Whenever working with any piece of equipment, it’s essential that you have received all relevant training and take the appropriate precautions to prevent any potential risk to yourself and to others.
Your first priority should be safety. Should you need any assistance with this, then please feel free to speak to your account manager, who can organize a specialist to contact you to help with all precautions.
With the HSE reporting 76,000 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR in 2014/15 and 9.9 million days lost to work related injury the importance for safety in the work place has never been more important.
The Health & Safety guides are becoming more defined with regards to neglected areas of safety such as footwear. It’s important to make sure the right type of footwear is chosen when working with machinery and equipment.
The most common form of foot protection is safety boots or steel toe-capped boots. The modern safety boot offers protection to the toe and bridge of the foot.
The base of the shoe will have protection to prevent objects penetrating from below. Protection can also be found toward the back protecting the Achilles tendons.
We would recommend that even if your H & S assessment indicates that the job has minimal risk to lower limbs, that safety boots are worn. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Eye protection options:
- Safety Spectacles – These take the appearance of normal prescription glasses however the lenses are made out of tougher materials to avoid the glass breaking
- Eye Shields – Designed to shield over normal prescription glasses offering a convenient solution
- Safety Goggles – these semi-flexible plastic goggles come with an elasticated headband, designed to offer protection against small particles due to the tight fit across the eye brows, around the eyes and over the bridge of the nose
- Face Shield – A heavy duty option which is used for projects such as welding. Different jobs may require specific types of face shields. A face shield offers full front of face protection, however cannot offer protection from dust or gases
The Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that over 90% of all eye injuries can be prevented by using appropriates safety products. Make sure you wear the appropriate equipment at all times.
Potential Hazards people eyes are most exposed to on site are:
- Metal splash
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) can minimize the risk of injury or permanent damage.
Head protection became compulsory by the Health and Safety Executive on 30th March 1990 as a way of reducing the 60 deaths and 1000 plus head injuries reported each year.
The H & S Executive guidance is as follows:
- Wear the helmet the right way round. It does not give proper protection when worn back to front. Safety comes before fashion.
- Keep a supply of helmets for visitors on site. These should be checked before each issue.
- Wear a chinstrap if you have to bend forward or down, look up or work where it is windy.
- Wear the helmet so that the brim is level when the head is upright. Wearing it sloping up or down may significantly reduce the protection it can provide.
- Don’t use your helmet as a handy basket – it is designed to fit on your head, not for mixing cement or carrying nails.
- Don’t paint it or use solvents to stick labels to it, or scratch an identification mark onto it: the shell could weaken and rapidly deteriorate. The manufacturer can be asked to add a label.
- Don’t store your hat in heat or direct sunlight, such as in the back of a car. Excessive heat and sunlight can quickly weaken the plastic.
- Don’t share your helmet with anyone else on site.
- Don’t modify, cut or drill your helmet
Training and Competence at Work
Some items will require specific training to ensure the correct safety standards are being met.
What the HSE say:
“Employers must ensure that all persons who use work equipment have received adequate training for the purposes of health and safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using work equipment, and risks which such use may entail and the precautions to be taken.’ (PUWER regulation 9). There is a similar duty to ensure adequate training in relation to supervisory and managerial staff.”
It is not possible to detail here what constitutes ‘adequate training’, as requirements will vary according to:
- The job or activity
- The existing competence of workers
- The circumstances of the work (eg, degree of supervision)
- The work equipment etc.
The training standard required should be adequate in ensuring the health and safety of your workers and any people who may be affected by the work, so far as reasonably practicable.
However, the general PUWER Approved Code of Practice and guidance specifically mentions two situations imposing minimum training obligations, in relation to:
“All workers who use a chainsaw should be competent to do so. Before using a chainsaw to carry out work on or in a tree, a worker should have received appropriate training and obtained a relevant certificate of competence or national competence award, unless they are undergoing such training and are adequately supervised. However, in the agricultural sector, this requirement only applies to first-time users of a chainsaw.”
‘You should ensure that self-propelled work equipment, including any attachments or towed equipment, is only driven by workers who have received appropriate training in the safe driving of such work equipment.’
In connection with lift trucks, a further Approved Code of Practice and guidance (ACOP) supporting PUWER, Rider-operated lift trucks: Operator training, specifies that:
“Employers should not allow anyone to operate, even on a very occasional basis, lift trucks within the scope of this ACOP who have not satisfactorily completed basic training and testing as described in this ACOP, except for those undergoing such training under adequate supervision.’ The guidance accompanying this ACOP mentions three stages of training: ‘basic’, ‘specific job’ and ‘familiarisation.’”
The Rider-operated lift trucks ACOP also requires those providing the training to have undergone appropriate training in instructional techniques and skills assessment, together with sufficient industrial experience and knowledge of working environments to put their instruction in context.