HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK (AGENCY WORKER HANDBOOK)
As an employment business supplying temporary staff to clients we aim to ensure all are aware of their responsibilities to achieve a safe working environment. Under our terms of business clients are asked to provide appropriate instructions and comprehensible information regarding any particular risks to which workers may be exposed. Young or inexperienced temporary staff require special consideration.
Agency workers (you) must take all reasonable steps to safeguard your own safety and the safety of any other person present or affected by your actions; you must share information and report work-related injuries, diseases, dangerous occurrences and potential hazards and comply with client health and safety policies and rules. Clients must specify qualifications and skills required by workers; assess risks and put in place measures to provide a safe and clean working environment as far as practicable; provide welfare facilities; provide comprehensible safety information; ensure workers wear suitable protective clothing and equipment deemed necessary; and record accidents, injuries and dangerous occurrences, advising enforcing authority when necessary.
On arriving at an assignment, you should be made aware of the premises layout and you should be told about fire alarm and fire exits and assembly point. In the interest of fire safety do not obstruct escape routes; keep fire doors shut; observe no smoking rules; if / where smoking is allowed, extinguish cigarette ends properly in ashtrays not rubbish bins; do not allow rubbish to accumulate.
Tell your supervisor if you are under 18 or pregnant or a new mother; you may need to observe special rules. Personal protective equipment (PPE) including footwear and headgear may need to be worn by most manual workers and by workers in hazardous environments. When PPE has to be worn, normally it is the agency worker’s responsibility to supply and the client’s responsibility to ensure the worker has suitable PPE before work commences. Comply with safety signs and notices; wear correct PPE; act in a safe and responsible manner. If asked to use unfamiliar equipment or lift heavy objects or do anything you are not sure about, ask a supervisor. If in contact with anyone suffering from infectious or contagious illness, seek medical advice and do not report for work whilst there is a danger of infecting other persons.
Alcohol and drugs
Alcohol should not be consumed during working hours, nor taken into your place of work. Drugs in any form are not permitted (unless medically prescribed). Any breach of rules relating to alcohol or drugs will lead to immediate cessation of assignment.
Accidents and First Aid
Large industrial concerns such as factories and warehouses, normally with over 50 staff in one location, are encouraged to have trained First Aiders. Make sure you know about arrangements for your work place. All accidents involving injury at work, however minor, must be reported to client supervisor to record in site Accident Book; and reported to Agency.
Working arrangements should be comfortable and you should not work permanently in front of a VDU without regular breaks or changes in activity; 5 minutes every hour is advised. Regular eyesight tests are recommended for screen users; workers on contracts for services are responsible for arranging and paying for their own tests, and providing any special spectacles required.
Keying position: Shoulders relaxed not hunched up. Upper arms held in roughly vertical position, parallel to sides of body. Forearms held roughly horizontal, wrists extending straight when fingers located on home row of keys. Try to hold wrists straight without twisting to side or bending upwards and fingers not overly extended. Use all fingers and maintain light touch on keys, resting wrists on surface in front of keys periodically, though not while keying.
Posture: Place feet firmly on floor (or foot rest) so seat front edge supports, but not cuts into, underside of knee. Adjust height and angle of chair to give firm support to middle and lower back. Adopt comfortable "straight on" position to screen, avoiding twists in neck, body and legs. Position the screen at a comfortable viewing distance (50 to 70 cms on average), and suitable height so the top of the screen is just below the horizontal line of sight. Any document holder should be at a similar distance and in the same plane as screen.
PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT (PPE)
Safety boots to protect feet. Gloves to protect hands. Eye protection when using hazardous plant such as grinding machines. Head protection if risk of injury to head, other than by falling. Protective clothing for inclement conditions, extra visibility or hazardous substances. Hearing protection for high noise levels. Machine guards for dangerous parts of machinery. Remember wearing of PPE can lead to a feeling of well-being, therefore essential extra vigilance maintained in areas where PPE used routinely.
WORKING TIME REGULATIONS
Most workers cannot be forced to work more than an average working week of 48 hours and there are prescribed minimum rest breaks and rest periods and minimum paid holiday entitlements. Normally rest breaks are unpaid and do not constitute working time. Night workers should not normally work more than 8 hours in any 24 hour period. Night work normally constitutes working at least 3 hours between 11pm and 6am (Adolescents 10pm and 6am). Night workers are entitled to free health checks. Adolescent night workers must be assessed capable for night work.
Familiarise yourself with your surroundings, know where the nearest fire exits are. In the unfortunate event of a fire, the alarm should be raised immediately. Activate emergency fire alarms and warn others in near vicinity. Evacuate using quickest and safest route; use stairs not lift. Assemble outside at designated point. Do not re-enter building until declared safe.
If required to operate machinery or equipment, you should be shown correct operational controls and ideally there should be operating instructions to which you can refer. Unless properly supervised only operate or maintain plant or equipment if authorised and trained to do so; don't operate dangerous machinery unless adequate and sufficient guarding in place; don't leave machinery in run mode whilst unattended. Never tamper with or disconnect safety devices e.g. machine guards, automatic cut off switches. Wearing of jewellery (wedding band normally excepted) prohibited if risk of entanglement or strangulation; for same reason long hair should be tied back and clothing not too loose.
Wear suitable clothing and protective footwear, also properly fitting gloves if rough edges.
Examine object to determine weight, stability and awkwardness, and if help or mechanical aid required. No-one should lift a load greater than half their body weight. Check your route is clear from obstructions; decide best way to hold object and get a good comfortable grip (with roots of fingers, not tips). To lift, stand close to object, spread feet with one foot slight advanced, bend knees (not hips) and keep your back (and head) as straight as possible, grip object firmly, lift smoothly using your legs, hold object close to centre of your body (beware danger from sharp points). Elbows should be kept close to body, and whenever possible arms should be straight (particularly arm on side of extended foot). To carry, keep object to centre of body, ensure you can see ahead, avoid twisting body or changing grip (unless load supported). To unload, ensure clear space for set down, bend knees to lower load, ensuring back and head straight, beware trapping fingers, slide loads into tight spaces. If two people to lift object, same procedures apply but one person must be nominated caller to ensure simultaneous lift. Best if both lifters similar height and build. For overhead lifts, lighten load if possible, maintain firm footing, get help if load awkward or heavy. For lowering objects from on high, test weight by pushing up, check nothing on top to fall, maintain firm footing close to load, grasp firmly and slide it down body, bending knees. When pushing a trolley, turn your arms in and your hands up; relax knees and push rather than pull.
Operators need to be fit with full movement of body trunk, neck and limbs and normal agility; also good vision and hearing. Operators must have valid certificate of achievement from approved training organisation. Training must include operation, controls and operator maintenance; practice in conditions likely to be encountered e.g. gangways, slopes, confined areas, uneven ground, cold stores, loading docks; practice in work to be undertaken e.g. loading and unloading vehicles, stacking and de-stacking, weight assessment; and safety awareness including PPE. Trucks must not be loaded beyond safe capacity shown on data plate; suitable lights including flashing yellow top light used to warn. When stacking and de-stacking, if fork tips extend beyond load, ensure they do not contact other loads. Never position yourself below a load being lifted by crane, always move well clear. Always watch load, never turn your back when working in vicinity of cranes. Never walk between crane and side of ship or building, the counterweight overhangs and there is risk of crushing. Always ensure your hands clear when hooking on slings, before crane starts to take weight. Watch out for loose hooks swinging from cranes. Always stand clear of loads being lifted, in ship hold never stand between load and other cargo or side of ship. When handling cargo such as bags, share load if necessary, lift downwards whenever practicable, and never leave wall of cargo to collapse on you.
WORKING AT HEIGHTS
Whenever practicable, purpose built scaffolding should be used, properly erected and examined daily and after severe weather; ladders must be securely fixed. Temporary structures should be of good construction and properly maintained; and supported by guys or stays if any doubt at to their stability. Whenever work in excess of 2 metres from ground, proper guard rails (at least 1 metre high) and toe boards should be provided; if guard rails impracticable, safety harnesses must be worn. No-one should work at height unless received adequate training and instruction in safety awareness and correct PPE. If ladders used they must rest on secure flat base; secured whenever possible at top, with one metre overhang for access. If securing top impracticable, ladders to be secured at base to prevent slipping.
Chemicals and dirt can make you ill, and cause skin complaints. Always wash hands, using soap and water or suitable cleanser, before eating and before and after using the toilet; dry hands with towels or dryers provided. Degree of hazard should be clear on labelling, assessment of risk invariably rests with person responsible for its use. If use unavoidable, methods must be employed to limit potential exposure of users, and in particular manufacturer's recommendations in this respect fully implemented. Observe instructions when using chemicals; your attention should be drawn to any special arrangements required or risks arising from use of any chemical agents etc. Clean spills immediately, if safe to do so, following manufacturer's instructions. If persons exposed to hazardous substances in such a way they may be harmed e.g. spillage/inhalation, manufacturer's recommendations for medical care must be implemented and matter reported to supervisor.
Only drive vehicles permitted as detailed in your licence. UK licences issued after 1 April 1991 show A-E categories (and age limits) and in general run to holder's 70th birthday, however entitlement for categories C (large goods vehicles) and D (large passenger carrying vehicles) only run to 45th birthday and must be renewed every 5 years up to aged 65 and then annually. C1 and C1 plus E entitlement gained from 1 January 1997 subject to same procedures. Licences held pre 1991 show HGV classes.
EU rules cover drivers of most goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and large passenger vehicles; tachograph must be used to record all driving under EU rules. Domestic rules apply in UK to vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes, smaller passenger vehicles (up to 9 persons incl driver) and range of vehicles used for refuse collection, highway maintenance, utilities, rescue etc. Under EU rules drivers cannot drive more than 90 hours a fortnight; driving time between two daily rest periods must not exceed 9 hours (can be extended to 10 hours twice a week); a break or breaks totalling 45 minutes must be taken after maximum 4.5 hours driving; drivers must take daily rest of at least 11 hours in period of 24 hours (this may be reduced by up to 2 hours no more than 3 times a week). During weekly rest periods drivers cannot undertake other paid employment. Under domestic rules daily driving limit is 10 hours in any period of 24 hours; off road driving excluded but counts towards daily duty limit of 11 hours in any 24 hours. If you drive 4 hours or less each day you are not subject to daily duty limit but if you exceed 4 hours on any day, limits apply to whole week; limits can be exceeded in unforeseen emergencies. If some work under EU rules and other under domestic, driver may observe EU rules all the time or combination of both so long as EU rules not exceeded when driving under EU rules; time spent driving or on duty under either count towards working under other.
Ensure centre field information accurate and legible and shows
- your surname and first name
- date and place where use of chart began
- date and place where use of chart finished
- registration number of vehicle(s) driven, time when any change of vehicle took place
- opening and closing odometer readings each vehicle driven.
Before starting journey ensure chart properly secured in tachograph head; remember to use mode switch when changing between driving, other work or a rest period or break; keep manual record if tachograph cannot be used. Retain completed charts for previous days of current week and last day of previous week in which you drove; carry spare unused charts. Return completed charts to supervisor within 21 days. Do not make false entries;, any attempt easily detectable. Do not leave charts in tachograph for more than 24 hours; do not drive a vehicle with another driver's chart in tachograph; take care of completed charts, do not lose them.
If you are charged with or convicted on any driving related offence, including fixed penalty speeding tickets, you must notify client supervisor and Agency as soon as possible; insurers may have to be notified. This applies whether offence relates to driving in course of business or privately.
Stopping, parking, loading, unloading
You must not stop even to load or unload if all stopping prohibited e.g. clearways, pedestrian crossing, double white (or red) lines, if causing an obstruction (e.g. opposite another vehicle) or in a dangerous position (e.g. on bend or bridge). Observe restrictions (double kerb pips no loading at any time during at least 4 consecutive months; single pips no loading for lesser periods i.e. less than 24 hour ban); stop for no longer than necessary; maximum period allowed 20 minutes between 11.00hrs and 18.30hrs in London or, if red route, check signs and use designated bays. Parking on pavements and verges is an offence for vehicles over 7.5 tonnes (or any vehicle in London) except in an emergency. Lorry permit control schemes operate in Greater London, Langport (Somerset), Windsor, the Lake District and Essendon in Herts. Some councils have local permit schemes in other areas. Watch for advance warning signs.
If involved in accident that causes injury to a person or certain third party animals (e.g. cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, goats, dogs) or damage to another vehicle or fixed property, you must stop and give your name and address and vehicle details to anyone having reasonable grounds to ask. Insurance Certificate must be produced if another person injured, normally within 7 days to police. If proper procedure not followed for any reason, accident should be reported to police within 24 hours. All accidents should be reported to employer without delay.
Maximum axle and gross weights shown on vehicle's plate must never be exceeded. Loads must be arranged and secured so no likelihood of danger to self or others. Lashings must be attached to proper anchor points. Observe restrictions on long and wide and projecting loads. Special duty of care regulations apply for transporting waste.
Be alert to crime; lock vehicle if unattended, try to keep it in sight; lock when paying for fuel; avoid talking about your load; look out for signs of tampering; keep personal belongings and load details out of sight; beware bogus officials; report suspicious activity.
Protective clothing: High visibility vest/jacket, long trousers, safety boots and safety gloves. Beware traffic, always check before stepping out onto highway; consider weather conditions, ground conditions, and location; beware animals. Beware potentially dangerous machinery; report defects immediately; follow safety instructions and training; know how to use emergency stop controls; keep clear of bin lifts and compactors, never climb into rear hopper to retrieve or adjust refuse whilst machinery operational. Switch off - remove keys. Always be courteous to members of the public and beware risk to children and general public from machinery and waste materials; do not allow public to deposit refuse into collection vehicles.