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4-step risk assessment with OiRA One can now carry out own risk assessment using the new OiRA film (Online Interactive Risk Assessment) made by the EU information agency for occupational health and safety EU-OSHA. The film was made based on the “Risk assessment with OiRA in 4 steps� infographic. It emphasises the importance of risk assessment as the legal foundation of the European approach to accidents, occupational diseases and prevention of illnessrelated absence from work. It also shows how businesses can easily manage the health and safety in the workplace with OiRA tools, how to perform sector-specific risk-assessment tests in an easy and flexible manner via the OiRA website. The film was shot as part of an online interactive risk assessment (OiRA) tool project. It is available in English with subtitles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IU2DWX1DzFY&feature=youtu.be

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Promoting safety in logistics The most frequent accidents in the logistics sector are related to warehousing with the key cause being human error. One of employers’ most important obligations is to raise safety and OHS regulation awareness among warehousemen, drivers and forklift operators. - There are not statistics on forklift-related accidents, but considering Poland's position in the logistics industry – there is a lot of equipment and many different types of forklifts, so unfortunately the number of accidents is large too. The most efficient remedy is prophylactics, i.e. constantly raising operator's awareness of the hazards involved in wok involving forklifts. Alas, the weakest link in the chain is man. A machine can be better and better, but as long as it is operated by man, and there are third-parties in the warehouse, accidents will occur. Therefore, we direct all our energy to educating operators. – stresses Paweł Włuka, Marketing Manager at STILL Polska. ‘Dancing with pallets’ is a contest aiming at promoting precision, attentiveness and elimination of risky behaviour such as excessive speed. The competition comes in two parts: theoretical, consisting in a presentation of good practices and expected behaviour, and practical, involving forklift operators completing an obstacle course. This year’s contest saw over 60 operators of logistic centres from all around the country with the best sixteen competing in the finals.

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Video Surveillance Centre setup Video Surveillance Room (VSR) is the place of work for video surveillance operators. The efficiency and performance of a VSR operator is hinges on the Room’s setup. Above all, care must be taken with the premises. The size of the room should enable both the operators and equipment to move and be moved about freely. It is smart to divide the room into several functional parts: operating room, meeting room, service room, server room, storage, manager’s room and staff room. Environmental conditions is another element having impact on the operator’s performance. It is recommended that light be dispersed in a VSR. At the same time additional workstation lighting should be provided. Given the amount of electronic and electric equipment it is also necessary to provide efficient ventilation and thermostatic systems. The workstations should meet ergonomic requirements such as that all technical equipment and necessary documentation be within the operator's hand's reach. Adequate work organisation should also be born in mind. A single operator must not be in charge of more than 16 views displayed. Where the operator’s task is to identify details in a changing space, the number of views on a single monitor must not exceed 4.

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The PIP to conduct 72,000 audits in 2018 The State Labour Inspectorate has adopted an action plan for the following year comprising the most sensitive areas of legal protection of work and those relating to the safety and protection of life and health of workers. According to the long-term plan for the years 2016-2018, the inspectors will audit the compliance of the civil-law contracts concluded by construction companies, in the restaurant and hotel industries as well as security companies. Other important audit areas in 2018 include: analysis of fixed-term contracts for compliance with the regulations amended in 2016 as well as employment contracts concluded by contractors or subcontractors in public tenders for construction works or services, and staff outsourcing issues. Moreover, audits will be continued of the payment of remuneration in the amounts compliant with the minimum hourly rates for mandate contracts and contracts for services. The inspectors carry out comprehensive audits of Labour Law compliance, including OHS regulations at healthcare units, educational institutions, mines and mining enterprises as well as sales shops.

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Positive psychology in the workplace Positive psychology focuses on building up a man’s strengths thus supporting his productivity, self-fulfilment, identification and fostering skills. The tools provided by positive psychology enable the employer to identify an employee’s strengths, develop them and adjust the workplace to meet the employee’s skills. All this results in an increased productivity and fulfilment of the company’s set objectives. Errors in workstation design may lead to employees being inefficient, not performing at 100% their capacities, developing an attitude of helplessness and their motivation decreasing. Therefore, the difficulty of the tasks assigned must match the employees current level of qualifications. Tasks that are too easy give rise to boredom and apathy, whereas those too difficult – to anxiety and fear. An employer should plainly and clearly state the requirements as to the outcome of the task, but it is useful to leave the employee to determine the manner in which the task is to be performed and encourage creativity in this respect. One should always remember that employees develop and last year’s challenges may turn into mundane tasks to the same employee now. One should also ensure that the employee be aware that his work is meaningful, important and appreciated, and the he himself is respected just as others are.

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OHS training to foreign employees Before admitting an employee to work, the employer is under an obligation to provide OHS training. In the case of a foreign employee, the training must be carried out in a language that he or she understands. Art. 2373 Labour Code sets out detailed obligations of employers in respect of OHS training. Under paragraph 2 of that article, an employer is required to ensure that an employee has been properly trained in occupational health and safety prior to being admitted to work, and to provided periodical training courses in that respect. These provisions are supplemented by the regulation of the Minister of Economy and Labour of 27 July 2004 on training in OHS. Neither the Labour Code nor the above regulation specifies the language in which such training should be carried out. However, considering the fact that an employer is under an obligation to make every employee familiar with OHS regulations, he must ensure that the training content be understandable to each employee. Therefore, such training should be provided in a language known to the employee or in the presence of a person speaking the language that the employee knows. Training documents should also be bilingual so as to ensure that the employee actually understands the statements he signs.

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Winter OHS An employer is required to ensure work conditions that are compliant with the OHS rules under the regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy on the general rules of occupational health and safety. There are sanctions for failure to comply with those obligations. An employer must ensure a proper temperature in the workplace, a minimum of which is: 14oC – for premises where physical work is performed; 18oC – for premises where light physical work or clerical work is performed. In the event of staff working outdoors at temperatures below 10oC, the basic duty of an employer is to ensure protective clothing, refreshments and hot drinks. The positions where hot meals and drinks may be provided are determined by the employer in consultation with trade unions or employee representatives. Such information should be set down in the Work Rules. Employers should also ensure a room where the employees working outdoors can warm up or change clothes - the temperature in such rooms cannot be lower than 16oC. Only those having up-to-date medical certificates can do snow removal works on heights. However, before such a person starts the work, he or she must undergo proper instruction and be informed of the occupational risk involved.

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Fire protection at waste sorting plants The number of fires at landfill sites and waste sorting sites has been growing steadily since 2014. Not only are such events dangerous to the environment, but they have also negative economic aspects. How can one improve fire and environmental safety in this respect? Over the last two years the number of fires in the broadly understood waste management sector has increased considerably. - Fire poses the greatest threat to both people and environment. There are often difficulties in extinguishing such fires and the enormous wasted dumps burn like peat. The mere extinguishing process may last up to several or even a dozen or so days. warns senior captain Marek Piekutowski, Head of Controlling and Detection Department at the State Fire Service from Poznań during a conference entitled “Waste storage – threats and a safer future”. According to him, the most, 85%, of communal waste is kept at landfill sites. However, also medical waste can be found there. In order to improve safety at those sites, one must comply with the procedures for maintenance and repair of the equipment, keep order, ensure proper fire-fighting equipment, train the staff and control access as well as implementing video surveillance.

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When cannot a fire be extinguished with water? Various substances are used in fire-fighting that are directly responsible for stopping the combustion process. Each works differently. The success of the firefighting action is primarily dependent on the recognition of the type of fire and certain amount of knowledge of fire extinguishing agents and their operation. Water is the most common and most easily accessible fire extinguishing agent; however, it is not suitable for all kinds of fire. The key disadvantages of this medium include the electrical conductivity and reactivity with certain materials Water is used for extinguishing: wood, coal, tar, hay, forest, buildings and for cooling buildings’ structural elements. Water cannot be used for extinguishing connected electric devices and within them, and certain substance, such as:   

substance reacting with water to produce combustible or explosive gases (e.g. carbide), inflammable, lighter than water liquids, e.g.: petrol, crude oil, oil; solid bodies heated up to very high temperatures, and certain metals

Moreover, water must not be used to extinguish fires in museums, archives and libraries for its destructive impact.

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Changes regarding cutting down trees in historic sites Under the amendment to the act on the protection of the environment and protection of historical sites, adopted by the Senate on 15 December 2017, it is now the Regional (Voivodship) Conservation Officer, rather than the city mayor, that will decide which trees can be cut down within historic sites. The amendment sets out to bring order to the regulations concerning the removal of trees and bushes from properties entered into the register of historic sits. The grounds for the law state that hitherto two separate systems have been in operation for administrative decisions allowing the owner of a property to cut down trees thereon. One was based on the act on the protection of environment, which regulated the removal of trees and bushes from a property or its part not registered with the historic site register. The other was based on the complementary regulations set out in the act on the protection of historic sites and care over historic sites, which contained provisions for removing trees and bushes from properties entered into the register of historic sites. From now on the systems will be combined - the removal of trees and bushes from a property or its part registered with the historic site register will be governed by the act on environmental protection.

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Top10 NEWS December 2017 of health and safety, fire protection & environmental protection  

SEKA S.A. to secure safe work environment for its clients, picks every month 10 most important news from areas of health and safety, fire pr...

Top10 NEWS December 2017 of health and safety, fire protection & environmental protection  

SEKA S.A. to secure safe work environment for its clients, picks every month 10 most important news from areas of health and safety, fire pr...

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