HSE International

Health and safety: The fine art of making life safer

The number of people killed in accidents is lower than ever – a trend that is, to coin a phrase, no accident.

It’s something we have all done, tutting at bans on conkers, hanging baskets and open-toed shoes in offices. How easy it is to mock the excesses of “elf ‘n’ safety” in a tone of knowing exasperation. How much harder to find out whether these stories are the product of zealous officialdom, or are misunderstandings, excuses made up by small businesses – or even sensible and well-founded precautions.

We know that the supposed excesses of health and safety legislation and its enforcers make easy copy for some newspapers, but let us note one big fact and one smaller one. The big fact is that fewer people are being killed and injured in workplace accidents than at any time in our industrialised history. Indeed, the numbers killed in accidents of all kinds are lower than ever. This trend is, to coin a phrase, no accident. It is the result of constant effort to make life safer.

The smaller fact is that Judith Hackitt, the chairman of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), is a thoroughly good thing. We interview her today, and she is a model of good sense. She balances a defence of her record in reducing workplace accidents and a debunking of myths about health and safety with a refreshing concern that many children today are “overprotected”.

She says that children “should be able to play, fall over and hurt themselves”, which is not the sort of thing you might expect someone in her position to say. It is all the more important that she say it, therefore.

Under her leadership the HSE has pushed back against the myths that surround its work, setting up a unit devoted to rebutting misconceptions about health and safety cases at the rate of two a week for the past two years. One academic study found that half of all the myths related to shops, cafés and leisure centres – which the HSE believes is the result of managers covering up poor business practice.

Ms Hackitt also has some sharp things to say about the tendency, often lumped in with complaints about health and safety excesses, to a compensation culture. “What people sometimes hide behind when they misuse the health and safety term is the fear of being sued, and no one wants to take responsibility for their actions,” she says. She is to be congratulated on her effort to take on the misconceptions that could undermine people’s confidence in the need for “genuine” safety precautions.

We ought to be proud as a nation, rather than making silly jokes about elf ‘n’ safety, that – as she reminds us – we are the first country to build an Olympic park and stadium without a single fatality.

In the last year for which statistics are available, 2013-14, there were 133 workplace fatalities in Great Britain. Every one is one too many, of course, but the number is much lower than the five-year average (164), at a time when the economy – including the manufacturing sector – is growing.

Indeed, the figure is so low that it invites us to reassess our priorities as a nation. Risk and probability are subjects on which it is notoriously hard to make public policy, but this figure of 133 deaths a year is striking when compared with the 2,000 a year killed in road accidents and the 5,000 a year killed in accidents in the home.Despite the worrying recent upturn, the death toll on our roads is another unsung success story, down from 8,000 a year in the mid-1960s.

It is accidents in the home where the focus of attention should be directed in future. Ms Hackitt should be given the job of making people more aware of dangers in the home. If anyone can, she can overcome people’s resistance to a safety campaign that would inevitably – and wrongly – be seen as a further intrusion of the elf ‘n’ safety nanny state.

Original Source: http://ind.pn/16k3UeU

Younger drivers still need to take heed of drink-drive dangers

Younger drivers remain proportionately more likely than their over-25 counterparts to fail a breath-test for driving under the influence, the UK’s national lead for roads policing has said.

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport was speaking as she released the national figures for the December 2014 anti-drink-and-drug-driving campaign, run by forces under the auspices of the Association of Chief Police Officers.

This year, a more intelligence-led approach by officers resulted in a reduction in the number of tests this year, down to 133,996, but a higher failure rate by percentage, with 5885, or 4.39%, failing breath tests.

Among these, 28,228 under-25s were tested, with a 6.33% failure rate, compared to over-25s, where 4042, or 3.94% failed.

Chief Constable Davenport said: “The use of an intelligence-led approach by officers may give the impression of members of the public not taking seriously the consequences of driving under the influence, but I am confident that our messages on the topic are getting through.

“Instead, targeted testing is helping officers to pick up on offending in a more efficient way.

“Younger drivers, who are balancing the development of their skills and responsibilities as drivers with the natural enjoyments and explorations of their formative years as adults, are, unsurprisingly, more likely to take risks, but our message is very simple and very clear – you are breaking the law, you are risking your life and the lives of those around you and the consequences of doing so will plague you for the rest of your life. Do not drive under the influence – it is not worth the risk and you will be caught.

“That message is not just for younger drivers, though – it is for all those who get behind the wheel. You do not have to stop enjoying yourself to take your responsibilities seriously, but please – if you drink, do not drive.

“I will be looking very carefully at these figures and discussing them with colleagues around the police service, as well as with government and partner agencies so that, between us, we can ensure that we have the best possible regime of advice and enforcement needed to keep our roads safe from those who recklessly drive while intoxicated.”

Original Source: http://bit.ly/18GRq1S

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf ‘n’ safety

It’s become an insulting term for everything that’s wrong with the nanny state: elf and safety.

Be it graduating students ordered not to throw their mortar boards into the air or schools outlawing conker fights, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the killjoy that defies common sense and ruins things for everyone.

It’s clearly a source of irritation for Judith Hackitt, the no-nonsense chairman of the HSE. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, also shares her frustration about gone-wrong health and safety rules, once describing it as a “national neurosis”. The problem grew to such an extent that the HSE, set up 40 years ago, established a Myth Busting Panel two years ago to address it head on. Since then, it has dealt with more than 400 misquoted health and safety cases – an average of two a week.

Exeter University researchers found that half of all the myths related to shops, cafés and leisure centres – which the HSE believes is the result of managers covering up for poor business practice. Other cases range from the ridiculous to the bizarre – such as the Scottish council that banned a dog training club, which had run for 60 years, because of allergy fears; or the Gloucester school that stopped a schoolgirl from wearing home-made frilly socks to school because, it said, they were “a trip hazard”.

One in five misconceptions directly affects children, the research found. Those that result in children being banned from activities on baseless “elf and safety” grounds particularly concern Hackitt. She believes that a challenge of the next decade will be a generation of “cotton-wool kids” who have not been exposed to risk in childhood and will grow up to be risk-naive adults – and therefore vulnerable. “I worry how they will behave once they are in the workplace,” she says. “It will increasingly become an issue in the next few years.

“They need to be able to live ordinary lives. They should be able to play, fall over and hurt themselves.”

A surprising sentiment from the HSE chairman, perhaps? “It is not good for them, as members of society, to be overprotected,” she argues. “When they join the workplace, it will be a very hard job for employers to deal with them.”

Another source of irritation for Hackitt is the compensation-claim companies that have created a blame culture. “What people sometimes hide behind when they misuse the health and safety term is the fear of being sued, and no one wants to take responsibility for their actions.”

She worries that the overall effect of these myths and the blame culture is to “absolutely denigrate” the HSE’s work because it makes people cynical about the “genuine need for workplace health and safety”.

Judith Hackitt believes that children “need to be able to live ordinary lives. They should be able to play, fall over and hurt themselves.” (Rex) Judith Hackitt believes that children “need to be able to live ordinary lives. They should be able to play, fall over and hurt themselves.” (Rex)
She herself became aware of health and safety as a teenager in a very personal way: her great aunt was scalped by a machine in a horrific factory accident. “She survived,” she says. “But I never saw her again without a hat on. She wore it to cover up her injuries.”

Hackitt was born in Nuneaton, north Warwickshire, in December 1954 and attended a grammar school in nearby Atherstone. Her father and grandfather worked in mining, which inspired her to study chemical engineering.

She graduated from Imperial College in 1975 and began 15 years at Exxon Chemicals. She was the company’s first woman chemical engineer and had to write her own maternity-leave policy. She held a variety of management roles, including business group risk manager with worldwide responsibility for health and safety.

She was the director-general of the Chemical Industry Association from 2002 to 2005. Not surprisingly, Hackitt is cited as a role model by the Women’s Engineering Society. Outside of her obvious passion for work, she loves rock music and is married with two grown-up daughters. She met her husband at university.

After a career in the chemical industry, she was appointed chairman of the Health and Safety Commission and became chairman of the Health and Safety Executive in April 2009, when the two organisations merged. She was made a CBE in 2006 for her work in this field.

She finds it frustrating when safety is regarded as “something of a joke”, as it is a serious issue and “absolutely fundamental that someone does not go to work to get killed or injured”.

She receives a report on every workplace fatality – there are two or three every week. “Every time I see them, it just reminds me that things happen out there that can so easily be avoided,” she says. Forty years on from the HSE’s creation, people “still fall off fragile roofs and die and the consequences are catastrophic”.

Recent cases include the horrific death of a man in Runcorn, Cheshire, who was trapped in a kayak moulding oven he was fixing, which locked and was accidentally switched on by another worker. “This sort of thing should not be happening,” she says. “There are measures in place to ensure it doesn’t.”

Statistics appear to show that she and her organisation are making a difference. There were 133 workplace fatalities in 2013-14 – down from 150 the previous year and a fifth lower than the five-year average of 164. Critics argue that the decline is more a result of the decline in the economy and that fatalities would be reduced still further if the HSE were more aggressive with its inspections.

The HSE has not escaped cuts in public funding, forcing it to concentrate inspections on higher-risk industries. “We are much more focused with inspections,” she says, arguing that the efficiencies have been found on the HSE’s administrative side. Construction is one high-risk industry which the HSE has targeted. “We were the only country to construct an Olympic park and stadium without a single fatality,” she notes.

There is no question of the organisation resting on its laurels. She warns that the changing world of work will bring fresh challenges – such as people obliged to work later in life. “You may be nimble enough to dodge a bull or cow when you are in your forties, but its a different matter when you are 70 or 80,” she says.

Original Source: http://ind.pn/1KixDBi

Large scaffold tower collapses in Leicester city centre

Two people have been taken to hospital after a large scaffold tower collapsed in Charles Street.

The scaffolding was outside Chicken and Noodles Chinese takeaway, Unity Hair Salon, Love 2 Lunch and The Nook Newsagency, in Charles Street and fell at about 11.30am today (Wednesday 28th January 15).

Police, fire service and ambulance crews were called to the scene and Charles Street, between Humberstone Gate and Rutland Street, was closed.

One woman, thought to be in her 60s, was trapped underneath the scaffolding. After paramedics arrived she was helped out of the wreckage on foot. Another person was brought out of a nearby shop on a stretcher and put in the back of an ambulance.

They were both taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary.

A van was also trapped underneath the structure of wood and metal, and a passing bus was hit.

Faisal Bashir, 29, manager of Love2Lunch said: “All of a sudden one of our regular customers fell inside the shop after a big piece of wood hit her on the head.

“I made sure she was all right, at least she was safe inside the shop and ran out to help another lady who was under the scaffolding outside.

“The scaffolding moved really slowly. Luckily there seemed to be a big piece of wood which was stopping any more from falling on her.”

He added: “The lady in the shop had just dropped her grandson off at nursery school. She said she couldn’t move her face or neck.

“She said she didn’t know what she was going to do as she was supposed to be going on holiday on Sunday. I made sure she was okay, I helped her sit on a stool, she said she had a headache, her face was quite swollen.

“Then paramedics arrived and put her on a board and put a support on her head and neck.

“The van that was damaged belongs to a bloke called Dave next door. Luckily, he wasn’t in it at the time. The driver of the bus that got hit just stopped his bus. it was scary stuff.”

Dan Brown, director of Red Rock Partnership, whose office is across the road from the scaffolding, was working when he heard a loud noise.

He said: “I was in the office and heard a massive gust of wind. I stood up, looked out of the window and the scaffolding was coming down.

“I ran across the road and a lady was underneath. She was on the floor on her knees.

“We pulled seven planks of wood out, enabling someone to get in to make sure she was okay.”

He added that another lady said she was walking underneath it and it fell near to her head.

Dan said: “It is a terrible accident. If that would have been lunchtime, it could have been a lot worse – about 30 people go into that cob shop.“

A spokesman for First bus said there were no passengers on the number 17 Highfields Circular bus that was hit by the scaffolding. The bus driver was not injured, but was sent home due to shock.

Buses were diverted and the area around the fallen scaffolding was cordoned off.

The First bus spokesman added that representatives from the company were in Humberstone Gate, Charles Street and Rutland Street advising passengers where to catch their bus from.

Natita Robbins, 40, who works in Emerald Thai Restaurant in Charles Street, had only just walked past the scaffolding before it fell.

She said: “I saw it from the beginning. I walked past and I was just about to come in the restaurant when I heard a creaking, then a bit moved out from the whole building and after five seconds it slowly fell down.

“I looked back before it came down and I saw that lady.

“I heard someone screaming to tell her to get away because it was going to collapse.

“I was unsure if she saw what was happening. Then it collapsed.”

She added that the noise was very loud.

Natita said she thought the bus driver saw it falling, and then stopped driving forward.

Picture: John Iliffe

John Iliffe, 30, who works opposite the scene, said: “There was an almighty crash.

“The wind had been shaking the building all day I wasn’t surprised something was blown over.

“One van was completely crushed.

“I saw one lady, about 60-years-old, she was right in the middle of it.

“All the vehicles around her were crushed, but somehow she seemed to be okay.

“It was amazing. I don’t know how she wasn’t more injured.”

Another eyewitness Jo Collis-Smith, 38, said: “I work above it and heard a massive crash and saw it had hit a bus and some cars.

“I think someone is trapped underneath it as well, but they seem to be okay. They seem to be moving.”

Sandy, 55, a regular in the Royal Standard pub near the scene, said: “We heard a bang and then five or six of the boys who were in the pub rushed out to see what they could do.

“They were pulling out planks to get to whoever was underneath. I couldn’t look, to be honest, it was just nice to see people going out to help.”

Arti Keshwala, 21, of Evington, was on Charles Street, near the newsagents on the corner of Halford Street when it happened.

She said it was frightening because she regularly walks down Charles Street.

“One woman has been injured as well as another woman. It is scary. Anyone could have been hurt.

“For the whole thing to fall makes you question whether the scaffolding is secure, or anyone checked it.”

An East Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “We received a call reporting that scaffolding had fallen on a lady.

“First on the scene was a fast response vehicle which arrived four minutes after the call.

“Back up from a double crewed ambulance was requested and two patients were taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary.”

A spokeswoman for the police said: “We were called at 11.34am today to reports that a scaffolding had collapsed in Charles Street.

“Officers along with fire and ambulance crews went to the scene and Charles Street has been closed in both directions.”

The fire service said two engines and a technical rescue team from Eastern Station were called to the scene.

At 12.52 they came away and the incident was left with the Health and Safety Executive and the city council.

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said it were aware of the incident and is carrying out an investigation.

The work was being carried out by Emperor Scaffolding, of Ravensbridge Drive, off Blackbird Road, Leicester.

Martin Morley, managing director, said: “The HSE are carrying out an investigation and I’ve been advised not to comment while their investigation is under way.”

Scaffolders from the company were waiting to go in and dismantle the collapsed structure.

A Leicester City Council spokesman said after the Health and Safety Executive had carried out their investigation at the scene, the city council would then remove the scaffolding.

Shortly after 5.20pm two of the company’s lorries loaded with the collapsed scaffolding drove off allowing police to re-open one side of Charles Street shortly afterwards.

Twisted metal safety railings and a lamppost twisted at a 90-degree angle bore testament to the wight of the collapsed metal poles and planks that made up the scaffold structure.

Bus services inbound to the city were resumed, although the outbound carriageway remained closed awaiting work on the damaged lamppost and railings.

Leicestershire Police reported at 6.50pm that Charles Street had re-opened in both directions.

Picture: Jo Collis-Smith

Original Source: http://bit.ly/1zd5eLE

 

Winner of Renewable Energy Health and Safety Award announced

RenewableUK and The Crown Estate has announced that RWE Innogy has won this year’s Renewable Energy Health and Safety Award in recognition of the Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm Offshore Emergency Response Team.

The Emergency Response Team (ERT) is responsible for the entire offshore site, an area of 80km², located 18km off the North Wales coast. The team aims to provide the same level of emergency response as onshore colleagues, and is highly qualified in providing expert trauma care and rapid response.

The ERT initiative has an impressive safety record; it has inducted 9000 people, and overseen more than 500,000 offshore transfers without any significant incidents.

The announcement was made on the eve of RenewableUK’s annual Health and Safety Conference, which takes place today in Birmingham, the UK’s premier health and safety event for the wind, wave and tidal energy sector.

RenewableUK Director of Health & Safety Chris Streatfeild said:

We had an outstanding shortlist of candidates this year, which shows yet again how seriously health and safety issues are taken by the industry. Each entry had its own merits, and made a real contribution to addressing the often complex risks faced by companies on a day-to-day basis. The winners RWE Innogy and joint runners up Forewind and Wind Towers (Scotland) show the diversity of the health and safety challenges impacting on the onshore and offshore sectors – but more importantly a willingness to share the experiences and lessons learned to a wider audience.”

Rob Hastings, Director of Energy and Infrastructure at The Crown Estate said:

“This award recognises the hard work and commitment of RWE Innogy and all the nominees in securing the wellbeing of their workers. Improving health and safety is crucial to protecting employees, but also in promoting best practice and collaboration across the offshore wind sector to improve efficiencies by working safely and help reduce costs.”

The Crown Estate, the organisation responsible for managing the UK’s seabed, created the Renewable Energy Health and Safety Award three years ago in conjunction with RenewableUK to promote the importance of health and safety in the offshore wind sector. The Crown Estate currently sponsors the award reflecting its proactive approach to promoting health and safety best practice.

Previous winners include Centrica, E.ON and Technip.

See more at: http://www.renewableuk.com/en/news/press-releases.cfm/2015-01-29-winner-of-renewable-energy-health-and-safety-award-announced?#sthash.upR7HOnI.dpuf

Climate change: framework for a safety culture

A positive safety culture brings measurable benefits to organisations, including a more engaged workforce and reduced accident rates. Jennifer Webster outlines the framework for an effective assessment of safety culture by testing the climate in organisations.

Developing a safety culture that supports good health and safety in an organisation is vital to ensure adequate control over risks.[1] A positive safety culture contributes to positive safety outcomes, directly impacting on accident rates as well as reputation and competitive edge. But how do organisations go about improving their safety culture to obtain these measurable benefits?

Safety culture is a leading indicator of safety performance, and this is determined by how individuals interact with and perceive their working environment. No organisation can afford to ignore the fact that not only do poor health and safety practices cost lives, they also cost money. According to figures published by HSE for 2013/14:

  • In the UK, 28.2 million days were lost due to work-related ill health or injury, and injuries and new cases of ill health resulting from current working conditions cost society an estimated £14.2bn.[2]
  • Globally, every year, 160 million people suffer from work-related diseases and there are an estimated 270 million fatal and non-fatal work-related accidents, resulting in 4 per cent of the world’s GDP lost.[3]

But the drivers for organisations to improve their safety culture are not solely to do with cost. The Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) reports that for the majority of organisations the recurring reason is that they care about their workforce and reputation as a healthy and safe place to work.

There are five really essential steps in any safety culture improvement programme: foundation, analyse, focus, act and evaluate.

Foundation
It’s essential for any sustainable safety culture improvement programme to have a firm foundation, and this starts with thorough forward-thinking preparation.

Whatever an organisation’s reasons for improving its safety culture, it will need to begin by understanding the current state of its safety culture as this will highlight areas for improvement and feed into the organisation’s action plan.

Organisations use a variety of methods to obtain this understanding. One such method currently in use by over 350 organisations worldwide is HSL’s Safety Climate Tool (SCT), an online survey to measure workers’, supervisors’ and managers’ perceptions across eight key factors.

Setting the safety culture assessment up correctly and preparing the ground for a programme of change demonstrates that an organisation has a long-term commitment to taking health and safety seriously, and is going beyond its minimum legal duty to ensure the safety of its workforce. It is important to ensure the improvement programme starts by:

  • Securing senior management commitment.
  • Setting up a steering group.
  • Developing a project plan and investing adequate resources to carry out the five steps and implement improvements.
  • Developing a communications/employee engagement strategy.

When working with organisations, HSL advises that they invest in planning and laying down firm foundations to run a safety culture assessment; this helps to engage with the workforce and achieve a high response rate. Approaches to planning, running assessments and acting on the results vary from straightforward checklists to more sophisticated project management tools that identify what needs to be done and when.

But what they all have in common is that the plans are SMART; specific, measurable, accurate, realistic and time bound. Others incorporate plan, do, check, act into their thinking and this works really well for organisations just starting their improvement journey, as it helps them think about: who they need to involve; what resources they will need; how they will communicate what they are doing; and what they will do with the outputs.

It helps to have established a clear and compelling vision for what an organisation thinks a good safety culture should look like. This makes it easier to explain the rationale to senior managers to get their support and commitment, and it helps to communicate consistent messages to employees about why the organisation wants them to provide their opinions and what it will do with the information when it is received.

It is not always easy to get senior management commitment. But time and again, HSL’s work has shown that when an organisation’s assessment and subsequent interventions have the full support of senior management, they are more successful. A simple statement of support from a CEO can have a powerful effect.

Worker engagement was a key element in the excellent safety record at the Olympic Park in 2012

Senior management commitment was a critical success factor in ensuring that the London 2012 Olympic Games were the safest on record. Senior managers listened, supported and provided the resources to build a strong health and safety culture. They communicated what they did with the results and encouraged worker engagement at all levels.

As a result, when HSL carried out research on safety leadership at the Olympic Park during its decommissioning, their leaders and workforce consistently demonstrated that everyone was ‘walking the talk’ and health and safety was seen as everyone’s responsibility.

Some of the workers we talked to with many years’ experience in the construction industry found they were adopting safer working practices which they then took to other sites. Challenging unsafe behaviours when they saw them became just part of the way they did things.

Safety culture assessments have been run by some organisations without this level of commitment at the outset and they have been able to implement some localised interventions. But when the person driving the assessment or survey through, typically the health and safety manager, leaves, the initiative tends to lose its momentum.

Therefore, it’s important that organisations don’t do everything on their own, no matter how tempting it is. Far better to set up a small steering group to help with the planning and delegate tasks, or do what some organisations have done and use external consultants to act as a proxy team.

Analyse
Several sources of data, information and knowledge can be used to measure the current culture in an organisation. Running a tool like the HSL SCT is an easy, evidence-based way to gather employee opinions on the safety culture, providing an organisation with valuable data as well as increasing employee engagement. By analysing the results of the assessment, organisations will start to understand their strengths and target areas for improvement, and obtain data against which they can measure the future success of improvements.

Focus
Analysing the data should provide a broad indication of the underlying culture of the organisation and key areas to target. The next step is to discuss the results with employees and work with them to develop solutions that can be acted on. This can be done through employee engagement workshops. It is critical that employees and their representatives participate in this process as they:

  • Are often closest to the issues identified;
  • May know better what will improve safety performance; and
  • Are more likely to help ensure the success of any agreed actions if they have taken an active part in developing and agreeing solutions.

Act
At this stage, an organisation can now make evidence-based decisions which will form the basis of targeted action plans that focus resources on those areas that genuinely need attention, and those that will have most impact on improving safety performance.

Action planning also helps to identify the interventions that can be accomplished with the least amount of effort. Creating a positive safety culture is not something that can be achieved overnight.

However, organisations that can demonstrate early on that they have acted on at least some of the results appear to have a more engaged workforce and can help maintain the commitment of their senior management and the workforce over the longer term.

Evaluate
To ensure that the interventions are having maximum impact on improving safety performance, it is essential to evaluate the interventions and adjust them if necessary. How the process of change has been managed should also be evaluated to enhance the long-term culture change project plan.

What next?
It takes time to create a good health and safety culture. This framework is designed to help organisations carry out an effective assessment of their safety culture and to start the improvement process. Using external support can help organisations keep the momentum going, input targeted expertise and provide an objective viewpoint.

By working with many organisations, HSL has built up benchmarking data from over 98,000 responses and the figure is growing. It is very important for HSL that everything we do is evidencebased so we are also in the process of building up a series of case studies based on the experiences from organisations in our network, allowing us to pass on practical help and advice from the lessons they have learned to others.

Jennifer Webster is safety climate & behavioural change consultant at HSL

References:
1. Health and Safety Executive, 2007. Safety culture: a review of the literature.http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/hsl_pdf/2002/hsl02-25.pdf (accessed 15 December 2014)
2 . Health and Safety Executive, 2014. Health and Safety Executive Annual Statistics Report 2013/2014.http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh1314.pdf (accessed 15 December 2014)
3 . International Labour Organisation, 2014 (accessed 15 December 2014 from http://bit.ly/151nnjU)

Original Source: http://ubm.io/1uF6vp8

IOSH forklift safety management qualification launched

Mentor Training have launched the first-ever IOSH accredited safety management course tailored to the needs of those responsible for overseeing forklift operations.

‘IOSH Managing Safely: Forklift Operations’ recognises the important role in safety played by managers and supervisors. The four-day course was developed in close partnership with IOSH and is exclusive to Mentor.

Mentor director Stuart Taylor explains: “In recent years, we have seen HSE highlight management’s responsibilities and we’ve seen a rise in the numbers of managers, supervisors and directors prosecuted for neglect.”

According to HSE figures, the number of directors prosecuted under section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act in the five years leading up to 2010/11 has risen by 330 per cent, while during the same time period, successful convictions have increased from 50 per cent of cases to 81 per cent.

The new nine-module course builds on the highly regarded IOSH Managing Safely course, which provides delegates from any industry with a practical understanding of what must be done to ensure safety in their teams’ work, with added reference throughout to lift trucks and the environments in which they operate, as well as a full additional module specific to the challenges faced in materials handling.

The IOSH-approved course is delivered on site by highly skilled instructors qualified to NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) standards and with vast specialist experience in working with forklift trucks.

The course meets the legal requirements set out in HSE guidance document L117 (Rider-operated lift trucks. Operator training and safe use. Approved Code of Practice and Guidance), the latest edition of which placed added emphasis on the importance of supervision.

Stuart Taylor added: “This course has been developed to equip delegates with the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to proactively manage forklift operations – not just safely and legally but more effectively, too.”

For further information visit www.mentortraining.co.uk.

Original Source: http://ubm.io/1yDHdbd

Occupational hygiene – something all workplaces should aim for

With 99% of work-related deaths attributable to disease rather than accidents, employers should identify and control health hazards at early stages.

Occupational hygiene is the scientific discipline which is all about protecting the health of people at work, no matter what sort of work they do. It involves the identification of hazards and most importantly, their control, to minimise the risks to worker health, as a result of exposures. To achieve this, occupational hygiene often employs science and engineering principles. Occupational hygienists can be found in a wide variety of workplaces and this is as a result of the extensive range of health risks which can arise at work. These risks, if not controlled, can result in serious illness and even death.

The risks which occupational hygienists are interested in often involve chemical hazards (such as toxic substances, dust and fibres, fumes and mists), physical hazards (like noise and vibration, radiation, lasers, or thermal stress) or biological hazards, for example, bacteria like legionella or viruses such as hepatitis or ebola.

Risks may also be related to ergonomic considerations such as manual handling or psychosocial factors such as stress. Good occupational hygiene has revolutionised worker health in certain areas. For example, it is possible today to be a healthy miner and also understand the risks of working with or near asbestos. Similarly, occupational hygienists know how silicosis among pottery workers can be prevented.

However, large numbers of people are still employed in high-risk sectors. Construction workers continue to be exposed to harmful dusts such as respirable crystalline silica. Workers in bakeries continue to suffer from asthma as a result of exposure to flour dust and in retail, workers are still at risk from musculoskeletal problems. The need for occupational hygiene is as great today as it ever has been since the types of hazards are constantly changing.

The big issues
The latest figures show that 13,000 people a year die from work-related ill health. That means the 133 workers killed at work during 2013/14 as a result of accidents in the workplace represent only 1% of the total deaths caused by work. In other words, 99% of occupational mortality is attributable to disease.

This isn’t just a problem of past exposures. The number of new cases of self-reported work-related ill health had been falling in recent years, but has now increased to 535,000 per year and there are 2 million people suffering from an illness they believed was caused or made worse by their current or past work.

Cancer is a particular challenge in the field of worker health. It is estimated that one in 20 cases of cancer are attributed to work-related causes. There are 8,000 deaths and 13,500 new cases of occupational cancer per year. Worse still, it is estimated that, in the absence of action, annual deaths from preventable occupational cancers in 2060 will have risen by 5,000 more than the current level of 8,000.

The good news is that occupational hygiene solutions are hugely cost effective. Cost-benefit analysis demonstrated the advantages of employing occupational hygiene experts at the 2012 Olympic Park and village project far outweighed the cost. The net benefits were estimated to be around £7m.

The discipline and practice of occupational hygiene is one of the longest standing within the occupational health arena and, as such, was recognised as pivotal by Lord Robens in his 1972 report which led to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. In the report, he defined occupational health as comprising two main elements: occupational medicine and occupational hygiene, and concluded that, “Occupational health is very much a multi-disciplinary subject requiring the combined knowledge and skills of doctors, chemists, engineers, nurses and others.”

It has been said that occupational health has two primary facets – prevention and cure. Occupational hygiene is firmly within the preventative side of the discipline, with protection of worker health by means of controlling exposure to risks as its primary focus. On the curative side, we find occupational doctors and nurses practising occupational medicine, carrying out medical checks and helping workers who are ill. On the same side, we find HR personnel, with the involvement of medical specialists, helping people return to work after sickness absence. Increasingly, we also see the wellbeing of workers being considered by HR, with exercise, diet and nutrition programmes.

When people hear the term occupational hygiene, they sometimes mistakenly think the profession is about keeping workplaces hygienic and clean. In fact, it is about the identification and control of hazards to minimise the risks to worker health. That is something all workplaces should aim for.

Steve Perkins is chief executive of British Occupational Hygiene Society

– See more at: https://sm.britsafe.org/occupational-hygiene-%E2%80%93-something-all-workplaces-should-aim#sthash.bSBo0QjY.dpuf

New, prestigious health and safety award launched at LAMMA 2015

A new health and safety award, which will be judged by a panel of agricultural engineering specialists, has been launched at LAMMA 2015.

The Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) in partnership with SSAB, the Nordic and US-based steel company and Farmers Guardian announces the launch of a new and significant health and safety award.

The prize will comprise of a statuette, £300 and an invitation to visit SSAB in Sweden.

The prize will be awarded for an innovation, product or practice which supports best practice in promoting safety and can demonstrate the clear benefits. This could relate for example to new design features, lighter products, simplified production, longer life time, improved performance or beneficial environmental effects. The prize will also cover methods and tools.

Alastair Taylor, CEO of IAgrE said, “Agriculture is the most dangerous industry in the UK with an average of one person being killed each week on farms and many serious injuries and cases of ill health occurring across the landbased sector and the incident rates show no sign of reducing. At IAgrE we are committed to help the industry improve this figure and believe this new award is a way of raising and promoting a healthy and safe agricultural industry.”

Johan Mattsson, SSAB Key Segment Specialist, Agriculture said, “The farm is one of the most dangerous workplaces of modern society. Fortunately, Advanced High Strength Steel has enormous potential to really make a difference for environment, animals and people living and working on farms.

SSAB manufacture AHSS – Advanced High Strength Steel, which increases productivity and reduces fuel consumption. “The automotive sector has been transformed in the last 20 to 30 years and everyone today takes for granted that cars are safe and fuel efficient. It’s now time to look at the agricultural sector and using steel to develop farm machinery, produce machines more cost effectively with higher safety levels and reduced fuel consumption using new lighter and stronger materials,” added Johan.

Original Source: http://bit.ly/1zbvJj4

Crane collapses onto Abu Dhabi building – miraculously, nobody is hurt

A mobile crane collapsed onto a building on Sunday morning, shattering windows and waking residents in the surrounding area.

The crane, which belonged to Suwadi and Shams Contracting company, fell shortly before 9am near the junction of Sheikh Zayed and Hamdan streets, the same location where a mobile crane collapsed over a street in 2011.

Mohammed Salem, head of the communications department of Suwadi and Shams Contracting said although his company was still awaiting the outcome of the Abu Dhabi Police investigation, the accident was something that could happen to any company and was not completely out of the norm.

“We were sleeping and suddenly there was a big sound and the whole building shook,” said Nilima, who felt the effect from her apartment on the third floor of the affected building.

“The kids started crying and I was so scared. We have been gathered together since but I feel so lucky,” said the Indian who has lived in the building for over a year with her husband and two children aged two and five.

Crane collapses onto Abu Dhabi building

As well as damaging the adjacent building, the crane also crushed an office trailer on the nearby building site and fell onto a pedestrian path between the site and the building it collapsed into.

“It was unbelievable no pedestrians were hurt,” said Koshori Sheddy, a restaurant employee who was working in a storage facility on the ground floor of the same building.

“A lot of people use this pathway and on Friday we have a lot of traffic coming through it,” said Mr Sheddy who has worked near the site for six months.

Labourers, who have been working on the site for two weeks, said no workers were injured and that the engineers were fortunate they arrived to work late and were not in the office trailers.

The effect of the crane’s fall was so loud it was heard in a building across the street.

Precilla Goosen said she had grown accustomed to the sounds of construction but heard something markedly different on Sunday morning.

“I knew instantly something had happened when I heard the noise,” said the South African freelance photographer.

When she rushed to the balcony of the her 12th floor apartment facing the construction site Ms Goosen could see the crane had toppled.

“It seemed like the crane was top heavy and facing the wrong way,” said Ms Goosen who has worked as head of safety and security for a hotel group in South Africa in the past.

“Occupational safety is very important, especially when working in such a cramped site such as this one,” she said.

Abu Dhabi Municipality investigations showed safety violations, including defective equipment and inadequate supervision, were to blame for the 2011 crane collapse in same area.

Crane collapses onto Abu Dhabi building

Although all construction or demolition site accidents must be reported to Abu Dhabi Municipality’s health, safety and environment department, the department’s head, Abdulaziz Zurub, said they had not yet received notification of Sunday’s incident by 5pm.

“Although these accidents rarely happen sometimes the negligence and inexperience of mobile crane operators can lead to an unbalanced crane,” he said.

Safeguards against crane accidents have been implemented since the 2011 incident which include regulations on lifting equipment inspections conducted by third parties, municipal regulations requiring all equipment operators receive some qualification training, and daily inspections of building sites by municipal workers.

“We are constantly monitoring building sites as well as reviewing the third parties inspecting them. We now have a total of 33 companies after removing 6 from the list which did not meet our standards,” said Mr Zurub.

Original Source: http://bit.ly/1BalBoN