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Friday, 6 May 2011

Case Law - Ellis v. Bristol City Council (2007)

Case: Ellis v. Bristol City Council (2007) Court of Appeal
Precedent: Suitability of Flooring

The appellant was employed part time as a care assistant at Gleeson House, Bristol, a home for the elderly and mentally infirm run by the defendant, the Bristol City Council. She had been so employed since 1993. Many of the residents of the home suffered from incontinence. The appellant was injured when she slipped in a pool of urine left by one of the residents on the main corridor of the ground floor of the home.

The appellant had pleaded her case under regulation 12 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and also common law negligence. Regulation 12 provides as follows:

"Condition of floors and traffic routes
(1) Every floor in a workplace and the surface of every traffic route in a workplace shall be of a construction such that the floor or surface of the traffic route is suitable for the purpose for which it is used.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1), the requirements in that paragraph shall include requirements that -
(a) the floor, or surface of the traffic route, shall have no hole or slope, or be uneven or slippery so as, in each case, to expose any person to a risk to his health or safety; and
(b) every such floor shall have effective means of drainage where necessary.
(3) So far as is reasonably practicable, every floor in a workplace and the surface of every traffic route in a workplace shall be kept free from obstructions and from any article or substance which may cause a person to slip, trip or fall."

In the initial case, the judge found against the appellant on all issues of primary liability.

The Court of Appeal determined that the judge did not approach the issue of the application, or not, of regulation 12(1) on the correct basis, and that, on the facts as they appear, the problem of urination on the floor of the corridor was sufficiently regular and frequent that the resulting slipperiness should be regarded as due to the unsuitable construction of the floor, rather than merely involving the obligation to take reasonable steps to clear up the resulting wetness of the floor under regulation 12(3).
If a smooth floor was frequently and regularly slippery, because of a substance which lay upon it, albeit only temporarily, the surface of the floor might properly be said to be unsuitable, if the slipperiness was such as to give rise to a risk to the safety of those employees using it.

Friday, 8 April 2011

No health and safety qualification, no need to apply

Anyone looking for a health and safety job without suitable qualifications "need not apply" according to new research.

The 2011 NEBOSH Jobs Barometer found that just three of 100 nationally advertised health and safety vacancies failed to specify an appropriate level qualification or professional status.

NEBOSH Chief Executive, Teresa Budworth, said she was delighted with the high standards being set by employers when it came to health and safety roles. "It's clear that anyone seeking a job as a health and safety manager or advisor in the UK will struggle to find a position without appropriate level qualifications."

To read more follow the link below:

No health and safety qualification, no need to apply

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Case Law - Marshall v. Gotham (1954)

Case: Marshall v. Gotham (1954)
Precedent: Reasonably Practicable

The case concerned the collapse of a mine roof which had been subjected to earlier tests but which collapsed due to a rare geological fault.

However, the evidence also showed that after the accident, additional precautions were taken in the area near the accident: a hydraulic prop was used unless the roof was thought to be thin, in which event that area was bypassed. The plaintiff argued that it would have been reasonably practicable for the defendants to use props (as they did after the accident). The trial judge found no negligence at common law, but ruled in the plaintiff’s favour on the statutory claim, reasoning that hydraulic props should have been used before as well as after the accident.

The Court of Appeal unanimously reversed, on the ground that because the risk was not reasonably foreseeable it was not reasonably practicable to guard against it. As Jenkins, L.J., explained, “it cannot fairly be said to be ‘reasonably practicable’ to guard against a contingency that could not reasonably have been foreseen, inasmuch as its occurrence would be contrary to all previous experience.”

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Health And Safety Training: What You Should Know About Electrical Safety

It is imperative to take precautionary measures while handling electrical equipment in the workplace. If you are not careful you could suffer from electrical shock or injure someone else around you. Health and safety training teaches workers how to deal with electric sources and equipment in a safe and responsible manner. Electrical safety is an important part of the health and safety training curriculum for workers. Below are the tips for maintaining electrical safety in the workplace. This is just some of the crucial information that is shared with workers during health and safety training.

Electrical cords and equipment should not be in contact with any moisture. A worker should avoid handling electrical cords and equipment with damp hands. Doing so could cause electric shock or fatal injury. Cords that are broken or torn should be immediately replaced. Health And Safety Training encourages workers to become aware of where the fuses and circuit breakers are located in the building. This is important information that could be useful during an emergency or crisis situation. Rooms that have high electrical hazards should have safety posters outlining electrical safety procedures.

Circuits and conductors should be tested before workers handle them. Lockout and tag-out procedures should be put into place while handling electrical equipment. Health and safety training teaches workers about lockout and tag-out methods to ensure their safety and avoiding injury. Lockout and tag out procedures protect employees from injury if there is an unexpected start-up during maintenance. Testing and maintenance for electrical equipment should be carried out on a regular basis to ensure safety. Health and safety training emphasizes that all electrical sockets in the building should have safety covers when not in use. This reduces the risk of workers being exposed to electrical shock.

In order to make sure your workplace is safe and secure from electrical hazards you should answer the following questions:

* Are there any signs of burning or overheating for any electrical cords and equipment being used?
* Do you get small jolts of electric shock while using certain electrical equipment?
* Are certified electricians being used to make any repairs required on electrical equipment?
* Are all wires and extension cords out of the way to prevent someone from tripping and falling?
* Are all appliances being used in the workplace properly grounded?

Health And Safety Training encourages workers to focus on the electrical outlets to make sure they are not being overloaded with too many plugged items. During health and safety training it is important to teach workers how to dress an electrical burn injury. They should also be taught the procedures to follow if someone is stuck to a live electrical current. Health and safety training suggests that you should find the power source and to shut of the electrical current immediately in such a situation. If you are not in the position to shut off the electrical current you can use anything made of wood to push the person away from the electrical current. Now that you have understood the importance of electrical safety make sure to invest in a number of safety reference materials to conduct your health and safety training sessions successfully. Reference materials could range from safety posters, safety booklets, hazard signs, first aid kits, safety awareness DVDs, trainer guides and more.

Safety Media is the UK's leading Health And Safety Training provider. Their range of products and services include online safety training software, manual handling DVDs, ergonomic equipment, safety posters, first aid equipment, safety booklets, safety and hazard signs, and much more. For more information and details on how to make your workplace a safer environment visit http://www.safetymedia.co.uk/

Health And Safety Training: Noise In The Workplace

Many employees are not aware of the numerous health problems noise can cause. Noise is something we're so used to tuning out but if it is loud enough it can still affect the way we normally function. Loud frequencies of sound can prevent us from understanding crucial information which someone is communicating to us and also trigger health problems. Through health and safety training we can learn how to prevent hearing loss and minimize noise related stress to our bodies.

If we are exposed to loud decibels of noise for an extended period of time our bodies can suffer from hypertension, high blood pressure, ulcers and other serious health problems. Safety Training regulations emphasize the use of ear plugs, ear muffs, or other standard hearing protectors in work environments that have abnormally high decibels of noise. Hearing protectors cancel out most of the sound we are exposed to allowing us to function normally during our day to day tasks. By learning how to use hearing protectors in health and safety training we will be able to perform our tasks without compromising our health.

Safety posters put up in high decibel noise areas will remind employees to put on hearing protectors to prevent hearing loss. Safety posters will outline the steps to wearing protective gear correctly so employees do not suffer from bodily harm while working in these high risk areas. Usually workplaces that expose their staff to high decibels of noise regularly perform audiometric testing to determine the hearing sensitivity of each employee. The test will conclude if each employee's hearing sensitivity is within normal range. If a physician finds that significant hearing damage has occurred other hearing protector and safety training options are explored to prevent further injury to employees. In certain cases the employees have a right to refuse to perform the tasks at hand until sufficient hearing protectors are provided to maintain their health and well being in the workplace.

Health and safety training guidelines help staff become aware of the warning signs that noise levels are at abnormally high decibels and the steps to take to avoid further exposure. Health and safety training not only covers occupational noise exposure but also other important topics such as fire safety, electrical safety, chemical safety, and manual handling. Safety posters are available in the market with all of these topics in mind to outline the important safety procedures in a variety of emergency situations. Safety posters can be put up in bathrooms, high risk areas, in the cafeteria and break room so staff will take the time to read them.

With regular health and safety training in the workplace you can ensure the safety and well being of all your employees and staff members. Browse online for a variety of helpful resources to efficiently conduct health and safety training within your workplace. Some of the notable resources used for health and safety training include safety awareness DVDs, Safety Posters, e-learning software, booklets, ergonomic equipment, trainer guides, basic first aid supplies and more. With so much information and resources available in the market there is no reason why every office and workplace should not be conducting health and safety training for their employees.

Safety Media is the UK's leading health and Safety Training provider. Their range of products and services include online safety training software, manual handling DVDs, ergonomic equipment, safety posters and more. For more information and details visit http://www.safetymedia.co.uk/

Monday, 4 April 2011

Case Law - Edwards v. National Coal Board (1949)

Case: Edwards v. National Coal Board (1949)
Precendent: Reasonably Practicable

In this case, a miner (Edwards) was killed when a section of the road on which he was travelling subsided. The section of the road concerned had no timber supports, although other sections were properly supported. The Coal Board stated that the cost of supporting all roads was prohibitive in relation to the risk. Lord Asquith, the judge in the case, said that a balance had to be struck in deciding whether it would have been reasonably practicable to have taken the precaution of providing supports for the section of road which collapsed.

The test for what is reasonably practicable was set out in this case. The case established the risk must be balanced against the 'sacrifice', whether in money, time or trouble, needed to avert or mitigate the risk. By carrying out this exercise the employer can determine what measures are reasonable to take. This is effectively an implied requirement for risk assessment.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Case Law - Walker v. Northumberland County Council (1995)

Case: Walker v. Northumberland County Council (1995)
Precedent: Stress

A social worker in charge of a team of field workers had reported his stress, arising out of a greatly increased workload. On his return to work he was given to understand that he would have an assistant to ease his workload, but it turned out that this assistant was only intermittently available. He suffered a second breakdown and had to retire.

This case established the precedent that an employer can be held liable for mental injury to an employee caused by work-related stress. This judgement underlined the employer’s duty of care to provide safe systems of work in respect of occupational stress as well as other hazards, and to take steps to protect employees from foreseeable risks to mental health.

Case Law - Tesco Supermarkets Ltd v. Nattrass (1972)

Case: Tesco Supermarkets Ltd v. Nattrass (1972)
Precedent: “Due Diligence”

Tesco was offering a discount on washing powder which was advertised on posters displayed in stores. Once they ran out of the lower priced product the stores began to replace it with the regularly priced stock. The manager failed to ensure the signs were taken down and a customer was charged at the higher price. Tesco was charged under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 for falsely advertising the price of washing powder. In its defence Tesco argued that the company had taken all reasonable precautions and all 'due diligence', and that the conduct of the manager could not attach liability to the corporation.

The House of Lords accepted the defence and found that the manager was not a "directing mind" of the corporation and therefore his conduct was not attributable to the corporation. The corporation had done all it could to enforce the rules regarding advertising.

Lord Reid held that "The person who acts is not speaking or acting for the company. He is acting as the company and his mind which directs his acts is the mind of the company. If it is a guilty mind then that guilt is the guilt of the company."

This is known as a due diligence defence and senior managers may be able to avail themselves of it where junior members of staff or other persons commit offences. Bear in mind that the Tesco case involved the interpretation of the Trade Descriptions Act and not health and safety at work legislation.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Case Law - Donoghue v. Stevenson (1932)

Case: Donoghue v. Stevenson (1932)
Precedent: Duty of Care (Neighbour Principle)

A friend of the claimant purchased a bottle of ginger beer. The claimant drank some of the beer in which was found the remains of a decomposed snail. She was subsequently ill and sued the manufacturer. She was unable to sue the manufacturer for breach of contract because the only contract that existed was with the claimant’s friend who had bought the ginger beer and the manufacturer.

The House of Lords held that the defendant being the manufacturer of the ginger beer owed a duty of care to the claimant as the consumer of the beer to take reasonable care to ensure that the bottle did not contain anything that might cause harm.

In this case the judge said that reasonable care must be taken to avoid acts or omissions which, with reasonable foresight, you would know would be likely to injure your neighbour. This is known as the “Neighbour Principle”. Therefore the test whether someone is a “neighbour”, in the legal sense, can be established if it can be reasonably foreseen that the act or omission may cause harm to them.