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Charity reminds workers to wear hard hat 21/09/2020

CONSTRUCTION SITES without the correct protection can potentially be very dangerous places, especially when it comes to head injuries. This is why Headway – the brain injury association and leading safety manufacturer Centurion are working together to raise awareness of using and maintaining hard hats while on site.

Together, the organisations have partnered to create Hard Hat Awareness Week which runs from 21st-27th September and will see a series of activities designed to drive awareness of brain injury and encourage best practice around safety equipment.

The results of a survey conducted by the brain injury charity which explored the use of hard hats in the construction industry and understanding of concussion were published at the start of the awareness raising week.

Shockingly, statistics revealed that among those who experienced a head injury at work:

  • 52% did not report an incident to their manager
  • Just 6% sought medical attention for their head injury.

More worryingly, 15% of 486 respondents stored their hard hat in an unsuitable way, such as in direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, whilst over half (58%) painted, marked or applied decals or labels to their helmet which could cause a chemical attack and reduce its durability.

Almost a quarter (24%) were unaware that exceeding the expiry date of a hard hat can reduce the level of protectivity and 28% did not know where to find their helmet’s expiry date or were unaware it even had one.

Peter McCabe, chief executive of Headway, said: “Brain injury is more common than you think, and its impact can be life-changing for both the injured person but also their wider family. Ensuring your head protection is worn and cared for correctly is key to remaining safe.

“To all those working on site or in the construction industry, we urge you to always wear your hard hat.”

Chris Tidy from Centurion Safety Products said, “We want people to understand the devastating effects of brain injury. It’s not just the individual that’s impacted, a brain injury can change the lives and futures of partners, family members and friends.

“Centurion and Headway want to drive the awareness of brain injury but also help wearers of safety helmets and hard hats to understand the possibly lifesaving piece of PPE they are wearing.

“We would like a week dedicated every year going forward for all wearers to audit their safety helmet or hard hat for signs of wear and tear, make sure it is in date, remove any unchecked stickers and sanitise/clean this piece of safety equipment whilst in a safe environment. We would like to challenge other safety helmet manufacturers to get involved and publicise this event going forward.

“We also want wearers to understand that 30% of head injuries occur from slips, trips and falls from the same level where the wearer could suffer a rotational injury. We would like to educate the wearer on the risk of concussion and give them a concussion recognition tool that will help them to understand the early warning signs, showing the person may be at risk so they can seek medical attention.”

Headway and Centurion are holding a Hard Hat Awareness Week raffle, the proceeds of which will go towards helping Headway deliver its frontline services and improve life after brain injury.

Prizes include a Milwaukee Cordless 6 Piece Kit (worth £1000), a Bosch Combi Hammer Drill & Dewalt Cordless Pole Saw Kit (worth £400) and a Bosh Combi Hammer Drill (worth £150).

To be in with a chance of winning, donate £3 by texting HARDHAT to 70331. Closing date for entries is 11:59pm on Sunday 27th September 2020.*

Several leading names in the construction sector have already pledged their support for the initiative including amey utilities, HSE network, Skanska, Costain, Strabag and CHAS and everyone within the industry is invited to take part by sharing images of their audited hard hats on social media using the hashtag #hatwise.

*Fundraising, payments and donations will be processed and administered by the National Funding Scheme (Charity No: 1149800), operating as DONATE. Texts will be charged at your standard network rate. For Terms & Conditions, see www.easydonate.org


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HSM Podcast - Episode 11 21/09/2020

THE ELEVENTH episode of the Health & Safety Matters (HSM) podcast is now available and it features interviews with British Safety Council's Jigna Patel and Casella's Jim Struthers.

The HSM Podcast is sponsored by The Health & Safety Event, which now takes place on 27-29 April 2021 at NEC Birmingham.

In this episode, Mark Sennett talks to British Safety Council Managing Director of Qualifications, Digital & Subscriptions Jigna Patel about how BSC has been helping its members during the current pandemic and about an exciting new campaign.

Mark is also joined by Casella Global Sales Manager Jim Struthers who explains the dangers of Silica dust and how social distancing is causing Casella to continue to innovate monitoring and measurement technology.

There's also the usual round up of key news stories, including more mental health support for school staff in Scotland and also a vital campaign that focuses on trying to reduce suicides. 

You can listen to the HSM Podcast for free on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, YouTube or Podbean. To download the podcast on Spotify, Google Play or iTunes all you need to do is enter Health and Safety Matters into the platform's search box.

Alternatively you can listen to the podcast online at hsmpodcast.podbean.com or watch it on YouTube by clicking HERE

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Scottish Water fined after lone worker falls 21/09/2020

SCOTTISH WATER has been fined after an employee, working alone at night, fell through insecure flooring into a storm channel and was seriously injured suffering life threatening and lifelong debilitating injuries.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how, on 9 June 2017, an employee of Scottish Water entered into the screen well area at Prestonpans Pumping Station and fell through the insecure floor panels into a sewage filled storm channel some 3.1 metres below.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the main causal factor was an unfixed floor which had become dislodged by floodwaters leaving gaps in it and creating an unsafe working environment. The custom and practice that had existed for over 10 years was simply to work around the gaps in the floor, created when displaced by floodwaters, until they could be recovered and refitted. There was no risk assessment or safe system of work for these activities. It was readily foreseeable that someone would eventually fall.

Scottish Water, (Headquarters address) of Pitreavie Castle, Dunfermline pled guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Wok Regulations 1999 and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £140,000.

After the hearing, HSE inspector, Kathy Gostick, said, “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

“Scottish Water had identified good control measures for work at height risks companywide but had not adequately identified where they should be implemented resulting in this serious accident which could so easily have been a fatality. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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Asbestos training at five year low 21/09/2020

WITH THOUSANDS of public buildings and offices now re-open following lockdown, the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) has raised concerns about their safety following the lack of asbestos training that has been undertaken since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Craig Evans, chief operating officer of UKATA, explained, “Our concern is that the fabric of the many workplaces and public buildings that have been closed during the Covid-19 outbreak, will have declined. The very people who manage the buildings may have been furloughed and therefore they will not have been inspected for deterioration of any asbestos present. This increases the risk of exposure to deadly asbestos fibres for the buildings’ users.” 

Duty to manage training is a legal requirement, however industry figures show the number of workers who have undertaken asbestos training since March has steeply declined and is at its lowest level for five years, prompting UKATA to speak out.

Prior to the Corona crisis an average of 18,000 workers a month completed asbestos training. Over the last six months (March – August), an average of 6,000 workers a month undertook asbestos training delivered by UKATA-approved training providers, a decrease of more than 66%. 

Asbestos-related health issues, such as lung cancer and mesothelioma are not identified immediately after exposure to asbestos. It takes between 15 years and up to 60 years, before deadly asbestos-related diseases present themselves. 

Craig added: “The latency period of asbestos, coupled with a substantial drop in training numbers, could mean that the UK will be facing a greater amount of deaths from asbestos over the next 15 – 60 years. To reduce this risk, it is important that delivery of asbestos training returns to pre-Covid levels.”

Deaths from asbestos exposure are reaching their peak after widespread use between 1950s and 70s. Since 2018, there have been more than 5,000 deaths annually in the UK from asbestos-related cancers – making it the largest single industrial killer ever seen in the UK.

The HSE recommends that asbestos refresher training courses should be undertaken to help ensure knowledge of asbestos awareness is maintained. The asbestos regulations also make it clear that asbestos training for non-licensable and licensable asbestos works should be carried out at least annually.

Craig Evans added, “It is now vitally important that all building managers and appointed persons ensure that their asbestos training is up-to-date. These are difficult times, but this is a matter of life or death.”

To ensure asbestos training continues to be accessible during the pandemic, back in April, UKATA approved its 200-member companies and individuals to deliver asbestos courses by video conference technology.

The majority of UKATA-approved training providers are now fully operational and either delivering courses remotely online or face-to-face observing social distancing guidelines.

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Fine after scaffolder's fatal fall 21/09/2020

WEMBLEY SCAFFOLDING Services Limited has been fined following an incident where a worker fell five metres and suffered a fatal head injury.

Southwark Crown Court heard how, on 16 February 2017, two operatives were dismantling a scaffold on Cricklewood Broadway, London, during this process the scaffold collapsed resulting in one of the operatives falling at least five metres onto a concrete pavement, causing serious head injuries. He later died from these injuries on 4 March 2017.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Wembley Scaffolding Services Limited’s director, Sean Chapple, failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment, plan the work and provide a design for erection and dismantling of the scaffold. Sean Chapple himself was not knowledgeable about the measures required to do this without putting people at risk and therefore didn’t follow the correct measures to ensure safe erection and dismantling of the scaffold.

Wembley Scaffolding Services Limited, Hillier Hopkins Llp, Radius House, Clarendon Road, Watford, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(3)(b) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and 8(b)ii; Section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £7,860 and ordered to pay costs of £8,940.

Director, Sean Chapple of York Road, Northwood pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(2)(ii) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005; sections 33(1)(a) and 37(1) of the Act; Section 33(2) and Schedule 3A to the Act (as amended by section 1 of the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008. He was fined £1,000, received a 12 week prison sentence suspended for one year and was ordered to pay costs of £11,000.

After the hearing HSE inspector Saif Deen said, “This tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a young man. The case highlights the importance of following industry guidance in order to design and erect scaffolding in a safe manner, to prevent risk to workers using the scaffold. The death could have been prevented had the employer acted to identify and manage the risks involved, and to put a safe system of work in place.”

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£2M fine for water pressure jetting fatality 21/09/2020

A SPECIALIST industrial services company has been fined after a worker suffered a fatal injury whilst cleaning waste-water pipes.

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 18 June 2017, Joseph McDonald, an employee of Leadec Limited, was using high-pressure water jetting equipment to clear paint residue from pipes in the paint shop at a car manufacturing site in Solihull. During the process Mr McDonald was struck by the end of flexi-lance, causing a fatal injury.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company recognised the risks of operating high-pressure water jetting equipment, but they had failed to put in place appropriate measures to mitigate the risks. They had not implemented or enforced the use of various control measures such as a pressure regulator or an anti-ejection device, which were missing at the time of the incident and, training and supervision were also not up to standard.

Leadec Limited of Leadec House, Academy Drive, Warwick pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £2,000,000 and ordered to pay £30,000 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Richard Littlefair said: “Companies must understand that high risk activities require a thorough risk assessment process and robust management systems to protect their employees from risk of serious or fatal injuries.

“It is not good enough for companies to assume they are doing all they can to control the risk just because there have been no previous incidents. Joseph McDonald’s death could have been prevented had Leadec Limited had the necessary control measures and management systems in place to protect its employees.”

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Landscaping company fined after worker traps head 21/09/2020

A COMPANY specialising in landscaping and garden machinery has been fined following an incident where a worker suffered head injuries on site at a school in Cromer, Norfolk.

Peterborough Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 8 August 2018, Jeremy Buck suffered multiple fractures to the side of his face when his head became trapped between an excavator’s bucket and a gate post. Mr Buck had been watching to ensure the machine did not hit the nearby fence when pushing soil but became trapped when he was facing away from the approaching excavator.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Garden Discount Centre Limited /trading as GDC Ltd, from St Olaves, Great Yarmouth, failed to assess the risks of the task and implement safety measures. Furthermore, no specific training for banking or operating excavators was given to employees, including the injured man and the excavator driver. Employees were not instructed on safe working practices with or near moving site plant.

Garden Discount Centre Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,745.50.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Kasia Urbaniak said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply assessing the risks of the task at hand, implementing suitable safety measures and issuing relevant safety instructions to employees.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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Look after healthcare workers, says IOSH 15/09/2020

IOSH PRESIDENT Dr Andrew Sharman today encourages IOSH members to get behind World Patient Safety Day.

The awareness day, being held on Thursday 17 September, is run by the World Health Organization and this year’s theme is ‘safe health workers, safe patients’ – and IOSH is backing the drive.

Dr Sharman said: “Ahead of World Patient Safety Day, I’d like to encourage ALL OSH professionals – not just those working in healthcare – to get behind this initiative. Please help us to raise awareness by sharing information across your social media channels. You can get materials like posters for social posts on the campaign webpage.

“As the campaign slogan says, safe healthcare workers mean safe patients. So, let’s get behind this campaign, promote the importance of protecting healthcare workers and make a difference to not just their lives but those of the patients they look after.”

Healthcare workers face many risks in their work, including that posed by transmission of the Covid-19 virus. Other risks include the threat of violence and stress, which can make them more prone to errors which could harm patients.

Dr Andrew Sharman added: “People working in healthcare are responsible for patient safety. But they cannot guarantee patient safety if they aren’t safe and healthy themselves.

“Those who work in healthcare face risk on a daily basis. This has only been enhanced by the Covid-19 pandemic, during which time they have continued to provide a vital service for us despite these risks, which include but are not limited to transmission of the virus, fatigue caused by the long hours worked and psychological and emotional distress.

“But no person should have their safety or health negatively impacted by the work they do, regardless of what they do or where they do it. Everyone has the right to expect they will return home after they have finished their shift without being put at risk of a work-related injury or illness. As with other sectors, good safety and health management is crucial in this.”

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£200k fine after employee crushes colleague 16/09/2020

FACILITIES MANAGEMENT company, Totally Local Company Ltd, has been fined after an employee suffered serious injuries when they were crushed between a ride-on-roller and shipping container during footpath improvement works.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how, on Friday 30th November 2018, an employee of Totally Local Company Ltd was seriously injured when a ride-on roller, driven by another employee, reversed into him as he was attempting to lock up a vehicle container. He was crushed between the vehicle and the container, that was there to support construction work at Abney Hall Country Park, Stockport, and suffered a collapsed lung and various broken bones requiring multiple surgeries.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that the company had no traffic management plan in place. The traffic routes used were unsuitable and vehicles were not adequately separated from pedestrians, posing risk to both workers and the general public due to the park remaining open.

Totally Local Company Ltd of Oakhurst Drive, Stockport pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2 & 3 of The Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974. The company was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,367.36.

After the investigation, HSE inspector Rebecca Hamer said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.”

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Driving for work is campaign's theme 14/09/2020

PROJECT EDWARD (Every Day Without a Road Death) campaign launches its road safety awareness week with the 2020 theme centred around Driving For Work.

The campaign - a collaboration between the Association for Road Risk Management (ARRM), the UK Police, and Driving For Better Business; the government backed Highways England programme, will commence its annual road trip on Monday 14 September running until Friday 18 September.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the physical road trip will be replaced with a ‘virtual’ week long event, speaking to road safety specialists across the UK from Police forces and academics, to employers who manage those who drive for work. Topics of discussion will explore driver behaviour, driver distraction, blue light awareness, driving fatigue, mental health, drugs and alcohol, tyre safety, and business benefits to name a few.

More information about the campaign and the agenda for the week can be found here: https://projectedward.org/road-trip/

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