Four big health & safety updates hit UK businesses in early 2019.

The British Standard introduced new workplace first aid kits. The EU updated the law on personal protective equipment (PPE). The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) increased its fee for intervention rates by 20% and brought in new welding fume rules.

Here’s what you need to know so you don’t break the law.

  1. Workplace first aid kits

The British Standard introduced three new types of first aid kit for travel and motoring, personal use, and critical injuries.

But by law, you don’t have to upgrade your existing first aid kit unless your workplace risk assessment suggests you need to.

It’s up to you to decide if one of these new first aid kits is necessary for your employees based on their job and the risk of harm.

For example, if you have staff who regularly drive, as part of your risk assessment for their job, you might give them a motoring first aid kit.

  1. Personal protective equipment (PPE)

From 21st April 2019, it’s an offence for a supplier of PPE to sell you equipment that doesn’t meet European Union standards.

There are also three new PPE categories:

  •         Category 1 (Simple PPE) protects users against minimal risks like contact with hot surfaces below 50°C or superficial mechanical injuries.
  •         Category 2 (Intermediate PPE) includes safety spectacles, goggles, high-visibility clothing, industrial helmets, and bump caps to protect staff from moderate risks.
  •         Category 3 (Complex PPE) stops staff suffering serious harm and death if they work at heights, with chainsaws, in loud environments, or with harmful biological agents or radiation.

When you buy new PPE, make sure that you can find its certification mark, known as ‘CE’. That way, you’ll know it complies with the health, safety, and environmental protection standards.

  1. HSE’s higher fees for intervention (FFI)

An HSE inspector will charge an FFI when they uncover significant breaches of health & safety legislation on a business visit.

This FFI covers the cost of the time the inspector spends on site and any administrative work they have to do once they leave.

The rate has increased by 20% to £154 per hour. If your business gets an FFI charge, you must pay your invoice within 30 days.

  1. A health warning: welding fume

New evidence links all types of welding fume to lung and kidney cancer in humans.

That’s why the HSE announced that you must have local exhaust ventilation (LEV) on site to remove welding fume from your premises.

This applies whether the work is done indoors or in the open air.

And if employees are still exposed to welding fume—even with LEV in use—you need to provide respiratory protective equipment (RPE), too.

Make sure you train your welders to use exhaust ventilation systems, and that their RPE fits their faces.

If you don’t comply, the HSE will take formal enforcement action and you’ll have to pay the costs of an FFI.

Want to get more advice on first aid kits, PPE and welding fume? Contact us on 0800 028 2420