The webinar sparked huge interest, and a number of questions from our members were raised. Detailed below are some of the questions and the answers given from the Ibec health and safety team.
Q. During the webinar it was mentioned that the H.S.A will carry out 1420 inspections specifically in the area of chemicals – is this figure for all of 2017/until the end of 2017/other time period? Is this published in a H.S.A programme of work or other source? Do we have any detail on what is driving that number of Chemical Inspections?
A. The number of chemical inspections is outlined in the H.S.A. annual programme of work (Click 2017 for this years work programme). From page 18 of this work programme you will see the actual breakdown for the year. Areas covered include COMAH, Occupational hygiene, transport of dangerous goods, etc.
Up to the end of May 2017, 42% of all chemical inspections for the year have taken place. The primary driver for such inspections is to sample the level of compliance across the various areas.
Q We had a recent site inspection and did not agree with one of the findings from the Inspector. Legally where do we stand with not implementing the changes as required by the inspector?
A. This happens very occasionally, the company can stand over their position, by having robust risk assessments and appropriate controls.
However it is also worth playing out all eventualities (including worst case scenario) and if this leans more towards the inspector’s position, then it is worth considering their recommendation.
Q If an employee has an incident on a Friday and goes to the doctor on the Monday and as a result misses all of Monday, technically this means the employee has missed at least three days, since the weekend is counted, would something like this still have to be reported to the H.S.A even if that employee comes back on the Tuesday?
A. The requirement is to report workplace accidents that result in three consecutive days of absence excluding the day of the accident. If the employee reported for work on Monday and then sent to a doctor then it is not reportable. If he/she did not report for work on the Monday due to the workplace accident and returned to work on Tuesday then technically it is reportable.
Q. If an inspector spends a day in an area where staff would require induction training is the inspector required to undertake a basic safety induction?
A. If there is a requirement to have all persons sit a health & safety induction when they come onto your site, a H.S.A inspection shouldn't be any different. After the induction, they will be aware of the health & safety arrangements in place before entering a hazardous area. The H.S.A inspector would like to see this initiative.
Q If an employee hurts their back for example, doesn’t report it and continues to work that day and reports for work the following day or two immediately afterwards again without reporting anything – but a week after the incident then is signed off work and says it happened at work is that reportable to the H.S.A?
A. If the person is off work for three consecutive days as a result of a workplace accident then it is reportable. The accident may not have been reported in a timely manner internally but it is the three consecutive day absence as a result of the workplace accident that makes it reportable.
Q. If a member of the public injures themselves but continues their journey without informing us at the time of happening or getting first aid/medical attention, and then calls in later to allege they sustained an injury is this reportable to the H.S.A?
A. This is not reportable. The guidance from the H.S.A states the following:
You must report the injury of a person who is not your employee and who is not at work but who is injured from a work activity if the injured person has had to be taken from the location of the accident to receive treatment in respect of that injury in a hospital or medical facility. For the purposes of the regulations, a medical facility can include a primary care facility, a medical care clinic, or a medical facility at a work site that is staffed by a registered medical practitioner.
Q. Does health and safety legislation apply to voluntary organisations?
A. Section 12 of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 states that Every employer shall manage and conduct his or her undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that in the course of the work being carried on, individuals at the place of work (not being his or her employees) are not exposed to risks to their safety, health or welfare.
Q We train and work with participants who are employed by another company. Recently a participant sprained a lower back muscle and was absent for more than three consecutive days. Who is responsible for reporting the accident to the H.S.A.?
A. The Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 states that an employer in relation to an employee includes a person (other than an employee of that person) under whose control and direction an employee works.
As the employee was under your control and direction at the time of the accident, then it is your responsibility to report the accident to the H.S.A
Q How often does a safety statement need to be updated and also if it is sufficient to have it done by an outside company?
A. A safety statement is a working, live, document which should be reviewed regularly and updated when required. At a minimum it should be reviewed at least annually, and when any changes occur to the risk assessments, policies, procedures, changes in management of H&S etc. Having an outside consultant review the safety statement is fine, but someone within your company should be appointed to manage health & safety on a day to day basis.
Q. Where can I find information on H.S.A prosecutions?
A. The 2015 H.S.A annual report was published earlier this year and contains details of their prosecutions taken in that year.
The 2016 annual report will be published in early 2018.
Click here to access the H.S.A 2015 annual report
Monday, 10 July 2017