Technicraft (Anglia) Ltd
Technicraft (Anglia) Ltd is a privately owned metal fabrication SME based in Suffolk employing 25 staff. The business was established in 1973 and has grown to four times its original size. Nigel Webb is the Managing Director and initially managed the health and safety aspects of the business. As the company has grown, he has employed a dedicated H&S manager, David Tudge, who also has operational responsibility for quality control.
Nigel Webb, MD explains “As the business expanded, we decided to employ David to focus on managing the health and safety in our workplace. He is NEBOSH trained and has a keen interest in health and safety. He combines his health and safety role with that of an operational quality assurance role, he is hands on and knows the business well”.
David, H&S Manager undertakes a weekly walk around the workplace, this can include checking walkways are free from obstructions, the general welfare of the workers and equipment such as local exhaust ventilation (LEV). The company operate a clean and tidy workplace as part of their health and safety management system.
David regularly uses the HSE website for guidance, particularly for noise and vibration at work. He finds it an invaluable tool and explains
“I use the freely available information from the HSE website to make sure the workers are protected.”
“I had read up on the noise pages on the website and was able to confidently undertake our first noise assessment. I recorded the sound levels over an 8 hour shift and used the free, easy to understand, noise exposure calculator. Once I knew the levels of noise and durations of exposure which made up a person's working day, I was able to refer to the daily exposure ready-reckoner to make sure the workers were not exposed to excessive noise levels over long periods.”
“One of the most important areas to manage noise and vibration was in the finishing bay, where items are fettled ready for paint by using hand held grinders and sanders. The process can’t be completed any other way and has to be done by hand. We couldn’t remove or change the process so I implemented controls to manage exposure times and ensured the PPE was suitable and sufficient and was worn correctly.”
- A full review of PPE was undertaken (particularly hearing protection).
- Refresher training for the correct use of and wearing of the hearing protection was undertaken - this also included issuing the HSE guidance INDG363 Protect Your Hearing or Lose It and INDG296 Hand-Arm Vibration, Advice for Employees.
- Clear plastic curtains were installed in certain areas - this ensured that noise could not ‘bleed’ into other areas and made a positive difference to surrounding work areas by reducing noise by more than 10dB, this then helped to ensure neighbouring areas did not need to become hearing protection ‘zones’.
- The work benches in the finishing area were mounted on rubber feet and the bench tops had rubber matting fitted, this helped reduce the noise generated by 1 – 2dB when items were both worked on with a grinder and when moving items across the bench top.
The example of Technicraft (Anglia) Ltd clearly shows the business benefits of having a properly trained in-house advisor.
David’s health and safety knowledge, along with his knowledge of the business has enabled him to make clear recommendations that ensure workers safety and support the business. It demonstrates that HSE guidance is free and easy to use, that it is tailored for smaller businesses yet it gives enough detail for users to understand more complex issues and take appropriate action.