Agenda Item: 7 HEALTH AND SAFETY UPDATE RESOLUTION REQUIRED Report of the Strategic Director (Support) 1. PURPOSE OF REPORT 1.1 To note the final report following the HSE Inspection and the actions planned to comply with the Improvement Notice. 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 Two HM Inspectors of Health and Safety from the Health and Safety Executive inspected Spelthorne on 1st and 2nd March 2004. They visited Knowle Green, the Depot and Benwell Day Centre speaking to over 20 staff about Spelthorne‟s approach to the management of health and safety, including training. The feedback at the end of the 2 days was generally very positive, although we were advised that an Improvement Notice would be issued in relation to manual handling training. The final report from the HSE and the Improvement Notice were received on 1st April 2004. Planned actions in response are noted below. 3. RESPONSIBILITY FOR HEALTH AND SAFETY 3.1 Responsibilities for Health and Safety at Spelthorne is set out within the Health and Safety Policy, which is reviewed regularly. Overall responsibility for the health and safety of staff lies with the Chief Executive. All management posts have a responsibility for ensuring, as far as is reasonably practicable, health and safety within the areas under their control, working to procedures set out. All employees have a general responsibility to ensure that they take reasonable care for their own health and safety and for working in a safe manner. 3.2 Members have a responsibility to monitor the arrangements in place to ensure that statutory requirements are met and to this end health and safety issues are included in reports to members where appropriate. Regular reports on the monitoring of health and safety, including accidents and incidents reported, will be made to the Performance Monitoring and Review Committee. 4. IMPROVEMENT NOTICE – MANUAL HANDLING OPERATIONS 4.1 HM Inspector of Health and Safety issued an Improvement Notice dated 1st April 2004, which must be complied with by 1st October 2004. The notice (attached at Appendix A) is in relation to manual handling operations including risk assessment and training. It applies across all the Council‟s operations. 4.2 Employers can appeal against Improvement Notices issued by the HSE. However this is not considered to be a constructive approach, and effort is more usefully put to ensuring continued improvement in our approach to eliminating or minimising risks and ensuring that staff are properly trained. 4.3 Actions planned to ensure that Spelthorne can demonstrate that the requirements are met are: General risk assessments are due to be completed by managers with a copy forwarded to the Safety Adviser by the end of April 2004. These should identify any manual handling risks. 7 The Safety Adviser will review all risk assessments copied to her to identify staff / work areas where additional consideration may be required and to identify training required. Information on accident/incidents and from site inspections will be taken into account to help determine the appropriate level and frequency of training. Information from training needs following appraisal will also be considered. The Safety Adviser and Contract Supervisor from Direct Services attended a „train the trainer‟ course for manual handling training from 19th – 22nd April 2004. We now have 2 staff qualified to undertake training and instruction of staff in safe methods of manual handling work, as an alternative to using external trainers. New staff will receive Initial manual handling training as soon as possible after appointment. In some higher risk areas (eg refuse, Knowle Green caretaking) this will take place „on the job‟ at the earliest opportunity, including for agency workers. A series of manual handling training sessions will take place at the depot for Direct Services staff (the first was on Saturday 17th April, with further sessions planned for May). Arrangements are being finalised for manual handling refresher training with specialist sessions for caretakers, day centre staff and general office environments. Staff will be required to attend the appropriate sessions. Dates are planned for June and July. Where risk assessments identify that manual handling training is a control measure to minimise risks from manual handling operations, staff will be required to attend appropriate initial training and regular refresher training. This will not be optional. Manual handling refresher training will be a regular feature on future annual training plans. 4.4 The HSE will undertake a further inspection later in the year to ensure compliance with the Improvement Notice. 5. RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE HSE REPORT 5.1 The final report from HM Inspector is attached at Appendix B. It notes that overall the Council has in place suitable H&S policies and managers are clear about their roles and responsibilities. Employees generally are aware of the H&S policy and there is an active health and safety plan. A number of recommendations for improvement were included in the report. 5.2 Specific recommendations are noted below, with comment and actions already planned to improve arrangements. These will be considered by the next Safety Risk Management Group on 24th May, with recommendations for action reported to MAT in due course. 5.3 Some other comments / suggestions relating to particular areas of work were also made in the report. These have been referred to appropriate officers for consideration including the Safety Adviser and particular Service Heads. 5.4 The Inspector provided information on consultation with staff of health and safety issues. The Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996 requires employers to consult with employees on matters to do with their health and safety. This can be by way of a formal safety committee or directly with employees. At Spelthorne a Safety Risk Management Group meets every two months and includes nominated safety representatives (currently there are two). There is also 8 direct consultation with individuals about health and safety matters directly affecting them, including regular meetings with Direct Services staff. 5.5 The HM Inspector of Health and Safety has asked that all Spelthorne employees be informed of the results of the inspection. This has been done at regular staff meetings in April. 5.6 Recommendation 1 – targets for health and safety The Council should review how the performance of managers with responsibilities for health and safety could be assessed. Smart targets should be set for completion of risk assessments, training, and monitoring. Targets for Service Heads and other managers could include a target relating to health and safety responsibilities, along the lines of the target adopted last year for corporate risk management. A suggested wording could be : “To actively manage relevant health and safety risks as evidenced by completion of risk assessments, identification of necessary training, investigation of any accidents/incidents occurring and taking remedial action. To review risk assessments regularly at least annually with copies of general risk assessments and DSE assessments submitted to the Safety Adviser to the timetable set”. Additional targets relating to H&S should be set in appropriate cases. Targets for the Safety Adviser include monitoring of overall council performance eg in relation to reported accidents/incidents. 5.7 Recommendation 2 – measuring performance Proactive monitoring of the implementation of preventive and proactive measures should be carried out to ensure continued effectiveness. Health and safety performance should be measured against set targets to assess how the Council is performing in terms of health and safety and to work towards continued improvement There are regular reports to the Safety Risk Management Group, MAT and Performance Management and Review Committee on health and safety issues including monitoring of accidents/incidents reported and remedial actions taken. In future these reports will also include monitoring of the risk assessment process and health and safety training. The Safety Adviser will be reporting to the next meeting of the Safety Risk Management Group on H&S performance statistics including proposals for improvement, which will come forward to MAT. This will enable relevant performance measures to be drawn up. These are likely to include reviewing the impact of the introduction of the Violence at Work policy and difficult customer / violence at work briefings on the level of reported incidents. 5.8 Recommendation 3 – audits and reviews The Council should carry out structured independent audits and performance reviews on the health and safety management system and results should feed into the organisation’s health and safety plan or programme of works Options for independent audit and performance reviews will be considered, including the frequency of audits and whether they are undertaken by the Safety Adviser or externally. 5.9 Recommendation 4 – manual handling (refuse) Refuse collection in bags should be risk assessed and reviewed. Note that the top of the hierarchy of controls is elimination where reasonably practicable 9 The Head of Direct Services and Strategic Director (Community) to take into account in future plans for refuse collection service. The elimination of bagged refuse could be achieved by the introduction of wheelie bin collections. Arrangements are in place (noted above) to ensure that initial and refresher manual handling training is arranged for this group of workers. 5.10 Recommendation 5 – workplace transport (Depot and Benwell) Effective preventive measures should be implemented to control the risk. Such measures include suitable marking out of traffic routes, parking bays, provision of clear traffic signs, use of pedestrian pavements and use of a one-way system on site 5.11 The Head of Direct Services, Head of Community Services and Benwell Centre Manager are considering options. At the depot options are being considered for security access to restrict traffic access, with the yard being fully marked to designate pedestrian walk-ways, parking and visitor parking areas. The Head of Direct Services is also considering options for the relocation of some vehicles. Benwell Centre are also looking at road marking and other ways to clearly designate pedestrian areas. 6. PROPOSALS 6.1 That the Committee note the issues raised in the final report, the recommendations from the Health and Safety Inspector and the terms of the Improvement Notice issued on 1st April 2004, and the actions planned to address them. 6.2 Future reports on health and safety performance will include an update for Members on progress in addressing the points raised by the HSE. 7. FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS 7.1 There is a cost for the training planned to comply with the Improvement Notice, which will be more extensive than normally planned in one year. This will be met from the In-house training budget. A request has been made to carry forward monies unspent in 2003/4 to help meet the cost. 8. LEGAL IMPLICATIONS / OTHER CONSIDERATIONS 8.1 Spelthorne has a legal duty to ensure, as far as practicable, the health and safety of its staff. The Improvement Notice is a legal document requiring remedial action to be taken within the time scale specified – in this case by 1st October 2004. Failure to comply with the improvement notice is an offence under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, which could lead to a fine of up to £20,000 or, on conviction on indictment in the Crown Court, to an unlimited fine. 8.2 There is an obligation under the Act to keep staff informed of matters affecting their health and safety and to consult them. Formal consultation on H&S is via the Safety Risk Management Group. 9. RECOMMENDATION 9.1 That the Committee note the issues raised in the final report from the HM Inspector of Health and Safety, the terms of the Improvement Notice issued, and the actions planned to comply with the Improvement Notice Contact: Jan Hunt, Head of Human Resources Telephone 01784 444264 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Portfolio Holder: Background Papers: There are none 10
"Safety Training Recommendation"