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Motor vehicle repair health & safety forum

Tenth Meeting Tuesday 13 May 2003
Health & Safety Executive Offices, 1 Hagley Road, Birmingham


B Holdcroft EEF West Midlands Association
I Taylor Motor Vehicle Repair Association
M Hooker Solihull MBC
R Walker Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders
M Whitley Transport & General Workers Union
K Quinn Transport & General Workers Union
I Lewis Motor Insurance Research, Repair Centre, Thatcham
S Kirton Institute of Vehicle Recovery
D Innes Scottish Motor Trade Association
B Stacey Road Haulage Association
S Biddell Road Haulage Association
D Reed Motor Importers H&S Safety Group
P Barlow Retail Motor Industry Federation
G Varley Motor Dealers Safety Group
D Littleford Signum Publications Ltd
B Revans Freight Transport Association
C Copelin Confederation of Passenger Transport UK
S Dean Vehicle Inspection Agency
P Concannon Communication Workers Union
G Begley Association of Colleges/City Colleges
A Haggan HSE Northern Ireland
Steve Dean Vehicle & Operator Services Agency
T Gallier Unison
J Malcolm SaFED
J Blease Sound Advice - Observer
J Powell HSE Manufacturing Sector (Chair)
S Shelley HSE Manufacturing Sector (Secretary)
N Ratty HSE Safety Unit
B Easterby HSE Specialist Group
G Broughton HSE Local Authority Unit
A Freeman HSE Work-related Road Safety Unit
A Garrod HSE Chemical Risk Assessment Control Group
R Edwards HSE Construction Division
K Jones Health & Safety Laboratory (HSL)
L Bellamy HSE Consultant (White Queen Safety Strategies)

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1. Welcome and apologies for absence

John Powell welcomed Steve Biddle, Road Haulage Association, who will be replacing Bob Stacey; and Geoff Varley, Motor Dealer Safety Group, and Gerry Begley, Association of Colleges, who were attending in place of Paul Cooper and Stephen Green, respectively.

Apologies for absence were received from S Forster, RMIF; S Pratt, Amicus; J Nelson, Garage Equipment Association; P Preece, Birmingham City Council, Environmental Health Dept; L Fernandes, British Coatings Federation; E MacDonald, TGWU; B Spratt, Automotive Distribution Federation; P Harvey, CACFOA; A Higginson, National Tyre Distributors Association; I Holmes, Sigerson Associates.

2. Matters arising from the minutes of the meeting of 27 November 2002

John Powell reported that the review of Sectors in HSE had been completed and that the Engineering Sector now formed part of the new Manufacturing Sector that included Metals & Minerals, Polymers &Fibres and Woodworking.

John Powell confirmed that the RIDDOR injury statistics sent out to members before the meeting included data from both the HSE and the LAs. Attention was drawn to the 2001/02 statistics for ‘Falls from height’ and ‘Workplace Transport’, both Revitalising priorities, which showed significant reductions from previous years. He commented that it was too early to judge whether this was due to the increased attention paid by Inspectors to these issues during inspections of MVR premises, though some of the reduction in the number of ‘Falls’ could be due to a change in definition.

At the last meeting attention was drawn to the risks of fire and explosion arising from the incorrect use of petrol/solvents for burning waste paper and other rubbish. Members were informed of two recent court cases taken by the HSE against MVR companies following such incidents, both involving young people/work experience students. The Prosecution database on HSE’s website: includes summaries of both cases.

Members were advised that the HSE has recommended that there should be no new legislation requiring Employers to investigate accidents at work. Instead, it will issue guidance to help employers investigate incidents that cause injuries and ill health in the workplace. (See HSE Press Release dated 31 January 2003:

John Powell mentioned a number of initiatives in various parts of the UK to promote HSE leaflet INDG356 Checklist for reducing ill health and accidents in motor vehicle repair. David Innes gave details of two seminars organised by the Scottish Motor Trade Association in Glasgow and Perth, both involving contributions from local HSE inspectors . HSE inspectors in London were holding a seminar at the end of May which was being supported by a number of Forum members. He asked Forum members to contact him if they would be interested in sponsoring joint workshops with HSE.

3. Work Related Road Safety

Steve Kirton from the Institute of Vehicle Recovery spoke about the safety of people involved in roadside vehicle recovery activities. Accidents to both new and experienced technicians continue to occur but because they are classed as road traffic accidents, they are not included in HSE’s statistics. British Standards (BS) publication PAS 43 Safe working of vehicle breakdown and recovery operators: Management system specification is a valuable source of information. However, it has been estimated that around 70% of small garages provided no training to their employees on safety during roadside recoveries. The Forum was shown a training video for roadside recovery technicians Life on the Edge 6 – It’s Your Call based on the process of risk assessment. The video includes examples of both good and bad practice.

Some members of the Forum felt that although PAS 43 had forced improvements in roadside recovery, the HSE should still have enforcement responsibility for rescue and recovery vehicles. There was also some concern that inspections and thorough examinations required by LOLER and PUWER were not always being carried out. John Powell agreed to follow up this matter.

4. Proposed work at Height Regulations

Nick Ratty advised members on new proposals to reduce falls from height incidents. In the UK, the Temporary Work at Height Directive will be implemented through the Work At Height Regulations, a single set of Regulations combining requirements in the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations and Workplace Regulations. The new Regulations will include a hierarchy of controls starting with the elimination of the need to work at height.

They will cover all industry sectors; include planning and safe systems as well as work equipment; and take into account falling objects, fragile materials, competence and weather conditions. Employers, the self-employed and those in control of sites will have duties. Work at heights below 2m will also be covered and although there will be no ban on the use of ladders, a Risk Assessment will be required to justify their use.

A Consultative Document is to be published in Summer 2003. Forum members were encouraged to look at the CD and take the opportunity to influence the requirements. It is expected that the implementation date will be July 2004 but the Regulations will not come into force until 2006.

John Powell reminded members that just under 10% of reported injuries in MVR result from falls from height. The main areas of concern are:

5. Managing Asbestos in Buildings

Rosie Edwards HSE Construction Division advised members on what those in charge of buildings need to know and do about Managing Asbestos in Buildings. Asbestos is a Category 1 carcinogen and the legacy of asbestos exposure is currently resulting in about 3000 deaths a year and many hundreds of new cases of asbestos-related disease being diagnosed each year. An estimated 25% of these cases are amongst those exposed to asbestos during building repair and maintenance work.

New Regulations have come into force requiring the proper identification of asbestos containing materials in buildings and the planning of any subsequent work. The key messages for building owners and managers are set out in HSE leaflet INDG223(rev3) 'A short guide to Managing Asbestos in Premises' (free to download from:

All those in charge of buildings must find out if there is asbestos in their premises and make and keep up to date records of its location and condition. They should assess the risk from the material and provide information to anyone who is liable to work or disturb it. For those procuring work with asbestos the key message was to use a licensed contractor. With very limited exceptions, this is what the law requires.

Supporting material can be found on the Internet on the Asbestos ‘Home’ page: http// .

6. Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) 2002

Bob Easterby gave a presentation on the new DSEAR Regulations (SI 2002/2776) which came into force on 9 December 2002. DSEAR implements some of the requirements of the Chemical Agents Directive (CAD) and Explosive Atmosphere Directive (ATEX) in the UK. The new Regulations will eventually replace the HFL & LPG Regulations and amend the Petroleum Licensing Regulations. A short guide to DSEAR can be found in HSE leaflet INDG370 'Controlling fire and explosion risks in the workplace'? (free to download from:

DSEAR are concerned with protection against risks from fire and explosion, they cover all workplaces and include risks to employees, self-employed, visitors and others who may be affected. Dangerous Substances include petrol; LPG; paints; varnishes; solvents; and dusts which when mixed with air could cause an explosive atmosphere. In MVR, risks associated with hot work on diesel tanks (see HSE leaflet INDG314'Hot Work on small tanks and drums' – free to download from: will be included.
DSEAR removes licensing requirements at the workplace for petroleum spirit except where petrol is being dispensed into the fuel tank of a vehicle. There is no need to change existing good practice and the guidance in HSG51 The storage of flammable liquids in containers is relevant.
From 1 July 2003, new equipment for use in hazardous zones must meet the Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres (EPS) Regulations 1966 (SI 1996/192, amended by SI 2001/3766). Existing equipment can still be used if the risk assessment concludes that it is safe. Also from this date, new and modified workplaces must meet the requirements of DSEAR. Workplaces already in use before July 2003 must meet the requirements by July 2006.

7. Isocyanates in MVR


Andrew Garrod updated members on the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) telephone/questionnaire survey of the MVR sector. The objectives of the study include an estimation of the numbers of workplaces/employees where there is the potential for exposure to isocyanates and of those employees provided with appropriate control measures. Their draft report estimates that one-third of the 6000 bodyshops in the UK belong to a trade association; over 14,500 employees, mostly sprayers, are potentially exposed to isocyanates; about 4 in 5 spray applications are carried out in a spray booth; a quarter of all sprayers wear air-fed orinasal RPE; two-fifths of those who apply isocyante paints by roller or brush wear no RPE; about 1% of sprayers use no RPE at all.

Following consultation with the MVR industry, a series of information sheets on the use of isocyantes in MVR will be published duringropean Health and Safety Week in October 2003. The COSHH Essentials Control Guidance Sheets will be a priced publication but will also be freely available on the Internet. Further information can be found on:

Biological Monitoring

Kate Jones, Health & Safety Laboratory (HSL), explained how Biological Monitoring (BM) can be used to monitor personal exposures to isocyanates. BM can assess exposure from a range of isocyanates through inhalation, ingestion or skin absorption, as well as the effectiveness of engineering controls and PPE. Further information can be found on HSE’s Asthma website.

ARM Simulation Game

Linda Bellamy, a Consultant working for HSE, demonstrated an interactive CD Rom simulation game she was developing for those potentially exposed to isocyanates in MVR. Its aim was to teach those involved the dangers of working with isocynates. The game was designed to convey the hazards associated with paint spraying and the precautions that can be taken to control the risks. Several members agreed to evaluate the game.

European Week of Health and Safety 13 - 17 October 2003

This year’sropean week for Safety and Health targets the use and control of dangerous substances in workplaces. There are an estimated 1500 to 3000 new cases of occupational asthma each year, many cases occurring as a result of exposure to isocyanate paints in MVR. The HSE has published a newsletter that provides information and advice on how to manage dangerous substances.

Nuisance dust masks

The HSE has issued a Press Release on 17 January 2003, warning people who work with harmful dusts not to use nuisance/ comfort/ hygiene masks to protect themselves from exposure. The warning is in support of the campaign to reduce respiratory diseases such as occupational asthma and the HSE is urging the use of CE-marked disposable respirators instead.

8. Safe Working with LPG-Fuelled Vehicles

John Powell advised members on progress with the preparation of new guidance on the hazards and precautions to be adopted when carrying out maintenance and repair on vehicles fuelled with LPG. A free HSE leaflet will be published later in the year. As with previous recent MVR publications, it will include a set of ‘Dos and Don’ts’ that can be displayed in the form of a wallposter.

He expressed his concerns that despite the increasing number of LPG fuelled vehicles on the roads, there was evidence that those carrying out maintenance and servicing work had not been properly trained in the safety aspects of LPG and LPG systems.

Ian Lewis spoke about the elements of training for technicians involved in the maintenance and repair of LPG-fuelled vehicles. The Thatcham Repair Research Centre had set up a database to which repair garages could subscribe. This would give them access to a help line and regular phone or postal information on safety and training, including information regarding work on LPG-fuelled vehicles.

9. HSE Website

John Powell demonstrated a new website being prepared by the Engineering/Manufacturing Sector on Health and Safety in the Motor Vehicle Repair Industries. Access to the site will be through HSE’s website and it is hoped that it will be available on the Internet in late summer. There will be direct links to other HSE webpages including ‘Revitalising Health & Safety’, ‘Manual Handling’, ‘Asthma’ as well as to all the free HSE leaflets relevant to MVR. The site will also include MVR Forum work programmes/minutes of meetings etc and it may be possible to add links to ‘health & safety’ webpages of organisations associated with the MVR industries.

10. Any other business

Recent publications from HSE include -

INDG 259(rev1) An Introduction to Health and Safety - available on HSE’s website

WCOVL100 What to expect when a Workplace Contact Officer Calls

Accident Book Form BI 510 has been updated. Available from HSE Books/Bookshops priced £4.75 (plus VAT)

Help for your business in the motor industry – available free from DTI Publications Orderline, ADMAIL 528, London SW1W 8YT (Tel: 0870 150 2500 Fax: 0870 150 2333)

11. Date and venue of next meeting

The next meeting of the MVR Forum will be held on Wednesday 26 November 2003 at HSE’s Birmingham office at 1 Hagley Road, Birmingham B16 8HS

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Added to HSE website 29 August 2003

Updated 2017-09-05