18 March 2019 - Platform Lifts - Risk of Falls from Height

Safety Alert: Platform Lifts (Vertical lifting platforms for people with impaired mobility) – Risk of falls from height to employees/workers and members of the public.

Issued by: Health and Safety Executive (UK)

Target audience: 

  • Platform lift maintenance companies
  • Owners and operators of platform lifts in a range of sectors (e.g. health and social care, hospitals, public buildings, schools etc.).

Potential dangers:

  • inadequate maintenance of door components
  • inappropriate adjustment of door locks
  • interference with zone bypass switches at doors
  • unauthorised access to lift well (shaft) when the lifting platform (lift car) is at a different level

Required actions: 

  1. Lift maintenance companies should ensure maintenance activities are undertaken by competent personnel; in line with the manufacturer’s instructions and/or guidance; and in accordance with a safe system of work. Maintenance of the safety elements of the lift must not affect its safe operation. Modifications intended to keep a lift operating but which may result in unsafe operation must not be carried out under any circumstances.
  2. Owners and operators of vertical lifting platforms should:
      • review maintenance and inspection procedures to ensure that these tasks are carried out by persons competent to do so
      • introduce simple tests into daily checks for the lifts to confirm that:
        • Landing doors cannot be opened when the platform is not at the same level and;
        • The platform cannot travel without the doors closed and locked
          The checks should be carried out by a person who is competent to do so.

Click here to read this safety alert in full.

6 February 2019 - Electrical Hazards in Kitchens and Restaurants

Following a fatal electrocution, the Health & Safety Authority (HSA) has issuing a safety alert on the inherent dangers associated with electricity in a restaurant kitchen. In particular, the HSA is drawing attention to employers and managers of the dangers associated with older electrical installations and installations in harsh environments as may be found in restaurant kitchens.

Hazards associated with electricity may arise because of contact with live parts of the supply or as a result of fire caused by the installation or appliances.

The HSA has outlined the key steps to take as follows:

  1. Urgent action if anyone in the kitchen has experienced any instances of even mild shock or evidence of electric sparking.
  2. Ensure electrical accessories are suitably protected.
  3. Ensure all socket circuits are protected by a working RCD.
  4. Ensure that all metalwork is “bonded”.
  5. Ensure installation is regularly inspected and tested.

Click here to read this safety alert in full.

February 2019 - Change in enforcement expectations for mild steel welding fume

Issued by: Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Target audience: All workers, employers, self employed, contractors and any others who undertake welding activities, including mild steel,  in any industry.

Key issues:

  • There is new scientific evidence that exposure to all welding fume, including mild steel welding fume, can cause lung cancer.
  • There is also limited evidence linked to kidney cancer.
  • There is a change in HSE enforcement expectations in relation to the control of exposure of welding fume, including that from mild steel welding.
  • All businesses undertaking welding activities should ensure effective engineering controls are provided and correctly used to control fume arising from those welding activities.
  • Where engineering controls are not adequate to control all fume exposure, adequate and suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is also required to control risk from the residual fume.

Required actions:

  1. Make sure exposure to any welding fume released is adequately controlled using engineering controls (typically LEV).
  2. Make sure suitable controls are provided for all welding activities, irrelevant of duration.  This includes welding outdoors.
  3. Where engineering controls alone cannot control exposure, then adequate and suitable RPE should be provided to control risk from any residual fume.
  4. Make sure all engineering controls are correctly used, suitably maintained and are subject to thorough examination and test where required.
  5. Make sure any RPE is subject to an RPE  programme. An RPE programme encapsulates all the elements of RPE use you need to ensure that your RPE is effective in protecting the wearer.

Click here to read this safety alert in full.

21 June 2018 - Asbestos Containing Materials - Demolition

Target Audience: all duty-holders involved in the management of demolition or refurbishment works, including:

  • Clients
  • Project Supervisors for the Design Process (PSDP)
  • Project Supervisors for the Construction Stage (PSCS)
  • Designers (including architects, engineers etc.)
  • Contractors

Duty holders are to ensure Asbestos-Containing Materials (ACMs) are correctly identified before such works take place and are dealt with accordingly.

Required Actions: 

  • An RDAS is carried out by a competent person well in advance of commencement of site works to comply with the 2006/2010 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Asbestos Regulations and the Safety Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013 (the Construction Regulations). This facilitates effective planning of any necessary ‘pre-works’ ACM removals.
  • An RDAS is relevant to all pre-2000 commercial, agricultural and domestic refurbishment and demolition sites.
  • If a construction project presents a risk of disturbance of ACM, a PSDP and PSCS must be appointed in writing. Asbestos is a ‘Particular Risk’ as set out in Schedule 1 of the Construction Regulations.
  • The Preliminary Safety and Health Plan drawn up by the PSDP must address all particular risks including asbestos. This should include the results/findings of any asbestos survey (RDAS).
  • Where the site works are planned so as to avoid disturbance of any ACMs that are to remain in situ, the location of those ACMs must be communicated by the PSCS via the Safety and Health Plan to all contractors on site. This is to ensure that inadvertent disturbance of ACMs during the works is avoided

Leaving ACMs in situ for the duration of a refurbishment contract must be subject to a thorough risk assessment by a competent person.

Click here to read this safety alert in full.

14 May 2018 - Wood Pellets - Toxic Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) issued the following safety alert following a fatal accident. This is an urgent alert on the inherent toxic dangers of Carbon Monoxide poisoning associated with wood pellets.

When transported or stored, even in normal conditions, wood pellets can emit Carbon Monoxide. Unnoticed, the Carbon Monoxide can build to toxic levels.

Carbon Monoxide will be present wherever Wood Pellets are transported & stored. Workers must be informed of the significant risk and dangers of carbon monoxide exposure associated with Wood Pellets.

Employers must identify such hazards in their workplace and produce written risk assessments and ensure arrangements are in place to ensure safety of employees.

Required Actions: 

Employers should:

1. IDENTIFY where wood pellets are stored (even if only for a short period of time).

2. ERECT and maintain asphyxiation warning signs.

3. PREVENT un-authorised access.

4. PREPARE & implement safe systems of work based on written risk assessment(s)

Employees should:

1. ALWAYS Assume Carbon Monoxide is present in areas where Wood Pellets are stored

2. NOT ENTER or place their head into a wood pellet storage unit/tank/vessel, even for a very short period of time without necessary precautions.

3. NOT ENTER storage unit/tank/vessel unless fully trained and competent in confined space entry.

4. TAKE extreme care during maintenance, especially when blockages happen, or when low levels of pellets occur.

5. KNOW that the presence of Carbon Monoxide cannot be determined without specialist equipment.

Click here to read this safety alert in full.

22 December 2017 - Sanli Chainsaw SCS4950

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) advises owners and distributors of the portable chainsaw make Sanli SCS4950, that the importation company Tucks O’Brien Ltd. has agreed to a voluntary recall of this product. The recall is as a result of market surveillance testing carried out by the HSA that revealed serious safety defects with this machine.

The testing revealed that the dimensions of the front handle did not meet requirements. However, more importantly the chain catcher (a critical safety device) cracked during testing.

Required Actions: 

  • With immediate effect, the chainsaw involved should no longer be used or provided to others.
  • Check StockPlease check your stock immediately to determine whether you still have any Products. If you have any Products in stock, please ensure that:• The Products are not resold• Inform Tucks O’Brien Ltd. of the existence of the Products by calling 01 4677000• Do not dispose of the Products• Tucks O’Brien Ltd will. advise you regarding the return of products
  • Information to End UserPlease send this alert with the heading “Important Safety Information” to your end users where you know the address of the end user (e.g. from sources such as invoices, receipts, online orders etc.).3. Commercial CustomersIn the event that you have sold Products to any commercial customers (e.g. wholesalers, online retail platforms, commodity exchanges etc.), please forward this Alert to them and request that they in turn forward an alert to their customers.4. FeedbackTucks O’Brien Ltd requests that you inform them as promptly as possible of the measures that you have taken and of the status of those measures.Consumers can check directly with Tucks O’Brien Ltd. If affected, owners should call, as soon as possible, the Tucks O’Brien Ltd number 01 4677000

Please note Tucks O’Brien Ltd. is solely responsible for managing this recall. All queries or clarifications must be made directly with Tucks O’Brien Ltd, not the HSA

Contact Details

Tucks O’Brien Ltd Ph: 01 4677000 Email:

Click here to read this safety alert in full.

22 September 2017 - Tail Lift Failure
In 2016 a tail lift on a goods vehicle, carrying and employee and a loaded manual pallet truck, collapsed.
It was determined that 2 U-bolts securing the tail lift to the underside of the vehicle failed. This caused of the front of the tail lift to fall to the ground resulting in injury to the employee.
Required Actions
  • This incident reveals the importance of carrying out regular service checks in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Cleaning of component parts of the tail lift may be required to look for signs of wear and tear.
  • Tail lifts on goods vehicles are subject to 12 monthly statutory examinations and certification in accordance with the 2007 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations.
The relevant legislation can be found at
Click here to read the safety alert in full on the Health and Safety Authority website.

6 September 2017 - Passenger lifts marked with number CE490 installed by Ellickson Engineering
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has been made aware of passenger lifts installed by Ellickson Engineering Ltd. that are marked with the following “CE490” as the identification for the notified body involved in the conformity assessment process. Ellickson Engineering Ltd. is no longer trading and has been in receivership since 2011.
The HSA advises that all lift owners and other interested parties that the non CE490 is not a valid number and would indicate that the lift may not have been designed and/or installed in compliance with relevant legislation.
Required Action
Operators with a lift marked CE490 should:
1. Engage the services of a suitably qualified engineer to check if the lift installation complies with all the essential health and safety requirements of Annex 1 of the Lift Regulations (S.I. 246 of 1998).
2. Inform the Health and Safety Authority – see contact details below.
Workplace Contact Unit
Health and Safety Authority
Metropolitan Building
James Joyce Street
Dublin 1 D01 K0Y8
LoCall: 1890 289 389 (Monday to Firday, 09.00hrs to 12.30hrs)
Fax: 01 614 7125
Click here to read this safety alert in full.

10 August 2017 - Hot work on small drums, barrels, tanks and containers
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has issued this safety alert following a recent serious accident.

This alert is aimed at persons who may cut up or repair drums, tanks or other containers as part of their work.

Hot Work

Hot work is any process that generates flames, sparks or hear – it includes welding, cutting, grinding and sawing.

Required Action

  • To avoid any risk, persons who require drums, barrels or any containers for storage of scrap or other material should not adapt old barrels/containers for use but should purchase propriety containers from reputable suppliers.
  • Never apply heat to any drum, tank or container before ascertaining its contents and assessing the risk of fire and explosion. Even a tea spoon of flammable liquid in a drum can be enough to cause an explosion.
  • Hot work should not be carried out unless it is authorised and supervised by an experienced and competent supervisor, who has knowledge of the work, the risks involved and the precautions to be taken.
  • Before carrying out any hot work, employers must carry out an assessment of the risks. Other safer options should be considered such as:
    • Replacing rather than repairing and
    • Using cold cutting or cold repair techniques.

General advice on hot work

If there is no alternative to hot working, the tank, the drum or the container should be emptied and washed thoroughly by steam cleaning or other means. To reduce the risk, the air in the tank can be replaced, e.g., by using water. Ensure the tank is not sealed and can be vented to release steam. The services of a specialist should be used if filling with inert gas.

Click here to read this safety alert in full and for links to further information and advice.

5 July 2017 -Use of portable medical oxygen cd (integral valve) cylinders

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has issued this Safety Alert following a tragic fatal accident involving the use of a Portable Medical Oxygen Cylinder in an ambulance situation.

Portable Medical Oxygen Cylinders are utilised throughout the healthcare system to provide a temporary uninterrupted portable oxygen supply to patients. They may be used where, for example, a patient is being moved on a stretcher from an ambulance to a hospital trolley /bed or vice versa, or in the home environment.

Although rare, portable medical oxygen cylinder fires can occur, particularly when the cylinder valve is initially opened and flow selected. Operatives need to be mindful of this possibility and treat the cylinder with due care and attention at all times.

Important General Advice

  • Oxygen cylinders should be prepared for use in a vertical position, vigilance by the operator during preparation is of critical importance.
  • Set up the cylinder for patient use away from the patient, this includes connecting the appropriate equipment, selecting the flow rate and then opening the valve (slowly). During set up the fir tree opening should not point towards the patient, bed or operator.
  • Place the cylinder in an appropriately designed holder.
  • Do not place the cylinder on the patient’s bed unless there is no alternative. Use extra care when there is no option but to place the cylinder on the bed, ensuring it is has first been turned on with flow selected.
  • In an ambulance situation the oxygen cylinder should be prepared for use outside the ambulance if possible.
  • When medical oxygen is in use, ensure there are no sources of ignition in the vicinity.

Read the safety alert in full:

March 2017 - Safety footwear recall by Shoes for Crews

The Health and Safety Authority has been advised of a voluntary product recall of the following safety footwear under the brand Shoes for Crews.

Products: Alaskan II/Alaskan 2; Aramis (black and white); Colt Light/Lite, Defense; Guard; Luigi Light/Lite (black and white); Mario Light/Lite (black and white); Portos (black and white); Triston (black and white); Velocity II/Velocity 2; Warrior Light/Lite.

For further information check:

February 2017 - Safety Alert Hadar range of ATEX lighting products

The Health and Safety Executive in the UK issued this alert regarding light fittings (luminaires) for installation in potentially explosive atmospheres. The luminaires in question were manufactured by the Hadar Division of the A-Belco Group during the period 2006 – 2016.
This alert is aimed at those using the HDL100, HDL106, HDL 206 or HDL109 series of luminaires, part of the Hadar ATEX range of lighting products. Some of these fittings may have been purchased and installed in Ireland.

Visit bulletins/ for this safety alert in full.

February 2017 - Safety Alert Garden Buddy PM34 Lawn Mower

Safety Alert Garden Buddy PM34 Lawn Mower

The Health and Safety Authority has been advised by the UK based company Integral Sourcing Operation Ltd of a potential safety defect concerning “Garden Buddy” PM35 Petrol Lawn Mowers.

The affected lawn mowers have been produced with two batch codes, Batch No: 5114 and Batch No: 2315 . Batch 5114 was supplied in 2014 and Batch 2315 was supplied in 2015.

The supplier has reported there have been a small number of cases where the mower blade has broken. The batch number is clearly visible on the rating label located on the deck of the lawn mower.

The manufacturer has initiated a blade replacement programme and any purchaser who has a bought a machine from the only the two affected batches is advised to contact their place of purchase without delay.

For more information contact Integral Sourcing Operation Ltd at Pembury, 20 Beech Lea, Blunsdon, Wiltshire,SN267DE,UK:  Tel: 0044 1793703534

Click here for further information.

21 December 2016 - Safety Alert Bosch Grinders GWS20 and GWS22 Manufactured June-August 2016

Safety Alert Bosch Grinders GWS20 and GWS22 Manufactured June-August 2016

The Health and Safety Authority issued this alert after it had been made aware of a safety-related product recall by Bosch Power Tools for angle grinders.

The recall affects the following angle grinders (Products);

  • series GWS 20, and GWS 22 from the production period June through to August 2016

The company has ascertained that, due to a faulty component, the cutting or grinding disc together with the fastening fixture (spindle) could become detached during operation on a number of angle grinders. This could lead to serious injury to operators or others.

Bosch has decided to recall all potentially affected products with immediate effect.

Contact details

Service hotline: 00800 83 646 704

Bosch Agent in Republic of Ireland.

Magna Dr,
Magna Business Park,
Dublin 24, D24 VE8N

Phone: 01 4667000

Click here for the full alert from the HSA website.

30 June 2016 - Safety Alert Relating to the Use of Chain Flail or Other Non-Standard Cutting Attachments on Brush Cutters (2016)

Safety Alert Relating to the Use of Chain Flail or Other Non-Standard Cutting Attachments on Brush Cutters (2016)

This safety alert, originally published in 2010, has been re-issued as it has come to the attention of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) that Non –Standard flail brush cutter strimmer heads have been on sale recently. These attachments are extremely dangerous and should not be supplied or used. The safety alert is directed at suppliers and users of portable, hand-held, brush cutters and accessories. These machines are commonly used for cutting wild grass, weeds, brush and similar vegetation, using a variety of standard cutting attachments. They are frequently utilised in landscape maintenance and ground-clearance operations.

The European Commission (DG Enterprise and Industry) has required Member States to prohibit the placing on the market of flail-type cutting attachments consisting of several linked metal parts (e.g. chains) for portable hand-held brush cutters see decision here.

The Health and Safety Authority has become aware of a dangerous practice involving the fitting of non-standard cutting accessories, not approved by the manufacturers, to brush cutting machines. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK have investigated a fatal incident, the outcome of which indicates that a link, from a chain flail cutting head attached to a brush cutter, struck a nearby worker in the head. The EU rapid alert system for all dangerous consumer products (RAPEX) has warned of the possible supply of chain flail attachments comprising of a cutting head incorporating lengths of metal chain, the supplier of which advertises that their product can be used in conjunction with other main brand brush cutters.

WARNING: Under no circumstances should a non standard cutting head, i.e. one not specifically approved by the manufacturer for use with the machine, be fitted to a brush cutter.

Examples of non-standard cutting attachments

The guards fitted to brush cutters are primarily designed to prevent an operator from inadvertently coming into contact with the cutting accessory. They are normally not strong or robust enough to stop articles such as fragments of chain being ejected with high energy. Manufacturers design specific safeguarding to be used in combination with the original cutting equipment such as nylon cords, metal cutting blades and saw blades. The use of non-standard cutting attachments, not approved by the manufacturer, may, because of their geometry and mass, induce excessive stresses which could result in premature failure and possible break-up of the brush cutter, thereby increasing the risk of injury from any ejected component.  The harmonised standard for specifying the safety requirements for such machinery, EN ISO 11806, excludes from its scope brush cutters equipped with metallic blades having more than one part (such as chain links).

 These types of attachments should not be made available by suppliers. Users should never use a brush cutter fitted with a non standard cutting attachment. Equipment should be checked and any brush cutters fitted with chain flail or similar non-standard attachments should be taken out of service immediately and the attachments removed and replaced with a manufacturer-approved accessory. The manufacturer’s advice as to the appropriate cutting tools to be fitted to a machine is typically available within the instruction books accompanying a machine.


    • Health and Safety Executive, UK, Safety Alert: available here.
  • EN ISO 11806:2008, Agricultural and forestry machinery – Portable hand-held combustion engine driven brush cutters and grass trimmers – Safety (ISO 11806:1997).

View this Safety Alert on the Health and Safety Authority’s webpage:

1 June 2016 - Working on Fragile Roofs

Working on Fragile Roofs

A significant rise in the number of fatalities involving working on roofs, particularly involving fragile roof materials, prompted the Health and Safety Authority to issue this Safety Alert to highlight the need for stringent health and safety procedures when carrying out this type of work.

In the last 5 years (2011-2015) there have been 12 fatalities associated with roof work. Of these 10 deaths have involved sheeted / cladded type roofs while 2 occurred on other types of roofs. 7 of these fatalities occurred on agricultural buildings with most involving a simple fall through fragile roof material.
Fragile roofing materials include:

    • Rooflights and Perspex sheeting, often difficult to identify due to weathering
    • Liner sheets on built up roofs
    • Unreinforced cement sheets including asbestos cement sheeting
    • Glass (including wired glass)
  • Wood wool slabs

Always assume all roofing materials are fragile unless confirmed otherwise by a competent person

Required Action:

    1. Do not undertake any roofwork, painting or repairs yourself unless you are competent to do so. Work on fragile and cladded type roofs requires the worker to be competent and in possession of the relevant valid SOLAS Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) for Roof Cladding.
    1. Risk assess the work including considering all specific hazards such as fragile roofs.
    1. Select the most suitable work equipment for the job. Collective protection must be prioritised over individual protection.
  1. Carry out the work in a safe manner in accordance with the HSA Code of Practice for Safety in Roofwork (see link below). 

Further information:

18 May 2016 - Safety Alert for Scaffolding Components

Safety Alert for Scaffolding Components

The Health and Safety Authority has issued this alert to highlight the importance of ensuring that any scaffolding component used is in safe working order and in an appropriate condition for the task being undertaken. Corroded and rusting scaffolding components can lead to serious issues with the scaffolding’s structural integrity and can lead to catastrophic failures and scaffolding collapses.

Rusting is most prone on non-galvanised scaffolding systems and in particular on the wedge type painted steel scaffolding systems common in Ireland.

A thorough inspection routine must be in place for inspection of scaffolding components to ensure that any components with corrosion or defects that would impact their safe use are removed and not used.

This is particularly important if scaffold elements are coming out of storage having not been in use for some time.

A thorough visual inspection will identify most corrosion, rust and pitting. Other signs of corrosion include loss of weight of the component, reduction in the tube wall thickness, corrosion around welds and on the inner tubes.

Surface rust should be cleared in order to inspect a component correctly. If the component is damaged it needs to be put out of use or repaired by a competent person and repainted.

Note: Sand blasting and painting only of scaffolding components, while reducing further deterioration, does not repair damaged components and may actually hide damage.

Rusted scaffolding components can also cause tetanus which is a serious disease caused by bacteria entering the body through open wounds or cuts.

Action Required:

    • Inspection of scaffolding components must be carried out by a competent person and the condition of components should be continually inspected as part of the scaffolding inspection routine.
    • Excessively rusted or corroded scaffold should never be used in a scaffold assembly.
    • Any defective components should be put out of use or repaired by a competent person.
  • The manufacturers manual for all system scaffolds must be available when erecting, modifying and dismantling scaffolds. This should also inform the user in relation to maintaining the scaffold in good order. 

Further information:

12 February 2016 - Removal of Split Rim/Multi Piece Wheels from Vehicles

Removal of Split Rim/Multi Piece Wheels from Vehicles
Split rim wheels are different from standard one piece wheels. Spilt rims are multi-piece wheels, where the tyre is held in place by a locking ring. Split rims are not normally used on cars or light vehicles. They are however found on a number of larger vehicle types. This type of wheel configuration is commonly associated with lorries, tractors, forklifts, and other heavy vehicles used in the construction and mining sectors.

A failure to put in place the necessary safety control measures when working with split rim and multipiece wheels can give rise to serious hazards, as there is a risk of failure of the multipiece wheels. Failure of multipiece (Split Rim) wheels can result in violent separation, the explosive release of high pressure air and the ejection of component parts. The rapid release of explosive force from a ruptured tyre / tube or violent separation of the component parts of the wheel can result in serious injuries including fatalities.

Action Required:

  • Before beginning any work on a multipiece rim, inspect the tyre and wheel assembly for damage or incorrectly fitted parts. If there is damage or incorrectly fitting parts it may be necessary to put additional control measures in place
  • Divided or Split Wheels should always be fully deflated before removal from the vehicle. It is best practice in all situations to deflate pneumatic tyres prior to beginning removal of the wheels from the vehicle in order to reduce or eliminate the risk of explosion
  • Deflate the tyres, both tyres in a dual assembly, by removing the valve core. Ensure the tyre is completely deflated before removing the wheel from the axle
  • Limit exposure to the danger / trajectory zone until the tyre is deflated. Stand to the side and out of the way in case of a sudden disassembly.

Further information:

13 January 2016 - NSAI Issues Warning After Charger Causes Fire
NSAI Issues Warning After Charger Causes Fire

The National Standards Authority of Ireland is warning consumers to be extremely careful when buying and using electrical products.

It comes after a fire broke out in an apartment in Dublin when a charger left on a bed overheated and burst into flames, causing extensive damage.

“Electrical products like hair straighteners, hairdryers, laptops and phone chargers can be incredibly dangerous if left on beds or sofas. Although duvets and quilts often undergo flammability tests, accidents like this can still occur,” warned NSAI Director of Corporate Services, Pat Bracken.

Between 2005 and 2014, there have been 326 fatal fires in Ireland, claiming the lives of 366 people. In the 158 instances where the cause of the fire was known, electrical appliances were suspected in 28 fatal fires (18% of cases) while a further 3 per cent of fatal fires were attributed to electric blankets. In 2011 alone, 241 fires in Ireland were caused by electrical equipment.

Action Required:

  • Smoke alarms: Make sure you have at least one on every floor.
  • Test your smoke alarms weekly or ask someone to check it for you.
  • Obvious dangers: Look for fire risks like overloaded sockets, candles and unattended appliances.
  • Plan your escape route: Keep access routes clear and have your keys at the ready.

Further information:

31 October 2014 - Tower Crane Slew Brakes

Tower Crane Slew Brakes

Investigations into the collapse of two tower crane jibs have identified that there were problems with adequate maintenance of the slew brake release mechanisms. This alert is to advise owners and users of steps to be taken to ensure that tower crane slew brake release mechanisms are maintained and in efficient working order.

Action Required:

Owners and users of tower cranes should ensure that tower crane slew brake release mechanisms are inspected and maintained in line with instructions issued by the manufacturer. Where crane manuals do not stipulate release mechanism maintenance instructions the manufacturers should be asked to provide details.

Instruction should be provided to operators and maintenance personnel as to how slew brake release mechanisms should be checked, inspected and maintained. This should include information, where necessary, as to the type of lubrication and the frequency and method of applying lubrication to the release mechanism.

Supervisory checks should confirm that personnel are correctly carrying out their instructions and the crane is being placed in free slew when left out of service. Persons carrying out Thorough Examinations should also confirm the correct function of the slew brake release mechanism.

Further Information:

30 September 2014 - Hydraulic Injection Injury

Hydraulic Injection Injury

A safety alert has been issued to raise awareness of the risks from hydraulic injection injury.

Initial findings from an HSE investigation has found that whilst a maintenance fitter was using a hand powered grease gun to tension the track of a piling rig, the nipple connecting the grease gun to the track mechanism detached, permitting the grease (under significant stored energy) to release, injecting the fitter.

Action Required:

Anyone maintaining mechanical plant should inspect the integrity and security of grease nipples and pipe work adapters used as part of track tensioning systems. This should take place at routine service intervals and before attempting to carry out vehicle track tensioning at any time.

Where replacement or maintenance takes place on a pressurised system, fittings should be matched and compatible as per the original equipment manufacturers specification. Verification of such replacement should be regarded as a pressure test and appropriate precautions taken [3].

Personnel should be familiar with the steps to take, if injection injury occurs, particularly the need to seek immediate professional medical treatment [4].


[1] Hydraulic injection injury – HSL research report – RR976

[2] BS EN ISO 4413 (2011): International Standards Organisation – Hydraulic fluid power – General rules relating to systems

[3] Safety requirements for pressure testing – HSE guidance note GS4

[4] Fluid Injection injury emergency – The facts – British Fluid Power Association

Further Information:

29 September 2016 - Safe scaffolding components

Safe scaffolding components

This safety alert is relevant to all scaffold erection particularly businesses erecting scaffolding using components belonging to other parties for example construction companies.

Action Required:

Scaffolding companies must check to ensure that all components they chose to use during scaffold erection comply with the relevant standards.

There is concern about defective scaffold components found in recent site inspections. Following these visits we have contacted a number of companies offering a scaffold erection service who have been using defective scaffolding components, particularly scaffold boards, owned by the site contractor.  

Scaffold components must comply with the relevant legislation and for scaffold boards this is BS 2482:2009. Those that do not meet the standard must be rejected and destroyed.

Common examples of unacceptable damage include:

    • Fungal decay e.g. wet rot.  All boards must be completely free from fungal decay
    • Broken or damaged end bands.
    • Wood broken from the edge of the boards which significantly reduces the cross-section of the board, e.g. notches
    • Loose or broken knots
    • Excessive cuts in the faces of boards caused by hand saws, circular saws or angle grinders (trades  likely to use power tools on scaffold  must  use sacrificial  timber & not  cut directly onto scaffold boards)
    • Transverse cracks caused by overloading.
  • infestation of the timber e.g. holes caused by insects

Further Information:

August 2014 - Storage of Gas Cylinders for use in Non-Domestic Installations (Non-Bulk)

Storage of Gas Cylinders for use in Non-Domestic Installations (Non-Bulk)

This safety alert provides simple practical advice on eliminating or reducing the risks associated with using gas cylinders.

Action Required:

Everyone using LPG gas cylinders at work should familiarise themselves with best practice; please consult with your gas supplier to ensure you have the most up date information available and consult Safety Data Sheets supplied.

The following must be adhered to:

  • Risk Assessment
  • Storage & Use of LPG Gas Cylinders
  • Ventilation and Access:
  • Maintenance

Further Information:

10 July 2014 - Product Recall - GME Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon

Safety Alert – Product Recall

GME-Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)

Standard Communications Pty Limited, the manufacturer of GME EPIRB’s, has issued a safety recall of the following EPIRB units

GME MT400/MT401/MT403 EPIRBS with the serial numbers between 50101000 and 80250722.

After exhaustive testing a fault in the microprocessor of certain units that effectively shuts the beacon down was found. There is concern that the beacon may not work in an emergency situation.

Action Required:

If you have a GME EPIRB, please check the model number and serial number. The serial number can be found on the left side of the beacon at the base of the identity panel.

If you own one of the affected units listed above, please contact GME at or your local distributor to arrange a replacement of your beacon at no extra charge.

Further Information:

16 June 2016 - Imported Air Compressor

Imported air compressors

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is warning about potentially serious safety issues relating to imported air compressors manufactured in China by the ‘Taizhou Baoma Pump Industry Company Limited’.

The warning comes after a shipment of unsafe air compressors was stopped at Belfast Port, preventing them from being sold in Northern Ireland or moved onwards for sale in other parts of the EU. A subsequent investigation of the consignment found multiple faults with the manufacture of the compressors and with the information provided to customers.

However, compressors made by the ‘Taizhou Baoma Pump Industry Company Limited’ have been on sale here for a number of years and are thought to be in use by local farms and businesses.

The specific model for concern is a 200 litre, eight bar compressor with the trademark ‘Toolmate Expert’, also marked on documentation as model number MY2065/8, which were being imported into Europe via Belfast.

The most alarming of the manufacturing faults is defective welding found in several parts of the air compressor, which could cause cracking and lead the compressor to burst while in use.

Other faults discovered include mesh style guarding that does not adequately prevent access to moving parts and which could result in injury to anyone operating the machinery.

In addition, incomplete manufacturer’s instructions have been provided, there are poor CE markings and no EU Declaration of Conformity was provided.

Action Required:

Aimed primarily at the farmer and small manufacturer or fabricator market, anyone who has one of these compressors should contact their supplier.”

Further Information:

13 June 2014 - Installation of Fireplace Surrounds

Installation of Fireplace Surrounds

The alert relates to the installation of modular, stone and artificial stone fireplace surrounds.

Risks to occupiers from the installation of modular, stone and artificial stone fireplace surround.

The purpose of this safety alert is to alert designers, manufacturers and suppliers of stone or artificial stone fireplace surrounds of the need to provide adequate fixings and fixing options as well as detailed instructions on their safe assembly and to alert installers of the need to ensure they are safely installed so as to prevent subsequent failure and potential fatal injuries.

Action Required:

Designers of modular stone fireplace surrounds should ensure that their design incorporates or includes fixings or fixing kits that are suitable for a range of locations and able to be installed onto a variety of floor and wall types. This may include dense and lightweight masonry and timber frame.

Manufactures and suppliers should ensure that adequate information is provided to installers to safely assemble and install the fireplace surround.

Further Information:

May 2014 - Devices used to Reduce Entrapment and Crushing on MEWPs

Devices used to reduce Entrapment and Crushing on MEWPs

A safety alert has been issued advising that covers/shrouds on mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) machine controls do not protect against entrapment of operators between the machine and nearby obstructions.

Action Required:

    • Duty holders should assess the potential for entrapment/crushing accidents in MEWPs for the specific tasks they are to undertake.  In making the assessment and deciding on appropriate safeguards, they should consider the issues described in reference 1.
    • Where a secondary guarding device (as defined in reference 2) is required, it should be selected for the specific application and its limitations should be clearly understood by those who will be using the machine.
  • Covers/shrouds for machine controls should not be relied upon to reduce the risk of entrapment/crushing more generally.


    1. UK Strategic Forum for Construction Plant Safety Group, Best Practice Guidance for MEWPs, Avoiding Trapping/Crushing Injuries to People in the Platform 
  1. IPAF Guidance on Secondary Guarding Devices 

Further Information:

May 2014 - Lorry Mounted Cranes

Lorry Mounted Cranes

A safety alert has been issued for workers who are involved in the use of lorry-mounted cranes resulting from a recent fatal accident. It reminds employers responsible for operating lorry-mounted cranes that they must ensure such a crane is not taken into use for the first time unless it has been examined and certified by a competent person. It must not be used unless it has been thoroughly examined by a competent person in the last 12 months and has been tested as part of a thorough examination.

Action Required:

Employers responsible for the operation of Lorry mounted cranes are reminded that in addition to normal servicing and maintenance of this equipment they must ensure that –

1.       A Lorry mounted crane is not taken into use in any place of work for the first time unless-

(a)    it has been examined and certified by a competent person in accordance with the relevant Regulation


(b)    it is a new machine and –

(i)      is CE marked in accordance with the relevant directives of the EC,

(ii)    is accompanied by an EC Declaration of Conformity in accordance with the relevant directives of the EC,

(iii)   is accompanied by Information about the rated capacity for all boom configurations and positions and

(iv)  has not been reassembled since dispatch from the manufacturer.

2.       A lorry mounted crane is not used unless it has been thoroughly examined by a competent person at least once in every 12 months. A report of thorough examination must be completed by the competent person and made available by the employer for inspection.

3.       Any lifting equipment or lifting accessories (e.g. Grapple), which undergo any alteration or repair where the alterations or repairs are relevant to the safe operation of the equipment, shall be examined by a competent person before the equipment’s return to service, in compliance with the relevant Regulation listed below.

4.       Lorry mounted cranes must be tested as part of a thorough examination in accordance with Schedule 1, Part C, of legislation listed below.

5.       Lorry mounted cranes are subject to the above legislative requirements under Regulation 52 of the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007– SI No. 299 of 2007.

Repairs & Alterations

Welding of the crane boom and load bearing components should be carried out in consultation with the crane manufacturer. All welding should be carried out by a competent person, qualified and knowledgeable of the correct welding procedure approved by the manufacturer.

All other repairs or alterations to the boom of a lorry mounted crane should be carried out in consultation with the crane manufacturer.  Only the manufacturer’s genuine original spare parts or compatible parts made to the manufacturer’s specifications should be used for repairs. Repairs should be carried out by a competent person.


Useful information on the safe  use and examination of lorry loader cranes can be found in BS 7121-4:2010 [Code of Practice for safe use of cranes –lorry loaders]. This Standard recommends that the periodicity of thorough examinations is reduced to 6 months after 8 years

Further Information:

20 May 2014 - Installing solar panels safely

20 May 2014

Installing solar panels safely

Working on a roof can be dangerous – falls account for more deaths and serious injuries in construction than any other cause. Roof work must be properly planned and appropriate safety equipment and training provided. The risks are substantial, however long or short the work and high safety standards are essential at all times.

Action Required:

  • Planning the work
  • Protectng others
  • Measures to prevent falls

Further Information:

1 May 2014 - Repairs to fork arms of fork-lift trucks

Repairs to Fork Arms of fork-lift trucks (FLTs)
The Health and safety Executive alerts all to certain bad practices which may cause FLT arms to fail.

Action Required:
The reason for BS ISO 5057 recommending that repairs are only carried out by the fork arm manufacturer or an expert of equal competence may not be clearly understood by the truck owner. If welding is to be carried out, for example, to replace a top hook, the repairer should be aware of the steel specification from which the original components were made. The correct material for the replacement part, the correct welding consumable and the correct welding method can then be selected. The welding method will include weld preparation, pre-heating if necessary, stress-relieving if necessary and re-heat treatment to the manufacturer’s specification. Use of ‘mild steel’ materials and ordinary jobbing welding methods are likely to result in an unsatisfactory and unsafe repair.

It should be noted that BS ISO 5057 considers that surface cracks and wear are not suitable for repair by welding. Reputable repairers do not recommend welding at the heels of forks to replace metal removed by wear, as this will only replace the thickness, not the strength, and may do further harm by mis-matching of materials, localised heating, lack of heat treatment etc.

After welding repairs, re-setting etc, BS ISO 5057 recommends that the fork arms up to 5000 kg SWL are tested to 2.5 times their capacity and fork arms over 5000 kg SWL are tested to 2.1 times their capacity.

Enquiries by HSE Mechanical Specialists have shown that many repairers have no understanding of the metallurgical welding and heat treatment aspects, and are applying village blacksmith methods to such repairs. While badly-repaired fork arms may achieve the 2.5 times proof load, the method of repair is likely to cause detrimental long-term effects which may lead to sudden failure of the fork arm in service.

Further Information:

1 may 2014 - Risk from redundant solid fuel back boilers
Risks from redundant solid fuel back boilers
The UK’s Health and Safety Executive have issued an alert to raise awareness of the potential dangers of lighting a solid fuel fire when a redundant solid fuel back boiler has been left within the fireplace.

Action Required:

Previous advice recommended that a redundant back boiler left in situ must be in a condition such that an unsafe level of pressure cannot build up in the unit. Thus, at the decommissioning stage the system should have been drained and redundant pipework removed along with, ideally, the back boiler itself. If not removed the boiler should have been left in a ‘vented’ or ‘open’ condition. If the pipe connections were plugged, at least one 6mm diameter hole should have been drilled in the water jacket, preferably in a vertical or near vertical face.

In some cases the decommissioning may have been carried out by an individual, or heating or building organisations that were unaware of the potential problem, or had not seen the advice.

Other longer term potential dangers can arise with continued use of a fireplace and redundant back boiler even if appropriately vented:

    1. If connected pipework is left in situ, corrosion/cracking of the water jacket sidewalls may allow flue gases to enter the pipework and be conveyed to other areas of the property with potentially dangerous consequences. The high temperature of the pipework may also present a fire risk.
  1. Continued use of an open fire has potential for structural damage through repeated expansion and contraction of the boiler casing, which is significant due to the high temperatures involved.

Additional note: the flue of a retro-fitted gas fire must not pass through the redundant water jacket.

Further information:

April 2014

Danger Associated with Electrical Cable Reels

Following a number of recent incidents, including electrocutions, where electric cable reels were involved, persons are warned of the dangers that could arise from the misuse or abuse of electric cable reels.

The danger arises principally from

    • overloading,
    • overheating due to the cable reel being coiled up while powering equipment or
    • lack of structural integrity of the cable or reel  allowing access to uninsulated live parts of the cable or
  • connections

Action Required:

To avoid the risks associated with this hazard, the following precautions should be in place.

  • Earthing

Ensure your electrical installation is adequately installed and earthed. Look out for scorch marks on electrical fixtures such as sockets and switches or for damaged or frayed cables. If in doubt, a competent electrician should inspect and test the installation to ensure its safety.

  • RCD Protection.

Ensure the cable reel, and all circuits fed via cable reels, are protected at source by a functioning residual current device (RCD). These RCDs are generally located in your electrical distribution board and should be tested frequently (at least twice per year) by pressing the test button.

  • Protection against Overload and Overheating.

Ensure that, if any significant load is being fed from the reel , that the reel itself is unwound while  safeguarding against any resulting trip or entanglement hazard.

  • Compliance with Standards.

All reels should comply with the relevant European Standard, “EN 61242:1997+A1:2008 Electrical Accessories. Cable Reels for Household and Similar Purposes” or “EN 61316 Industrial Cable Reels”.

 In addition they should be marked with a CE mark indicating compliance with the European Low Voltage Directive of 2006 (and any other applicable European directives).

Compliance with the standard ensures that the reel is adequately constructed and is fitted with a thermal cut-out or weak link which will trip the supply from the reel in the event of an overload.

When using cable reels, ensure they

    • are only used as intended,
    • are physically protected from mechanical damage and,
  • have adequate protection against overloading or overheating.

In addition the overall electrical installation must be safe and adequately earthed with the cable reel and anything fed through the reel protected by a residual current device (RCD).

Further Information:

26 March 2014 - Augers on bulk feed blow trailers
Augers on bulk feed blow trailers
The Health and Safety Executive, Northern Ireland has issued an alert to highlight the potential hazard associated with augers on bulk feed blow trailers. A recent incident led to an operator sustaining serious injuries when his hand came into contact with a rotating auger on a bulk feed blow trailer whilst checking that the trailer was properly dried out after being cleaned. The rear door of the trailer was open and the auger was running.

Action Required:
Employers should apply a hierarchy of protection measures, where practicable, to the auger systems, as follows:

  • Fixed guards
  • Other guards or protection devices, such as interlocked guards or doors, which shut off the drive mechanism if the guard or rear door is removed/opened

Employers should also ensure the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary. Access to the auger should only be gained after applying a suitable lock-off procedure/safe system of work.

Employers should have systems in place to ensure that all guards and associated safety devices on bulk feed blow trailers are regularly checked for defects that may affect correct functioning. The system in place should ensure that if any defects are found they are rectified.

Further information:

22 March 2014 - Nail Penetration and Safety Shoes
Nail Penetration and Safety Shoes
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has been made aware of research that shows that certain designs of safety shoes may not provide adequate protection where there is a risk of penetration from construction nails.

Action Required:
The HSA requests that those responsible for the selection and provision of safety footwear read published reports and review their procedures in the light of the information they contain. If unsure about the type of insert in use, the user should contact the supplier/manufacturer for this information.

Further information:

27 November 2013 - Sizing of latex neck seals used with diving equipment
Sizing of latex neck seals used with diving equipment
Latex neck seals used in the diving industry need to be correctly fitted to the diver. A neck seal that is too large allows water ingress or gas escape and a neck seal that is too small can cause severe breathing problems leading to unconsciousness and if not acted on quickly, death.

Action Required:
Diving contractors, supervisors and divers must ensure that neck seals are correctly sized for the individual diver.

Further information:” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>

18 November 2013 - Portable brush cutters safety alert
Portable brush cutters safety alert
The European Commission (DG Enterprise and Industry) has required Member States to prohibit the placing on the market of flail-type cutting attachments consisting of several linked metal parts (e.g. chains) for portable hand-held brush cutters. Non-standard metal brush cutting accessories fitted to petrol driven brush cutters can fail catastrophically in-service. There is a risk of death or serious injury to operators and others in vicinity from ejected metal components. These accessories are manufactured from more than one component and rotate at high speeds. Suppliers of such equipment should immediately discontinue supply of flail-type cutting attachments for portable hand-held brush cutters. Anyone using them should discontinue use of any non-standard metal cutting accessory immediately and consult the brush cutter manufacturer for guidance.

Action Required: Users
Any brush cutters fitted with flail or similar non-standard attachments, consisting of several linked metal parts (eg chains) should be taken out of service immediately and the attachments removed and replaced with the manufacturer’s approved accessory.
Manufacturers’ advice should be followed as to the appropriate combinations of cutting tools and guards. Such advice is typically available within the instruction books accompanying the machine.

Action Required: Suppliers
Suppliers should immediately cease the supply of cutting attachments consisting of several linked metal parts (eg chains) whether or not intended for “professional use.”

Further information:

November 2013 - Dishwasher Safety Notice
Dishwasher Safety Notice
Hotpoint are aware of a small number of cases of dishwashers where an electrical component has failed. This may lead to overheating and in rare cases a potential fire hazard. Hotpoint want to locate and modify every dishwasher that is affected.  If you own a Hotpoint FDW20/FDW60/FDW65A dishwasher manufactured between June 2006 and March 2007, with the affected serial numbers (as highlighted below) and sold in Ireland:

Action Required:

  • When checking firstly as a precaution, make sure your dishwasher is turned off and disconnected from the wall socket.
  • Check the model and serial number of your Hotpoint dishwasher. These can be found on a sticker on the inside of the door as outlined below.
  • The serial number is 9 digits long, if the first 5 digits are between S/N 60601 and S/N 70331 your appliance is affected.
  • If your product is affected please call Hotpoint’s dedicated Customer Service line 0818 776 188 or you can contact Hotpoint via a dedicated email address:
  • Hotpoint will arrange to visit your home and make a free of charge repair.
  • While you are waiting for an engineer visit, Hotpoint recommend for your peace of mind, not to leave the dishwasher unattended while in use.

Alert issued by Indesit Company Ireland Limited, The Crescent Building, Northwood Park, Santry, Dublin 9.

Further information:

28 August 2013 - Chemical Safety for Laundry Liquid Tablets/Capsules/Pods
Chemical Safety Alert for Laundry Liquid tablets/capsules/pods
Children who are exposed to the chemicals in “laundry liquid tablets/capsules/pods” are at risk of injury. These capsules dissolve quickly when in contact with water, wet hands, or saliva. Already children have required hospitalisation for vomiting, drowsiness, throat swelling, and difficulty breathing following ingestion of the capsule contents. While eye contact with the contents from ruptured capsules has also resulted in medical treatment for severe irritation and ocular burns.

Action Required:

  • Consumers are strongly urged to always handle laundry capsules carefully and with dry hands.
  • Parents and caregivers should lock away these “laundry liquid tablets/capsules/pods” and like all cleaning products keep them away from children.

Alert issued by: Poisons Information Centre of Ireland