Archive for May, 2017

Public urged by HSE to recycle batteries at recycling points due to fire risk

Members of the public have been urged by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to use the appropriate recycling points to dispose of used batteries.

The recent call made by the Executive comes in the wake of fires that came from the household mixed wastes, in which the batteries were inappropriately disposed of. In a statement made by the HSE, the members of the public need to “safely dispose of batteries at recycling points. Disposing of batteries in waste collections can lead to the risk of injury to refuse workers and members of the public from fires and explosions”.

In East Northamptonshire and Warrington, battery fires caused damage to waste collection vehicles.

Dave Reynolds, group technical director at WasteCare, said: “All batteries present a fire risk as any battery has a potential to spark”. He also added, that certain types of batteries, such as AA and AAA, which are commonly used in clocks, remotes and torches, pose less risk, because they have terminals at both ends of the battery.

“The case is now that some batteries present a higher risk than others. The question is, how easy is to short [circuit] a nine volt battery, for example the sort that are found in smoke alarms? The answer is that it is very easy, with a paper clip, foil or a staple. There are videos on YouTube showing how easy it is to cause a fire, such as when they are placed next to wire wool.” 

Another issue brought up by Mr Reynolds is that the public often discards batteries with attached wires to them, such as toys and other products, which can very easily lead to a short circuit. In the wake of the modern lithium batteries found in mobile phones, there is a greater fire risk due to their high energy release potential if damaged.

Finally, when the people store unused and used batteries at home they “need to be aware of the way they keep batteries for recycling at home. Don't leave them in a drawer where coins and paperclips can cause a short circuit at home.” 

For more information regarding the disposal of batteries and accumulators, see:

  • Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations SI 2009/890.
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Phone for lone workers launched

A mobile phone company in Sweden, Doro, has invented a mobile phone specifically for lone workers. The handset is hard-wearing and also contains a “call for help” button on the side which, when pressed, sends a text message containing a GPS location to up to five different contacts.

In the UK, there is a requirement for employers to provide and maintain a safe working environment for employees under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. When it comes to lone workers, the development of safety arrangements through a health and safety policy, safe systems of work and also carrying out risk assessments can reduce the risks faced by lone workers, such as social workers, auditors, builders, traffic wardens and carers. And for those who may have a spare £220, such a mobile phone could help to minimise the risk to those working alone.

The mobile phone also works with Doro's automated care centre, called i-care, though there is a charge for the service. I-care allows employers to closely monitor the status of the phone, including battery power and inactivity. It can also send messages to the phone to make sure the person using it is safe.

For more information regarding the safety of lone workers, see:

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Consultation on revising the process for considering disputes under Fee for Intervention (FFI)

Details on this legislative text is provided by Cedrec. Please click here to see the summary.

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HSE Consult on Fee For Intervention

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are consulting on revising the process for considering disputes under Fee for Intervention (FFI).

Since the introduction of FFI, there have been criticisms of the dispute process, notably that it was not independent of the HSE. Even Mr Martin Temple, Chair of HSE, raised concerns about the process for dealing with disputes in his 2014 Triennial Review Report on HSE.

The scheme and its appeal process were also to be questioned this summer, with a judicial review being brought by facilities management firm in an attempt to have its Fees for Intervention bill overturned and the current system for deciding appeals quashed.

Speaking about the scheme earlier in the year, as well as the upcoming judicial review, Kevin Bridges, partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, said: “A lot of people in the industry are keenly watching this court case, there's no suggestion the scheme will be scrapped but the result could have a big impact for companies and construction.”

It seems that some of these complaints and worries are now being addressed by the Consultation on revising the process for considering disputes under Fee for Intervention (FFI).

The new disputes process is hoped to be fully independent, and the consultation is looking for views on the details of the process, in particular:

  • the information which HSE will provide;
  • how representation can be made;
  • how disputes will be considered;
  • suspension of the dispute process where an investigation or appeal against an enforcement notice is ongoing.

It is thought the revised, fully independent dispute process is to be set up no later than 1 September 2017.

The Consultation ends on 2 June 2017.

For more information, see the:

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Consultation on revising the process for considering disputes under Fee for Intervention (FFI)

Details on this legislative text is provided by Cedrec. Please click here to see the summary.

Comments Off on Consultation on revising the process for considering disputes under Fee for Intervention (FFI) more...

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