Tag Archives for " health and safety "

Don’t let your organisation become a statistic

HSE Health and Safety Statistics 2012/2013

Health and safety is often given a hard press as it can be used as an excuse for preventing staff, customers and those in an organisation’s care from doing certain activities.

Think about bans on playing conkers, wearing glasses on bouncy castles, and more topically, workers being banned from putting up Christmas decorations around their desks.  In some cases, there may be good reasons for restrictions, but H&S is often used to mask the real thinking behind them.

However Health and Safety regulations do serve a useful purpose, and this is borne out when you review the accident statistics for the UK.

Despite a host of rules and regulations being in place an astonishing number of people become injured or are taken suddenly unwell whilst at work each year. Recent statistics from the HSE for the reporting year 2012 / 2013 show that during the year:

  • 148 were killed at work
  • 78,000 other injuries to employees were reported to RIDDOR
  • 175,000 over 7-day absence injuries occurred
  • 27 million working days were lost due to work related-related illness  and accidents

(source HSE annual statistics 2012/2013)

Obviously this costs both in the financial sense as well as the loss, pain, injury and discomfort for the individuals involved and their families.

Carrying out a thorough risk assessment, and putting in place the resultant safety measures, robust procedures and well trained first aiders is of paramount importance. In the event of an emergency you want to know that there are people around who can confidently help until the emergency services arrive.

As the New Year approaches you should be doing the following:

  1. Reviewing your risk assessments in light of changes to your organisation over the last 12 months
  2. Updating your first aid needs analysis to see whether your working practices / employees have changed
  3. Reviewing your first aid procedures
  4. Assessing whether you  have adequate numbers of first aiders to cover shifts/different buildings/annual leave etc
  5. Considering whether having a defibrillator on site might be of benefit to your workforce
  6. Checking that your first aid kits are correctly stocked, with in-date contents
  7. Checking whether your first aiders up to date with their qualifications and whether they are confident that they could deal with an emergency

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The clocks have now gone back and winter is around the corner. Whilst the weather to date has been fairly mild we do not know how harsh winter will be. So before the weather turns really cold and you start using the heating and fires, service the boiler and check that chimneys and flues are clear.

Causes of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

It is not just gas appliances that can produce carbon monoxide, coal, wood, petrol and oil can also produce it too. Many may think that if you have a “living flame” gas fire you don’t need to sweep the chimney, this is not true. Those chimneys still need to be swept regularly to clear any blockages in order to prevent levels of carbon monoxide building up and causing low level poisoning.


Over 50 people die and more than 200 are admitted to hospital each year in the UK as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. A further 4000 a year suffer from low level effects of the gas. The All Party Gas Safety Parliamentary Group stated earlier this week, (as reported by the Daily Telegraph newspaper), that this is costing the NHS approximately £178 million a year, not including the human cost of loss of life.

Spotting Danger

Take a moment to look at your gas appliances:

  • The gas flame should be blue. If the flame is lazy yellow or orange your appliance may be faulty.
  • Does the pilot light keep blowing out?
  • Is there any dark staining around appliances?
  • Is there an increase in condensation inside windows?

Some deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning may be preventable if people take a little time to service their gas appliances.

Prevention Measures

Ensure your boilers and appliances are serviced yearly by Gas Safe registered engineers – the have a useful Gas Safe engineer finder on their website. Also, ensure that you have fitted an audible carbon monoxide detector and have checked that it is working. You are particularly vulnerable to poisoning whilst asleep.

Carbon Monoxide alarms are relatively inexpensive. Check that it conforms to the British Standard EN 50291 mark or BSEN 50291 mark. The alarm should also have a British or European Kitemark or other European testing approval mark. Most of us now have smoke alarms and consider them to be essential to our home safety, should we not also consider carbon monoxide alarms to be just as vital?

If you want to learn more about dealing with first aid emergencies, including CPR and other treatments, take a look at the first aid courses we have on offer.

Riddor Reporting Changes

On 12th September, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) changed the way in which work related injuries are to be reported. In addition, from 30th September, they closed their Infoline telephone service, starting instead to direct all enquiries to the HSE website.

Legal Requirement

All businesses are required by law  (the Reporting of Injuries and Dangerous Occurrence Regulations-  RIDDOR) to report any deaths, causes of disease, injuries that are directly attributable to the workplace  and near misses relating to the workplace.

For most businesses the part of the regulations that applies most frequently are those injuries that cause the injured person to be off work or unable to do their normal working duties for more than three  consecutive days (not including the day of the accident). These must be reported within 10 days of the incident.

The types of injuries that are reportable include death, fractures (except to thumbs, fingers, toes), amputations, loss of sight, burns, and any loss of consciousness or any injury that requires treatment in hospital.

Online Reporting

From now on these injuries can be reported via one of 7 new online forms which are designed to be easy to use and send with the click of a button. They may be found at on the HSE’s RIDDOR site.

For most  businesses this won’t cause too much trouble, as much of our working life is now done online.

If you’d like more information, please visit the HSE, or take a look at our What is RIDDOR FAQ.


Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night

The clocks have gone back and the trees are rapidly losing their leaves.

Autumn with its crisp cold mornings and damp foggy days is upon us yet again. Now that Halloween is over the next event to look forward to is 5 November – Bonfire Night.

I love the smell of Bonfire smoke, mixed with the smell of firework powder and baked potatoes and having excited children gasping at pretty displays in the sky. However this is a time of year when accidents can and do happen with alarming regularity as people throw caution to the winds and forget some pretty basic health and safety guidelines.

Did you know that a sparkler reaches 2000°C? That is 20 times the boiling point of water!
Did you also know that firework rockets can travel at up to 150 miles per hour?


Every year approximately 1000 people are seriously injured by fireworks, many of them at parties held at home. Most injuries are to the hands and face which can require grafting and lengthy stays in hospital. To avoid injury go to an organised firework display but if you are going to hold a bonfire party at home there are few basic things you should remember to do and follow the firework code:

The Firework Code

Before they explode read the code!

  1. Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
  2. Never give sparklers to a child under 5
  3. Buy fireworks marked BS 7114
  4. Keep fireworks in a closed box
  5. Follow the instructions on each firework
  6. Light them at arm’s length using a taper
  7. Stand well back
  8. Never go back to a lit firework
  9. Never put fireworks in your pocket
  10. Never throw fireworks
  11. Keep pets indoors

And Don’t Forget…

  • Don’t drink alcohol if you are setting off fireworks.
  • Always supervise children around fireworks.
  • Only take fireworks out of their box one at a time.
  • Read firework instructions by torchlight, and never a naked flame.
  • Keep a bucket of water handy. Used fireworks should be collected after the display with care. Douse with water, bury or place in a metal container.

What to do if you get hurt

If you are injured by a firework the important thing is to cool the area immediately with cold water, and to keep cooling for a minimum of 10 minutes. This takes the heat out of the wound and prevents further “cooking” of the skin. Remove jewellery where possible and clothing if it hasn’t stuck. Then wrap the area in clingfilm to keep it clean and protected and seek medical advice.

Lastly, Have Fun But Remember to BE SAFE, NOT SORRY

Further reading: