Health and Safety News

Occupational health and safety news and guidance

Fire Safety: Foam Vs. Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers


Click for full size image of the fire extinguisher colour codeA fire extinguisher is one of the most important pieces of fire safety equipment you can have in your car, home, or place of work. What is vital to know is that different extinguishers work on different types of fires. 

Unfortunately, all fire extinguishers are red, making it difficult to decipher between the different types. However this does not have to cause you stress - each extinguisher has a colour-coded label. 

There are 6 classes of fire and there are 5 colour-coded labels.  Each class of fire requires different methods of extinguishing. The most common fire extinguisher is labelled red and contains water however this is limited to use on class A fires and has some shortfalls (for example it can create an electrical hazard or spread flammable liquids if used improperly). …

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Safety at Height: Ladders Vs. Scaffold Towers


Photo shows a woman using a ladder incorrectly for DIYIn the UK every single year there are accidents related to falling from height that could and should have been avoided. In total, between 2013 and 2014 there were nearly 3,000 incidents where employees were injured from falls from height. Of that figure, 39 people died; that’s 39 people whose lives may have been saved if they had been following correct safety precautions or provided with the correct equipment. The majority of the accidents come from falls from ladders, something that easily could have been avoided if they either had proper training, or were using this equipment as it is intended.

Ladders are not designed to be used as platforms to be working from. Ladders should only be used to access areas at height. The stability of a ladder relates directly to the size of its foot…

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Loft company fined after employee injured in scaffold collapse


Photo shows the aftermath of the scaffold collapseA loft conversion company has been fined for safety failings after an employee was injured in a dramatic scaffold collapse outside a property in North London.

The structure buckled, tipped towards the home it was being used to serve and bent in on itself – effectively creating a chute that sent the worker and an array of materials, including plaster boards, wood and lead rolls, crashing six metres to the ground below.

Thomas Pastura, 24, broke two ribs in the fall at the property in Hornsey, on 4 October 2013.

His employer, Acton-based Lofty Creations, was prosecuted on 11 March by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation identified clear failings with the design of the scaffold.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard it was being used to provide access to t…

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Two companies fined after worker loses left leg


Photo shows the metal frame which caused Vincent Suttons injuriesA Tameside factory worker had to have part of his left leg amputated after he was struck by an 850kg metal frame being delivered to a plant in Glossop, a court has heard.

Two firms have been ordered to pay nearly £50,000 in fines and costs following an investigation into the incident on 5 January 2012 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Derby Crown Court heard Vincent Sutton, 49, from Mossley, had been delivering the five-metre long rectangular frame to Delpro Ltd. on the Brookfield Industrial Estate after it had been manufactured by his employer, Russell Fabrications (UK) Ltd.

The frame, known as a skid, had been loaded onto a pickup truck at an angle using an overhead crane and chains, with the top end resting on a supporting bar above the driver’s cab.

When the fram…

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Training in first aid – how companies can make their work environment safer


Photo shows a first aid kitIt’s a sad fact that accidents, injuries, and illnesses can take place in the workplace. For this reason, many countries have adopted a law ensuring that workers have access to a well-stocked first aid kit and facilities alongside an actual response system that provides an established procedure for setting things in motion in case of need.

This article relates to good first aid practice in Dubai but the concepts will apply to most countries.

Safety should definitely be a priority in the workplace and immediate provision for first aid is absolutely paramount. This is why good Dubai employers take the time to invest in first aid training. Some of the first aid applications taught in the typical health and safety courses in Dubai include CPR, how to control bleeding, how to tr…

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Suffolk building company fined for asbestos and work at height failings


Photo shows the farm building where work took placeLJW Cladding Ltd. has been fined after removing asbestos insulation board without a licence and failing to protect its workers from falls of up to four metres at a farm building in Waltham, Essex.

Workers were potentially exposed to dangerous asbestos fibres and only provided with baby wipes or access to a hose for decontamination.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was alerted by a member of the public concerned that unsafe work was being undertaken at the farm building.

HSE’s investigation found that the building company did not have a licence permitting it to remove asbestos, despite telling the farm owner it held the necessary approvals. None of the workers were trained to work with licensed asbestos and were also placed in danger o…

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