Tag Archives: hse

New asbestos safety campaign launched by the HSE

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a new campaign to help tradespeople at risk from the dangers of asbestos exposure.

New asbestos safety campaign launched by the HSEAsbestos can be found in any building built before the year 2000 (houses, factories, offices, schools, hospitals etc.) and causes around 5000 deaths every year.

The Beware Asbestos campaign aims to raise awareness of the real and current risks facing today’s tradespeople. It also seeks to help them work more safely when doing jobs that might disturb asbestos, to help protect them from harm.

The campaign has seen the launch of a new, free web app to help tradespeople easily identify where they could come into contact with asbestos as they go about their day-to-day work.

Before starting any work that may disturb asbestos, you must ensure that you have had the correct level of information, instruction and training.

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The Analyst Project

This is an update on what HSE are looking for:

The analyst project started by HSE early this year and involves an initial questionnaire relating to procedures and how many 4 stage reoccupation test the laboratory conduct. HSE will then pick 25 laboratories at random who they will visit. This will be an office visit looking at procedures, asking pertinent questions and taking away samples and slides for re-analysis by the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL).

HSE are also looking at the ASB5 notification system. They will choose to visit asbestos removal contractors on the last day of the licensed asbestos work so that they can assess the analyst carrying out the 4 stage reoccupation test.

An ATaC member, has recently had an office visit by HSE as a part of this project and below are some points that were raised. Remember, the visit by HSE is nothing like a UKAS audit. The HSE are the enforcing authority and if necessary enforcement action could follow.

The meeting was all very friendly and frank, and they said the basic aim was to ensure the new HSG248 would be fit for purpose, but also to consider the health of analysts, as HSE are aware that ASLIC is 30 years old, and potentially there is a point around now where analysts maybe affected by mesothelioma.  They discussed decontamination for analysts, but in the main it was gaining information for statistical analysis.

The main points are as follows: Read more

No time to lose: IOSH launch major campaign to get the causes of occupational cancer better understood

IOSH has launched a major campaign to get the causes of occupational cancer better understood and help businesses take action. Phil Bates, senior policy and technical adviser at IOSH, sheds a light on this overlooked health threat and explains why IOSH is targeting five major causes.

No time to lose: IOSH launch major campaignAccording to HSE there were 148 in Britain in 2012/13, each one tragic and avoidable. This is, however, less than two per cent of the bigger picture – the total figure for work-related fatalities every year in Britain is some 12,000.

Workplace exposures leading to occupational illness are behind this breathtaking figure, and work-related cancers account for 8,000, according to HSE reports. Of these, half are contracted from exposure to the biggest work cancer killer, asbestos, with the other 4,000 down to exposures to other, lesser-known carcinogens.

IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign, launched on the 3rd of November, throws a spotlight on work cancer because it is the barely visible cause of an unbearably high number of deaths. It is barely visible broadly for two reasons – the literal invisibility of the carcinogens and the latency of their effects.

Some cancers are diagnosed up to 10 years after the sufferer has been exposed, often unknowingly, to a carcinogen at work. Others can take more than 35 years to develop.This is why it is wrong to assume cases of occupational cancer only occur when people have retired. Around a quarter of deaths and registrations from occupational cancer occur before the age of 65, with some losing their battle with the disease when still in their 30s. Others will be delivered a slower death sentence, with victims suffering an ever-shrinking quality of life at a time when they should be getting ready to enjoy a well-earned retirement. Read more

HSE campaign for 1.3m workers at risk from asbestos

Tradespeople – including construction workers, carpenters and painters and decorators – could come into contact with deadly asbestos more than 100 times per year, according to a survey commissioned by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Safer sitesAs well as illustrating how often tradespeople could be exposed to asbestos, the survey revealed some common myths believed by those at risk. One person in seven (14%) believed drinking a glass of water would protect them, and one in four (27%) thought opening a window would keep them safe.

Only a third (30%) of respondents were able to identify all the correct measures for safe asbestos working, while more than half (57%) made at least one potentially lethal mistake when trying to identify how to stay safe.

On average, 20 tradespeople die every week from asbestos-related diseases.

Asbestos can be found in walls and ceilings, or the structure of a building, as well as a host of other places including floor tiles, boilers, toilet cisterns, guttering and soffits.

It can be disturbed by basic maintenance work such drilling holes and sanding, and once disturbed the microscopic fibres can cause potentially lethal lung disease and cancer. Read more

Thinking about behavioural safety

As stated in the previous article Clive Johnson, Group Health and Safety Manager of Land Securities, visited ARCA’s Head Office Training centre at Burton upon Trent to deliver Land Securities in house ‘Working at Height’ and ‘Behavioural Safety’ presentations. The recent HSE focus on the competency of asbestos removal operatives working for HSE Licensed asbestos removal companies brings the subject of ‘Safety Behaviour’ into sharp focus.

Thinking about behavioural safetyThe Pye Tait report commissioned by the HSE on ‘A Commentary on Routes to Competence in the Construction Industry’ concludes that the construction industry’s current understanding of ‘competence’ may warrant extension to develop an ‘industry-specific’ definition and broadening to encompass both situational awareness and the sustaining of appropriate behaviours.

The following article is adapted from an article taken from the HSE Web site and talks about safety behaviour in general within high risk occupations. As asbestos removal companies are now focussing more than ever on the competency of their staff we thought that this article may provide food for thought when considering the safety culture within your own organisation.

There has been a large uptake of “behavioural safety” approaches over the past decade or so, in a wide range of industries. These approaches are based on the premise that a significant proportion of accidents are primarily caused by the behaviour of front line staff, such as pilots, drivers, production operators or maintenance technicians. There is a wide range of such programmes available, but they generally involve (i) the definition of safe/unsafe behaviours, (ii) observations of behaviours by trained observers and (iii) feedback/reinforcement of behaviours. Read more