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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 07/02/2005
Safety Policy Statement/First Aid Policy



WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

SAFETY POLICY STATEMENT

Waverley Borough Council, believes in the pursuit of excellence in all its dealings with customers, employees and other bodies. Health and safety is an integral part of this service.

It is the policy of this Authority to encourage all employees to be not only aware of their legal responsibilities, but to be actively involved in developing a positive and progressive safety culture so that no one is exposed to risks to their health or safety as a result of the way the Council conducts its business.

In order to achieve the objectives of this policy the Council will comply with all of its legal duties by ensuring that:-

Each employee is given such comprehensible relevant and appropriate information, instruction, and training as is necessary to enable the safe and healthy performance of work activities.

Managers assess risks and introduce preventative and protective measures, so far as is reasonably practicable or devise systems of work where significant risks to health and safety are identified. These preventative and protective measures or safe systems of work will be implemented and supervised to ensure any risks are reduced to an acceptable minimum.

The working environment is maintained in a condition that it is safe, free from risks to health and that adequate facilities for employees’ welfare at work are made.

Adequate facilities and arrangements are maintained to enable staff and their representatives to raise issues of health and safety.

Procedures are devised that will ensure that all machinery and equipment purchased is suitable for its intended purpose and that any hazardous substances used or produced as a result of Council work are assessed and adequately controlled.

Procedures are devised that ensure the affective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of health and safety in relation to Council buildings and activities is undertaken to include associated preventative and protective measures

Every member of staff has a legal duty to co-operate with the Council to assist in complying with all its statutory duties. The successful implementation of this policy requires total commitment from everyone in the Council from Members to staff at all levels. Each individual also has a legal obligation to take reasonable care for their health and safety and for the health and safety of people who may be affected by their acts or omissions.

Full details of the organisation and arrangements for health and safety are set out in other documents.

The Offices Health and Safety Working Group will regularly monitor this policy to ensure that the objectives are achieved. It will be reviewed regularly and, if necessary, revised in the light of legislative or organisational changes.


Christine Pointer (Chief Executive) Date 1st. June 2003


C. C. E. Slyfield (Leader of the Council ) Date 1st. June 2003



WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY

ORGANISATION AND RESPONSIBILITIES

1. Elected Members' Obligations

The Council is the employer and as such it carries the ultimate responsibility for ensuring health and safety at work.

The Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 applies to the Council as a corporate body and the Council may be prosecuted for any offence committed under any of the relevant statutory provisions. In addition an individual councillor may be prosecuted where their act or default results in somebody else (e.g. an employee) committing an offence under the Act.

Therefore the Council will ensure, through means of the Executive and its recommendations, that appropriate arrangements are made within the organisation for:-

(a) the implementation of the safety policy; and

(b) regular monitoring and review of health and safety practices, procedures and performance.

To this end, the Council will ensure that it allocates sufficient resources to enable officers to meet its obligations.

The Executive receive an annual safety report from The Offices Health and Safety Working Group and individual departments as appropriate to specific areas of Council work. Reports will be made available to full Council for the purposes of monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of the policy.

2. The Chief Executive

The responsibility for fulfilling the safety policy of the Council rests with the Chief Executive. The Chief Executive will ensure that the policy is carried out through responsible delegation of duties to Chief Officers and Line Managers as defined below.

The Chief Executive is responsible for ensuring that:-

(i) Chief Officers are aware of their obligations and carry them out in accordance with the Safety Policy;

(ii) effective reporting and communication exists within and between departments;

(iii) unresolved problems of health and safety are brought to the attention of the Executive.

N.B. In the absence of the Chief Executive, the lead Chief Officer as designated at any one time will be responsible for the implementation of this policy.


3. Members of the Chief Officer Group

All Chief Officers will ensure that the Health and Safety Policy is implemented within their areas of responsibility (cf. Organisational Charts) and will nominate individual line managers as appropriate to be responsible for their health and safety arrangements. These managers will represent their departments on the Offices and Health and Safety Working Group as Departmental Safety Co-ordinators.

Chief Officers shall:-

(1) ensure that programmed risk assessments are undertaken for work activities in their departments. Where significant risks are identified they are to satisfy themselves that safe systems of work or other control strategies are put into place in order to reduce risks to the health, safety and welfare of staff and others to an acceptable minimum. These procedures shall be monitored and reviewed periodically;

(2) ensure that staff are provided with health surveillance where necessary to control the risks that they may be exposed to as a result of their work and be offered a regime of inoculations where this may be appropriate;

(3) advise the Chief Officer Group when finance needs to be made available for any measures deemed necessary to comply with the Policy;

(5) ensure that, where a problem cannot be rectified immediately or easily, they bring it to the attention of the Executive and Council via the Chief Officer Group;

(6) ensure all work undertaken by Contractors on behalf of the Council is carried out in a safe manner. This should normally be achieved by:

(a) undertaking suitable and sufficient risk assessment before work commences;

(b) ensuring all work is co-ordinated and monitored by a competent person with the authority to act on behalf of the Council;

(c) co-ordinating exchange of information between any contractors, Council staff and any others who may be affected by any Council contract;

(d) providing contractors with the latest edition of Waverley Safety Rules for Contractors and ensuring compliance with those requirements;

(7) ensure that all those delegated with health and safety duties have the necessary instruction, training and resources to comply with their obligations;

(8) keep themselves informed of accidents, dangerous occurrences or occupational diseases occurring on Council premises and to Council employees within their departments and ensure that all accidents are reported to the Safety and Emergency Planning Adviser in accordance with agreed procedures and in particular be aware of the areas of greatest risk and any special precautions to be taken;

(9) ensure adequate communications within their departments in order to keep the Chief Executive informed of health and safety issues (e.g. via Chief Officer Group );

(10) consistently set a good personal example;

(11) be available to the Council's Safety Adviser and Emergency Planning Adviser.

4. Designated Departmental Safety Co-ordinators

Departmental Safety Co-ordinators will co-ordinate and implement the detailed aspects of the health and safety policy and be responsible for routine implementation of the policy within their departments. They will represent their department on the Offices` Health and Safety Working Group. Where necessary, they will delegate specific duties to line managers/supervisors.

Departmental Safety Co-ordinators are :-

Chief Executive’s - Central Services Manager (Chairman, Offices and Health and Safety Working Group)

Environment and Leisure - Head of Environmental Services

Housing - Head of Housing Management

Planning and Development - Business and Information Systems Manager

Finance - Administration and Insurance Manager

5. Line Managers

Line managers shall:-

(1) in conjunction with their Departmental Safety Co-ordinators, be responsible for the routine implementation of the safety policy within their sections and for informing their Departmental Safety Co-ordinator of any significant problems which may affect the health and safety of any member of staff or any other person as a result of any Council activities;

(2) undertake suitable and sufficient programmed risk assessments for areas and work under their control and devise and supervise appropriate safe systems of work or other control measures to reduce identified risks to an acceptable minimum, where necessary, seeking advice from the Safety and Emergency Planning Adviser;

(3) provide information, instruction, and training for their staff in order that work can be carried out in a safe and efficient manner;

(4) ensure that the work areas they control are maintained in a condition which is free from risks to health and safety of staff and others. (5) ensure that, following risk assessment, staff are issued with appropriate personal protective equipment, that this is kept in good order and replaced at appropriate periods.

6. Waverley employees (1) take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of colleagues, or anyone else who might be affected by their acts and omissions at work; (2) co-operate fully with the Council in all matters, rules, advice and instructions on health and safety, and comply with all relevant statutory provisions;

(3) attend as necessary health and safety training as directed by the Council, utilise or follow such training and use any personal protective clothing or other safety equipment provided to them, as necessary;

(4) report any hazard or defect involving equipment, systems, procedures or buildings through the established reporting procedures, to include advising their line manager.

(5) Report any accident or aggressive incident in accordance with established procedures.

7. Specific responsibilities of individual officers

Safety and Emergency Planning Adviser

This role exists to help achieve a high standard of health and safety within Waverley Borough Council. He shall:-

(1) advise all persons involved in the implementation of the safety policy on how to meet the requirements of all relevant safety legislation and the health and safety policy;

(2) consult and communicate with statutory enforcing authorities (e.g. Health and Safety Executive), voluntary safety advisory organisations and other responsible bodies to further the maintenance and improvement of health, safety and welfare standards within the Council;

(3) report to the Chief Executive, Chief Officers or to other individual departmental managers as appropriate, where he is of the opinion that the health and safety policy is not being complied with and where he has become aware that a manager has failed to accept reasonable advice, information or training proposals;

(4) advise regarding new safety regulations affecting health and safety in order to enable officers to fulfil their duties;

(5) in conjunction with the Principal Personnel and Training Officer and departmental managers, identify training needs and assist in the provision of appropriate training, education or instruction as may be required at all levels of the organisation;

(6) receive reports from departments of all accidents in accordance with recognised procedures and maintain proper records and assist with accident investigation and recommendations. Where required by law submit accident reports to the Health and Safety Executive;

(7) assist in the preparation of reports for the appropriate Committees of the Council via the Chief Executive and Departmental Managers appraising the effectiveness of policy and practice including a summary of all reported accidents and dangerous occurrences on an annual basis;

(8) attend meetings of the various relevant Committees as necessary to receive reports on any events which may affect health, safety or welfare of employees or members of the public or constitute a danger to property or equipment.

The Safety and Emergency Planning Adviser has the authority to stop any activity carried out by the Council, its Officers or Contractors where he considers that there is a risk of serious or imminent danger.

8. Head of Personnel and Central Services

Specifically responsible for ensuring health and safety within all areas where Council Staff are employed. This may be through highlighting day-to-day hazards and bringing safety matters to the attention of individual departments to assist in resolving particular issues. This includes:-

(1) ensuring effective emergency and evacuation procedures are in operation;

(2) maintaining standards of fire safety within the Central Offices and Locality Offices and Waverley Training Services and monitoring fire safety standards in other areas;

(3) ensuring continued maintenance of the Central, Locality Office and Waverley Training Services buildings and related plant and equipment including defect reporting procedures;

(4) ensuring that contractors carry out their work in The Burys and Locality Offices with regard to the safety of themselves, Council employees and members of the public in accordance with the Safety Policy and Waverley Borough Council Safety rules for Contractors booklet;
9. Administration and Insurance Manager

Responsible for notifying the Chief Executive, Chief Officers and Safety and Emergency Planning Adviser with regards to insurance inspections and claims investigations.


10. Sports and Recreation Manager

Responsible for assisting tenants of Waverley Borough Council sports grounds on safety matters when they are brought to his attention, and the monitoring of health and safety standards controlled by managing contractors within Waverley Leisure Centres

11. Director of Housing

Responsible for health and safety within all Waverley owned day centre and sheltered housing accommodation.

12. Landscape Management Officer

Responsible for health and safety in all Waverley Borough Council playgrounds, and for monitoring health and safety of grounds maintenance contractors.

13. Environmental Services Officer

Responsible for health and safety in all public conveniences.

14. Engineering Manager

Responsible for safety considerations in Waverley Borough Council car parks and in tender process to let contracts for Waste Management.

15. Property and Development Manager

Responsible for health and safety in all of the Council’s miscellaneous buildings.

16. Offices Health and Safety Working Group

This Group will be responsible for determining and implementing Council policy on all health and safety matters as a result of statutory or other identified needs. It will also act as the Council’s safety committee.

The membership of the group will be:-

Designated Departmental Safety Co-ordinators (see item 4 above)
Head of Personnel and Central Services
Office Services and Borough Hall Manager
Property Maintenance Manager
Head of I.T.
Safety and Emergency Planning Adviser
Staffside Representative
Designated Chief Officer
Invited Officers.

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Other Health And Safety Policies and procedure documents


Waverley Borough Council has a number of other policy and procedure documents that are complementary to the Council’s Health and Safety Policy, and these either define subsidiary policies in specific areas of health and safety, or document procedures and good practice for Waverley’s elected members and staff at all levels to follow.
Included as part of this policy booklet are the policy and arrangements for first aid, fire safety and lone working.

There are separate policy documents for

Handling Aggression at Work
Well-being

Important health and safety aspects are also contained within Council policy documents on Public Interest Disclosure at Work (Whistleblowing), Dignity & Respect at Work and Parental & Maternity Leave

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

FIRST AID POLICY

ORGANISATION AND ARRANGEMENTS


The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 impose a duty on employers to provide first aid support and facilities for their employees.

Waverley considers a high standard of first aid service to be a vital component in maintaining high standards of health and safety at work and has, therefore, adopted the following first aid procedure and has a team of qualified first aiders to provide the First Aid Service.

DEFINITIONS

First Aid is defined in the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 as a case where a person will need help from a medical practitioner or nurse in the event of serious injury or illness; where such help is not available, a First Aider will provide treatment for the purpose of preserving life and minimising the consequences of injury and illness until such help is obtained. It also covers treatment of minor injuries and minor illness, which would otherwise receive no treatment or which do not need treatment by a medical practitioner or nurse.

These regulations apply only to employees. However, First Aiders may use their discretion to render First Aid to visitors to the Council Offices. Waverley will arrange indemnity insurance for all Waverley First Aiders.

Waverley is a multi-site organisation with varying First Aid needs.

The First Aid procedure for the main site, at The Burys, Godalming, is detailed below. Employees who work at other sites will be informed of the relevant first aid arrangements as part of their induction programme.

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 place a general responsibility on employers to provide appropriate first aid facilities. In the case of lone workers – if they sustain a minor injury, they might be able to use a first aid box or telephone for help. First aid boxes have already been issued to those staff who are classed as high mileage drivers. Habitual lone workers may also need this facility – contact Personnel.

The Bury’s, Godalming

Waverley Borough Council has an effective first aid organisation which will enable first aid treatment to be administered to staff who are injured or feel unwell. To summon first aid, dial 3000 (Waverley’s internal emergency number) and tell the receptionist what is wrong and where you are. The receptionist will arrange for a First Aider to attend to you very quickly.

A First Aid room is provided in The Burys and is located on the first floor in the Civic Suite corridor, adjacent to the vending machines.

Please note that the first aid room has a combination lock and can therefore only be accessed with a First Aider.


PROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING FIRST AID ASSISTANCE (BURYS SITE)

A. Core Hours

The following procedure will operate between the hours:-

08.45 - 17.15 Mondays to Thursdays
08.45 - 16.45 Fridays

When first aid is required, Reception should be contacted on the Waverley emergency number extension 3000. The person telephoning should state where the casualty is and the nature of the injury/problem.

The Receptionist is to call First Aiders from the First Aid Call Out List until two have been contacted, informing them of the details and location of the casualty. First Aiders are always to work in pairs where possible. Treatment should be given in the Treatment Room unless the casualty should not be moved.

Any treatment given should be recorded in the Accident Book, which is kept in the First Aid Room. A separate Accident Book is held in the Staff Restaurant to record any accidents in the kitchen and staff restaurant. The record is loose leaf, to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and should be forwarded to personnel after completion. In the event of an injury accident, the Accident Report in Lotus Notes should also be completed by the First Aider.

The following actions are to be taken in the event of first aid being required:-

Conscious Person

The First Aider should:-

1. Decide if an ambulance is required and arrange for one to attend where necessary.

2. Administer first aid and inform the relevant Manager.

Where the casualty wishes to go home or requires professional medical attention, which does not warrant calling an ambulance, the casualty’s Manager and the Personnel Section are to be informed. The Manager is then required to make any necessary arrangements to transfer the employee.

In cases where the casualty wishes to return to work against the advice of the First Aider, the Head of Personnel and Central Services, should be contacted and temporary suspension from work as a result of an injury will be considered.

3. Ensure responsibility for personal possessions is taken.

Unconscious Person

An ambulance is required to be summoned in all cases where the casualty loses consciousness for any period.




A First Aider should:-

1. Call an ambulance and notify reception so that the barrier to the car park is lifted.

2. Administer appropriate first aid.

3. Inform the Personnel Section of the employee’s transfer to hospital. The Head of Personnel and Central Services, or his representative, will inform the next of kin and Line Manager of the employee’s transfer to hospital. The Line Manager will ensure personal possessions are taken into safe custody.

B. Outside Core Hours

1. Before Core Hours (ie before 08.45 am)

If there is a need for first aid before core hours, the nearest senior person will assess the situation and decide either:-

(i) to call an ambulance by dialling (9) 999;

(ii) to make the person comfortable until the core hours procedure becomes operative at 8.45 a.m. and then call for First Aid in the normal way; or

(iii) contact the next of kin.

N.B. An ambulance is required to be summoned in all cases where a casualty loses consciousness for any period.

The person dealing with the incident must inform the Head of Personnel and Central Services, or his representative, as soon as possible.

The Head of Personnel and Central Services, or his representative, will then inform the next of kin, Line Manager and a First Aider, as appropriate.

The Line Manager will ensure the employee’s personal possessions are taken into safe custody.

The First Aider will complete the Accident Book, having been informed of the incident.

2. After Core Hours (ie Monday to Thursday after 5.15 pm and on Friday, after 4.45 pm)

If there is a need for first aid after core hours, the nearest senior person will assess the situation and decide either:-



(i) to call an ambulance (9) 999; or

(ii) contact next of kin.

An ambulance is required to be summoned in all cases where a casualty loses consciousness for any period.

The person dealing with the incident must inform the Head of Personnel and Central Services, or his representative, as soon as possible.

The Head of Personnel and Central Services, or his representative, will then inform the Line Manager and a First Aider, as soon as possible.

The First Aider will complete the Accident Book, having been informed of the incident, ensuring the loose leaf form is forwarded to Personnel.

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FIRST AID ORGANISATION

1. Overall responsibility for fulfilling the first aid policy of the Council rests with the Chief Executive, through delegation of duties to the Head of Personnel and Central Services.

2. The Head of Personnel and Central Services will delegate the detailed responsibilities to a nominated Personnel Officer as follows:-

Responsibilities

3. The Burys Receptionist Duties

On receipt of a telephone call on the Waverley emergency number (3000), a receptionist should follow the directions of the First Aid Procedure Card.

When instructed by a First Aider a receptionist will summon an ambulance giving details of the injury/problem and direct the ambulance crew to the scene.

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FIRST AIDERS

Employees will be recruited and trained as First Aiders for The Burys Council Offices and other sites, as necessary. They will attend a Health and Safety Executive Approved Training Course and will receive an annual payment.

First Aiders are responsible for:-

(a) administering First Aid and for recording any treatment given in the Accident Book held in the First Aid Room, forwarding the form to Personnel and, where appropriate, creating the entry in Lotus Notes;

(b) ensuring that an ambulance attends in all cases of unconsciousness, and in other circumstances where the situation requires it;

(c) informing the Head of Personnel and Central Services, or his representative, and the relevant Line Manager if the casualty is taken into hospital or if sent home;

(d) informing reception of their own personal planned absences (leave, etc.) from work;

(e) using personal protective equipment (surgical gloves, protective aprons and resuscitate mouthpiece) wherever reasonable to do so when administering first aid.

Staff Restaurant

The Restaurant Supervisor will be trained as a First Aider for accidents primarily in the kitchen and staff restaurant.

The Restaurant Supervisor is to ensure that:-

(a) the Accident Book kept in the kitchen is used to record all the treatment given, forwarding the form to Personnel and, where appropriate, creating the entry in Lotus Notes;

(b) the kitchen First Aid Box is regularly restocked as necessary.


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85569

FIRE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

Fire in any building is a potential killer. It is important that you make yourself familiar with the fire precautions for the areas that you find yourself in while you are at work. On your first day at Waverley your manager should show you the fire precautions in your area. If you are not sure, ask.

All workplaces are designed to enable a safe escape in the event of a fire. Buildings will have fire escapes clearly marked, and it is vital that you make yourself aware of the ones you may need to use. Be aware of alternative means of escape, in the event that the one you always use is blocked by fire or smoke. If you are responsible for visitors – at a Committee or other meeting, ensure that the fire evacuation information is given out before the meeting commences.

Sounding the alarm
The alarm will be raised, normally by the continuous ringing of a loud bell. When you hear the alarm leave the building immediately. Do not go back to collect your belongings, you may well be going into a danger area. Make your way to your designated assembly area and wait. You will be told what to do.

Fire evacuation wardens
Larger buildings have Fire Evacuation Wardens, these nominated people ensure that as they leave the building, they check that designated rooms or areas are empty and report this to the person in charge at the assembly area. You are required to obey the instructions of Fire Wardens when the fire alarm sounds.

Discovering a fire
If you discover a fire you should raise the alarm at once. A number of methods of raising the alarm can be used around your building. There will be a number of manual call points. These are alarm buttons covered by a glass window, they can also be known as “break glasses”, to raise the alarm break the glass (carefully), this will activate the fire alarm. The switchboard have the responsibility and normally summon the fire brigade once the alarm sounds. Close the door or window, if safe to do so and leave the building by the nearest safe route. Once outside, tell the person responsible where the fire you discovered is located.

Alternatively if there are no alarm call points in a smaller building or if you are distance from a call point, you can dial the emergency number for your building to report the fire, or you can shout “fire”. This instantly grabs the attention of people nearby who can assist in raising the alarm. Don’t feel embarrassed, you may be saving someone’s life.

Automatic Fire Detection
Some buildings have fixed smoke or fire detection systems, which will automatically sound the alarm in the event of a fire.

Fire extinguishers
Suitable fire extinguishers are located around buildings. These are for use only by those staff trained in their safe use – differing extinguishers are used for differing types of fire, and in differing ways. Fire extinguishers are only to be used for small fires, for example a small fire in a waste bin. If you have not used a fire extinguisher before, the time to learn is not when there is a fire.
Even if you have been through fire extinguisher training, if you are in any doubt, sound the alarm to alert colleagues and GET OUT.

Good housekeeping
If you see or become aware of any blocked fire exits, potential sources of a fire or anything else which you think may compromise safety in the event of a fire it is your duty to report it, normally to your area fire warden or line manager. If the situation is not resolved quickly, contact the Safety and Emergency Planning Adviser on extension 3480.

BOMB THREAT CALL


IN THE EVENT THAT YOU RECEIVE A BOMB THREAT CALL PLEASE ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS AND KEEP THE CALLER TALKING AS LONG AS POSSIBLE

AT THE END OF THE CALL IMMEDIATELY RING THE EMERGENCY NUMBER extn 3000 AND REPORT THE INCIDENT. THEN NOTIFY A SENIOR OFFICER.

WRITE DOWN THE EXACT WORDS OF THE MESSAGE.
RECORD ANYTHING THAT WAS SPECIFIC ABOUT THE CALLER - e.g.

Calm or excited
Male or female
Accent or odd language use
Old or young sounding
Background noise or music

If you come across a suspect package, parcel or bag etc - please RING THE EMERGENCY NUMBER extn 3000 TO REPORT THE PACKAGE. THEN NOTIFY A SENIOR OFFICER - DO NOT ATTEMPT TO OPEN IT YOURSELF.


Terrorist Action by Post

Waverley's internal emergency contact number is 3000 (01483 523000 for those calling in from outside the Council Offices)

The Threat is Minimal

Terrorist (or other criminal) action intent on causing harm using the postal system is extremely rare and Waverley is not considered to be an especially vulnerable target.

However, we continue to receive Government advice to take sensible precautions when opening post. Waverley is responding to this advice by setting up appropriate procedures. But action will need to start with those who open letters, packages etc., which could be any one of us.

Please note especially that there have been incidents in the UK since September 2001 which have been proven criminal hoaxes. Any incident, however, for the sake of the safety of staff, must be treated seriously.

What to do if you receive a suspicious communication through the post


The key advice to you all at this stage is:

Your suspicions may be aroused particularly through a combination of the following conditions:

Contact 3000 immediately if you receive a letter, package, parcel etc. that appears suspicious.

Having contacted Ext. 3000, if practicable, place the suspect article in a bag or container that can be sealed. In the Council Offices, Godalming a clear bag will be available where your "dirty bin" is located. A knot must be tied in this bag to seal it.

Wait for further instructions. The emergency services will be contacted immediately and their advice will be passed on as soon as practicable. Regardless, you will be kept informed of progress.

What to do if people have been potentially contaminated

Note: Similar arrangements are in the process of being made for staff in outside offices to ensure that the advice set out in this note can be followed if isolation is necessary.

Remember - if you receive a suspicious letter, package, parcel etc., please contact Ext. 3000 immediately

Further advice will be issued as necessary.

If you have any questions or comments about this message please contact the Safety and Emergency Planning Adviser, on Ext. 3480 (Outside the main Council Offices, 01483 523480)

LONE WORKING POLICY
POLICY STATEMENT ON LONE WORKING

Introduction

Several hazards present themselves to staff working alone, ranging from personal accident or a transport breakdown to personal attack.

It is not possible to anticipate every eventuality in a document like this and it is therefore intended as a guide for Managers to help them devise safe systems of working for lone working in all foreseeable circumstances. This can be achieved by managers risk-assessing the working environment following the training provided and applying this Code of Practice in conjunction with Waverley’s guidance on Risk Assessment and Aggression at Work.

If you still have any queries then you should ask for advice from the Council’s Safety and Emergency Planning Adviser.

The purpose of this document is to establish the way in which the Council applies health and safety controls and responsibilities for lone workers, either operating on the Council sites or working alone away from the Council. This policy also forms part of the general Health & Safety Policy.

We recognise that sometimes it is necessary for staff to work alone, and often away from their normal place of work, carrying out site visits, inspections and the like.

The Council as a caring employer is concerned to take steps to increase the support and protection of its staff whilst working alone, away from the office. Fortunately, incidents occurring to staff away from the office are few and far between, but if they do occur, they are unpleasant and upsetting for the employees concerned.

These guidelines attempt to balance the Council's need to carry on its business without causing its staff to be vulnerable to assault or other forms of aggression.

It is expected that through adoption of the following guidelines, the likelihood of incidents can be reduced to a minimum. Regardless, arrangements for support for employees are in place should they be required.

Legislation

The primary requirement of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 imposes a ‘duty of care’ on organisations for all its employees. This duty is reinforced by various other acts and regulations, such as the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR), which stresses the requirements for risk assessments. These 1999 regulations also include further responsibilities for young workers and new or expectant mothers. The same regulations also impose a duty on organisations to exchange health and safety information with contractors, particularly where lone workers are involved. Lone working is also considered in various other forms of health and safety legislation, depending upon the operations in question.

There is no general legal prohibition on working alone but sometimes the law requires that at least two people must be involved in some types of work and specifies the safe system of work to be followed.

As outlined in the main Council Safety Policy, in pages 1 to 8, Waverley Borough Council is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of all its employees, and for the health and safety of those affected by its work, so far as is reasonably practicable. These responsibilities cannot be transferred to employees working alone or without close supervision, although staff do individually have responsibilities under the policy and health and safety legislation. Waverley Borough Council as an employer has a duty to organise, control and monitor those who work alone.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to assess the risks to health and safety involved with activities at work. This will need to include lone workers.

There are Specific Prohibitions on working alone in some instances; those which might apply to Waverley Borough Council operations include:

Some fumigation and other work with substances hazardous to health under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and related codes of practice. Young people using prescribed dangerous machinery and certain processes require supervision under Regulation 19 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Using the unsupported access equipment and erecting scaffolding under the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996. Working in confined spaces under the Confined Spaces Regulations 1997. Some work covered by the Electricity at Work Regulations, 1989.

Defining Terms

The term lone working within the meaning of this policy, applies to persons operating singularly, as given by the following examples:-

Staff working alone on site but outside normal working hours.
Staff working in Council buildings but significantly away from the proximity of other persons.
Council staff working alone in any of the Council’s buildings, again possibly outside normal opening hours.
Staff required to visit individuals in their home or elsewhere, when no other third-party is present.
Staff who tend to spend a significant proportion of their working week away from the office visiting firms or other organisations.
Staff who travel alone as a significant part of their working time.

This policy does not specifically pertain to so-called home workers. Also, excluded from the term lone working are those staff who infrequently travel between the The Burys and other Council buildings and those staff visiting firms or other organisations on an irregular basis. However, some of the salient aspects of this policy and prescribed actions should be still considered by managers for any employees undertaking visits in general.

The term Manager within this policy means anyone within Waverley Borough Council who has responsibilities for subordinate staff, and for whom, therefore, they have responsibilities in relation to health, safety and welfare.

A POLICY FOR SAFEGUARDING STAFF

Managers will endeavour to avoid lone working situations whenever possible. When such working is required managers will endeavour to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that lone workers are not placed at any greater risk than other Council workers.

Managers will positively identify those workers who may be deemed as lone workers, operating as such on either a regular or ad hoc basis, these can include:

Early or late workers: staff who are either the first to come on to the premises in the morning or the last to leave at night.
Mobile workers (Travelling officers):those who work away from their fixed base.
Staff in isolated locations:e.g. only one person on premises or site.

Managers will undertake all necessary risk assessments for lone workers and endeavour to eliminate, so far is as reasonably practicable, risks or hazards in such operations. Where such hazards remain, efforts will be made to minimise the risks to lone workers by safe working systems.

Managers will endeavour to maintain a record system of visits undertaken by lone workers and arrange for an appropriate system of periodic reporting to verify worker safety.

Managers should encourage lone working staff, so far as possible, that in addition to keeping a diary and calling in to the office on a regular basis, that they inform their own spouse / partner / family or friends of their movements or plans, so that relatives can contact Council managers should they fail to return when expected. Managers should ensure that staff working alone and operating sometimes out-of-doors and in dark areas are supplied with appropriate clothing, communication arrangements and torches.

Lone workers, depending upon their work operations, and if working away from the office, must carry their Waverley identity card containing their photograph, and as appropriate, personal safety alarms and a mobile phone. The phone need not be Council supplied but the contact number should be made available to relevant managers or other contact persons. Lone workers must inform their line manager of visits and any variation to planned visits.

First Aid packs, if requested, can be made available to lone workers operating away from the office. Also, basic First Aid training or guidance should be made available to such employees, to provide for their own basic needs. For further information on first aid issues and first aid kits, refer to Personnel.

Departmental or section managers are responsible for identifying general safety training needs of lone workers and to give guidance to lone workers to enable them to identify hazards and undertake safe working practises for their own well-being.

Lone workers should make themselves aware of all Council operational safety procedures and otherwise comply with all control and reporting requirements established for their own well-being and in compliance with this policy.

Lone workers should report any new or unrecorded hazards or risks to their manager at the first opportunity, to enable managers to access and initiate appropriate safe working arrangements and amend risk assessments records as required.

Lone workers are required, as specified under the Health and Safety etc. Act 1974, to take all reasonable safety precautions when undertaking their work function and this requirement is especially important when operating alone.

The Council will operate appropriate management systems to ensure that staff regularly working on their own, are monitored and from time to time have a meeting with their manager or other staff, to ensure that they are able to function alone in a satisfactory manner. The Council will also ensure that the well-being of such lone workers is monitored, including their general health, since normal interactive processes may be otherwise limited.

Employees who operate in a lone worker capacity should inform their manager of any change in their personal circumstances, including health, which might have a bearing on their personal safe working arrangements.

Council managers will exchange health and safety procedural arrangements with any contractual workers and their employing organisation in compliance with the MHSWR and other regulations as so required. Such exchanges of health and safety information are crucially important for lone worker operations.

Managers delegate to lone workers, including staff working when the building is closed to the public, responsibilities for health and safety matters that remain by law the obligation of Council managers.

LONE WORKING PROCEDURES & GUIDANCE

Guidelines for Early and Late Workers:

Any member of staff working outside normal working hours, particularly on their own, is at greater risk either from intruders or from personal accident when there is no help available. The best solution is to avoid such lone working, either by home-working or by planned activity involving two or more people.

If it is unavoidable, sensible precautions should be taken:

Guidelines for External Visits

Decisions on visits will be at the discretion of departmental managers, however, the following guidelines are designed to assist managers in making these decisions.

Many officers regularly make external visits as part of their normal duties, and in most cases there is no likelihood of any violence whatsoever. However, in a very few cases it is sensible to take special precautions - these will include:-

Council Tax home visits of a sensitive financial nature e.g. where the client is not getting the answer they want, or the officer needs to probe for personal information.

Some home visits on a particularly sensitive subject matter where any hostile reaction might reasonably be expected.

Visits to any person and premises included in the Council’s Staff Safety Register (SSR) within Lotus Notes.
This is a list of persons who have been aggressive in the past. Staff should check this list to see whether or not the person to be visited is on the list as being previously aggressive. If so, reconsider the visit, take a colleague or make other arrangements.

For these sorts of visits only, two employees could undertake it even if only one person goes in for the interview and the other acts as back-up. Where an employee asks to be accompanied by a colleague, their manager should grant their request if considered reasonable. It is, in any case, already standard practice in many departments for two officers to attend where there is any expectation that the visitee may be aggressive. Where an interview is with persons so flagged in the SSR, require them to attend by appointment so that the meeting can be conducted within secure interview rooms on Council premises.

If possible, carry a mobile phone and/or a panic alarm.

Use a “booking out” procedure: display a whiteboard in your department which lists your name, where you are going, when you expect to be back and mobile phone number. Ensure Personnel have an up-to-date record of your vehicle registration number, and make, model and colour of vehicle. If you are not back by the expected time and you have not called in to revise your time of return, your colleagues should telephone you to ensure you are safe.

If the person you wish to visit is not in, do not try to enter the property. You might also postpone the visit if there are a group of people in the client's home or an aggressive dog or any other factor that would lead to you to feel there is a hostile environment. Do not enter if only children are present - always leave at once and make another appointment.

If you are under duress but cannot speak freely on the phone, use the coded phrase “ Tell Les I’m going to be late” to alert your colleagues to the fact that you are in trouble.

If you feel there is a likelihood of aggression on a home visit, then when inside the property, try to keep the client in front of you at all times, and make sure they are not blocking your exit. Avoid going upstairs or into a back room downstairs.

If the client is under the influence of alcohol, drugs or inappropriately dressed (that is in a manner which may place staff in a vulnerable position or lead to an allegation of sexual assault) you should immediately terminate the visit.

Do try to remain neutral. If there is a family argument, avoid being used by one member of the family against another.

If you feel uncomfortable, do not hesitate to abandon a visit and arrange to come back at a later date. You can feign illness or a further appointment if necessary to effect an escape.

Ensure colleagues know about your visit - where you are going, how long you are likely to be etc. Try to avoid going straight home after a sensitive visit to a client – it is better to return to the office so your colleagues know you have returned safely. If it is not practical to return to the office, arrange to phone a colleague or supervisor at work or even at home to let them know everything is well.

If a sensitive visit has taken much longer than anticipated you may wish to inform the office. Ideally, your colleagues should telephone you to check you are safe. Remember, you must carry your photographic Waverley identity card when carrying out any home visit.

If an employee does not return from a home visit from which a hostile reaction may be expected within a reasonable timescale, their manager must nominate somebody to make every effort to contact them. This may involve calling the employee at their own home later in the day, or alerting the Police if there appears to be a problem.

If it is possible, try and avoid home visits out of normal office hours, and also visits in the hours of darkness if at all possible. However, it is often not possible to do so - if an evening or weekend visit is necessary, and a hostile reaction may reasonably be expected, think of back-up. This does not mean other members of staff attending necessarily, and may involve arranging to ring someone when the visit has been concluded.

If staff use mobile radios, they may wish to pre-arrange a call-sign to give to base where assistance or Police help is required urgently.

At all times use your personal discretion as to whether to proceed with an inspection/activity - if in doubt don’t! Report all incidents via the REPoRT IT! On-line system in Lotus Notes. Tell your line manager and annotate file/advise colleagues as appropriate. (Ref: corporate Aggression at Work Policy)

Additional measures to be taken for site visits considered hazardous, including contaminated sites

At all times use your personal discretion as to whether to proceed with an inspection/activity - if in doubt don’t! Report all incidents as above.
Report to reception/site office and observe any ‘booking in’ procedures.
Comply with all reasonable health and safety requirements in place at the premises. Let the occupier of premises take the lead when showing you around the premises.
Wear suitable Personal Protective Equipment where appropriate or instructed by proprietor.
Observe out of office log out procedure and mobile ‘phone procedure.
Observe good standards of personal hygiene.
Do not enter premises suspected of severe structural instability or of other obvious danger - consult with Building Control Service.
Consider accompanied visits to empty premises if considered high risk.
Do not handle hazardous or unknown chemicals or other agents. Inspect any relevant COSHH assessments for specific risks.
Consider involving the emergency services in dealing with unknown chemicals/containers.
Check suitability/safety of all equipment prior to use.
Checks on electrical installations should be limited to visual inspection, unless you are a trained member of staff, so authorised.
On land infested, or potentially infested, with rodents be particularly aware of risk of Weils disease and ensure good personal hygiene, covering with waterproof dressing any cuts or abrasions and wearing of suitable PPE in particular strong gloves.

Additional measures to be taken for site visits out of hours

Where confrontation is anticipated then consider accompanied visit and/or police presence.
At all times use your personal discretion as to whether to proceed with an inspection/activity - if in doubt don’t!.

Mobile Phones/Personal Alarms
Where a mobile phone or personal attack alarm has been issued it must be taken and usable.

Staff should always carry a personal alarm while working away from their base, these can be obtained from Personnel.

Other General precautions


a) New or unforeseen hazards – If a member of staff encounters or discovers a situation of increased risk which has not been considered in a risk assessment, the manager or supervisor must be notified immediately. A modification can be made to the safe method of work.
b) Emergencies – Lone workers should be fully briefed as to the action to be taken in the event of an emergency, which will vary according to the type of work and local arrangements.
c) Vehicle breakdown – Observe procedure in “travelling tips” below.
d) Extreme weather conditions – Serious consideration should be given by managers and staff as to whether work should continue during these periods.

Training requirements

a) Employees and others must be given all necessary information, instruction, training and supervision to enable them to recognise the hazards and appreciate the risks involved with working alone. Staff will be required to follow the safe working procedures and have awareness of emergency procedures. All employees are required to co-operate with these efforts to ensure safe working and to report any concerns or training needs to their line manager.

b) Written details are kept of specialist training provided and qualifications awarded to staff engaged in lone working. Other arrangements, informal training at team level – such as simple records of verbal or practical instruction must be kept by line managers.

Finally:

SOME Dos and DON’Ts

o) Always tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return.
o) Take suitable clothing and equipment.
o) Pay attention to the surrounding environment – danger can lurk around the corner.
o) Proceed with care at all times.
o) Park your car safely off the road if possible
o) Always carry your staff identification card and any other special medical requirements personal to you e.g. any medicines you are taking, blood group if unusual, etc.
o) Beware of hidden ditches and drains.
o) Check bridges and stiles if in doubt about their state of repair.
o) Beware of falling branches after storms or from damaged trees.
o) Electric fences are more potent during rain or in damp conditions.
o) Always carry an alarm or scarer to deter animals.
o) Always carry a first aid kit.
o) Water in ditches might be affected by Leptospirosis (Weil’s disease) so follow the directions on your Waverley Leptospirosis card.
o) Do not shelter under trees during storms.
o) Do not enter areas that are affected by drifting crop-spraying as this can cause illness, drowsiness and allergic reactions.

SOME ADDITIONAL ADVICE
All staff are trained in-house on the “Handling Aggression” training course, which is mandatory as part of the Personal Development and Review process. This will, amongst other things, help you to consider the following questions:

When you are frightened, ask yourself:

Is this person’s anger or hostility directed at me, the Council or themselves? Is it a form of distress?

Am I in danger? If you think you are, leave and get help immediately.

Am I the best person to deal with this? If you find particular situations difficult, perhaps someone else could handle this situation more effectively. This is not a cop-out.

Please take special note, however, that we do not expect you to take any undue risks. If other forms of prevention do not seem to be working and you feel threatened or ill at ease in a situation, make your excuses and leave. At the first sign of trouble staff must withdraw, i.e. steps must be taken to avoid potentially violent situations.

If necessary, arrange for the police to be called. Trust your instincts.

In both cases, even if no actual physical harm has been done, you should complete the standard aggression / incident report and give it to your manager, and ideally, the report should be completed as soon as possible after the event, so that there is more chance of remembering and recording exact words and recollections of sequences of events. The report should be as full as possible, names and addresses of witnesses, where applicable should be included.

Health and safety advice to drivers on Waverley Business has been circulated to all staff in a special leaflet. This advice is repeated below:


Travelling Tips

Going by car

Keep your vehicle in good working order by regular servicing to reduce the risk of breakdowns. Join an emergency breakdown service; some of these companies now issue members with mobile phones so you do not have to leave the car to call for help.

Keep change and a phonecard in the car, if you do not always carry a mobile telephone so you can call for help. Remember that you must NOT use a mobile telephone whilst moving, even with hands free equipment.

Know where you are going and how to get there. Plan your route in advance and carry with you any maps or instructions you need to find your destination.

If you do get lost, only ask for directions at a well-lit public place; e.g. a petrol station.

Travel by main roads and well-lit streets.

Keep the car locked when you are driving and windows up, especially in towns where you might have to stop at junctions or traffic lights.

Never leave valuable items on the passenger seat - handbags, for example. Visible valuables encourage snatch thieves. Lock valuables in the boot when you leave your car to go to the appointment.

Lock your car whenever you leave it, even if you are just going into the service station to pay for petrol.

When you park during the day, ask yourself what the area or car park will be like if you return to your car after dark.

Always park your car in the direction of escape; this avoids the need to manoeuvre if you need to leave in a hurry.

Do not stop for people who flag you down. If you think they need help, drive to a phone and call for help on their behalf.

If you feel threatened by other drivers, drive to the nearest police station, ambulance station or fire station. Failing this, go to a well-lit and populated petrol station.

If you are prevented from moving off keep the engine running, make sure the doors are locked and make as much noise as possible. Your car is fitted with a horn - use it.

Non - motorway breakdowns

Turn on the hazard warning lights.

Assess whether it is safer to stay in the car or get out.

If you carry a warning triangle, put it 30 metres behind the car on the same side of the road as the car.

If somebody appears, get back in the car, lock it and talk to them through a partly opened window, ask them to get the police.

If you have to leave the car, make sure you know how to find it again.

It is useful to have a torch and a warm coat in the car and remember to take your personal alarm with you and keep it in your hand.


Breakdowns on motorways

Put the hazard warning lights on and pull on to the hard shoulder.

If possible, coast until you reach the nearest telephone. These phones are located every 1000 metres, so you should never have to walk more than 500 metres to reach the nearest. Every 100 metres there are marker posts pointing to where the nearest phone lies.

If you carry a warning triangle place it at least 100 metres behind your car - too close does not give other drivers enough warning.

Simply lift the emergency phone, no money is needed, you will be connected to the police control room.

When using the phone, face the traffic so you can see anyone approaching. If you are a lone woman, tell the control room.

Tell the control room staff what is wrong and if you are a member of a breakdown organisation, have your card ready so you can tell them your registration number. If you cannot remember the car’s registration number note it down too, before you walk to the phone.

Back at your car, lock it and wait on the embankment. If an unmarked car stops, get back in your car and lock it. Only open the window a little if somebody wants to talk to you.


REMEMBER THE REPORTING OF INCIDENTS
Even if no actual physical harm has been done, you should complete the standard aggression / incident report in Lotus Notes, or in hard copy if your PC is not directly linked to the system - give it to your manager, and ideally, the report should be completed as soon as possible after the event, so that there is more chance of remembering and recording exact words and recollections of sequences of events. The report should be as full as possible, names and addresses of witnesses, where applicable should be included

As stated in other sections, incidents of a serious nature and/or involving bodily harm should also be reported to the Police. Staff should not feel embarrassed or reluctant about reporting incidents, which are not a reflection on them or their performance of the job.
The incident forms could also be used as a basis for recording informal details of clients with a history of violence.


Comms/o&s1/2004-05/042