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25 11, 2017

New Ladder Standards for 2018 are you on top?

2017-11-25T09:49:46+00:00 November 25th, 2017|Health and Safety|Comments Off on New Ladder Standards for 2018 are you on top?

Stay on top of new ladder standards

01 November 2017

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there are approximately 622,000 cases of reportable work-related accidences occur in the UK each year. Such accidents often involve ladders.

The European Committee for Standardisation therefore recently published the standards EN 131-1 and 2. The guidelines describe new design and test requirements. As of January 2018, ladders used in commercial operations fulfil all criteria for structural stability and load capacity. As a manufacturer, ZARGES is early on emphasising safety and informing construction and industrial companies about the implications of EN 131. The access technology specialist is already offering ladders that comply with the new standards.

As new regulations and guidelines are released, companies must understand how the changes will affect them. In the context of the standards EN 131-1 and 2, this can be summarised as follows: the new standard will include a “Professional” category that will replace BS 2037 Class 1, the current standard for industrial and heavy-duty ladders, in addition all leaning ladders that are three metres or longer will have to be equipped with a base stabiliser to ensure stability. Along with stricter test requirements in terms of stile strength and slip-resistance, EN 131-2 also sets out additional regulations for mechanical durability tests and torsion tests. Other guidelines concern the use of combination ladders as well as the categorisation of access systems. The new regulation will take effect as of 1 January 2018 in the UK and throughout Europe and will affect companies of all industries and sizes.

What is going happen in 2018?

Ladders are ubiquitous in industry and skilled trades and the new standard is intended to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities in the workplace. However, EN 131 does not expressly prohibit the continued use of ladders that are already in use. Commercial users in the UK and Europe, such as companies, skilled workers or public authorities, are merely asked to adhere to the respective workplace regulations. “Companies are currently in somewhat of a grey area. On the one hand, even though EN 131-1 and 2 have already been adopted, ladders made according to the old standard are still allowed to be sold in the UK until October 2020 at the latest, according to BSI Assurance” explains Rainer Üblacker, Head of R&D at ZARGES. “Companies that now invest in new ladders would effectively have to retrofit their existing ladders or buy new ones in the near future. On the other hand, the guidelines are not clearly defined. This creates uncertainty.” In order to avoid this and offer customers security in the future, ZARGES is already able to offer ladders and stepladder that conform to the new standards.

Recognising demand – avoiding dangers – capitalising on opportunities
A binding regulation that does not make implementation compulsory is confusing for many companies. ZARGES therefore is putting more emphasis on transparency. This is because not all ladders need to be replaced within the scope of the new EU standard. Ladders that are state-of-the-art can continue to be used in the future. In order to identify these models and consequently create financial security, companies should ask their safety officer to perform a risk assessment as soon as possible. The officer must decide whether existing ladders may continue to be used. “Whoever wants to be on the safe side in the long term should try to consistently take account of the guidelines laid down by the lawmakers. It does not cost as much time and money as one might fear,” explains Üblacker. He recommends that all systems be tested for weak points as part of the mandatory annual ladder inspection and regularly modified as necessary.

Top tips on the right approach to ladders according to EN 131-1 and 2

  • Regularly inspect ladders: it is recommended that ladders that are subject to frequent use should be inspected at least once every three months
  • Take note of the inspector’s qualification: An inspection is considered legally compliant only when it is performed by a certified in-house safety officer or a trained employee of a specialist company
  • Perform retrofitting: Access systems can be retrofitted to comply with regulations. For example, a base stabiliser can be added to a leaning ladder in accordance with EN 131-1

Safety first: In addition to annual inspections, companies should always keep an eye on the safety of their ladders and access systems. Specialist companies and manufacturers, such as ZARGES, offer relevant instructions and information.

Find out more information on Ladder / Step Ladder Training by contacting via the button above.

8 11, 2017

Utility company fined after exposing employees to asbestos

2017-11-08T08:25:48+00:00 November 8th, 2017|Health and Safety|Comments Off on Utility company fined after exposing employees to asbestos

A Paisley based utility services company has today been fined for exposing four of its employees to asbestos during work at Anderson Tower in Motherwell in 2014.

Hamilton Sheriff Court today heard that four electricians employed by IQA Operations Group Ltd had been drilling through door transom panels to fit electric cables into each property within the tower block as part of the installation of a new low voltage distribution system.

The company had identified that an asbestos survey was carried out ahead of the works starting but did not include a survey of the transom panels above each flat entrance door.

The four electricians started work on the site on 23 June 2014 and drilled holes in the door transom panels in all 44 flats. The electricians were not aware that the panels contained asbestos so no measures were in place to control exposure to airborne asbestos fibres.

On 2 July 2017, a resident raised a concern that the panels were asbestos, work was stopped and the panels tested. The samples tested positive for asbestos. Immediate action was taken to decontaminate the flats which involved the local council making arrangements for the residents to leave their properties while the work was being done.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that IQA Operations Group Ltd had failed to provide and maintain a safe system of work to identify the presence of asbestos in the transom panels and failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of risk to their employees from asbestos when carrying out cable routing work.

IQA Operations Group Ltd of 101 Abercorn Street, Paisley, has today been fined £6000 after pleading guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, Gerry Muir HM Inspector of Health and Safety said “This incident could have easily been avoided if the company had in place a system of work to ensure that the asbestos survey it requested to be carried out covered all of the intended work areas. Failing to do this resulted in 44 asbestos panels being drilled into with no measures in place to control the risk of exposure to the resultant asbestos fibres.”

If you would like any help and advice re Asbestos training please contact me on M: 07508 028 841
T: 01482 881 203 or email me at

23 10, 2017

Recycling company fined £100,000 after worker struck by moving machine

2017-10-23T08:17:18+00:00 October 23rd, 2017|Health and Safety|Comments Off on Recycling company fined £100,000 after worker struck by moving machine

A recycling company has today been fined after a worker was left with life changing injuries after he was struck by a moving machine.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard how, on 5 December 2014, the employer was working as a litter picker at Lodgewood Farm, Telford, when he was struck by a shovel loader as he was standing next to a brick wall on the site.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the loading shovel driver initially thought he had just hit the wall and had not realised he had struck someone. The driver climbed down from the cab to check for damage and found the employee badly injured on the floor.

The worker was air lifted to hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. He was released from hospital on Christmas Eve, having lost both legs just below the knees.

James Moody Recycling Limited of Hollybush Farm, Wolverhampton, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The company has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,641.62.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector David Kivlin said: “This is a heart-breaking story where a worker suffered horrendous injuries.

“It is vital that organisations have proper risk management in place when pedestrians and large industrial machinery are working closely together.

“The waste and recycling sector, which is made up of around 120,000 workers, has a statistically higher rate of workplace injury and work-related ill health than other sectors.

“In trying to address this issue, HSE is currently in the middle of targeting the sector with an inspection initiative that will look at certain activities to ensure effective management and control of risk.

“We are calling on anyone working in the industry to take the time to refresh their knowledge of our advice and guidance, available for free on our website. Every worker has the right to return from work safe in the knowledge that their employer takes their health and safety seriously.”

If you would like help and support with your Health & Safety requirements please contact me on 01482 881 203 or email Ralph at

3 10, 2017

HSE launches second phase of construction inspection campaign

2017-10-12T09:22:28+00:00 October 3rd, 2017|Health and Safety|Comments Off on HSE launches second phase of construction inspection campaign

Construction projects across Britain are being urged to act now to ensure the health and safety of their workers is protected as the second phase of a targeted inspection initiative gets underway today (2nd October 2017).

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says 43 workers were fatally injured in 2015/16, and an estimated ten times that number died from construction related ill-health, with a further 65,000 self-reported non-fatal injuries.

HSE is now asking every construction contractor, client and designer to ensure they are not adding to this unacceptable toll of harm by failing to manage well-known risks.

In addition to things such as falls from height, the campaign will focus on control of harmful dusts including respirable silica from concrete, brick and stone, asbestos and wood dust, as well as work at height, structural safety, materials handling, good order and welfare provision.

HSE points to the mis-conception that health issues cannot be controlled in construction. It says harmful dust, whether silica or wood, is a serious issue and can be managed effectively with the right design, equipment and training. Health effects may not be immediate, but the ultimate impact on workers and their families can be devastating.

HSE carried out over 2000 inspections during the first phase of the initiative earlier this year with action being taken to address these issues in almost half of visits.

HSE’s Chief Inspector of Construction and Director of Construction Division Peter Baker commented: “In phase 1 of this campaign HSE’s inspectors found lots of good examples of small sites working safely and protecting workers health from exposure to harmful dusts, proving it can be done. My message to smaller businesses is don’t wait for an accident or a visit from an HSE inspector – learn from the success of others and act now.

“Nearly half of construction fatal accidents and injuries reported to HSE involved refurbishment work.

“Some small refurbishment sites continue to cut corners and not properly protect their workers resulting in an unacceptable number of deaths and injuries each year.”

25 09, 2017

What does working at heights mean?

2017-10-12T09:22:28+00:00 September 25th, 2017|Health and Safety|Comments Off on What does working at heights mean?

What does working at heights mean?

Work at height means work in any place where, if precautions were not taken, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury. You are working at height if you:

  • work above ground/floor level
  • could fall from an edge, through an opening or fragile surface or
  • could fall from ground level into an opening in a floor or a hole in the ground

Work at height does not include a slip or a trip on the level, as a fall from height has to involve a fall from one level to a lower level, nor does it include walking up and down a permanent staircase in a building.

What do you need to do to comply with the working at height regulations 2005?

The Regulations apply to all work at height, where there is risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury. They place duties on employers, and those who control any work at height activity (such as facilities managers or building owners who may contract others to work at height).

As part of the Regulations, you must ensure:

  • all work at height is properly planned and organised
  • those involved in work at height are competent
  • the risks from work at height are assessed, and appropriate work equipment is selected and used
  • the risks of working on or near fragile surfaces are properly managed
  • the equipment used for work at height is properly inspected and maintained

For more information, see: The Work at Height Regulations 2005

25 09, 2017

Company fined after worker’s hand crushed in machinery

2017-09-25T06:52:00+00:00 September 25th, 2017|Health and Safety|Comments Off on Company fined after worker’s hand crushed in machinery

A food seasoning manufacturer has been fined after an agency worker suffered serious hand injuries.

Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard how the man, working at Symrise Ltd in Corby was cleaning near the screw conveyor machine, when he tripped and his finger came into contact with the moving parts of the machine. The worker suffered a partial amputation to his left hand following this incident.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred on 13 September 2016 found the vacuum point, for cleaning this screw conveyor did not have adequate guarding to prevent people coming into contact with this dangerous part of the machine.

Symrise Ltd of Fieldhouse Lane, Marlow was found guilty of breaching Section 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and has been fined £55,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1293.

Speaking after the hearing Inspector Mark Austin said: “An agency worker has suffered life changing injuries due to the company’s health and safety failures.  An individual’s health and safety should not be made worse by the work they do.

“Duty holders have the responsibility to ensure all dangerous machinery has the appropriate level of guarding to enable safe operation and maintenance, including cleaning operations.”

19 09, 2017

Not enough being done to tackle work-related ill-health, say GB’s business leaders

2017-09-19T07:42:06+00:00 September 19th, 2017|Health and Safety|Comments Off on Not enough being done to tackle work-related ill-health, say GB’s business leaders

Almost half of Britain’s industry leaders do not feel enough is being done across industry to tackle cases of work-related ill-health, according to new research from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The research also found more than two-fifths of businesses are reporting a rise in cases of long-term ill-health with the majority (80%) stating tackling this growing problem is a priority within their organisation.

This news comes as HSE figures show that work-related ill-health is costing the economy more than £9bn with 26 million working days being lost, making it a priority for HSE, as the Government’s chief occupational health adviser.

The views of 300 major business leaders were sought and 40% of respondents said their industry was not doing enough to raise awareness and tackle the causes of long-term work-related ill-health.

The findings were revealed as HSE announced its new national campaign – ‘Go Home Healthy’. The campaign aims to reduce cases of work-related ill-health by shining a light on the causes and encouraging employers to do the right thing to protect their workers’ health.

Speaking after the campaign launch, Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, Penny Mordaunt said:

“Everyone should want to have a healthy and safe environment at work. Work-related ill-health is a costly issue for individuals, businesses, and the whole economy. This campaign will encourage employers to operate healthier workplaces and ensure workers get the support that they need.”

Commenting on the findings, HSE’s chair Martin Temple, said:

“The survey findings confirmed what we already suspected – more needs to be done to tackle work-related ill-health.

“Over the years, figures show that as workplace safety has improved, health has stagnated. The ‘Go Home Healthy’ campaign is about driving behavioural change in workplaces so we all can go home healthy. There is a moral, legal, and business case for employers to do the right thing by their workers. The importance of more joined-up thinking across industries when it comes to tackling work-related ill-health cannot be overstated.”

Join in the conversation using #WorkRight and follow @Go_Home_Healthy for campaign updates. More information on the campaign can be found here:

17 09, 2017

Company fined after worker fatally crushed by fork lift truck

2017-09-17T19:10:53+00:00 September 17th, 2017|Health and Safety|Comments Off on Company fined after worker fatally crushed by fork lift truck

Lincolnshire based firm Vacu-Lug Traction Tyres Limited has been fined after a worker died when the fork lift truck he was driving overturned at the company base in Grantham.

Lincoln Crown Court heard the worker was transporting tyres on 30 July 2014 when the fork lift ran over a loose tyre in the road. He was crushed between the fork lift truck and the ground and later died from his injuries. He was not wearing a seat belt.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there was no company policy in place instructing workers to wear seatbelts when operating fork lift trucks. The investigation also found if the tyres had been stored securely this would have prevented them rolling onto the roadway and would have reduced the risk of the fork lift truck overturning.

Vacu-Lug Traction Tyres Limited of Hill Foot, Grantham, Lincolnshire pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £25,000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Principal inspector David Butter said: “This tragic incident could have easily been prevented if the company had enforced and monitored the wearing of seat belts for fork lift truck drivers”.

4 09, 2017

Engineering firm fined after health and safety failings

2017-10-12T09:22:28+00:00 September 4th, 2017|Health and Safety|Comments Off on Engineering firm fined after health and safety failings

An engineering company has been fined after a 29-year-old worker was diagnosed with hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) – a condition causing tingling, pins and needles, numbness and pain in the affected person’s hands.

Greater Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how the employee, who was working in the trimming department at Taylor Engineering and Plastics Limited, was exposed to vibration from tools used to sand components. Health surveillance implemented at the company in 2014 showed that the employee had developed HAVS through exposure to vibration while working at the company.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company risk assessments relating to vibration were not suitable or sufficient. It also found that health surveillance was not introduced by the company until 2014, despite regulations making this a legal requirement being introduced in 2005. Training for employees on the risks from vibration was also found to be inadequate and many were unaware of the consequences of exposure to high levels of vibration. The company did not have the right systems in place to manage the health of its workers and it failed to implement control measures such as using tools that had lower levels of vibration.

Taylor Engineering and Plastics Limited of Molesworth Street, Rochdale, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,171.00.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Jennifer French said: “There is a well-known health risk associated with exposure to hand arm vibration and guidance has been in place since the early 1990’s. The company failed to protect workers using vibrating tools which led to an employee suffering significant health effects.”

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