HSE International

China: 1 killed in lab blast at Tsinghua University

A postdoctoral researcher was reportedly killed in a laboratory blast, which rocked a building at Beijing’s Tsinghua University on Friday morning. [Photo: weibo.com]

A postdoctoral researcher was killed in a laboratory blast, which rocked a building at Beijing’s Tsinghua University on Friday morning.

Pictures taken by witnesses showed heavy fumes came out of the windows on the second floor of a school building. Teachers and students were immediately evacuated after the blast, reported Beijing Youth Daily. The fire was later put out by firefighters, the report said.

Local fire control authority later reportedly confirmed that one researcher was killed in the blast while the cause of the explosion remained unclear.

Windows of rooms next to the lab were all shattered in the blast, Beijing Youth Daily reported.

Legal Evening News cited a Tsinghua University student as saying that an organic catalysis experiment was going on in the lab before the explosion.

Original Source: http://www.china.org.cn/china/2015-12/18/content_37348370.htm

County Council in court after schoolboy severs finger in class

North Yorkshire County Council has been prosecuted after a 14-year-old boy needed a finger amputated after it got tangled in a lathe during a lesson at Knaresborough’s King James’ School.

The pupil, from Knaresborough, was using a polishing cloth by hand on a work piece as it rotated on a manual metal lathe during a design and technology class when the incident happened on 19 November 2013.

The boy’s right hand became entangled around the work piece and severed part of his index finger. There were six other mini lathes in use by pupils in the same class.

He was given first aid before being taken to hospital.  After an unsuccessful operation to reattach the finger, the pupil needed to undergo further surgery to amputate the finger to below the first joint. He has needed several physiotherapy and occupational therapy sessions.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and brought the prosecution after finding the Council had failed to identify that the practice of hand-polishing on metal lathes was unsafe despite it being used for years at the 1,700-pupil school.

Harrogate Magistrates heard today (21 Aug) that after the incident, HSE served a prohibition notice on the Council, halting any use of hand-held polishing cloths on the lathes at King James’ school and advising the authority to take action to ensure similar practices were not underway at other schools under its control.

HSE’s investigation found that the Council’s assessment of potential risks of using of the lathes had failed to consider all the tasks undertaken on the machine and so had not identified the unsafe system being used by pupils. As such, pupils were routinely put at risk of injury.

North Yorkshire County Council, of Racecourse Lane, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £28,287 in costs after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Kate Dixon said:

“This was a horrifying incident in a classroom that could very simply have been avoided. Sadly, this pupil had to undergo surgery to amputate part of his index finger and, being right-handed, he has found it very difficult to adjust. It has affected both his writing, his ability to play music, and his sports activities.

“North Yorkshire County Council failed to identify the system of work being used for years at the school was not safe. As a result, pupils were at risk and a 14-year0ld boy has suffered an injury that will stay with him for the rest of his life.

“The risk of amputation from using hand-held polishing cloths on metal working lathes is well known and HSE has had a guidance note on this since 1993. Alternative machines or tools can easily be used to carry out polishing of work pieces, significantly reducing the risks of entanglement, a system now in place at the school involved.”

The guidance note from HSE can be accessed on HSE’s websitehttp://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/eis2.pdf PDF

Original Source: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2015/county-council-in-court-after-schoolboy-severs-finger-in-class/?

 

BIFM and CIPD launch “Workplace Conversation”

A 3-month online project set to explore “the evolution of the workplace” has been launched by the BIFM and the professional HR body, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The project, named ‘the Workplace Conversation’ will examine the evolution of the working environment and what the future of the workplace may look like.

 

The project will explore topics such as the emergence of new technologies, economic forces and flexible working alternatives, and their impact on business performance and the way people work.

 

It seeks to engage in a 3-month online conversation “which will draw insights, ideas and practical solutions from individuals across a range of countries”.

Participants will be set specific tasks throughout the duration of the project including submitting ideas for creating better workplaces in the future, one of which will be voted as the best.

 

FM and HR professionals, and anyone with an interest in the future of the workplace, can participate in the initiative, according to the BIFM.

 

Gareth Tancred, CEO of BIFM launching the project at the annual Workplace Futures Conference 2015, said: “We’ve spent a number of months working with the CIPD, planning and putting the framework in place to deliver this ambitious initiative.”

He added: “Whilst there has been plenty written about the changing nature of the workplace, we’re keen to hear from those at the frontline of having to manage the types of changes we’re experiencing, in order to help shape the discussion….This is a crowd-led initiative and we look forward to seeing a host of great ideas and thoughts contributed from a wide range of FM and HR professionals.”

 

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, said: “Workplaces have incredible potential to both influence and reflect corporate cultures, behaviours and working styles but it takes teams from across the business to create the right kind of workplace…The Workplace Conversation is a great opportunity to bring FM and HR professionals together to understand and influence how workplace design can positively affect engagement and productivity while reinforcing corporate values and culture.”

 

This project is the first of a number of research initiatives between BIFM and the CIPD which will assess how FM and HR professionals are adapting to the changing nature of work.

 

 

Visit www.workplaceconversation.com to register and post your thoughts and ideas.

See more at: http://www.fm-world.co.uk/news/fm-industry-news/bifm-and-cipd-launch-crowd-led-workplace-conversation/#sthash.H4xmGWk8.dpuf

Glasgow becomes first university in Europe to divest from fossil fuels

Glasgow University has become the first academic institution in Europe to divest from the fossil fuel industry, in a turning point for the British arm of the student-led global divestment movement.

After twelve months of campaigning led by the Glasgow University Climate Action Society and involving over 1,300 students, the university court this afternoon voted to begin divesting £18m from the fossil fuel industry and freeze new investments across its entire endowment of £128m.

Describing the result as “a dramatic beachhead for the divestment movement”, American environmentalist Bill McKibben said that it sent a powerful signal that Europe would be “just as powerful in this fight as Australia and North America”.

The founder of climate campaign group 350.org added: “That it comes from Glasgow, which has as much claim to birthing the industrial revolution as any city on Earth, makes it that much more special. Everyone from the Rockefellers on down is realizing it’s time to move on.”

As of last month, more than 800 global investors – including foundations such as the Rockefeller Brothers, religious groups, healthcare organisations, universities and local governments – have pledged to withdraw a total of $50bn from fossil fuel investments over the next five years as a result of the campaign which began on college campuses in the United States three years ago.

Writer and activist Naomi Klein said that Glasgow University had joined “a fast growing global movement providing much-needed hope to the prospect of climate action.”

“Students around the world are making it clear that the institutions entrusted to prepare them for the future cannot simultaneously bet against their future by profiting from corporations that plan to burn many times more carbon than our atmosphere can safely absorb,” said Klein.

“They are sending an unequivocal message that fossil fuel profits are illegitimate – on par with tobacco and arms profits – and that brings us a significant step closer to demanding that our politicians sever ties with this rogue industry and implement bold climate policies based on a clear, progressive ‘polluter pays’ principle.’”

Original Source: http://bit.ly/ZR8qhT

Road Safety News: GoSafe launches new 20mph schools campaign

A new campaign has been launched in Wales to encourage drivers to adhere to 20mph limits outside schools.

The campaign, ‘20mph Rule Outside Schools’, has been launched by GoSafe, the Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership, to “educate drivers about the importance of adhering to the relevant limit”. As part of the campaign, GoSafe is focusing on enforcing 20mph areas outside schools during September.

GoSafe says “slower speeds in communities have also been shown to support people to become more active, through increased cycling and walking”.

Chris Hume, GoSafe partnership manager, said: “The launch of ‘20mph Rule Outside Schools’ will help road users to stop, think and kill their speed, encouraging local people who use the roads to have greater respect not only for one another but also their surrounding community.

“We will continue to work together with our partners on community engagement activities to make the streets outside schools safer. Our aim is for everyone in Wales to understand the effects that those exceeding the 20mph limit can have on families and friends.”

Tim Burton, deputy police and crime commissioner for Dyfed Powys, said: “The lives of too many young people are put at risk due to bad driving. Every motorist should take this 20mph message on board; it will help avoid personal tragedy and family heartbreak on our roads.”

Susan Storch, chair of Road Safety Wales, said: “Children are potentially amongst the most vulnerable road users because of their age and lack of experience in certain situations.

“Reducing speeds outside schools will encourage children to walk and cycle to school, reduce congestion and improve the residential environment. Working with our partners in GoSafe we want to remind drivers and riders that lower speeds provide a safer road environment.”

Original Source: http://www.roadsafetygb.org.uk/news/3873.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Welsh Universities confirm asbestos in student bedrooms

More than 3,000 students in Wales slept last year in university bedrooms containing asbestos, BBC Wales has learned.

Cardiff, Aberystwyth and the University of Wales Trinity St David all confirmed they have rooms with the material.

They said that because the material was considered low risk in the rooms, they do not tell students it is there.

The British Lung Foundation called this “reckless” while the National Union of Students called for transparency.

Damage risk

Around 15,000 students in Wales live in university-owned halls of residences.

Asbestos was widely used as a building material from the 1950s until the 1980s, often as fireproofing and insulation.

The Health and Safety Executive says that as long as asbestos is not damaged – or located somewhere where it can be easily damaged – it does not pose a risk.

But it says the fibres if inhaled can cause lung complaints like asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Cardiff University has the highest number of bedrooms with asbestos – it estimates there are around 1,500 where the material is present at halls including Cartwright Court, Aberconway Hall, Talybont North and Roy Jenkins Hall.
Cartwright Court, Cardiff
                              Asbestos is present at Cartwright Court in Cardiff

 

A spokesperson for the university said: “We hold the health, safety and security of our students in the highest priority.

“As we believe that the control measures and management procedures we have in place sufficiently minimise the risk, we do not advise students where low risk Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) are present.”

 

Aberystwyth University said asbestos was present in 1,088 bedrooms in Cwrt Mawr, Pantycelyn and Penbryn Halls – most of which is in vinyl floor tiles under carpets which the university said posed no risk.

Pantycelyn hall, Aberystwyth
                              Pantycelyn is one of the halls in Aberystwyth which contains asbestos

 

A spokesperson for the university said it “complies with legislative standards, and undertakes the appropriate asbestos testing and surveys”.

 

The University of Wales Trinity St David said asbestos could be found in 443 rooms at its Lampeter and Carmarthen campuses.

Student halls at Lampeter                          Several halls of residence in Lampeter contain asbestos, including Walker Hall (left) and Dawson Hall (right)

 

“All student bedrooms at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David have been surveyed in accordance with the relevant Health and Safety Executive requirements,” a spokesperson said.

“The university is currently reviewing its position on informing students,” they added.

Beth Button, president of the National Union of Students (NUS) Wales, said: “It is concerning to hear that such a large number of rooms in university accommodation across Wales may contain asbestos.

“We strongly encourage institutions to take this issue seriously and put the safety of students first, whilst ensuring they remain completely transparent with students about the standards of their accommodation.”

Dr Emrys Evans, chest physician and spokesperson for the British Lung Foundation Wales, said he was concerned after their research in 2012 found that “awareness of asbestos in Wales is generally quite low, with just 27% of people able to confidently identify asbestos in their homes”.

“Exposure can often occur unwittingly, and so wherever people live or work they should reliably be informed of the presence of asbestos. Not to do so is reckless,” he added.

The information was given to BBC Wales as a result of a Freedom of Information (FoI) request.

Four Welsh universities – Cardiff Metropolitan, Swansea, Bangor and Glyndwr – said none of the rooms in their accommodation contained asbestos.

The University of South Wales said some rooms at its Caerleon campus contained asbestos but they were no longer used.

Original Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-28858897