Our monthly update explores the focus area of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as they continue to visit workplaces across the UK for spot checks and inspections. We also provide a roundup of prosecutions from the previous month, highlighting the commonly identified issues for employers to avoid.
Managing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)
During June, the HSE are likely to focus on assessing the dangers of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the workplace.
Whether performing a job that requires manual handling, or use of a computer in an office or home environment, MSDs present a realistic danger to staff which must be managed correctly by their employer.
These disorders can affect the back, joints, and limbs, with symptoms including persistent aching and swelling.
To ensure employees are protected, organisations must examine the dangers of MSDs in general risk assessments, along with individual risk assessments for tasks such as manual handling, hand-arm vibration, and display screen equipment (DSE) where required.
As part of its Work Right campaign, the HSE are encouraging employers to speak to staff about MSDs and the impact it may be having on them. To help with this, an MSD Online Assessment Tool is available.
If you are looking for ready-made risk assessment templates for managing MSDs, our online portal has a wide range of documents available. This includes individual risk assessments for manual handling, display screen equipment (DSE), and hand-arm vibration.
We also offer 60+ E-Learning courses for health and safety, allowing you to train employees on compliance and best practice for each of these areas and more.
HSE partners with Make UK to promote wellbeing in manufacturing
The HSE is continuing its Working Minds campaign by partnering with Make UK, which is a member organisation for British manufacturers.
When announcing the partnership, the HSE has highlighted new statistics which demonstrate the impact of poor mental health and wellbeing in the sector.
According to Make UK, £14 billion worth of manufacturing production is lost due to mental health absence days each year, with 50% of all absences now attributed to this.
Although the sector has made significant progress in this area since the pandemic, both of these organisations note there is still a long way to go.
By putting proper wellbeing initiatives in place, such as an EAP, manufacturers are likely to experience greater productivity, increased staff retention, and employee engagement.
For more information on the importance of mental health in manufacturing, we recommend listening to Make UK’s podcast series on the topic. If you would like to hear more about wellbeing services, including an EAP and Mental Health First Aid training, call us today on 0345 076 2288 or submit an enquiry below.
£1m in fines after four fatalities and five injuries during May
Prosecutions in May 2022 covered multiple incidents involving four fatalities, five significant injuries, and several ill health incidents. Two prison sentences were also issued, spanning a collective total of 30 months.
As a result of this month’s incidents, over £1m in fines has been paid by employers, with one Scottish care provider contributing £450,000 to this total. This fine was issued in response to the death of a vulnerable adult that was living at the residence.
Upon investigation by the HSE, it was found that the safety measures in place at the home were insufficient, as the staff were not alerted to the incident before it happened.
In another case, a manufacturing organisation was fined £150,000 after two of its employees were diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. This occurred following unsafe exposure to vibration in the workplace, with investigators stating that a full assessment should have been completed beforehand.
To ensure maximum protection, employers should carry out an assessment that considers both the vibration magnitude and duration of exposure.
Other key themes from May’s incidents included unsafe systems of work, a lack of supervision, the use of inappropriate equipment, and insufficient training.
Looking for further support?
If you would like to receive tailored guidance on any of the issues discussed above, AHR Consultants can help.
Download a free personalised Health and Safety Risk Report to assess your current compliance levels with policies, risk assessments, and training. These areas are summarised as the three pillars of defensibility, helping you to minimise the prospect of enforcement action if utilised correctly.
For any other health and safety queries, call us today on 0345 076 2288 or submit a question using the form below.