HEARING PROTECTION SHOULD BE ISSUED TO EMPLOYEES:
- where extra protection is needed above what has been achieved using noise control;
- as a short-term measure while other methods of controlling noise are being developed.
You should not use hearing protection as an alternative to controlling noise by technical and organisational means.
WHAT DOES THE LAW REQUIRE EMPLOYERS TO DO?
You are required to:
- provide your employees with hearing protectors if they ask for it and their noise exposure is between the lower and upper exposure action values;
- provide your employees with hearing protectors and make sure they use them properly when their noise exposure exceeds the upper exposure action values;
- identify hearing protection zones, ie areas where the use of hearing protection is compulsory, and mark them with signs if possible;
- provide your employees with training on how to use and care for the hearing protectors;
- ensure that the hearing protectors are properly used and maintained.
HOW CAN HEARING PROTECTION BE USED EFFECTIVELY?
- make sure the protectors give enough protection – aim at least to get below 85 dB at the ear;
- target the use of protectors to the noisy tasks and jobs in a working day;
- select protectors which are suitable for the working environment – consider how comfortable and hygienic they are;
- think about how they will be worn with other protective equipment (eg hard hats, dust masks and eye protection);
- provide a range of protectors so that employees can choose ones which suit them.
- provide protectors which cut out too much noise – this can cause isolation, or lead to an unwillingness to wear them;
- make the use of hearing protectors compulsory where the law doesn’t require it;
- have a ‘blanket’ approach to hearing protection – better to target its use and only encourage people to wear it when they need to.
WHAT ABOUT MAINTENANCE?
You will need to make sure that hearing protection works effectively and check that:
- it remains in good, clean condition;
- earmuff seals are undamaged;
- the tension of the headbands is not reduced;
- there are no unofficial modifications;
- compressible earplugs are soft, pliable and clean.
WHAT CHECKS DO I HAVE TO MAKE?
You need to make sure that employees use hearing protection when required to. You may want to:
- include the need to wear hearing protection in your safety policy. Put someone in authority in overall charge of issuing them and making sure replacements are readily available;
- carry out spot checks to see that the rules are being followed and that hearing protection is being used properly. If employees carry on not using it properly you should follow your normal company disciplinary procedures;
- ensure all managers and supervisors set a good example and wear hearing protection at all times when in hearing protection zones;
- ensure only people who need to be there enter hearing protection zones and do not stay longer than they need to.
At least 55% of all recorded eye injuries occur in the workplace and most require 2-3 days off work as a result. The best way to avoid eye injury is the use of eye protection on the job – experts believe that 90% of injuries could have been prevented with the correct eye protection measures in place.
At least 55% of all recorded eye injuries occur in the workplace and it is estimated that roughly 1-2000 workers sustain eye injuries daily. Of these injuries, at least 100 result 2-3 days off work. The best way to avoid eye injury is the use of eye protection on the job – experts believe that 90% of injuries could have been prevented with the correct eye protection measures in place.
A workplace eye injury can cause lingering, permanent vision damage, which has the potential to disable a worker for life. Even seemingly minor eye injuries can cause long-term problems and suffering, like recurrent and painful corneal erosion from a minimal scratch caused by sawdust, cement or drywall.
When you think about eye protection like this (and bear in mind that we each get one set of eyeballs to last us a lifetime!) it makes practical and financial sense to ensure that the right protection is available to workers while on the job.
HOW DO EYE INJURIES HAPPEN?
- Striking or scraping injuries:Most eye injuries happen when small particles or objects strike or scrape the eye. This can be: dust, cement chips, metal slivers, or wood chips. These hazards are often discharged by tools, blown in by wind or fall from an overhead worker. Large objects may also strike the eye or face, or a worker may run into an object causing blunt-force trauma to the eyeball or eye socket.
- Penetration injuries:Objects like nails, staples, or slivers of wood or metal can go through the eyeball and result in the permanent loss of vision.
- Chemical and thermal burn injuries:Industrial chemicals or cleaning products are common causes of chemical burns to one or both eyes. Thermal burns to the eye occur often among welders and such burns cause extensive damage to the eyes and surrounding tissue.
WHAT ABOUT OCCUPATIONAL EYE DISEASES?
Eye diseases are often spread through the mucous membranes of the eye as a result of direct exposure to contaminants like blood splashes, and droplets from coughing or sneezing or from touching the eyes with a contaminated finger or object. Eye diseases can result in minor reddening or soreness of the eye or manifest in a life-threatening disease like hepatitis B or bird flu.
WHAT CAN WORKERS DO TO PREVENT EYE INJURY AND DISEASE?
Aside from removing all hazards from the workspace, and ensuring a clean workstation, employees can wear personal protective eyewear, such as goggles, face shields, safety glasses or full face respirators.
Things to consider when choosing eye protection:
- The nature and extent of the hazard
- The circumstances of exposure and other PPE used
- Personal vision needs
Quick tip: Eye protection should be fit to an individual or adjustable to provide appropriate coverage. It should be comfortable and allow for sufficient peripheral vision.
WHAT CAN EMPLOYERS DO TO PREVENT OCCUPATIONAL EYE INJURY AND DISEASE?
Employers can make sure that engineering controls are applied within the workplace in order to reduce eye injuries and prevent exposure to infection. They should also conduct a hazard assessment to identify the appropriate type of protective eyewear that appropriate for a given task within their workplace, and make such protection available to workers.
WHICH IS BETTER: SAFETY GLASSES OR SAFETY GOGGLES?
For the purposes of eye protection, there are some cases when safety glasses will provide adequate protection, while there are other cases where safety goggles might be required for enhanced protection. But how do you determine when to wear which?
Here’s a quick explanation of the differences:
For most eye protection requirements, safety glasses will suffice. These are characterised by safety frames and safety lenses and they generally have side shields to provide protection from flying objects. These will help protect your eyes from objects that could bruise, pierce or damage your eyes, as safety glasses are tested to withstand high impacts.
While safety glasses protect the eyes from high impact hazards, they do not provide complete eye protection from all elements. This is because eye glasses have small gaps around the top, sides and bottom. There are many applications in which safety goggles would be a better choice to provide complete eye protection, as these provide complete 360-degree coverage around the eyes and includes a strap to help hold the goggles securely against the head.
Safety goggles are intended to form a seal against the face to protect the eyes by keeping contaminants out. They also usually contain ventilation slats to help with air flow and prevent misting. Safety goggles are often worn over safety glasses, for extra protection. If you require prescription glasses, it’s much easier to wear them with safety goggles. Safety goggles are held on to the head with a strap, which is important when you’re on-site and you can’t run the risk of having your protective eyewear unexpectedly fall off.
Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries. Common cases include falls from ladders and through fragile surfaces. ‘Work at height’ means work in any place where, if there were no precautions in place, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury (for example a fall through a fragile roof).
This section shows how employers can take simple, practical measures to reduce the risk of any of their workers falling while working at height.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?
You must make sure work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people with the skills, knowledge and experience to do the job. You must use the right type of equipment for working at height.
Take a sensible approach when considering precautions. Low-risk, relatively straightforward tasks will require less effort when it comes to planning and there may be some low-risk situations where common sense tells you no particular precautions are necessary.
First assess the risks. Factors to weigh up include the height of the task, the duration and frequency, and the condition of the surface being worked on.
Before working at height work through these simple steps:
- avoidwork at height where it’s reasonably practicable to do so
- where work at height cannot be easily avoided, preventfalls using either an existing place of work that is already safe or the right type of equipment
- minimise the distance and consequences of a fall, by using the right type of equipment where the risk cannot be eliminated
For each step, always consider measures that protect everyone at risk (collective protection) before measures that only protect the individual (personal protection).
Collective protection is equipment that does not require the person working at height to act for it to be effective. Examples are permanent or temporary guardrails, scissor lifts and tower scaffolds.
Personal protection is equipment that requires the individual to act for it to be effective. An example is putting on a safety harness correctly and connecting it, with an energy-absorbing lanyard, to a suitable anchor point.
DOS AND DON’TS OF WORKING AT HEIGHT
- as much work as possible from the ground
- ensure workers can get safely to and from where they work at height
- ensure equipment is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job, maintained and checked regularly
- take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces
- provide protection from falling objects
- consider emergency evacuation and rescue procedures
- overload ladders – consider the equipment or materials workers are carrying before working at height. Check the pictogram or label on the ladder for information
- overreach on ladders or stepladders
- rest a ladder against weak upper surfaces, eg glazing or plastic gutters
- use ladders or stepladders for strenuous or heavy tasks, only use them for light work of short duration (a maximum of 30 minutes at a time)
- let anyone who is not competent (who doesn’t have the skills, knowledge and experience to do the job) work at height.
You must make appropriate first-aid arrangements for your workplace. In doing so you should consider the circumstances of your workplace, workforce and the health and safety risks that may be present to help you decide what arrangements you need to put in place.
Some small low-risk workplaces need to have only a first-aid box and a person appointed to take charge of first-aid arrangements such as calling the emergency services and stocking the first-aid box. The appointed person does not need specific first-aid training.
If your workplace has more significant health and safety risks, for example you use machinery or hazardous materials then you are more likely to need a trained first-aider.
You must provide all your employees with details of the first-aid arrangements
FIRST-AID NEEDS ASSESSMENT
In order to establish what provision for first-aid is required you should make an assessment of the first-aid needs appropriate to the circumstances of your business.
This should include consideration of:
- the workplace,
- the workforce, and
- the hazards and risks present.
Your arrangements will depend on the outcome of your first-aid needs assessment and the particular circumstances in your workplace at any given time.
The findings of the needs assessment should indicate the level of first-aid equipment, facilities and personnel required.
As a minimum, you must have:
- a suitably stocked first-aid kit
- an appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements;
- information for all employees giving details of first-aid arrangements.
Where your needs assessment identifies workplace or workforce issues, or more significant health and safety risks, you are likely to need a sufficient number of appropriately trained first aiders and may need to arrange additional equipment and facilities.
You might decide that you need a first-aider. This is someone who has been trained by a competent first aid training provider in first aid at work, emergency first aid at work, or some other appropriate level of training (identified by your needs assessment).
Where your first-aid needs assessment identifies that a first-aider is not required, you must appoint a person to take charge of the first-aid arrangements, including looking after the equipment and facilities, and calling the emergency services when required. An appointed person is not required to have any formal training.
It is important that someone is always available to take charge of the first-aid arrangements, including looking after the equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when required. Arrangements should be made for an appointed person to be available to undertake these duties at all times when people are at work.
The minimum level of first-aid equipment you may need is a suitably stocked first-aid box. (First-aid kit.) You should provide at least one first-aid kit for each workplace, although more than one might be required on larger sites. Each kit should be stocked with a sufficient quantity of first-aid materials suitable for the particular circumstances of your workplace.
First-aid kits should be made easily accessible. The contents of first-aid kit should be checked frequently and restocked soon after any use.
Your needs assessment may indicate that additional materials and equipment are required eg foil blankets, cleansing wipes, cutting shears. These may be kept in the first-aid kit if there is room, or stored separately.
HSE has published further guidance on first aid equipment which gives advice on the minimum contents of a first-aid kit.
You may need to provide a suitable first-aid room where your needs assessment identifies that one is required. This will usually be necessary in larger premises or where higher hazards are present. The room should be easily accessible and a designated person should be given responsibility for supervising it.
Wherever possible, a first-aid room should be reserved exclusively for the purposes of first aid.
- First-aid rooms should:
- be large enough to hold an examination/medical couch;
- have washable surfaces and adequate heating, ventilation and lighting;
- be kept clean, tidy, accessible and available for use at all times when employees are at work;
- ideally, have a sink with hot and cold running water;
- be positioned as near as possible to a point of access for transport to hospital.
First aid rooms should display a notice on the door advising of the names, locations and, if appropriate, contact details for first-aiders. This information should also be displayed in other appropriate places.
Accidents and ill health
Under health and safety law, you must report and keep a record of certain injuries, incidents and cases of work-related disease.
You can find out which ones must be reported and how to report them on our report an incident pages.
RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) puts duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises (the Responsible Person) to report certain serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences (near misses).
Keeping records will help you to identify patterns in the incidence of accidents and injuries, and will help when completing your risk assessment. Your insurance company may also want to see your records if there is a work-related claim.
Choosing slip-resistant footwear from the whole host of products on the market can be difficult. Sole descriptions are varied, from ‘improving the grip performance’ to ‘excellent multi-directional slip-resistance’. Often, footwear is just described as ‘slip-resistant’ and the brochure does not describe the conditions for which the footwear is most suitable.
Footwear selection has to take account of a number of factors in addition to slip resistance, such as comfort, durability and any other safety features required, such as toe protection. The final choice may have to be a compromise.
- Accidents are expensive – there are many hidden and uninsured costs. With footwear, like any product, you tend to get what you pay for. Ensure you buy footwear which will do the job – this will not necessarily be the cheapest. But it may be more comfortable or attractive – ensuring that staff wear it, and it may last longer.
- Specify the main surfaces and contaminants which cause slip risks in your workplace, and seek your supplier’s advice on suitable footwear.
- Some generally slip-resistant footwear may not be suitable in specific demanding conditions. For example, footwear that performs well in the wet might not be suitable on oily surfaces or where there are sticky food spillages which clog up the cleats.
- You can commission additional slip testing through the supplier – e.g. on surfaces/ contaminants representative of your workplace.
- Consider asking your supplier to provide trial pairs to help you make the right choice, and do not select footwear on the basis of brochure descriptions or laboratory test results alone.
- Footwear trials should involve a representative sample of the workforce and last long enough to produce meaningful results. Remember – workers may not wear footwear if it is uncomfortable or impractical, no matter how effective it is.
KEY POINTS ON SOLES AND WALKING SURFACES
- The sole tread pattern and sole compound are both important for slip resistance. Generally a softer sole and close-packed tread pattern work well with fluid contaminants and indoor environments. A more open pattern works better outdoors or with solid contaminants. The only sure way to tell is to trial footwear in your environment.
- Tread patterns should not become clogged with any waste or debris on the floor – soles should be cleaned regularly. If soles do clog up then look for an alternative design of sole, e.g. with a wider space between the cleats and a deeper tread pattern.
- Slip resistance properties can change with wear; for example, some soles can deteriorate with wear, especially when the cleats become worn down.
- Have a system for checking and replacing footwear before it becomes worn and dangerous.
- The correct choice of footwear on wet or contaminated profiled steel or aluminium surfaces, e.g. chequer plate, is important. With some footwear the surface profiles do not provide the improvement in slip resistance that might be expected.
- ‘Oil-resistant’ does not mean ‘slip-resistant’ – the former is just a statement that the soles will not be damaged by oil.
TESTING FOR SLIP RESISTANCE
Check with your supplier whether the footwear you are interested in has actually been tested for slip resistance – older models might not have been. Where footwear has been tested, coefficient of friction (CoF) test values must be available. CoF data can be requested from the supplier. Some suppliers now publish it in their catalogues. The higher the CoF, the better the slip resistance. Look for CoF results higher than the minimum requirements set out in annex A of EN ISO 20345/6/7: 2004 (A1:2007) – the standards for safety, protective and occupational footwear.
The safety features of footwear, including slip resistance, are tested according to a set of European test standards written into EN ISO 20344:2004 (A1: 2007). Footwear which has passed the EN test for slip resistance will be marked with one of the following codes, SRA, SRB or SRC.
The codes indicate that the footwear has met the specified requirements when tested as follows:
- SRA – tested on ceramic tile wetted with dilute soap solution;
- SRB – tested on smooth steel with glycerol;
- SRC – tested under both the above conditions.
It should be noted that these test surfaces are not wholly representative of all underfoot surfaces, so additional information may be needed to help to identify the best slip-resistant shoes for your particular environment.
PROTECTING AGAINST SUBSTANCES IN THE WORKPLACE
The most effective and reliable way to prevent skin problems is to design and operate processes to avoid contact with harmful substances. So take all the steps you can to achieve this before resorting to the use of protective gloves.
Protective gloves tend to be less effective than other control measures but if avoiding contact is impractical or is not enough to protect employees then gloves may be needed. When you select protective gloves, base your choice on the work, the wearer and the environment they work in. You need to consider the following five factors:
- Identify the substances handled.
- Identify all other hazards.
- Consider the type and duration of contact.
- Consider the user – size and comfort.
- Consider the task.
IDENTIFY THE SUBSTANCES HANDLED
- Gloves differ in design, material and thickness. No glove material will protect against all substances and no gloves will protect against a specific substance forever.
- Prolonged or frequent contact with water, particularly in combination with soaps and detergents, can cause dermatitis. ‘Wet work’ is the term used to describe tasks in the workplace that can cause this.
- To protect the hands from ‘wet work’ choose a glove that meets the European Standard EN374-2. This shows that the gloves are waterproof.
SUBSTANCES IN PRODUCTS, CREATED BY WORK PROCESSES AND ‘NATURAL’ SUBSTANCES
- Substances in products. Some products contain substances that can harm the skin or enter the body through skin contact. The product label or material safety data sheet should tell you if this is the case. These may also give information on what protective gloves to use. If this is missing then try contacting the product supplier or manufacturer for help.
- Substances created by work processes and ‘natural’ substances. Not all harmful substances come in labelled containers. Substances can be generated during work activities (eg wood dust from sanding, solder fumes). Remember that handling some ‘natural’ substances like foods and flowers can cause skin problems too. If you are unsure if a substance produced by a work process or a natural substance you are handling is harmful, you can get help from a variety of sources, eg your trade association or this website.
- To protect hands from substances/chemicals choose a glove that meets the European Standard EN374-3. But make sure the glove material you choose protects against the substances being handled.
- Glove manufacturers usually produce charts to show how well their gloves perform against different substances. Manufacturers use three key terms, breakthrough time, permeation rate and degradation:
- Breakthrough timeis the time a chemical takes to permeate through the glove material and reach the inside. Permeation is a process by which a chemical can pass through a material without going through pinholes or pores or other visible openings. This tells you how long you can use a glove for.
- The permeation rateis the amount that then permeates through. The higher the rate the more of the chemical will move through the glove. Choose a low rate.
- Some chemicals can destroy the glove material. It may get harder, softer or may swell. Degradationindicates the deterioration of the glove material on contact with a specific chemical. Choose gloves with an excellent or good degradation rating.
- You can use manufacturers’ charts to identify the best gloves for the chemicals being handled or glove manufacturers can help with this step.
- The performance of glove materials can vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, so base your selection on the correct manufacturers’ data.
- Keep in mind that the manufacturers’ data is for pure chemicals, not mixtures. When you mix chemicals, their properties can change. As a rule of thumb, base your glove selection on the component in the mixture with the shortest breakthrough time. However, the only way to be absolutely sure that a glove performs well against the mixture is to have it tested.
- Some people develop an allergy to gloves made of natural rubber latex. Choose non-latex gloves unless there are no alternatives that give the protection needed. If you must use latex, choose low-protein, powder-free gloves.
IDENTIFY ALL OTHER HAZARDS FOR HANDS
- Identify any other hazards present. For example, is there a risk of, abrasion, cuts, puncture or high temperature? There are chemical protective gloves that also give protection against mechanical hazards (those marked EN388) and thermal hazards (those marked EN407).
CONSIDER THE TYPE AND DURATION OF CONTACT
- Will gloves be worn for a short time intermittently or for long periods? Comfort is more important for longer wear. Generally, thicker, robust gloves offer greater protection than thinner gloves but thinner gloves offer better dexterity.
- Will contact be from occasional splashes or by total immersion? Short gloves are fine to protect against splashes. If hands are immersed (and you can justify that this is unavoidable), choose a length greater than the depth of immersion.
CONSIDER THE USER – SIZE AND COMFORT
- Gloves should fit the wearer. Tight gloves can make hands feel tired and loose their grip. Too large gloves can create folds; these can impair work and be uncomfortable. It can help to use sizing charts.
- Comfortable gloves are more likely to be worn. Involve employees in the selection process and give them a reasonable choice to pick from. This can sometimes promote buy-in to wearing them.
- Hands can sweat inside gloves making them uncomfortable to wear. Getting staff to take glove breaks, removing gloves for a minute or so before hands get too hot and sweaty, can help air the hands. You could also consider supplying separate cotton gloves to wear under protective gloves. These can increase comfort by absorbing sweat. They can be laundered and reused.
CONSIDER THE TASK
- Gloves should not hamper the task. If wet/oily objects are handled, choose gloves with a roughened/textured surface for good grip. Select gloves that balance protection with dexterity. Ensure the gloves selected meet any standards required for the task, eg sterile gloves, food grade gloves. Consider whether colour is important, eg to show up contamination.
Once you have selected your gloves tell your employees how to use them properly to protect themselves. Tell them when they should be replaced, and if they are reusable gloves ask them to rinse them before removal (if practical) and tell them how they should be stored. Review their use periodically and get employee feedback, this can help check that the gloves are performing properly.
HARD HAT FACTS
There are many preventative measures that should be taken into consideration to avoid risks associated with collapsing structures, falling objects (debris, bricks, dropped tools) and flying objects (shards of wood and metal, for instance), and the risk of people accidentally hitting their heads on items such as exposed timbers and low scaffolding.
Wearing a hard hat is an extremely necessary last line of defence in avoiding head injuries because, even with the best safety precautions, accidents will happen, as the following examples illustrate.
- A self-employed roofer was killed when he tripped and fell while carrying a ladder along a path. It seems that he struck his head as he fell. There were no obvious tripping hazards in the vicinity.
- An agency employee working on a large house-build construction site was killed when he was struck by some fire-resistant doors, stacked on end. He stumbled as he stood back, causing the doors to strike him on the head, trapping him against the adjacent wall.
- Another self-employed contractor struck his head hard on part of a scaffold. He was not wearing a safety helmet. He complained of headaches for some weeks after the accident and died a month later.
THE CONSTRUCTION (HEAD PROTECTION) REGULATIONS SET THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS.
- Head protection should protect the head against risk of injury, should fit properly after any necessary adjustment and should be suitable for the work or activity carried out by the wearer.
- It should be available free to employees regardless of whether they will be exposed to a risk of head injury. (Self-employed persons must provide their own head protection in exactly the same circumstances.)
It should be worn by people who visit the site as part of the works, such as surveyors and architects. Other visitors who don’t work on site, such as delivery drivers, don’t have to wear head protection but, under the Health and Safety at Work Act, all visitors should wear head protection if there is a foreseeable risk of head injury.
- Employers and those in control of others have a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that head protection is worn where there is a risk of head injury.
- If the person in control of a site exercises the rule-making provision, those rules apply to everyone on that site, regardless of the employment relationship. (Many construction sites endorse the rule that the whole construction site is a hard hat area.)
- The only exemption to the requirement to wear head protection is for turban-wearing Sikhs.
HARD HAT STANDARDS
In most cases, suitable head protection means an industrial safety helmet conforming to British Standard BS EN397:1995 or equivalent. This ensures that the hat has passed the relevant tests for adjustment, performance, impact, penetration, flame retardance, leakage and ageing.
Hard hats that comply with BS EN397:1995 are tested to withstand impact from pointed lead weights that are dropped onto the top of the hat. To help protect the skull from impact, beneath the hard outer shell of the helmet a skull cradle is suspended that should adjust to fit snugly to different head shapes and sizes. Between the helmet and the cradle is a 12mm air gap. The rule is that the falling object should not penetrate the outer shell, and any dent the falling object makes should not exceed the gap between the outer shell and the skull cradle.
Hard hats come in a variety of styles to suit different applications and personal preference. Variations of the standard hat are available with the options of:
- a full peak for shielding the eyes from solar glare
- a reduced peak when the worker is required to look up (for instance when climbing ladders)
- a rain gutter for protection against bad weather
- ventilation holes to help keep the wearer cool in hot weather
- replaceable sweat bands on the inside of the helmet
- a chinstrap for extra security and fit when the wearer is climbing, stooping or working at height
- a chinguard and visor to protect against potentially hazardous materials flying upwards
- built-in eye protection in the form of safety goggles or a half-face visor
- integrated hearing defenders – helmet-mounted earmuffs are particularly suitable for users wearing more than one type of PPE (such as respiratory protection and eye protection) and when the wearer is routinely climbing ladders or scaffold or working at height generally
- chemical and heat resistance, higher levels of electrical insulation (protecting against shocks in excess of 1,000 volts AC), additional cold weather
resistance (to below -40°C), molten metal resistance and lateral deformation (side impact resistance).
Hard hats also come in a variety of colours. Although most construction sites do not have hard and fast colour rules, different coloured hats can be used to match corporate colours or to signal different jobs or responsibilities; for example, green for first-aiders, red for rescue-trained personnel, white for management, yellow for general site workers and orange or blue for visitors. The advantage of the traditional yellow hard hat is that it provides high visibility.
The best way to choose hats that fit everybody’s needs is to draw on the experience and knowledge of an expert such as a hard hat manufacturer or safety equipment supplier, and simply to try out a few designs.
HAT CARE AND MAINTENANCE
- check hard hats regularly for cracks, dents or other damage
- replace hats if damaged or after their shelf-life expires (usually between two and five years, depending on level of use and manufacturer guidelines)
- keep hard hats clean using warm, soapy water, not solvents or abrasives.
- store materials in your hard hat (it is not designed for carrying nails!)
- store hard hats where they may be exposed to direct sunlight (the parcel shelf of a car, for instance) as ultraviolet rays can damage the plastic outer shell
- fix any stickers to the hard hat or write on it (some materials may be weakened by certain chemicals and adhesives).
- provide clean floors and stairs, with effective drainage where necessary
- provide clean premises, furniture and fittings
- provide containers for waste materials
- remove dirt, refuse and trade waste regularly
- clear up spillages promptly
- keep internal walls or ceilings clean
Hygiene and welfare
You must provide:
- clean toilets and hand basins, with running hot and cold or warm water, soap and towels or another suitable means of drying
- drinking water
- somewhere to rest and eat meals, including facilities for eating food which would otherwise become contaminated
- showers for dirty work or emergencies
- drying facilities for wet work clothes, if practical and necessary
- accommodation or hanging space for personal clothing not worn at work (and somewhere to change if special clothing is worn for work)
- rest facilities for pregnant women and nursing mothers
In some circumstances your risk assessment will highlight the need to provide additional specific controls, for example:
- skin cleansers, with nail brushes
- barrier cream and skin-conditioning cream where necessary
- certain facilities for workers working away from base, eg chemical toilets in some circumstances
Work activities may result in harmful substances contaminating the air in the form of dust, mist, gas or fume. For example:
- cutting a material such as stone, concrete or wood
- using a liquid containing volatile solvents
- handling a dusty powder
Workers may also need to work in areas where oxygen levels are low, for example: confined spaces, such as a chamber or tank.
RPE is designed to protect the wearer from these hazards.
You will require RPE that is adequate and suitable to ensure the wearer is protected. This means:
- Adequate – It is right for the hazard and reduces exposure to the level required to protect the wearer’s health.
- Suitable – It is right for the wearer, task and environment, such that the wearer can work freely and without additional risks due to the RPE.
To select RPE that will protect the wearer you will need a basic understanding of:
- the hazardous substance and the amount in the air (exposure);
- the form of the substance in the air (eg gas, particle, vapour);
- the type of work being carried out;
- any specific wearer requirements, such as other PPE or a need for spectacles.
Work Place Safety
- make sure your buildings are in good repair
- maintain the workplace and any equipment so that it is safe and works efficiently
- put right any dangerous defects immediately, or take steps to protect anyone at risk
- take precautions to prevent people or materials falling from open edges, eg fencing or guard rails
- fence or cover floor openings, eg vehicle examination pits, when not in use
- have enough space for safe movement and access
- provide safety glass, if necessary
- make sure floors, corridors and stairs etc are free of obstructions, eg trailing cables
- provide good drainage in wet processes
- make sure any windows capable of being opened can be opened, closed or adjusted safely
- make sure all windows and skylights are designed and constructed so that they may be cleaned safely (you may also need to fit anchor points if window cleaners have to use harnesses)
- minimise risks caused by snow and ice on outdoor routes, eg use salt or sand and sweep them.
You must provide:
- good light – use natural light where possible but try to avoid glare
- a good level of local lighting at workstations where necessary
- suitable forms of emergency lighting
- well-lit stairs and corridors
- well-lit outside areas – for pedestrians and to help with work activities such as loading/unloading at night.
Moving around the premises
You must have:
- safe passage for pedestrians and vehicles – separate routes may be necessary
- level, even floors and surfaces without holes or broken boards
- hand-rails on stairs and ramps where necessary
- safely constructed doors and gates
- floors and surfaces which are not slippery..
You must provide:
- a reasonable working temperature within workplaces inside buildings (usually at least 16 °C, or 13 °C for strenuous work, unless it is impractical to do so, eg in the food industry)
- local heating or cooling where a comfortable temperature cannot be maintained throughout each workroom (eg hot and cold processes)
- good ventilation – a sufficient supply of fresh, clean air drawn from outside or a ventilation system
- heating systems which do not give off dangerous or offensive levels of fume into the workplace
- enough workspace, including suitable workstations and seating.
For work outdoors you should consider things such as the weather, temperature (both hot and cold) and sun exposure.
MOLTEN METAL CLOTHING
Molten metal incidents can cause great suffering, sometimes resulting in permanent disability or death.
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 require employers to provide suitable protective clothing and equipment for their employees when they are exposed to a risk, such as molten metal, which cannot be completely controlled by other more effective means.
In premises such as foundries and steelworks where molten metal is present, the risk of injury depends upon many factors. Suitable protective clothing and equipment may have to be provided as part of the overall control measures to prevent exposure to molten metal.