Health & Safety with Equipment & Machinery

machinery

Weburbanist (no date) Puzzling 3D Digital Steam-Style Art of Kazuhiko Nakamura [online] Available at:[Accessed 29th December 2013]

When researching into the health and safety of equipment and machinery I realised that there was two different ways to look at this issue. The first being if you were a designer that actually designed equipment to be used and the second being if you were an employee needing to use equipment and or machinery.

Looking at a this area from a design perspective was very interesting as I never realised the regulations that had to be met before equipment would even make it to a works environment. There is an extensive list of UK product safety regulations which must be met surrounding the construction or design of new or refurbished equipment. It was also my understanding that any equipment made would need to meet these standards and that the person in charge of these standards being met is either the product manager or an authorised representative of the product. All responsibility lies with this person in the event something goes wrong and these standards are found not to have been met. Below is a link telling you all the information you need to know if you are a equipment or machinery designer.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/manufacturer.htm

Now the use of work equipment or machinery falls under the Provision of Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 also known as PUWER. The list of requirements for the use of equipment is very heavy going but understandable so that no mistakes are made when equipment is being used. I also didn’t realise that work equipment that employees even bring into work to use themselves fall under this regulation making any item like this fall under the work equipment ‘umbrella’. The scope for the actual use of work equipment is also very wide and covers pretty much all activity that falls in that area such as the starting, stopping, programming, setting, transporting, repairing, modifying, maintaining, servicing and cleaning of machinery or equipment. Again below is a link which gives all the information surrounding the use of work equipment in a work environment.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/puwer.htm

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Health & Safety in Working Environments

office

Nikiniku (no date) Modern Office Workstation Designed from ZG Group [online] Available at:[Accessed 27th December 2013]

All employers have set regulations which they must follow to provide the basis of a healthy and safe working environment. Again the HSE (Health & Safety Executive) website gives an extensive breakdown of all the information which employers need to know. I can imagine starting up a new business can be extremely stressful especially to ensure you are inline with all regulations that should be followed.

I have never actually realised until upon conducting research into health and safety in the work place that different regulations applied for the amount of people that were employed in a company. For example obviously health and safety should be followed for all businesses but it’s not until there are 5 or more employees that there must be a written health and safety policy. I was also shocked to find that performing a risk assessment on a workplace is relatively easy, as you are asked to walk around the workplace and identify anything that could be a hazard and then judge the risk of that happening and that will show how high a danger that item is. The HSE even provide a risk assessment template to assist employers with the doing of this. Again if a company has less than 5 employees this isn’t necessary to be written down. I have attached a link to an excellent document for guidelines on health and safety in work environments from the HSE and I believe this is an easy to follow document which companies should be able to comply with.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg449.pdf

http://www.hse.gov.uk/getting-started/index.htm

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Staff Facilities Requirements

toilets

Wikimedia Commons (no date) File: Aiga Toilers inv.gif [online] Available at:[Accessed 27th December 2013]

Business owners have a duty of care to provide certain facilities for it’s staff members so that they are in line with HSE (Health & Safety Executive) requirements. I found that the facilities information page on the HSE website was quite a basic list of regulations although I then realised that for various other types of industries there are more specific laws to abide by such as for construction sites where danger is of a higher risk.

I found it interesting to find that the number of toilet facilities required in a building goes on the number of employees and again this is varied for the amount of men or women that work there as well. I stumbled across an interesting website with regards to certain laws in the UK which I have attached the link to below.

http://www.findlaw.co.uk/law/small_business/health_and_safety/other_health_and_safety_topics/facilities_for_customers_and_employees/17509.html

http://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/workplace.htm

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Health & Safety with Building Maintenance

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flickr (no date) flickr [online] Available at:[Accessed 27th December 2013]

Within a business practice there will always be someone who is responsible for the repairs and maintenance of a building, this is normally called the ‘dutyholder’. You would normally be considered the ‘dutyholder’ if you own the building, are responsible for the building through a contract or tenancy agreement, you have full control over the building or if the building is occupied by more than one business but you are the owner and have accepted responsibility for the repairs and maintenance for the whole building.

I found it reasonably difficult to find any information on standard requirements for the general maintenance of buildings however, I did notice that there is a lot of information available to reduce asbestos exposure to building occupants. I for one certainly didn’t realise that this was still such an issue in buildings and had always assumed this was quite a dated problem that didn’t really occur anymore so this for me was quite interesting.

http://www2.epa.gov/asbestos/building-owners-and-managers

http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/campaign/duty.htm

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Furniture Requirements in the Workplace

ergo

Brick Towers College (no date) Historia de la computacion [online] Available at:[Accessed 26th December 2013]

There are many regulations relating to workplace environmental health and safety but I find restrictions regarding the actual furniture particularly interesting as this was a lot more extensive and in depth than I first assumed. It is well known that the type of furniture chosen can be the difference between a happy and productive work force or a miserable and unmotivated one. Although employers have duties to respond to with guidelines regards furniture it is also very much in their interests to choose the correct items so that their team feel comfortable.

Certain requirements must be followed surrounding furniture in the workplace such as the strength, stability and safety of tables and desks, seating, storage, display screens (i.e. computer screens) and the flammability of furniture. The Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare guidelines issued by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) outlines that employees should have the ability to leave work stations quickly in the event of an emergency and that seating should give adequate support to the lower back and also that foot rests should be provided for any employee who’s feet can not touch flat on the ground from a seated position. All furniture including tables chairs and storage furniture is required to be tested and approved that they are suitable to be a working environment. The image at the top gives a great diagram as to how a computer workstation is required to look.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg244.pdf

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Electricity in the Work Place

elec

Layoutsparks (no date) Blue lightening wallpapers and blue lightening backgrounds [online] Available at:[Accessed 26th December 2013]

In England we are lucky enough to have the Health and Safety at Work etc. 1974 Act enforced under UK law. This ensures that employers have a responsibility to adhere to when it comes to the safety of it’s employees and public when it comes to electricity. Under The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations employers must carry out risk assessments to identify any hazardous items in a work environment in particular electrical items. Although the responsibilities relating more specifically to electricity regarding upkeep and maintenance are outlined in more detail under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

I was still surprised to find out that even with Britain’s extensive health and safety regulation requirements there are still around a 1000 accidents a year reported to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) relating to electricity.

Other legislation relating to electricity in the work place is The Electricity Safety, Quality, and Continuity Regulations 2002 and this outlines all the standard requirements for electrical equipment within a working environment in a very in depth report.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2002/2665/contents/made

http://www.elmbridge.gov.uk/envhealth/safety/elec.htm

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Construction Design Management

construction

Wikimedia Commons (no date) File: Construction in Toronto May 2012.jpg [online] Available at:[Accessed 25th December 2013]

Construction Design Management or alternatively known as just CDM first introduced in 2007 aims to reduce risk and improve health and safety in a design environment. CDM 2007 was introduced to place legal constraints on anyone involved in construction work. Anyone involved in site work has a duty of care to ensure that even before work commences the construction site is safe and not going to put anyone else at risk no matter how small the project.

Designers must make themselves aware of the guidelines involved to eliminate the risk of any hazard. Again just like the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 if these regulations are not adhered to action will be taken involving, if serious breaches of this are made this could possibly require the work to be stopped until the issues are rectified even more serious breaches could result in prosecution.

Obviously the CDM 2007 is there to protect people while construction work is being undertaken and chances of an accident happening when these standards aren’t complied with are much more likely. If a construction was to be built without following these regulations and something bad was to happen this would also reflect and have detrimental negative impact on a company affecting future business opportunities so it is important to remain professional and abide by the guidelines at all times. Below is a link leading to the page on Health and Safety Executive website which tells you all about CDM 2007.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/cdm/duties.htm

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