Health and safety is an expression we hear almost every day, and one which comes in for a lot of criticism. However, in our industry it should be embraced and acted upon, as without doubt, good health and safety procedures save lives.
In this blog we are going to look at two aspects of health and safety that are particularly important in our industry.
It is a shocking fact that the biggest cause of fatal injury in Britain’s workplaces is due to falls. On top of that, over 4,000 injuries, such as broken bones and skull fractures are reported to the HSE every year by the construction industry. Obviously this is a major issue for our FENSA fitters who spend a lot of their busy day working at height!
So, how can you make sure you are doing everything possible to make your working environment safe for your customers and yourself?
Well you have to assess the risks that can occur from working at height and devise a plan so the work is carried out safely. If you are undertaking work on private homes, you have the sole responsibility for site health and safety, not the home owner. However, if you are working on a small business project you share the site safety responsibilities with your client.
One of the main areas of concern is when you are using ladders. Although the use of ladders is not banned, they should only be used for low-risk, short duration work. Working from Ladders is one of the main reasons you can be involved in a fall from height and account for more than a quarter of all falls. You can find more about the use of ladders here http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg402.pdf
Another important issue for our fitters is coming across asbestos in areas where they are working, particularly if you are working on a house built before 2000. There could be undiscovered asbestos in the building and not always where you would expect to find it.
The important question here is; do you know how to recognise asbestos?
It can be difficult to spot the presence of asbestos, so even if you just suspect asbestos is present, do not disturb the area; asbestos only becomes a risk when it is released into the air and breathed in. The diseases caused by inhaling the asbestos fibres can be very serious.
So, what to do if you suspect asbestos? Stop work immediately.
The material will need to be analysed and until the results are obtained, you should not proceed with any work, in case the area gets disturbed and releases asbestos fibres. If it proves to be asbestos, it may need to be removed by a HSE licenced contractor
So we hope that this blog demonstrates to some extent the importance of good health and safety procedures, as your safety and that of your customers is paramount…