Risk Assessments on old machines

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Plastic Man
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Risk Assessments on old machines

Post by Plastic Man » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:59 am

Hi all,

Just a bit of background - I'm a new appointee as health and safety rep for a small company. The managing director used to to do it, but he retired a couple years back and it's been left to drift somewhat since his departure. I've had a three-day course on H&S so I'm at least a lightly-armed man in a lion's den.

We have had a new inspector sent round from our insurers. We normally see them about three or four times a year so that they can check various types of equipment (why they don't amalgamate all their visits into one, I don't know).

This chap has recommended a raft of changes, including extract systems for plastic particulate (swarf) which is generated by our routers etc. He has also "requested" our annual risk assessments for all of the shop floor equipment, which is odd, because it hasn't changed in the ten years we've been on this site. I didn't realise that we had to do the same risk assessment yearly and nothing was requested by the previous inspector.

Is this normal practice, to carry out risk assessments (other than fire) annually?

Many thanks in advance.

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Alexis
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Re: Risk Assessments on old machines

Post by Alexis » Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:37 am

Hi plastic man.

Small company or not, having not been reviewed and/or updated any RA's for ten years has to ring big bells with your Insurance company.

There has to have been some changes over the years and if the RA's have not altered to meet those changes, then the company would not have a leg to stand on should someone be hurt, so they all need to be reviewed.

Have a look at this from the HSE website. http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/review-your-assessment.htm

There are also more reasons listed within this link. https://worksmart.org.uk/health-advice/ ... take-place

I would also suggest that now all this has landed in your lap, make sure your organisation allow you to have the appropriate training.
http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement/training.htm

Hope this helps and good luck in trying to sort it all out. .salut
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stephen1974
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Re: Risk Assessments on old machines

Post by stephen1974 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:41 pm

If they are dropping all the H&S duties in your lap. Push for a serious health and safety course. NEBOSH or NCRQ.
No offence intended but if you've just done a 3 day course and you were not aware you need to regularly review risk assessments then that couse sounds like it wasn't worth the time to attend.

If you have a lot of assessments to review, write up a schedule spread over the course of the year. That way you dont put a massive workload upon yourself for one month and then forget about them, and you get regular experience of doing risk assessments. It will also allow you to talk intelligently about them to the insurers.

Plastic Man
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Re: Risk Assessments on old machines

Post by Plastic Man » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:39 am

Thanks all for your answers.

To clarify my first post, although we have been at this new site for ten years, the last risk assessment was done probably 3 years ago by my predecessor.

The H&S course I did was okay, but very generic. Classroom of people and I was the only one there who was from a factory. I received a good overview, but I struggle to translate that to real world applications.

For instance - one of the things the insurance man asked me was: "Where is the risk assessment for the ducting system?" I don't know anything about ventilation, so how can I risk assess it if I don't understand how the system works in a technical capacity?

We use a wide variety of equipment here and common sense will only take you so far. I am downloading guidelines from the HSE website like a crazy person to try and familiarise myself with various systems.

I will get there, but at the moment I feel like I've started a motor race two laps down. :lol:

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Re: Risk Assessments on old machines

Post by Alexis » Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:38 am

Plastic Man wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:39 am

For instance - one of the things the insurance man asked me was: "Where is the risk assessment for the ducting system?" I don't know anything about ventilation, so how can I risk assess it if I don't understand how the system works in a technical capacity?
As Stephen points out, you do need a proper course.
stephen1974 wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:41 pm
If they are dropping all the H&S duties in your lap. Push for a serious health and safety course. NEBOSH or NCRQ.
In the meantime, no-one expects you to know how a ducting system works, so go to the people that use it daily and ask them. Talk to your maintenance people.

For the time being you can only check the current RA and use your common sense once you have spoken and listened to the users and the maintenance peoples' views and possible concerns.

Check for past incidents/accidents/near misses too. This will offer some sort of guidance as to where there may be problems that can be easily fixed. (Maybe they don't use the safe systems of work as they should? Maybe they need simple adjustments or workstation positions?) All simply and easily fitted into a new updated RA for the time being at least. It shows you have done something right now to be reviewed at a suitable time.

Good luck. Try and get that course. .salut
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Re: Risk Assessments on old machines

Post by grim72 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:01 am

Also contact the manufacturers/suppliers of the equipment for user/operator manuals etc (if you don't already have them) - you will likely find guidance notes in there regarding maintenance and inspection schedules - feel free to ask them for their input regarding risk assessments too - they are likely able to help with the basics you'll need?
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Plastic Man
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Re: Risk Assessments on old machines

Post by Plastic Man » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:21 am

Those are some great ideas.

Thanks all .salut

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