Topic: Health & Safety

Why are the HSE charging me for a visit?

Fee for Intervention (FFI) is HSE’s cost recovery regime implemented from 1 October 2012, under regulations 23 to 25 of The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012 link to external website. These Regulations put a duty on HSE to recover its costs for carrying out its regulatory functions from those found to be in material breach of health and safety law.

How does it work?

HSE’s inspectors inspect work activities and investigate incidents and complaints. If, when visiting a business, they see material breaches of the law, the business or organisation will have to pay a fee. The fee is based on the amount of time that the inspector has had to spend identifying the material breach, helping businesses to put it right, investigating and taking enforcement action.

What is a material breach?

A material breach is when, in the opinion of the HSE inspector, there is or has been a contravention of health and safety law that requires them to issue notice in writing of that opinion to the dutyholder. Written notification from an HSE inspector may be by a notification of contravention, an improvement or prohibition notice, or a prosecution and must include the following information:

  • the law that the inspector’s opinion relates to;
  • the reasons for their opinion; and
  • notification that a fee is payable to HSE.

How much will it cost?

From 1 October 2012, the fee payable by dutyholders found to be in material breach of the law is £129 per hour. The total amount to be recovered will be based on the amount of time it takes HSE to identify and conclude its regulatory action, in relation to the material breach (including associated office work), multiplied by the relevant hourly rate.

The latest figures show that as of August 2015, the HSE sent 2922 invoices for a total of £2.01 million, an average of £715 each.

How do HSE and local authorities decide who to visit?

They do this on the basis of risk. They concentrate their work where the risks are likely to be highest and where it will have the greatest impact, in particular where:

  • They have evidence that health and safety performance is poor – either in your own business or sector, or if the type of work you do shows a high rate of accidents or ill health. Whilst visiting your business the HSE Inspector will concentrate on the risks identified as priorities for national health and safety improvements (for instance falls from height or on the level) because they have the greatest potential to improve health and safety performance nationally.
  • You operate in one of a number of hazardous industries (for example, offshore, nuclear, rail, some chemicals, and explosives). Most of these industries operate under a safety case or licensing regime. This requires them to carry out a prior assessment of a safety case you will have prepared setting out how you have identified and controlled the hazards in your business which could endanger both your workers and\or members of the public. When they visit your business, they are seeking assurance that the various controls, both engineering and organisational, are in place and being operated effectively within a proportionate and positive health and safety culture.
  • They want to investigate a specific incident(accident or work-related illness) or complaint. They concentrate their efforts here on the most severe incidents – those resulting in deaths or major injuries – or those that link to their priorities for national health and safety improvements. Their inspectors’ investigation will seek to find out what went wrong and to learn the lessons both for your business and for others that do similar type of work.

 

An employee has had an accident at work, what do I do now?

accident-image

When do I need to report an incident/accident?

For most types of incident, including:

  • accidents resulting in the death of any person
  • accidents resulting in specified injuries to workers
  • non-fatal accidents requiring hospital treatment to non-workers and
  • dangerous occurrences

the responsible person must notify the enforcing authority without delay, in accordance with the reporting procedure (Schedule 1). This is most easily done by reporting online:

Alternatively, for fatal accidents or accidents resulting in specified injuries to workers only, you can phone 0345 300 9923.

NB: A report must be received within 10 days of the incident.

Types of reportable incidents

Deaths and injuries

If someone has died or has been injured because of a work-related accident this may have to be reported. Not all accidents need to be reported, other than for certain gas incidents RIDDOR report is required only when:

  • the accident is work related
  • it results in an injury of a type which is reportable

Types of reportable injury

The death of any person

All deaths to workers and non-workers, with the exception of suicides, must be reported if they arise from a work-related accident, including an act of physical violence to a worker.

Specified injuries to workers

The list of ‘specified injuries’ in RIDDOR 2013 replaces the previous list of ‘major injuries’ in RIDDOR 1995. Specified injuries are (regulation 4):

  • fractures, other than to fingers, thumbs and toes
  • amputations
  • any injury likely to lead to permanent loss of sight or reduction in sight
  • any crush injury to the head or torso causing damage to the brain or internal organs
  • serious burns (including scalding) which:
    • covers more than 10% of the body
    • causes significant damage to the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs
  • any scalping requiring hospital treatment
  • any loss of consciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia
  • any other injury arising from working in an enclosed space which:
    • leads to hypothermia or heat-induced illness
    • requires resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours

Over-seven-day incapacitation of a worker

Accidents must be reported where they result in an employee or self-employed person being away from work, or unable to perform their normal work duties, for more than seven consecutive days as the result of their injury. This seven day period does not include the day of the accident, but does include weekends and rest days. The report must be made within 15 days of the accident.

Over-three-day incapacitation

Accidents must be recorded, but not reported where they result in aworker being incapacitated for more than three consecutive days. If you are an employer, who must keep an accident book under the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1979, that record will be enough.

Non fatal accidents to non-workers (eg members of the public)

Accidents to members of the public or others who are not at work must be reported if they result in an injury and the person is taken directly from the scene of the accident to hospital for treatment to that injury. Examinations and diagnostic tests do not constitute ‘treatment’ in such circumstances.

There is no need to report incidents where people are taken to hospital purely as a precaution when no injury is apparent.

Do employees have responsibilities when it comes to manual handling?

Yes, Employees must:

  • Follow the appropriate systems of work laid down for their safety.
  • Make proper use of the equipment provided for their safety.
  • Co-operate with their employer on Health & Safety matters.
  • Inform the employer if they identify hazardous manual handling activities.
  • Take care to ensure that their activities do not put others at risk.

How can manual handling be avoided?

Mechanical aids are a prime example of ways to avoid manual handing tasks. The following are some of the most common mechanical aids;

  • Conveyors
  • Pallet Trucks
  • Hoists
  • Trolleys
  • Wheel Barrows
  • For Lift Trucks
  • Sack Trolleys

What Risk factors should be considered in a Risk Assessment?

Factors covered by the Risk Assessment can fall into the following categories;

The Tasks

  • Holding or handling loads away from the body.
  • Awkward movements such as twisting or stooping
  • Excessive lowering or lifting distances
  • Excessive carrying distances, pushing or pulling
  • Sudden movements of loads
  • The Load
  • Heavy weights
  • Bulky or difficult to hold loads
  • Unstable loads – beware of contents that may shift
  • Loads that may be damaging to hold. E.g. Hot, cold, sharp or slippery loads
  • The Working Environment
  • Changes in floor levels
  • Trailing wires
  • Vehicle routes
  • Rough or Slippery floor surfaces
  • Individual Capability
  • Lack of understanding or knowledge. For example new or young members of staff
  • Physical restrictions as a result of health or mental conditions
  • Whether the individual is pregnancy

How do I assess Risks in my workplace?

There are 5 steps to assessing the risks in your workplace.

Step 1: Identify the hazards.

Step 2: Decide who might be harmed and how.

Step 3: Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions.

Step 4: Record your findings and implement them.

Step 5: Review your risk assessment and update if. necessary.

What is a Risk Assessment?

A risk assessment is the identification, evaluation, and estimation of the levels of risks involved in a situation, their comparison against benchmarks or standards, and determination of an acceptable level of risk.

You can then identify if there are sufficient precautions to prevent an accidents or whether you need to do more to prevent harm. Whomever comes into contact with your business, including employees or members of the public, have the right to be protected from harm caused because of a lack of reasonable control measures.

Accidents can ruin lives and affect your businesses if output is lost, equipment is broken, insurance costs increase or you are required to go to court.

You are legally required to assess risks in your workplace so that implement plans to control risks.

What are an employer’s responsibilities under the law?

Each employer must remove the need for employees to undertake hazardous manual handling activities as far as is reasonably practicable. When this is not reasonably practicable, steps must be introduced to reduce the risk as much as possible. To facilitate this a risk assessment must be written so that appropriate risk reductions measures can be implemented.

The employer also has the duty to, when possible, provide information about the load. This includes the total weight of each load and the heaviest side, if the centre of gravity is not positioned centrally.

What constitutes a Manual Handling operation?

Manual Handling is any task involving supporting or transporting any load by human effort. This includes the following actions (HSE Definition – any transporting or supporting of a load including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof by hand or bodily force)