Your health and safety questions answered

2nd May 2008 at 01:00
Following our report last month that City of Bristol College was fined pound;14,000 after Gary Baird, a lecturer was burnt while handling acid at work, we invited readers to write in with their safety concerns

Following our report last month that City of Bristol College was fined pound;14,000 after Gary Baird, a lecturer was burnt while handling acid at work, we invited readers to write in with their safety concerns. In the first of a two-part series, the Health and Safety Executive answers your questions. This week: off-site accidents.

Q: What happens when a member of staff is injured while working off-site? Are we responsible?

A: Employers are required to assess and control the risks employees may be exposed to. This includes risks when working off site. Employers have a duty to report and record certain work-related accidents, so they need to ensure that off-site staff report such incidents. For more on reporting accidents, see: www.hse.gov.ukpubnsaccidents.htm

Q: My college does business with far-flung employers, and our staff spend a great deal of time on the road. One member of our team had an accident that he put down to tiredness at the wheel. How can we encourage staff to take breaks?

A: Employers should carry out a risk assessment for employees who drive as part of their work. Risk assessments for work-related driving should follow the same principles as those for any other kind of work. Work- related road safety can only be effectively managed if integrated into the organisation's health and safety arrangements. For help to manage the risks from driving at work, see: www.dft.gov.ukdrivingforwork or www.hse.gov.uk.

Q: What happens when a student is injured overseas on a college trip? Does the HSE have jurisdiction?

A: The HSE cannot investigate or take action in relation to the circumstances of the incident itself. But it can investigate any activities carried out in Great Britain to support a particular trip. The issues it would consider are those relating to the health and safety arrangements made for the trip - the presumption being that significant evidence would be available to demonstrate adequate planning prior to the trip.

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