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INTERNATIONAL GENERAL

CERTIFICATE
(2011 specification)

Candidate report template

UNIT IGC3 THE HEALTH AND


SAFETY PRACTICAL APPLICAITON

Student number 00208088


Location Rua Fresca 1 Tardoz 3080 Figueira da Foz, Portugal Date of review 11 /12 /13

Introduction
th

On the 11 December 2013, carried out a workplace inspection of MF&NF Law firm, at Rua Fresca 1
Tardoz 3080 Figueira da Foz, Portugal.
The main function of this firm involves the practical application of abstract legal theories and
knowledge to solve specific individualized problems, or to advance the interests of those who retain
(i.e., hire) lawyers to perform legal services.
The law firm is embedded in a residential building. Within this firm, we can verify the existence of
three offices, (one administration office, and two lawyer office), a waiting room (with chairs and
magazines) and one toilet.
The average of the workers is 47; there are 5 employees (two secretaries and a cleaning woman, 1
lawyer and an administrator who is also a lawyer in the firm. This assessment is concerned only with
the offices and toilet.

Executive Summary
Firstly I am pleased to report that the level of general housekeeping meets a satisfactory level.
However I have identified some issues that require attention, the main ones been lack of adjustable
chair, electrical cables poorly positioned at the rear of computer desk, used damaged electrical cable
of a computer, cleaning products stored in the toilet, no fire extinguishers, the first aid box is not
sealed and has inadequate and outdated contents, lone working and working outside normal working
hours, and overuse injuries from extended periods of filing and storage hard copies of documents.
Failure to act on these recommendations will result in ill health and injury leaving you wide open to
civil action claims from individuals which if taken to the High Court can result in 50,000 to unlimited
compensation been awarded.
Health and safety should be led from the top and cascaded down through each level, promoting a
good health and safety culture which improve staff morale, reduce accident, and increase productivity.
By acting on the recommendations in this report the authority will be fulfilling its legal, moral and
financial obligation.

Main findings of the inspection


Detailed consideration has been given to the main hazards and unsafe practices in the law firm, due
to the fact that certain Health and Safety regulations are not being adhered to, these are explained
below under 7 headings. Other points that require attention are the shortfall in following procedures in
identifying defects by the workforce. Administrator is also at fault by not carrying out workplace
inspections or ignoring clear breaches of health and safety legislation. Examples of this would be the
lack of training in Preventing Overuse Injuries Training Course (MHO regulations 1992 as amended in
2002), the periodical control of equipments for safe condition and taken out of use if any damage
found, providing step-stool or step ladders used to access high shelves, providing sufficient number
and position of fixed socket outlets, implement a workplace violence prevention and management,
and provide drinkable water (Welfare Regulations).

The MF&NF Law firms management system has some problems and is currently in breach of the
MHSW regulations 1999 by not providing certain training and health and safety surveillance.
a) Ergonomic Risks
Many of the observed hazards and risks to employees are related to ergonomics. In particular the lack
of adjustable chair (ob1), excessive duration in a seated position (ob2), poor desk layout and
insufficient working space (ob3), overuse injuries due to extended periods of filing and storage hard
copies of documents (ob12), therefore the health and safety responsible, must assess the quality and
contents of the induction course, and also asses the necessity of develop new training programs
because of the large number of hazards found. Not fulfil these recommendations are breaches to the
HSW act 1974 and MHSW regulations, and workplace regulations 2002.
b) Electrical Risks
Risk of electrical shock or burning by using damaged electrical cable of a computer (ob15) with
electrical cables poorly positioned at the rear of computer desk. The cables are all knotted together
and kinked (ob14), risk of electrical shock, due to an electric socket cracked (ob18). So I can say that
the electricity at work regulations 1989 and MHSW regulations are not completely accomplished.
c) Risk of Physical injury
I have concerns regarding to the likelihood of physical injuries in this office, because of the presence
of electrical cables, resulting in slips, trips or falls (ob7), risk of cuts, physical injury, due to work with
guillotine (ob9) due to no perform regular inspections and checks to the equipment, not fulfilling thus
the provision and use of work equipment regulations 1998. Other risk is the risk of bumps, bruises,
concussion (ob11) due to falls when accessing high level shelves, overuse injuries (ob12) for failing to
comply manual handling operations regulations (MHO) 1992 as amended in 2002, and injuries due to
dropping of items being stored at shelves (ob13).
d) Chemical Risks
Regarding to chemicals risks, in the office we have the likelihood of irritation to skin and eyes, by
working with multifunction printers and fax, due to exposure to toner (ob8), or by poor storage of
cleaning products in the toilet where everyone can badly use it (ob19), being in fault with the
Chemicals Regulations 2009.
e) Fire Precautions
The RRFSO 2005 requires that the firefighting arrangements must be provided in a workplace. If any
fire was to ignite in this office, the workforce and clients would be in serious danger of burns and
possible fumes from burning items. Some hazards and risks observed in the office are electrical
cables poorly positioned at the rear of computer desk. Cables all knotted together and kinked, this
could cause a build-up of heat in the cables causing a risk of fire (ob14), risk of fire due to over
loading of electrical sockets (ob16), no fire extinguisher, which in case of fire, there are no adequate
manner to extinguish it (ob20). However I could see a good practice, the reams of sheets arent in
contact with or in close proximity to heat sources, because the sheets are well located and well
protected.
f)

First aid and emergency drills

There is a possible breach on Health and Safety (first aid) Regulations 1981 as amended in 2002. If
any worker or public required first aid box, this would not be adequate to cover all eventualities
(ob21), is sorely needed to nominate a responsible person (could be the designated first aider) to set
up and accomplish an inspection regime on the first aid box, another issue is the lack of emergency
drills, and emergency training (ob25), and because there is no person responsible for giving alarm,
nor any means of giving alarm, neither a meeting point was established (ob26).

g) Psychosocial Risks
The Staff are exposed to potentially confrontational situations and experiencing aggressive or violent
behaviour towards them, due to meetings/ face to face, telephone and email (ob22); work related
stress, due to prolonged periods of excessive demands being place on and experienced by staff, or
for staff having conflicting roles or receiving little or no support to enable them to effectively carry out
their work (ob23), risk of being physically assaulted when walking to and from your vehicle /transport
alone or in the dark, due to working after business hours(ob24). Lone working and working outside
normal working hours, is also a hazard because could lead staff to be unable of staff promptly
summon emergency assistance in the event of serious injury (ob27).

Conclusions
During my inspection it became clear that the general housekeeping is good, the offices are well
clean, and well lit. My main areas of concern are as follows, supervisors and managers not carrying
out regular inspections of the work areas. Supervision and training is required to target Health and
Safety issues that have been highlighted in this report. Some issues must be addressed urgently, to
avoid possible legal action. These issues are listed in the recommendations table.

Recommendations
Recommendation
a) Chair removal for a
suitable and adjustable
chair (observation 1);
a1) Re-Inform and Retrain staff regarding the
risks from using
unsuitable or damage
equipment;
b) Individual staff are
responsible for taking
breaks and doing
stretches (observation 2)
b1) All staff must attend
Preventing Overuse
Injuries Training Course;

c) Immediate seal the


cable by an external
contractor, the cables
require re-routing in a
safe and suitable order
(observation 15)
c1) Regular workplace
inspections and, where
necessary, testing

d) Temporarily seal off


socket to inform workers
and public;

Likely resource implications

Priority

Target date

High
1 hour for searching a suitable
chair; Approximately 75 for
buying new chair;

Immediate

Second week of
January 2014 plus
3 days

Install within one


month
3 Hours of training, contract an
competent person
(Approximately 75)
No cost, each worker take 2
minutes per hour to do stretches;
Taking break for 3 hours of work;

Contract a competent person, 3


hours of training (Approximately
75)

March 2014
3 Months
Medium
Long Term
Daily

3 Months

March 2014

High
Contract a competent person,
1hour (Approximately 30)

Repair within 3
days
14/12/2013 plus
two working days

1 2 hours per month

Medium
Long Term
Monthly

Contract a competent person,


1hour (Approximately 30)

High
Immediately

13/12/2014

d1) Replace electrical


socket using a qualified
person; (observation 18)

e) Review Safe work


procedure;
e1) Where possible,
restrict storage at height
to lighter and less bulky
items and minimise the
amounts stored at height
and the actual storage
height. (observation 13)
f) Provide a specific local
or closet well ventilated to
store the cleaning
products; (observation
19)
f1) Re-train cleaning
woman on the danger of
leaving chemicals
unlocked and in reach of
all staff and visitors.

g)Install fire extinguishers


in the office (CO2 and
H2O extinguishers)
(observation 20)
g1) Make out a fire risk
assessments;
g2) Set up a plan to
inspect and monitoring
the extinguishers.
h)Replace first aid box
with new one with
adequate and sufficient
contents; (observation 21)

Contract a competent person,


1hour (Approximately 30); Buy
new socket (Approximately 8)

17/12/2014
6 working days

Medium High

4 hours, contract competent


person to help if necessary

Annual review
December 2014

1 hour of labour for the


administrator, 1 hour to restorage

Immediate / long
term
Each 6 months
assess

June 2014

High

1 hour of labour to install new


furniture (closet) to storage this
products (Approximately 85)

Immediate (2days)

2 hours training (Approximately


50)

1 month

14/ 12/ 2014

11 January 2014
plus 5 working
days

High
Approximately 400 to install 2
fire extinguishers by an external
contractor

Within 2 weeks

1 hours for semester

Approximately 80 to buy a new


first aid box

i) Consultation with staff


Workplace violence;
(observation 22)

Approximately 1 hour of labour


for the administrator;

i1) Prevention and


management system.
(observation 27)

Approximately 1 hour of labour


for each 3 months, contract a
professional helper if necessary
(25)

February 2014

Each 6 months

High
15/12/2014
Within 3 days

Medium Low
1 month
January 2014
Each Trimester
(Continuous
reviewed)