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.

During March, HSE inspectors will maintain a focus on stress reduction in the workplace. As covered in previous updates, this focus has been inspired by the Working Minds campaign, which encourages employers to fulfil their legal duty for supporting wellbeing with a variety of free resources.

Alongside this, plans to begin targeted woodworking inspections are in the pipeline for April, meaning those who operate in this area should be well prepared. The risk of occupational lung disease is another area that we have covered extensively, however, the HSE’s woodworking guidance has recently been updated, as outlined below.

Get ready for amended PPE regulations

On 6 April 2022, the Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (PPER 2022) come into force, subsequently amending the 1992 Regulations (PPER 1992).

If you operate in environments that require PPE, it is important to be aware of this upcoming amendment.

Once introduced, PPER 2022 will extend both the employer and employee’s duties regarding PPE to limb (b) workers.

The HSE defines limb (b) workers as those who generally have a more casual employment relationship and work under a contract for service.

If PPE is required, employers must ensure their workers have sufficient information, instruction, and training on the use of PPE.

A limb (b) worker will have the duty to use the PPE in accordance with their training and instruction, and ensure it is returned to the storage area provided by their employer.

You can find guidance on the PPE duties in:

Assure yourself of your health and safety arrangements by enlisting AHR Consultants to carry out a full audit and inspection, which identifies any shortcomings and gives you recommendations to address issues, including any relating to PPE.

Should the HSE visit, these actions will show that you take health and safety seriously, thus reducing the likelihood of enforcement action.

If you have any questions regarding PPE duties and the upcoming amendment, call us today on 0345  076 2288 or complete the form below.

Employers fined over £6.7million during February

Prosecutions in February 2022 covered multiple incidents involving four fatalities, and six significant injuries or ill health accidents. Three prison sentences were also issued, spanning a collective total of 35 months.

As a result of this month’s incidents, over £6.7million in fines has been paid by employers, with one energy company contributing £5million to this total.

This fine was issued to Northern Gas Networks Ltd, following a fire and gas explosion at a residential premises which resulted in the death of the homeowner. Upon investigation, the HSE found that the company had failed to adhere to the Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996.

Another company was fined £1.5million after an electrician suffered a fatal fall from height on their premises. The HSE discovered that insufficient risk assessments were in place, alongside a lack of maintenance work for general wear and tear.

Finally, a company director was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment after failing to protect workers from asbestos exposure. This occurred during a major refurbishment project, in which the company had deliberately cut corners with asbestos removal. The company director was also disqualified as a director for five years.

Other key themes from February’s incidents included incompetent use of forklift equipment, falls from height, and a failure to provide gas safety certificates.

Are you confident with health and safety compliance? Were your risk assessments completed by a competent person? Do you have an up-to-date asbestos survey?

If you have a question or concern relating to any area of health and safety compliance, AHR Consultants can help. Our team of H&S experts can act as your competent person, provide onsite risk assessments, and support you with asbestos management.

Call us today on 0345 076 2288 or complete the form below to see how we can help.