Safetyline 38

H & S UPDATE FEBRUARY 2004

Motorway accidents show that the hard shoulder is a very dangerous place and drivers should only stop if there is a real emergency and there is no other choice. However, practical tips for drivers about what to do if you have to use the hard shoulder can be found on www.rac.co.uk/racworld/issues/hard_shoulder.

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Poor maintenance on guards on lathes (CNC turning machines) put workers in the engineering sector at serious risk. Research has shown that some materials used in the construction of vision panels, particularly the polycarbonate window, deteriorate over time and may not protect operators from parts ejected with high energy. HSE has issued advice on what to look for and options for improving guards. The leaflet “CNC turning machines – controlling risks from ejected parts” can be found on http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/engindex.htm

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A manual handling assessment chart designed to help identify high-risk jobs can be found on a HSE website on musculoskeletal disorders. The website contains case studies, guidance and research, and answers questions on issues such as risk assessment, display screen equipment use and manual handling. The chart is intended to aid easy and accurate assessments of three different types of operation – lifting, carrying and team handling. The chart does not provide a “suitable and sufficient” risk assessment and must be used in conjunction with a risk assessment procedure based on the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. www.hse.gov.uk/msd/mac/index.htm

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The European Solvents industry Group (ESIG) have summarised the key factors to be borne in mind when using solvents. The relevant tips are: -

·         Understand the solvent and its properties. Refer to the supplier’s MSDS

·         Eliminate all ignition sources and minimise static build up by using suitable equipment and earthing arrangements.

·         Ensure good ventilation at all times

·         Work at ambient temperatures

·         Provide information, instruction, and training to all persons handling solvents.

·         Report all incidents and provide clean up and disposal facilities.

·         For bulk containers, provide secondary containment, e.g. bunding or trays.

·         Develop a short succinct emergency plan.

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HSE have produced guidance for employers who employ staff who work alone or who could be at risk of violence against their person in their daily job. If you require your staff to work alone then you should full assess the risks associated with the work you want them to do and ensure that you take the appropriate precautions to minimise risks to your staff. Guidance has been placed on the Safety Services web site in the Guidance section. Further guidance can be found in www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/violindx.htm.

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The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens has published guidance explaining employers’ legal duties under COSHH regulations to control exposure to infectious diseases in the workplace. The guide, “Infection at Work: Controlling the Risks” advises how to identify potential risks to employees’ health. Copies of the guide can be downloaded and printed off free from www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/danpath.htm

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Guidance on use of skin sensitisers is available from the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work. It includes a list of common sensitisers and the occupations most at risk from exposure to each. It emphasises the important distinction that chemical allergies develop slowly over a period of time while protein allergies (e.g. to latex) can appear very rapidly. The information can be found at http://osha.eu.int/ew2003/


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This information has been provided by b.a.coddington@sheffield.ac.uk,
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