10 Suggestions for workplace safety

Organisations are always looking for new ways of making the workplace environment safe for every employee. In the recent years, the number of personal injury cases has been on the rise in several countries worldwide. Employers are paying out huge sums of money in compensation further strengthening the need for workplace safety.

Organisations are always in pursuit of new ways of minimising workplace accidents and reducing the likelihood of disruptive incidents that may occur. Below are ten simple steps that you can follow to make any workplace safer for everyone. Continue reading “10 Suggestions for workplace safety”

What is COSHH and why you need to know about it

COSHH is a law that pertains to the Control Of Substances that are Hazardous to Health. It obliges employers to take certain measures to protect the lives and health of their workers.

Which industries does COSHH regulation relate to?

Many businesses use substances or products that could be harmful to human health. Even common substances such as paint or bleach need to be handled with care and workers should not be exposed to them without the necessary precautions. Other businesses may produce harmful substances as a result of certain processes, and again, these risks must be managed if exposure is to be limited. Continue reading “What is COSHH and why you need to know about it”

Protective Work Clothing

Protective Work Clothing is the attire that is worn in place of regular clothing or over regular clothing to protect an individual or their clothing from damage or abnormal soiling or to maintain a high sanitary environment. This clothing includes items ranging from serving aprons, surgical gowns, farm coats, laboratory coats, shop coats and other dresses. They may also include uniforms worn for visual identification of personnel, for instance, those used by the military, the police, medical practitioners and guards among others.

 

For clothing to become uniform, the style and colour typically matches the corporate theme.  There are rules that govern the use of protective work clothing dependent upon the governing body of that industry. The manufacturer may also set or have input in these rules and standards. Clothing may only be deemed protective clothing when it is used appropriately and follows the strict standards attached to it.

 

Typically used in industry, research or manufacturing, protective work clothing has numerous standards which include their applicability to the various conditions that surround a specific working environment. These standards could include protection from chemicals, heat, and physical objects in a working environment. They provide the guidance for selection, use, care and maintenance. Also, there are specialised standards specifically for the various sectors or adverse environments such as agriculture, medical use or even violent situations.

 

There are various hazard categories that govern the manufacture and use of protective work clothing. These are listed as physical hazards, chemical hazards and biological hazards. Under the chemical hazards, we have corrosives, allergens, dermal and systemic toxins. The physical hazards an individual should wear protective clothing to prevent themselves from are radiation, vibration and hot or cold thermal hazards. Finally, the biological hazards include environmental, human and animal pathogens. The standards that specify the use and performance of protective work clothing may fall into numerous categories. These categories exist to ensure the use of all protective clothing is relevant not only to the environment but also in a way that protects those using such clothing from harm.

 

There are standards that specify the visibility characteristics of a protective garment these are:

·         protection against fluids and hazardous material

·          protection against thermal hazards when working around electronic equipment like electric arcs

·         protection against chemicals – this includes the requirements for the full body protection against any airborne solid particulates and protective clothing for application in welding and related processes

·          clothing against heat and flames among others.

 

Performance specifications describe the properties of the specific materials, be it original or composite as tested by laboratory methods. They must be of a high rating and performance; failure to abide by this will mean they are not suitable for the work environment. If protective clothing is not fit for purpose, it could result in injury, infection or exposure to elements and risks the clothing were originally intended to prevent.

Risk assessment can help you pinpoint areas of your business that may require protective clothing.  Risk planning mixed with health and safety can effectively save lives.  At TutorCare we offer a wide range of courses for industries that cover all aspects of health and safety.  Book now to take advantage of some of our latest offers for training onsite or online.

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How To Properly Care For A Minor Workplace Injury

Minor cuts, scrapes, bruises and burns… they’re a part of daily life with most of them taking place in the home. However, it’s not uncommon for them to occur in a place of employment. A majority of companies have some type of accident policy (with risk assessment) that dictates what happens in these types of cases.

For instance, if a wound is extremely deep (is in need of stitches) or something foreign has become embedded in the body, medical attention is sought right away.

Also in the policy, employers layout that they have a legal obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees. One such obligation is to provide a dedicated first aid responder to help them deal with the relatively small injuries – to stave off the possibility of infection.

 

Clean Wounds With Soap and Running Water

When you treat a person, you want to make sure your hands are clean – soap and warm water. If not possible, use an antibacterial wipe or wash. With clean hands, you’ll reduce the chance for further contamination.

Be sure to use cool water to eliminate the debris and dust in and near the wound. Place the wound directly under running water or put clean water onto the wound. You can use an antibacterial wipe or soap to clear out the debris and dirt.

Clean water that’s cool to the touch is often ideal for minor cuts, scrapes and burns. If you put something stronger on the wound, it could cause additional injury to occur.

 

Place Pressure On The Wound To Stop The Bleeding

Most minor cuts such as paper cuts or hang nails will quit bleeding eventually. And, a minute amount of blood is often helpful to clean the cut. Many times, the head and hands will bleed excessively because of the amount of blood vessels in these areas. The best thing to do is not to panic, place pressure onto the wound using gauze or clean cloth. Again, you’ll need to clean it up.

If you notice any blood coming through the cloth, just keep putting pressure on the wound. Don’t pick the cloth up to see how the bleeding is doing. This may inadvertently cause it to bleed once again.

When the cut is on the hand or arm, raising it above the head will slow the bleeding down. If the bleeding continues for more than three minutes or begins spurting, you need to get medical help immediately.

In most cases, the body will take care of the injury itself. The best thing to do is to keep calm and keep the injured person calm as well. With a firm level of pressure placed on the wound, the bleeding will eventually stop.

 

Apply Antibiotic Cream/Ointment and Cover The Affected Area

In order to reduce the chances of infection at work, it’s important to use an antibiotic cream or ointment and cover the area. For instance, you can place a thin layer of Savlon, so the area is moist and won’t scar.  Cover the wound, using a sterile bandage or gauze pad and tape.

The majority of companies keep the first-aid kit on standby and in a centralized location.

When the wound is small and protected by clothing, the person may decide that leaving it uncovered is best. This may be fine in some instances, but it’s prudent they understand that leaving it uncovered could result in more bleeding if it’s hit.

If a dressing is applied to the wound, it’s important that’s it changed at least once per day to reduce the risk of dirt build-up so an infection can’t set up.

Since it’s a workplace injury, the supervisor or first-aid responder needs to be made aware of the incident. It should also be recorded in the “accident book.”  It’s imperative that all workplace injuries get reported no matter how minute the injury.

 

When To Seek Medical Assistance

When it comes to minor cuts, burns and scrapes, medical assistance is often not needed. However, they still need to be reported to the employer. If the designated first responder isn’t available, medical attention may be required in instances of the following:

  • The cut is deep (at least a quarter inch or more), the cut’s edges are jagged, or you can see muscle and/or fat. In these cases, you may need stitches
  • It’s a facial wound
  • The wound is the result of a dirty or rusty object
  • The dirt and debris isn’t completely from the wound
  • The wound is the result of a human or animal bite
  • The wound area is getting bigger or is numb
  • It’s a puncture wound that may need a tetanus shot

 

Watch For Signs Of Infection

If it appears the wound isn’t healing as it should, it’s time to see the doctor. What signs of infections should you be mindful of?

  • Fever
  • Pain increase
  • Pus or other leaky fluids from the damaged region
  • Warmth, swelling and inflammation
  • Red streaks in the region

 

What Happens During The Healing Process?

Most cuts and scrapes will heal within a week. In the healing process, a scab will form over the area. The scab blocks any dirt and germs from getting into the wound, allowing new skin to form underneath.  It’s not uncommon for the area to itch for several days, but it’s highly important not to scratch or pick the scab. Allow the scab to fall for itself – usually when the new skin is ready.

First aid in the workplace is just as important as it is at home. There are many courses that can teach you proper first aid protocols to follow for workplace injuries.  Take part in them and become a first-aid responder for your employer.

The dangers of unguarded machinery

Working with machinery tends to carry a risk, but this risk is multiplied if adequate training and instruction are not provided, or if moving parts are not guarded. There are numerous accidents every year involving machinery and these incidents can have a terrible impact on the lives of those involved.

A metal polishing company in the West Midlands was recently prosecuted following two accidents that occurred within five months of each other. Both employees had their hands dragged into polishing machines, and both sustained serious injuries: poor grip, loss of sensation and tendon damage. Extensive skin grafts were needed for both of the men, neither of whom has been able to return to work.

The Health and Safety Executive investigation into the incidents revealed that the absence of appropriate machine guards and a lack of training meant that the risk of injury or accident was ever present and very real.

Despite the fact that some improvements had been made following the first accident, they only addressed the failings that had led to the first incident. They did not address other, similar risks. Thorough risk assessments and appropriate health and safety training are essential if this type of accident is to be prevented.

Risks for construction workers and how to reduce them pt.1

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous to work in, but the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and other official bodies are working hard to improve the situation. Many workplace injuries and fatalities in this industry are entirely avoidable, but managers, supervisors and workers need to work together to put proper safety systems in place.

Construction industry risks and hazards

The following are some of the most common risks and hazards facing people working within the construction industry, as well as how they can be reduced or eliminated completely.

Asbestos. Asbestos awareness training is essential for people who may potentially come into contact with this cancer-causing substance. An asbestos management system also needs to be put in place to prevent exposure.

Falls from working at height. Working at height training is essential for employees working at height, as well as providing proper edge guarding, equipment and supervision.

Injuries from machinery. Common accidents involve severing fingers or even limbs, especially when using abrasive wheels. These accidents can be prevented by properly training employees to use machinery safely, as well as providing proper supervision, emergency stop facilities and proper guards on dangerous machinery.

Injuries from lifting and manual handling. Employees need to know how to properly lift and handle heavy objects, or they could experience back injuries and other problems.

See part 2 of this guide for more common construction industry health and safety risks and how to prevent them.

Risks for construction workers and how to reduce them pt.2

According to official statistics, people who work within the construction industry face more risks and hazards than those who work in other sectors. Although the figures may suggest that this industry is more dangerous than others, there are ways that managers and workers can improve safety and prevent accidents.

In pt.1 of this guide, we looked at some of the most common accidents and how they can be prevented. Let’s look at a few more:

Injuries from falling objects. Carelessness can cause these kinds of injuries, which can occasionally be fatal. General safety at work training and a proper health and safety management can help to prevent these accidents occurring.

Noise-related injuries. Prolonged exposure to excessive levels of noise can cause serious damage to hearing, which is why exposure to noise should be managed and protective ear guards provided to employees.

Injuries from hazardous substances. Management of hazardous substances and COSHH training (control of substances hazardous to health training) can prevent injuries caused by hazardous substances coming into contact with the skin or being inhaled or ingested.

Hand-arm vibration. This nerve-related disorder, which can cause numbness in the fingers, is caused by prolonged use of vibrating tools. It can be prevented by training workers in how to hold and use tools, providing workers with properly maintained, fit-for-purpose tools and with anti-vibration gloves.

What is PASMA training?

If you work within the construction industry, you may have undergone working at height training. This training is essential for all businesses where working at height is a requirement, as it enables them to adhere to the 2005 Working at Height Regulations.

These regulations also require businesses to properly train workers in the safe assembly, movement, alteration and dismantling of mobile access towers. These towers are regularly used in the construction industry, and they can also be dangerous if the proper health and safety training is not carried out.

This is why health and safety training course providers are now offering PASMA training. The Prefabricated Access Suppliers & Manufacturers Association (PASMA) is the lead trade association for the mobile access tower industry, and this is the body which backs the following training courses:

Standard PASMA training – designed for anyone who will be responsible for assembling, altering, dismantling, inspecting or moving mobile access towers

Low level PASMA training – for people responsible for using units under 2.5 metres in height

Combined standard and low level PASMA training

PASMA management training – designed for people who oversee the work of PASMA-certified operatives on site, helping them to ensure that work is properly organised, safe and carried out by properly trained, safe operatives.

How the right training can help to reduce construction accidents

The construction industry has a higher rate of accidents, injuries and fatalities than any other industry. This is due to the more dangerous and hazardous nature of the work, but it could also be down to insufficient training and poor health and safety practices.

Every construction company owner or site manager should be looking to do everything they can to reduce workplace accidents. It all starts with proper health and safety training, and there are many courses available to help you and your workers manage, plan and carry out construction projects more safely.

For example, the following courses are available for construction business owners, managers and workers:

Asbestos Awareness training
• CITB (the Sector Skills Council and Industry Training Board for the construction industry) Site Safety Plus training courses – including Achieving Behavioural Change, Health and Safety Awareness, Plant Management Safety, Site Management Safety and Site Supervisor Safety training courses.
• Abrasive Wheels training

There is also the CCNSG (Client Contractor National Safety Group) Safety Passport Scheme. This is a nationally-recognised, three-level training programme which covers a huge range of topics crucial to health and safety on construction sites. Many companies now insist on personnel having a CCNSG photo ID passport (which lasts 3 years) before they can even enter the construction site.

Preserving safety standards in the construction sector

Construction sites are inherently dangerous places to be. It is absolutely vital that everyone on the site has the right level of health and safety training to make them an asset to the team rather than a risk. It is well documented that accidents are far more likely to happen in settings where heavy machinery is used (agriculture is another sector affected by this statistic) and so it’s essential that everyone is protected.

One way to protect members of the team is obviously to provide all the essential safety gear, but that is nowhere near as effective as providing the right health and safety training. Accidents often originate in human error – from a lack of basic knowledge or attention regarding the relevant regulations that legally apply to the construction industry.

Members of staff can be trained up in various disciplines depending on whether they operate certain pieces of machinery or undertake certain tasks on a site. Training is available to help people deal with all types of situations on a construction site, from work that takes place in confined spaces to work that may bring employees into contact with asbestos.