HSE’s Priorities for Enforcement and Intervention

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Written by: Alcumus
15th August

Alcumus works across a wide range of industries so we are positioned to see what sectors are being targeted by HSE inspectors on a day-to-day basis.

A number of our consultants have reported a greater targeting of health surveillance in the workplace.

Over the last few months we have seen greater attention to exposure to hazardous fumes from HSE inspectors. This reinforces the HSE safety alert regarding welding fumes  that was issued in February of this year..

Health surveillance can also include biological monitoring, so you may be required to instigate regimes that will look at:

  • Spirometry – lung function checks e.g. for employees exposed to hazardous dusts, fumes, vapours, wood dust, isocyanates, metal working fluids etc.
  • Audiometry – to check that employees are not suffering from Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) – a favourite for the “no win no fee” fraternity at the moment.
  • Urinalysis – checking urine samples for ingested, inhaled or absorbed substances finding their way into the body e.g. lead, isocyanates etc
  • HAVs – checking that the employee is not being exposed to vibratory or percussive risk that could lead to issues such as vibration white finger or even whole-body vibration issues.
  • Skin checks – to ensure that employees are not suffering from occupational dermatitis.
  • Health surveillance for night workers – to ensure the disruption of the circadian rhythm is not likely to cause problems for the night worker.
  • Health checks for professional drivers – to ensure they remain safe to drive.

HSE fees for intervention

Don’t forget that if an HSE inspector requires you to instigate any of the above you will also get an invoice for their time under the Fees for Intervention (FFI) regime (currently £154 per hour) as this would be classed as a “material breach”.

To help you keep abreast of HSE priorities the HSE have produced numerous, specific sector plans covering a 3 to 5 year timescale. It can be useful to stay up to date with these so you’re aware of where the HSE is focussing should they inspect your workplace.

Mental health

It’s also worth noting that as people are becoming more aware of Mental Health in the workplace, this could become an area of focus for the HSE.

Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) courses are available (usually 2 days) which covers how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Although the course is not compulsory, it’s certainly considered good practice to have a MHFA trained person in the workplace.

How Alcumus can help

If you are unsure as to whether you should have any health surveillance regimes in your workplace the Alcumus PSM Health & Safety Consultants will be able to advise you accordingly.

Alcumus PSM works with you to ensure compliance with current regulations and provide further assistance if required, helping mitigate risk should a HSE inspector call.

If you have any questions about the HSE focus or would like to know how Alcumus PSM can help you manage your health and safety, please contact the Alcumus PSM H&S Consultancy team on [email protected].

Alcumus PSM (People & Safety Management) specialises in human resources (HR) and health and safety (H&S) consulting for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Written by Graham Carson, Senior Health & Safety Consultant