Transcript of December 2008 podcast.
You are listening to the HSE Podcast. The HSE protects people's health and safety at work
Welcome to this addition of the HSE Podcast in this episode we find out how useful business advice open days are for people running their own firms.
You both run a business?
So what where you doing at the HSE stand just there?
The employers liabilities insurance
Someone falling down our flight of stairs
Have you been pushing people down the stairs?
No but I seem to be prone to accident don't I? I fall down one step we have got a step outside our house and I fell down it. I was off work for three weeks I had concussion I was in hospital. All my head was swelled up like a balloon by ankle went black. You know that was one step we are on about a flight of stairs here. This is why I am a bit worried about it
We have also been speaking to Colin Chattam from the HSE Workplace Transport Team to find out about a range of improvements that have been recently made to HSE's vehicles at work website.
But first here is a round up of the latest health and safety news.
In October HSE teamed up with foot balling legend Iain Wright to launch our new national campaign asbestos the hidden killer targeting plumbers' electricians and other trades the campaign aims to highlight the risk these tradesmen are still exposed to from asbestos at work. The campaign website illustrates where you are likely to find asbestos explains the harmful effects and how you should handle it to reduce the risks.
Employers and business leaders the best way to protect your workforce is to involve them. HSE's new worker involvement website and support and guidance shows you how. The site takes you through a process of preparation planning consultation and improvement as well as setting out your legal obligations.
Long term exposure to live music at work can cause hearing damage a particular risk to musicians and workers in the entertainment sector. Yet by managing the risks and making the most of often simple and cost effective control measures the risks to hearing can be significantly reduced. The music and entertainment industry alongside local councils and the HSE have developed a new Sound Advice website and guidance to provide practical advice on controlling noise at work in the music and entertainment sectors. You will find some great examples of good practice to help avoid the harmful effects of prolonged exposure to noise.
British health and safety law provides protection for oversees workers whether they are working here legally or not. HSE have launched a new Migrant Workers website and supporting guidance providing straightforward advice for migrant workers, explaining their health and safety rights and responsibilities whilst working in Britain. The information has been translated in to a number of languages. There is also helpful advice for employers highlighting good practice and your legal responsibilities plus tailored advice for the industries where migrant workforces are particularly prevalent such as agriculture and health care.
For links to these HSE websites and other issues covered in this episode view the transcript at hse.gov.uk/podcasts. You can stay up to date with the latest news and updates from the HSE by visiting the news pages on our website at news.hse.gov.uk. If you would rather get the latest news by email then sign up for free regular eBulletins on a range of different health and safety subjects. Sign up at hse.gov.uk/news/subscribe/index.htm.
Now have you got a burning question about health and safety that you would love to ask a HSE Inspector. Maybe you are starting a business for the first time and you have got a big bundle of questions. Well the answer might be just around the corner from your workplace. The HSE takes part in business advice open days, free events held nationwide where you can get face to face information and advice from our experts at HSE, as well as a number of other government organisations. Our reporter Stephanie Power went to a recent business advice open day at the famous Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool to find out more.
My name is Mick Johnson my role is design manager for the team that organise these events here at Aintree. They're organised by HM Revenue and Customs and the team within Revenue and Customers is called the Business Liaison Team. We run sixteen of these events a year across the whole of the UK some are larger some are much smaller this one at Aintree racecourse is one of the larger events that we have run
And it has got a nice view as well hasn't it?
It is a superb view it really is
What kind of organisations are here?
Primarily the events are Revenue and Customs and the majority of the stands that you see represent the different sections of HMRC. We also have a number of what we call sponsors and partners who work with us on an annual basis.
Is the HSE one of those partners?
Yes HSE have been a partner of ours for some years now. They are a key components of the events and we find their presence here is extremely popular.
I am Lynette Cox and I am a Health and Safety Inspector
And what are you doing here today at this business advice open day?
Okay I am helping people out on the HSE stand which is dealing with people's questions concerns about setting up a business or dealing with things in an established business. And I am also later on going to do a talk on how to risk assess your business.
So all of this information all of these leaflets they're free to who ever comes by
Yes they are absolutely free we have got the catalogue there that gives all the publications that HSE has so if people aren't sure then they can take that away.
What kind of people come to the stand?
People who are interested in setting up a business, those who have been in business for a while and are looking for some general information, it could be on how to write a risk assessment it could be on manual handling absolutely anything.
Do you want to take me through what is on the stand?
Yes at the moment what is on the stand is where to get information from. So we have got a laptop set up with access to the HSE website. I have just had some people coming to ask me about cleaning so I have just shown them the skin at work because they were a bit concerned about the chemicals they use and the effect it could have.
And I see on that front page there you have got this myth of the month what is that?
Oh yes you know the conkers bonkers brigade who think that in the name of health and safety we have actually banned something. One of the myths that currently is going round is that HSE have banned ladders.
Which of course we haven't.
You are here at the HSE stand what information have you been looking for today?
To understand where our HSE liabilities are because we are a relatively new business and I don't know how much we do need to do or not do in regard of HSE.
What is your business?
Well its training but its training in energy assessment so we do take people on site to houses to construction sites and in offices and they go up on the roof to check air conditioning units, so its wondering how liable we are or how liable the company that helps us out and lets them go on site are.
Have you been to one of these days before?
No I haven't but they are very very useful. It is really good as a small business to be able to find everything in one almost like a one stop shop and get so many of your questions answered rather than going through a web then just having to read materials. You get the information and the human interaction its brilliant.
What if a sales rep comes in to our office right, he leaves our office and he falls down the stairs are we liable
You both run a business?
So what were you doing at this the HSE stand just there?
Making sure that we were legal or trying to keep things legal and if we are not legal that's why we are asking the questions to get legal.
So what were you particularly worried about?
The employers liability insurance.
Someone falling down our flight of stairs
Have you been pushing people down the stairs?
No but I seem to be prone to accident don't I? I fall down one step we have got a step outside our house and I fell down it. I was off work for three weeks I had concussion I was in hospital. All my head was swelled up like a balloon by ankle went black. You know that was one step we are on about a flight of stairs here. This is why I am a bit worried about it.
So roughly how many people do you think will visit the stand today?
I would say it must be running in to the hundreds to be honest. I mean its been non-stop since I got here. I must have spoken to at least twenty five people and my colleagues we have been busy all the time.
To find out more about attending a business advice open day or any HSE event just click on the events link on the top of the HSE website homepage hse.gov.uk.
If you work in a depot or you are involved in delivering goods then you will know that vehicles in the workplace can be extremely hazardous. Literally thousands of people are injured every year by vehicles at work and in 2005/06 more than fifty people were killed. We spoke to HSE's Colin Chattam about how their vehicles at work website can help to reduce the risks.
The route map is a new website bringing together all the existing legislation guidance and good practice on managing vehicles in the workplace. It also includes current examples that might be useful to people who operate or are in charge of vehicles on worksites.
Can you just explain how you made the website more accessible?
We split the site in to four main sections, now as soon as you log on to the site you see links to these four main sections. Site layout and maintenance, personnel, vehicles selection and maintenance and management responsibilities. What we have really tried to do here is to make it much easier to navigate it should help busy people with a business to get on with.
Who would find this information useful?
The target audience of the route map as a whole is everyone who is in any business that regularly uses transport in their workplace. One of the biggest problems people tell us they have is how to organise a yard so that vehicles and pedestrians are kept apart. You will find guidance and practical examples on separating vehicles and keeping pedestrians safe in a section on site layout. We give a range of examples that could make a difference to your site. It could be as cheap as a can of paint to show safe areas for pedestrians to walk. The purpose of giving information and case studies on the site layout though is not to dictate changes to your site it is to bring all the relevant information together for you.
Can a website really improve health and safety in this area?
I believe that it can certainly help. Our publications and other printed and audio visual material on workplace transport are in constant demand but now the route map also has its place. It is accessible its there twenty four hours a day. There will always be tricky situations when you need to speak to a person to confirm your understanding of an issue and you can speak to the freight transport association helpline 0870 099 0099. I think the route map is going to be very useful to small and medium sized businesses who often can't afford someone dedicated to health and safety.
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