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Tuesday 16th October 2018


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Aspects of safety for Reflexite
Feature: 3/2/2005

Police representative outlines duty of care responsibilities.

Stan Sexton of Leicestershire constabulary has provided a written opinion statement to Reflexite relating to safety and protection.

Picture shows glass bead tape on the left and Reflexite's prismatic tape on the right

He is a representative on the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) National Uniform and Equipment Group the National Executive Group for the Association of Police Health and Safety Advisors (APHSA).

Mr. Sexton outlines employer liability risks due to insufficient ‘duty of care’ procedures within the UK forces regarding the visibility/conspicuity of staff and vehicle fleet. The health and safety responsibility to create a safe system of work and the common law duty of care due diligence principles involve employers, in this case the Police Service, keeping up to date with technological development to protect staff and members of the public, which should be achieved through the risk management monitoring and review fit for purpose process.

Mr. Sexton has advised the police service for 26 years and is also the lead person on the subject of public events referenced in the Genesis website at the Bramshill Police College.

“During my time advising Leicestershire Constabulary the Force has won four consecutive national safety awards”, writes Stan Sexton. “This has been achieved by our accident/incident rate (AIR) now being 60 percent lower than the Police Service national average.

“The benefits that this has brought about include a reduction of 54 percent within the Force of lost time accidents. The benefits in performance in humanitarian (pain and suffering), economic and legal terms are immense for the employer and individual police officers and police staff.

Health and safety
“Health and safety has been criticised/trivialised recently in the press, e.g. hanging baskets in Bury St Edmunds, not swimming backwards at a leisure centre and four social workers required to change a light bulb (no, not a joke!). I do not know the merits regarding the circumstances outlined.

“Leicestershire Constabulary adopts a very pragmatic approach to health, safety and risk management, our theme or ethos being 'enabling not disabling' to support police officers in their undertaking of difficult work, specifically regarding the responsibility/duty of the employer.

“The framework of the health and safety legislation is used as a platform to achieve the said objective. The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (HASAWA) 1974, Section 2 is relative to the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), the objective being to create a safe system of work.

“The Management of the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers to undertake the appropriate/relevant risk assessments, which include the following principles: the task/activity; the persons carrying out the task; and the environment involved and other people who could be affected by the said process.

“Taking into consideration the above requirements it is incumbent upon a responsible employer to achieve the outlined objectives but with the addition of having a monitoring and review process to ensure the adequacy of the said arrangements.

“It is therefore the responsibility of the employer to ensure in the above provision that it keeps up to date with technological and scientific developments with regard to the provision of equipment and personal protection clothing, e.g. public order garments that were designed over 15 years ago to protect officers have now been overtaken with the improved technology of fabrics. Therefore in health and safety terms the employer in discharging their duty would have to constantly ensure equipment was fit for purpose, i. e. suitable for the task and the person carrying out the activity.

Conspicuity developments
“The second example involves your (Reflexite’s) area of product provision, i.e. conspicuity and as above it would be the responsibility of any reasonable organisation to keep up to date with technological development which then creates the safe systems of work and achieves the personal safety objectives for officers.

“The objective in the conspicuity example would be for any employer to ensure its PPE and vehicle provision satisfy the parameters of the health and safety legislation and the objectives of creating a safe system of work as under the HASAWA 1974.

“The last statement is often where difficulties arise due to some organisations not reviewing their organisation, arrangements and standards relevant to that environment and this is where the Common Law Duty of Care (due diligence) will be used as a benchmark if any ensuing accident or incident occurs, e.g. an employer issuing conspicuity equipment/PPE that has been in use as a specification for over 10 years and which originally did satisfy all the recommended regulations.

“However, legislation and British and European standards do change as they are linked with scientific development and what an employer will have to prove in common law is that it has constantly monitored and reviewed its arrangements in a potentially high risk environment where people work, i.e. the highway.

“If an employer could not prove by providing guidance that it had acted in a reasonable and responsible manner by not keeping up to date with the relevant standards, it will be liable in employer and third party liability terms because it would not be able to evidence its actions either through an audit or document process.

“It is an interesting equation but organisations and employers, through their procurement and operational departments, need to ensure that they keep up to date with objectives outlined above otherwise the employer could be held vicariously liable.

“The frequently used example in health and safety terms is equating the cost against the risk or using the cost benefit analysis principle”.

Reflexite vehicle livery
The majority of Police forces in the UK specify Reflexite’s prismatic vehicle conspicuity livery tape which is also used worldwide to improve safety and save lives. As well as saving lives the Reflexite’s vehicle livery tape also offers long term cost savings for fleets due to the long life of the tape.

Over 30 years ago Reflexite invented prism reflective based materials that are claimed to be the brightest and safest in the world. Prism technology works by refracting light from its inner surfaces. Light strikes each of the three surfaces of the Reflexite micro-prism in turn, before returning to its source.

The micro-prism's economical use of surface area delivers the highest standard of reflection and Reflexite states that it is the only manufacturer to offer the benefits of this superior technology, consistently backed by years of experience, technical innovation and commitment to customer needs.

Reflexite claims that its EN471-approved garment prismatic tapes provide the brightest safest high visibility at night and in adverse weather conditions when specified on high visibility clothing. Utilising the enclosed optical system allows the tape to retain nearly all its reflectivity when wet, even when drenched with rain.

Tony McCaugherty
Sales Manager
Reflexite (UK) Ltd
4420 Nash Court
John Smith Drive
Oxford Business Park South

Tel: 01865 396959
Fax: 01865 396960
Author: John Gibbon
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