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Manual handling regulations for healthy workers

Manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries. 

These include work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as pain and injuries to arms, legs and joints, and repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) of various sorts.

There is evidence that, as well as manual handling, heavy manual labour, awkward postures and a recent or existing injury are all risk factors in the development of MSDs. The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (MHOR) require employers to manage the risks to their employees.

The regulations are there to protect the health and wellbeing of those whose work activities can involve lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying. If any of these tasks are not carried out appropriately there is a risk of injury.

Risk Assessment Solutions can carried out manual handling assessments for any company but particularly for those who may have had targeted visits from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and told to put the correct procedures in place.

We make recommendations and give advise that helps prevent RSIs occurring, that staff rotate jobs between themselves so that they are not always performing the same, repetitive tasks. 

Because HSE often has an agenda when making targeted visits, they can miss other safety failings. Risk Assessment Solutions are expert at spotting those and advising accordingly so that employee safety remains protected.

Are you checking your emails in the middle of the night?

A study last year by a mattress manufacturer and a mental health charity showed that work related stress doesn't necessarily end when we leave the office.

Approximately one third of workers suffering with stress, regularly check their emails in the middle of the night. 

Mattress company Eve Sleep in partnership with Mental Health UK found that nearly 80% of people struggle to switch off at bedtime and therefore struggle to sleep properly.

Six in 10 people often wake suddenly at night, thinking about work and other worries. 40% of those who suffer from stress-induced nightmares said they have recurring themes, such as being chased, falling or social embarrassment. The research also found 83% of people said feeling stressed directly affected their ability to have a good night’s sleep.

The research also found and as a result of an anxiety-ridden bad night’s sleep, almost one fifth have been forced to take a day off from work – although two thirds haven’t revealed the reason why to their employer. And more than half of those surveyed said periods of stress not only affect their own sleep but that of their partner too.

Change your habits...

You don’t have to disconnect completely when going home if ignoring your inbox provokes anxiety. You can check emails in the evening but set good parameters. Keep your hands off your phone while eating dinner with family or going out socially. Increase intervals between checking messages, look every 10 minutes, then up to 20 minutes, 30 minutes etc. Give yourself limitations and only answer vital messages, leave the others for the morning.

People who reduced the number of times they log onto their emails benefit from less daily stress than those who do so unlimited times.

Protecting lone workers

Employers have a legal obligation to carefully consider health and safety risks for their lone workers.

Lone working is defined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the worker is physically alone, it might mean they are in a separate location to the rest of their team or manager. Some workers may well be alone, such as fixed location workers, however, many work with the general public.

As the lone worker population continues to grow and the regulatory scrutiny of corporate health and safety measures increases, companies must renew their efforts to ensure lone workers are adequately protected.

Accidents can be all too common if proper risk assessments and prevention strategies are not in place. By following the health and safety legislation and guidance, implementing additional training, integrating strictly adhered lone worker protocols, and providing an effective check-in and alert system, companies can avoid the exorbitantly hefty fines, loss of profits, and most importantly, injury and death of workforce.

Protecting lone workers is a serious consideration with major human implications. In case an accident does occur, it’s important that businesses look to safeguard lone workers by not just focusing on the alarm, but also on the processes and procedures to ensure workers get the timely help they need when faced with an SOS.

When companies make lone worker safety a priority, they’ll immediately see the benefits that come hand-in-hand with providing a better and safer work environment for the workforce.

Health and Safety regulations affected by Brexit

With Britain's withdrawal from the European Union getting ever closer (currently scheduled for October 31st), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have some helpful advice for businesses regarding health and safety regulations.

The main point is, of course, that you are still responsible for the health and safety of your employees and public where applicable, regardless of Brexit.

However, HSE have made minor amendments to regulations to remove EU references in legislation, but legal requirements, and the protections these provide, will be the same as they are now.

HSE have stated on their website that 'After Brexit you should continue to manage your business and employees in a proportionate way to reduce risk and to protect people and the environment. Your obligations to protect people’s health and safety will not change with Brexit.'

Maintaining standards

Whatever deal the UK leaves the EU with, or in the event of no-deal, HSE’s approach to regulation is to preserve the UK’s high standards in health and safety and to continue to protect people and the environment.

No-deal guidance

HSE have produced guidance to help companies prepare in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal (and therefore without implementation period). This guidance covers:

  • Biocides
  • CLP
  • PIC
  • PPP
  • REACH
  • Explosives
  • Equipment and machinery
  • Changes to legislation

There are also contingency amendments for a 'No deal Brexit' that include:

  • CLP, Biocides and PIC
  • REACH
  • PPP

'No-deal' guidance on GOV.UK

You can check what changes might affect you by reading the government’s guidance on helping you to prepare your business for EU Exit here: https://euexit.campaign.gov.uk/

Further advice and guidelines can be found on the HSE website here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/brexit/index.htm

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