Health and Safety is the No.1 priority for us, and we aim to keep you fully informed and up-to-date on all information relating to vibration and other safety matters. We are heavily involved in ensuring that the vibration figures for tools within our fleet are accurate, and we are insisting that all such tools are independently tested, in order to provide transparent, non-biased readings. National Tool Hire Shops is here to work with you on any area of safety that you are tackling. We believe that creating partnerships with our customers is the only way forward, where we can share and solve any problems together. We have already shown that we are actively seeking low vibration solutions at every stage of the supply chain, so please ask us to help you with Minimising, Managing and Monitoring your risk.
As we take health and safety so seriously, we have formed a team of eleven people within the company, solely dedicated to ensuring our compliance with relevant legislation and company procedures. All of our branches are thoroughly inspected by our National Compliance Manager annually. These inspections are designed to ensure the availability of correct health and safety documentation, the correct application of health and safety procedures throughout the company; as well as the availability, condition and use of Personal Protective Equipment.
Our checks and inspections are also designed to ensure that our hire stock is always of the highest quality, and in safe working order. Our Workshop Quality Manager completes annual audits of all of our branch workshop procedures, and tests the quality of the available hire fleet in each branch. This equipment review involves stripping the equipment down to its bare parts to ensure that every pieces of equipment in the hire fleet has been thoroughly inspected and correctly tested to meet the exacting quality standards required for every hire.
Staff Training & Development
Part of ensuring that our hire fleet is of the highest quality, and that our branches are able to serve you efficiently and promptly, is ensuring that our hire staff are properly trained in hire procedures, and proper care and maintenance of the hire fleet. All branch employees begin their employment with us by attending the monthly induction programme, which covers key health and safety courses, such as Ensuring Load Security, Fire Safety, Product Awareness, Abrasive Wheels, Customer Handover procedures, and Safe Transportation of LPG. We also train our staff in the proper working practices, maintenance and repair of new products which are added to the hire fleet. We often work with product manufacturers to deliver the highest quality product training to our staff, so that they learn from the experts!
In addition, all of our Branch Managers have participated in the Hire Association Europe (HAE) Management Leadership Programme, and our Lifting Inspectors undertake Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) qualifications to evidence their ‘competent person’ status. Our Compliance Director has achieved the NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety and the rest of the Compliance team are currently working towards this qualification. We have also achieved certification with a number of key awarding bodies.
As well as having our own central audit team, each hire branch has its own appointed Safety Guardian, who is responsible for the day to day health and safety compliance of their branch. Our Safety Guardians look for potential hazards in their branch and receive training to assess their branch against safety issues that have been identified elsewhere across our network of stores.
If you are considering a hire with us, remember that there are some things that you should take into consideration to minimise the health and safety risks whilst you work with our tools and equipment.
Before beginning any work you should carry out a risk assessment, especially if you are on site. There is a simple 5-step process you can follow to make a risk assessment:
1. Identify the potential hazards involved in the work.
2. Decide who might be harmed during the work, and how.
3. Work out the probability of the hazard and what the consequences would be. From this, you can work on implementing the appropriate controls and safety precautions.
4. Write down the risks and appropriate preventative actions, and implement them effectively.
5. Review the risks and actions regularly to ensure that your precautions remain effective.
Working at a height presents obvious risks, and increases the likelihood of injury – sometimes even fatalities. Whilst figures are improving thanks to an increased awareness of the risks, it is still vitally important to take extra care whilst working at a height, to only use the appropriate safe access equipment, and to wear appropriate PPE. The use of safer alternatives to ladders, such as scaffold towers and access platforms; as well as the use of appropriate footwear, fall-arrest harnesses and ladder stabilising feet, increases safety on site. For more advice on working safely at a height, read our blog.
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) can affect anyone who is exposed to any working machinery that vibrates. The most commonly known form is called vibration white finger, but other forms can damage blood vessels in the fingers, reducing the supply of blood. It can also damage nerves, leading to a loss of feeling in the fingers and hands, reducing the sufferer's ability to grip, and cause severe pain. Symptoms include tingling in the fingers, numbness and an inability to grip.
You can help to reduce the risks involved by using specially designed low-vibration equipment, wearing protective clothing such as heavy duty work gloves, and taking regular breaks from work. For more advice on Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, read our blog.
Many pieces of equipment you use on site, from saws and drills to breakers and grinders, can produce a lot of noise. Exposure to loud noises can damage the hearing. As a general rule, if you need to raise your voice so someone can hear you 2m away, or if you’re exposed to noisy tools or machinery for more than 30 mins each day, you will need to take extra care to avoid damage to your hearing. It is vital that you wear ear protectors whilst using, or if you are in the vicinity of anyone using, any loud machinery or tools. If is also important to take breaks from exposure to the loud noises.
Many processes on site, including drilling, breaking, sawing, sanding and grinding, can also result in a lot of dust being produced. Inhaling dust can cause serious health issues, including respiratory problems such as asthma, silicosis and even cancer. It is much easier to prevent dust from becoming airborne, than to try to control it once it is already in the air. With this in mind, we offer a wide range of products with integrated dust collection systems, which enable you to work safely with a much reduced risk of inhaling dust particles.