General news and gubbins
After a news website picked up on our current, somewhat less orthodox, recruitment drive, they've published another article now on some of the responses we've had from applicants, many of whom really entered into the spirit of it and let their imaginations go!
It seems our latest recruitment campaign has caught the eye of the good folks of Manchester, with this article appearing in a news website today. We're looking for a new hearing testing and noise assessment person and, is usually our way, we may have approached is in a slightly less than conventional style...
Via HSMC's sister organisation TheocAir, from the end of August 2014 HSMC will be offering an aerial survey service to all clients. This is done via a rather nifty boy-toy drone and has a myriad of uses including:
- Aerial photography of sites for promotional literature
- Photography of site layouts for development or building
- High structure surveys, such as chimneys
- Roofing surveys
Costs for this are very good compared to using scaffolding or cherry pickers and can save companies thousands of pounds, not to mention getting it all done in a few hours compared to several days.
Imaging can be as 14MP stills or as 1080p HD video, or both.
Bit of an off-topic promotion here, but Adam, HSMC's Dear Leader, is off on a road trip across Europe shortly, going from Tewkesbury to Crete and back again, via Croatia, Bosnia, Albania and Italy. As ever he wont shut up about it and has started a blog on this road trip here, with regular updates as departure day approaches and from then onwards. May be worth a gander over a coffee, if for nothing else because it will be most amusing to see the posts suddenly stop when he reaches Albania and gets locked up as an undersirable or something.
Its that time again and for 2000 lucky people the HSMC Newsletter will shortly be landing on their doorsteps. For the rest who are not fortunate enough to receive a copy of this Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket-like document, a PDF of it can be grabbed here.
Often in health and safety, the entire responsibility for safety in the workplace remains absolutely with the employer, or so it sometimes seems, but there are legal obligations on employees as well and every so often these do get as far as a court.
On 25th April a Magistrate’s Court in Milton Keynes found an excavator driver guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
In this case, the excavator driver was working together with a dumper truck driver and was sitting in the excavator using his mobile phone as he thought the dumper truck driver had left the area. He then rotated the excavator, hitting his colleague on the side of the head with the metal bucket causing multiple fractures to his jaw and a punctured and collapsed lung.
The HSE noted that road users are banned from using mobile phones when driving and that is naturally equally important to drivers of large machinery.
The employee was ordered to pay compensation of £2,500 and also costs of £1,552.00. Although the financial costs are lesser than would normally be expected for an employer, they are considered to be commensurate with the employee’s ability to pay and therefore to be ‘equally painful’.
A useful reminder that employees have their responsibilities as well as the employer.
As we are nice people, we've added a useful tool to the audiometry section of the website which people are free to use - a demonstration of how noise induced hearing loss sounds. Each page applies a stronger and stronger filter to the music to show how small changes in hearing ability can really start to add up and have a significant impact on life.
Click here for demo of noise induced hearing loss.
Can you believe this, the one on the floor isn't even wearing hearing protection!
We often hear the booths used in audiometry being referred to as a 'noise proof booth', but if we're being picky they are more like noise reducing booths rather than noise proof. Totally silent is not possible in any mobile unit, nor indeed in any clinical environment at all for that matter, and if it was it may not be a good thing. This article from the Smithsonian says that a totally silent enviornment will drive a person crazy and the longest anyone has lasted in there is about 45 minutes as it is so unnatural. Even this room, identifdied as the quietest room on earth, is not absolutely silent and is measured at about -9.4dB(A).
Warning: this link is to the Daily Mail and is therefore not suitable for those of a reasonable disposition.
Dandilion found growing in girl's ear
PHS have been fined £105,000 plus £45,000 costs for a fire at their Lancashire shredding site. The fire was caused by aerosol cans being shredded, which exploded causing a major fire. A risk assessment had been completed but had identifed the risks of aerosol cans being added to the shredder as being 'very unlikely' and even if they were, the potential outcome was identified as only 'moderate', despite in reality it needing 60 police officers to control the fire as well as the fire service.
More here: PHS fire and fine.
Clarkson has often ripped into the health and safety industry, and for the most part us at HSMC think he should be made head of the HSE itself to bring a lot more realism to the industry. But, until that day the current head of the HSE is increasingly turning out to be one of the best spokespeople health and safety has had for years, to the extent she has just published an article agreeing with the Great Clarkson himself. Judith - we salute you!
A good example of one of those situations where the 'elf n safety' goblins have been hard at work, making a right mess of something, usually going completely over the top, and managing to achieve very little other than gifting the Daily Mail yet another headline about health and safety gone mad.
So, to kick us off, this horrendous little sticker, which is spreading like a rash in hotel rooms the country over. But the biggest culprits? Lets say they are the purple-themed ones favoured by Lenny Henry, and start with the French word for 'first' followed by the old English word for a pub...
So what's wrong with this? Firstly, they stick it over every hot tap in the place - it's a hot tap, it's supposed to be hot. We don't need warning about it - we're all fairly familiar with the concept of the red tap being hot and other being cold. And more importantly, it's not remotely helpful in meeting any legal obligations.
If the water is identified as being so hot it may cause injury then the solution is blindingly simple - turn the thermostat down on the hot water system. Problem solved. Not rocket science is it? The problem with the signs is that they are either completely over the top nonsense which discredits health and safety, or they are ignoring the basic rules of risk reduction which require the risk to be removed if at all possible. As these are hotels it is reasonable to assume people may be present who can't read them as they have poor sight or can't read English - so they must all be running out screaming with blistered hands.
Utter nonsense, no help in legal compliance, and to be honest faintly embarrassing to the rest of us in health and safety. Stop it.
We saw this on the entrance door to a site recently - if only health and safety was that easy! Nice try though and 10/10 for effort!
The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations have introduced mandatory charges for 'intervention' by the HSE's inspectors, currently at £124 per hour. It is worth noting that the individual Inspectors have little discretion in whether to apply the fees or not and if certain (low) targets are hit then the fees apply.
HSMC have produced a guide to the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations which is free to download.
- The HSE's page on Fees for Intervention
- The HSE's guidance on Fees for Intervention
- Download a copy of the Helath and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012
In 2102 the HSE clarified the guidance on PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) in lower risk environments such as offices as there was wide-spread over compliance. We've put a short guide together on this for you which can be downloaded:
A bit of chest-beating for once, but we've splashed out a painful amount of cash on an all-singing all-dancing real fire simulator, allowing all fire courses to include practical use of an extinguisher on a live fire. The simluator really is the mutt's nuts and can simluate various types of fire behaviours, including Class A (paper, wood, etc.), Class B (burning liquids) and Class C (gas) fires. This is now a standard part of all our Fire Awareness Training and Fire Marshal Training courses, at no additional charge to the existing cheap and chips rate. Bargain!
This site was visited about a year ago by us and we told them they needed a sign on the fire door, so that's what they put up :)
RIDDOR has only just been updated, but another consultation on propose changes opened in August 2012 and runs through to October. Details here: RIDDOR consultation
A couple of stories came up recently regarding small multi-legged friends finding that people's ears make nice warm homes:
Spider makes home in an ear, with some nice photos :)
Ladybird in ear