Health & Safety Newsletter From the Health and Safety Executive

Health & Safety Newsletter
From the Health and Safety Executive
Issue 34
Drama on the cobbles
Millions see the silent killer attack
Coronation Street’s Fiz
Vomiting Larry
Vomiting Larry goes viral and makes a big
splash around the world.
Small businesses
Life is now a bit easier for small
businesses who need health and safety
advice quickly, simply and free of charge.
A full list of the articles in this issue.
Coronation Street storyline has saved lives
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Vomiting Larry makes a splash
Coronation Street drama
Making life easier for small businesses
Industrial injuries
Ridiculous ‘elf and safety’ excuses
In the dock – Court cases
Accident – Risky business
Case study – Wood dust
FAQs – Workplace temperatures
Safe working with LPG-fuelled
motor vehicles
Chair’s blog – you’ve got to admire
Mary Pickles
What’s new – some of the recent
publications from HSE
Welcome to the first H&S Newsletter of
2013 – and, what a diverse edition it is.
Where else can you read about the
lessons to be learned from Coronation
Street’s Christmas storyline, or how a
vomiting robot has made a splash around
the world?
Not only that, but we also look back on the top
dozen most ridiculous health and safety myths of
2012. And what corkers they are – for example:
fish batter scraps couldn’t be given to customers
because of health and safety! Then there’s the
threat to schoolchildren from yo-yos and to charity
shop customers from knitting needles. Yes…really.
And, as if soap stories, viral robots and very fishy
myths were not enough, we also look at HSE’s
Health and Safety Toolbox website, which brings all
the guidance needed by small, low-risk businesses
together in one place, free of charge.
Plus, there’s news, case studies, court reports and,
if you’ve ever wondered what is one of the most
common questions put to HSE, turn to page 16.
I hope you find it all interesting and useful and,
assuming deadly yo-yos and nasty knitting needles
keep their distance, we’ll be back in the spring with
another packed issue.
As ever, if you’ve any thoughts on the Newsletter,
email me at [email protected]
Colette Manning Editor
Issue 32
Produced in-house by HSE
Health & Safety Newsletter
Vomiting Larry makes a splash around the world
episodes of projectile vomiting by a
Norovirus sufferer.
Catherine Makison-Booth of HSL’s
Occupational Hygiene Unit developed Larry and primed him with a vomit
substitute (to which a fluorescent
marker was added so as to identify
even small splashes after vomiting),
and simulated vomiting was carried out.
Meet ‘Vomiting Larry’!
(If you haven’t already
heard of him, where have
you been?!)
For Larry is a global superstar, who has
captured the imagination of the world’s
media as scenes of him vomiting to
order have gone viral.
Designed and developed at the Health
and Safety Laboratory (HSL – an
agency of HSE), Larry was recently
featured in an article about the winter
vomiting bug, Norovirus, on the BBC
Issue 34
Larry and his creator Catherine Makison-Booth
are pictured with presenter Michael Mosley,
who was filming a BBC2 programme ‘Winter
viruses and how to beat them’, broadcast at
the end of January.
Since then he has become a household
name around the world, debuting on the
Discovery news channel, ABC News,
Canadian Broadcast Corporation
Radio and even The Late Show with
David Letterman plus a host of science
and technology publications, as well as
extensively in the British media.
Larry’s purpose is to help HSL
researchers demonstrate and identify
the extent of contamination during
The outcomes of these studies have
contributed to reviews of healthcare
guidance in hospitals and are due to be
published soon.
‘Noroviruses are like the Ferrari of the
virus field,’ said University of Cambridge
virologist Ian Goodfellow. ‘They infect
people very, very quickly, and they
spread very, very quickly. By the time you
know you’re sick, chances are you’ve
already infected a lot of other people.’
There are no drugs or vaccines against
this virus and experts advise that the
best defence remains washing your
hands well with soap and water.
The system graphically demonstrates
the full extent of room contamination
after vomiting and shows that small
droplets can spread over three metres
and are not easily visible under
standard white hospital lighting.
HSL studies have shown that Norovirus
can be isolated from these small
droplets at concentrations capable of
causing an infection. This information
might highlight why this robust and
highly infectious virus is transmitted
between people so readily.
Larry’s head was originally used
for research into the larynx so he became known as ‘Larry the
Find out more at:
Watch Larry in action on YouTube:
Health & Safety Newsletter
Street storyline has saved lives
Not only did it keep
around 41 million viewers on the edge of
their seats but Coronation
Street’s dramatic Christmas
and New Year carbon monoxide
(CO) storyline has saved lives.
Among the positive feedback received
since the episodes aired are stories
The popular ITV soap saw Fiz Brown,
played by Jennie McAlpine, suffer from
CO poisoning, caused from a faulty gas
of how some viewers recognised the
symptoms of CO leakage in their own
homes and, thanks to watching the
programme, they knew what to do.
Tyrone Dobbs, played by Alan Halsall,
unlawfully tried to fix Fiz’s boiler. Fiz
was found unconscious on New Year’s
Eve, after suffering the symptoms of
carbon monoxide poisoning, which she
mistook for flu.
‘Carbon monoxide is
deadly and it’s important
as many people know
about it as possible.’
The scenes mirror real-life deaths
caused by CO poisoning in the UK
every year. Known as the ‘silent killer’
because you can’t see it, taste it or
smell it, CO is produced when gas
appliances are not working properly –
either because they have been fitted
badly or poorly maintained.
In the last year, 50 people have died
from CO poisoning and more than 4000
have been affected.
Jennie McAlpine said she hopes the
storyline will help raise awareness of
the silent killer and stop people from
Issue 34
having illegal gas work carried out in
their homes.
‘Unfortunately what happens to my
character is not a rare occurrence in
real life. Carbon monoxide is deadly and
it’s important that as many people know
about it as possible. I hope this storyline
brings the issue to everyone’s minds
and that we can help to save lives.’
Every year a quarter of a million illegal
gas jobs are carried out by people, like
Tyrone’s character, who do not have the
skills or the qualifications to work on gas
Paul Johnston, Gas Safe Register’s
Chief Executive, said: ‘We know that
money may be tight, so it’s
understandable that people ask around
for recommendations and get friends to
help out in the hope of getting a cheaper
job done. However, what people fail to
realise is just how dangerous gas can
be in the wrong hands. Badly fitted and
poorly maintained gas appliances can
cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and
CO poisoning, so it’s not worth the risk.’
Despite the dangers posed by CO
poisoning, 43 per cent of the public do
not get their gas appliances checked
regularly and one in 10 has never had
any checks.
(continues on page 5)
Health & Safety Newsletter
(continued from page 4)
True-life story
Maria and her brother and sister lost their parents in April
2009 from carbon monoxide poisoning. Donald O’Sullivan,
73, and his wife, Rosetta, 70, died in each other’s arms at
their home in Matlock Road, Leyton, on 21 April 2009.
The couple employed their next door neighbour to carry
out some building work in their home, which included
raising the height of their garage roof. The neighbour was
inexperienced and dangerously enclosed the flue part of
the boiler, allowing deadly fumes into the couple’s home.
Maria’s mum soon became unwell, suffering from severe
headaches. She even had a brain scan but the results
came back clear. None of the family considered that
Rosetta’s illness could be symptoms of carbon monoxide
poisoning. Within a couple of weeks after the work was
carried out, the couple were found dead.
The neighbour pleaded guilty to breaching Gas Safety
Regulations. He was fined £75 000, ordered to pay
£25 452 in costs and handed a 12-month community
order requiring him to carry out 150 hours of community
If you’re carrying out home improvement, no matter how
big or small, find out if it will involve gas work or impact on
your existing gas appliances.
For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning and
to find a Gas Safe registered engineer in your area call
0800 408 5500 or visit
Issue 34
To avoid falling victim to dodgy gas work like Fiz, follow Gas Safe Register’s tips:
lOnly use a Gas Safe registered engineer to fix, fit
or maintain your gas appliances – it’s the law and will keep you safe.
lRecognise the six symptoms
of CO poisoning. These include headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness.
lDon’t assume your gas appliances are safe – get these checked and serviced regularly to ensure they continue to work properly.
lAs a second line of defence, buy an audible carbon monoxide alarm. This will alert you to high levels of CO in your home. You can buy an alarm from £15 at a
DIY store, supermarket or from your energy company.
Health & Safety Newsletter
Making life easier for small businesses
Life is now a bit easier for small businesses who need
health and safety advice quickly, simply and free of charge.
For HSE’s new ‘Health and Safety Toolbox’ allows small,
low-risk businesses to understand, manage and control
workplace risks with just a few clicks of a mouse.
Plain English
It’s the first time that quick, simple
guides and interactive tools on how to
identify, assess and control common
workplace hazards have been pulled
Sections on the most common risks –
such as manual handling, trip hazards
and harmful substances, as well as tips
on protective equipment – are set out in
plain English.
‘The Toolbox is everything small, lowrisk businesses need in one place to
manage health and safety,’ said HSE’s
Chair Judith Hackitt.
Core health and safety issues relating to
the type of business, its workforce and
workplace are set out more simply then
ever before.
Issue 34
‘It’s online, it’s free and it will help
businesses save time and money by
getting them focusing on the real risks,
guiding them to what is relevant for
them and steering them away from
what’s not.
‘It’s online, it’s
free and it will help
businesses save time
and money ...’
‘By using the Toolbox, many SMEs will
realise that they don’t need expensive
consultancy or reams of paperwork to
manage their responsibilities. It is of no
benefit to businesses or workers if overthe-top precautions are introduced.’
understand, manage and control
workplace risks. A full review of all
HSE’s written guidance is also being
carried out.
(continues on page 7)
The Toolbox and Health and Safety
Made Simple (launched in 2011) are
part of HSE’s plan to make it simpler
and clearer for businesses to
Health & Safety Newsletter
(continued from page 6)
The Toolbox gives advice on a wide range of general areas affecting all
workplaces. These are the subjects covered so far in the Toolbox.
Simply click on any box below to get more information about that topic.
Electrical safety
Fire safety
Gas safety
Harmful substances
Machinery, plant and equipment
Manual handling
Personal protective equipment
Pressure equipment
Slips and trips
Working at height
Working in confined spaces
Workplace transport
Getting started
Click here to get started:
Basic health and safety mistakes are killing and injuring workers - as
well as crippling British industry - every year. Find out what they are at:
Issue 34
Health & Safety Newsletter
Industrial injuries
Minor changes have been
made to the Industrial Injuries
Scheme to make it easier to
understand and administer.
It is no longer possible to make an
accident declaration for Industrial
Injuries Benefit but people will still
be able to claim IIDB when the need
Industrial Death Benefit was abolished
in 1988 for any deaths occurring after
that year but, until these changes, it
had been possible to make a claim for
deaths which happened before. Widows
or widowers still getting payments will
continue to receive them.
Announcing the changes, which came
into effect on 5 December 2012, the
Department of Work and Pensions
(DWP) stressed that people will not lose
out financially.
The two old schemes that dealt
with industrial accidents or disease
exposures before 1948 are now closed
and people have been transferred to the
main Industrial Injuries Scheme. Letters
have been sent to all those affected.
The final change is to transfer trainees
receiving benefit under the Analogous
Industrial Injuries Scheme into the main
Industrial Injuries Scheme at the end of
March 2013. Again, no one will lose out
as the Analogous Scheme is currently
operated in the same way as Industrial
Injuries Disablement Benefit.
The lower rate of Industrial Injuries
Disablement Benefit (IIDB), paid to
people under the age of 18, has been
removed so that everyone with the
same level of disability will receive the
same rate of benefit.
Issue 34
Health & Safety Newsletter
Ridiculous ‘elf and safety’ excuses exposed by HSE
The panel, which was set up
earlier this year to challenge
a stream of silly decisions
wrongly blamed on health and
safety, has now dealt with more
than 100 cases.
Bans on yo-yos
in playgrounds,
knives in
and kettles
in offices all
feature in a
list of the ten
most ridiculous
health and
safety excuses
put before
HSE’s Myth
Panel during
Issue 34
Its aim is to help the public
challenge unreasonable
bans or restrictions and force
those behind the decisions
to honestly explain their real
HSE Chair Judith Hackitt, who
heads the panel, said: ‘It’s
really important that we are
all ready to challenge stupid
decisions made in the name of
health and safety, and that we,
as the regulator, give the public
the confidence to do so.
‘Not only do the jobsworths
who make these ridiculous
edicts waste time and money,
and interfere needlessly with
harmless activities, they also
undermine our efforts to reduce
the number of people made ill,
injured or killed by their work.’
Reasons behind ‘daft
Analysis of the cases dealt with
so far shows that 38 were down to
jobsworths blaming health and safety
for an unpopular decision. Almost a
quarter of the cases were found to
involve over-interpretation of legitimate
guidelines, leading to daft decisions
being made _ probably through fear
of being sued. One sixth of all cases
came from people who had been
given advice that confused health
and safety with other regulations
or regulators. A similar amount was
down to communication failures when
explaining the reasons for a decision.
(continues on page 10)
Health & Safety Newsletter
(continued from page 9)
The most ridiculous health and safety excuses of 2012
A driver refused to allow a customer on his bus with a hot drink citing health and safety.
A bar refused to let a customer carry a tray of drinks because they had not been ‘health and safety trained’.
A charity shop has said that they cannot sell
knitting needles because ‘they are too dangerous’.
A public hall removed knives from a kitchen on the grounds of health and safety.
A cafe refused to put coffee in a customer’s own reusable cup.
Airline passengers were told boiled sweets were no longer provided in case children choked on them.
Bathroom floor towels were not provided by a
hotel chain as people could slip over.
Fish and chip shop customers were told they couldn’t have ‘batter scraps’ for health and
safety reasons.
A school banned yo-yos because children might be injured.
Kettles and microwaves were banned from offices because extra insurance coverage was needed.
Issue 34
Find out more about all these
excuses as well as all the other
myths so far considered by the
panel at
Do you think you’ve been
the victim of a bogus health
and safety decision? Why
not put it to the panel here
and get the confidence
to challenge those using
nonsense health and safety
excuses rather than tell
the truth behind unpopular
decisions: http://www.
Health & Safety Newsletter
In the dock 1
Worker killed by falling gatepost
A Staffordshire landscape gardener
has been given a suspended prison
sentence and 180 hours of unpaid
community service, after a worker
was killed by a falling gatepost.
Leeson Lavender, 39, of Stoke-onTrent, was helping Eden Maddocks to
install a large oak post at a property in
Pepper Street, Keele.
The two men stood on a trailer that
had been used to transport the post
and started to manoeuvre it towards a
pre-dug hole. As they lifted it the trailer
shifted, causing Mr Lavender and the
post to fall out.
Mr Lavender hit his head on the ground
before the post struck him on his
head. He died later in hospital from his
After the hearing, HSE inspector
Lindsay Hope said: ‘Mr Maddocks had
balanced the trailer with sandbags and
provided stone chocks to stabilise it
during the lifting process.
He had also provided guide
nails in the trailer to stop
it sliding sideways during
transportation, so
he had obviously
considered the
potential stability
issues and had taken
some precautions in
an attempt to reduce
the risks of the post overbalancing.
‘Sadly, he didn’t do enough and Leeson
Lavender paid with his life _ a tragic
and unnecessary death that could have
been avoided with better planning and a
safer method of work.’
Eden Shane Maddocks, of Bucknall,
Stoke-on-Trent, was given a sixmonth prison sentence suspended
for 12 months, and 180 hours unpaid
community service work.
Issue 34
Health & Safety Newsletter
In the dock 2
Firm and consultant
fined over chemical
A Cambridge instrument company
and a health and safety consultant
have been fined for risking the
health of employees from hazardous
Paint sprayer Adam Coventon, 36,
suffered irritation to his eyes, breathing
difficulties and headaches, and lost the
ability to concentrate after working with
harmful substances at Prior Scientific
Instruments Ltd in Fulbourn. He is now
no longer able to work.
Issue 34
Keith Whiting, trading as KW
Consultants, of West Street, Chatteris,
Cambridgeshire, was fined £1500 with
costs of £1000 after pleading guilty
to breaching section 3(2) of the same
An HSE investigation found that Prior
Scientific Instruments did not provide
suitable equipment to adequately
remove the hazardous fumes from the
workplace, especially where items were
left to dry.
After the hearing HSE inspector
Robert Meardon said: ‘Prior Scientific
Instruments failed to ensure the health
of its employees because it employed
the wrong person to give it health and
safety advice.
The company also failed to provide
employees with the necessary
health surveillance for workers using
hazardous substances.
‘Mr Whiting’s background was in quality
control and he did not have adequate
knowledge of health and safety for the
work going on in this company. He failed
to make them aware of the ‘dos and
don’ts’, regarding the use of hazardous
Cambridge Magistrates’ Court was
told that between September 2002
and December 2009 the company
employed Keith Whiting, trading as
KW Consultants, as a health and
safety consultant. However, he did not
provide suitable information and advice
to enable the company to ensure the
health and wellbeing of employees.
Prior Scientific Instruments Ltd, of
Wilbraham Road, Fulbourn, Cambridge,
was fined £9000 and ordered to pay full
costs of £2852 after pleading guilty to
breaching section 2(1) of the Health and
Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
‘In 2010, the Government commissioned
a review of health and safety laws
and, among the findings, the inquiry
recognised that there were a lot of
people claiming to be health and
safety experts, who were in fact not.
‘The national register of health and
safety consultants has been set up as
a result. All the consultants who are
registered are members of a recognised
professional body, and it is important
that firms seeking to use a consultant
choose one from the register.’
Adam Coventon’s partner, who does
not want to be named, said: ‘This whole
thing has had a huge effect on our lives,
as we have to constantly plan around
Adam’s symptoms. We all just wish that
his remaining symptoms go so that he
can once again be fit and strong.
‘This case highlights the important job
the Health and Safety Executive do,
and the need for companies to monitor
and control chemicals they use so they
do not wreck people’s lives in the way
that ours has been.’
Further information and advice about
working with chemicals can be found at
Health & Safety Newsletter
In the dock 3
Lorry driver’s death
lands firm in court
A West Midlands logistics company
has been fined £300 000 after one of
its drivers was killed by a runaway
lorry in Northamptonshire.
Russell Homer, 44, was crushed against
a stationary vehicle after his own lorry
moved off while he was coupling the
tractor unit to the trailer.
After striking him, the lorry rolled down
a slope, travelling another 27 metres
before crashing into a wall which
stopped it from rolling directly onto a
public highway. Mr Homer died at the
scene from a serious chest injury.
Northampton Crown Court heard that
an HSE investigation identified issues
Issue 34
with drivers coupling up vehicles without
following the company’s rules. They
were not applying the handbrake to the
tractor unit or turning off the engine.
Nightfreight GB Ltd were aware of
this dangerous practice but failed to
effectively monitor its employees and
ensure they followed the correct, safe
working procedure.
The HSE investigation also found that
there were no appropriate measures
in place to prevent vehicles parked on
the slope from rolling away, such as
flattening it out, installing road bumps
in front of the vehicle wheels, or using
After the hearing HSE inspector Judith
McNulty-Green said: ‘Mr Homer’s death
was entirely preventable and his life has
needlessly been lost.
‘It happened because of a poor and
dangerous practice that the company
was aware of but did nothing to stop.
Appropriate controls should also have
been in place to ensure vehicles did not
roll away.
‘What is so disappointing is that there
had been previous similar incidents
at this company and at the same site.
Lessons should have been learned from
these but weren’t.’
In the dock 4
UK Power Networks
fined over worker death
Engineer John Higgins, 59, from
Colchester, was killed at an electrical
substation in Bishops Hall Lane in
Chelmsford when a device he was
working on for manually adjusting
voltage ratios exploded.
UK Power Networks, which has since
introduced revised procedures to
safeguard staff, was fined £275 000
with £145 000 in prosecution costs.
After sentencing, HSE inspector Steven
Gill said: ‘John Higgins lost his life in
tragic circumstances that could have
been avoided had this activity been
properly assessed and managed by
UK Power Networks.
Chelmsford Crown Court heard that
the explosion caused a fire at the
substation. Mr Higgins died at the
scene despite the arrival of Essex Fire
and Rescue within minutes of the alarm
being raised by staff from nearby Anglia
Ruskin University.
‘His death illustrates how dangerous
work on or near electrical distribution
networks can be, and how imperative it
is that employers _ large or small
_ ensure that all activities involving
high-voltage electrical equipment
are properly assessed and that safe
systems of work in place.
The incident also blacked out a large
part of Chelmsford, including Broomfield
‘There is no room for error or
complacency when working with high
voltage equipment.’
UK Power Networks (Operations) Ltd,
which supplies power to the East of
England, London and the South East,
has been ordered to pay £420 000 in
After the case, Mr Higgins’ wife Sheila
paid tribute to HSE for its hard work
in bringing the prosecution. She
said: ‘They are making sure John’s
colleagues have a safer working
environment and get to go home to their
families at the end of their day.’
An HSE investigation found that the
company had not properly assessed
work with tap changers and failed to
adequately train employees for carrying
out this task.
For information on electrical safety at
work, visit the HSE website at www.
Health & Safety Newsletter
Here’s what one company did ... ‘culture change through leadership’
Accident case study
Risky business
Did you know that the waste
and recycling sector is one of
the most dangerous places to
work? Over the past five years,
the industry has had a fatal
injury rate of about 17 times the
national average.
The good news is that injury numbers
have been falling for the past few years
but it remains very much a high-risk
The latest provisional statistics
(covering the 12 months from April
2011) reveal that:
lthere were six fatal injuries to workers (compared with an average of eight over the previous five years);
lthere was one fatal injury to a member of the public (compared to
an average of over two a year over
the previous five years);
lthe rate of reported over-three-day
injury is almost five times that in agriculture or construction;
Issue 34
lalmost a third of the fatalities (29%) are due to employees being struck by vehicles;
labout a third (35%) of reported major injuries are due to slips and trips;
lalmost half (45%) of reported over- three-day injuries are due to handling.
Fact: The waste and recycling
industry employs only around 0.6%
of workers in Britain but accounts for
2.8% of reported injuries to employees
(4.2% fatalities, 2.5% major and 2.9%
of over-three-day injuries).
So what’s being done?
HSE has organised an industry summit
to encourage the industry to take
ownership of its health and safety
problems. Influential stakeholders will
attend the Birmingham event on
7 February where HSE will promote key
health and safety messages. Through
a series of speakers and workshops,
delegates will identify and commit to
delivering solutions to drive down injury
Shanks Group plc is a multinational
waste management company with
operations in Belgium, Northern France,
Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and
the UK. The group’s health and safety
performance has improved steadily in
the past, but slowly.
year of the scheme and feedback from
employees has been positive. The
scheme isn’t the sole factor responsible
for Shanks’ improved performance
but it is the flagship for an improved
emphasis on safety across the group.
The results
In the ten years prior to the introduction
of the safety leadership scheme Shanks
UK’s RIDDOR (over-three-day) accident
rate had dropped by 32%. Within the
first year of the scheme this improved to
a 42% reduction in accidents.
Find out more at:
Shanks UK directors taking part in safety
leadership training
Shanks introduced a safety leadership
scheme in June 2011. This included
mandatory director site safety visits
and employee engagement, health
and safety training for all directors
and a series of key safety essentials
applied evenly across the group. Safety
leadership visits to sites by directors
are tracked and reported on as a key
director performance indicator, linked to
their remuneration.
More than 100 director safety
leadership visits took place in the first
Health & Safety Newsletter
Wheezing at work
Occupational asthma case studies
Wood dust triggers lifestyle change
A joiner worked for a year with
occupational asthma symptoms
before he was finally diagnosed.
Although his employer had
provided dust extraction on the
woodworking machines, it hadn’t
been maintained so failed to
measure exposure to wood dust.
While it was wood dust that caused the
occupational asthma, the worker’s lungs
are now damaged so other ‘triggers’
(such as exercise and cold air) can now
cause an attack.
The worker suffered loss of earnings,
change of lifestyle and a permanent
debilitating illness.
What happened next
To get his employer to take his health
problems seriously, the joiner had
to involve his trade union safety
HSE’s investigations led to upgrading
of the dust extraction equipment, which
should prevent others from suffering the
same fate.
Issue 34
He used to enjoy playing football and
playing with his children but now finds
that running and lifting his daughter will
bring on wheezing. Everyday activities
are increasingly difficult.
Do you think you or your workers could
be affected by wood dust? Get some
top tips and advice.
When a staff nurse returned to work
after a long holiday, she noticed she
was suffering from symptoms of
occupational asthma. She started
wheezing while at work but her
breathing improved as soon as she
arrived home.
What happened next
The hospital’s occupational health
department helped solve the
problem. They confirmed that she
had an allergy to latex. This gave
her a rash over her hands and lower
arms and then led to her developing
asthma. She was provided with vinyl
gloves and now everyone around
her avoids using powdered latex
All the symptoms disappeared and
now the nurse can continue doing
her job thanks to her employer
providing her with a safe working
environment. Get some top tips
and advice here on how to protect
yourself if you are a healthcare
Health & Safety Newsletter
In the cold about workplace temperatures?
Answer: The regulatory requirements
for workplace temperatures are set
by the Workplace (Health, Safety and
Welfare) Regulations 1992 which
replaced the requirements under the
Factories Act 1961 and the Offices,
Shops and Railways Premises Act
What is the maximum/
minimum temperature
in the workplace? What
breaks am I allowed
under the Working
Time Regulations?
Can a person be left
alone in the workplace?
These are just some of
the frequently asked
questions you’ll find on
HSE’s website.
You can see more
questions and find out all
the answers in detail here
but, meanwhile, here’s
a typical question and
Don’t get hot under the collar about workplace
temperatures. HSE’s website has everything you
need to know on the subject with a range of frequently
asked questions (FAQs) on this hot topic, such as:
Question: What are the regulatory requirements
for workplace temperature?
Issue 34
The Regulations state that the
temperature of indoor workplaces
should be reasonable. The Approved
Code of Practice defines a reasonable
temperature indoors as being normally
at least 16 °C unless the work involves
severe physical work, in which case the
temperature should be at least 13 °C.
Where there are requirements for
workrooms to operate at lower
temperatures, for example for food
hygiene purposes, you should refer to
the chilled food advice.
These Regulations only apply to
employees, they do no apply to
members of the public _ for example
temperature complaints from customers
in a shopping centre or cinema.
Other FAQs on this subject include:
lWhat is the minimum/maximum temperature in the workplace?
lWhat is a reasonable working temperature?
lWhat instructions should I give staff
wearing required personal protective equipment (PPE)?
lHow hot does it have to be before I can complain?
lHow can I find out how much insulation clothing provides if I cannot measure the insulation?
lHow can I find out how much metabolic heat someone is creating without measuring it?
lIf our employees need to wear PPE, how can we improve their thermal comfort?
More information
Find out more on a range of FAQs
dealing with workplace health and
Health & Safety Newsletter
from HSE’s Chair
You’ve got to admire Mary Pickles
HSE Chair Judith Hackitt
regularly looks at
developments in the world
of health and safety in a
series of blogs on HSE’s
website. You can read this
in full, and others, via the
link at the foot of the page.
You’ve got to admire Mary Pickles.
The 87-year-old from Burnley has
been regularly braving the biting East
Lancashire winds to get out and help the
town’s late-night revellers.
Volunteering as a street pastor, as part of
a scheme organised by local churches,
the teetotal former postmistress has
been clearing broken glass from the
streets, handing out flip-flops to shoeless
girls forced off their high-heels and
escorting inebriated youngsters a quarter
of her age to a taxi.
Issue 34
One of the reasons Mary’s story caught
my eye is that I’d recently looked into
street pastors in another part of the
country being told they shouldn’t be
clearing up broken glass for ‘health and
safety reasons’.
On closer inspection, this was about a
fear of being sued if somebody fell and
cut themselves on glass that had not
been swept up. Of course, there are no
health and safety rules banning people
from doing this. When I speak to people
in the insurance industry they tell me
that if you are actively making things
better rather than making a situation
worse, it is going to be difficult for
someone to successfully bring a case
against you.
People like Mary and the other street
pastors are at one end of the scale _
they can’t do enough for their
neighbours and local community. At the
other end we have those who really
can’t be bothered and will seize on any
excuse not to get involved, including
health and safety.
Over the coming days and weeks, as
winter gets into its stride and the snows
come, we’re going to have a big test
of our community-spiritedness across
the country. How many of us will be
clearing a path for the postman, or
doing our neighbours’ drives when we
do our own?
Read more
Health & Safety Newsletter
What’s new from HSE
Keeping you up to date with our latest guidance
Both these leaflets have recently been rewritten and redesigned to make the advice
easier to understand.
Safe use of petrol in garages
Safe use of petrol in garages
have the potential to escalate into a
major incident.
Petrol fires are usually serious and often
result in fatal or major injuries, either
to the person doing the maintenance
work or to other employees and even
customers who may be nearby. There is
often major property damage as well.
This leaflet is aimed at owners,
employers and supervisors in the motor
vehicle repair and recovery industries. It
provides advice on how to handle petrol
safely and also includes a helpful list of
dos and don’ts for employees.
Fires and explosions caused by
careless handling of petrol during
vehicle maintenance occur all too easily.
Even small leaks and spills of petrol
Issue 34
Safe working with LPG-fuelled motor vehicles
This guidance is aimed at employers,
self-employed people, supervisors
and others likely to carry out any
work which may affect LPG systems.
Download the leaflet (INDG331(rev1))
free of charge here.
Although there are specialist centres for
installing and maintaining LPG systems,
conventional vehicle servicing and
repair work are normally carried out at
motor vehicle repair garages.
It tells you about the main health
and safety risks associated with
work on vehicles fuelled by liquefied
petroleum gas (LPG) and the
Vehicle recovery operators and
precautions that should be taken. It
breaking/recycling businesses will also
not working
cover repair
on the
have to deal with LPG vehicles.
fuel system
itself, nor does it
Download the leaflet (INDG387
(rev1)) free of charge here.
Find out more:
With the different fuel types on the
forecourt, incorrect filling of diesel
vehicles with petrol, and vice versa, is
now a major problem. It is estimated
that there are around 120 000
misfuelling operations each year, most
of which require fuel replacement.
Petrol is a highly flammable liquid and
any spillage will evaporate to form a
flammable, heavier-than-air vapour
which is easily ignited, even at low
cover vehicles fuelled with compressed
natural gas (CNG).
HSE’s motor vehicle repair
Further information on fire and
explosion risks can be found on
HSE’s website.
More information
Health and Safety Made Simple:
Free Health and Safety Toolbox: