Home Working Risk Assessment
With the new guidelines being released from the Government encouraging anyone who can work from home to do so, have you as a company considered the risks associated with this?
When any employees work from home they are owed the same duty of care by their employer as those working in an office environment. To do this employers are legally obliged to ensure a risk assessment is completed. This risk assessment should consider those risks similar to those in an office environment such as slips, trips and falls, muscular skeletal, fire and manual handling etc. In addition to this, the employer should consider the risks of lone working.
We have put together a simple risk assessment to be completed by your employees who are working from home during this time. Please feel free to download and use this in your workplace.
Government’s guidance on coronavirus for employers and businesses
The UK Government has published a guide which will assist employers and businesses in providing advice to employees on coronavirus.
The guide includes information and advice on:
- the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, including the signs and symptoms;
- how to prevent the spread of all respiratory infections, including the novel virus;
- what to do if someone with suspected or confirmed infection with COVID-19 has been in a worplace setting;
- what advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areas;
- cleaning offices and public spaces and handling waste where there are suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19;
- advice for the certification of absence from work resulting from the novel infection.
The World Health Organisation also released some information on the rights, roles and responsibilities of health workers, including key considerations for occupational safety and health.
For more information on this subject, see:
- COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses;
- Coronavirus Disease Outbreak: Rights, roles and responsibilities of health workers, including key considerations for occupational safety and health.
HSE to oversee new measures to improve building safety
The government has announced that a new building safety regulator will be established and has proposed to accelerate the removal of combustible cladding from buildings countrywide.
Intended to raise building safety and performance standards, including overseeing a new, more stringent regime for higher-risk buildings, housing secretary Robert Jenrick announced the immediate establishment of a new Building Safety Regulator within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). He also announced a proposal to extend the existing combustible cladding ban and accelerate its removal from buildings across the country.
“Building owners are responsible for ensuring their buildings are safe and where there is no clear plan for remediation, the government will work with local authorities to support them in their enforcement options,” said Jenrick.
Speaking in the House of Commons, the minister also made clear that from next month he will begin naming building owners where remediation has not started to remove unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding from their buildings.
Jenrick confirmed the government will consult on extending the ban on combustible materials to buildings below 18 m and we will seek views on how risks are assessed within existing buildings to inform future policy.
With a strong track record of working with industry and other regulators to improve safety, the HSE said it will draw on experience and the capabilities of other regulators to implement the regime. Former HSE chair Dame Judith Hackitt will chair a Board to oversee the transition.
Current HSE chair Martin Temple said he was “proud” the government has asked the HSE to establish the new regulator, describing it as “in good hands”, and while IOSH welcomed the commitment to accelerate building safety improvements, it called for “visible and tangible action” to be taken.
“While it’s positive to hear the new government declare it won’t tolerate the slow pace of improvement to building safety in the UK, which IOSH and others have raised concern over, we now need to see visible and tangible action, with these announcements just the start of an extensive and active delivery programme,” said Richard Jones, head of policy and regulatory engagement at IOSH.
“Working with the HSE will be reassuring for many, given it’s a world-class regulator that secures near universal praise nationally. It has successful experience of co-regulation, as well as operating permissioning and safety-case regimes and enforcing the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, so should be ideally placed for such a role.” But Jones warned how vital it is that it’s properly resourced for taking on this substantial additional responsibility.
HSE release 2018/19 statistics
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released its annual statistics for injury and ill-health in Great Britain – and they are still too high.
The annual report includes statistics for the following:
- work-related ill health;
- workplace injuries;
- working days lost;
- enforcement action taken;
- the associated costs to Great Britain.
Figures have shown that around 581,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries between 2018 and 2019 – and a shocking 1.4 million workers suffering from work-related ill-health. The statistics, compiled from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as well as other sources, have shown (in summary) that there were:
- 147 fatal injuries at work;
- 1.4 million working people that are suffering from a work-related illness;
- 364 cases prosecuted, and subsequently resulted in a conviction – fines from these totaled to nearly £54.5 million;
- 28.2 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury.
In total, the estimated economic cost to Great Britain totaled near to £15 billion in the period between 2017/2018. There has been no recent significant changes to industries in which there is a higher risk of sustaining an injury whilst at work, with both construction and agriculture being among the higher-risk sectors.
Despite Great Britain being one of the safest places to work, the reported figures have highlighted that there are still areas to be improved upon, in order to prevent fatalities, injuries and ill-health. The figures highlight the scale of the challenge ahead, in making the country a healthier and safer place to work.
“Great Britain’s position as one of the safest places to work should be a point of pride for us all, but these figures show that there is still much to be done to ensure the workers go home both healthy and safe. These figures should highlight to us all the vital importance of managing risk and promoting behaviours to improve the standard of good health and safety practice in the workplace.
We must all share the responsibility of ensuring everybody is aware of what they need to do to work right by preventing work-related incidents, and making our places of work healthier and safer for everyone “
to view the
Health and safety at work Summary statistics for Great Britain 2019
HSE revise guidance for exposure to welding fumes
Following their safety alert earlier this year, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have now updated their COSHH essentials advice sheets in relation to welding, cutting and allied jobs.
In February 2019 the HSE announced the introduction of enforced control measures for welding operations following the classification of welding fumes and UV radiation as a Group one carcinogenic.
All welding fume, no matter how small the amount, has the potential to cause lung cancer, so employers must ensure appropriate controls are put in place to control the risk.
Employers should consider the following order of controls for welding fumes:
- – avoidance or reduction of exposure;
- – exhaust ventilation (LEV) where work can’t be avoided;
- – respiratory protective equipment (RPE), where LEV can’t achieve adequate controls alone or is not reasonably practicable;
- – personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers undertaking any welding task.
All control measures must be maintained to ensure workers are protected from health risks and a series of health surveillance should be ongoing to monitor employee health.
As with anything related to workplace health and safety, employers must sure employees are properly trained and made aware of the risks posed by welding fumes, along with the appropriate controls in place to minimise the risks.
The revised advice sheets for welding help employers assess and control risks from hazardous substances in the workplace. They describe good practice for controlling exposure to welding fume and allied processes.
They consist of:
- WL0 – Advice for managers;
WL2 – Welding in confined/limited/restricted spaces;
WL3 – Welding fume control;
WL14 – Manual gas and oxy-gas cutting;
WL15 – Plasma arc cutting: fixed equipment;
WL16 – Arc-air gouging (air-carbon gouging);
WL18 – Surface preparation: pressure blasting (small items);
WL19 – Surface preparation: pressure blasting (medium-sized items);
WL20 – Surface preparation: pressure blasting (large items);
WL21 – Weld cleaning with pickling paste.
On the 18th of October we held our first ISO Seminar breakfast event. Diane and Jayne give us an insight into Risks and Opportunities and how to identify these in your business. We had a lovely morning meeting some new faces along with many of our current customers.
Thank you to everyone who attended.