The first Safety Games!

We’re asked to do some unusual things from time to time and this article that was published in Safety Management (published with permission) demonstrates one of our unique consultancy projects.

Superyacht manufacturer holds shipshape Safety Olympics

On a sunny day in August, Pendennis Worldclass Superyachts one of Cornwall’s largest employers and a member of the British Safety Council, held a day of interactive safety games followed by the British Safety Council’s level 1 examination. Based in Falmouth Docks, Pendennis is one of the world’s leading builders of superyachts and provider of refit facilities.  The company employs around 350 staff who work in a variety of environments.  Those working on the yachts face a number of hazards, ranging from dangerous chemicals to working at height and manual handling. The 200 staff that took part in the day were divided into teams of five and send around a circuit, participating in games and activities to teach them about key health and safety issues that they face, but in a fun and engaging way. Each workstation was supervised by a manager and covered one of the main syllabus points of the level 1 course.  Against a backdrop of sailing vessels on the calm harbour water, staff tested the accuracy of their aim with fire extinguishers; others played snakes and ladders to highlight the legal aspect of health and safety, whilst some play darts to learn about the dangers of hazardous chemicals. After a busy morning the workers – who ranged from apprentice joiners to admin staff – sat their level 1 exam. The consultancy Risk and Safety Plus helped produce the original games plan and timetabling.  This was then taken by the supervisors who developed the content of the games.  “The expected outcome here was a culture change,” says Malcolm Tullett, director of Risk and Safety Plus.  “Pendennis Worldclass Superyachts has taken on board the fact that all its staff need to be involved.  We talked to all of the managers, nearly 60 of them, and they were the ones who put this together today.  They’ve done a really good job.”

Nigel Strawbridge, health and safety adviser at Pendennis says “Our people make Pendennis what it is – an award winning superyacht company.  Our commitment to their safety in the workplace is paramount to ensuring their wellbeing as well as a happy and well-trained organisation.  Health and safety is vital to this and working with organisations like the British Safety Council and Risk and Safety Plus on innovative projects like this demonstrates our consistent approach.”

If you’d like to know more about this kind of event please contact us on 0845 430 9461 for more information.

How to climb a ladder safely

This may seem obvious – but so many people fall off ladders because they haven’t thought about the proper way to climb and work from their ladder.

1. Keep your body facing the ladder at all times, centred between the stiles (the uprights).

2. Don’t reach too far forwards or sideways and don’t stand with one foot on the ladder the other one on something else.

3. Move the ladder to avoid overstretching and re-secure it whenever necessary, however frustrating that might be.

4. Try to keep both keep both hands free to hold the ladder as much as possible while you are climbing or descending. If you need to carry any tools, use a shoulder bag, belt holster or belt hooks.

5. Don’t carry heavy items or long lengths of material up a ladder.

6. Hold onto the ladder with one hand while you work. You can get special trays which fit between the stiles to take paint pots, tools etc.

7. Wear strong flat shoes or boots with dry soles and a good grip.

8. Don’t wear sandals, slip-ons or have bare feet on a ladder.

Storing ladders:
1. Ladders should be stored in a covered, ventilated area, protected from the weather and away from dampness or heat.

2. Ladders can fall if stored vertically, so take particular care. If possible, secure the top (with a bracket, for instance).

3. Never hang a ladder vertically from a rung.

4. Don’t store a ladder in any place where a child might be tempted to climb it.

5. For storing horizontally, a rack or wall brackets are ideal. Keep wooden ladders clear of the ground to avoid contact with damp.

6. Don’t store a ladder on view outdoors where it could be stolen or used in a break-in.

Staying safe, free from injury and getting the job done properly is mostly about common sense – but sometimes people forget. If the basics of safety with ladders are known to everyone who uses them, far fewer people would spend time off work as a result of injuries sustained falling from ladders.

Looking after ladders

If you use ladders at work, it’s just common sense to ensure that you are using a safe ladder and it will do what you need it to do!

Checking your ladder
1. Allow one metre of ladder length above the highest rung you use. Never stand on the top three rungs.

2. New ladders are marked according to their safe working load – check this before using the ladder.

3. All ladders should meet the required British or European standards, which are either measured by either Duty Rating (British) or Maximum Vertical Static Load (Europe). Check these out – a big person can easily exceed these and the last thing anyone wants is a ladder failing when you’re at the top of it.

4. Check any ladder you are planning to us for defects of any kind, cracks, loose rungs, bent stiles (the uprights), missing rubber feet, corrosion, etc.

Danger signals
When you’re using a ladder make sure you observe the basic safety rules.

1. Make sure a door is locked, blocked or guarded by someone if you are up a ladder in front of it.

2. Don’t use a ladder in strong wind.

3. Don’t use a ladder near any power lines.

4. Don’t be tempted to use a ladder if you’re not fit enough, or suffer from giddiness or aren’t confident with heights.

5. Don’t allow any child under sixteen to use a ladder.

If you follow basic good practice you keep yourself and your colleagues safe.

Key safety management tips

There are many reasons for having a good safety management system in place:

1. To protect your staff from harm.
2. To protect your organisation from unnecessary insurance claims (and increased premiums).
3. To reduce costs and improve processes, performance and profitability.
4. To remain compliant with current legislation and avoid enforcement, works and prohibition notices.

Simply from a compliance point of view, if you employ 5 or more staff (including directors), regardless of the location(s) where they are based, then you MUST:
1. Have a written health and safety policy statement (signed and dated by the CEO), often referred to as the Safety Management System (SMS). This should show associated organisational responsibilities and procedures for managing your risks.

2. Conduct risk assessments, then implement and record the identified control measures to protect your staff at work and others who may be affected by what you do.

3. Conduct any training to combat the hazards identified by the risk assessments to ensure staff are competent to carry out their work safely.

4. Have access to competent health and safety advice either internally or through retaining a consultancy like RS+.

5. Conduct regular monitoring of your health and safety management systems by checks and inspections and ensure records are kept of the findings.

6. Conduct regular audits of the management system, again with records of the outcome.

7. Review and update your SMS to continuously improve the system based on the monitoring and audits of the SMS

If you are not doing the above then you are more than likely not legally compliant and you and your company are at risk of both litigation and enforcement action.
Chris Hilder

Qualified to help?

The register of consultants (not those employed as safety advisors within companies) who qualify to deliver advice on health and safety has now been established. This was a point raised in Lord Young’s report (common Sense Common Safety www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk) which has been accepted by the government in full.

To be listed on the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR) you must belong to one half a dozen bodies and be at a designated level.

So far, so good – but – and it’s a big ‘but’ niche skills don’t give someone the qualifications to deliver all aspects of health and safety. For instance – a Registered Member of the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors has a very specific specialism and may not know a lot about handling hazardous substances.

When it comes to fire – a huge risk element – there are no fire bodies listed at all on this register.

As I’m a Chartered member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (CMIOSH) I represent Risk and Safety Plus on OSHCR, but I’m not qualified to conduct medium to high risk fire assessments and wouldn’t put our clients at risk by attempting to carry one out – that’s why we’ve got a fire division with highly qualified fire engineers available to our clients.

There’s no differentiation on the OSHCR register – no specialisms listed so, for most people, it’s a case of working down a list. This was demonstrated recently when we received an enquirer looking for a Health and Safety advisor. They’d consulted the register and entered their postcode, which created a list of registered advisors in their area. They just started at the top of the list and worked down alphabetically!

We were at number 6 – but nobody else answered their phone! Sole practitioners have this challenge, but you would expect a professional business person to at least have an answering machine or an answering service rather than miss out on potential business.

It says a lot about specialists having an awareness of business as a whole – or not.

Risk and Safety Plus have an edge as we can offer our clients not only basic health and safety advice, but much more sophisticated offerings that integrate health and safety into business improvement to create an integrated management system and protect business continuity. We address the whole business not just one aspect of it.

Chris Hilder

6 Tips to help the Environment at work

Whether you run a home-based business or a retail business there are simple, easy things you can do to go green.

Operating a green business is not only good for the environment, but good for your business’ bottom line because conserving resources and cutting down on waste saves money.

Be an environmentally aware by:
1. Turning off equipment when it’s not being used. This can reduce the energy used by 25 percent; turning off the computers at the end of the day can save an additional 50 percent.

2. Encouraging communications by email, and reading email messages onscreen to determine whether it’s necessary to print them. If it’s not, don’t!

3. Choosing suppliers who take back packaging for reuse – and who use recycled materials wherever possible.

4. Producing double-sided documents whenever possible. This can save up to £4,000 plus a year!

5. Not leaving taps dripping; always close them tightly after use. One drop wasted per second wastes 10,000 litres per year.

6. Installing displacement toilet dams in toilet reservoirs. Placing one or two plastic containers filled with stones (not bricks) in the toilet’s reservoir will displace about 4 litres of water per flush – a huge reduction of water use over the course of a year.

Environmentally friendly actions don’t have to be large to have an impact.

Consistently reducing the amount of energy, water, and paper our businesses use can make a huge difference, both to the environment and to our balance sheet.