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OECD report highlights training needs 14/02/2019

MANY countries need to urgently scale-up and upgrade their adult learning systems to help people adapt to the future world of work, according to a new The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report.

Getting Skills Right: Future-Ready Adult Learning Systems says that new technologies, globalisation and population ageing are changing the quantity and quality of jobs as well as the skills they require. Providing better skilling and re-skilling opportunities to workers affected by these changes is essential to make sure the future works for all.

Today only two in five adults participate in education and training in any given year. The most disadvantaged are least likely to train, with low-skilled adults three times less likely to undertake training than the high-skilled (20% vs 58%). Other groups falling behind include older people, low-wage and temporary workers, and the unemployed.

The most recent OECD analysis suggests that while only about one in seven jobs is at risk of full automation, another 30% will likely be overhauled. However, people in jobs most at risk also do less training (40%) than workers with jobs at low risk (59%). Part of the problem is the lack of motivation to participate in training: across the OECD, around half of adults do not want to train. A further 11% would like to but do not due to barriers such as lack of time, money or support by their employer.

The report underlines the importance of good quality training that leads to skills that respond to labour market needs. Compulsory training, such as on occupational health and safety, absorbs 20% of training hours on average in European countries. This training is necessary but should be complemented with learning opportunities that allow adults to develop skills that enable them to keep their job or seek new opportunities for career progressions.

A new dashboard in the report compares the situation across countries and highlights, for each country, the critical areas for reform. In particular, it summarises the future-readiness of each country’s adult learning systems to respond to the challenges of a rapidly changing world of work along six dimensions of: coverage, inclusiveness, flexibility and guidance, alignment with skill needs, impact, and financing.

Greece, Japan and the Slovak Republic perform poorly across most dimensions of future readiness. But there is room for improvement even in well-performing countries. In Norway, relatively few adults see a direct impact of the training they undertake on their job or career and Denmark lags behind the top performing countries in terms of coverage. Slovenia performs well in terms of inclusiveness and yet there is still a 10 percentage point gap in training participation between disadvantaged and more advantaged groups on average.

To tackle the issue, the report makes a series of recommendations, including that countries:

  • Improve coverage and inclusiveness by promoting the benefits of adult learning and providing targeted support for the low skilled, the unemployed, migrants and older people.
  • Align training more closely with labour market needs and design programmes targeting adults whose skills are likely to become obsolete in the future.
  • Improve the quality and effectiveness of training. This could include, for example, putting in place quality labels to help workers and firms make informed choices about training investments.
  • Ensure adequate public financing and incentivising employers to contribute through training levies and tax incentives, as well as encouraging individuals through subsidies and paid training leave.

Getting Skills Right: Future-Ready Adult Learning Systems, together with country notes for Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain and the United Kingdom, is available at http://www.oecd.org/employment/getting-skills-right-future-ready-adult-learning-systems-9789264311756-en.htm.

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Mental health guide helps employers 14/02/2019

MENTAK HEALTH First Aid (MHFA) England has launched best-practice guidance for employers on how to implement Mental Health First Aid in the workplace. This follows the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) recent recommendation to include ‘mental health trained first aiders’ as part of employers’ first aid needs assessments.

To date over 15,000 organisations across the country have already trained staff in MHFA England courses but that figure could rise substantially if the HSE’s new guidance is adopted by employers. According to the regulator, 15.4 million working days are lost due to mental ill health every year, and with its updated guidance, there is now a need for employers across all sectors to understand how Mental Health First Aid training should be implemented in the workplace.

Chief executive of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England Simon Blake OBE commented, “Our new guidance provides clear information to support employers in implementing Mental Health First Aid training in the workplace – ensuring that their first aid provision can effectively protect both the mental and physical health of their employees.

“Mental Health First Aid training should always be one part of a ‘whole organisation’ approach to mental health – helping thousands of employers to implement the core standards for a mentally healthy workplace, as set out in the Government’s ‘Thriving at Work’ review, including improving mental health awareness and encouraging conversation about the support available.”

Developed in consultation with leading employers PwC, Royal Mail, Thames Water and Three UK, the new guidance provides information on strategically embedding MHFA England training. It includes advice on how to recruit, promote and support staff trained in Mental Health First Aid as part of a whole organisation approach to workplace mental health.

Wellbeing lead at PwC Sally Evans said, “As an employer that is incorporating Mental Health First Aid training into our wellbeing strategy we were pleased to share our insights as part of the development of this new guidance.  

“By offering this guidance, MHFA England is providing a clear set of considerations for employers looking at how to implement Mental Health First Aid training - whilst also respecting that organisations of different shapes and sizes will need to take different approaches.”

Alongside this new advice, strengthened guidance on the role of the person trained in Mental Health First Aid skills has also been published to support the Role of the Mental Health First Aider. This covers the boundaries and responsibilities of those qualified at different levels; as Mental Health First Aiders, Mental Health First Aid Champions and Mental Health Aware.

The new guidance for employers will is available at: mhfaengland.org/mhfa-centre/resources/for-workplaces/implementing-mhfa-employer-guide

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Health and Safety Event 2019 14/02/2019

THE HEALTH and Safety Event 2019 taking place at the NEC in Birmingham from 9 to 11 April, provides the best networking and educational opportunity to anyone responsible for running a safe and efficient workplace.

Now in its sixth year, the range of seminars, features and product and service specialists available across the three days is wider than ever. Four separate, high-quality education and information theatres, more than a hundred well-known exhibitors and three other relevant co-located events (The Facilities Event, The Fire Safety Event and The Security Event) make the NEC the place to be for committed health and safety practitioners this April.

The key educational programme will be delivered in the Conference Theatre, the content for which has been curated by the event’s official educational partner, the British Safety Council (BSC). Using its considerable experience and expertise as one of the world’s leading health and safety organisations, the BSC has handpicked a line-up of eminent speakers, who will share their thoughts and ideas on the main challenges facing the profession today. 

More than ten different sessions will take place over the course of the three days, each of which has a different theme: legislative trends in health and safety; health issues in the modern workplace; and leadership and culture. The chair for the 2019 programme is David Parr – policy and technical director at the British Safety Council – and speakers include: Neal Stone, former chief executive of the BSC; Chris Green of top 45 UK law firm Weightman’s; Diane Lightfoot, CEO of the Business Disability Forum; Kevin Hard, director of OCAID; Lawrence Waterman OBE, chair of the BSC and many more. 

The many interesting topics that are sure to stimulate discussion and debate include: the implications, post-Grenfell, for fire safety and regulation; the effects of tougher sentences for breaking health and safety laws; mental health and well-being at work; and establishing an engaged culture.

A similarly broad range of speakers and subjects is on offer in the HSM Knowledge Exchange theatre, where panels of experts from the likes of the HSE, NEBOSH and the Access Industry Forum will take part in question-and-answer sessions with the audience on such practical issues as working at height, using respiratory protective equipment, managing noise and vibration, and working in confined spaces.

Lone working and safer logistics are the themes of the two specialist educational features at the event. The Lone Worker theatre will play host to representatives from various industries in which lone working is a factor, who will discuss the likes of ensuring personal safety while visiting clients, technological and behavioural controls, and duty of care towards lone workers. The Safer Logistics theatre, meanwhile, is a must for any practitioner responsible for ensuring the health and safety of people working in warehouses, logistics hubs and transport fleets across the land. Featuring expert guidance and advice from such well-known entities as Toyota Material Handling UK, the Forklift Truck Association and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, the programme will tackle, among other topics, HGV driver health, forklift and rack safety.

As well as the top-notch information and expertise available via these educational programmes, visitors can get practical, one-to-one advice from more than a hundred products and services suppliers exhibiting at the show. Training specialists such as Alcumus and EssentialSkillz, product innovators such as Specsavers and Skyguard, service providers such as Chemdoc and NQA Certification Ltd and PPE suppliers Ejendals, Moldex and MAPA will all be on hand to offer advice, demonstrate equipment and technology, and answer questions. All the leading industry and professional bodies, such as the British Safety Council, HSE, IOSH, NEBOSH and the BSIF, will also be present to advise on how to have a rewarding and successful career in health and safety.

To find out more, please visit www.healthandsafetyevents.co.uk/

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Officer wellbeing vitally important 14/02/2019

THE POLICE Federation has published its demand, capacity and welfare survey. It questioned more than 18,000 officers for their views on demand and how it has affected them

Responding to the report, the National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Wellbeing, chief constable Andy Rhodes said, “Police chiefs will look carefully at the findings of this survey which provides valuable feedback and reiterates the extremely challenging situations and environments our officers face every day. It is vitally important that they receive support and care because as a society we have an obligation to look after the men and women whose job it is to keep us safe.

“April sees the launch the national police wellbeing service, which, supported by the Oscar Kilo team, will provide forces with expertise on things like occupational health provision, training and health checks.

“The survey finds some improvements in reducing stigma and awareness of mental health, which is encouraging, but we need to continue focusing on workload, resources and line manager training so we can support our frontline staff.

“Working with police and crime commissioners and the Home Office we will make an evidence-based case for increased investment at the upcoming government spending review that takes into account the increased demand on officers and staff. It will also consider other changes that will benefit those working in policing and the public such as cutting bureaucracy and improving technology.”

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Fine after scaffolding collapses onto school 13/02/2019

A SCAFFOLDING company has been fined after scaffolding it had erected collapsed onto a neighbouring primary school.

Cardiff Magistrates’ Court heard Swain Scaffolding Limited had erected scaffolding 7m high and 8m long at the gable end of a residential property in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan. On 5 May 2017 at approximately 1.30pm, the scaffold collapsed landing on a single storey roof above playground of a neighbouring school.

At the time of the collapse, a group of nursery children were in the playground only a few metres away and minutes before the collapse the playground had been full of children playing after their lunch break.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the scaffolding was not designed or installed to withstand foreseeable loads. It was not tied to the adjacent building, nor did it have adequate buttressing or rakers and was essentially a freestanding structure. The investigation found that it was almost inevitable that the scaffolding would collapse, even in unremarkable weather conditions.

Swain Scaffolding Limited of Heol Y Nant, Rhiwbina, Cardiff was found guilty of breaching Regulation 19(2) of the Construction Design and Management Regulations and was fined £24,000and ordered to pay £3452.50 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Gemma Pavey commented: “Failure to adequately design and install scaffolding, so that it can withstand foreseeable loads, creates risk to workers and members of the public who could be injured by an uncontrolled collapse.

“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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Company fined after worker injured by forklift 13/02/2019

A POULTRY-processing company has today fined after a yardman was seriously injured after being struck by a forklift truck.

Derby Crown Court heard how, on 24 January 2017, a forklift truck had been driven into the yard at Airfield Industrial Estate in Ashbourne to drop off some pallets, when the driver reversed around a trailer. The driver did not see the yardman who was standing behind the trailer, and the yardman wasn’t aware that the forklift truck was reversing in the area. During the manoeuvre, the forklift hit the yardman causing serious leg injuries, which resulted in his left leg being amputated above the knee.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there was no system of segregation in the yard to separate people and vehicles to prevent this type of incident occurring. Since the incident, measures have been put in place so that the yardman is segregated from forklift trucks when they are operating in the yard.

Moy Park of The Food Park, 39 Seagoe Industrial Estate, Craigavon pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 17 of the Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. The company was fined £866,650 and ordered to pay costs of £11,651.61

Speaking after the hearing inspector Lindsay Bentley said: “The employee’s injuries were life-changing and he could have easily been killed. This serious incident with devastating injuries could have been avoided if basic precautions had been put in place.”

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Welding fume reclassified as carcinogenic 12/02/2019

WELDING REMAINS one of the most common activities carried out in industry. Exposure to welding fume and other gases associated with welding can cause a range of ill-health conditions.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently reviewed scientific evidence and concluded that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans. These conclusions have been endorsed by the Workplace Health Expert Committee, an independent body that provides expert scientific and medical opinion on matters relating to workplace health.

The reclassification of welding fume as a human carcincogen means that all businesses carrying out welding are required to ensure effective engineering controls are provided and correctly used to control fume. General ventilation alone does not achieve the necessary level of control.

Suitable engineering controls for all welding activities indoors includes the use of Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV). LEV is an engineering control system to reduce exposures to airborne contaminants such as dust, mist, fume, vapour or gas in a workplace.

Where LEV alone does not adequately control exposure, it should be supplemented by adequate and suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to protect against the residual fume.

Appropriate RPE should also be provided for welding outdoors.

Regardless of duration, it is no longer acceptable that any welding can be undertaken without any suitable exposure control measures in place, as there is no known level of safe exposure.

In summary employers should ensure the following measures are put in place for any welding activities.

  1. Make sure exposure to any welding fume released is adequately controlled using engineering controls (typically LEV).
  2. Make sure suitable controls are provided for all welding activities, irrelevant of duration.  This includes welding outdoors.
  3. Where engineering controls alone cannot control exposure, then adequate and suitable RPE should be provided to control risk from any residual fume.
  4. Make sure all engineering controls such as LEV are correctly used, suitably maintained and are subject to thorough examination and test where required. Further information in relation to LEV can be found in HSG258, Controlling airborne contaminants at work: A guide to local exhaust ventilation (LEV).
  5. Ensure the correct selection and use of any RPE. Further information in relation to the selection and use of RPE can be found within HSG53Respiratory protective equipment at work, a practical guide.
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Director prosecuted after employee falls six metres 12/02/2019

GRAHAM DYSON, the director of Globalforce Contracts Limited, has been sentenced after an employee fell from a roof and sustained life-threatening injuries.

Chelmsford Magistrates Court heard how, on 7 April 2017, Mr Slawomir Miller, an employee of Globalforce Contracts Limited, was carrying out roof repairs when he fell six metres through a fragile rooflight. Mr Miller landed on the concrete floor below and received multiple fractures to his vertebrae, ribs, elbow, wrist and sacral bones. He subsequently spent eight weeks in hospital.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Dyson had failed to properly plan the work or provide adequate fall protection to his employees. Mr Miller had never carried out roofwork before but was instructed to access the roof via a scissor lift, which he was not trained to use. Mr Dyson allowed Mr Miller to work without supervision, undertaking activities that necessitated walking across a fragile roof composed of asbestos cement sheeting.

Mr Graham Dyson, of Bulphan, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay costs of £6,848.60 and a victim surcharge of £85.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Adam Hills said “This incident could so easily have been prevented. Work at height on asbestos cement roofing is dangerous and requires adequate planning, organisation, training and equipment.

The director was aware of the need to access and repair the roof. He could have provided work at height training and equipment to workers, or simply contracted the task out to a professional roofing company. Directors should be aware that they may be held personally accountable if they endanger the lives of their employees.”

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Double prosecution after worker killed 11/02/2019

TWO COMPANIES have been fined following the death of a 37-year-old worker, Andrew Bowes.

Preston Crown Court heard how, on 12 March 2012, Mr Bowes, a metal fabricator employed by Larkin Eng Services Ltd, died while working at the company’s premises on Meeting Industrial Estate in Barrow in Furness. Larkin Eng Services Ltd had contracted Cumbria Design Scaffold Ltd to collect two large metal walkways and deliver them to a customer using a flatbed lorry fitted with a mounted crane. Mr Bowes was directed to assist with the lifting operation by his employer. The first walkway had been lifted onto the back of the lorry but was not fastened down. As the crane moved to pick up the second walkway, a sling became snagged on the first walkway, causing it to tip over and fall from the back of the lorry onto Mr Bowes who sustained fatal crush injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Cumbria Design Scaffold Ltd had failed to properly plan the lifting operation. The company failed to recognise the risks involved and did not have a safe system of work for what was a complex lift. Cumbria Design Scaffold Ltd also failed to supervise the lifting operation properly. As a consequence, the lifting operation was poorly organised and controlled, placing those in the immediate vicinity at significant risk.

The investigation also found that Larkin Eng Services Ltd had failed in its duty to ensure the safety of Mr Bowes. It had directed Mr Bowes, who had only been working for the company a week, to become actively involved whilst the operation was taking place.

Cumbria Design Scaffold Ltd of Ulverston, Cumbria pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been ordered to pay fines of £60,000 and costs of £27464.28.

Larkin Eng Services Ltd of, Barrow in Furness, Cumbria pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been ordered to pay fines of £20000 and costs of £27211.09.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Anthony Banks said:

“We would like to thank Andrew’s family for their patience throughout what has been a complex investigation.

“Companies should always ensure that lifting operations are properly planned, organised and conducted safely. Had this lifting operation been properly planned and supervised, then this tragedy could have been averted. HSE will take enforcement action against both clients and contractors who fail to meet the required standards.”

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Food manufacturer fined after two workers injured 11/02/2019

A FOOD manufacturer has been sentenced following two separate incidents where workers became trapped in moving machinery.

Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 26 March 2016, whilst working for 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd at its poultry site in Flixton, Norfolk, Mr Romas Ciurlionis trapped his thumb in a moving shackle shortly after being shown how to remove chicken intestines. As the line was running, he was pulled away from the emergency stop cord and when it moved past a fixed gate his thumb was severed.

The Court also heard how, on 23 August 2016, Mr Darren Hamilton entered an area of the factory that should have had the power isolated before cleaning activities commenced. The safe system of work was not being followed and the shackle line was still running when his finger became trapped. As he could not reach the emergency stop his finger was severed.

The investigations carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd had failed to ensure that measures were in place to mitigate the consequences of a worker becoming entrapped in a shackle in the first instance and that they failed to ensure safe isolation procedures were followed in the second.

2 Sisters Food Group Ltd of Grange Road, Flixton, Bungay pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Works Equipment Regulations 1998 in relation to the first incident and has been fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,031.83.

In respect of the second incident, 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 and has been fined £74,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,386.52.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Saffron Turnell said, “These incidents could so easily have been avoided had appropriate controls been in place.

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

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