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Health and Safety Law: Automated External Defibrillators (AED)

Health and Safety Lawaed
As of January 2017, there is currently no legal obligation that an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) unit should be made available within the workplace. Despite the lack of health and safety laws on making AED units available, workplaces and employers should not immediately discard investing in one – they really can save lives.
AED units retail around the £1000 mark, depending on the manufacturer and accessories included. This may sound like a steep figure at first, however it’s worth drawing conclusions on recent court cases in America, that caused fierce debate as to whether retailers and workplaces should have one available at all times.
There are many compelling arguments that AED units should be compulsory within the workplace. These key arguments are outlined below:
1. Your workplace risk assessment should form part of your decision to purchase and you should ask the following questions;
• Do you deal with members of the public?
• Does this increase the number of people on your site?
• Is there great distance to emergency services? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, think carefully about the reasons not to ensure you have a unit in place.
2. The facts about the use of AED units on casualties are irrefutable. For every minute that passes without defibrillation the chance of survival reduces by 14%! This figure is published by the British Heart Foundation.
3. AED units are extremely sophisticated. Simple voice prompts tell the user what to do. The
unit will not shock a casualty unless a shock is required. The risk of incorrectly using a unit is minimal to non-existent.
4. AED units tend to come with long warranties, up to 8 years on some units. They also self- check, meaning if any maintenance is required, it will be indicated by the unit and is straight forward. Usually after the initial purchase the cost of owning an AED unit is minimal.
5. AED units can be used by untrained individuals, not just trained First Aiders. However, training can be provided for non-first aiders to increase the number of people that would have the confidence to pick up a unit in an emergency. Safety First Aid Training are strong advocates of having AED units in the workplace. We provide training as part of our First Aid Courses and specialist Defibrillator Training Courses.
The on-going commitment to having one installed is low. As more instances emerge every week of the successful treatment, it is getting harder to justify a decision not to have one in place.

The Twelve Myths of Christmas

Health, Safety, Christmas, Myths

Christmas is a special time of year for everyone. From the mince pies, to the mulled wine and seemingly endless present wrapping, at First Class Safety, we embrace Christmas and the festivities as much as anyone else!

However, at this celebratory time of year, health and safety is often incorrectly cited as being a bit of a Scrooge towards some of the pretty harmless festive activities… To prove that we’re not so Bah Humbug towards Christmas and the festive spirit, we thought we would provide a brief (and jolly!) myth-bust of some the most commonly circulated media stories, surrounding health and safety.

1) Myth: Workers are banned from putting up Christmas decorations in the office

Reality: Most organisations – including First Class Safety and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), manage to put up their decorations and Christmas trees, without a fuss. We just sensibly provide staff with suitable step ladders to put up decorations – rather than expecting staff to balance on wheelie chairs!

2) Myth: Indoor Christmas lights need a portable appliance test (PAT) every year

Reality: By following a few sensible precautions, such as checks by the user for obvious signs of damage, every workplace can safely switch on their Christmas lights and without carrying out PAT tests every December.

3) Myth: You can’t throw sweets at the pantomime

Reality: Health and Safety rules were blamed when a pantomime stopped throwing out sweets to the audience. The main worry of the production was in fact the cost of compensation if anyone got hurt. Realistically, the chances of a panto causing serious injury – by throwing out sweets, is incredibly low. The Health and Safety Executive has issued no statement or comment on this matter.

4) Myth: Santa must wear a seatbelt in his sleigh

Reality: This myth comes from a decision made by the Halesowen and Rowley Regis Rotary Club and their insurance provider in 2007, that in order for the Rotary Club Santa sleigh to be driven on the road, his sleigh should be fitted with a seatbelt. This agreement did not involve the Health and Safety Executive at any stage.

5) Myth: Second hand toys cannot be donated for Health and Safety reasons

Reality: It takes additional time to check the condition of used toys and there may be valid insurance or compensation issues involved when running a toy donation scheme but there are no health and safety regulations advising or discouraging on this.

6) Myth: Traditional shopping centre Christmas trees need to be scaled back or replaced by artificial alternatives for Health and Safety reasons

Reality: Health and Safety laws exist to prevent people being seriously injured or made unwell at work. The laws are certainly not there to dictate how a Christmas tree should be decorated or whether it should be real or artificial!

7) Myth: Seats have to be removed from shops with high footfall.

Reality: Christmas shopping is often very frantic and shoppers will frequently want to rest their weary feet. Customers are often dismayed when they find all the seats have been removed for health and safety reasons… Shops need to manage crowds safely but it’s a myth to suggest that it’s a requirement to remove seats at busy times. A bit of common sense should ensure seating is located in a sensible place.

8) Myth: Carol singers are a health and safety risk

Reality: When it comes to carol singing, in recent years we’ve heard of insurance companies producing comprehensive health and safety guides for carol singers and parish councils asking groups of singers to apply for permits, in order to prevent upsetting home-owners. Well-intentioned pieces of advice such as ‘don’t sing in the road’ and ‘don’t carry large amounts of cash’ are not health and safety requirements, they are simply common sense.

9) Myth: Children are banned from throwing snowballs by Health and Safety

Reality: Health and Safety laws or rules are simply not used for spending time on trivial risks – such as the outcome of throwing a snowball. Health and Safety laws aim to take a sensible approach to managing and tackling risks that could cause real harm and suffering.

10) Myth: If you clear snow from outside your business or home you are likely to get sued.

Reality: A representative for the Health and Safety Executive stated in 2010: “I would like to make it clear that under health and safety legislation nobody who volunteers to support their community by clearing pavements during icy conditions should feel they are in danger of being sued”. Enough said really!

11) Myth: Health and safety prevents people putting coins in Christmas puddings

Reality: Occupational health and safety law is concerned with what goes on in your workplace, not what you’re eating after a Turkey dinner – it doesn’t prevent coins or any other lucky charms being put in puddings.

12) Myth: Health and Safety ruins Christmas

Reality: We hear of events being cancelled, Santa stopped from parading in his sleigh, and festive displays being banned, all because of Health and Safety… Health and Safety laws exist to provide safeguards against people being seriously injured or made unwell at work, not to hamper fun activities.

On that note, everyone at First Class Safety would like to say Bah Humbug to all the festive killjoys out there and a very happy Christmas to everyone else!