Users of Asthmagens and Carcinogens targeted by the Enforcing Authorities

Peninsula Team

June 24 2015

One of the key priorities in this year’s Health and Safety Executive work plan is the control of occupational asthmagens and carcinogens in manufacturing industries. The instructions to inspectors are detailed and require enforcement action in virtually every case where there are matters of evident concern (compliance is significantly short of the required standard). We have already heard of cases where employers have been served notices and received Fee For Intervention charges based on this instruction. The details of the work programme are summarised here so that you can be aware of the industries and issues that will be covered and, where appropriate the areas where they should check that their house is in order. The target sectors.
  • food manufacturing
  • plastics
  • woodworking
  • metal fabricators
  • surface engineering
  • molten metals
  • shipbuilding and boat building.
The target asthmagens and carcinogens.
  • flour dust and enzymes (asthmagens)
  • plastic fume (asthmagenic and carcinogenic)
  • welding fume in fabricated metal (asthmagenic and carcinogenic)
  • wood dust (asthmagenic and carcinogenic)
  • manufacturing basic metals (asthmagens and carcinogens)
  • welding, painting and coating processes in shipbuilding and boat building (asthmagens and carcinogens)
  • surface engineering products (carcinogens).
What inspectors are looking for. Inspectors have been given detailed instructions on what to check at each visit and told to take formal enforcement action wherever there are matters of evident concern. In essence they will be;
  • assessing management arrangements for control of the risks from exposure to asthmagens and carcinogens;
  • checking whether a suitable and sufficient risk assessment has identified asthmagens and or carcinogens present at the workplace;
  • checking that health surveillance is provided where appropriate;
  • checking whether the assessment identifies control measures to reduce exposures as low as reasonably practicable;
  • checking that appropriate control measures, including extraction and or respiratory protective equipment (RPE), to protect employees from exposure to asthmagens and or carcinogens are in place and being used;
  • checking if employees potentially exposed to asthmagens and or carcinogens have received adequate training about associated health risks and the correct use of equipment provided to control the risk;
  • checking that local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems are:
    • suitable, visually effective and properly used by workers;
    • supplied with a user manual and maintenance log book;
    • do not have damaged ducting or gaffer tape to repair damage;
¶  maintained and inspected by a competent person.
  • checking RPE is appropriately selected, used and maintained; that suitable cleaning facilities are provided and used.
  • checking that employees using RPE have had face fit testing (where appropriate).
  • checking whether air monitoring has been carried out, and if not confirm that the decision can be justified.
Can we be of help? Further information on the issues being target in the Health and Safety Executive’s work-plan can be found in our series of Guidance Notes available to clients in the BusinessSafe Online reference Library. Our 24 Health and Safety Advice Line 0844 892 2785 is available to take your calls and offer specific advice and guidance. If necessary we could bring forward a service visit so that your site consultant could offer site specific advice. Where appropriate an additional visit could be negotiated. Through our Health Assured team we may also be able to offer you the regular occupational health surveillance arrangements that is required when these substance are used. Call us on 0800 023 2669 to discuss your needs.

Suggested Resources