The enforcement of health and safety at work in Northern Ireland is carried out jointly by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) and District Councils. In 2011 HSENI and the District Councils launched a joint strategy for the better regulation of health and safety at work in Northern Ireland.
The strategy “Health and safety at work: protecting lives not stopping them”, commits HSENI and district councils to work together to tackle the major causes of accidents and ill health in workplaces in Northern Ireland. Details of current and previous joint initiatives are detailed below:
Slips, trips and falls from height
Ards and North Down Borough Council partnered with the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) in 2017 to deliver a health and safety initiative focusing on slips, trips and falls from height.
Slips, trips and falls from height continue to cause accidents, injuries and fatalities in many different workplaces in Northern Ireland. The total number of deaths during this period as a result of work-related falls represents one third of the total workplace fatalities.
There are many simple ways to control the risks of slips, trips and falls from height:
For slips and trips
- stop floors becoming contaminated
- use the right cleaning methods
- get the right footwear
- think about people and organisational factors – for example, consider how work is organised and managed, e.g. to avoid rushing, overcrowding, trailing cables
For work at height
- avoid working from height in the first place by carrying out the job at ground level
- prevent a fall from occurring with edge protection and safe use of ladders
- minimise the consequences of a fall with safety nets and other safety equipment
See links below for further information:
Slips and trips leaflet
Falls from Height
Safe Skin Initiative
Ards and North Down Borough Council partnered with HSENI in 2016 to deliver a Health and Safety awareness raising initiative focusing on safe skin.
The organisations involved visited businesses to ensure that where appropriate, workers were given information, training and equipment to protect skin from workplace hazards.
The initiative focused on the common workplace skin issues of sun exposure for outdoor workers and work related dermatitis.
Work-related dermatitis (sometimes known as eczema) accounts for a significant proportion of work-related ill health whereas sun exposure can blister skin and make it peel or in the long term may increase the chance of developing skin cancer.
The majority of work-related skin disease cases are preventable by adopting simple steps to manage risks in the workplace; effective skin care is an important part of any regime, along with applying simple exposure reduction methods.
When inspectors visit relevant workplaces initiative they expect safe skin to be considered in the business risk assessment. If safe skin is a potential issue, they will expect to see effective organisation and arrangements, which may include:
- Risk assessment considering Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) and sun exposure.
- Information, instruction and supervision, with evidence of management commitment
- Controls adequate to establish a Safe Working Distance between skin and contaminants
- Personal Protective Equipment (including gloves) used
- Skin inspection in place, with records
- Work-related skin issues reported under RIDDOR
Where can I get more Information?
Information leaflets have been developed for the initiative which gives advice for employers and employees who may be affected by work related skin issues.
They can be downloaded here:
Safe Skin in the sun
Safe Skin working with chemicals
New to the Job Initiative
In 2015 Councils in Northern Ireland worked in partnership with HSENI to deliver a Health and Safety initiative focusing on employees who are inexperienced or new to the job.
Young and inexperienced recruits who are new to a workplace are three times more likely to be killed or injured than their experienced workmates who have been there for a year or more. The extra risk arises due to:
- lack of experience of working in a new industry or workplace
- lack of familiarity with the job and the work environment
- reluctance to raise concerns (or not knowing how to)
- eagerness to impress workmates and managers.
For further information on how to ensure the safety of employees who are new to the job please visit the HSENI website
Buried LPG pipework initiative
In 2014 Councils in Northern Ireland worked in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) on an initiative to increase duty-holders awareness of the risks associated with underground metallic LPG pipework.
For further information on buried LPG pipework please visit the HSENI website
Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) initiative
MSDs include back injuries, neck and upper limb disorders (ULDs) and lower limb disorders (LLDs). They account for significant numbers of injuries/absenteeism in workplaces in Northern Ireland. Workers in all types of jobs and employment sectors are affected by MSDs although some types of disorders are associated with particular tasks or occupations. Lifting, poor posture, exposure to vibrations and repetitive movements are among the risk factors, as well as work organisational (psychosocial) factors.
In 2014 Councils in Northern Ireland worked in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) on an initiative aimed at improving management of the risks typically associated with these types of injuries.
For further information on MSDs please visit the HSENI website
Workplace Transport Initiative
In 2013 Councils in Northern Ireland partnered with HSENI to deliver a Workplace Transport inspection and enforcement initiative with a focus on Safe Site; Safe Vehicle; Safe Driver.
Vehicles are particularly dangerous in the workplace. From 2004 to 2012 in Northern Ireland forty people were killed as a result of workplace transport accidents. A range of sectors are at risk and for a number of reasons. Contributory factors include:
No or inadequate risk assessments
Poor workplace design and layout (particularly vehicle pedestrian segregation)
Poor systems for detecting and correcting poor behaviour
Poor driver training
For further information on workplace transport please visit the HSENI website
Councils in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland carried out a Safe Maintenance Campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of poorly planned maintenance.
Maintenance can take many forms and can involve working at heights, exposure to asbestos, repairing machinery or using hazardous chemicals. It should never be approached lightly but instead should be carefully planned.
For further information on safe maintenance in the workplace please visit the safe maintenance website
For further information on any of these initiatives please contact Environmental Health on 0300 013 3333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.