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Manufacturing

We work in collaboration with the manufacturing sector to set the standard for health and safety in the workplace and on specialist projects to eliminate, reduce, isolate and control inherently high-risk activities.

 

Whether you require health and safety strategies for the workplace, or an experienced health and safety consultant to lead your specialist project, from the installation of bespoke plant and equipment to the very latest research and development facilities, we can support you and work with you to set the highest standards of health and safety.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in the last 5 years on average:

– 22 workers have died;

– 3,100 workers suffered a major injury

– 4,100 injuries resulted in 7+ days absence; and

– 33,000 workers suffer from an illness caused by a health and safety failure

What are the most common risks in a manufacturing environment?

Asbestos

If your building was constructed before the year 2000, there is a possibility that it may contain asbestos – a survey will clarify the situation.  If asbestos is found on the premises, a thorough risk assessment will need to be undertaken by a competent person, with asbestos materials needing to be suitably managed.

Fire and explosion

Manufacturing premises often have fire risks due to typically storing highly flammable materials and with processes that generate explosive atmospheres.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires a thorough risk assessment to be undertaken, which includes recommendations and steps to reduce the fire risk ‘so far as reasonably practicable’.

If explosive atmospheres exist, the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) 2002 require risks to be assessed, explosion risk areas separated and controls installed.

Storing and handling hazardous substances/chemicals

Most manufacturers store and handle hazardous substances, which can cause serious health, safety and environmental issues.  Many of these substances come under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations and require the implementation of controls in a COSHH (Risk) Assessment

However, weighty regulations apply where sites are subject to the:

– Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 2015.

– Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2015.

Businesses handling large quantities of hazardous substances must comply with regulatory notification requirements, obtain relevant permits or consents and update the “Safety Report”.

Sites producing, using or storing lots of dangerous substances must take steps to prevent major accidents and limit harm to people and the environment.  They should have robust emergency procedures and make sure leaks cannot escape site boundaries.

Storage and handling affect fire and explosion risks.

Companies unsure of whether the COMAH regulations apply should seek advice from a competent health and safety consultancy.

Machinery and plant

Nearly 20% of manufacturing fatalities are caused by contact with moving parts of machinery.  The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) require equipment to be adequately maintained and guarded.

Equipment used for lifting must be regularly inspected and maintained under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER).

Electrical

Electrical installations must be maintained under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.  British Standard BS 7671 stipulates that a detailed inspection of electrical wiring should be carried out in manufacturing premises every three years.

Occupational health

Potential health hazards in manufacturing include:

– Airborne hazardous chemicals

– Industrial noise

– Vibration

– Ionising radiation

Exposure to chemicals

Specific exposure limits and other management requirements are set out in the following legislation:

– Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations

– Control of Noise at Work Regulations

– Control of Vibration at Work Regulations

– Ionising Radiations Regulations.

Water distribution and cooling systems may also require detailed Legionella management.

High-risk activities

Activities with very high risk to workers such as working at height or in confined spaces have stricter regulatory controls under the following:

– Work at Height Regulations

– Confined Spaces Regulations

These will require adequate risk assessments and method statements, safe systems of work, and permits to work, as well as any number of the following:

– Control, communication, co-operation and co-ordination;

– Client / operator authorisation;

– Shut-down procedures

– Lock-off / tag-out procedures,

– And possibly client specific procedures to be followed for specialist plant /equipment/machinery.

How will I keep myself or others safe during a confined space entry?

Before entering a confined space:

– Confirm a valid permit to work and suitable air test result are provided;

– Understand the hazards and the context of the entry;

– Read and understand the rescue plan;

– Ensure operatives are trained in the use of any required respiratory protective equipment;

– Fit personal lock to the lockbox controlling isolations;

– Confirm with the trained stand-by man that it is safe to enter

On entering a confined space:

– Obey all instructions given by the standby man;

– Work within the scope of the permit to work.

When leaving a confined space unattended:

– Ensure a device preventing unauthorised access to the confined space is installed

How will I keep myself or others safe when working at height?

To prevent persons or objects falling from height:

– Work within a suitably guarded platform or use adequate fall protection;

– Minimise and secure any tools and equipment away from edges

To minimise risks from falling objects:

– Avoid multi-level working or install additional protection;

– Use signed barriers to warn people not to enter the drop zone;

– Monitor the drop zone and intervene to prevent unauthorised access

Accidents

One of the main causes of accidents in the manufacturing industry is due to human error (safety violations).

There are a number of reasons and solutions open to management for reducing safety violations and improving health and safety in the manufacturing sector.  These can include improvements to design, training, supervision / management, and organisation.  The exact type of solution chosen will depend on the specific contributory factors identified as potentially important.  Some of these actions would be directed at the workforce, while others would need to be directed at management or the organisation.  A trends analysis report of the incidents occurring is a good way to stay on top of incidents and to ensure hazards are controlled adequately.

Certain accidents, ill health and dangerous events must be reported to authorities under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences at Work Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013.

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