There are some key areas that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are focusing on in 2023 as part of their strategy for 2022-2032, which focuses on reducing work-related ill health. In this bulletin we have put information together some of the most common ones, and the checks you can make to make sure you’re covered.
Every year, there are accidents involving transport in the workplace, some of which result in people being killed. People are knocked down, run over, or crushed against fixed parts by vehicles (e.g., HGVs, lift trucks and tractors), plant and trailers. People also fall from vehicles – whether getting on or off, working at height, or when loading or unloading.
Your risk assessment must consider all workplace transport activities such as loading and unloading. It will help if you:
- look carefully at how all the vehicles and people move round your workplace
- mark the traffic and pedestrian movements on a plan so you can see where pedestrians and vehicles interact
- identify improvements that will reduce the contact between pedestrians and vehicles
- remember to include less frequent tasks, e.g., waste skip changes
- make sure you consider delivery drivers as they are particularly vulnerable
- Every workplace must be safe for the people and vehicles using it.
- Workplace traffic routes must be suitable for the people and vehicles using them.
- Where vehicles and pedestrians share a traffic route, there must be enough separation between them.
DSEAR (Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002)
Dangerous substances can put peoples’ safety at risk from fire and explosion. DSEAR puts duties on employers and the self-employed to protect people from risks to their safety from fires, explosions and similar events in the workplace, this includes members of the public who may be put at risk by work activity.
- find out what dangerous substances are in their workplace and what the fire and explosion risks are;
- put control measures in place to either remove those risks or, where this is not possible, control them;
- put controls in place to reduce the effects of any incidents involving dangerous substances;
- prepare plans and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies involving dangerous substances;
- make sure employees are properly informed about and trained to control or deal with the risks from the dangerous substances;
- identify and classify areas of the workplace where explosive atmospheres may occur and avoid ignition sources (from unprotected equipment, for
example) in those areas.
DSEAR may also be relevant to some nanomaterials. As a new technology, the risks of exposure associated with nanomaterials are not currently fully understood. Whilst knowledge gaps exist, HSE recommends a precautionary approach to risk management with control strategies aiming to reduce exposure as much as possible to substances that are hazardous to health.
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 introduce new duties under the Fire Safety Order for building owners or managers (responsible persons).
The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) will regulate high-rise buildings. These are buildings with seven or more storeys, or that are 18 metres tall or higher, and either:
- Have at least two residential units
- Are hospitals or care homes (during design and construction)
Most fires are preventable. Those responsible for workplaces and other buildings to which the public have access can avoid them by taking responsibility for and adopting the right behaviours and procedures.
Employers (and/or building owners or occupiers) must carry out a fire safety risk assessment and keep it up to date. This shares the same approach as health and safety risk assessments and can be carried out either as part of an overall risk assessment or as a separate exercise.
Based on the findings of the assessment, employers need to ensure that adequate and appropriate fire safety measures are in place to minimise the risk of injury or loss of life in the event of a fire. Remember to review and update your risk assessment regularly.
To help prevent fire in the workplace, your risk assessment should identify what could cause a fire to start, such as sources of ignition (heat or sparks) and substances that burn, and the people who may be at risk. Once you have identified the risks, you can take appropriate action to control them. Consider whether you can avoid them altogether or, if this is not possible, how you can reduce the risks and manage them:
- keep sources of ignition and flammable substances apart
- avoid accidental fires, for example make sure heaters cannot be knocked over
- ensure good housekeeping at all times, for example avoid build-up of rubbish that could burn
Also consider how you will protect people if there is a fire:
- Consider how to detect fires and how to warn people quickly if they start, for example, installing smoke alarms and fire alarms or bells
- Have the correct fire-fighting equipment for putting a fire out quickly
- Keep fire exits and escape routes clearly marked and unobstructed at all times
- Ensure your workers receive appropriate training on procedures they need to follow, including fire drills
Employers have a legal duty to protect workers from stress at work by doing a risk assessment and acting on it.
HSE defines stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’.
Workers feel stress when they can’t cope with pressures and other issues. Employers should match demands to workers’ skills and knowledge. For example, workers can get stressed if they feel they don’t have the skills or time to meet tight deadlines. Providing planning, training and support can reduce pressure and bring stress levels down.
Stress affects people differently – what stresses one person may not affect another. Factors like skills and experience, age or disability may all affect whether a worker can cope.
There are six main areas of work design which can effect stress levels. You should manage these properly. They are:
Employers should assess the risks in these areas to manage stress in the workplace.
What are the HSE Management Standards?
HSE’s Management Standards represent a set of conditions that, if present:
- demonstrate good practice through a step-by-step risk assessment approach.
- allow assessment of the current situation using pre-existing data, surveys, and other techniques
- promote active discussion and working in partnership with employees and their representatives, to help decide on practical improvements that can be made.
- help simplify risk assessment for work-related stress by:
o identifying the main risk factors
o helping employers focus on the underlying causes and their prevention.
o providing a yardstick by which organisations can gauge their performance in tackling the key causes of stress.
They cover six key areas of work design that, if not properly managed, are associated with poor health, lower productivity and increased accident and sickness absence rates. The Management Standards are:
- Demands – this includes issues such as workload, work patterns and the work environment.
- Control – how much say the person has in the way they do their work.
- Support – this includes the encouragement, sponsorship and resources provided by the organisation, line management and colleagues.
- Relationships – this includes promoting positive working to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable behaviour.
- Role – whether people understand their role within the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles.
- Change – how organisational change (large or small) is managed and communicated in the organisation.
To effectively implement the Management Standards approach it is essential that you ensure the resource, support and infrastructure for the project is in place in your organisation.
The HSE’s ‘Tackling work-related stress using the Management Standards approach’ step-by-step workbook can be downloaded here.
For assistance in implementing these standards, or on any of the areas covered within this bulletin, please contact us, we will be happy to advise.
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01268 649006.