Archive for March, 2012

PostHeaderIcon What You Need to Know About Working with Asbestos

In the United Kingdom Asbestos is the greatest cause of work-related deaths. When certain fibresare inhaled they cause potentially-deadly diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosisand diffuse pleural thickening. Asbestos account s for around 4000 deaths per year in the UKaccording to the Health and Safety Executive, so it’s important that at risk employers do their best toprotect their people.

While asbestos fibres can be found in the environment of Great Britain, it’s thought that the totalnumber of fibres inhaled has a big impact on the likelihood of contracting an asbestos-relateddisease. These diseases don’t always affect people immediately, but are more likely to occur later onin life.
There are ways of mitigating risk from asbestos, which is especially important when working
on a structure built before 2000, especially if an asbestos check has not been carried out orcommunicated with the team. Individuals are also more at risk when they have not receivedsufficient training on working safely with asbestos or deliberately disregard warnings, proceduresand precautions. It can be hard to know if you are working safely with asbestos, as the fibres can’tbe seen or smelt.

Asbestos waste should be double-bagged and clearly labelled as asbestos waste, and LocalAuthorities might be able to help you dispose of it safely, albeit with a charge. Alternatively youcould contact the Environment Agency (or SEPA in Scotland) and they should be able to help youdispose of the waste at a licensed tip.
When working with asbestos, protective equipment such as face masks should be worn, andasbestos waste should be cleared up regularly, to stop this hazardous substance building up. If abuilding or material is full of asbestos then try to avoid creating a lot of dust, by using power toolsfor example. Dust and debris should be cleared away using a Type H vacuum cleaner for hazardousmaterials, or even wet rags which can reduce the amount of dust and fibres in the air. Debris shouldnot be swept as this creates more dust.

Find out if asbestos-containing materials are present and plan any work around not disturbing thesematerials if this is possible. Anyone working with asbestos materials should be properly trainedand supervised. They should also be aware of whether the work needs to be carried out by a HSE-licensed contractor. Work should be fully explained, and appropriate equipment should be providedwhich is clean, functional and protects workers against the risks of asbestos.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 brings together three previous sets of regulations coveringworking with asbestos. It prohibit the importation, supply and use of asbestos, and uphold the bandon blue and brown asbestos introduced in 1985 and white asbestos in 1999. Second-hand use ofasbestos products is also banned, including using panels which have been covered with asbestos-containing substances. This only applies to new uses of asbestos; if existing materials containasbestos and are in good condition they can be left in place, checked and monitored.

You can read the full set of regulations on the Health and Safety Executive site.
Alan Cairns writes on a number of subjects including construction and cherry picker hire.



PostHeaderIcon Aviva study suggests now is the time for asset tagging

New figures have shown that summer could be a prime time for opportunistic thieves to target homes with outdoor equipment – making asset tagging your belongings over the coming months an absolute necessity.

According to research published this month by Aviva, the number of thefts from gardens and outbuildings increases by around 25 per cent when the clocks go forward, with power tools (42 per cent), lawn mowers (19 per cent) and other equipment among the things targeted by criminals. It even suggests things like rakes are often stolen from outside peoples’ homes!

Commenting on the shocking findings, household underwriting manager at Aviva Peter Ketteringham said that while many will welcome the extra hours of sunlight that comes at this time of year, it also makes valuable items that are left lying around in plain sight easier to spot – which is why homeowners need to take a more vigilant approach to security.

“Try not to advertise what you’ve got,” he explained. “Make sure sheds and summerhouses are properly secured and clear up your garden every evening so there’s nothing lying around that could tempt a criminal on to your property – and bear in mind that loose items like ladders and wheelie bins are perfect for burglars to use to get into your home, so shut them away, out of sight if you can.”

Of course, we are also big advocates of extra security measures that can make burglars think twice about poaching your belongings at, including easy-to-use asset tags. Aviva’s offered a wealth of professional advice here. However, I’d also recommend that people order an array of asset tags to protect their property. These adhesive labels might be small, but they can deter thieves and help keep track of lost or stolen items.

So, if you’ve got expensive tools like drills, lawn mowers, chainsaws and strimmers, now is definitely the time to be labelling them up. It won’t cost you that much and it shouldn’t take you that long, but it could be just the kind of deterrent that saves you money and inconvenience in the long run.


PostHeaderIcon Health and Safety Audit? These tips will help you keep above the bar

Health and safety audits in the United Kingdom are notoriously strict when it comes to compliance
with the 1992 workplace health safety and welfare act. Considering that the auditors can fail you on
some of the most ridiculous of reasons, I will provide some tips I’ve learned from being the assigned
health and safety representative for a large business based in Birmingham.

Assign a representative, and incentivise them!

This should be the first thing you do! Management with previous experience with legislation
compliance should be amongst your ideal candidates. Arrange quarterly reports from them to
ensure that they are working efficiently. Now you have some accountability in place, you can take a
look around for any obvious infractions.

Employee Welfare

Toilets, drinking water, changing rooms and eating areas all fall under the welfare section of the
workplace health and safety act. Ensure that drinking water is provided from a clean and regularly
refilled container.

Sanitary conveniences and washing facilities should be able to easily service the capacity of your
workforce. For example, one cubicle is not enough for a business with 100 or so employees. Are
these facilities constantly packed with large queues? This should be taken into consideration in
addition to the effectiveness of your cleaning staff, take a UV light to your washroom facilities to
check if all precautions are being taken to eliminate the residual of biological waste.


Even though the probability of electrical failure is miniscule, keeping all of your mains powered
electronic devices PAT tested is essential with legislation compliance, especially when these devices
are coming in contact with the public. The condition of your property should be monitored to ensure
that it has the appropriate stability and solidity for use.

Floors and “traffic routes” should be kept clear and clean by your staff, most accidents tend to occur
in high traffic areas, so your health and safety representative should take careful note of these spots.
Most of this part is simply common sense, as it doesn’t take a genius to note a dangerous area.
Make sure all potentially hazardous materials are marked, and your employees are aware about
their placement.


The health part of the legislation is mostly common sense. Are your employees working in an
acceptable environment? Is there fresh, clean air being ventilated in your workplace? Is your
ventilation solution providing an acceptable, cool environment for your employees to function
properly? The legislation states that workplaces should be at least 16 °C; if the work involves
physical effort it should be at least 13 °C (Unless other laws require lower temperatures).
Lighting should be sufficient to enable people to work and move around safely. Room dimensions
and space should be sufficient for the number of employees working on the property. A lot of
these can be worked out by simply looking around and talking to employees about any unsafe or
unsavoury conditions.

I hope that this has been a relatively simple way of looking at this legislation, use your common
sense and have your health and safety representative study the appropriate materials, they are not
lengthy, and can prove to be advantageous in the wellbeing of your employees.

Jennifer is a health and safety consultant providing business with clear strategies to combat
workplace accidents and the associated health and safety risks. For more information on washroom
services Nottingham
and other aspects relating to this article such as clinical waste disposal
then please visit City Healthcare.

PostHeaderIcon Exploring the Issue of Patient Safety in Hospitals and Care Homes

Patient care is an issue which frequently arises across the world and it will continue to do so as more regulations arise to help ensure improved levels of patient safety. Hospitals and care homes are filled with potentially vulnerable individuals and nurses and care providers have an extremely important, yet undeniably difficult, role to play in guaranteeing the safety of the patients they are charged with looking after.

The profession of nursing is highly pressurised and these care givers have a lot of responsibility placed firmly on their shoulders to provide a level of care to our loved ones when they are in hospital or a care home facility. As it is such a crucial position to fill and people’s lives will often, literally, depend on the quality of care that they will receive it is important to look at the issue of patient safety and what measures can be put in place to help facilitate it.

A Helping Hand

In order to achieve the levels of patient safety that society demands of its hospitals and care homes, regulated systems and processes need to be established that will facilitate this through the reduction of errors amongst nursing staff and the use of technology that helps prevent emergencies before they arise – such as nurse call systems. Anything which has the capability to enhance patient safety records needs to be seriously considered as a must amongst health care facilities and nurse call systems are certainly a piece of apparatus that falls into this bracket.

The fast paced nature of hospitals and care homes where time is often of the essence and nursing and care providers need to act quickly to situations, technology which gives them as much forewarning as possible is extremely important. It is, of course, apparent that technology is improving all the time as advancements are made and an example of this can be witnessed by the fact that the vast majority of nurse call systems used in healthcare facilities are now wireless and allow for multi-zonal monitoring of patients – a advancement which has helped make the workload of nurses more streamlined.

Nurses need to be vigilant of all the risks that their patients may potentially face and do all they can to eliminate these risks and respond during times of emergency. As mentioned, the vulnerability of patients in hospitals and care homes (illness, old age etc) means that they need to rely on the expertise and skills of nurses and whilst the responsibility of this vast, it is also a highly rewarding profession as you are helping keep people safe and looking after them in a time of need.