28th April 2017
World Day for Safety and Health at Work
It seems that every day in the calendar marks some event or other and today is no exception. It’s the ILO World day for Safety and Health at Work promoting the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. The campaign is intended to raise awareness and focus international attention on emerging trends in the field of occupational safety and health; and on the magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities worldwide.
Whilst not being natural fans of the International Labour Organisation, on this occasion we can't fail to support the benefits of anything that focuses on Health & Safety. The theme for the 2017 World Day for Safety and Health at Work is: “Optimise the collection and use of OSH data”. So a good day to review all your records of first aid, accidents, training, Risk Assessment improvement actions, statutory inspections etc. There is no better time to inspect your workplace for safety problems and hazards.
Take a moment to walk around your premises and carry out a hazard spotting exercise. Things to look out for could be:
- fire doors wedged open,
- obstructions in corridors and fire escape routes,
- slip and trip hazards,
- missing or damaged safety signs,
- PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) not being worn
- damaged equipment/pallets,
- items stored dangerously,
- damaged and missing guarding,
- activities where people are putting themselves at risk (such as poor manual handling techniques, failing to use guarding),
- Check that all work equipment is in a safe condition, and where appropriate, has been inspected by a ‘Competent Person’.
Action for Health
Some of the important health issues being promoted this year by the Health and Safety Executive are:
- Workplace stress accounts for more than 37% of all work related ill-health cases, and 45% of work working days lost due to ill health. Use this day to:
- recognise the symptoms of stress and assess the risk and potential causes of stress within your organisation (e.g. by looking at sickness absence records).
- Musculoskeletal disorders can include carpal tunnel, tenosynovitis (tennis elbow) and back/neck problems account for 41% of all work related illness and 34% of days lost. Use this day to:
- make sure employees who use a computer have undertaken a DSE Assessment;
- review the moving and handling activities undertaken by employees – this can include, among many others, handling goods, stacking shelves and loading equipment into machines, and check that they have receive the appropriate manual handling training.
- Occupational lung disease which continues to lead to an estimated 12,000 deaths per year – Use this day to:
- ensure you have an up to date asbestos survey for your premises so you can make sure that maintenance activities do not expose your employees to asbestos;
- look into training for any employees who are likely to be exposed to asbestos as part of their work (remember, asbestos is common in all properties constructed prior to the year 2000 and its presence isn’t always obvious until it is too late. Employees likely to be exposed to asbestos include maintenance engineers, plumbers, electricians, CCTV/Security fitters, heating and ventilation engineers and construction and demolition workers).
How can Sentient help?
We can provide advice and help on issues you discover during your health and safety day. We are at the end of the phone line for any advice you need on health and safety issues.
Finally, in other News ….
Personal Injury Claim Compensation
The Lord Chancellor confirmed her decision to reduce the discount rate for Personal Injury Damages. What does this mean? In short – compensation awards will go up!
When assessing lump sum awards for personal injury claims, account is taken of the net rate of return (discount rate) the claimant might expect to receive from a reasonably prudent investment of lump sum compensation. The current rate of 2.5% was set in 2001 and reflects the gross redemption yields of Index-Linked Government Gilts.
However, The Lord Chancellor has confirmed her decision to reduce the discount rate by 3.25 points to -0.75% (yes, that is minus 0.75%). The revised rate took effect from 20th March 2017 but will apply retrospectively to all current claims, as well as new incidents.
This means that awards for Personal Injury claims could potentially be higher. Consequently, you might want to review your current Limits of Indemnity in respect of both your Employers Liability and Public/Products Liability covers, to ensure these are adequate….potential further increase in premiums and no doubt motor vehicle insurance premiums will increase! Your Insurance Broker will be able to provide full guidance on this.