Here's a list of Colin Meredith's newest comments:

Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
14 Feb 2013 11:05AM

The HSE Approved Code of Practice L26 is a very useful document to have a look at. Regulation 2 of the DSE Regs requires a suitable and sufficient workstation assessment assessment for the purpose of assessing H&S risks to users. The guidance in paragraphs 42/43 on page 16 advise that these should be carried out by trained persons who have reached an adequate level of competence. I'm not sure how an online assessment will satisfy these requirements. Maybe the HSE can give you better advice. What would you do if a user had known musculoskeletal issues e.g carpal tunnel syndrome, tenosynavitis, back, neck and shoulder problems - where the setting up of the workstation to the individual needs is crucial? Are you aware that a change of chair, keyboard, and using an upright mouse can reduce many symptoms.

Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
12 Feb 2013 9:59AM

Hi All,
The temperature of of 16 deg C should be regarded as a minimum, and thermal comfort is generally regarded as somewhere between 19 and 24 deg. Below 16 deg, break out the thermal gear, or do some physical work. 26 as Roger suggests - is quite warm. Don't forget that Reg 7 (3) of the Workplace, Health, Safety & Welfare Regs makes it a legal requirement to have an adequate number of thermometers, so it should be easy to monitor.

HSE say that relative humidity levels in the office environment should be between 40 - 70%. too low and contact lens wearers will feel it, and throats are likely to become dry. Over 80% and perspiration won't evaporate.

The minimum level of lighting in any permanently occupied area is 200 lux which is a bit low. Background lighting of 300 lux with task lighting as required may help. 400 lux is a good average. For document writing or copy typing areas, this should increase to 500 lux (Society of Light & Lighting - A bit late for your meeting, but I hope this helps.

Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
31 Aug 2012 9:36AM

The "T" in Thomas in the email addy is lower case -

Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
31 Aug 2012 9:34AM

Hi Catrina, you could try Thomas Nilsonn at Mercado Medic UK. Ltd, Unit 7 Exis Court, Veasey Close, Nuneaton, CV11 6RT. 0844 5616874. It's not local to you but most of these companies have local agents. Good luck.

Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
5 Mar 2012 10:33AM

The ACoP to the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations recommend 11 cubic metres of space per person, based on an empty room (See Para 77 under Reg 10 on page 14). When you consider office furniture isn't included, this isn't really a lot of room, so to reduce by almost 10% may cause problems for staff.

Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
1 Feb 2012 11:56AM

oops - that's INDG 163

Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
1 Feb 2012 11:56AM

Hi Stuart, the 5th step of the HSE's 5 Steps to Risk Assessment (INDG!^£ - freely available on about review. These assessments were done 6 years ago! Has absolutely nothing changed with the job/tasks in that time? Not only should you be reviewing your risk assessments on an annual basis, but sooner if there is an incident. An incident certainly indicates some sort of failure in the controls which may not have been adequate. Are they? A clever manager would also have a record that staff have been shown the risk assessments. In the event of an HSE investigation, this would be asked for. If you had an investigated incident, and the injured party claims they had never seen a risk assessment, and you say they had - without evidence - who would the courts (Criminal & Civil) believe? In my organisation - as part of a move towards 18001 - our audits we look for evidence to see a) if staff have been involved in the risk assessment process (who better to risk assess than those who do the job?) and b) that all assessments are available to all staff. I think you need to review your H&S strategy.

Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
25 Nov 2011 2:12PM

Until the situation was explained, I was thinking it could've been the leaving do for the shavee, and maybe a ritual farewell was performed. I had a ritual performed on me at the end of my work visa to Austrailia in 1982. I worked as a roughneck on the drillfloor of an offshore oil exploration rig in the Bass Strait. On the day I left the rig, I was given a job that required me to be in a riding belt and grease equipment up the derrick (about 1/2 hr from the end of my final shift). As the tugger (winch) operator got my feet about a foot off the drillfloor he stopped it and applied the brake, and the entire deck and drill crew appeared. They then proceded to remove (ripped off) my overalls, and got my trousers to my knees. I was helpless in the belt, and when I realised that a man in a riding belt was no match for 10 able bodied (and grounded) oilmen to restrain me, I gave up the struggle. It was going to happen - like it or not. One of them then got the brush for applying grease to the pipe threads/joints, and proceded to grease (pipe grease was called dope - and no you couldn't smoke it) up my nether regions - to the hoots and encouragement of all concerned. This was an oilfield ritual (called doping the b*lls) of the day and we all had a real laugh in the pub back onshore, as they piled me with alcohol. Maybe a bit extreme, but no one was hurt, and in spite of taking ages to get the stuff off, I did see the funny side and accept it as a bit of a laugh - even though it was certainly not what I wanted. I still laugh when I think about it. Nowadays with the pc bit, we do need to be extremely careful.

Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
8 Nov 2011 9:27AM

Many years ago I worked offshore under the Safety Officer as a Firewatch (a contradiction in terms?) where the Firewatch was the permit holder and responsible for safety on the particular site. People would personalise their hard hat with wierd and wonderful colours and stickers some of which would have rendered them as "altered". Chevron insisted that the Firewatch had a red band around the hat for identification purposes. I left in 1988, so this is not a new idea. It is effective though. Site rules. Get on with it


Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
19 Oct 2011 2:47PM

Besides the PAT testing element, it may also be prudent, and reasonably practicable to have a "pre use" visual check system in place. A quick look at the socket, plug (prongs, cables properly in place [no coloured cables present], signs of damage/abuse etc), the cables (not damaged or showing bare wire), and the casing/housing of the appliance (cracked or otherwise damaged). Is there any visible reason why you may NOT want to use the appliance?

Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
10 Oct 2011 3:48PM

I've cut and pasted the relevant Regulation 10 (incl ACoP and Guidance) from the workplace regulations, which may help here. The 11 cu metres should be based on an empty room. Office equipment will take up varying amounts of the recommendation:

Regulation 10 Room dimensions and space

(1) Every room where persons work shall have sufficient floor area,
height and unoccupied space for purposes of health, safety and welfare.
(2) It shall be sufficient compliance with this regulation in a workplace
which is not a new workplace, a modification, an extension or a conversion
and which, immediately before this regulation came into force in respect of it,
was subject to the provisions of the Factories Act 1961, if the workplace does
not contravene the provisions of Part I of Schedule 1.

ACoP Minimum space
76 Workrooms should have enough free space to allow people to get to
and from workstations and to move within the room, with ease. The number
of people who may work in any particular room at any one time will depend
not only on the size of the room, but on the space taken up by furniture,
fittings, equipment, and on the layout of the room. Workrooms, except those
where people only work for short periods, should be of sufficient height (from
floor to ceiling) over most of the room to enable safe access to workstations.
In older buildings with obstructions such as low beams the obstruction should
be clearly marked.
77 The total volume of the room, when empty, divided by the number of
people normally working in it should be at least 11 cubic metres. In making
this calculation a room or part of a room which is more than 3.0 m high
should be counted as 3.0 m high. The figure of 11 cubic metres per person is a
minimum and may be insufficient if, for example, much of the room is taken
up by furniture etc.
78 The figure of 11 cubic metres referred to in paragraph 77 does not apply
(a) retail sales kiosks, attendants' shelters, machine control cabs or similar
small structures, where space is necessarily limited; or
(b) rooms being used for lectures, meetings and similar purposes.

79 In a typical room, where the ceiling is 2.4 m high, a floor area of 4.6 m2
(for example 2.0 x 2.3 m) will be needed to provide a space of 11 m3. Where
the ceiling is 3.0 m high or higher the minimum floor area will be 3.7 m2 (for
example 2.0 x 1.85 m). (These floor areas are only for illustrative purposes and
are approximate.)
80 The floor space per person indicated in paragraph 77 and 79 will not
always give sufficient unoccupied space, as required by the Regulation.
Rooms may need to be larger, or to have fewer people working in them, than
indicated in those paragraphs, depending on such factors as the contents and
layout of the room and the nature of the work. Where space is limited careful
planning of the workplace is particularly important.

I hope this helps

Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
15 Aug 2011 2:53PM

In line with Dame Carol Blacks report, and the well note as opposed to the sick note - is there any way that the employee can come to work in a reduced capacity that they are able to function reasonably well in? That way, they will still be working for you and not able to work elsewhere at the same time. Is there also any way that you could request that they see a Doctor appointed by the company to assess their help them get back to to work. Surely there would be something they could do even if they couldn't do their own job? Early intervention on the part of the organisation is one of the recommendations of Dame CB.

Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
15 Aug 2011 2:43PM

If you look at the requirements of food hygiene law, a food outlet has the obligation to identify and contriol physical, chemical and MICROBIOLOGICAL hazards in the food they prepare. (HACCP - Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points - is a recognised technique). If a person does not wash their hands hands after going to the toilet, there is every possiblity that any bacteria the person carries (whether symptomatic or as a carrier) will be cross contaminated from hands to food...with potentially nasty consequences. Surely it MUST be documented somewhere that good personal hygiene - especially handwashing is a control against this? If the person wilfully ignores precautions required by law, then action needs to taken. To my mind, someone with such poor personal hygiene, should not be anywhere nesr a food preparation area - especially high risk food. Handwashing is the one of the most basic food hygiene requirements. Your local Environmental health food team will be able to give you sound advice.

Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
27 Jul 2011 5:03PM

Environmental Health do not ban. They enforce Food Hygiene and H&S legislation by informal means or serving notice, and in rare cases by prosecution or closure where they need to prove "Imminent Danger" (suspicion that the next customer will come down with food poisoning) to a magistrate within 3 days. The food business must be registered at the address where it is kept at night, and it should've been inspected before it became operational - if registered. It would be interesting to find out who "banned" it. Quite a few complaints come from disgruntled customers and competitors. EH won't give specifics but should tell you when it was last inspected. I think you should find out a little more before making a decision. You can of course form your own opinion from what you see (general state of van, state of those running it - clean clothes, hat, finger nails, what they do when not busy such as clean etc). First impressions and gut feelings are often right. As ex EH I used to stand back and have a discreet look at these, before I announced myself. Hope this helps.

Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
24 Jun 2011 9:55AM

It could all start earlier than that. The Education Department could introduce basic levels of Health & Safety awareness into the National Curriculum, so the kids get off to a good start. Some sort of proficiency test perhaps, or even a GCSE in Health & Safety before kids are eligable to go on a work experience programme. The powers are out there....if they are as keen as they say they are. Over to you Mr Cameron - show some initiative.

Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
23 May 2011 1:27PM

The precautions (based on your risk assessment) such as stopping contaminants getting onto the floor in the first place, a robust cleaning procedure to deal with spillages as the occur - with appropriate signage, floor fit for purpose (see Ellis v Bristol City) and in sound condition, adequate lighting, and footwear with adequate grip for the situation should all be standard. The object as ever is to manage the risks, and don't forget the human element.

Colin Meredith
Member - 17 posts
24 Jan 2011 11:30AM

In these austere times, if HSE start charging for services, it would serve as detriment to SME's looking for help and advice