Health & Safety Initiatives
The enforcement of health and safety at work in Northern Ireland is carried out jointly by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) and District Councils. In 2011 HSENI and the District Councils launched a joint strategy for the better regulation of health and safety at work in Northern Ireland. The strategy “Health and safety at work: protecting lives not stopping them”, commits HSENI and district councils to work together to tackle the major causes of accidents and ill health in workplaces in Northern Ireland. Details of current and previous joint initiatives are detailed below:
Safe Skin Initiative
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council have partnered with HSENI to deliver a Health and Safety awareness raising initiative focusing on safe skin.
Commencing in April 2016 the organisations involved will be visiting businesses to ensure that where appropriate, workers are given information, training and equipment to protect skin from workplace hazards.
The initiative will focus on the common workplace skin issues of sun exposure for outdoor workers and work related dermatitis.
Work-related dermatitis (sometimes known as eczema) accounts for a significant proportion of work-related ill health whereas sun exposure can blister skin and make it peel or in the long term may increase the chance of developing skin cancer.
The majority of work-related skin disease cases are preventable by adopting simple steps to manage risks in the workplace; effective skin care is an important part of any regime, along with applying simple exposure reduction methods.
When inspectors visit relevant workplaces as part of the initiative they will expect safe skin to be considered in the business risk assessment. If safe skin is a potential issue they will expect to see effective organisation and arrangements, which may include:
- Risk assessment considering Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) and sun exposure.
- Information, instruction and supervision, with evidence of management commitment
- Controls adequate to establish a Safe Working Distance between skin and contaminants
- Personal Protective Equipment (including gloves) used
- Skin inspection in place, with records
- Work-related skin issues reported under RIDDOR
Where can I get more Information?
Information leaflets have been developed for the initiative which gives advice for employers and employees who may be effected by work related skin issues.
They can be downloaded here:
Safe Skin – Working in the Sun
Safe Skin – Working with Chemicals
For further advice or information contact a member of the Health & Safety Team at your local Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council office. Alternatively contact HSENI on 0800 0320 121 or visit the following HSE webpages
HSE – Skin at Work http://www.hse.gov.uk/skin/
HSENI Skin Care https://www.hseni.gov.uk/topics/skin-care
New to the Job Initiative
In 2015 Councils in Northern Ireland worked in partnership with HSENI to deliver a Health and Safety awareness raising initiative focusing on employees who are inexperienced or new to the job.
Young and inexperienced recruits who are new to a workplace are three times more likely to be killed or injured than their experienced workmates who have been there for a year or more. The extra risk arises due to:
- lack of experience of working in a new industry or workplace
- lack of familiarity with the job and the work environment
- reluctance to raise concerns (or not knowing how to)
- eagerness to impress workmates and managers.
Contact a member of the Health & Safety Team for further information on how to ensure the safety of employees who are new to the job or visit www.hseni.gov.uk/newtothejob
Buried LPG pipework initiative
In 2014 Councils in Northern Ireland worked in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) on an initiative to increase duty-holders awareness of the risks associated with underground metallic LPG pipework.
Contact a member of the Health and Safety Team for further information on buried LPG pipework or visit https://www.hseni.gov.uk/publications/checking-lpg-pipework
Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) initiative
MSDs include back injuries, neck and upper limb disorders (ULDs) and lower limb disorders (LLDs). They account for significant numbers of injuries/absenteeism in workplaces in Northern Ireland. Workers in all types of jobs and employment sectors are affected by MSDs although some types of disorders are associated with particular tasks or occupations. Lifting, poor posture, exposure to vibrations and repetitive movements are among the risk factors, as well as work organisational (psychosocial) factors.
In 2014 Councils in Northern Ireland worked in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) on an initiative aimed at improving management of the risks typically associated with these types of injuries.
Contact a member of the Health and Safety Team for further information on MSDs or visit http://www.hseni.gov.uk/msd
Workplace Transport Initiative
In 2013 Councils in Northern Ireland partnered with HSENI to deliver a Workplace Transport inspection and enforcement initiative with a focus on Safe Site; Safe Vehicle; Safe Driver.
Vehicles are particularly dangerous in the workplace. From 2004 to 2012 in Northern Ireland forty people were killed as a result of workplace transport accidents. A range of sectors are at risk and for a number of reasons. Contributory factors include:
- No or inadequate risk assessments
- Poor workplace design and layout (particularly vehicle pedestrian segregation)
- Poor systems for detecting and correcting poor behaviour
- Poor driver training
- Inadequate vehicle/maintenance
Contact a member of the Health and Safety Team for further information on workplace transport or visit http://www.hseni.gov.uk/workplace-transport
Councils in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland carried out a Safe Maintenance Campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of poorly planned maintenance.
Maintenance can take many forms and can involve working at heights, exposure to asbestos, repairing machinery or using hazardous chemicals. It should never be approached lightly but instead should be carefully planned.
Contact a member of the Health and Safety Team for further information on safe maintenance in the workplace or visit the safe maintenance website http://safemaintenance.hseni.gov.uk/