Health and Safety Monitoring for 2003

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					                                                                             Agenda Item: 8

              HEALTH AND SAFETY MONITORING FOR 2003
                                   FOR INFORMATION
                        Report of the Strategic Director (Support)
1.     PURPOSE OF REPORT
1.1    To report to Members on Health and Safety monitoring for 2003, including accidents /
       incidents reported by staff and the work of the Safety Risk Management Group
       relating to health and safety.
1.2    Health and Safety is an issue affecting all staff and all areas of responsibility, so
       impacts on all 4 corporate priorities.
2.     BACKGROUND
2.1    The council has in place a safety management system, which includes
             Health and Safety Policy which sets out responsibilities for H&S
             Policies and procedures relating to specific H&S issues
             Guidance to managers on specific issues
             Safety Risk Management Group which meets regularly and includes union
              safety representatives
             Safety Advisor post which acts as the H&S competent person
             Health and Safety training including general induction training and training
              specific to work responsibilities
             Monitoring of accidents/ incidents and other H&S issues
2.2    The Safety Risk Management Group meets regularly throughout the year to consider
       health and safety and insurance risk issues, with representatives from each
       directorate, the insurance officer, the Safety Advisor and Unison Safety
       representatives. A report of accidents or incidents reported by staff since the previous
       meeting is considered at each meeting, with any action taken or required noted and
       followed up.
2.3    The Safety Risk Management Group also has a planned work programme for review
       of policies and procedures to ensure that Spelthorne meets its responsibilities for
       ensuring a safe and healthy workplace. Management Team receive regular reports
       from the group noting the work programme and issues or concerns raised or
       discussed at the meetings. The key issues discussed in 2003 are noted in the report
       below.
2.4    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are undertaking an Inspection of Spelthorne
       on 1st and 2nd March 2003. The Inspector will look at the safety management system
       in place and at H&S in practice. We will receive feedback after the inspection, which
       will identify any points for improvement.
3.     ACCIDENTS / INCIDENTS
3.1    Under the Council’s Safety Policy all accidents, incidents and near misses which
       result in injury or ill-health, or have the potential to do so, must be reported and
       investigated. Occasionally more serious incidents/accidents occur resulting in time off
       work or injury/ill-health. These accidents are reported to the Health and Safety
       Executive in accordance with the requirements of the Reporting of Incidents, Disease
       and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR).


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3.2   Accidents / incidents are reviewed by managers, with more formal investigations
      taking place if required. Each Safety Risk Management Group meeting considers
      reports on the accidents / incidents reported since the last meeting, noting any
      remedial actions taken and learning points for the future. The frequency or pattern of
      accidents may indicate further action required including the need to further develop
      policy or guidance, or for additional staff training.
3.3   There were 76 accidents/incidents reported in 2003, 8 of which were reported to the
      HSE. This compares with 71 (7 to HSE) in 2002 and 83 (9 to HSE) in 2001.
      Appendix A, A1 and A2 shows the number of accidents reported each of the last 3
      years.
3.4   Appendix B shows the accidents reported in 2003 by accident type, and Appendix
      C shows the accidents for 2003 split between staff and others.
3.5   In 2003 the largest category of accident was falls on a level, covering slips, trips and
      falls (31% of reported accidents). The second largest category was violent incidents,
      at 17% of the reported accidents/incidents.
3.6   Accident / incident reporting and monitoring has highlighted the increasing number of
      cases of verbal abuse / threatening behaviour towards staff, particularly in the
      housing advice service. Some of the increase is due to a change in the client group.
      Changes to work practices have been introduced and modifications agreed for the
      housing advice reception area in order to improve the protection available to staff.
      Work is also on-going to develop a Spelthorne policy on preventing and alleviating
      violence at work, with accompanying guidance for managers and staff.
3.7   The training programme includes regular workshops on dealing with difficult
      customers and personal safety for staff. Additional training has been provided for
      affected sections, and specialist briefing is being arranged for staff on recognising
      and dealing with mental health problems. Guidance on referral mechanisms and
      inter-agency working is also being improved.
3.8   There continue to be a number of accidents relating to manual handling, contact/
      sharps injuries and collision/striking. There has been a review of risk assessments
      and consideration of alternative working practices in some areas, with training
      requirements confirmed.
4.    H&S ISSUES CONSIDERED BY THE SAFETY RISK MANAGEMENT GROUP
4.1   The Safety Risk Management group meets every two months and is chaired by the
      Head of Direct Services. The group sets a work programme to prioritise action for the
      coming year and considers updates of progress in reviewing, or introducing new,
      health and safety policies and procedures in the light of new regulatory requirements
      or identified need. Much of this development work is initially undertaken by the Safety
      Adviser, who reports back to the group and to Management Team as appropriate.
4.2   The health and safety work programme for the year has included the following areas :
            Review of Health & Safety induction training for staff, with the introduction
             of a separate workshop for H&S induction to include a fire safety briefing, brief
             guide to manual handling, brief guide to display screen use and ‘Guide to
             staying safe in Spelthorne’ booklet.
            Review of accident reporting procedures with incident forms available on
             the intranet for completion on screen. Publicity for managers and staff on the
             importance of post-accident investigations and review of risk assessments in
             reducing accidents.
            Guidance on use of mobile phones while driving – issued to all staff with
             pay slips, and revised guidance for staff who drive on Spelthorne duty to take
             account of change in law


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              New arrangements for eye-sight testing for display screen users to comply
               with requirements and improve system for staff
              European H&S week – hazard and risk awareness was used as the theme at
               Spelthorne (as the national theme of chemicals in the workplace is of less
               importance at Spelthorne). Publicity for managers and staff and circulation of
               Workplace Inspection checklist.
              Revised guidance on risk assessments and plans for training – guidance
               for managers improved, confirmation that risk assessments should be
               forwarded to Safety Adviser so that a central record can be maintained.
               Worked examples to assist in completion.
              Introduction of risk assessment checklist for homeworking
             Draft policy and managers guidance to prevent and alleviate violence in
              the workplace – draft policy and guidance considered by the group, with a
              meeting arranged for wider discussion by all service heads. Further
              amendments required which will be reported to Management Team.
4.3    Other health and safety issues considered by the group have included:
              Action required during fire brigade strike
              Role and responsibilities of union safety representatives under H&S
               legislation
              Fire alarm procedures
              Electrical testing procedures
              Liability inspection of staircases by insurance company – following a
               number of accidents. Confirmation that it remains a low risk area.
              Evac chair provision and training – evac chairs are provided for the safe
               evacuation of disabled visitors as well as staff.
              Resource levels for Safety Adviser – the council officer restructure
               identified a need for increased H&S resource, with the increase in hours to full
               time. The additional time will enable increased assistance to managers and
               more on-site support, particularly for the depot.
4.4    The minutes of the Safety Risk Management Group are reported to Management
       Team regularly, and are available on the Council’s intranet.
5.     FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS
5.1    Expenditure relating to health and safety matters is covered by existing budgets.
       Failure to meet Health and Safety requirements would leave the Council vulnerable to
       challenge and potentially liable for damages payments.
6.     LEGAL IMPLICATIONS (/ OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
6.1    The Council has responsibilities under health and safety legislation and regulation.
       Failure to meet those obligations could lead to enforcement action by the Health and
       Safety Executive and/or damages claims from individuals. In extreme cases criminal
       action can be taken against individuals or the Council for health and safety breaches.
6.2    The Safety Risk Management group considers any changes to requirements and
       recommends changes to Management Team as appropriate.
7.     RECOMMENDATION
7.1    The Committee is recommended to note the report.
Contact:       Jan Hunt, Head of Human Resources 01784 444264 or
               j.hunt@spelthorne.gov.uk
Portfolio Holder:     Ed Searancke
Background Papers: None
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