February 28, 2014

Spring and summer safety tips

The days are getting longer and the clocks will soon go forward, so it’s time to dust off those spring and summer gardening tools.

Hopefully, it will be a pleasant warm one after all the rain and flooding people have suffered should it be a very sunny one remember sun protection for out door working. The environmental impact caused by flooding is still being assessed by government and relevant agencies.

So let’s take time to review the documentation we have in place i.e. risk assessment, inspection and testing maintenance logs, training records have there been any changes, not just in the equipment but also the staff that may have changed and are unfamiliar with the equipment they will use, the furniture may have to be move around the building / grounds has manual handling been reviewed.

Maintenance work, painting / repairing fence s  or furniture,  replacing  decorative lighting,  cleaning the BBQ  resealing cleaning the pond trimming the privets  cutting down damaged trees  All works that  may need to be carried out by in house staff / handy man/ gardener external contractors.

All work equipment and its use are regulated under health and safety legislation these are examples a few of the relevant legislation.

  • Health and Safety at Work
  • Management at work reg
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment reg
  • The Electricity at Work reg
  • Manual Handling
  • Working at Height
  • First Aid
  • Portable   Appliance Testing
  • Gas LPG
  • COSHH

This is not an exhaustive list of legislation…A suitable and sufficient Risk assessment must be carried out

Equipment

Many accidents and injuries occur due to lack of maintenance on equipment that is not often used unfamiliarity with steps ladders chemicals tools mowers, hedge trimmer’s sprayers. We may need to place barriers due notice signs in places where public may be present   when cutting hedges etc.

Remember we have additional  duties of care for employee’s, visitors, the   public,  contractors and those who may be affected by our act s or omissions in the work place  All staff  authorised to use equipment  must  be trained in its safe use, reporting faults and any damage to managers.

Is there vibration from the equipment being used that we have to assess?

Are there special skills need to operate the equipment?

Is specific PPE available and used for the task in hand?

Manual Handling   It time to move the  garden furniture back into place picnic  tables, umbrellas and marques erected,  all these and many more lifting carrying pulling pushing operation will have to be carried out over the coming months are staff trained in correct manual handling ?

To make the completion of your assessment effective it can be broken down into the acronym

  • TASK
  • INDIVIDUAL
  • LOAD
  • ENVIRONMENT

Electrical maintenance Inspection and testing needs to be recorded

Double insulated equipment needs to be visually inspected for damage to flexible cable, termination at the plug, correct fusing damage.  Equipment used out doors should be protected by use of Residual Current Devices RCD these should be tested before using the equipment.

Working at height

There is no ban on using steps / ladders as long as the risk assessment identifies them as the appropriate means of access

Always inspect the steps / ladders before use record the inspection and remove faulty ones from service

Always ensure the ground is even and firm,

Always ensure that the ladder is footed in a suitable position so that you do not over reach and you use the 1 out for 4 up rule

COSHH – Chemical use  of hazardous substances

A chemical is not just something used by laboratories most people use chemicals as part of their work for example cleaning products such as bleach weed killer fertilisers cleaning chemicals and paints etc.

Most chemicals are safe to use if you use them properly and know what to do if something goes wrong the label can tell you what the dangers are and how to avoid them.

There changes taking place over the next few years when it comes to labelling. You can find out more at the HSE website.

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