Upstream - The Newsletter of Incentive FM Group

Health & Safety

Bill SmaleNew Health Safety Legislation
April and October are the two ‘Common Commencement Dates’ for any new health and safety legislation. The only change with any relevance to the Incentive FM Group is the following amendment to RIDDOR reporting.

From 6 April 2012, subject to Parliamentary approval, RIDDOR’s over three day injury reporting requirement will change. From then the trigger point will increase from over three days to over seven days’ incapacitation (not counting the day on which the accident happened). Incapacitation means that the worker is absent or is unable to do work that they would reasonably be expected to do as part of their normal work. The deadline by which the over seven day injury must be reported will increase to 15 days from the day of the accident.
NOTE: Employers and others with responsibilities under RIDDOR must still keep a record of all ‘over three day injuries ‘– if the employer has to keep an accident book, then this record will be enough. Within Incentive we must make a record of the over 3 days injuries so we will use the current accident incident form for this.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 came into force on 6 April 2012, updating previous asbestos regulations to take account of the European Commission's view that the UK had not fully implemented the EU Directive on exposure to asbestos (Directive 2009/148/EC).
In practice the changes are fairly limited. They mean that some types of non-licensed work with asbestos now has additional requirements, i.e. notification of work, medical surveillance and record keeping. All other requirements remain unchanged.

More Senior Managers prosecuted for Health & Safety Failings
Section 37 of the HASAW Act provides for the prosecution of directors and senior managers where an H & S offence is committed with their consent, connivance or neglect. Although not a huge number (43 last year) it has risen by more than 400% in the last 5 years. This stems from guidance issued to HSE inspectors in 2008 emphasising the need to consider personal prosecutions where it was clear that directors and senior managers failed in their duties. Most punishments were fines of between £3000 & £20,000 but there were also 2 prison sentences and 2 community service orders.

Public consultation on proposals to simplify and clarify RIDDOR reporting requirements
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has opened a 12-week consultation on proposals to simplify and clarify how businesses comply with the requirements under the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (as amended) (RIDDOR ’95).
The review is part of HSE’s work to make it easier for businesses and other users to understand what they need to do to comply with health and safety law, following recommendations made in Professor Löfstedt’s independent review of health and safety legislation.
The proposals also seek to implement the changes recommended in the 2010 Government Report, ‘Common Sense, Common Safety’, by re-examining whether RIDDOR is the best approach to providing an accurate national picture of workplace accidents.

Accident statistics
The following data is taken from HSE documentation.

Kinds of accident
The "kind" of a reported injury is a broad description of how the accident happened. Specific kinds tend to be associated with different levels of severity, with little year-to-year change in the proportions of each kind.

Data for 2010/11 shows:
- More than half of employee fatal injuries were of three kinds: being struck by vehicles; being struck by falling objects; or falling from height.
- Handling injuries are the most commonly reported kind of accident (RIDDOR)
- Slips, trips and falls made up more than half of all reported major injuries and almost a third of over-3-day injuries (RIDDOR)
- Accidents involving electricity, fire, explosion or drowning/asphyxiation accounted for one in eight fatalities but only one in 100 non-fatal injuries. (RIDDOR)
- About two million working days were lost due to handling injuries and slips and trips (LFS).

Distribution of employee injury kinds by severity, RIDDOR 2010/11 provisional

*Other kinds= animal; electricity; fire; explosion; drowning/asphyxia; unspecified; assault; hit something fixed; machinery; harmful substance

Incentive’s Accident Performance
There was a small blip in the accident frequency in the early part of this year but this has now levelled off. 

The Group Incidence Rate this year to date is below the rate for this time last year.
We are now on track to improve our performance.

Incentive has again done well in the ROSPA awards with IFM gaining a Gold award and IQAS gaining Silver.

New date for health and safety cost recovery scheme
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that its cost recovery scheme, Fee for Intervention, is going ahead but will now not start in April 2012.

The scheme sets out to recover costs from those who break health and safety laws for the time and effort HSE spends on helping to put matters right - investigating and taking enforcement action.

Myth Busters Disputes Panel
To help rebut H & S myths the HSE are setting up a disputes panel dedicated to disproving myths which bring H & S into disrepute and take valuable time away from the real issues. The panel will be chaired by the HSE Chair Judith Hackitt. It will consider cases where advice provided to members of the public by non-regulators quotes health and safety, and is considered to be incorrect or disproportionate. The Panel will make recommendations to the originator of the complaint and endeavour to identify the real issue behind any risk averse advice. The aim is to re-emphasise that health and safety is about managing real risks properly, and to discourage excessive risk aversion which stops people getting on with their lives.

Myth: You have to test portable appliances every year
It's a myth that all portable electrical appliances in a low-risk environment, such as an office, need to have a portable appliance test (PAT) every year. The law simply requires employers to ensure electrical equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger - it doesn't state what needs to be done or how often

Bill Smale
Group Head of Technical & SHEQ.