Occupational Health & Safety
Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessments.
A DSE assessment is an assessment of Display Screen Equipment. Display Screen Equipment (DSE) is a device or equipment with a display screen and often refers to a computer screen. However, it includes both conventional display screens and those used in emerging technologies such as laptops, touchscreens and other similar devices.
In a work environment, desktop computers are traditionally looked at when considering DSE, but it is important to consider other display screens such as tablets, laptops and smartphones.
DSE assessment is an assessment of risk from the way we use computers, laptops, tablets and other display screens at work. Each workstation should be assessed, and the risks reduced as low as is practical.
A DSE assessment looks at how a screen is used and assesses the risks to the user. Like any risk assessments, the aim is to identify the hazards and assess the likelihood and severity of harm to those that may be affected. Then, take action to reduce the risk.
Each workstation should be assessed. If you have sat at a computer screen for a long time, you may already be familiar with some of the hazards. Poor posture or lack of movement throughout the day can lead to back pain. Staring at the screen for long lengths of time can give you headaches.
The Health and Safety Regulations sets out some key requirements for employers surrounding the use of DSE, one of which is the need to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of workstations used in the workplace.
Any workstation used by your business, regardless of who provides it, should be assessed. So DSE requirements apply to co-working spaces, remote working, temporary workplaces and your own offices.
However, this should not just be considered a tick box exercise to comply with legal requirements. A DSE assessment can help combat ill-health and therefore improve health and productivity in the workforce.
Your DSE assessment should look not only at the equipment itself but the whole workstation. The workstation includes the display screen equipment, the keyboard, mouse, even the furniture such as the desk and chair.
The assessment should also encompass the general environment and includes lighting, reflections, glare, temperature, humidity and noise. All these elements can impact how the equipment is used, and the risks to users.
Safety For Design have highly skilled and qualified personnel who can undertake workplace based DSE assessments to ensure that workers are utilising the equipment available to them properly, thus reducing the risk of injury and ill health for your workforce.
Inspections are a key part of good health and safety management. They allow you to check your workplace and work activities are healthy and safe. Workplace inspections help prevent incidents, injuries and illnesses. An inspection helps you identify hazards and decide what measures to take before they lead to an accident or incident.
Anyone affected by your work activities or visiting your workplace could be at risk. If you do not identify through inspections an issue that could cause harm or damage. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 places the general duty on you to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all your employees.
Employers need to provide training, instruction, information, supervision and a safe workplace including safe entry and exit along with safe machinery, equipment and methods of work. Carrying out inspections enables you to identify whether you are providing these.
Inspections required by law need to be carried out by a competent person. This is someone with suitable knowledge, experience and training to carry out the work. Where the law requires inspections, it normally states how often they need to be carried out and they need to meet the standards set by a competent person.
Safety For Design have a wealth of experience in carrying out Workplace Inspections and can assist employers across a wide range of sectors and activities in order to ensure a safe workplace is provided, highlighting any issues that may be apparent and providing suitable solutions where necessary.
Safe Systems of Work
As the name suggests, a safe system of work (SSOW) is a defined set of procedures, resulting from a careful study of a task, that inform how work must be carried out. Safe systems of work are developed by considering the people, substances and equipment involved in undertaking a task, identifying all foreseeable hazards and assessing the risks, and then seeking to minimise or eliminate these risks by providing a formal framework for workers to follow.
Safe systems of work are typically laid out in a written document, for example, written operating procedures. They can also be more informal; verbal instructions, a list of dos and don’ts, and accepted custom and practice are all examples of informal safe systems of work. However, for the sake of clarity, ease of reference, and demonstrating compliance, written systems of work are preferable.
Under Section 2(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (HSWA) 1974, employers must, so far as reasonably practicable, provide and maintain systems of work that are practical, safe and without risks to health. The phrase ‘reasonably practicable’ is rather vague in its meaning, which is why employers often seek professional Health & Safety advice to help determine what is reasonable when it comes to creating safe systems of work. Safety For Design can assist you in this respect.
Many regulations made under the HSWA, such as the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998, require that workers are given appropriate information and instruction on how to use work equipment safely. This is, in effect, another more specific requirement to provide safe systems of work.
Employees also have a legal duty under the HSWA to take reasonable care of their own health and safety and co-operate with their employer by following any safe systems of work that are in place. They should be reviewed at least annually to ensure they reflect any changes in legislation and that they comply with recent risk assessments.
COSHH risk assessments are required by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. Under the regulations, employers are required to control substances that are hazardous to health, through the prevention or reduction of exposure.
The COSHH regulations apply to every business, regardless of size or industry, so it is important to know why you need to carry out these assessments and how they can benefit you.
The purpose of the COSHH regulations is to minimise the risks associated with substances that are hazardous to the health of you and your employees, therefore reducing the number of people made ill through exposure to harmful substances.
The COSHH assessment process involves identifying hazardous substances used within your workplace and assessing the use of these substances within your business activities. The initial step is to find out what health hazards are associated with the substance, and how workers are exposed.
The next step involves managing the risks by deciding how to prevent harm from occurring, for example, what control measures are needed or if the substance can be substituted for a less harmful substance.
Industries like construction are also aware that substances like concrete, cement, glues, paints and solvents come under COSHH.
A COSHH assessment alone, will not reduce risk. It is only through the COSHH assessment process and the implementation of a suitable and sufficient COSHH assessment that the risks will be minimised.
Putting the findings of your COSHH assessments in place is essential in the management of the risks associated with substances hazardous to health.
Safety For Design can help provide the control measures outlined in the COSHH risk assessment and making sure they are used, and the correct working procedure is followed by those using the substance.
Information, instruction and training may need to be provided to employees, this may be on the job training briefing workers on the COSHH assessment and the system of work in place, or further training where risks are high.
While a COSHH risk assessment is a legal requirement, putting in place an effective and proactive COSHH system will help to keep your workforce healthy.
Investigation of workplace accidents and incidents is an essential part of the proactive management of health and safety. Undertaking investigations of both those accidents that result in injury or death, as well as near misses, in a systematic and organised way will benefit any organisation. Analysis of and accurate information about previous accidents and near misses helps to prevent them recurring. Health and Safety Executive inspectors (or local authority Environmental Health Officers, depending on jurisdiction) may also carry out an investigation of an accident within their enforcement powers.
There is no explicit legal duty for employers to investigate accidents, but certain regulations do imply the need to carry out accident investigations.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 imply that investigating the causes of workplace accidents is considered an essential part of good health and safety management, and of the risk assessment review process. It forms the “check” part of the Plan, Do, Check, Act approach in the HSE’s HSG65 Managing for Health and Safety.
Employees have a duty to co-operate with employers to enable them to fulfil their statutory duties under the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974. This would include reporting dangerous occurrences, near misses and accidents whether or not they resulted in injury, damage or disease. Employees are also required to co-operate in an investigation.
There are certain steps that need to be followed in order for an effective and full investigation to be undertaken, and Safety For Design will aid in the process by providing full support throughout each step or undertaking the investigation for you.
SHE Management Systems
Understanding the Health, Safety and Environmental minefield can be a most daunting prospect for any organisation, however Safety For Design can provide valuable assistance as your SHE consultant, ensuring your route to compliance becomes so much simpler.
Safety For Design have developed a range of services designed to help you meet all your SHE obligations, and also to train your management and key personnel in all the necessary protocols and procedures involved.
We can help you whether you require assistance in developing your policies, procedures and risk assessments or the implementation of a Health, Safety and Environmental management system.
It is important to have a system for managing your Health, Safety and Environmental affairs as to stay without one and stand the risk to overlook aspects. Safety For Design can help your organisation to consistently identify hazards and control its health and safety risks, reduce the likelihood of accidents, aid legal compliance and improve your business performance.
Accident Frequency Rates (AFR) collation
Accident Frequency Rates (AFR) or Injury Frequency Rates (IFR) provide the number of people injured over a specific time period based upon a specific number of workers.
Various industries and workplaces pose inherent risks and it is the collation of data in relation to accidents and injuries that provides information on various trends or highlights specific activities that pose a specific risk.
For most companies, particularly those with fewer than 100 employees, the number of incidents that need to be recorded or reported each year will be very small. Using non-reportable, minor injuries, property damage or 'near misses', can give you more meaningful numbers to work with.
If your business uses contractors/sub-contractors to carry out much of the work, then you need to include their health and safety data within your figures. If you don’t you may be ignoring most of the risks in your business and your performance may appear unrealistically better than the rest of your industry. Estimates of the numbers employed in an industry and the average hours worked per week do have a margin of uncertainty, so don’t expect rates to be exact. That also means that small differences in rates are probably not significant.
Safety For Design have a proven track record with national clients in providing AFR statistics across a wide range of industries. The results of these reports are invaluable in helping the client identify any issues and to implement any safety provisions or systems of work that will be required to mitigate the risks identified.
Competency Checks (PQQs)
The requirements for competence changed slightly in the CDM2015 Regulations compared to the previous 2007 version. Specifically, the CDM regulations say that those working on a construction project must have the skills, knowledge, experience and capability to carry out their role(s) in a way that secures health and safety.
The CDM regulations place the duty to ensure competence on all members of the project team. The client and any other person appointing people on the project team must ensure those they appoint are competent and adequately resourced.
The CDM regulations place duties on the appointees, as well as the appointed, as an extra safeguard layer of checks, to ensure that those appointed are competent and sufficiently resourced to plan and carry out the work safely.
Any contractor or designer appointing other members of the project team also has a duty to check competence, and any person accepting an appointment has a duty to make sure they are competent before accepting the appointment.
Every duty holder should be competent for their own role. So, if a person or organisation does not have the skills, knowledge, experience and capability to perform the role, there are at least two potential breaches of the regulations. One by the person making the appointment, and one by the person accepting the appointment!
CDM places such importance on competence to ensure that work is carried out safely, which is the primary focus of the regulations.
Safety For Design undertaken numerous PQQs and Competence Assessments for wide range of activities. The assessment covers areas such as policy, arrangements, qualifications, training, access to appropriate advice, monitoring, accident reporting and records, subcontractor procedures, risk assessment and welfare provision.