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.

http://www.tutorcare.co.uk/health-and-safety-training-courses/risk-assessment

http://www.tutorcare.co.uk/health-and-safety-training-courses/health-and-safety-essentials

http://www.tutorcare.co.uk/e-learning/health-and-safety

http://www.tutorcare.co.uk/construction-courses

The Importance of Health & Safety in the workplace

A healthy and safe atmosphere exerts positivity and relaxation irrespective of the fact whether it’s your workplace or your home. However, employers need to take special care for the health, safety, and well-being of their employees. Not only does it increase the productivity of their employees but it is an obligation that they must follow and non-adherence to it can get them in trouble legally. There are many benefits that an employer can derive by giving their employees a safe and healthy environment. Some of these benefits include positive work environment, lower staff turnover, enhanced productivity etc.

Apart from legal restrictions, providing a healthy and safe environment to the employees should be the top-most priority of the employer owing to the following reasons.

The main benefit of keeping the office atmosphere safe comes in the form of enhanced productivity of employees. This brings with it workplace positivity and offers employees a relaxed environment in the knowledge that they are not at risk. An office that is fully equipped with safety measures and employees that understand their responsibility (and yours as employer) will help them focus on their own abilities resulting in increased productivity.

Any accident in the office premises can cost the employer a lot financially and if in an unfortunate case of the accident an employee gets injured, the severity of the problem increases dramatically. The financial loss will depend on the accident, but the cost of injury to the employee will have to be borne by the employer. A safe and secure environment will reduce the insurance cost  a great deal.

A workplace with no proper health and safety maintenance will definitely see a lot of employees quitting the work for better prospects. No person likes to work in an environment where they are not provided with proper safety gear or equipment. The employer ultimately is responsible for this. If there is heavy machinery installed in the workplace, it is the duty of the employer to check all the security concerns associated with it, ensuring it is well maintained. It is also their responsibility to communicate the safety precautions to the employees for their well-being aswell as making them understand the implications of ignoring any safety guidelines.

The employer needs to address all the risks and concerns associated with the office premises, the business, subcontractors and employees. It is useful in most cases to assign an individual to oversee all health and safety aspects within the business.  Training can then be brought inhouse not only for the employees but also the designated Health and Safety person.

Not offering a safe, secure, and healthy environment to the employees will have the employer’s reputation at stake. Accidents can ruin reputations as well as lives. The following courses offered by TutorCare online will discuss the reasons and importance of why employee’s safety and health should be the first priority for any employer.

Health and Safety E-Learning Courses (an overview)

Emergency First Aid Awareness

Health and Safety Level 2 (includes conducting appropriate risk assessments)

Developing basic knowledge of health and safety in the workplace

Regardless of your job or the sector or industry you work within, it is always useful for you to have basic knowledge of health and safety in the workplace. Understanding how to work safely can help to protect both you and the people you work with, and it could possibly prevent major incident or injury.

On a basic training course, Health and Safety in the Workplace Level 1 (CIEH), you will get a good introduction to the principles of working safely. By the end of the half-day session, you will be able to spot hazards and risks, and safely avoid them. You will also learn about how to work safely in a variety of workplace conditions, and whilst carrying out a number of tasks. This means that the course content should apply to everyone, no matter what industry they work within.

There are other courses you can take to improve your knowledge of workplace health and safety. For example, there is a one-day IOSH Working Safely Course, which gives employees from all sectors a basic grounding in the essential principles of health and safety within the workplace. It is in your employers’ interest to send you on such a course, as it makes the workplace safer overall, so it may be worth a mention.

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Health and Safety: Managing the process

Management of the health and safety process involves setting a policy, creating a supportive organisational culture, developing and implementing a health and safety plan and evaluating the plan’s performance.

We have recently talked about what is required in a plan but evaluating the plan’s performance is just as important.  In order to take this further it is important that as a business owner you understand fully the benefits and issues relating to the process.

Advantages

Managing health and safety effectively not only ensures you meet legislative requirements but also;

  • decreases the risk of injury and ill health
  • reduces lost staff time
  • contributes to the well-being of the organisation and its workers
  • improves corporate image and averts negative PR (publicity)
  • contributes towards a programme of continuous improvement

Disadvantages

The benefits of managing the process far outweigh the disadvantages but managing health and safety properly does;

  • take up time
  • use resources that you may not feel you have
  • require constant review and updating

The key to success is developing an effective policy that minimises health and safety risks to employees and others.  The following steps help negate any disadvantages and ensures as a manager you are in control of the process.

1.Creating the right policy

Key actions at this point include;

  • undertaking a health and safety risk assessment to identify areas that need attention and monitoring
  • familiarising yourself and colleagues with relevant up to date legislation
  • giving the health and safety policy the same priority as your other organisational goals
  • allocating responsibilities for creating, reviewing and revising policy and procedures
  • resourcing health and safety adequately using a separate budget if appropriate (IE fire safety training or in-house first aid development)

2.Create a positive health and safety culture

Creating a culture that motivates and involves all members of your organisation is key to health and safety.  All employees need to think “safety first” and consider good working practices that include health and safety as a natural part of their working life.  As a manager it is your responsibility to build in that awareness to any programme or training.  Actions that aid the development of your health and safety culture include;

  • appointing health and safety representatives (champions) to raise the profile and add value to the project.  These individuals will help not only enhance your basic strategy but also drive the project forward
  • setting health and safety objectives and performance standards for all staff
  • providing adequate information on health and safety to all staff
  • keeping all documentation and available information up to date
  • involving employees and champions at all stages of the process – from planning through to implementation and then beyond into the monitoring and review process
  • rewarding employees for good health and safety practice
  • including health and safety as an agenda item at management meetings and internal team meetings.  (If they are aware that it is a continuous process and is a regular item on any agendas they will not only feel part of the process but also appreciate their need to take note).

3.Develop the plan

You need to:

  • produce a written plan for health and safety, co-ordinating and scheduling all health and safety activities in a single programme.
  • identify clear objectives and standards
  • set measurable targets at all levels
  • consider all personnel and all the processes in the business
  • review the plan and processes regularly.  Build this in to the plan at the beginning to save time later

What to consider for the plan:

  • accident prevention – consdering severe hazards such as chemicals and radiation as well as more common hazards such as heavy lifting, manual lifting and trailing electrical leads
  • health problems of employees – including drug addiction and alcoholism
  • emergency procedures – fire drills, equipment shutdown, security procedures and building evacuation
  • at risk identification – identifying and setting out separate procedures for those paticularly at risk – disabled workers, pregnant women and your employees
  • physical working conditions – covering areas such as stress reduction, shift working, rest breaks, identifying bullying in the workplace (and prevention)
  • good health promotion – exercise and healthy diet advice

If you are a sub-contractor you may also need to consider extending your arrangements to contractors as well as suppliers.  Any failings on their end may also impact your organisation.  To control this you might want to introduce a written policy that any third party needs to sign up to as well as put in place penalties for non-compliance.  Assuming that their health and safety is up to scratch isn’t the best way to minimise issues in your organisation so where you deal with third parties on site, make sure they are aware of the practices you have in place and assign representatives to ensure protocol is followed.

Wider consideration also needs to be taken to customers and visitors to your premises.  Adequate signage is sensible and where possible (if you are a larger organisation) introduce health and safety inductions.

4. Performance Monitoring

Once a plan has been implemented you need to evaluate its effectiveness.  Performance can be measure both proactively and reactively.  Proactive measures include;

  • inspecting workspace regularly
  • evaluating your training processes
  • discussing elements of safety with staff (as well as concerns)
  • reviewing relevant portions of minutes from management meetings and team briefings
  • auditing your processes to ensure the monitoring systems are in place and are efficient

Reactive measures can include;

  • checking damage to property
  • examinng data collected after incidents (accident books, sickness records, suggestion boxes)

5. Review performance

Evaluating performance of any plan enables you to ensure your policy and overall health and safety strategy is working as required.  By reviewing performance of the plan you are able to react to potential future threats and remove some of the risk that may be associated.  The evaluation process should include;

  • validating findings by talking to staff
  • comparing findings to objectives and legislative standards
  • giving feedback to staff
  • seeking commitment to improvements by “champions” and those they are responsible for
  • changing your policy and procedures to reflect any finding with a particular focus on any high-risk areas.

The monitoring and review sections of this step by step guide is a continuous process that should have annual reviews built in as part of an ongoing health and safety programme.  By doing so you minimise time spent on the processes and more importantly risk is reduced accordingly.  A plan that involves all staff is always more effective than one implemented by a single individual.  Spend time building this into any organisation strategy and the benefits will be a more efficient workplace with employees that feel valued and is more likely to be healthy.

Further resources:

TutorCare Health and Safety Training

http://www.tutorcare.co.uk/health-and-safety-training-courses

British Safety Council

www.britishsafetycouncil.co.uk

Health and Safety executive

www.hse.gov.uk

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

www.rospa.co.uk

*Article prepared using checklists from Bloomsbury Business Database (2002)

Why do care workers need such good observation skills?

A person who works within the health and social care sector will need to have a wide range of skills and knowledge in a number of areas. However, one of the most important skills you will ever learn in your career as a care worker is observation.

With good observation skills, you will able to provide a better service for the people under your care. You can even use your observation skills to make the care environment safer overall.

Good observation skills are essential for a number of reasons, including:

– Identifying patterns of behaviour in care service users which may need attention
– Identifying problems quickly, so that they can be addressed before they worse
– Spotting abuse or negligence
– Noticing any areas of care which could be improved

How to improve your observation skills

Improving your observation skills isn’t always easy, but it can help to go on an Observation Skills for Carers training course. Here you will learn everything from the importance of observations and how to analyse behaviour to accurate record keeping. This last skill is just as important as observation.

For more information see – Care Planning | Safe Guarding Children

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