Navigating the health and safety environment can be a challenge enough, but Covid has added new pressures for the furniture manufacturing sector.

Support in this vital area is at hand to ensure compliance, through the British Furniture Manufacturers’ (BFM) Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) service. 

Developed to help furniture manufacturers keep their workers safe and their business compliant to avoid prosecutions, the service is one of the trade body’s most valued member benefits.

Headed-up by Alistair Bromhead, it has proved of significant value as the industry addresses the changing work environment in the pandemic.

BFM MD Nick Garratt says: “The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is calling for businesses in Great Britain to make sure they’re Covid-secure.

“Inspectors are out and about, putting employers on the spot and checking that they are complying with health and safety law.

“The HSE is publicising that it is still continuing its Covid-19 spot checks in workplaces, especially with increasing numbers of office workers returning to the workplace. As of September 2021, some 316,000 checks have been completed.

“Being Covid-secure means being adaptable to the current guidance and putting measures in place to control the risk of coronavirus to protect workers and others.

“By law, employers have a duty to protect workers and others from harm, and this includes taking reasonable steps to control the risk and protect people from coronavirus.

“It’s important that workers are aware of the measures that will be put in place to help them work safely.

“Our EHS service is here to help ensure compliance. That includes 24/7 access to BFM’s online guidance, handbooks and downloadable templates.

“Members can also access BFM’s free telephone helpline, as well as individual on-site support at heavily discounted rates and a monthly EHS bulletin.”

An attractive feature of BFM membership is the provision of a subsidised first visit in the year for EHS issues – at a rate of £125 + VAT + travel expenses. 

Any additional visits are then charged at the normal daily member rate of £450 + VAT + travel expenses, which represents a sizeable discount over the typical market rate. 

Services available include: review of EHS issues; noise surveys; audiometry (hearing tests); spirometry (asthma surveillance for those exposed to wood dust or coatings); dust exposure monitoring LEV testing (local exhaust ventilation); and help with risk assessments, training or improvement notice compliance.