Sentencing Guide – H&S Fines to double

H&S Fines to double

Sentencing Guide

Yesterday saw the publication of the much anticipated Definitive Guideline for sentencing in health and safety (and corporate manslaughter) cases. It will apply from 1st February 2016 to all cases sentenced after that date i.e. including current cases and investigations in the pipeline which lead later to prosecution. It is being described by many as the most significant development in health and safety enforcement since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and I know all or many of you have been awaiting news since the consultation exercise earlier this year.

 

The Sentencing Guide can be be downloaded here.

HSE Release 2014-15 Statistics

HSE Release 2014-15 Statistics

HSE have released their accident and incident statistics, latest estimates show that annually over 600,000 workers sustain an injury at work and over 1.2 million workers suffer a work-related illness that they believe to be work-related.

A 2014 survey, commissioned by the European Union Occupational Safety and Health Agency (in collaboration with the Health and Safety Executive), explores how health and safety risks are managed at the workplace.  Full details of the UK results can be found here.

 

Construction

Between 2011/12 and 2014/15:
Annually, around 69,000 construction workers in GB were suffering from an illness they believe was caused or made worse by their work. Around 40% of these cases were new conditions which started during the year, while the remainder were long-standing conditions. Of these 69,000 cases:
 45,000 were cases of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), of which just under a third were new conditions; 

14,000 were cases of stress, depression or anxiety cases, of which around 60% were new conditions; 

10,000 were cases of other illness (such as skin or respiratory conditions), of which around 40% were new conditions.

The latest published statistics can be found on the HSE website at this Link.

 

Self-employed law changes

Self-employed law changes – 1st October 2015

 

Health and safety law will no longer apples’ to 1.7 million self-employed people, following a recommendation from Professor Löfstedt in his review of health and safety law in the UK.

In 2011, the Löfstedt Review recommended that self-employed people whose work activities pose no potential risk of harm to others should be exempt from health and safety law.

The Government accepted this recommendation and from Thursday 1 October health and safety law will no longer apply to the 1.7 million self-employed people including novelists, journalists, accountants, confectioners and more.

 

Who is exempt?

 

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (General Duties of Self-Employed Persons) (Prescribed Undertakings) Regulations 2015  sets out a list of work activities that the law still applies to. This includes:

  • Agriculture;
  • Asbestos work;
  • Construction;
  • Gas work;
  • Genetically modified organisms; and
  • Railways.

For health and safety law purposes, ‘self-employed’ means that you do not work under a contract of employment and work only for yourself.

If you’re self-employed and employ others the law will apply to you. You may be self-employed for tax purposes, but this may not be so for health and safety. This is a complex area and HMRC have produced employment status guidance.

 

What is a ‘risk to the health and safety of others’?

 

This is the likelihood of someone else being harmed or injured (eg members of the public, clients, contractors etc) as a consequence of your work activity.

Most self-employed people will know if their work poses a risk to the health and safety of others. You must consider the work you are doing and judge for yourself if it creates a risk or not.

For example if you operate a fairground ride for the public to use then your work could affect the health and safety of other people and you must take appropriate steps to protect them as the law will apply to you.

 

Find out more about ‘risk’

 

The HSE guidance on risk management explains more about the risks your work activity may create and how best to manage these.

Dust Hub – HSE Launch Their Dust Hub

HSE Launch Dust Hub

HSE has launched a ‚’dust hub’ on its website, with links to general and specific dust guidance.

The site provides information to help employers control exposure to dust in the workplace.

Dust is tiny, dry particles in the air and can be produced when materials are cut, drilled, demolished, sanded, shovelled, etc.

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 places general duties on employers to ensure that people are not exposed to unnecessary risks to their health or safety arising from the employer’s  work activities. Dust in the workplace provides general principles of protection from dust.

 

For further details;

See http://www.hse.gov.uk/dust/index.htm?ebul=gd-cons/jul15&cr=24

Vacuum lifters suspended by Balfour

Balfour Beaty Suspend the use of vacuum lifters following M3 Fatality.

Use of lifters stopped until after investigation by senior managers.

All work involving remotely controlled vacuum excavators stopped

A Balfour spokesperson said “Coming so soon after a death in Hong Kong and after our UK-wide stand-down for safety on Friday, this tragic accident must remind us all again very strongly that we cannot take safety for granted.

 

Balfour Beaty will share learning from this tragic incident as soon as we are able to, but in the interim all work involving remotely controlled vacuum excavators has been stopped and not restarted until the points in the following alert can be satisfactorily implemented in full:

Site Leader Safety Call – Safety update_ fatal injury briefing

Vacuum Lifters

Guidance on the use of vacuum lifters and be found here

CDM support

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Go to our CDM support page