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£400m funding released to replace cladding 18/10/2018

THE GOVERNMENT has started distributing an estimated £400 million to remove and replace unsafe aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding systems on social sector high-rise housing in England owned by social landlords.

Twelve local authorities and 31 housing associations are being told that they have been allocated the money they need to cover the cost of removing and replacing unsafe ACM cladding from social, residential buildings they own which are 18 metres or higher.

This funding will enable local authorities and housing associations to get on with the job of making their buildings safe without having an impact on other vital services. As work is ongoing, costs are subject to change, and that is why the government will be closely monitoring progress.

Secretary of State for Communities James Brokenshire MP said: "There is nothing more important than ensuring people are safe in their homes and that is why I am pleased the £400 million funding has started to be released. We are doing the right thing by residents and fully funding the replacement of unsafe ACM cladding in social housing buildings 18 metres or above.

"In the private sector, I want to see landlords protect leaseholders from these costs. I am pleased that a number have stepped forward to do so, including Barratt Developments, Legal & General, Taylor Wimpey, Mace and Peabody. However, there are some who are not engaging in this process. If they don’t, I have ruled nothing out."

The latest figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show that over 75 percent of social housing buildings with unsafe ACM cladding have completed remediation or are currently removing and replacing the cladding, with plans in place for the remaining 25 percent. Interim fire safety measures are in place in all affected buildings to keep residents safe until the cladding has been replaced.

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the government established a comprehensive building safety programme that included an independent review of fire safety and building regulations.

The government published its response to this review and, following consultation, has confirmed that it is banning the use of combustible materials on all residential high-rise buildings above 18 metres so that people are safe in their homes now, and in the future. Full details of the ban and how the recommendations of the Hackitt review will be implemented will be published later this year.

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Construction worker fell through roof 18/10/2018

A NORTH Devon-based steel fabricator has been sentenced after a young employee fell through a fragile roof whilst at work.

Plymouth Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 23rd August 2017, a 19-year old employed by Mark Dayment, trading as Langaton Steel Fabrications, was on his first day of working on a roof replacement project at a petrol filling station in Barnstaple. Whilst assisting another worker, he took a few steps off the walkway and fell 7.5 metres through a thin metal sheet onto the concrete forecourt below. The young worker suffered serious head injuries, a broken pelvis and a broken wrist as a result of the fall.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the work was not properly planned, appropriately supervised or carried out in a safe manner when the incident occurred. Mr Dayment, had a duty to control how the work was carried out, including staff supervision.

Mark Dayment of North Road, South Moulton pleaded guilty to breaching Section 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regs 2005, and has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,228.70.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Nicole Buchanan said: “This young man’s injuries were life-changing and he could have easily been killed. This serious incident and devastation could have been avoided if basic safe guards had been put in place.

“Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities and injuries in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well-known.”

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Agency worker injured on waste conveyor 17/10/2018

A HAULAGE and waste processing business has been fined after an agency worker’s hand was drawn into an in running nip on a waste sorting conveyor.

Telford Magistrates Court heard how, on 27 September 2016, an 18-year-old agency worker was trying to clear a blockage beneath a waste conveyor belt. He reached in with his hand to remove the material causing the blockage when his hand was drawn in by the in-running nip on the conveyor system. He suffered partial amputation of his finger and a fractured elbow.

An investigation into the incident by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), found there was inadequate guarding around the conveyor belt to prevent workers hands being caught up in the conveyor.

Loosemores Transport Ltd of Battlefield, Shrewsbury pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,026.70.

HSE inspector Wendy Campbell said after the hearing, “A young man’s life has been changed because the company failed to ensure there was correct guarding on the conveyor belt.

“This should serve as a reminder to all companies to check their machinery guarding is adequate and prevents access to dangerous parts of machinery”.

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Fine for not recognising hand arm vibration risk 17/10/2018

BRITISH AIRWAYS Avionic Engineering Limited has been fined for failing to assess the risk to workers from hand arm vibration.

Cardiff Crown Court heard how people working at the company were exposed to vibration from use of a wet blasting cabinet and vibrating hand tools. It was not until late in 2013 that action was taken by the company to assess and reduce vibration risk, despite the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations having been in force since July 2005 and were preceded by similar risk assessment requirements.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company failed in their duty to recognise and properly assess the risk from hand arm vibration at their facility in Talbot Green, South Wales.

British Airways Avionic Engineering Limited of Waterside, Harmondsworth, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005, and has been fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £25,297.57.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Helen Turner said, “This was a case of the company failing to identify the risk from hand arm vibration, which is a recognised health risk with potentially disabling consequences.

“Unless vibration is identified and properly assessed, an employer won’t know the level of risk, and whether action is needed to protect workers. It is very important that people exposed to hand arm vibration at work are informed of the symptoms of early exposure and given opportunities to discuss their health so that they can be protected from serious Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.”

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Improper use of PPE costs billions 16/10/2018

THE IMPROPER use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has cost businesses operating in high-risk environments an estimated £79 billion* in the last year, according to new figures from vision AI company, Cortexica.

In a new white paper titled “Overcoming the barriers of PPE compliance with the use of artificial intelligence”, Cortexica identifies injury claims, inefficiencies caused from injured and absent workers, and the purchase of new equipment as the most significant costs to businesses caused by PPE non-compliance. On an individual level, 5% of businesses in high-risk environments lost over £1 million from PPE non-compliance in the last year, with 30% losing over £250k.

The report also highlights how drastically workplace injuries can be cut through the proper use of PPE. Of the 27 injuries that led to days off work in last 12 months for the average business, 29% could have been prevented if employees had complied with the proper PPE guidelines. Lifting and handling, dealing with industrial machinery, and slips or falls were the most common cause of injuries in the workplace.

According to the report human error was identified as the key cause of workplace injuries. Eradicating PPE failure through the delivery of an AI driven PPE monitoring system was identified as a solution, especially for the 84% of businesses interviewed that still rely on manually checking employees for PPE compliance. Over three quarters (78%) of those surveyed for the report also believe that AI systems would reduce the risk of accidents by flagging potential issues in real-time.

This is not lost on health and safety professionals, nearly two thirds (64%) of which indicated in the report that they intend investing in AI and machine vision systems to monitor employees PPE within the next five years.

“Personal Protection Equipment compliance is something that businesses operating in high-risk environments have to get right, and the report highlights why” said Iain McCready, Cortexica’s CEO. “Not only do they have a duty of care to their employees, but they need to protect themselves from the financial consequences of injuries in the workplace. To our surprise, the report highlights many businesses are still manually monitoring PPE compliance, even with a number of industry-ready AI applications on the market that can reduce these risks.”

*The estimate was calculated by multiplying the average amount of money that businesses lose from improper use of PPE according to Cortexica’s report (£62,000) with the estimated amount of construction and manufacturing businesses operating in the UK (1,274,000) according to latest government statistics: http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN06152/SN06152.pdf

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Employers should act on injuries outside work 16/10/2018

EMPLOYERS IN England are being encouraged to help their staff prevent unintentional injury outside of the workplace through the monitoring of data and sharing of safety messages, as part of a new strategy.

Every year in England an average of 4,400 people aged between 25-64 die as the result of an accident, with 240,000 annual accident-related hospital admission episodes among this group. The majority of these incidents occur outside of the working environment, yet the financial impact on businesses is huge.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has published Safe and active at all ages: a national strategy to prevent serious accidental injuries in England. Among its recommendations, the document encourages employers to recognise the contribution they can make to reducing the number and severity of injuries to workers in their own homes and while taking part in leisure pursuits, which would not only benefit individuals and their families but also address the lost productivity these accidents cause.

The strategy, which has been developed by a wide range of partners including Public Health England and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, recommends the collection of data on absence that results from accidents outside of work – either to workers or those for whom they have caring responsibilities –  in order to establish the evidence base for action and the development of a network of higher-performing organisations that could lead the way on “carry over” safety programmes from the workplace into other parts of life. It also urges action on the management of occupational road risk, recognising that a third of road accidents are estimated to involve someone who is at work at the time.

Chief executive of RoSPA Errol Taylor said, “Through the 20th century, UK workplaces made great strides in reducing incidents of injury on the factory floor, on construction sites, in offices and across the range of working environments. However, over the same time period the number of accidental death and serious injury in home and leisure environments steadily increased.

“This is something that employers cannot ignore – such injury results in lost working days, reduced productivity and loss of revenue.

“Organisations large and small are hotbeds of excellent health and safety systems and practice, so businesses are extremely well placed to help address the burden serious accidental injury places not only on their bottom line, but on our overstretched health and social care services too.”

The strategy seeks to address the rising number of accidental deaths in England and the heavy toll these place on the health and social care services, as well as the personal heartache that serious unintentional injury can cause. It aims to achieve a step-change in the delivery of evidence-based accident prevention programmes across England, promote safe and active lives and reduce the burden of serious accidental injury on society.

The strategy’s 25 recommendations for action address the major dangers faced by people across their life course, from birth to older age, and wherever they may find themselves – in their own homes, at work, in education, on the road, or during leisure pursuits.

Representatives of the following organisations participated in the National Accident Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, under the chairmanship of the Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell: Public Health England; Association of Directors of Public Health; Blackburn with Darwen Council; Faculty of Public Health; Institute of Health Promotion and Education; Institute of Health Visiting; Royal College of Emergency Medicine; Royal College of Nursing; Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health; Royal Society for Public Health; University of Nottingham; and University of the West of England. Contributions were also made by RoSPA’s national committees, including the National Occupational Safety and Health Committee.


 
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Global zero-harm strategy lands award 16/10/2018

A GLOBAL tea and coffee producer, a world-renowned food manufacturer and a Scottish smoked salmon supplier have picked up major awards for innovative ways they protect their workers.

The International Food and Drink Health and Safety Awards were presented earlier this month, with the top prize going to Finlays. Second and third place went to Kraft Heinz and Farne Salmon respectively.

The accolades are handed out every year by IOSH and the Food and Drink Manufacture Health and Safety Forum.

Finlays developed a zero-harm strategy to cover around 30,000 employees, who are mostly based in field and factory facilities in Sri Lanka, Kenya, North America, Argentina and the UK.

They recognised that geographical and cultural diversity, along with differences in regional legislation, standards and enforcement, were creating a challenge in how they ensured those workers remained safe and healthy.

The firm launched its zero-harm strategy in April 2017, with different parts of the business creating its own action plan. As part of this, it created an ‘Always Safe’ culture, to engage and empower employees across the world. This culture included a hazard reporting system for workers to flag up things they deemed unsafe, while they also developed a ‘thumbs-up’ symbol for employees to demonstrate they were onboard with safer working practices.

The scheme has been a major success for the organisation. In the year following the ‘zero-harm’ launch, there were 40 lost-time injuries on its sites, down from 78 in the previous 12 months. The number of lost working hours was reduced from 13,008 to 7,406.

The reporting scheme led to 8,887 reports being raised in the first year.

In their awards nomination, group head of health and safety Mike Keating said, “The 49% improvement (reduction) in lost-time injuries and the 43% improvement (reduction) in lost working hours indicate that our zero-harm strategy and Always Safe approach has been very successful in its first year. 

“We’re far more pleased with the less-easy to quantify progress that has been made in engaging and empowering our people to create a culture of safety.”

Kraft Heinz’s award came for a project to manage the risks associated with working on confined spaces, which followed some near-misses and minor accidents.

The firm conducted a detailed study of each confined space to help decide whether it was necessary to enter the confined space and, if unavoidable, what controls could be put in place including for any rescue.

It led to the firm developing a process for each confined space, including a 3D map highlighting the level of risk, ensuring competent people were involved in the process and other safety systems.

Since its implementation, there have been no ‘high potential near-misses’ and no accidents.

Farne Salmon’s award came after it tackled the issue of stress because of production pressures, which was in-turn leading to employees colliding with stationary objects.

The organisation had a complete process redesign, which led to a reduction in incidents.

Committee member of IOSH’s Food and Drink Industries Group Doug Russell said, “We had some excellent award entries again this year. They were innovative and showed evidence of big improvements in health and safety.”

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HSENI produces draft corporate plan 15/10/2018

THE HEALTH and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) has produced its new draft Corporate Plan for the 2018-2023 period.

While the draft Corporate Plan cannot be finalised in the absence of a Minister for the Economy, the HSENI Board has agreed this clear strategic direction for the organisation. Given the overwhelmingly positive support received at consultation, HSENI will use this draft document to set its priorities until the NI Assembly and Executive is restored and a Minister for the Economy is in place to consider the draft.

In the Corporate Plan, HSENI has set out its mission ‘to work with others to reduce serious work-related injury and ill health’. Strategically, HSENI will focus on preventing the most serious workplace health and safety issues in high risk industries and activities.

In addition, for a number of years HSENI has been increasing its activity and focus on occupational health issues. Given the potential short and long term costs to workers and to our economy from ill-health at work, this Corporate Plan represents a step change in activity in this important area which is devastating many lives and costing the Northern Ireland economy over £238m every year.

Over the lifetime of this Corporate Plan, HSENI, working with others, plans to achieve the following three key outcomes:

  • Reduce Serious and Fatal Accidents by 10% to no more than 50 per annum on average;
  • Reduce Major Accidents by 10% to no more than 350 per annum on average; and
  • Reduce Over 3 Day Accidents by 5% to no more than 1700 per annum on average

These three targets are challenging and are in large part dependent on the health and safety performance of other parties. This underscores the fact that this Corporate Plan represents a shared vision between HSENI, NI employers and employees. In addition, this draft Plan focuses on a sector based approach and specifies the challenges and priorities in key industry sectors.

HSENI ran a consultation exercise from 6 April to 29 June 2018. A summary of the consultation responses is available to view at www.hseni.gov.uk/publications/analysis-and-summary-consultation-responses-and-hseni-comments

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BSC urges focus on mental health 15/10/2018

THE BRITISH Safety Council is calling on employers to commit themselves to protecting their workers’ mental wellbeing and investing in line managers’ mental health training.

On the eve of World Mental Health Day, celebrated on 10 October, the British Safety Council warned the government and the business community that there are not enough provisions to keep people who experience mental ill-health in employment.

British Safety Council chief executive Mike Robinson said: “The current government investment programmes and the education and training delivered by the leading mental health charities in Britain will help many people who experience mental ill-health to return and to stay in employment.

“However, there is no room for complacency. Only 43 percent of people with mental health issues are in regular employment, compared with 74 percent of the general population (NHS England). Furthermore, 80 days is the average length of time which young people have to wait to start treatment in mental health services (Mind). For someone who could be contemplating suicide, 80 days is a very long time.

“A line manager has a crucial role to play in helping people to open up about their condition and advising them on where to seek further help. It’s an employer’s responsibility to train them for this task. Staff with mental health conditions who felt supported by their line managers were 11 times more likely to disclose a mental health problem, in comparison to those who did not (Mind).

 “The British Safety Council has designed the Manage the Conversation training for line managers, which helps them learn how to potentially save someone’s life if they spot any danger signs.

“This year the British Safety Council has delivered almost 100 Manage the Conversation training courses to the leading construction and manufacturing companies, such as Bovis Homes, Balfour Beatty, JCB, Taylor Wimpey and Tideway.

“This training is also incorporated into the Mates in Mind programme, which is proudly supported by the British Safety Council, one of the founding partners. Mates in Mind is now working with more than 150 organisations across the construction and construction-related industries, creating better awareness and challenging the stigma associated with poor mental health. This message is now reaching more than 150,000 workers."

To help employees talk about their mental wellbeing and build resilience to cope with pressures and adversity in the workplace, the British Safety Council has launched a range of online wellbeing resources. They include Start the Conversation course, which aims to get employees thinking about mental health and talking about it, and Resilience, developed with elite sports professionals for building physical and emotional resilience, as well as Stress Awareness training for employees and managers.

The British Safety Council has also produced a free learning video to give people a better understanding of different mental health and wellbeing issues. You can see the video below.

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Worker severs finger with saw 15/10/2018

A BUILDER from Cornwall has been sentenced after one of his employees sustained serious, life-changing hand injuries whilst operating a handheld circular saw.

Bodmin Magistrates’ Court heard how David Avent, trading as David Avent Building Services, undertook a barn refurbishment in Callington during February 2017. On 7 February, a worker, who had recently turned 17, was using a circular saw to cut wooden flooring sheets when the blade made contact with his hand causing serious, life-changing injuries. The saw blade cut fully through his index finger, three quarters through his middle finger and half way through his ring finger.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found David Avent had no record of any information, instruction and training that he had provided to his employee in the safe use of the circular saw nor had he ensured that safe working practices were followed when cutting the flooring sheet. The investigation also found that circular saw blade had not been properly adjusted for the size of material being cut at the time of the incident and the flooring sheet was not appropriately supported whilst being cut.

David Avent of Callington, Cornwall pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He has been fined £1,120 and ordered to pay costs of £8489.48.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Dr Jo-Anne Michael said: “This injury was easily preventable and the risk associated with the task should have been identified.”

“Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from contact with dangerous parts of machinery to ensure that the risks are given careful attention to ensure they are properly controlled.”

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