In the News

14th August 2019

HSE issue safety notice with respect to water hammer

HSE has issued a safety notice to remind operators about condensate induced water hammer, and their responsibilities in terms of the maintenance and operation of steam systems. Three people were injured following a release of steam on a nuclear site. Investigations are ongoing, but early indications suggest a failure in the pressure boundary of the steam system, potentially caused by a water hammer event.

Water hammer is a known vulnerability in steam systems, and is sometimes referred to as ‘Condensate Induced Water Hammer’. It most commonly occurs when steam is introduced into cold pipe-work that has not been sufficiently drained. As the steam cools, it turns into condensate which takes up less volume in the pipework than the steam. This produces a vacuum or pocket into which the water rapidly flows, creating an impact against the pipework.

Operators should remind themselves about this phenomenon in steam systems and ensure suitable measures are taken to prevent the occurrence of such events, including the appropriate operation and maintenance of such systems on their sites. HSE recommend that the five-point action plan detailed in the Safety Assessment Federation (SAFed) factsheet; “potential hazards created by water hammer in steam systems” is considered.



8th July 2019


HSE Publishes INDG480. Hand-arm vibration in amenity horticulture and how to control the risk.  Published 15th May.  Hand-arm vibration is vibration transmitted into workers’ hands and arms, for example by hand-held and guided power tools, such as hedge trimmers and powered mowers. Regular and frequent exposure to hand-arm vibration can lead to permanent ill health. The two main health conditions associated with hand-arm vibration exposure are hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) and carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). The guidance will help employers to identify when exposure may cause harm, understand how to comply with the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 and take practical steps to control the vibration risk.

20th June 2019

Changes to pesticide MRLs

HSE advise that MRL (maximum residue levels) in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin for pesticide residues are being changed. Authorisations for the use of such substances may be subject to change. While HSE aim to identify authorisations which require amending or withdrawing as a result of these changes authorisation holders are also responsible for ensuring their authorisations are compliant with the amended MRLs. Authorisation holders are advised to check the EUR-Lex webpage and the EU Pesticides database where new or changes to MRLs are published.