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Managing the risks in the brave, new world of work
The type of health and safety risks that we face in the workplace is changing at breakneck speed as new technology revolutionises the way we carry out our jobs and we continue to shift away from traditional working practices.
According to a new report by the British Safety Council (BSC), employers must assess the risks posed by new technology and familiarise themselves, and their employees, with the dangers, as well as thinking about what sort of skills people will need to do their jobs in the future. Entitled the Future Risk Report, it highlights the need for greater awareness of the risks that we will face in our workplaces in the future as employees and hi-tech machinery, such as intelligent machines and robots, work together more closely than ever before. The report suggests that legislation should be updated to reflect these changes, as well as posing timely questions about where responsibility lies when things go wrong in automated working environments.
It’s estimated that 250,000 public sector jobs will be replaced by automation during the next 15 years alone. This, together with the growth of the ‘gig’ economy - which is when workers are paid for each job or ‘gig’ that they do, rather than receiving a regular wage – has prompted the BSC to highlight the increased risk of employee stress and mental ill-health. It’s thought that ‘up-skilling’ employees by offering them specialist training to build their resilience against the rise of new technologies could be part of the solution.
Responding to the report, Robyn Newman of MNA Group Ltd, said: “In so many sectors, the way people work is changing rapidly and this latest report by the BSC highlights the urgent need for employers to take a more strategic view of the future health and safety risks that they and their employees could face.”
Know the risks: Musculoskeletal disorders
If your employees work on computers or carry out manual handling and repetitive tasks for long periods of time, they could be at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. Here’s our guide to the risks and how you can minimise them:
What is musculoskeletal disorder?
It’s a term that refers to and covers any injury, damage or disorder to the body’s joints, ligaments, muscles, and nerves. Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs) affect the top part of the body – mainly the neck, shoulders, arms and fingers - and can include Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), Cumulative Trauma Disorder and Occupational Overuse Syndrome. ULDs can be linked to the poor use of display screen equipment and prolonged use of powered hand tools. Lower Limb Disorders (LLDs) affect the lower part of the body, including the legs, hips and toes, and can be caused by repetitive activities, such as squatting, standing for long periods of time without a break and frequent jumping from height. Although ULDs and LLDs can be caused by activities outside the workplace, a high percentage are caused, or made worse, within the work environment. Other Musculoskeletal Disorders include:
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome - the result of regular use of hand-held power tools.
Vibration White Finger - the result of prolonged use of vibrating hand tools.
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome - a common condition causing pain, numbing and burning/tingling sensations as a result of the prolonged use of a keyboards, work involving manual labour and assembly packing.
What are the main symptoms of musculoskeletal disorder?
How can you help to prevent musculoskeletal disorders?
1). Carry out a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment: Display screen equipment refers to any device with an alphanumeric or graphic display screen, including PCs, laptops and tablets. A DSE assessment should be carried out if you have been allocated a new workstation; new hardware or furniture has been introduced; or changes have been made to the lighting. Assessments should then be made at regular intervals – at least annually. This should be carried out by a competent advisor, who will look at the user’s working environment, job role, equipment and furniture. The advisor will also carry out a workstation assessment, setting the user up in the correct ergonomic position.
2). Rest your eyes and take regular tests: If you are a DSE user, you should take regular breaks from your screen to give your eyes a rest from the constant glare. As an employee, if you’re a habitual user of display screen equipment, you have the right to ask your employer to provide an eyesight test.
Here at MNA Group Limited, we can offer display screen equipment and workstation assessments to organisations and individuals. Telephone us on 01405 752440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements.
Tinnitus Awareness Week
As this week (5 to 11 February) is Tinnitus Awareness Week, we wanted to issue a timely reminder about the dangers posed by excessive noise in the workplace.
Whatever industry you work in, excessive noise can cause long-term hearing issues and lead to permanent hearing loss. Even short-term exposure can cause temporary changes in your hearing, such as tinnitus
But what is tinnitus? Although it’s thought that the condition is slightly different for everyone, most sufferers describe a ringing, hissing, buzzing, roaring or humming sound in their ears. There may be one or more sounds, and the noise may be there all the time or come and go.
Employers have a responsibility to assess the risks posed by noise in the workplace to ensure employees are not subjected to harmful levels. So what can you do to avoid protect yourself and your work force from tinnitus and other hearing issues?
For more information or advice on minimising the dangers posed by excessive noise in the workplace, telephone us on 01405 752440 or email email@example.com.
MNA Group Limited acts as Safety Advisor for construction of state-of-the-art cold storage facility at Wakefield
East Yorkshire-based MNA Group Limited is acting as Health and Safety Advisor to contractors constructing a high-tech, deep freeze storage plant at Wakefield in West Yorkshire for global cold store giants NewCold.
MNA Group Limited, which has its headquarters in Goole, has had a presence on NewCold’s 16-acre site close to Junction 30 of the M62 throughout the first and second phases of the plant’s development. Work first began on site back in 2015.
The company’s role on the project involves carrying out inductions with contractors before they start work on site; reviewing and developing risk assessments and method statements; issuing contractors with permits to work; monitoring operations on site and liaising with all contractors; carrying out weekly site audits and reporting back to Newcold’s management team; dealing with, and advising on, day-to-day health and safety issues; ensuring that arrangements are in place for emergency situations; carrying out accident investigations and reporting, where necessary; and attending and providing input at daily briefings, weekly co-ordination meetings and monthly construction meetings.
Mark Newman, Director of MNA Group Limited, said: “We’re currently working on the second phase of development, which will enhance the work done in phase one. When this phase is complete, the storage facility will be able to hold in excess of 150,000 pallets. Automated product picking will be carried out by 16 high, bay-picking cranes in an environment where the temperature is maintained at -28 degrees Celsius. To eliminate the risk of fire, the environment within the high bay storage will be oxygen-depleted.
Mark added: “Newcold aims to enhance product delivery into its new Wakefield storage facility by installing 'shuttling docks', which will enable 40-pallets to be loaded onto freezer wagons in minutes, rather than hours. It’s very exciting to be overseeing the work of the contractors responsible for delivering such a state-of-the-art facility. It’s a project that requires a comprehensive package of on-site health and safety guidance and support, which we’ve tailored to meet the very specific needs of our client.”
Newcold is a cold store and freezer logistics organisation operating worldwide, with cold stores in the UK, Poland, Australia and America.
As well as providing this type of health and safety consultancy and project management support, MNA Group Limited offers a wide range of health and safety training courses (both classroom-based and online) and construction project management.
We’re delighted to be providing training to more than 100 employees of Hobson & Porter, the award-winning Yorkshire construction firm!
They’ve taken advantage of our comprehensive package of online training by booking more than 600 courses in total - everything from Asbestos Awareness, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Awareness, Display Screen Equipment and Environmental Awareness to Fire Awareness, Fire Warden, Hand Arm Vibration, Manual Handling, Stress Awareness and Working at Height training. We’ve worked with Hobson & Porter in the past and are delighted that, once again, they have chosen us for their health and safety training requirements.
We’ve made it our mission to take the stress and hassle out of health and safety training for the companies that we work with; some of our online training courses take just 20 minutes to complete and they all cost just £20 per person!
To find out more, take a look at the range of courses on offer by clicking here or telephone us on 01405 752440 for an informal chat about your requirements.
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