British Glass: new codes of practice released

The UK’s glass industry representative organization, British Glass, has released two new codes of practice for those working in the hollow glass sector. Developed in collaboration with manufacturers of container glass, along with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and manufacturers and suppliers of glass forming equipment these two documents are aimed at a significant reduction in the number of glass forming related injuries.

British Glass, the UK’s glass industry representative organization, has just released two new codes of practice for those working in the hollow glass sector. Developed in collaboration with manufacturers of container glass, along with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and manufacturers and suppliers of glass forming equipment these two documents are aimed at a significant reduction in the number of glass forming related injuries.
The new “Code of Practice for Glass Forming (I.S.) Machines” provides practical guidance for container glass manufacturers on the safe operation, assessment and control of glass forming machines and ancillary equipment; as well as providing information about suitable control measures, safety devices and guidance for operators, change teams and maintenance engineers.
Steve Clayton, Operations Director at Stölzle Flaconnage Ltd., commented on the release saying: “The sector has worked hard to collaborate on what is an excellent standard. Its sensible approach provides clear guidance in an area where there is much diversity due to the range of technology and the products being made. The final outcome allows us to develop the safest outcome for our staff whilst ensuring we can meet the strictest production specifications demanded by our customers and service the equipment necessary to do this.”
Also commenting on the release, John Naughton, Technical Director of Allied Glass Containers Ltd., said, “This promises to be a landmark for our sector, setting standards that have been agreed between industry and the regulator which gives a reference point from which we can all ensure that standards are met. Before its formal release, this development has already resulted in significant technical collaboration and improvements in worker safety.”
The document has been developed by a working group comprised of all UK manufacturers of container glassware (bottles, jars, etc.), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and manufacturers and suppliers of glass forming equipment. Throughout its development extensive discussions and negotiations have taken place to form an industry-wide position and approach to controlling the inherent hazards associated with this type of forming equipment. Manufacturers have shared extensive accident/injury data which has allowed the British Glass working group to fully investigate all hazards posed, and so establish appropriate guidance and standards.
Developing this code of practice both industry and suppliers have made significant innovative developments in machinery, standards, safety devices and working procedures which have already resulted in a profound reduction in the number of forming machines related injuries.
In support of this code of practice, the working group has also launched a ‘Safe Swabbing Guidance Note,’ which sets out the minimum, good practice standards for manual lubrication (‘swabbing’) of glass container moulds. Now adopted and in daily practice, it has resulted in a significant reduction in swabbing-related injuries. It is hoped that the new full code of practice will now help manufacturers reduce such incidents even further.
The glass industry has a long track record of taking a proactive approach to health, safety and sensible risk management. The industry, in partnership with HSE and unions, launched the ‘GLASS Charter’ initiative in 2001 in order to push forward improvement and demonstrate its combined commitment to health and safety. The charter was the first sector initiative of its kind and now, 11 years on, is setting about refreshing the scheme and setting a new ambitious strategy leading forward to 2020.
British Glass’ second publication regards “Managing Working in Elevated Temperatures.” Developed in consultation with all sectors of the UK glass manufacturing industry, the Health and Safety Executive and with input from worker unions, this guidance provides practical guidance to help employers understand where the potential for heat-related illness could occur, recognise the symptoms and ensure that necessary control measures are understood and can be properly implemented.
Throughout the development of this guidance British Glass has received much interest from a wide range of industries as far afield as Australia, where employees could potentially develop heat stress should control measures fail to prevent injury
There are examples of heat related medical problems caused by heat stress in industrial, military, rescue and leisure industries and a key factor in many of these cases is the level of understanding of working in hot conditions – both behaviourally and physiologically. Task performance, co-ordination and judgement can also be detrimentally affected by exposure to elevated temperatures – in some industries this has been shown to affect levels of unsafe acts and accidents.
Working in high temperatures and high humidity can not only cause serious illness, but also loss of concentration leading to accidents, unsafe acts and lower productivity.
As part of the development of this guidance British Glass and IOSH commissioned the Institute of Occupational Medicine Ltd. (IOM) to conduct a research study to investigate the feasibility of non-intrusive measurement of core body temperature and also provide feedback on existing control measures. This project was completed in 2009 and the study has since been expanded following interest by the Health and Safety Executive who have funded a further study to improve the reliability of the test methodology.
The glass industry has a long track record of taking a proactive approach to health, safety and sensible risk management. The industry, in partnership with HSE and unions, launched the ‘GLASS Charter’ initiative in 2001 in order to push forward improvement in health and safety – the first sector initiative of its kind – and now, 11 years on, is setting about refreshing the scheme and setting a new ambitious strategy leading forward to 2020.
Both these documents were launched during the 2012 Annual Glass Industry Health and Safety Conference – an event that brings together all sectors of the glass industry to discuss common issues, and monitor changes in health and safety that will affect their operations. They are available from the British Glass website www.britglass.co.uk.