged to work on our behalf and contractors engaged to work on our premises are responsible for identifying in their risk assessments the need for PPE to be used.  They are also responsible for providing their employees with any PPE they need and for enforcing its use.

We reserve the right to exclude from our premises any person not using the PPE needed to ensure their health and safety.

Risk Assessment

A risk assessment involves identifying the hazards present in the work place or arising out of any work activity and evaluating the extent of the risk involved to employees and others, taking into account the number and type of people exposed, the duration and frequency of the exposure and the effectiveness of existing precautions.

A hazard is something with a potential to cause harm – examples are provided below and they also include methods of work and the work environment.

A risk is the likelihood of harm from a hazard being realised. As noted, overall risk increases where  more people are involved, those people are vulnerable, the frequency of the activity increases or the potential severity of harm is greater. 

Assessments can involve a quantitative evaluation of risk using numbers, e.g 1-5 or 1-10, or a qualitative evaluation by using high, medium or low.  Some situations simply record a hazard and a control measure.  There is no one correct method as to how to document assessments.

The Management of Health and Safety Regulations require that risk assessments are ‘suitable and sufficient’ in that they should identify all the significant hazards present within the business and its activities and that they should be proportionate to the risk. The assessment should cover all risks that are reasonably foreseeable.

The key to completing an assessment is therefore to be thorough,

  • ensure you are properly trained and experienced to understand the hazards and activity being assessed
  • involve colleagues and people familiar with the task – it does not have to be completed by just one person
  • familiarise yourself with the Company policy, legislation and guidance
  • consider relevant inspections, audits and any historical accidents or incidents
  • consider different times of the day and environmental conditions
  • ensure that you consider all the potential hazards and all the ways that people might be harmed
  • use the specified forms provided along with the preferred evaluation method for calculating risk

If you feel that you are out of your depth – ask for help.

Completing the Assessment

This guidance follows the Health and Safety Executive’s own information outlined in INDG163 Five Steps to Risk Assessment.

STEP 1 – Identify the Hazards

Look for hazards by walking around the workplace. List the hazards that could reasonably be expected to cause harm. Ask for the opinion of employees as they may have noticed things that are not immediately obvious to you.  Consider all the various tasks undertaken by the business and consider the different locations where they occur.  The most significant hazardous activities may not be immediately identified – ask questions!

STEP 2 – Identify who may be harmed and how

List groups of people and individuals who may be affected by the hazards e.g.:

  • employees
  • members of the public
  • contractors on the premises
  • visitors
  • volunteers
  • unauthorised persons

Pay particular attention to vulnerable persons, e.g. those with disabilities, female employees who are pregnant or who have recently returned to work after having a baby, inexperienced employees, young persons under 18 years and children.

Think about how they might be harmed, it is your duty to explain this to those exposed ‘in a way they can understand’. Consider different types of hazards;

  • mechanical
  • physical
  • ergonomic
  • physiological
  • transport
  • access
  • hazardous substances
  • fire, smoke and explosions
  • particles, fumes and dust
  • biological
  • lifting and handling
  • electrical
  • environmental factors – noise, lighting, temperature, dust, vibration etc.
  • the individual
  • organisational factors

This list is not exhaustive but indicates the detail required.  The last two factors are often both the most significant and most overlooked.  The individual has a huge impact on the overall risk. You must consider their level of training, attitude, work rate and tendency to work in an unsafe manner.

The organisation – i.e. the Company arranges maintenance, levels of supervision, training, provides safety information and provides equipment.  If this is poorly managed or not provided, risk will increase.

STEP 3 – Evaluate risk and decide on precautions

Evaluate the risks arising from the hazards and decide whether existing precautions are adequate or if more needs to be done. When evaluating the risk, consider the chance of harm occurring (i.e. the likelihood), the severity (or consequence), the number of people who could be affected and if relevant, the frequency of the activity.

Even after all precautions have been taken a residual risk is likely to remain. Ensure the precautions in place meet regulatory requirements, Company standards and best practice and that you have reduced the risk ‘as far as is reasonably practicable’.

Where additional controls or further action are necessary to reduce the risk, decide what more could reasonably be done by adopting a hierarchical approach along the following principles:

  • Eliminate the hazard
  • Reduce the hazard
  • Prevent contact with the hazard
  • Introduce a safe system of work
  • Increased supervision
  • Provide personal protective equipment

STEP 4 – Record your findings and implement them

Once the level of risk has been determined and the controls have been agreed, an action plan should be drawn up with timescales for implementation of the control measures.

The assessment must be documented since these provide evidence that something has been done. Keep old assessments for future reference – (ideally 3 years).  Line managers must communicate the findings to employees involved in activity and record this on a training matrix.  Observe activities periodically to ensure that the control measures have been implemented and are being followed.

Remember that information on assessments may also be required to be given to contractors, new starters, to employees changing roles or as part of on-going or developmental training.  Records must be kept.

STEP 5 – Review the assessment and update it if necessary

A review will be required following;

  • the results of monitoring (e.g ill-health, accidents, audits) where results are adversely not as expected
  • a change of process, work methods, shifts or materials
  • a change of personnel
  • changes in legislation or best practice
  • introduction of new plant or machinery
  • passage of time – as set out in the review schedule

As in step 4 – changes must be communicated and recorded.

A number of our work tasks, including those completed by our mobile engineers will be required to be documented in a safe system or work or method statement.  The risk assessments will used to identify hazards and a step by step guide will be documented to enable the task to be undertaken safely with minimal risk.

Vehicles & Drivers

Operating or working on or under vehicles and moving around the site as a pedestrian is hazardous and can result in fatal accidents.  It is therefore of paramount importance to follow the site rules and company policies when involved with vehicles.

Lorries, trailers, customer vehicles, forklifts and cars all pose a significant hazard to employees and visitors.

We will complete a risk assessment for vehicle movements and regularly review the controls in place to keep everyone safe. As an installer working on a client’s site, you must not put yourself at risk and follow any site rules.

Segregated routes and designated parking areas will be identified and these must be used.  Visitors and contractors must be properly inducted and have the hazards clearly explained to them.  You must consider whether you need to be escorted on a client’s site and always wear the mandatory PPE set out in your induction.

You must not drive any vehicle without the express permission of a Supervisor or the Proprietor and only when suitably trained and insured to do so.

Drivers are responsible for ensuring that:-

  • daily and weekly safety checks are completed;
  • they are seated and using safety belts;
  • visibility is clear all round;
  • speed limits are adhered to at all times;
  • road and weather conditions are taken into account and driving altered accordingly;
  • the vehicle carries a first aid kit and fire extinguisher;
  • the vehicle carries no more than the permitted number of passengers – employees only;
  • smoking is not allowed;
  • the Proprietor is informed immediately about any driving convictions;
  • they do not drive whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • they do not drive whilst taking medication that could affect their ability to drive safely.

Accidents

In the event of an accident, ensure that all persons involved are safe and comfortable. Call the appropriate emergency services if needed.  Notify the Supervisor as soon as possible.

If questioned by a Third Party, accept no liability.

All damage, however slight must be reported to the Supervisor.

Parking Fines

Drivers are responsible for parking safely.  The company will not be responsible for parking fines. The responsibility rests solely with the driver of the vehicle, who will be liable for any fines occurred.

Speeding Fines

It is our Practice policy that all staff must drive within speed limits and road restrictions. Therefore we will not compensate staff for any speeding fines.  Employees that are convicted of speeding fines whilst driving on Company business may be subject to discipline.

Work Equipment & Access Equipment

The term work equipment is used to describe machines, tools, installations or equipment used for completing work whether owned or on loan/hire. The term is broad and applies to any work equipment we use.  Access equipment is also work equipment but usually requires specific controls, maintenance and training to enable its safe use.

We acknowledge our duties as stipulated in the current edition of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) and intend to satisfy these duties by adopting the following procedures:

Selection

A needs analysis will be conducted before acquiring any work equipment taking into consideration many aspects including the task the equipment is required to perform, where it is to be used, anticipated volume of work, operators training needs, safety etc.

Equipment will only be sourced from reputable dealers. Safety devices fitted such as emergence stop buttons, guard’s etc. must comply with current European standards for like machinery. 

Assessment

A risk assessment will be conducted before use of any new work equipment commences. The outcome of the assessment will help determine if the equipment is safe for use or if additional control measures are required for user safety and for the safety of others.

Training

Training will be provided for employees and anyone else authorised to use our work equipment. Training and supervision will continue until such a time when a user is deemed competent and supervision is no longer needed.

All training will be overseen by the Proprietor and training records maintained.

Maintenance and Inspection

All work equipment is subject to wear and the possible occurrence of faults, it is therefore necessary we monitor and maintain equipment regularly. Manufacturer’s recommendations will be followed for maintenance and inspection frequencies unless the scope of our work dictates these need to be changed, we will if necessary introduce our own maintenance and inspection program and regime.

We will ensure any statutory inspections or examinations are completed on time.

We appreciate that preventative maintenance is better than equipment failure; consequently we rely on managers and users of our work equipment to follow the adopted maintenance and inspection regime we decide upon.

Some maintenance tasks will be beyond the capability of employees, this we understand and it is the responsibility of managers to identify such tasks and to appoint suitable contractors to conduct or assist with tasks.

We expect all work equipment users to conduct a before use check to confirm equipment is safe for use. If problems are identified these must be reported to ensure a repair is arranged. All faulty or damaged equipment must not be used until a suitable repair has been completed.

Records

To help manage maintenance, inspection and repair of our equipment we will record all events and maintain documentation to support this. Any work conducted by contractors must be included.

Safety

You must not use work equipment if:

  • you have not received appropriate training,
  • you are unfamiliar with the operation,
  • the equipment is faulty or you identify a fault,
  • there is insufficient room around the equipment to work safely,
  • safety devices such as guard’s are not in place or are damaged,
  • you need PPE and none is available,

Working at Height

We recognise the dangers of working at height and acknowledge our duties as stipulated by the Working at Height Regulations. As an employee you must understand that working at height is one of the biggest causes of major injuries and fatalities every year. Therefore wherever possible we will avoid the need to work at height and where we have to – ensure it is properly risk assessed and follows a logical and prescribed hierarchical approach.

Hazards

There are many hazards involved with working at height, most of which are simple to avoid, they involve, in the office and workshop amongst other things:

  • Correct use of steps, ladders and ‘step up’ stools
  • Do not climb on chairs, tables or racking
  • Do not over reach when using equipment

Site work is potentially much more hazardous and must be suitably assessed by a competent person.  The ‘hierarchical approach’ is the step by step process of managing risk as set out in the HSE guidance.  In summary, this involves;

  • preventing falls by using safe and correct equipment
  • reducing the distance and consequence of any potential fall
  • providing good safe access to get to where you need to go
  • checking the equipment – not ignoring defective or damaged kit
  • not overloading or over reaching
  • protecting the area below
  • planning for emergencies or evacuations

Training

All employees required to work at height will undergo training applicable to the method selected for working at height and for the environment in which the work occurs. Training will be periodically repeated to help maintain skills and competence. Information relating to each task undertaken by us and along with a comprehensive list of associated hazards, general and common to the work location will be conveyed prior to the commencement of each activity.

Procedures

We understand that we must do all that is necessary to prevent anyone falling. Employees and others required to work at height must follow safe working practices. When working at height we will appoint a competent person to take charge, they will prepare a method statement and risk assessment for the work. Safety procedures must be understood by all workers involved and be in place prior to starting any work.

Working at height assessments and controls are also required where there is a risk a falls at ground level – eg on a loading bay, raised storage area or walkway.  Before undertaking any significant work or activities in these areas, safety briefings will be required and suitable controls must be in place.  Refer to the W@H assessment form and ask our safety consultants for help if required.

Work Related Stress

Policy

Material Concepts has a responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of its staff and recognises that their well-being is important to its success.  The prevention and effective management of stress is the responsibility of the Proprietors who will require assistance from the Supervisors.

We believe that all employees have the right to expect that their working conditions and relationships will be such that they do not result in prolonged stress symptoms.

This policy and procedure is an indication that we are committed to:

  • Preventing in so far is practicable employee stress resulting from work practices, excessive workloads or interpersonal relationships within the workplace.
  • Where work-related stress does occur, taking steps to minimise the impact of this stress on individuals.
  • Providing training and support to help the Proprietor and employees understand and recognise the nature, causes and management of work-related stress, and to prevent or minimise work-related stress.

The Proprietor will continuously assess and monitor the work-related stress levels of their staff through:

  • Formal and informal supervision of staff members
  • Formal performance appraisal of staff members
  • Formal and informal meetings / discussions with staff members
  • Formal and informal performance / conduct / absence management
  • Meetings / discussions with employees
  • Investigation of comments / complaints from staff members
  • Investigation of accidents, injuries, diseases, dangerous occurrences and other incidents

If the work-related stress levels of one or more staff members appear to be rising, the Proprietor will take appropriate action.

The Proprietor will provide reasonable support to all staff members who are absent from work due to work-related stress, in order to assist their return to work.

Staff members have responsibility for their own work-related stress levels, and should try to help themselves and their colleagues wherever possible.  Staff are encouraged to make suggestions for reducing work-related stress.

Staff should discuss any problems with their Manager.  If the manager is a cause for stress, staff members may contact a head office or an alternative senior person.  Normally, staff members should try to resolve problems informally.  If the result of an informal approach is unsatisfactory, staff members may raise the issue formally.

Staff should accept opportunities for counselling etc, when this is recommended.

Recognising the symptoms of stress in others:

  • Increases in overall sickness absence, particularly frequent short term sickness absence
  • Poor work performance: less output, lower quality, poor decision-making
  • Changes in relationships at work: conflict between colleagues
  • Changes in staff attitude and behaviour: loss of motivation or commitment, poor time-keeping, working longer hours but with diminishing effectiveness
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • High accident rates

In yourself

  • Tiredness, aching muscles, disturbed sleep
  • Loss of appetite, indigestion, stomach problems
  • Loss of sexual drive
  • Dependence on alcohol or drugs, excessive smoking
  • Headaches
  • Inability to relax
  • A sense of being out of control
  • Difficulty retaining information
  • Poor concentration and indecisiveness
  • Worrying
  • Increased irritability
  • Increased incidence of frequent short term sickness absence
  • Change in attitudes to work / colleagues
  • Feeling anxious or depressed

Some of these symptoms may not be stress related but could indicate a more serious underlying condition.  If the symptoms persist please consult your GP.

Work Related Violence

We accept the Health and Safety Executive’s definition of work-related violence i.e. a violent incident is:

“any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to work.”

We consider that work-related violence is unacceptable and our aim is to reduce to the lowest reasonably practicable level, the likelihood of you being exposed to violence and aggression while at work.

We will identify all activities where there is the potential for work-related violence and will ensure that the risk assessments for these activities consider the hazards of violence and aggression. This will include activities involving direct contact with members of the public or involving the handling of money and/or desirable goods.

Where you may be exposed to risks of work-related violence, we will inform you of the findings of the relevant risk assessments and we will seek to reduce these risks to the lowest reasonably practicable levels by implementing engineered and procedural control measures. Where we identify that training and instruction will help to reduce risks, you will be provided with such training. This will include, but will not be limited to:-

  • how to identify potential incidents of violence before they happen;
  • how to prevent incidents from developing;
  • appropriate behaviour for providing non-confrontational services to public;
  • actions to take in the event of a violent incident.

If you feel that you are losing control of a situation or that the other person is becoming aggressive, you should try to withdraw and obtain assistance. The type of assistance provided will depend on the situation.

If the Proprietor considers that it is the best way to calm a situation, an aggressive person will be asked to leave the premises.

If it is believed that an aggressor is in possession of an offensive weapon then the police will be called immediately (preferably unknown to the aggressor).  You should not attempt to disarm an assailant unless personal injury is imminent. You should not pick up an object to use as a weapon except in self-defence.

Your safety and that of members of the public are paramount and entirely outweigh the value of any money or property that could be stolen.  You are not expected to foil a raid or to try to prevent theft, if doing so would put any person’s life in danger.

All incidents involving work-related violence or aggression must be recorded. This applies to incidents where there are no injuries as well as to those where injuries occur.

Younger Workers

We recognise our requirements under The Management of Health and Safety at Work and we will carry out a specific risk assessment for young persons (those under 18), taking into account:no-gap

  • inexperience, lack of awareness of risks and immaturity of young people;
  • the workplace and equipment;
  • the nature and degree of exposure to harm;
  • organisation of processes and activities;
  • training and competence.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 


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