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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
November 30, 2009

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Guidance- Updated advice on hazardous substances

Revised HSE guidance is available for businesses on how to deal with hazardous substances in the workplace.

The updated publication, ‘Working with substances hazardous to health’, offers advice on working safely with a variety of substances – from hairdressing products to metal working fluids, and from quarry dust to cleaning materials.

Representatives from small businesses were involved in developing the guidance, and many of their ideas have been included in the new publication.

Helping small businesses to comply with health and safety law is a key goal in the new HSE strategy. The Executive’s Steve Coldrick commented: “This is an example of how we are working with small businesses to provide them with the practical advice they need to protect their employees’ health.”

The HSE has also recently updated its COSHH guidance on its website. The new site contains case studies, examples of risk assessments, and provides answers to common queries and straightforward ‘how to’ advice for businesses.

Meanwhile, small and medium-sized organisations in Scotland are being targeted with a package of support to improve their awareness of health risks in the workplace.

The ‘Health risks at work – do you know yours?’ scheme offers a support package comprising a DVD and quick reference cards. A range of organisations, including the HSE, the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives, the Scottish Chamber of Safety and RoSPA, have disseminated the packs through their various channels.

The toolkit aims to demystify the process of risk assessment and help SMEs decide on what prevention and control measures they need to implement to reduce work-related ill health. It was developed on the basis of research, which found that small companies often lack internal health and safety expertise but prefer face-to-face support and listen to messages from their key clients.

Danny Carrigan, chair of the Partnership on Health and Safety in Scotland (PHASS), said: “Small and medium-sized businesses should not view health and safety as a problem. Instead they should see it as a means to improving their business prospects. A healthy workforce and a safe workforce is a happy and productive workforce.”

For more information about the tool, call the Healthy Working Lives helpline on 0800 019 2211. The updated HSE guidance leaflet, ‘Working with substances hazardous to health’ (INDG136 Rev 4), can be found here.

Approaches to managing the risks associated Musculoskeletal disorders

In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, we hear from Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics Consultant at HSE’s Science and Research Centre, about the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.

Matt, an ergonomics and human factors expert, shares his thoughts on why MSDs are important, the various prevalent rates across the UK, what you can do within your own organisation and the Risk Management process surrounding MSD’s.

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