Face Masks KN95

Use of face masks designated KN95

A substantial number of face masks, claiming to be of KN95 standards, provide an inadequate level of protection and are likely to be poor quality products accompanied by fake or fraudulent paperwork. These face masks may also be known as filtering facepiece respirators.

KN95 is a performance rating under the Chinese standard GB2626:2006, the requirements of which are broadly the same as the European standard BSEN149:2001+A1:2009 for FFP2 facemasks. However, there is no independent certification or assurance of their quality and products manufactured to KN95 rating are declared as compliant by the manufacturer.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) cannot be sold or supplied as PPE unless it is CE marked. The only exception is for PPE that is organised by the UK Government for use by NHS or other healthcare workers where assessments have been undertaken by HSE as the Market Surveillance Authority.

Read more here.

Home Bargains Lorry

£50k fine for Home Bargains but design fault accepted as cause of fatal crush

The company that operates 400 stores under the name of Home Bargains, has been fined £50,000 after pleading guilty to failing to provide a full risk assessment for lorry deliveries at its Dudley store, where one of its drivers was fatally crushed. 

However, the company’s guilty plea was made on the basis that its failings were not responsible for the death of Gary Pickering in September 2013. 

The company also agreed to pay prosecution costs of £150,000. 

Pickering, from Swinton, Manchester, was making a night time delivery on his own to the Home Bargains store in Churchill Precinct, Dudley, west Midlands. 

In the store’s delivery area, he was in the process of moving the tail lift of the lorry into position at the loading platform at the shop. 

However, the tail lift closed onto his neck and head, trapping him between the mechanism and the back of the lorry.

“The company’s guilty plea was made on the basis that its failings were not responsible for the death of Gary Pickering in September 2013”

His body was discovered approximately two hours after the accident by a security guard conducting patrols at the centre.
Dudley Council brought the prosecution against T J Morris, which was heard at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Original story from Health & Safety At Work.

Balfour Beatty fined £600k over crush death as ‘documentary’ controls ignored

Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering has been fined £600,000 after pleading guilty to failing to implement  control measures that existed only in “documentary format”, but could have prevented the death of a worker who was crushed by a 14 tonne wheeled excavator.

Ian Walker, a supervisor/ganger on Aberdeen’s Third Don Crossing, was killed in a collision with the vehicle on 13 January 2016 following an identified “high risk activity” – refuelling.

Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering was the principal contractor on the £23m project, which involves building a new bridge and approach roads; Walker was employed by Balfour Beatty Employment.

According to informatiofrom Balfour Beatty published shortly after the event, the incident happened after the excavator had been refuelled from a static tank on the site.

“This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the civil engineering company to implement safe systems of work, and to ensure that health and safety documentation was communicated and control measures followed”.

Health & Safety

10 ways to make work safer in 2019

Brexit, of course, but health and safety will also be impacted by many other agendas. Jocelyn Dorrell and Elaine Knutt survey the trends and the experts.

Crystal ball gazing is always a difficult sport, but at the beginning of 2019 the view is clouded by the “B word”. With the uncertainties and ramifications laid out in every news bulletin, it’s impossible to predict what shape Brexit might take, or to extrapolate implications for health and safety.

Except, of course, that Brexit is having a braking effect on other aspects of the UK’s legislative agenda. Whether it’s the regime change needed to fully implement the Hackitt Review, or the civil service capacity to respond to the dearth of occupational health provision, or the HSE having to draw up extensive contingency plans on chemical regulation under a no-deal Brexit, the issue of our times is undoubtedly sucking staff resources, time and energy away from other agendas.

Brexit uncertainty will also be affecting business planning cycles at many organisations.

However, according to IT consultancy Verdantix, above-inflation levels of investment are being found for new health and safety management software to help boost compliance – and organisations’ reputational capital, particularly as voluntary reporting initiatives are gaining ground.

Perhaps the underlying economic uncertainty has also dulled businesses’ appetite for accruing management standards accreditations: uptake of the ISO 45001 on health and safety has been “below predictions”. A better economic outlook, and the security that comes with it, might encourage more registrations, although it’s likely that a spurt will only be seen closer to the March 2021 deadline for migration from BS OHSAS 18001.

However, in the context of Brexit, organisations might want to think about ISO 45001 as a form of passport. “Besides the normal business benefits, this is a globally accepted standard. In this era of shifting trading blocks and barriers, it will provide the passport to transcend national boundaries,” says consultant Chris Ward, who helped to draft the standard and now audits to it.

“As the economy inches forward, working lives become longer and technology marches ahead, health and safety can expect to be at heart of them”

Growing use of “disruptive” technology is an inescapable theme for 2019. As we increasingly adopt devices such as the Alexa and Google Assistant at home, the possibilities offered by interactive devices, machine learning and real-time “algorithmic management” fall within reach.

While the overall effect of technology adoption is likely to be positive boosts to productivity, creativity and job opportunities, concerns about the impact on both workers and the resilience of our regulatory framework are beginning to be heard. A report by EU-OSHA argued that new psychosocial and organisational hazards will need better definitions of liabilities and responsibilities, while IOSH has suggested that a code of ethics on the use of robots and artificial intelligence will be needed to ensure that work places remain people-centred.

Of course, mental health, stress and psychosocial risk at work will be a continuing  theme. Levels of reported stress, depression and anxiety have been tracking upwards for the past decade; the coming year, likely to be bring more uncertainty and continued “austerity”, is unlikely to buck the trend.

What could change, however, is organisations’ reactions and sense of responsibility. To date, the narrative around mental health has been that it is an individual issue, requiring responses targeted at individuals: from “yogurt and yoga” to telephone counselling to mental health first aid provision.

In 2019, the narrative is expected to broaden, with more awareness of the organisational and social factors that put so many of us at risk. “Responses need to be built into the fabric of the way you do business, it’s not just about buying a commercial product,” says psychologist  Dr Joanna Wilde, who sits on the HSE’s Workplace Health Expert Committee.

The coming year will bring interesting times and interesting debates. As the economy inches forward, working lives become longer and technology marches ahead, health and safety can expect to be at heart of them.


With Brexit likely to dominate in 2019, IOSH puts in a plea for more focus on the “bread and butter” issues of health and safety regulation. Richard Jones, head of policy and public affairs, says: “We need better compliance with our current legislation through improved guidance, education and enforcement and sensibly plugging existing gaps, such as on occupational exposure limits and fire safety.

“We must also promote understanding that regulation is a social and economic good, helping organisations do the right thing, levelling the playing field and protecting vulnerable workers.”

But Brexit is, of course, inescapable, and Jones has a warning for legislators. “We need to guard against any erosion of occupational safety and health standards post-Brexit and ensure the UK continues to improve,” he adds.

The British Safety Council is also hoping – perhaps optimistically – that 2019 will bring stability rather than legislative upheaval.

Its chair, Lawrence Waterman, said: “In this time of uncertainty, and against a background of rapidly changing working arrangements driven by technology and new forms of employment … it is crucial to recognise the strength of our health and safety system and legal framework.”

“Sodium chlorate is not approved for use in weedkillers, as a safe level of use was not established for operators”

HSE inspector Sarah Dutton

However, the British Safety Council hopes to see some updates, including “ensuring that the legal protections afforded to many workers are extended and properly applied to those working in the ‘gig’ economy”.

Waterman also points to an issue that is gaining more attention: the impact on enforcement of the long lean years of “austerity”. “We wish to see an end to the long squeeze on local authority and HSE budgets. If you hollow out regulators’ ability to enforce the law, talking about legislative improvements is pointless.”

One open question is whether 2019 will bring renewed HSE enforcement on work-related stress and psychosocial risk: anecdotally, members of the regulator’s staff are said to view the possibility positively.

“The conversation is active and everywhere,” notes Dr Joanne Wilde, an organisational psychologist and member of the HSE’s Workplace Health Expert Committee. However, with other priorities claiming the HSE’s attention – did we mention Brexit? – few would actively back that horse.

Another issue to look out for is an earlier-than-planned post-implementation review (PIR) of the CDM Regulations 2015.

Read more here.


Client Project Update By Peter Copsey – Director Fourth Dimension

Over the last few months our clients continue to keep us busy, despite the general economic uncertainties. They remain resilient seeking fresh input to find new ways to reduce cost, increase capacities, improve service, quality and support people driven performance.

In a snapshot, we have:

Designed a new layout and process flow to increase capacity for a joinery company to support the roll out of their major contract with McDonalds. This provided units for McDonalds latest fit out within their restaurants up and down the UK, consisting of upgraded decor with soft wood effect.

Working with an innovative lighting controls company, who are developing a new control system for smart buildings and engaging with new supplier sources for electronic manufacturing.

Working in a Basildon factory manufacturing modular housing in cross laminated timber. Having completed early builds the team are working to develop and implement the capabilities and processes to deliver a targeted 300 to 400 new homes a year. This represents a productivity double the speed of a traditional site build. The first deliveries to site have been completed, with a challenging ramp up in volumes planned over the next 3 months.

Working with a large pharmaceutical business to advance their planning, purchasing and inventory processes.

With the same pharma company, to advance their management team performance based on a recent Leadership Discovery and Diagnostic Review.

Supported our client through some difficult HR restructuring issues to reshape their operations team.

Advanced a number of our clients beyond Level 1 Health & Safety Compliance towards best practice safety standards.

Find out more about out Health & Safety services here.

Health and Safety

No greater way to show respect to your people

At 4th Dimension we have always advised and encouraged our clients to install and manage an effective Health & Safety system as the foundation for any business transformation.

Clearly you have a legal compliance responsibility but beyond that there is no greater way to show respect to every individual and organisation associated with your business than to create a safe, healthy environment in the workplace. If you can install and manage consistently an effective H&S process this will enable you, and give you confidence to, transform other operational and business processes.

That we believe is enough of a compelling reason to involve experts in supporting you to develop your H&S system. In the busy day to day pressures of managing a business it is all too easy to allow these processes to slip and therefore using a consistent external resource can ensure vigilance and improvement is maintained. Our case study and these examples from the HSE support that view:

The last set of published figures for UK covering a full year.

• 1.3 million working people suffering from a work-related illness

• 2,515 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures

• 144 workers killed at work

• 72,702 other injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR

• 621,000 injuries occurred at work according to the Labour Force Survey

• 30.4 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury

• £14.1 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2014/15)

Add to this the risk of any sort of prosecution as illustrated in a recent case:

“Engineering company fined £40,000 after worker suffers hand injury.”

Whilst using a manually operated metalworking lathe, the employee’s hand became entangled with the rotating workpiece. This incident resulted in the worker later requiring surgical amputation to part of his left index finger.

The company failed to identify that employees were routinely carrying out an unsafe work practice when hand applying emery cloth to a workpiece rotating at speed. The HSE report stated:

“The company also failed to take the faulty lathe out of service, resulting in the employee not being able to stop the lathe immediately. All companies have a duty to ensure employees carry out work in a safe way and the machinery they are using is in good working order.”

Read our case study here.