Conducting a proper risk assessment and fully understanding all the hazards when planning for works is vital, the final consideration after exhausting physical controls may be the selection of the appropriate PPE, which will need to be specified by the employer, Lighthouse can train any staff the quickly and efficiently to ensure that PPE selection is done correctly and is hence appropriate for the works being done, I suppose the analogy would be that PPE should be considered as the last but sometimes the vital part of a jigsaw. Below is just once recent example where the PPE was not appropriate.
A glass manufacturer has been fined after an employee’s arm was cut to the bone when a sheet of glass shattered in his hand.
Ian Swain, 37, of Spoondell, Dunstable, worked in the glass toughening section of the Nicholls and Clarke Glass factory on the Woodside Industrial Estate, also in the Bedfordshire town.
Luton Magistrates’ Court heard that on 20 October 2009, he picked up a large piece of glass when it cracked and shattered without warning. One of the shards lacerated his right forearm above his wrist guard, severing the artery, muscle and nerves.
Mr Swain was taken to hospital where he received over 250 stitches. He wore a plaster cast for three months, and has lost the full feeling in his right forearm and some movement in his wrist. He is still undergoing physiotherapy and has since lost his job.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found the protective equipment Nicholls and Clarke provided for its employees was inadequate and insufficient. It also found the company had failed to report a similar incident which had seriously injured another employee on 23 June 2008.
Nicholls and Clarke Glass Ltd, which is registered at Freshwater Road, Romford, Essex pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 3(2) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 for which it was fined a total of £11,200 with £3,977.40 costs.
HSE Inspector Emma Rowlands said:
“Had Mr Swain been provided with full arm protection he would have avoided serious injury. Guidance on the provision of personal protective equipment for employees is freely available from HSE and trade associations, this could easily have been referred to.
“I am pleased to see Nicholls and Clarke Glass are now issuing all their employees with cut resistant long sleeved polo shirts to wear while working in their factories.
“HSE will not hesitate to take action against companies failing to comply with the law.”