Health and Safety International Logo

Health and Safety International | Issue 43

Eye Safety

Eye injuries in the workplace are surprisingly common. Jerry Traer, of Workplace Safety North talks us through the many options available to employers to help safeguard their employees’ sight. While his viewpoint is formed from a pulp and paper background, his observations are applicable to a huge variety of industries where workers’ eyesight may be endangered by workplace hazards.

Falling Numbers Not Figures

Despite a radical overhaul to regulations and numerous campaigns to raise awareness about the issue, working at height still remains the most common cause of workplace fatalities in the UK. Dozens of people are killed each year, with thousands more seriously injured across a wide variety of sectors and jobs, costing industry tens of millions of pounds in lost productivity, increased sickness pay, and expensive compensation cases.

Gloves Off About Fake Hand Protection

David Lummis, CEO of The British Safety Industry Federation introduces the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme and discusses the ongoing issue of fake hand protection. Buying a fake watch may be illegal but it is unlikely to be life threatening. Supplying fake personal protective equipment (PPE), however, could be the difference between life and death. The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) is calling upon individuals working in the health and safety profession to ensure that quality CE approved PPE is used, thereby protecting lives. Unfortunately, fake and illegal products being manufactured and sold within the PPE industry are an increasingly common problem. Over recent years, a plethora of items have entered the marketplace, from gloves to high visibility vests, which have been produced using sub standard materials. Often these products are finished such that, to the untrained eye, it is difficult, if not impossible, to identify that they are fake. Due to the purpose of the equipment, PPE needs to meet stringent performance standards. Quality, CE approved PPE meets and often exceeds these performance requirements and hence will protect individuals from hazards faced in the workplace. The use of fake and illegal products could prove fatal. Obviously the size of this problem is something that cannot be eradicated overnight, but measures have been put in place to help combat the counterfeit PPE trend. Ongoing communication between manufacturers and end users is paramount. David Lummis, Chief Executive Officer of the BSIF said: “Many of these counterfeit products arrive in containers from the Far East and can be readily purchased via online auction sites or from street markets. It is quite easy to buy containers of ‘safety’ equipment direct and of course without the correct quality control procedures in place, the buyer will not have a clue what they are purchasing, thereby endangering lives.” He added: “It is not really surprising that purchasers of PPE are now more wary about procuring items as there is general confusion over certified products, mainly due to the counterfeit items, falsified certifications or just no certificate at all. Nevertheless, there are measures at hand to ensure employers are buying and supplying the correct equipment.” As a membership organisation, the BSIF takes a heavy interest in monitoring the marketplace to help contribute to the curbing of this unprincipled behaviour that is unfortunately?ongoing. The BSIF liaises very closely with its members, including test houses, to look out for and react to fake and illegal PPE. The Federation also works closely with Trading Standards and Local Government Regulation, the national coordinating body, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the European Safety Federation (ESF) and the Government Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) that has the responsibility to ensure products are appropriately CE marked. David Lummis said: “At any one time, the BSIF can be helping to investigate a number of incidents regarding illegal, non-conforming safety equipment that we have been made aware of either through our members or the public.” A recent example of such an investigation was when it was brought to the attention of the BSIF that prescription safety glasses were being sold as CE approved safety equipment, when in fact certification had not yet been granted. The BSIF became involved in this enquiry which led to the product being withdrawn from the marketplace until it had gained the required certification and the supplier/manufacturer was asked to write letters to its purchasers to apologise. The actions carried out by this organisation were illegal; the people using the non-conforming safety glasses were therefore being subjected to unnecessary risk. Through one BSIF member ‘raising the alarm’, however, the Federation was able to help ensure that the situation was rectified with the much needed preventative measures put into place.

Light, Health and Alertness

Abstract: Medical and biological research of the last 25 years has shown that lighting has, apart from a visual effect, also a non-visual biological effect on the human body. With the detection in 2002 of a novel photoreceptor cell in the eye, the biological effects that light has on human beings can be better understood. A large number of research projects that compare the effects on health and alertness as a result of people working under different lighting conditions have been carried out. We demonstrate that it can be beneficial, both from a wellbeing and productivity point of view, to have dynamic lighting in the work situation, in which both the level and the colour of the lighting vary in the course of the day. 

Tank Entry and Gas Detection

The best equipment, correctly maintained, and people properly trained to use it, are an essential for safe operations. Clear, well written procedures related to the task are also a necessary safety tool. When you think about it, though, having the best tools and great procedures are useless unless we use them properly - and that comes down to behaviours. 

The Importance of Workwear

Many employers are aware of their basic duty of care to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) at work, but do they really consider the value and the importance of health and safety workwear in their organisation?

What Have You Heard About Noise?

The European Union’s Green Paper on Future Noise Policy estimated that 80 million people throughout Europe suffer from unacceptable noise levels that cause sleep disturbance, annoyance and adverse health effects. The Green Paper further estimated that around 40% of the European population lives in areas where environmental noise causes serious annoyance during the daytime.

Contact Us Events List Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy Sitemap Maintenance