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Welfare and low temperatures
#1
This thread is inspired by the post from a poor digger mattocking in -11!

Are there any legal statutes for the building industry with reguards to unacceptable working conditions, ie minimum (and maximum for the summer) temperatures?

When does a site become too dangerous to work - danger to staff from falling in pits hidden by snow (not deep ones but enough to break an anckle)

And finally what are the PPE requirements for companies to equip thier staff with if they are expected to be sent out in torrential rain, snow drifts and subzero temperatures?

Can companies equip staff with the cheapest possible steeltoe cap wellys and paper thin waterproofs or must they be fit for purpose?
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#2
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There are no set rules for min and max temperatures for outdoor work (unlike offices or enclosed premises).

However the kind of weather that you have experienced recently in the UK would I thought have required a risk assessment as to the safety issues concerned specifically with low temperatures as well as any other risks posed by the weather.

From the HSE web site

The main requirement of the PPE at Work Regulations 1992 is that personal protective equipment is to be supplied and used at work wherever there are risks
to health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled in other ways.

The Regulations also require that PPE:
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n [/SIZE][SIZE=2]is properly assessed before use to ensure it is suitable;
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n [/SIZE][SIZE=2]is maintained and stored properly;
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n [/SIZE][SIZE=2]is provided with instructions on how to use it safely; and
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[SIZE=1]n [/SIZE][SIZE=2]is used correctly by employees.
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With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#3
There's not many professions where men where tights. Archaeology is one of them. :face-kiss:
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#4
So is it the responsibiltiy of the unit to provide appropriate gear to staff or up to us to buy our own kit?

It seems really variable whether you get waterproofs or not, some units provide road coats, some riggers some even thick wolly socks but others nothing other than the cheapest plastic factory boots and a hard hat. Whos right? :face-stir:
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#5
trowelfodder Wrote:So is it the responsibiltiy of the unit to provide appropriate gear to staff or up to us to buy our own kit?
It is the responsibility of your employer to ensure you have the right PPE, which can include warm clothing. It is the employees responsibility to take care of it and use it when necessary. Some units provide a clothing allowance instead.

Having said that, we've been out site prospecting last week in the snow. I suppose I could have refused to go until my employer bought me some warm socks and gloves, but since I had my own already I didn't think to make an issue of it, since I already had a decent coat and boots from them.
?He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves: one for his enemy and one for himself?
Chinese Proverb
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#6
Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (as amended)

These Regulations require that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be supplied and used at work wherever there are risks to health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled in other ways.

Suitable PPE should be provided for workers where a risk assessment shows it to be necessary. The provision and use of wet or cold weather clothing may be particularly important where workers are required to work outdoors

Cold environments
The employer should:
* Ensure the personal protective equipment PDF[1] issued is appropriate
* Provision of mobile facilities for warming up, and encourage the drinking of warm fluids such as soup or hot chocolate
* Introduce more frequent rest breaks
* Can work be delayed and undertaken at warmer times of the year without compromising on safety
* Educate workers about recognising the early symptoms of cold stress.


Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 employers are required to carry out workplace risk assessments, so enabling them to select the most appropriate means of reducing any identified risks to an acceptable level. Employers should eliminate or minimise risks as close as possible to the source of the risk, thereby protecting everyone in the workplace. PPE should always be regarded as the ‘last resort’ for protection from risk as it only protects the wearer and can be compromised, e.g. by not being worn or being used incorrectly.


Please read the following
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg174.pdf

which is not that much good at this issue... but introduces you to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1992/Uksi_19923139_en_1.htm


Key Paragraphs are here:


Quote:Interpretation
2.—(1) In these Regulations, unless the context otherwise requires, "personal protective equipment" means all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects him against one or more risks to his health or safety, and any addition or accessory designed to meet that objective.
and
Quote:Provision of personal protective equipment
4.—(1) Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.

(2) Every self-employed person shall ensure that he is provided with suitable personal protective equipment where he may be exposed to a risk to his health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.

(3) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraphs (1) and (2), personal protective equipment shall not be suitable unless—
  • (a) it is appropriate for the risk or risks involved and the conditions at the place where exposure to the risk may occur;
  • (b) it takes account of ergonomic requirements and the state of health of the person or persons who may wear it;
  • © it is capable of fitting the wearer correctly, if necessary, after adjustments within the range for which it is designed;
  • (d) so far as is practicable, it is effective to prevent or adequately control the risk or risks involved without increasing overall risk;
  • (e) it complies with any enactment (whether in an Act or instrument) which implements in Great Britain any provision on design or manufacture with respect to health or safety in any relevant Community directive listed in Schedule 1 which is applicable to that item of personal protective equipment.

see also

Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1993
http://www.hseni.gov.uk/personal_protect...t_work.pdf


as a coda... this is exactly the sort of thing that a union rep could help deal with... but until then.... stay safe! If you are NOT receiving any of these... bet you wish you were in a union!
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
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#7
oh... and dealing with the temperature should be covered in the Risk Assesment.... IF the temperatures effects can be mitigated in such a way as to still be safe... and shown to be considered in the risk assessment mitigation.
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
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#8
Kevin touches on the main point regarding the importance of undertaking risk assessment. The HSE does provide a clarification note http://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature/inform...utdoor.htm which highlights various options to be considered as part of the assessment, including defering outdoor work until conditions improve:
- Ensure the personal protective equipment [1] issued is appropriate - Provision of mobile facilities for warming up, and encourage the drinking of warm fluids such as soup or hot chocolate
- Introduce more frequent rest breaks
- Can work be delayed and undertaken at warmer times of the year without compromising on safety
- Educate workers about recognising the early symptoms of cold stress.

The Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service (SOHAS) also provide a very useful note (http://guide.opendns.com/track/click.php...arch_pos=1)
that outlines the conditons and describes symtoms associated with cold stress. They also suggests ways of minimising the risks that arise, which can including impairment of judgement that might contribute to other forms of risk.
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#9
Thanks Ken.

Its worth saying that short spells in the cold, broken up with warm cabin and a cuppa.. will get more out of people than long spells in teh cold.. where you slow down and start to think slower too.. risking mistakes..!

The other thing to do is go to Qatar... ay Kevin Cool but then you have to stay cool!
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#10
Interesting that empoyers should "encourage" the drinking of warm fluids. It doesn't say that they have to provide or pay for them, or provide facilties for making them. Presumably therefore an employer can simply say at the start of the job/day that he advises - nay encourages - everyone to take their own Thermos flask with them.
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