9.4 Hazards and Risks

A hazard is anything that has the POTENTIAL to cause harm

Passing vehicles have the potential to cause harm.

A risk is the CHANCE that harm could happen under certain circumstances

So imagine you as an enforcement officer stopping to talk to someone who has just thrown a cigarette out of a car window. They get out of the car and stand in the road talking to you.

Passing vehicles represent a Hazard.

The Risk is higher because of where they are stood.

Hazard plus Risk equals dangerous scenario.

So, rather than step into the road to speak to them, you sensibly ask them to step on to the pavement. Thereby, exercising your Duty of Care, both to yourself, the offender and can you think of anyone else? Group Discussion

Health and Safety is not difficult but is does require us to identify hazards, evaluate risks and respond accordingly bearing in mind our common Duty of Care. This is in essence the core principles of risk assessment. In a formal risk assessment we ask how could we eliminate the hazard or reduce the risk? We then put this in place, record and evaluate if it has improved safety, and if so it becomes our system of work. From now on every time we speak to an offender we ensure our number one priority to make sure we are all as safe as can be by nobody being in the road. It becomes our system of work.

There are a number of issues that specifically relate to Enforcement patrols such as:

Hydration

It is easy when at work to forget to drink water whilst out on patrol. Remember to keep hydrated as it is essential, and one of the most important things in our daily routines. Dark urine, dizziness, tiredness, loss of concentration, lack of energy, increased heart rate and irritability are just a few symptoms of dehydration.

Weather

Whether it is sunny or snowy then weather can have implications on enforcement officers. Sunny means that extra care need to be taken with regards to hydration and of course sun cream. Severe weather conditions such as ice, snow and flooding can course officer’s concern. In extreme cases officers will not be deployed. Extra care must be taken whether on foot or using vehicles. If in doubt the team leader will seek advice from the operations office. The risk of slips, trips and falls is increased, and extra care must be taken.

Driving

More than a quarter of all road traffic incidents may involve somebody who is driving as part of their work at the time (Department for Transport figures). Health and safety law apply to work activities on the road in the same way as it does to all work activities, and we need to manage the risks.

Employers have duties under health and safety law for on-the-road work activities. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act)2 states you must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees while at work. You must also ensure that others are not put at risk by your work-related driving activities.

Assessing risks on the road

Identify the hazards - Look for hazards that may result in harm when driving on public roads.

Ensure the vehicle is both legal and safe to drive – We have vehicle check sheets that should be completed regularly and given to the Team Leader.

Report and findings – any problems with the vehicle need to be reported to the operations centre in Chester immediately and the car must be grounded. It can be driven to a repairer or tyre replacement provider if it is safe to do so.

Driving the vehicle – Driving a company vehicle must always be driven in a professional and lawful way. Speeding or misuse of the vehicle may result in further action.

Accidents and near misses – must be reported immediately and if the vehicle is involved in any accidents, it must be reported too.

Infections and Needle Stick Injuries

Infection

o Be aware of possible infection from blood, faeces, tins, glass etc. These materials can be the agents of Tetanus, Weil’s Disease, Hepatitis, HIV and other serious infections.

o Be particularly careful when handling waste particularly if there is a risk of contact with blood or bodily fluids.

o Wear suitable gloves always.

o Personal protective equipment must be worn when dealing with spillage, i.e. gloves, disposable aprons/overalls, eye protection, suitable footwear and possibly a breathing mask.

o Absorb spills with paper towels and/or absorbent granules and discard into a plastic bag.

o For blood spillage, or fluids visibly containing blood, on hard surfaces (except metal), treat the affected area with 10% sodium hypochlorite (bleach) and leave bleach in contact with blood for at least two minutes. Soak up with paper towels and discard into a plastic bag.

o Wash the area with hot water and detergent. Spills onto soft surfaces will need to be washed thoroughly.

o Dry the area with paper towels and discard into a plastic bag.

o The waste should be “double bagged” before being disposed of as household waste.

o Suitable cleaning/washing facilities should always be available.

o Ensure that your hands are clean before eating, drinking or smoking. Think, “what have I just done? What am I about to do?”

Sharps

o Be alert for sharp, hazardous materials (such as glass, sharp pieces of wood or metal, edges of tins, wood containing nails, hypodermic needles etc.).

o Be particularly alert for hypodermic needles! Users have been known to leave them in the most unexpected places, e.g. in cisterns, down the back of radiators, in/on furniture, in drains, in public litter bins etc. Always assume the worst if you must work “blind”.

o A “sharps kit” must always available and used according to the instructions

ü contained therein.

o Wear the gloves provided.

o Never handle a needle by hand. Use the tongs provided.

o Place container on ground (do not hold in hand).

o Place sharp into container (needle end first)

o Close container.

o Place the container/gloves/tongs into the bag provided.

o Wipe your hands using the disinfectant wipe provided.

o Take the plastic bag to your supervisor.

o If you come across a needle and the proper protective equipment is not

ü present then, HALT THE JOB until it is!

o Note that, having found a hypodermic syringe, it is your duty to guard it until

ü proper disposal can take place.

o If you do get a “needle stick” injury, then:

o Remove the hypodermic needle.

o “Milk” the area as quickly as possible by squeezing to aid blood flow.

ü DO NOT SUCK!

o Wash the affected area thoroughly.

o Apply a waterproof plaster from the first-aid kit.

o Seek medical attention.

o DO NOT TAKE NEEDLE TO HOSPITAL

o Fill in an accident report form and/or report the matter to your Line

ü Manager.

o Remember to wear gloves if you have ANY doubt as to the possibility of sharps being encountered (N.B. disposable “latex” gloves worn underneath your standard issue gloves will give a “wiping effect” and, therefore, extra protection from needle stick injuries).

o A first-aid kit must always be available.

Activity

Read the accompanying document. What should I do if I injure myself with a used needle?

Think about the role in which we do, when is the most likely risk of needle stick injuries going to occur?

Manual handling

Incorrect manual handling is one of the most common causes of injury at work. It causes work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) which account for over a third of all workplace injuries.

Manual handling injuries can happen anywhere people are at work – on farms and building sites, in factories, offices, warehouses, hospitals, banks, laboratories, and while making deliveries. Heavy manual labour, awkward postures, manual materials handling, and previous or existing injury are all risk factors in developing MSDs. There is more information and advice on MSDs on the HSE website, including advice on managing back pain at work.

Taking the action described here will help prevent these injuries and is likely to be cost effective. But you can’t prevent all MSDs, so it is still essential to encourage early reporting of symptoms.

Avoiding manual handling

The role in which we do means that manual lifting is minimal. The only time we may encounter having to more items is on a Fly Tipping operation when we are re-bagging items that have been checked for evidence.

Each time an employee is in a position where you come across the need to lift an item, ask yourself:

Do I really need to move it?

On every occasion we must:

Avoid the need for hazardous manual handling, so far as is reasonably practicable;

Assess the risk of injury from any hazardous manual handling that can’t be avoided; and

Reduce the risk of injury from hazardous manual handling, so far as is reasonably practicable.

If we an item is not practically ‘liftable’ don’t lift it!