0 Health and Safety Interview

Dave Saltman: Good evening and welcome to our latest interview session, tonight we are fortunate to be joined by Mark Foley, our Health and Safety/training consultant to the room to answer questions on the subject of Health and Safety and related topics.

Mark Foley: Good Evening David - Thank you for inviting me.

Dave Saltman: If you don't mind can you let us know your experience and knowledge in our Industry.

Mark Foley: I have previously worked in the grounds maintenance industry both private and public sector since 1982.

Dave Saltman: Has it taken you a long time to gain qualifications?

Mark Foley: I've been studying since 1980 both in horticulture and health and safety to diploma level and currently undertaking an M.Sc. in environmental and health and safety management.

Dave Saltman: Health and Safety seems to cover a huge area from manual handling upwards, how important is the subject?

Mark Foley: Health and Safety has a legal humanitarian and economic responsibility to individuals, employees, self-employed and employers.

Dave Saltman: Do self-employed people and volunteers have as much responsibility as employers?

Mark Foley: Yes, both have a legal duty of care to people affected by their acts and omissions.

Dave Saltman: So even the smallest village club has an obligation to provide safety for players, spectators and users of the facility?

Mark Foley: Yes and where for example five or more employees are employed, a safety policy must be in writing and regularly updated and made available to everybody.

Dave Saltman: Where a club doesn't have formal employees do they need H&S arrangements?

Mark Foley: Yes, to protect users and volunteers from potential hazards and risks

Mark Foley: Apart from the legal obligation, staff motivation, accident reduction this will help to reduce insurance premiums

Dave Saltman: What should a club, small or large look to be implementing to make sure they and their staff are up to date on H&S?

Mark Foley: The club must have adequate health and safety arrangements for example, an appointed person who has overall responsibility to implement and manage health and safety

Dave Saltman: What then should this officer/appointed person be implementing?

Mark Foley: The club must have suitable and sufficient risk assessments to reduce the risks to the lowest practicable level and where the risk cannot be reduced the assessment must be in writing and recorded.

Dave Saltman: What is a risk assessment?

Mark Foley: A method of identifying the potential hazards and likelihood of occurrence using a risk rating score. The overall purpose is to reduce the risks to the individual and persons affected by their work activity.

Dave Saltman: So once a particular risk assessment has been carried out, is that enough?

Mark Foley: No, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, to comply with the risk assessments must be regularly reviewed, monitored to ensure the control measures implemented are still applicable.

Dave Saltman: Give me an example of risk assessment then please?

Mark Foley: For example, the Manual Handling at Work Regulations specify that all Manual Handling tasks that cannot be avoided must be assessed. The purpose is to assess the tasks, the individual, the load and environment (TILE).

Dave Saltman: What does that involve, for example one of the staff carrying a bag of fertiliser?

Mark Foley: All Manual Handling tasks must be risk assessed by a competent person to determine the level of risk as high, medium or low, so for example, a 10 Kg. bag of fertiliser is less risk to an individual than manually handling a 25Kg. bag.

Dave Saltman: Is it true that you need to have training to lift a bag of fertiliser then?

Mark Foley: Yes, to comply with Manual Handling at Work Regulations (1992), employers must provide adequate training and supervision for employees to safely manually handle loads around the workplace so far as is reasonably practicable. Nationally, a quarter of all accidents in the workplace are caused by Manual Handling injuries.

Dave Saltman: Whinger asks: Do I have to have an abrasive wheels poster if I use a bench grinder in the work place?

Mark Foley: I would strongly advise that the abrasive wheel poster is best practice however all employees must be trained and instructed on how to attach/detach a disc and their names must be recorded by the employer. The abrasive wheel regulation of 1970 is used to stipulate that a poster was necessary however this regulation is now covered by another Provision of Work Equipment Regulation 1992.

Dave Saltman: Can we move on to pesticides and chemicals-the law now, is very explicit on their use isn't it?

Mark Foley: Yes, since 1986 the Control of Pesticides Regulations dictates that all operators must be trained and examined to a National Standard.

Dave Saltman: What is the national standard and is that what the PA certificates are for?

Mark Foley: The government recognises the National Proficiency Test Committee as the national accredited body. The PA stands for pesticide application PA1 is compulsory for all operators.

Dave Saltman: Justin asks: we don't have a chem. safe where do I stand with the hse on storage etc?

Mark Foley: Justin: How many litres of product do you currently store?

Dave Saltman: While I wait for Justin, does certification once attained, last for ever?

Mark Foley: Yes, however it is best practice to retrain staff in the safe and effective application techniques every 3 years. This will ensure that you are managing health and safety and reducing potential losses, motivating staff and updating them with new legislation.

Dave Saltman: Justin answers: in all about 50/60 litre at any one time.

Mark Foley: Justin: I would advise you to comply with the storage requirements to prevent environmental pollution or theft to purchase a chem. safe with adequate bunding and lockable with the correct sign.

Dave Saltman: Whinger asks: Does the grandfather clause still stand?

Mark Foley: Whinger: To the best of my knowledge all users must be trained and instructed, the grandfather clause was originally introduced to prevent a log jam with nobody able to carry out spraying. But no longer, if you operate from a tractor sprayer this will not cover you for a hand held sprayer.

Dave Saltman: Justin asks: I work for an owner of a site, if the HSE came in to visit who would be held liable for the chemical storage?

Mark Foley: Justin: The owner would have overall liability however you would have a duty of care to pass on the information regarding the safe storage arrangements.

Dave Saltman: What about machinery training or even the use of a strimmer-does that require certification?

Dave Saltman: Whinger adds to your answer.... 'and a duty of care to himself and his co-workers!!!'

Mark Foley: To comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 employers must provide adequate training and instruction. Recently, the Management of Health and Safety Regulations require employers to undertake suitable and sufficient risk assessments, training and instruction.

Dave Saltman: Justin asks: What if your owner is not interested because it means spending money that has no direct benefit to him?

Mark Foley: Justin: The owner is not complying with the Food and Environmental Act of 1985 and is breaking the law. I would advise you to contact your local Health and Safety Executive Office, this can be done in absolute confidence.

Mark Foley: If you have any further questions please email to dave@pitchcare.com and all questions will be answered, unfortunately I have to go home now.

Dave Saltman: No problem Mark, it's been a pleasure to have you on this evening, maybe we can continue another night. Thank you to all our guests and contributors as well.

Mark Foley: That will be my pleasure, bye for now.

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