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Motor vehicle repair health & safety forum

Ninth Meeting Wednesday 27 November 2002
Communications Workers Union Headquarters, The Broadway, London


L Fernandes British Coatings Federation
M Whitley Transport & General Workers Union
E McDonald Transport & General Workers Union
B Stacey Road Haulage Association
A Garrod HSE, Occupational Hygiene Unit, TD
C Copelin Confederation of Passenger Transport
P Cooper Motor Dealer Safety Group
P Concannon Communication Workers Union
J Nelson Garage Equipment Association
D Innes Scottish Motor Trade Association
M Hooker Solihull MBC
Helen Thackray HSE Local Authority Unit
D Littleford  Signum Publications Ltd
I Holmes Sigerson Associates
A Haggan HSE Northern Ireland
D Reed    Motor Importers Health & Safety Group
P Barlow Retail Motor Industry Federation
I Taylor Motor Vehicle Repair Association
S Kirton Institute of Vehicle Recovery
J Cawte HSE Chemicals Policy Division
J Powell HSE Engineering Sector (Chair)
S Shelley HSE Engineering Sector (Secretary)

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1 Welcome and apologies for absence

John Powell welcomed Andrew Garrod who has replaced John McAlinden as Chair of the Bodyshop Working Group and Susan Shelley who has replaced Manda Hawkeswood as Forum Secretary. He thanked both John and Manda for all the work they had done for the Forum. Gareth Broughton has replaced Nigel Hammond as Head of the Local Authority Unit (LAU) and was represented at the meeting by Helen Thackray.

Apologies for absence were received from R Rixon, Autodata; S Forster, RMIF; B Spratt, Automotive Distribution Federation; R Holdcroft, EEF (West Midlands); S Dean, Vehicle Inspectorate; T Gallier, Unison; P Preece, Birmingham CC Environmental Health Department; I Philpott, Institute of the Motor Industry; A Higginson, National Tyre Distributors Assoc; B Revans, Freight Transport Assoc; S Pratt, AEEW; P Harvey, CACFOA; S Green, Association of Colleges; I Chisholm, Society of Operations Engineers.

2 Matters arising from the minutes of the meeting of 14th May 2002

John Powell confirmed that the alarming reports that had circulated on the Internet regarding the use of mobile phones at petrol stations and in MVR garages were not issued by HSE and the substance of the reports could not be confirmed. He drew members attention to the advice in HSE leaflet INDG331 Safe use of Petrol In Garages ie DON'T use any electrical equipment on or near the vehicle while fuel draining is in progress. This includes the use of inspection lamps, cordless phone handsets, mobile phones and pagers.

The BCAS/GEA scheme for Registered Compressed Air Service Engineers is still going ahead but John Nelson advised that there was no further progress to report at present.

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations (DSEAR) were due to come into force on 9 December 2002. An HSE Press Release summarising the new Regulations was published on 20 November 2002 - see HSE's website Leaflet INDG 370 Fire And Explosion - How Safe is Your Workplace: A short guide to the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations can be downloaded from the website or is available from HSE Books. The Approved Code of Practice is not due to be published until May 2003. Many employers who are complying with existing legislation on fire and explosion will have little extra to do under DSEAR. For more information about the Regulations see

3 Revitalising Health and Safety

John Powell reissued statistics on the numbers and kinds of reported accidents to HSE at premises where MVR was the main activity. The provisional figures for 2001/02 would not be available until early December and he promised to send them out with the minutes of the meeting. The statistics explained why inspectors were concentrating on particular issues at visits and why they were selected by HSE for its Revitalising initiative. He also handed out leaflets about each of the Revitalising topics used by some inspectors during visits (prepared by an inspector in the Birmingham office). The leaflets included information on the standards to be achieved. John Powell asked Forum members to send him any 'handouts' they had produced for use by their members.

Some members voiced their concerns that HSE and Local Authorities appeared to record RIDDOR injury data differently. John Powell agreed to look into the issues raised.

4 Occupational Road Safety

Andy Freeman gave a presentation on the work of the Work-related Road Safety Task Group which included details of the Government Road Safety Strategy to reduce the large numbers of deaths and serious injuries on the road. The Government has set targets for a 40% reduction in numbers killed and seriously injured and a 50% reduction in children killed and injured by road accidents to be achieved by 2010. There was a lack of reliable data on work-related road traffic accidents but the Task Group had recommended that new laws were unnecessary at present and that the application of the existing health and safety framework to on-the-road risks should be more effective. There were concerns that changes in working patterns and the growth of a mobile workforce appeared to have resulted in an increase in the use of the car as an office. He thought that the Forum could provide an excellent opportunity to identify practical concerns and develop solutions across industry. Document PAS 43 was a valuable source of advice on the recovery of motor vehicles and recommended that industry continue to monitor performance including near misses. Other publications included Temporary Traffic Management on High Speed Roads – Good Working Practice which can be down loaded from Highways England.

5 Transport/struck by accidents in MVR garages

At a previous Forum meeting, members had been advised about two separate accidents at MVR garages where employees were struck by moving vehicles which had been parked with their handbrakes off. Over the last year there has been an increase in accidents involving moving vehicles in garages, and John Powell presented summaries of similar recent accidents, some fatal, including incidents where cars had been left in gear with their hand brakes off and had been started up from outside the vehicle. He asked members to publicise the message that 'Engines should always be started and run with brakes on and in neutral gear, and by someone sitting in the driver's seat'. Guidance can be found in HSG136 Workplace transport safety and leaflet INDG312 Parking Large Goods Vehicles Safely.

6 Isocyanates in MVR

Andrew Garrod reported on the progress of a research project being carried out by the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) at Edinburgh University on the usage of isocyanates in the UK, including MVR and SMART repairers. Isocyanates were a major cause of occupational asthma and the HSE was looking for a 30% reduction in cases. HSE has no information on the pattern of work of SMART repairers and the IOM research may help. More research on SMART repairers was required but HSE had been unable to identify any suitable repairers who spray with isocyanates. He said that if isocyanates are used in SMART repair work, the controls must ensure that exposure is as low as is reasonably practicable at all times. He also said that wherever isocyanate paints are used there should be proper procedures for spills and wastes and, to prevent secondary exposure, disposal of gloves after each use should be considered.

Research, prompted by reports from Scandinavia, is underway to establish whether the sanding of fully cured paint films can give rise to isocyanate emissions. Early indications are that the paint surface does not heat up during sanding and no isocyanate is released.

The electronic version of COSHH Essentials is to include sections on the control of isocyanates from the use of 2-pack products for bush, roller or spray application. Members of the Bodyshop WG have been sent copies of the drafts for comment.

7 New MVR Publications

Over the last three years the Forum has contributed to the publication of MVR specific guidance including INDG331 Safe use of Petrol in Garages, INDG349 Safe working with vehicle air-conditioning systems and INDG356 Reducing ill health and accidents in MVR. John Powell asked members for any feedback on these leaflets. There was wide agreement that the leaflet on petrol safety was widely used. Also, the leaflet on air-conditioning systems was used by one supplier during user training sessions and supplied with new equipment. John Powell advised that some inspectors were asking to see the completed 'Checklists' from INDG356 when they inspected garages.

When asked about progress with the revision of HSG67 Health and Safety in MVR, the Chair explained that whilst this was still a priority, there had been little progress recently due to other higher priority work particularly in support of HSE's Revitalising topics. Due to a continuing demand for the document, it had recently been reprinted and he believed that apart from one or two areas, the publication was generally 'fit for purpose'.

8 Latex Gloves

Judy Cawte highlighted the problems of asthma and dermatitis from wearing natural rubber Latex gloves. Dermatitis is caused by direct contact with latex products, and asthma and other respiratory disease by inhaling proteins from 'powdered' gloves. This was the fifth highest cause of occupational asthma in Britain, which in some cases had led to fatal anaphylactic shock. She urged members to support HSE's policy that 'Latex gloves should only be used where there is an Operational need. If there is an Operational need, the latex gloves should be low protein and powder free'. Several types of Latex-free gloves are available, such as soft nitrile, vinyl or plastic gloves. Further advice can be found in INDG320 Latex and you.

9 Local Authority Unit

Helen Thackray talked about some of the current LAU priorities. Revision of the Enforcing Authority Regulations was progressing and it was hoped to publish a Consultation Document in 2003. Currently, under the Regulations, the enforcing authority, ie HSE or LA is determined according to the main activity of the business. One of the aims of the revision is to increase and improve effective partnerships between HSE and LAs.

10 Explosion Risks during the welding of diesel tanks

John Powell highlighted two recent incidents at MVR garages in which employees suffered serious burns when the diesel tanks they were repairing exploded. In both cases the tanks had not been properly cleaned/ gas freed before carrying out hot work on them. One of the companies involved was fined £18,000. INDG314 Hot work on small tanks and drums provides information on the fire and explosion hazards when cutting up or repairing tanks, drums or other containers and how to reduce the risks. Safer options include 'replacement' rather than 'repair'. Where, after a careful risk assessment, repair is the chosen option cold cutting or cold repair techniques should be considered. The leaflet contains advice on the steps to be taken where hot work is necessary.

He also highlighted several other fire/explosion incidents at garages, two involving students on work experience, where thinners/ waste petrol had been used to assist with the burning of waste paper or rubbish. His message to the industry was that 'petrol, thinners or other highly flammable liquid should not be used to start fires or assist with burning waste or other materials'.

11 Any other business

(i) Recent publications from the HSE include:

INDG364 The Right Start: Work experience for young people: Health and safety basics for employers

INDG308 (rev1) The safe use of gas cylinders

INDG223 (rev3) Managing asbestos in buildings

Many free leaflets can be down loaded from HSE's web site

(ii) The Institute of Petroleum has carried out research on the risks of Legionella in car washes. Their report has not yet been published and a proposed seminar, supported by both HSE and RMIF, was cancelled due to lack of interest

(iii) New regulations on the Control of Substances Hazard to Health (COSHH) 2002 and the Control of Asbestos at Work (CAW) 2002 came into force on 21/11/2002

(iv) The HSE has issued a Press Release warning occupiers of sites with their own gas mains that medium pressure ductile iron (MPDI) pipes need to be replaced.

12 Date and venue of next meeting

The next meeting of the MVR Forum will be held on Tuesday 13 May 2003 at HSE's new Midlands' office at 1 Hagley Road, Birmingham B16 8HS. (Directions to the building will be sent out with the Agenda.)

John Powell thanked Peter Concannon and the Communication Workers Union for hosting the meeting.

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Added to HSE website 27 March 2003

Updated 2015-06-28