H&S in commercial Workshops

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rhrwilliams
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H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby rhrwilliams » Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:58 am

HI all, I have reasonable sized workshop and I am lucky enough to have space for an area for machines and a separate area where I have work benches and a big layup table. I use it for basically hobby / very light commercial use. None of the machines or tools are modern;

Sedgwick SM4 - No break and none of the cutters I have limiters for as most I have made myself. Lots of home made guards etc and tunnels etc.
Sedgwick table saw - no break
Wadkin overhead planer - no break or guard and driven off belt
Sedgwick planet thicknesser - no break
Startrite bandsaw - foot break only
Sedgwick morticer / pillar drill - no break but dont think you need one.
Power hacksaw - this is driven by a line shaft off a belt.

A friend of mine who owns a building firm wants to rent the workshop to undertake some projects (repairing a church spire which is 2 weeks of solid work and some other basic stuff like repairing windows). This is fantastic for me, as it means when I am at working my day job I am getting some money from my workshop. However after having a think about this, I cannot actually do this with the workshop in current form because of the H&S risk. If someone hurts themselves they can sue me.

This cannot be a new scenario and many people on here must have faced similar issues. What do other people do with having people working in there workshops with non compliant kit etc.

Basically if all the kit needs to be compliant, its not going to be economical for me to let them use the workshop.

My initial thought was to basically make the person using it expressly state and agree they will not use any of the machines driven off the line shaft or ones that cannot be braked, then I would invest some money in upgrading the other machines to have electronic brakes etc and generally improve safety.

Is there some sort of insurance one can take out to indemnify you ?

Appreciate any advice

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Re: H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby thatsnotafestool » Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:14 am

Personally I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole. You can have them sign any sort of agreement but you can bet your bottom dollar that were they to have an accident then they will find some bottom-of-the-pond feeding slimeball lawyer on a No-win-no-fee basis.

"OK, Mr Insurance company. I want to insure my workshop for third-party injury in case they have an accident using one of my machines. Are they well-maintained? Yes they are. Are they legal ? Um, no. So you wont insure them then ? '... :lol:
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Re: H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby rhrwilliams » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:29 pm

Thanks for reply.

Yes this was the conclusion I was coming to also after thinking about it more. I just don't think my set up is "compatable" with anything remotely compliant with H&S legislation.

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Re: H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby JonR » Sun Jul 15, 2018 2:37 pm

I might be alright if it was my friend who was borrowing the workshop for free *cough cough* but if he was employing somebody and wanted them to come and use it i would swerve it. Try the guy who runs courses in Scotney castle he may hire out some machine time and some work space next to him is a National Trust workshop they may hire out out workshop time doubt it though.

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Re: H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby mark270981 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:10 pm

In all honesty I would steer clear from this - I’ve been on the receiving end of a claim which wasn’t our fault, had brakes, guards and was fully compliant.

The only way I see a way round this - is to sell him the machines at full market value plus whatever you wanted to charge to use the space and machines then buy them back off him when he finished using them for market value.

That way you don’t own the machines whilst he is using them so completely indemnifies you from risk.

Ie

Sell machines for 12k
Buy back for 10k

2k profit (effectively the rent of the space and machines)

I hope this makes sense.

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Re: H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby rhrwilliams » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:35 pm

Thanks for replies chaps.

I think i'm going to swerve this, the more I think about it, it all just sounds like a massive liability I really don't need for what will essentially be beer money.

I am sure it would be fine, but if its not and I have some bloke suing me because he's chopped his finger off I would be knackered. Its not a company I could fold - he would be suing me personally I would assume as I personally own the workshop.

The old proverb you dont get something for nothing. I will have to stick to the day job a little longer :(

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Re: H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby thatsnotafestool » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:36 pm

Oh excellent, Mark - pure Machiavelli :)
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Re: H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby rhrwilliams » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:43 pm

By the way Jon.......I finally picked up those Brass sash locks from Chislehurst ! , cleaned them with Brasso and fitted them and they look great. Thanks for those ;)

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Re: H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby thatsnotafestool » Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:42 pm

If you were in any doubt about not doing it.....then read on

Furniture maker injured by planer blade
An East Lothian-based sole trader was fined £6,700 after a self-employed furniture maker was injured on their premises. The furniture maker was moving wood over a planer blade, when the machine skidded on the table causing her left hand to slip off the top edge and come into contact with the exposed part of the blade. More information on the accident and prosecution visit HSE's Press Release.
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Re: H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby rhrwilliams » Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:48 pm

Thank for this , it does look like a nightmare.

I'm glad I dont need to employ people, sounds like a complete nightmare.

This must come up all the time. Joiner wants apprentice / staff....cant because machines don't comply etc.

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Re: H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby rhrwilliams » Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:40 pm

Ive decided not to rent my workshop for the moment. However I spent some time looking at this last week and as far as can see the regulations for woodworking equipment are basically here;
http://www.hse.gov.uk/woodworking/workingmachine.htm

Ive reviewed all the machines 'I have and although they don't have brakes seem to comply in most respects. Im amazed but after reading the legislation, dare I say it they do not look that onerous.

Overhead Planer - This stopes in under 10 seconds and has a limited projection cutter block. There is no guard but I can retrofit one fairly easily. You can also buy a deluxe one that bolts to the outfield table for £280.00

Planer Thicknesser - complies. Has front and back guard and stops in under 10 seconds.

Spindle Moulder - This stops in under 10 seconds and has all fences etc. Most of my tooling is non compliant but I have euro blocks and can make it compliant by taking the non compliant tooling away.

Table saw - has dust extractor / guard and stops in under 10 seconds. I need to write on it minimum blade size as per regs.

There fore if I make some modifications to the overhead planer, remove the non euro cutter / new whitehill block spindle cutters etc and produce a H&S file and "induct" someone to use it, and get public liability insurance, then this is acceptable ? Of course someone can still sue me, but it would be compliant machines and they would effectivley be making a claim against my insurance company ?

Have I missed something thinking these regs are not that onerous ?

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Re: H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby mark270981 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:21 am

You will also need to create a health and safety manual , risk assessments and method statements

Every operative will need to have an induction on every machine too.

There was an accident on a fully compliant machine of ours 5 years ago, I didn’t quite have enough paperwork in place so the claimant won an out of court settlement of quite a considerable amount! Even though he was entirely at fault, madness really.
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Re: H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby rhrwilliams » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:30 am

I bet every machine has a bible to go with it now in your workshop ! Did you have to pay them out yourself, or did your insurers ?

Presumably also the claim would have been against your company, not you individually.

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Re: H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby thatsnotafestool » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:40 pm

And a form for them to sign to say that they've been 'inducted' !
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Re: H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby mark270981 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:34 am

rhrwilliams wrote:I bet every machine has a bible to go with it now in your workshop ! Did you have to pay them out yourself, or did your insurers ?

Presumably also the claim would have been against your company, not you individually.


The insurance company paid out the claim, I wanted it to go to court because we hadn’t done anything wrong (the guy removed the power feed from the spindle to run test pieces through without adding back the manual guards)

Our health and safety manual is 500 pages thick and is bespoke to the business which has cost a few thousand to produce, and is maintained each year at an additional cost.

We absolutely need health and safety in place, but I don’t think it should all fall on the employers shoulders because there has to be an element of competence and common sense.

I actually think there could be a driving license style machine operators card, if that would be possible
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Re: H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby mark270981 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:35 am

thatsnotafestool wrote:And a form for them to sign to say that they've been 'inducted' !


Yep for every single machine and power tool
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Re: H&S in commercial Workshops

Postby Meccarroll » Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:48 am

mark270981 wrote:The insurance company paid out the claim, I wanted it to go to court because we hadn’t done anything wrong (the guy removed the power feed from the spindle to run test pieces through without adding back the manual guards)



That sounds really unfair Mark. Sure if the machine was kept in a poor state and the guy had no training but if he was competent and the machine had all safety equipment available to use it should not have been classed as your fault.


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