Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority Human Resources Policy and Challenge Group 5 March 2015 Item No. 10 HEAD OF SAFETY AND STRATEGIC PROJECTS

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1 For Publication Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority Human Resources Policy and Challenge Group 5 March 2015 Item No. 10 REPORT AUTHOR: SUBJECT: HEAD OF SAFETY AND STRATEGIC PROJECTS MANUAL HANDLING: HEALTH AND SAFETY AUDIT For further information on this Report contact: Service Operational Commander Tony Rogers Head of Safety and Strategic Projects Tel No: Background Papers: None Implications (tick ): LEGAL FINANCIAL HUMAN RESOURCES EQUALITY IMPACT ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY CORPORATE RISK Known OTHER (please specify) New HEALTH AND SAFETY CORE BRIEF Any implications affecting this report are noted at the end of the report. PURPOSE: To present to Members the findings of the internal audit of Manual Handling Operations as part of the Service s Health and Safety Management audit programme. RECOMMENDATION: That Members receive the report and confirm its conclusion. 1 Introduction 1.1 Injuries from manual handling operations account for a significant proportion of workplace injuries within the Service. This is mirrored nationally in other Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) and across many industry sectors. 10.1

2 1.2 Like all employers the Service is subject to control measures that are put in place to reduce such injuries which include externally, the Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHORs) 1992, and internally, Service Order V13 01/24 Manual Handling Operations. In general terms these controls require employers to avoid hazardous manual handling where possible, assess the risk of injury for hazardous tasks that cannot be avoided and reduce the risk of injury so far as is reasonably practicable. 1.3 As part of the Service s health and safety management arrangements an audit of manual handling operations was carried out in October The purpose of the audit was to examine the management arrangements for ensuring that the Service complies with the requirements as laid down in Section 1.2 and is summarised below. 2 Manual Handling Operations Audit Methodology 2.1 The Manual Handling Operations audit was carried out by the Service s Health and Safety Advisor (HSA) to ascertain the extent to which the key elements from Service Order V13 1/24 Manual Handling Operations were being met and are detailed below: Are hazardous manual handling activities avoided wherever possible? Have all hazardous manual handling activities that cannot be avoided been identified and assessed? Are all manual handling assessments periodically reviewed? Are new manual handling activities that cannot be avoided assessed before being introduced into the workplace? Are all manual handling injuries reported for the purpose of reactive monitoring? Have all relevant employees received suitable manual handling training with refresher training every three years? and Are manual handling activities periodically monitored in the workplace? 2.2 The audit was an office based exercise that included the examination of assessment documents, active and reactive monitoring data and associated training records. 3. Manual Handling Operations Audit Findings 3.1 Are hazardous manual handling activities avoided wherever possible? Every effort has been made within the Service to avoid hazardous manual handling either by adjustments to equipment, adjustments to the task or by the use of mechanical assistance where possible. Particular focus has been placed upon suitable stowage arrangements for equipment on vehicles to reduce the risk of injury from manual handling operations. In addition a range of mechanical assistance has been made available for use to avoid the need for manual handling which includes a forklift truck, vehicle mounted crane, chain hoists, wheeled trolleys and sack barrows etc. 10.2

3 3.2 Have all hazardous manual handling activities that cannot be avoided been identified and assessed? At the time of the audit there were 148 manual handling operations / activities within the Service covering, where identified, all hazardous manual handling activities that cannot be avoided. All activities where manual handling assessments had been carried out and documented are identified by unique reference numbers and are available in the Service Library with a central register that is maintained within the Health and Safety Support Team database. 3.3 Are all manual handling assessments periodically reviewed? Manual handling assessments are subject to a robust programme of review which is overseen by the Service s Health and Safety Steering Committee. Reviews are carried out at 2, 3 or 5 year intervals dependant on an allocated risk rating of High, Medium or Low respectively. The assessments are stored on the Service s database that provides the review history of each assessment. During the period between 1 April 2012 to 31 August 2014 there were a total of 95 reviews of manual handling assessments undertaken. 3.4 Are new manual handling activities that cannot be avoided assessed before being introduced into the workplace? New work activities, equipment and other sources of hazard that involve significant risk are not introduced into the Service until a thorough risk assessment has been carried out in accordance with the Service s risk assessment process. In addition, new equipment is subject to the process of a Provision and use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) assessment, which will identify, where necessary, the requirement for a specialist manual handling assessment to be carried out. During the period between 1 April 2012 to 31 August 2014, 16 manual handling operations had been completed covering new tasks/equipment. 3.5 Are all manual handling injuries reported for the purpose of reactive monitoring? In line with Service policy, thorough investigations have been carried out for all manual handling injuries identifying both the immediate and underlying causes. Chart 1 below details the number of reported manual handling injuries between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2014 with a significant reduction for the reporting period for 2013/14. Reactive monitoring of manual handling accidents and trends has led to the implementation of initiatives to reduce the number of injuries which includes the formal active monitoring of manual handling operations as detailed in section 3.7 below. 10.3

4 Chart Have all relevant employees received suitable manual handling training with refresher training every three years? Staff that do not undertake operational duties receive formal manual handling training following their induction to the Service and is repeated every 3 years. Staff that do undertake operational duties also receive formal manual handling training every 3 years and supported by e-learning software annually using online LearnPro modules. Currently a programme of manual handling refresher training is being delivered across the Service. 3.7 Are manual handling activities periodically monitored in the workplace? The day to day monitoring of workplace precautions and risk control systems are the responsibility of all managers and supervisors across the Service. As part of the implementation of the Service s Health and Safety Active Monitoring Policy formal active monitoring was carried out from 1 July to 30 September 2013 inclusive. The active monitoring was conducted during training, routine and operational activities by sector competent Managers with a total of 97 active monitoring forms being completed. Where nonconformance s were identified during monitoring appropriate actions were taken by the Monitoring Officer including direct intervention and / or by the provision of advice and feedback. Minor issues regarding equipment stowage had also been identified and these were followed up by the Service Technical department. A further period of active monitoring for manual handling operations is planned for April Conclusion 4.1 The outcome of the manual handling audit identified that the requirements of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations detailed within the current Service Order are in place. Where manual handling operations cannot be avoided the Service has appropriate assessments which are reviewed as part of normal arrangements. In addition manual handling training has been provided to staff and supported by formal active monitoring. As a result the audit identified that the Service has seen a reduction in the number of manual handling workplace injuries due to the focus placed in addressing this issue, and will continue to build upon the successes detailed within this report. 10.4

5 5. Implications 5.1 Corporate Risk: Known Manual Handling operations and activities present risk to the Service where the arrangements are either not adequate or are not adhered to. The outcome of the recent audit provides assurance to the Service that the current arrangements meet statutory requirements and have made a significant contribution to reducing workplace injuries. 5.2 Legal The Service s current arrangements with regard to Health and Safety Manual Handling operations meet the appropriate legislative requirements. 5.3 Health and Safety Whilst the legislative requirements have been met, the Service will build upon the current provisions to improve, where possible, the health safety and welfare arrangements of the Service. SERVICE OPERATIONAL COMMANDER TONY ROGERS HEAD OF SAFETY AND STRATEGIC PROJECTS 10.5

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