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Action in industry sectors tables

Table 4.2 Examples of key actions in industry sectors

Sector Key enforcement actions

Target: a significant reduction in the number of signals passed at danger and in the number of broken rails.

We will secure compliance through a substantial programme of targeted inspections, investigations and enforcement activity, and increased monitoring of and compliance with railway safety cases. We will:

  • carry out 2550 targeted and prioritised inspections, including follow up visits;
  • carry out 1380 contacts in connection with the investigation of 450 RIDDOR events and 335 complaints;
  • carry out 230 contacts in connection with enforcement, leading to an estimated 48 notices and ten prosecutions; and
  • introduce and assimilate new inspectors for safety case work.

Target: 15% reduct- ion in incidents and dangerous occurrences involving lifting/ mechanical handling.

We will carry out a three year programme to raise the profile of occupational health and reduce the incidence of ill health in the offshore industry, through raising awareness, helping industry to establish baselines, securing compliance with regulations, and targeting occupational health issues during inspections. We will:

  • take forward the outcomes of a major offshore conference in March 2001 and the OIAC workshop in January 2001; and
  • issue guidance to inspectors to help target occupational health issues during inspection.

Lifting operations are a major cause of incidents in the offshore industry. We will continue a three year programme started in November 2000, which includes: investigation of reportable lifting/mechanical handling incidents; inspection of lifting equipment and lifting operations offshore; raising awareness; and development of a database of lifting equipment (particularly cranes) in use on offshore installations. We will concentrate on drilling related operations.


Target: to reduce the number of employees exposed to relevant maximum exposure limit (MEL) by 70%.

We will carry out a three year programme to reduce the levels of occupational asthma in the explosives industry (this links to a HSE-wide initiative). This will include work to:

  • carry out a survey to identify sites which handle problem substances;
  • quantify base lines using questionnaire to all licensed explosives sites;
  • establish bench marks for good practice and develop a quantitative method for rating performance;
  • review current protective strategies, inspection systems, testing and maintenance, and health surveillance;
  • assess findings against benchmarks and identify remedial action;
  • develop and agree action plans with occupiers; and
  • monitor implementation of action plans.
Gas supply industry

Target: a levelling off of diagnosed cases of HAVs and a significant reduction in reported new cases.

Following an audit of a major gas distributor, a number of occupational health problems were identified including hand-arm vibration (HAV). Around 440 cases of HAV were identified over a 15 month period from the beginning of 1999.
A number of initiatives have been introduced by the distributor including:

  • a programme to replace non-dampened tools;
  • development of equipment and databases;
  • field trials for new equipment;
  • risk gap action programmes; and
  • clearance of the questionnaire/RIDDOR report backlog.

Over next three years we will:

  • develop baselines and use this to monitor effectiveness of HAV management and reduction measures;
  • continue to monitor these initiatives and review progress, including sample verification visits; and
  • subject to the effectiveness of these initiatives, we will consider extending HSE intervention to other public gas transporters and utilities.

Target: to halve the number of incidents in the industry by 2005.

Quarrying is a dangerous industry with a fatal injury rate even greater than that of construction.

HSE, working with the industry's key stakeholders including trade associations, trades unions, the national training organisation and major companies, has developed a 'balanced strategy' to attack the causes of on-site incidents and so contribute to the national target. Interventions are planned in three areas of quarrying operations:

  • key groups of people and processes;
  • education and training; and
  • advice and enforcement.

Target: a reduction in the number of notifications of high dust levels under the current regulations.

There has been an increase in recent years in the number of notifications of pneumoconiosis amongst mine workers.

New regulations on the control of inhalable dust are being drafted. We will carry out a programme aimed at securing improvements in advance of the implementation of the new regulations.

We will investigate all notifications under the current regulations and work with stakeholders to resolve deficiencies and share good working practices.


Target: targets will be set in agreement with stakeholders by July 2001. Work on baselines and gathering data on incidence of ill health and working days lost will commence in April 2001.

Despite improvements over recent years, the dock industry remains one of the most dangerous in the UK.

We will continue our programme of targeting the control and management of cargo handling contractors and their subcontractors whenever we visit ports Over the next three years key areas of work will include:

  • management of dock operations - control of contractors, users and their labour providers and implementation of the docks industry passport scheme and the training of (non permanent) cargo handling workers;
  • cargo handling - cargo handling is the main source of incidents in ports, we will concentrate on major lifts of cargoes e.g. timber & steel; and
  • transport safety - See priority programme on workplace transport..

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Table 4.3 Examples of activities on cross-sector hazards

Hazard Activity

Target: increased awareness of risks and compliance with the Noise at Work Regulations and better control of risks at source.

An estimated 1.3 million workers are exposed to noise levels which could damage their hearing. 170 000 people suffer from noise-induced deafness or other hearing faults.

Inspectors will carry out the following programme of visits to ensure compliance with the Noise at Work Regulations; and with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations for high risk activities:

  • 2001/02: 150 contacts at woodworking premises, 212 at construction, 500 at engineering and utilities, and 134 at polymers and fibres;
  • 2002/03: visits targeted at high risk activities in construction, specific machines/processes in engineering and utilities, metals and minerals, and food and entertainment premises; and
  • 2003/04: possible field initiative to agriculture and wood premises, continuation of visits to construction targeting different machine/processes, and continuation of visits to engineering /utilities targeting different machines/processes.

Target: to significantly reduce the number of fatalities associated with asbestos-related disease.

Target: to reduce ill health from exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos related diseases continue to give rise to the most deaths from work-related disease. There were over 1500 deaths from mesothelioma in 1998.

Asbestos management in buildings

HSC will consult on the introduction of a new regulation, in the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations, to require the proper management of asbestos in buildings (a 'duty to manage'). A three to five year strategy will commence in May 2001. LAs will play an integral part of this campaign.

  • in year one we will raise awareness of the duty through conferences, workshops etc, including an official launch;
  • in year two inspectors will carry out head office inspections of significant duty holders, and a mail shot exercise aimed at SMEs;
  • in year three and beyond we will carry out targeted regulatory visits and enforcement action; and
  • we will carry out comprehensive research in spring 2001 to establish baseline figures; and an independent evaluation will be conducted at the end of 3 years to measure impact on attitudes and practices.

Inspection of asbestos stripping Many deaths have arisen from exposure relating to working conditions of many years ago. But there remains concern about the activities of repair and removal contractors, exposing other people not involved in the work. We will carry out a programme of work to secure a national minimum commitment to the inspection of licensed work with asbestos insulation, asbestos coating and asbestos insulation board (AIB).

  • in 2001/02 the national target is 1052 visits. This figure will be reviewed in subsequent years in the light of developments;
  • we will continue to give inspection priority to work where uncontrolled dry stripping is planned, work in hot environments, and where the use of power tools is planned;
  • we will also give priority to new licence holders, licensees whose licence expires within next 4-6 months and have not been inspected in previous 12 months, and licensees who have been sent a warning letter by Asbestos Licensing Unit (ALU) or whose performance has been unsatisfactory; and
  • we will target 20% of visits to sites where notifications of work with AIB have been received.
Hazardous substances

Target: to reduce incidents and cases of ill health.

We will roll forward a programme to address health and safety standards at cleaning stations where road tankers and tank containers are cleaned to remove residues of hazardous cargoes. 14 visits have been made to member companies of the National Road Tanker Cleaners Association (NRTCA) to set standards of compliance, and a resource pack has been developed for inspectors. We will:

  • in 2001/02 inspect remaining members and non-members of the NRTCA, some of which are SMEs, and make central approaches to multi-site concerns (total 41 visits);
  • liaise with the NRTCA and discuss any deficiencies found;
  • revise and reissue joint HSE/NRTCA guidance; and
  • in 2002/03 carry out evaluation and report to NRTCA.
Hard-arm vibration (HAV)

Target: to reduce risks from hand-arm vibration.

Research data in 1997/98 showed nearly five million people are exposed to hand-transmitted vibrations in a one-week period, of which over 1,200,000 were exposed in excess of recommended action levels; nearly 800,000 people showed symptoms of vibration white finger.

Initiatives will be undertaken during the three-year period, focusing on portable power hand tools, targeted at foundries, Motor Vehicle Repair (MVR) body shops, metal fabrication workshops, manufacturers of transport equipment, construction, road and poleworks for telecommunications and stonemasons. Other work will include:

  • guidance on required vibration emission data from suppliers of portable powered hand tools;
  • visits to manufacturers/suppliers of tools;
  • a programme of visits to users of tools over next three years - 588 visits in year one (with the majority of these visits being paid to engineering premises where noise will also be examined;
  • visits to ten telecommunications company headquarters to discuss proposals to reduce risks from groundbreaking tools;
  • at least 84 targeted inspections to designers, specifiers and portable powered hand tool users in construction;
  • guidance on assessment and purchasing of brushcutters; guidance for construction industry on the risk of injury from HAVS and examples of good practice;
  • guidance on required action by the telecommunications industry regarding introduction of reduced vibration roadbreaking tools;
  • guidance for the foundries on methods of reducing vibration; and
  • targeted work to reduce risks from HAVs in the Gas supply industry.

1500 - 3000 people develop occupational asthma each year; and an estimated 150 000 people suffer from asthma symptoms caused by work.

Over the three-year period we will develop and carry out a detailed programme of work, which is likely to include enforcement activity; inspection programmes; increased health surveillance; investigation of all cases of ill health and complaints; publicity campaign; and seminars for managers, safety representatives, occupational health professionals and medical practitioners, including:

  • 290 visits in year one to engineering premises to ensure adequate control risks for specific substances and processes;
  • 140 visits in year one to woodworking premises to ensure adequate standards of dust control and appropriate health surveillance;
  • measures to help meet the RHS targets, including reduction of exposure to respiratory sensitisers, improving the level and quality of health surveillance, and securing compliance with specific requirements of COSHH and proposed new ACOP;
  • evaluation of achievements by sectors, and previous investigations and cases studies;
  • Development of proposals to target priorities in the local authority sector and SMEs; and
  • develop a publicity campaign in conjunction with DOH.

(See also targeted work to reduce the level of occupational asthma in the explosives industry)

Hazardous biological agents

The regulation of hazardous biological agents and biotechnology, including genetically modified organisms under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) and the Genetically Modified Organisms (Controlled Use) Regulations.

Updated 2009-01-06