HSE Chair Reflects

HSE Chair, Sarah Newton

My overarching opinion of HSE since I became Chair in August last year, is a hugely positive one. My first impressions are of a regulator staffed by passionate, committed and expert individuals who are fully engaged with and behind HSE’s core mission.

Today, as we reflect on the past year, the loss of life and impact in communities across Great Britain, it is safe to say that it has been a year unlike any of us have ever experienced.

As we think about the year ahead, and the anticipated emergence from the dark shadow of the pandemic, now is the time to apply renewed vigour to our work enabling Covid-secure workplaces. Drawing on what we are continuously learning from the data and science. With a focus on controlling risk, from identifying it to mitigating for it.

It’s worth mentioning that from all the conversations I’ve had with our people, it seems we have found the vast majority of businesses and workplaces are willing to follow Government advice, make necessary changes promptly, without the need for enforcement action from us. Where we have needed to, we have taken that action.

HSE, working with Public Heath bodies and Local Authorities has been at the centre of the Government response to Covid in Great Britain. Our people have worked tirelessly and selflessly to ensure workplaces are doing all they can to provide a Covid-secure working environment. HSE takes the Covid pandemic and the welfare of workers incredibly seriously. Of course, we do. That is written into our DNA and, since 1974, that has been our mission.

Over the past year, we’ve repeatedly demonstrated that making workplaces Covid-secure is an organisational priority. Let me highlight just a few of HSE’s actions;

• We’ve shifted resource onto Covid related work from all around the organisation and also benefited from an additional £14m to add in new services to support workers and employers.
• Since the start of the pandemic HSE has completed over 165,700 Covid-19 spot checks and responded to over 210,000 concerns.
• This week we’ve carried out around 2,000 workplace checks a day and the number is rising constantly.
• We’ve supported Public Health bodies on 646 reported outbreaks.
• Spot checks have been targeted in those industries where workers are most likely to be vulnerable to transmission risks.
• HSE is also leading a Covid-19 national core study funded by Government on the transmission of COVID-19 in the environment, which includes in workplaces, transport and other public settings and will look to answer essential policy and operational questions about the coronavirus pandemic.

All of the above, and more, has taken place against a backdrop of HSE continuing to regulate traditional, non-Covid related occupational health and safety in a multitude of industries. As well as setting up the new Building Safety Regulator and dealing with the complex regulatory responsibilities associated with the end of the EU transition period and the intake of new staff that these have entailed. I think that’s a real achievement everyone in HSE can be proud of.

Covid-19 Survey Results

HEALTH AND Safety Matters, in association with iHASCO, a provider of high-quality health & safety and HR compliance eLearning, conducted a survey with UK health & safety managers to establish the full impact of the government lockdown on staff and employees.

Key findings:

–          A total of 96% of employers actively encourage home working
–          Childcare is a major issue for employers and staff working from home
–          79% of employers are maintaining health & safety training for homeworkers
–          71% of respondents working from home say productivity has remained the same or has increased
–          84% of respondents are looking to use online courses to continue their professional development

The government’s lockdown response to the COVID-19 pandemic has forced employers into making tough decisions. While many have had to furlough staff, others have continued working from home in order to minimise the financial impact of the lockdown.

A survey, conducted by HSM and iHASCO, reveals that working from home has been an overall success, primarily due to careful planning – although a number of concerns have been raised with regard to distractions.

Those taking part in the survey range from health & safety managers, consultants, directors and facilities coordinators, to safety officers, operations managers, senior safety practitioners and heads of occupational safety & health.

In response to the government’s lockdown, nearly all survey respondents (96%) actively encourage working at home, and the majority (84%) agree that their organisations have adapted well to remote working. Nevertheless, 5% say that this is not the case, with a further 11% saying they are unsure.

A total of 81% of participants say that working from home is easy to adjust to, but 19% note that there are problems that they had not anticipated. The survey reveals that distractions are the main issue, primarily due to looking after children and juggling home working with home schooling. A total of 33% of respondents say that they have noticed stresses on relationships with partners and children, although the majority (67%) assert that this is not an issue.

Among the problems listed, conference call interruptions are a major concern, while lack of space, poor mobile phone signals, and time management are also key issues. 

Nevertheless, a number of respondents said that working from home has made them more productive, with one stating that they are: “quite enjoying the experience.” 

The impact of working form home has had minimal impact on productivity, with 45% of respondents working as efficiently and more than a quarter (26%) working even more so. However, when responding to the opportunity to work at home permanently, only 34% say they would be happy to do so, while 45% said no, and 20% remained unsure.

Training strategies

Planning has been key, with the majority of managers having issued guidelines around effective working at home and how to manage related issues. Only a tiny minority (3%) of respondents have not done so.

Similarly, the majority of employers have been issuing guidelines around effective working from home and managing related issues, with only 3% not having done so.

A key issue for homeworkers has been maintaining health & safety training for homeworkers, and the majority of organisations (79%) are still training staff in compliance, while 21% do not believe this is necessary.

The majority of respondents (84%) are looking to use online courses to continue their professional development, while just 16% are not sure – or do not plan to do so. 

Working together

A number of organisations are working with other businesses still functioning during the lockdown, in a bid to support the community in meeting their regulation requirements.

Strategies range from online training, increased communication with suppliers, auditing, and advice, to procuring PPE, ensuring social distancing, and sharing first-aid and other emergency cover resources with neighbouring businesses. 

One respondent observed: “Business needs to link in with local authorities to offer resources and skills that can be redeployed to help vulnerable people.” Another noted: “This is already happening wherever possible. Resident student groups are working with NHS and local services to help provide care in the community.”

A public sector organisation that works with other NDPBs and social workers / police / courts to provide a service in relation to child welfare, added: “We have a legal duty to provide hearings but have had to adapt very quickly to ensure we keep both our staff and visitors safe by training staff on using Skype, or other online meeting software, so the risk of contamination from others is minimised to the lowest level.

“Staff have adapted well, but it has been extremely difficult and challenging for the work we do. Senior management have also had to discuss the legislation with our partners and the Scottish Government to extend timeframes so vulnerable children don’t “slip through the net” or breach timescales for hearings to be heard – for example, annual reviews must normally be completed within a year, but legislation altered to cover pandemic conditions.”

One business, which provides advice and guidance to its membership base, is providing information supplied from government on a regular basis. The company’s representative asserted: “We are attending regular conference call meetings to keep informed of the latest information for sites to be operational.”

However, another participant said that it should be the government’s responsibility to support industry interaction, stating: “Organisations themselves can only sell credit services to jump start their cashflow when the lockdown is over. Until then, it’s up to the government to share the profits made by the critical industries to those industries that make the critical ones possible in the long run.”

Relevant training resources

When asked which training courses would be most suitable for staff in the current climate, respondents listed the need for a broad range of resources, primarily relating to stress management and mental wellbeing. However, the need for additional training courses included: 

  • IOSH Managing Safety
  • Correct use of PPE
  • Lone working
  • Risk assessment
  • E-learning
  • Working from home COVID-19 awareness
  • DSE awareness
  • Specific sales ordering and recording, telesales, customer services, problem solving
  • How to manage stress levels
  • Social distancing techniques
  • Personal hygiene
  • Behavioural safety
  • General health and safety.

One organisation currently has a robust e-learning system with six mandatory health & safety courses, as well as training courses on information governance and cyber security. The health & safety manager asserted: “A homeworking course which acknowledges the fact organisations are unable to provide suitable and sufficient equipment under the DSE regulations would be good!

“Asking staff to complete an online DSE risk assessment, then not being able to undertake a follow-up (in-situ assessment), or provide staff with a new chair is an utter waste of time. It would be better with a more realistic checklist and guidance on how to “make do” with what you have under the circumstances, as organisations might not have the resources – nor funds – to procure multiple pieces of equipment under the correct lockdown situation!” 

During the lockdown, many respondents are using resources provided by iHasco, with one noting: “I am happy with the iHasco package and that it meets our needs.” A health & safety manager added: “We are using iHASCO courses – H&S basics, stress awareness, and DSE,” while a business MD concluded: “All ihasco courses sent are DSE, lone working, risk assessment and mental health.”

HSM Magazine

International Nurses Day 2020

Nursing leaders from across the UK have marked International Nurses’ Day by publicly thanking those in the profession for their hard work and dedication and vowed to ensure those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic “will never be forgotten”.

In a landmark occasion, this year’s nurses’ day falls on what would have been Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday, inspiring the World Health Organization (WHO) to designate 2020 as International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

“Without the self-less commitment of our nurses, so many people may not have survived Covid-19”

Though grand celebrations may not be carried out in the way that was first hoped, leaders from across the profession have expressed their gratitude to their nursing colleagues and thanked them for their response in the coronavirus crisis across all sectors.

Chief nursing officer for Scotland, Professor Fiona McQueen, said the outbreak of Covid-19 had “by far been the most demanding time” since she started in post in 2014, but also gave an opportunity to celebrate the skills, ability and knowledge of nurses.

“It gives us a real opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work nurses and midwives do for the people of Scotland on a daily basis, and to thank you all for your hard work and dedication at this unprecedented time,” added Professor McQueen.

“Without the self-less commitment of our nurses and midwives, so many people may not have survived Covid-19.”

Professor McQueen also paid tribute to those in the profession who had lost their lives during the crisis.

“I want to take this opportunity to remember all our nurses and midwives who have sadly passed away supporting the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.

“Their dedication to caring, comforting and treating others even under these extremely challenging and dangerous times, will never be forgotten.”

Also thanking her profession, chief nursing officer for Northern Ireland, Professor Charlotte McArdle, said: “I have always been proud to be a nurse, and this has become even more pronounced in the midst of this crisis.

“I urge nurses to do all that they can to look after themselves and each other”

“Our nurses have stepped forward to take on new roles or move into different settings, they have enabled changes to take place in our health service in a matter of days or weeks that would ordinarily have taken months or even years. They have risen to every challenge put in front of them.”

She highlighted that nurses had been with patients “every step of the way” from “nursing them to recovery or being at their side during their final moments and supporting loved ones to say goodbye”.

“I know that families will always remember the nurses that helped them through the most difficult of times,” added Professor McArdle.

She also took the opportunity to urge nurses to look after themselves and each other.

“This pandemic will take its toll on all of us, but I urge nurses to do all that they can to look after themselves and each other,” she said.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all my colleagues in health and social care, and in the independent sector. Happy International Nurses’ Day 2020.”

Speaking in an online video to mark occasion, Professor Jean White, chief nursing officer for Wales, said she was very grateful and thankful for all that nurses do.

She reiterated that this year marked the 200th anniversary since the birth of Florence Nightingale and described her as a “remarkable pioneering individual who set our principles on public health nursing and recognised the importance of infection prevention and control”.

“Now through this being an important anniversary and in recognition of what nurses do to promote the health and wellbeing of the world’s population – who make up after all 50% of the health workforce – this year has been recognised as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife,” added Professor White.

She went on to note that the coronavirus crisis had “swept across the world” and “tested us all”.

“It has brought with it illness, death and destruction to our lives,” said Professor White.

“I would like to extend my personal gratitude to all the nurses, students and health staff who have stepped forward at this time to make sure we have the health and care services that we need.”

The Welsh CNO also highlighted the important work of nurses unrelated to Covid-19.

“Outside of Covid-19, nurses are there throughout the age spectrum providing care from birth to death,” she said.

“We are working in extraordinary times and you are doing an extraordinary job”

“We recognise their importance in all of our health and care services.

“I say to you, for all the work you do throughout the year, I am very grateful and thank you all very much for everything you’re doing.”

Meanwhile, Dr Crystal Oldman, chief executive of influential community nursing charity the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI), also wished those in the profession a happy International Nurses’ Day.

“We are working in extraordinary times and you are doing an extraordinary job, to protect the health of people, families and communities everywhere,” said Dr Oldman.

Florence Nightingale was one of the founders of the QNI and “believed passionately in the value of district nursing and the unique opportunities of nursing in the home”, she added.

“Today, all nurses working in the community are demonstrating that the need for excellent community nursing is as great as ever and its opportunities are only growing, as we adapt to today’s challenges,” said Dr Oldman.

“Thank you for everything you are doing as nurses and the QNI is here to support you as we face these challenges together, today and in the future.”

Nursing Times

The hidden killer

As the death rate from asbestos-related diseases continues to rise, Craig Evans looks at the part training can take in mitigating the risk.

It is estimated that there are 18,000 new cases of self-reported breathing or lung problems caused or made worse by work related activities annually.

Diseases (including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis) caused by the airborne fibre asbestos are responsible for killing more than 5,000 people per year – more than the number of people killed in road traffic accidents. 

Asbestos is a highly toxic mineral that was used extensively in construction for over a hundred years prior to its ban in 1999. Ithas the ability to break down into microscopically thin fibres. These fibres are so small they can remain airborne for days after they were initially disturbed. 

Despite its ban, it is estimated that even now there are six million tonnes of asbestos in the UK, in as many as 1.5 million UK buildings and the death rate from asbestos-related diseases continues to rise.

It is this that led to the establishment of the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) in 2008. A leading authority on asbestos training and not for profit association, UKATA has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of the necessity of asbestos training.

The illnesses associated with asbestos typically have a long latency period (15 – 60 years), meaning that the effects of exposure are often not known for years until the victim develops health problems. 

Asbestos that is well maintained and undisturbed presents no immediate risk to health – it is when the fibres are disturbed and become airborne that they can have fatal implications. 

Risk and responsibility

Correct training on how to identify potential asbestos hazards in buildings can mitigate the risk of asbestos. Legislation is in place to ensure employers of people who are liable to disturb asbestos during their normal work – electricians, builders, heating and ventilation engineers, etc, receive the correct level of information, instruction and training so that they can work safely and competently without risk to themselves or others.

However, within the construction industry self-employed tradespeople in particular can be overlooked, with many viewing the asbestos health risk as negligible or as something that will never happen to them. The harsh reality is that asbestos kills 20 tradespeople in the UK every week – a fifth of all asbestos deaths.

Craig Evans, UKATA chief operating officer explained: “The harsh reality is that anybody working in the 1.5 million UK buildings that contain the invisible killer may be at risk of coming into contact with disturbed airborne fibres.” 

Since 2001 more than 200 teachers have died from asbestos-related cancer3 and 90% of NHS Trusts say that asbestos is present in their buildings4.

In 2017 a 44-year-old doctor, Dr Mags Portman was diagnosed with mesothelioma. She tragically died in 2019 from the disease which she believed she contracted whilst working as a junior doctor at a hospital in Lanarkshire 20 years ago. When it was demolished in 2009, hundreds of tonnes of asbestos were discovered in buildings at the site.

Craig explained, “When we use or work in public sector buildings such as schools, hospitals and government buildings, we assume a level of safety. However, seven million tonnes of asbestos were imported to the UK during the 20th century and used widely across both residential and commercial properties. Realistically, we have no idea how much of that remains in place today, which is why asbestos training is critical.”

Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 specifically requires the duty holder of non-domestic premises to be aware of any asbestos containing materials (ACMs) on the premises. They are required, by the regulations, to review and keep up-to-date records of said materials, assess and manage the risks of the materials and provide the necessary information regarding the materials to those liable to work on or disturb them.

Craig added: “It’s important that all people using and working in buildings constructed before 1999 are aware of the potential asbestos risks.”

While the majority of people coming into contact with asbestos do so during their profession, it can actually be the lives of their family and friends they put at risk, like mesothelioma sufferer and prominent Mesothelioma UK campaigner Mavis Nye. Mavis was unwittingly served a death sentence through her husband’s work.

Prevention and control measures

“Undertaking officially recognised asbestos training should be the first step in ensuring the safety of yourself and others where asbestos is concerned. Once you’ve done this training you will view asbestos in a very different light,” explained Craig.

He added: “It horrifies me that there are videos on YouTube instructing people how to remove asbestos ‘safely’ from a property. Anyone who uses these as instructional videos should be made aware that they are most definitely not an adequate alternative to recognised training courses”

According to the HSE, above the neck protection, including Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE), should be used when other controls are impractical, when other controls are being put in place or when there is short term or infrequent exposure. The concentration of asbestos fibres in the air should always have been reduced to a minimum before using RPE. It is a last line of defence. As such, it must be used correctly. 

However, nearly half of all RPE used does not offer the wearer adequate protection, largely due to it not fitting correctly. In addition to facial hair and lack of testing, incorrect storage/maintenance, and improper use are all reasons for ill-fitting RPE.

It is an employer’s responsibility to provide suitable RPE for employees that will be intentionally disturbing the fibres of asbestos containing materials during work activity. The RPE provided must be marked with a ‘CE’ symbol, signifying its compliance with the required standards in law. HSE-approved equipment that was made before 1 July 1995 may be used provided that it is suitable, properly maintained and performing correctly. 

Craig explained, “If you work with asbestos then RPE face fit testing is crucial and why you should not be sharing equipment. Invest in your own correctly fitted RPE equipment – your life depends on it. Without a face fit test conducted by a competent person who is appropriately trained, qualified and experienced, it cannot be established whether or not RPE is suitable for the wearer. It’s important that an expert determines the fit rather than your own guess work.”

Case study

Mavis and Ray Nye

While Mavis didn’t work directly with asbestos, her husband did and unwittingly served her a death sentence.

She explained, “I’m just an ordinary woman who married at 18 and washed my husband’s clothes as he came home from work at the Chatham Dockyard as a Shipwright. I didn’t know the powder on Ray’s clothes was anything other than dust brought home from work. I shook his clothes and then put them in the washing machine. Forty-eight years later I find I have mesothelioma and a death sentence of three months.

“Suffering from mesothelioma, I wish we could take asbestos out of our lives or the closest to zero that could be humanly achieved… I had my exposure from washing my husband’s work clothing, and many people have suffered and are going to suffer from asbestos as a result of unintended exposure.” 

Mavis’ husband Ray explains: “I am often asked the question how I feel knowing that I have given my wife a death sentence. That question sounds ominous but refers to the fact that I probably have. I am guilty of giving Mavis mesothelioma. It is a terminal cancer, caused only by contact with asbestos.

“In the dockyard asbestos was used on the ships. It was required for safety reasons and naval ships were built around asbestos.

“It was almost everywhere onboard ships. Almost all the inboard pipes were lagged with it. The boiler rooms could not function without it. It was everywhere. During refits and repair work, it was removed, then replaced. The waste asbestos was allowed to settle where it fell to be removed later by gangs of labourers. During its removal it created an inevitable dust cloud which one walked through constantly or simply worked amongst it.

“Those poor labourers removing it would descend on board with their brooms and shovels and begin sweeping it into piles and shoveling it into buckets ready to be dumped ashore, usually beside the gangplanks or on the dockside.

“It was piled up in heaps, left on barrows, dumped outside of workshops… No-one took any notice – it was part of everyday life working in the yard. No one told us to be careful or that it was dangerous.

“When it came to break time and lunchtime this was almost exclusively spent on board ship where the air was permanently blown around creating a cloud of dust. The dust would settle on out outer clothes, on our overalls, in our hair and on our skin. There was no escaping it. When a sandwich or lunch box was opened it would settle on its contents, which we consumed, unaware because it was so fine it was barely visible.

“At lunchtimes some of us who had transport would leave the dockyard. I at that time had a motorcycle and I often used it to visit Mavis for a few minutes before dashing back to work again. I would remove my overalls and dash out. This killer asbestos dust would be in our hair on our skin and inevitably on our clothes and was unwittingly, easily transferred from me to Mavis.

“Once we were married, Mavis washed my clothes, increasing her exposure to the asbestos dust. This exposure continued for a further couple of years until I left the dockyard. But by that time, she had already breathed in this deadly dust.

“I had contaminated Mavis. I had laid the seeds of her later demise. This is where my guilt began. This is where the, ‘if only’ and ‘what if’ questions started. If I had never worked in the dockyard would she be free of it now? If we had been told of its dangers would I have chosen to leave the yard? If Mavis had never met me would she be ok today?

“So, to answer the initial question, how do I feel about the fact that it was me who has given her this sentence? Gutted, destroyed, sick and, yes, guilty.”

Craig Evans is chief operating officer at UKATA. For more information, visit


Resilience in supply chains

What began as a health scare in a single province in China has morphed into a global pandemic that has now spread to almost every country in the world, putting much of the global population in partial or total lockdown. Border restrictions and lockdown measures are causing massive negative short-term impact on consumer spending and investment and disruptions to international trade and global supply chains.

The long-term impact remains uncertain.

Isolation measures implemented globally to contain the outbreak have affected economic activity, with a sharp deterioration in business and consumer confidence. With businesses closing and workers not working, there is a significant reduction in discretionary spending and investment.

Covid-19 has now unleashed a global supply chain crisis across a huge number of organisations, stemming from a lack of understanding and flexibility of the multiple layers of their global supply chains and a lack of diversification in their sourcing strategies.

Procurement functions are under incredible pressure to navigate this supply disruption while maintaining cashflow. Buyers are being urged to cut costs by adopting short-term strategies and sometimes cancelling orders or lengthening payment terms.

Order cancellations will, however, translate into job losses and potential poverty to millions of low-income workers and their families.

For example, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association reported (BGMEA, 14 April) 1,140 garment factories in Bangladesh receiving cancellations on 978 million units, worth over $3 billion, affecting 2.26 million workers.

Businesses and buyers must think about the longer-term impacts of the decisions they are making now in wider terms than their financial risk. Societal, humanitarian and sustainability risks should all factor.

Key steps to strengthening resilience within your supply chain

 STEP 1: Supply chain mapping STEP 2: Segment and prioritise STEP 3: Support STEP 4: Leverage relationships

Case studies 


As fashion retailers across the globe are cancelling or delaying orders, H&M informed suppliers that the business will pay suppliers for the orders they have already fulfilled or started. H&M confirmed it would pay suppliers under the original terms agreed, without seeking additional discounts.


Temporarily scrapped its 14-day payment terms and pays small suppliers as soon as an invoice is received. The business also re-classified small suppliers as those with a turnover of under £1m (previously £100,000), meaning an extra 1,000 businesses benefit from the new payment terms. 3,000 small suppliers, including 1,750 farmers, will benefit.


Offered 500 million euros of cash flow relief through early payment to small and medium-sized suppliers and extended credit lines for small-scale retail customers. The business will also protect the pay of employees and contractors for a period of up to three months.

Questions to ask your supplier

Operations and supply

Have you suspended operations due to the pandemic?  If so, what proportion? Which sites or facilities?   
Are you experiencing disruption in your own supply chain? e.g. shortages in materials or component parts 
What are the levels of your current stock holding? Do you have shortages of products or services? 
Have your lead times increased? 
Are you experiencing any transport or shipping issues?  e.g. border closures or controls, haulage availability 

Workers: skills and capacity 

How has the pandemic affected your workforce capacity? For example: % vulnerable (and away from work)% sick (with Covid-19 symptoms)  
Have you been able to organise for “social distancing” within your workspaces? 
How have you trained employees to work safely during the pandemic? 
What proportion of your workforce is on zero or minimum-hour contracts?  How are you supporting them?  

Financial impact 

Do you expect financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic? 
Are you eligible for any local government assistance programmes?  If so, will you take up any? Which and when? 
What proportion of your income or profit does our business represent for you? 
Is there anything we can do temporarily to relieve any financial difficulties? e.g. payment terms 
Are there any other financial impacts we could assist to mitigate? 
What else can we do to support you and your workers?  (Short-term or mid-term) 


Furlough Training

We very much hope that all of our clients and training delegates are in good health and dealing with the unprecedented situation that Covid-19 has forced upon us all.  

Like the vast majority of you, we too have had to adapt to a new way of working during this very difficult period whilst preparing for the end of the restrictions. Maintaining a motivated and well-prepared workforce, many of whom are furloughed, is in itself a significant challenge, but will be critical to getting industry back on its feet, and quickly, once this is all over.   

Last week the UK Government made a very helpful turnaround by allowing employers to offer training to furloughed staff. In fact more than this they have made an explicit recommendation that employers should encourage staff to undertake training. 

See Government statement below:

Although the face-to-face classroom training that KeyOstas has built its reputation on over almost 4 decades is currently paused, we have continued to deliver ‘live’ training to delegates based at home via our Virtual Classroom

With the government having now eased the restriction surrounding furloughed workers, allowing them to train whithout any impact upon the furlough payment, we will be increasing the number and the range of virtual courses we make available. 

If you would like to take advantage of the opportunity to re-engage with your team by completing some valuable Health and Safety and Environmental training, please call or email us at your earliest convenience. 

We want to send everyone our very best wishes and to let you know that we are here to discuss any health and safety issues and training requirements you may have. 

The KeyOstas Team

Why fatigue management must be taken seriously

Fatigue significantly increases the risk of an incident when not effectively controlled. Karl Simons, Chief Health safety and security officer at Thames Water, explains why organisations need to take fatigue management seriously.

We are always looking at the psychological impact mental health and state of mind can have on concentration levels, which can lead to slips and lapses in concentration. Errors often arise because someone is not focused on the task at hand, often due to worry, tiredness or exhaustion.

As working hours are generally implemented with a great deal of thought, there are hidden risks. For example, when did you last run a check on overtime hours from a health and safety perspective, not a cost-control measure?

A key consideration often missed is to factor in workers’ commuting time. Research tells us that, following long working hours, the drive home can become the most dangerous part of the working day.

To mitigate risk, here is what employers should do:

  • Manage and monitor the following areas where the incidence of accidents and injuries is highest: workers on night shifts, those who do successive shifts, especially night shifts and those who do shift over 8 hours.
  • Manage fatigue risks, regardless of an individual’s willingness to work extra hours or preference for certain shift patterns.
  • Risk assess changes to working hours, using the HSE’s ‘fatigue risk index’ tool.
  • Consult employees on working hours and shift patterns, remembering that they may prefer certain shifts that are unhealthy and likely to lead to fatigue.
  • Develop a policy that sets limits on working hours overtime and shift-swapping to guard against fatigue.
  • Implement the policy, monitor it and also ensure it is enforced. This could include developing a robust system of recording working hours, overtime, shift swapping and on-call monitoring.

Fatigue not only occurs within the 24- hour period, but it also echoes throughout the business, that the priority is to keep everyone safe at work and send them home safe and well at the end of every day.

All organisations are responsible for putting in safety measures that prevent individuals from failing.

For more information and guidance around human risk factors and shift work, and fatigue risk guidance can be found here.

IOSH Magazine

KeyOstas response to Covid 19

During this unprecedented period KeyOstas is doing everything in its power to continue to support clients and delegates. Today we launched our Virtual Classroom and Craig Gibbs, our most senior trainer and Managing Director, delivered the first course to a ‘classroom’ of delegates dotted around the UK!

The decision to move to virtual training rather than e-learning means that delegates based at home or confined to their office will continue to gain the benefit of real time interaction with the UK’s most experienced and skilled training professionals. We feel that it is extremely important that our clients, who will undoubtedly be facing significant challenges, can still receive the highest quality training – led by senior professionals.


Workplace eLearning provider iHASCO has released a free Coronavirus awareness video to help offer practical advice to organisations and the general public on what Coronavirus is, how to reduce the risk of the virus spreading and what to do if you’re showing symptoms. This free resource is for anyone wishing to find out more about Coronavirus and how to minimise its impact. Employers can now, in under 10 minutes, provide a short video to all of their employees, spread awareness and help them understand best hygiene practices.

The free video contains information gathered from the NHS, the Direct Gov website, The World Health Organization, and it also includes a few useful tips from iHASCO’s Infection Prevention & Control course. 

Nathan Pitman, Director at iHASCO said: “Being Health & Safety training experts, we have a duty to play our part in raising awareness to help reduce the risk of infection spread and keep people safe.” 

“We know how to source quality information and present it in an engaging way to ensure the learner takes away the key points. Rather than focus on panic and frightening news headlines we want to provide information that is of use and provide practical steps organisations and the general public can digest, despite the uncertainty of things to come.” 

iHasco Video – COVID19

Good health and safety management is key to creating a successful film

IOSH’s Thames Valley Branch returned this year to present an award for exemplary health and safety during the National Film and Television School’s (NFTS) annual Graduation Showcase.

The NFTS Graduate Showcase, supported by Netflix, is an annual celebration of the past 12 months of graduate productions. It is an unmissable opportunity to showcase the resulting work to an industry keen to meet the newest crop of talent emerging from the NFTS.

This year the Graduation Showcase took place over three days of screenings and industry meet and greets at Picturehouse Central in London, culminating in a graduation ceremony at Odeon Luxe in Leicester Square on Thursday 27 February.

Graduation films, brand new television formats, animations and games played to full houses of leading industry representatives looking for the next wave of film, television and games creators.

Students chosen by key NFTS industry partners – IOSH, Sargent-Disc, Avid, Christie and Panalux – received awards at the graduation ceremony for high levels of achievement in production.

The ‘Health and Safety Management in Film Production’ award was presented by Chris Stops from IOSH’s Thames Valley Branch.

As part of this category, prizes were awarded to three students: Madelaine Patricia Westwood took home £500 for Science and Natural History film Secrets of the Salamander while Producing MA student James Bowsher and Production Manager Lára Theódóra Kristjánsdóttir were awarded £250 each for fiction film Stratum Deep.

Chris Stops, a member of the IOSH Thames Valley committee and award judge, said: “Good health and safety management is key to the successful planning of any film because of the way, if ignored, it can go on to impact so many aspects of a film, from its budget and viability through its logistics and creativity.

“I am honoured to be able to work with and influence NFTS students at such an early and influential stage in their film making career. The quality of their work and skill is always very evident and can be seen in the national and international film industry awards and accolades many of them go on receive later in their working lives.”

Annalise Davis, Head of Production at NFTS said: “This year we were delighted to open out the award across more departments: Fiction, Science and Natural History; Television Entertainment and Directing Documentary.

“The panel were so impressed by two films that they chose to split the award between Secrets of the Salamander and Stratum Deep with a commendation to Television Entertainment project Wild Cooks.

Good health and safety management is key to creating a successful film“The IOSH selection process gives our students a vital external perspective of Health and Safety in the workplace. Our thanks to IOSH for so generously continuing to give our training programme this support.”


A Hidden Epidemic

Preserving and promoting the protection of the UK’s hearing health is a primary focus for a newly formed group of specialists

Hearing health damage from exposure to excessive noise is an invisible, irreversible, largely untreatable yet wholly preventable set of conditions that continues to plague the UK workforce. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that more than one million workers in the UK are exposed to noise above the lower legal action value of 80dB (A) and therefore at risk of hearing damage. But many experts have put the risk to hearing health at much lower exposures of around 70dB(A), suggesting that significantly higher numbers could be at risk. 

Hearing loss is probably the most common outcome from noise exposure and has a significant effect on communication leading to exclusion and disadvantages in education, employment, social care and public life. Noisy workplaces also cause a safety risk as workers can’t hear what is going on around them, including audible warning alerts. 

In addition to workplace exposures to loud noise, many young people are now entering the workplace with pre-existing hearing loss from a youth spent using earphones (the iPod generation). In 2013, the European Committee for Electrical Standardisation set a new standard for personal music players, including smartphones, which must have a sound limit of 85dB(A). The user can choose to override this limit and increase the sound level to 100dB(A). If so, the user must be warned about the risks of listening at high volumes for every 20 hours of listening time.

At the other end of the generational gap, an increasingly ageing working population means that more people will be at work with accrued lifetime hearing impairment. And it’s not just about hearing loss – exposure to noise at work and existing hearing loss are closely linked to tinnitus, depression, risk of dementia, higher risk of increased blood pressure and other stress-related responses.

Many young people are now entering the workplace with pre-existing hearing loss from a youth spent using earphones

Live a quieter life

The UK Hearing Conservation Association (UKHCA) was officially set up in early 2019 by a number of founding members, which range from audiologists, acoustic engineers, music professionals, hearing protection manufacturers and suppliers, occupational hygienists, health and safety professionals and other professional bodies and charitable associations – all with the common passion of preserving and promoting the protection of the UK’s hearing health. The UKHCA was proud to see three of its founding members recognised for innovation and education in noise and hearing with EAVE, HearAngel and the LOCHER project among the winners and highly commended at the John Connell Awards in October 2019.

The UKHCA has also been invited by the World Health Organization to be a founding member of its World Hearing Forum and ‘Make Listening Safe’ working group. As a global network of stakeholders, the World Hearing Forum looks to promote and support the prevention of deafness and hearing loss through collaboration and multi-stakeholder action. The working group aims to reduce the risk of hearing loss posed by unsafe listening through global standards, public health campaigns and a regulatory framework for control of recreational sound exposure. The UKHCA is proud to contribute its expertise to these initiatives and collaborate with others to bring about change.

The UKHCA has created four main special interest groups in order to channel the expertise of its members and in order to identify, create and share best practice for these key areas where the need for hearing conservation is most important. These groups, which support the network’s pillars of interest and key areas of influence to affect hearing conservation, are:

Education for young people: this group will focus on providing education and influence for the younger generation who are critical for the future of hearing conservation. The aim will be to help them to have a healthier relationship with sound, through awareness raising and education, highlighting the risks of prolonged listening to music on personal devices, and generally placing more value on their hearing as a precious commodity.

At work: there still remains a significant risk of exposure to high levels of noise at many workplaces. This group will provide a much-needed improved focus on reduction of noise at source and a move away from solely relying on hearing protection, which has been shown to fail and leaves many workers vulnerable to hearing health damage. 

Lifestyle: the modern world can be very noisy and adds to our total noise dose over our lives. This group will explore ways to live a quieter life with a greater awareness of those risky hobbies and lifestyle choices in order to protect future hearing health, wellbeing and prevent other hearing-related health problems. 

Music and entertainment: an intriguing area that is difficult to solve with the usual reduction at source and control techniques, as sound is created for intention not as a by-product. Yet hearing health harm is a significant problem for those involved in this sector and can lead to a life of misery – early retirement from a lifelong passion is a harsh reality for many. 

Turn the noise down

Current UK noise risk at work management programmes are not working, as evidenced by insurance liability claims (£400m in 2014), costs to the NHS (around £500m a year) and the estimated total cost to the UK economy of around £5bn-7bn a year. There is also the additional cultural and social damage to the affected individuals. Typical hearing damage claim settlements are around £5,000-8,000, while the HSE estimates that the true cost for each claim is often an additional £7,000-29,000.

These figures are particularly disturbing given that noise induced hearing loss at work is virtually 100% preventable. 

Collaboration is key
The UKHCA is keen to work with other industry associations, companies or groups to help raise awareness, educate and help put best practice into place in all aspects of hearing conservation, noise reduction and through application of innovative technology and techniques. It recently produced some FAQs and guidance for a construction project via the ‘At work’ special interest group, and it is also working with a large infrastructure project to provide outreach to local schools on what noise is and how to reduce its impact, as part of the Education stream. As part of its work to influence the music and entertainment sector, the UKHCA is collaborating with the Institute of Acoustics and the UK Acoustics Network and with key music industry bodies to deliver Hear for Tomorrow on 8 April 2020 at the Royal College of Music.

The event aims to raise awareness of the effect of music on hearing health through sharing the latest research and solutions. The meeting will cover the scale of the problem, what we now know, and what can be done. World-leading specialists will deliver the cutting-edge knowledge to help inform decision-makers and influencers on wellbeing and health issues for amateur players, professional musicians, casual listeners and festival-goers.

The UKHCA also plans to develop some evidenced position papers on key topics of contention in the world of hearing conservation, for example on health surveillance, hearing protection quality and audibility. 

Find out more about the UKHCA at


A Quick Guide to Low-Level Access Solutions in Materials Handling

Working at height remains one of the prime areas of concern for health and safety across industry. In the UK, falls account for more workplace fatalities than any other type of accident, with 40 people tragically losing their lives that way in the year to July 2019.

It isn’t just crane operators or construction contractors working on tall buildings that face the risk of working at height. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines working at height as any situation where an individual could be liable to suffer injury from a fall if suitable precautions are not in place. You don’t have to fall very far at all to be at risk of serious injury – a few metres is more than enough.

As a consequence, safety protocols around working at height have always been as important in the materials handling sector as they are in any industry. In warehousing operations, for example, moving goods to and from high shelves is part of the daily routine. Elevated storage spaces also need regular inspection and maintenance.

The HSE states that guarding against accidents for people working at height requires appropriate planning, supervision and training. It also emphasises the importance of using the right equipment.

In materials handling, the type of access equipment chosen is a critical consideration. When moving goods at height, operatives need to have two hands free, making ladders and platform steps unsuitable for any handling tasks above head height. More permanent and stable structures like scaffolds, on the other hand, even mobile towers, are impractical in most MH scenarios because of their large footprint and the time it takes to assemble and disassemble them.

For these reasons, access platforms have become especially popular in warehousing and materials handling operations. Eliminating the need for steps, mobile, easy to use and with a small footprint, mechanised access platforms provide a safe, efficient, flexible solution for working at heights of up to five metres.

Let’s take a look at some of the main types available.

Manual Lifts

Also known as non-powered lifts, the stand out example is the EcoLift range, which uses a patented ‘stored power system’ to supplement the manual lift operation. Users step into the caged platform and, using the manual lift mechanism, raise the vertical shaft to the required height.

As with all types of low-level access platform, the main benefit over ladders and scaffolds in materials handling environments is that there are no steps involved – rather than having to carry stock up and down steps to pick and load, they load the platform before it is raised or lowered, which is much safer overall. Compared to powered platforms, manual lifts are considered eco-friendly because they do not use any electricity or hydraulic oil in their system. They are also lightweight and easy to move around, but on the downside, they don’t have the load capacity of most powered solutions.

Scissor Lifts

Powered scissor lifts are a very popular option for materials handling operations because they combine a large, secure platform area with fantastic stability and high load-bearing capacity. Rather than lifting on a single arm or shaft, the ‘scissor’ mechanism sits under the platform and raises the whole unit from four contact points at the corners underneath, which provides all the strength and stability.

Compared to some lifts with vertical shafts, scissor lifts also have the benefit of condensing down to a lower profile when not in use, which is useful for storage as well as for moving around busy workspaces. For moving goods around on, off and between shelves, the size of the platform is also a bonus because it means more items can be placed on them at once. But one slight drawback is that the platform remains higher off the ground in the ‘floor’ position than other types, which could potentially make loading goods and/or climbing onto the platform trickier.

Boom Lifts

More familiar as the ‘cherry picker’-type outdoor power lifts, manufacturers like Power Tower nonetheless produce lower-level boom lift platforms which are ideal for indoor materials handling. The extra strength provided by the boom arm mechanism compared to a vertical lift means they can accommodate larger platforms and handle heavier loads, putting them on a par with scissor lifts in those regards. They also provide a higher reach than vertical lifts.

MHW Magazine

Almost half of workplace deaths caused by falls

Almost half of all workplace deaths in the UK are caused by falling from height, new research by health and safety specialist Boss Training has found. 

The research, which broke the incidents down by sector shows that the construction sector accounted for a fifth of all workplace fatalities, with 20.4% of deaths, slightly behind the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries which account for 21.8%. Manufacturing was the third largest sector for workplace deaths, accounting for 17.7% of fatalities.

Falling from height fatalities increased by 14.3% year on year from 35 deaths to 40 in 2018/19. 

Boss Training managing director Andrew Murphy said more must be done to address workplace safety. “While strides have been made in guaranteeing the safety of employees within the workplace, more must be done in the coming years,” he said.

“The recent figures regarding fatal accidents in the workplace are disheartening to say the least and there are several steps that employers can take to vastly reduce the chances of severe accidents occurring in the workplace.”

Of the 147 workplace fatalities reported across all industries in 2018/19, 40% were reported as falls from height, while 30% were caused by people being hit by moving vehicles.

Another 16% of people died after being struck by a moving object, with 14% killed by coming into contact with moving machinery and 11% trapped by something which either collapsed or overturned. 

A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on working at height published last year urged the government to ensure the country maintain safety standards at the same levels as when the country was an European Union member following Brexit.

The APPG’s report says that factors negatively workplace affecting safety include “creeping complacency” towards injury or risk of injury from a fall and an “it’ll never happen to me’” attitude to accidents.

The APPG believes that the best way forward is to ensure that accidents and near misses are adequately reported, along with investigating the introduction of civil enforcement.

New Civil Engineering

IOSH Managing Safely

The number one health and safety course for line managers, in any sector, worldwide.

Managing Safely, the market-leading health and safety course for line managers, is tried, tested and trusted. Designed to provide all managers with the confidence and enthusiasm to apply knowledge to the workplace, this course is unlike any other.

Our Managing Safely course will help you improve the safety awareness culture in your organisation, see your productivity increase and enhance your reputation within your supply chain by embedding safety and health across the whole organisation. So why not book your course place today?

Who Managing Safely is for

Anyone and everyone in a working role who wants to learn the basics of safety and health.

Why Managing Safely works

  • Designed for anyone, in any sector, worldwide
  • Provides the knowledge and tools required to work safely
  • Peace of mind from training that’s designed and quality controlled by us
  • Flexibility of delivery that suits your business
  • Internationally recognised and respected certification
  • Efficient and effective learning health, safety and environmental basics covered in a single programme

What to expect from Managing Safely

  • Memorable and thought-provoking facts and case studies
  • Modules backed by clear examples and recognisable scenarios
  • Summaries to reinforce key points
  • Checklists and materials supplied for subsequent use in workplace
  • Informal and interactive quizzes and discussions
  • Evaluation using a multi-format question paper and a multiple choice hazard spotting exercise

Top 5 business benefits

  • Greater productivity fewer hours lost to sickness and accidents
  • Improved organisation-wide safety awareness culture and appreciation of safety measures
  • Active staff involvement to improve the workplace
  • Internationally recognised certification for managers and supervisors
  • Enhanced reputation within the supply chain

Top 5 delegate benefits

  • Ensures you can assess and control risks and hazards
  • Ensures you understand your own responsibilities for safety and health
  • Enables you to investigate incidents
  • Empowers you to measure your own performance
  • Allows for personal reflections on good practice

To find out more about the KeyOstas IOSH Managing Safely programme Click Here


Europe mulls common standards for wind projects

 Industry views are being sought on key health and safety issues – and potential solutions – in the wind energy sector

An online survey has been launched by the Wind Harmony project, which is working on behalf of the European Commission to look at health and safety (H&S) regulations and related standards impacting both onshore and offshore wind energy across the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

The project is seeking to understand where harmonisation or alignment at European level could reduce complexity, risk and cost, improve industry performance and lay the foundations for global wind industry standards.

The survey is open to everyone – including manufacturers, developers, operators, contractors of all sizes, regulators, policy makers, national wind energy associations, researchers and technicians. Responses are anonymised and will feed directly into the next project workshop and inform the project’s final recommendations. A link to the survey can be found from the news section of the Wind Harmony website.

The Construction Index

Future Leaders: embarking on a new adventure

After a recent career change which has seen her step into the world of health and safety, IOSH’s Future Leaders Community has helped Joanne Lund (pictured below) to quickly find her feet within the profession.

Joanne Lund’s first exposure to health and safety came in her role as Hygiene Front Line Manager at Allied Bakeries, where she has worked for the last 11 years.

She quickly fell in love with the idea of a career in the occupational safety and health profession, which led to her undertaking a diploma in 2017 which further enhanced her determination to embark on a career in occupational safety and health. Recognising her passion, the company has now moved Joanne into the role of Interim Health and Safety Coordinator.

New experiences

Joanne Lund

As a new health and safety professional, the Future Leaders Community has played a pivotal role in helping Joanne find new opportunities and grow her skills to enable her to adapt to her new role.

My first experience of the community was attending IOSH’s first Future Leaders Conference on 5 November and it was hugely beneficial for me – from both a professional and personal perspective,” she explained.

“There were so many brilliant speakers and thought-provoking topics. A particular highlight was the talk on mentorship which got me thinking about my own route into mentoring, and I’ve actually got a meeting soon to discuss how I could move forward in that type of role. The event was also a great networking opportunity which allowed me to meet so many knowledgeable people.

“From a personal perspective, the thought of going to a conference and not knowing anybody is really daunting – but as soon as I stepped into the room, my worries were eased. The atmosphere was electric and everyone was really friendly; it really solidified my existing feelings that health and safety was the career for me.”

Looking to the future

Aside from the conference, Joanne has taken advantage of the wide range of resources available to her through the Future Leaders Community, such as the forum. Being involved with the Community has also made Joanne aware of the wider benefits of IOSH, and she’s recently completed IOSH’s Train the Trainer course and will soon be delivering the Managing Safely course in her workplace.

She believes that the community will continue to support her mission of making a difference to the safety, health and wellbeing of workers.

“IOSH has provided us with a platform to meet like-minded and passionate people who can work together to become the future face of health and safety,” she explained. “The more people who engage with the Future Leaders Community, the more of a powerful position we’ll be in to make a real difference to the future of the profession.

“I would recommend the Future Leaders Community to any new professional out there. The community is an incredible platform for new and aspiring health and safety professionals.”


Turning the tide

IOSH-funded research shows how major construction projects like Tideway can improve the management of occupational health risks and help ‘raise the bar’ across the wider sector 

Occupational hygienists are relative newcomers to the UK construction sector. Unlike in oil and gas, minerals extraction and manufacturing, where the use of experts to provide advice and monitor occupational health exposures has been a feature for decades, the placement of occupational hygienists has historically been limited to only a few high-profile construction projects: the London 2012 Olympic Park build, and later, London Crossrail.

However, it was Tideway – the company building the 25 km tunnel below London to stop sewage overflows into the River Thames – that was the first to procure occupational hygienists for the entirety of the seven-year project. 

From its inception in mid-2016, the £4.38bn ‘super sewer’ development was also the first to be the focus of a longitudinal study by Loughborough University, a three-year IOSH-funded initiative, which evaluated occupational health management in real time. 

Generating valuable data to inform decision makers so that missteps are not repeated in future projects, the research sought also to identify good practice that could be shared and adopted across industry, most significantly in small- to medium-sized enterprises where the majority of the workforce is employed.

To track developments and report back, the researchers were embedded into each of the construction teams working for the main works contractors who were tasked with building the three tunnel sections in separate joint ventures. 

In July last year, three members of the Loughborough team and Jennie Armstrong, Tideway’s head of occupational health, safety and wellbeing, outlined some of their key findings in the ‘Raising the bar for occupational health management in construction’ research paper, which was published in the Institution of Civil Engineers’ journal Civil Engineering (

Drawing on practical examples from Tideway to demonstrate how interventions can ‘raise the industry bar’, the paper’s conclusions included a call for a more consistent approach to occupational health management and health surveillance, with a commitment to better training and improved portability of occupational health data.

Health parity

One of the most effective ways to achieve better consistency in the management of occupational health risks is to encourage and support line managers and supervisors to take ownership of this. This also means that OSH professionals, who have traditionally supported their reporting lines to ensure safety has been effectively incorporated into project management, need to apply the same principles to health.

As the research shows, however, this rarely happens consistently, in part because OSH professionals don’t always have the ‘health’ expertise to offer the support needed. A key observation in the paper is that, if line managers are to accept ownership for health risks, they need ‘knowledgeable’ OSH professionals to support them, backed up by specialists such as occupational hygienists and occupational health nurses.

“The challenge is that we need to understand occupational health better and transfer some of that knowledge to other professionals,” says Professor Alistair Gibb, who heads up Loughborough University’s research team on OSH in construction.

“[We need to transfer that knowledge] to the ordinary rank and file, supervisors and managers in the same way over the past 20 years we have transferred some of the safety knowledge, which was previously limited to the safety professionals. Now most managers in bigger companies and on larger projects do understand the key safety principles.”

This is what Tideway (and some other large construction projects) has sought to do with health. 

Consequently, managers, workers and any others involved in assessing and managing health risks can take this new skillset with them to their next project, helping to disseminate the knowledge consistently throughout the wider sector.

If line managers are to accept ownership for health risks, they need ‘knowledgeable’ OSH professionals to support them

If line managers are to accept ownership for health risks, they need ‘knowledgeable’ OSH professionals to support them

On Tideway, occupational hygienists were brought in at the project’s inception to identify and eliminate many of the health risks before the construction phase kicked off. This involved planning well ahead to anticipate any risks that the workforce would need to manage in later stages. “When the occupational hygienists were looking at some of the activities that were coming up, they put together essential standards, which identified some of the hazards that the workers would encounter,” says Armstrong.

“[These standards also state] what the minimum expectations are [for managing them] and some good practice examples of what they should consider [as control measures].”

As Kelvin Williams, senior occupational hygienist at Hinkley Point C, explains, a similar approach has been applied at the new nuclear power development in Somerset in south-west England. Williams is one of three occupational hygienists currently employed to work on the complex infrastructure project, which is due to be completed in 2025. Using a health risk assessment approach adapted from other industries, the hygienists work with the project’s tier 1 contractor to identify and control future health risks. “We split work down into discrete employee groups – steel fixers, concrete finishers, welders, for example,” he says. 

“We break it down into what we call ‘similarly exposed groups’. Then we use a pre-populated menu to identify what exposures those groups are going to get, such as noise, vibration and fumes. When we know that, we risk-rate each of those exposures and plan control measures and occupational hygiene support.” 

Armstrong emphasises the importance of using occupational hygienists (where possible) in the early design stages to eliminate risks. However, she adds that projects shouldn’t rely too much on them. The reality is that occupational hygienists won’t be able to attend every design meeting, so a more practical solution is to focus efforts on upskilling designers. This was an additional priority for Tideway’s hygienists in the early stages of the project.

Gibb, however, also adds a word of caution. He points out that designers also have to consider safety risks and, although he welcomes encouraging designers to find ways to design out occupational health risks, this shouldn’t get in the way of preventing potentially catastrophic events.

“It’s that almost intangible difference but a difference we do need to recognise,” he says. “I’ve long been in favour of not chastising or castigating architects and design engineers because they don’t understand health and safety but rather help them do what they can to make good design decisions.”

Knowledge transfer

At Tideway, the early involvement of hygienists has enabled their role to evolve: now that the project has moved from design to build work, they are able to step back and get involved where their specialist skills are most required. 

“Their main role now is working with our managers on a [one-to-one] coaching programme and offering support rather than doing a lot of the traditional hygiene work that they would have done,” says Armstrong.

She adds this includes giving managers the confidence to deal with certain hazards. 

“In the phase we are going into now, a lot of the work is around assurance. There are lots of things that managers can do visually… They haven’t got to use a qualified hygienist at that point.”

Tideway has invested heavily in the reporting of health hazards with both lagging and leading health-specific measures included in its health and safety performance index. There is also its RightWay assessment, which is similar to a maturity index. Tideway uses it to benchmark its contractors against each other, to look at certain health topics and measure how they are performing as well as encourage continual improvement.

“Major projects are getting used to doing that but to get senior management buy-in, they need the visibility of the data to understand where the focus is,” says Armstrong. 

“Sometimes if you compare health with safety, you instinctively see safety as the more significant risk. At the moment, we are taking health and giving it its own special focus to ensure that it doesn’t get lost behind the key safety risks.” 

Armstrong adds: “It doesn’t have to be overcomplicated, but one of our key activities is doing health inspections. If they don’t get measured, you might find the safety ones become a priority over health.”

Tideway’s development and use of an Occupational Health Index tool for assessing health risk management (see ‘Tideway: On the tools’, IOSH Magazine, February 2018: has been pivotal in raising the awareness of health risk exposures among the entire project’s workforce. The tool’s scores are used to identify where additional interventions are needed. 

Although the occupational hygienists originally used the tool to assess the risks and establish a baseline for good practice, site managers have since taken over responsibility for carrying out inspections. This is another area where the occupational hygienist provides a supporting role, which includes running specially designed training around occupational health and how to undertake a health-specific site inspection. 

Gibb has been impressed by how Tideway has dealt with measurement and performance metrics for health. However, he has advice for others looking to apply health metrics: “We need to keep reviewing them, considering them, interpreting them maturely and making sure we don’t just get a tick-box exercise, where people say, 

‘Yes, we’ve done that’ but then stop moving forward.”

At the moment, we are taking health and giving it its own special focus to ensure that it doesn’t get lost behind the key safetyrisks

Developing skills

For the wider construction industry where resources may not stretch to employing an occupational hygienist, redressing the balance between safety and health in management training is important, to ensure both are properly recognised and understood. 

IOSH and the British Occupational Hygiene Society already provide short courses, including IOSH’s SHE for Construction Site Managers and SHE for Construction Workers ( The latter’s certificate in controlling health risks in construction (CCHRC), was developed in response to the growing demand for training site supervisors and managers (and designers). 

According to Williams, Hinkley Point will become an accredited provider of the Construction Industry Training Board-approved course on its site this year.

“[What the course does is explain] where the main hazards are, how you look at the risks and control them,” he says. “It really helps them understand occupational hygiene principles and also determine when to refer to the hygienists.”

More training is also needed for front-line workers so they are upskilled to identify health risks. Often health hazards are underestimated due to the low visibility of their impact. Unlike safety, where injuries are clearly visible immediately following an incident, the long latency of many health conditions means the damage only becomes apparent months or even years later. Also, some health risks, such as respirable dust are not easy for workers to assess, unlike the risks posed by work at height or workplace transport. 

“We’re delivering a one-day occupational health awareness course for all managers and supervisors and everyone will go through it,” says Williams. 

This is supplemented by a range of more detailed awareness courses covering specific issues such as dust, hand-arm vibration and noise.

He adds: “There are only three hygienists on-site, so we also produce technical briefings for managers and health and safety staff covering a range of health topics, for example, ‘diesel engine exhaust emissions – should I be worried?’ We tell them what the basic issues are and we always put a checklist in there: ‘Have you got this? Are you seeing that? Is anybody experiencing this? If so, call the hygienist.’”

Tideway has also taken a number of practical steps to enhance not only managers but also workers’ knowledge of the health risks (see ‘Knowledge boost’ below). 

As Armstrong explains, this includes its use of Loughborough University’s LUSKInS wearable interactive training tools, to simulate dermatitis, hand-arm vibration syndrome and back pain “to bring some of the health risks to life”, so that workers can experience the longer-term impact of health conditions. 

Knowledge boost

To increase managers’ and workers’ knowledge of the health risks, Tideway took a number of practical steps, including: 

  • Occupational hygienists were engaged by all the main works contractors as a requirement of the Works Information and have worked to improve the workforce’s understanding of health risks and how to manage them.
  • ‘Essential standards’ have been produced for the main hazards, which describe what they are and the required control measures. These cover activities which commonly present low, medium and high risk, together with guidance on when specialist advice is required.
  • Training sessions for project managers, engineers, supervisors and others who contribute to risk assessments with a focus on practical control measures.
  • Occupational hygienists provide one-to-one coaching, for example, to provide feedback on risk assessment and method statements or to guide assessors through an inspection.
  • Job-specific training and targeted toolbox talks have been delivered at the point of work, for example, discussing the impact of wood dust for carpenters.
  • A card-based training game was developed to teach workers about typical noise levels

Health records

One of the other key lessons that the researchers drew from Tideway is the need for a process to manage health data, so that a worker who has health surveillance with multiple employers as well as several occupational health providers over their career can access it. 

“Construction has been wrestling for years with the challenge of health surveillance,” says Wendy Jones, one of the Loughborough University researchers who was embedded in the Tideway project.

“There is a primary issue in that many workers don’t get any surveillance because they work for small companies that don’t organise it, or because they are self-employed or work through agencies. But even when they do have it, [the surveillance] is rarely joined up.”

In practical terms, this means that a worker who has a hearing test on a large-scale project like Tideway or Crossrail won’t be able to see whether their hearing has changed since that test after they move to the next project, she says. 

“It’s just too difficult for anyone to get hold of the records from the previous occupational health provider; the construction sector is so fragmented and many contracts are transient.”

A new proposal called People’s Health (see box, below), which is being developed by B&CE as a replacement for the Constructing Better Health initiative, promises to overhaul the current system, joining up records and enabling the construction industry to collect more accurate data on work-related ill health.

Not only will it enable individual workers to ‘join up the dots’, but also “it will make it really clear to employers what they need to be doing,” says Jones. 

“It will encourage them to focus on the key health checks which relate to work hazards, rather than getting side-tracked by things which are nice to have but are not work-related or essential.”

Reflecting on the research findings, Gibb notes that the challenge for occupational health remains with the harder-to-reach businesses. “The difficulty is on a small project with an individual contractor where you don’t have that same multi-organisational buy-in,” he says.

The difficulty is compounded by the fact that, unlike larger projects, where real inroads have been made to drive up safety performance, many smaller projects have not replicated these same improvements. 

“It would be foolish for people to go [to a small business] and say, ‘Don’t worry about falls from height, you’ve really got to concentrate on hand-arm vibration’ if the scaffolding was a complete mess,” he says.

He argues that perhaps this is an area where IOSH can have an influential role through its members, disseminating good practice through the supply chain and promoting its occupational health campaigns. 

“If silicosis is the next big respiratory-related disorder after asbestos, my experience would suggest that we must focus on the smaller projects, where there is a much less stringent use of water suppression, extraction and the correct personal protective equipment [where it is necessary] than there is on the biggest projects.” 

People’s Health

Developed by B&CE and piloted in late 2019, People’s Health recommends three-yearly health checks for all construction workers. The model lets workers manage their own health records through a smartphone application, which will also be shared with their occupational health service providers should they give their consent. Under the new system, health surveillance will need to be carried out for noise, dust, skin and hard-arm vibration syndrome where a risk assessment shows it is required and, where necessary, workplace adjustments will be recommended to accommodate the worker’s health conditions.  Jennie Armstrong, head of occupational health, safety and wellbeing at Tideway, believes it will be a game-changer for the industry. “For a lot of individuals, they’ve had the health checks before, but often it can be cheaper and easier to get them to do the surveillance again,” she says. “Then for us, we don’t have the knowledge of what their past exposures have been like, what their last record was to see if it has changed, whether it has improved or got worse.“[People’s Health] will probably free up a lot more resource so it can be spent on prevention rather than doing more health checks.”



Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has officially announced plans to create a regulatory body as a part of a package of building safety measures.

The new body, to be a part of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), will give “effective oversight of the design, construction and occupation of high-risk buildings”.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Jenrick also said that from February he would start to name building owners who have not started remediation works to remove unsafe aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding from their buildings.

He confirmed that the government would consult on extending the ban on combustible materials to buildings below 18 metres and seek views on how risks are assessed within existing buildings to inform future policy.

This package comes in the wake of the prime minister’s letter to the chairman of the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, updating him on the government’s response to phase 1.

The Fire Protection Association’s managing director Jonathan O’Neill said the body “wholeheartedly welcome[d] any strengthening of building regulations” but said he was “concerned about the creation of a two-stream approach with the so-called ‘Hackitt Buildings’ being under a different regime than that which covers the majority of other buildings, including those where the majority of deaths and injuries actually occur”.

O’Neill added: “We are similarly supportive of a review of the height restrictions for combustible materials on buildings, but remain firmly of the view that combustible materials should be banned on all high-risk buildings, regardless of their height.” 

Main measures announced:

1 Building Safety Regulator

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will begin to establish the new regulator in shadow form immediately, ahead of it being fully established following legislation. It will raise building safety and performance standards, including overseeing a new, more stringent regime for higher-risk buildings.

2 Advice on building safety for multistorey, multi-occupied buildings

A call for evidence will also be published, seeking views on the assessment of risks within existing buildings. This important step will help to gather ideas and lead to research that will provide a firm evidence base to guide decisions for both existing buildings and future regulatory regimes.

3 Fire doors

The government welcomes the commitment by the Association of Composite Door Manufacturers to work with building owners to remediate their doors that failed tests. It will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure that this commitment is followed through.

4 Remediation of buildings with ACM cladding

To speed up remediation, a construction expert will be appointed to review remediation timescales and identify what can be done to improve pace in the private sector. Financial support will be offered to those who may not be able to afford new cladding. 

5 Combustible cladding ban

The government has also launched a consultation into the current combustible cladding ban, including proposals to lower the 18-metre height threshold to at least 11 metres.

6 Sprinklers

The government has proposed lowering the height threshold for sprinkler requirements in new buildings and will set out detailed proposals on how it will deliver the technical review of fire guidance in February.

7 Fire safety bill

The government has also set out further details of the forthcoming fire safety bill being introduced to Parliament, which will set out in more detail its response to the public inquiry phase 1 recommendations.


Brexit must build, not erode, workplace safety and health standards

Brexit must build, not erode, the UK’s world-leading safety and health system, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the global Chartered body for safety and health professionals, has urged today.

A transition period until 31 December 2020 will follow the UK’s departure from the European Union at 11.00pm today, with trade and other negotiations taking place in the coming months and years.

The EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 transfers EU-derived laws into UK law, meaning workers continue to have the same workplace protections. The Health and Safety (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 come into force today (Brexit-day), to ensure existing protections and regulatory frameworks and The EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 gives effect to the transition period.

Richard Jones, IOSH Head of Policy and Regulatory Engagement said: “During this transition period, there should be minimal effect on occupational safety and health law, given the UK Government’s commitment to maintain and enhance workers’ rights and that the UK’s risk-based system is both fit for purpose and well-respected worldwide.

“However, we must ensure that any government plans regarding future alignment build on, and don’t erode, OSH standards and that employers safely manage any Brexit-related uncertainty and change for their workers.

“IOSH believes that effective regulation and risk management, socially responsible business practices and well-applied international standards can all help support good OSH performance, protecting lives and livelihoods.”

The protection and improvement of occupational safety and health is vital as the UK leaves the EU, for a multitude of positive reasons:

  • The UK’s risk-based system is effective, respected and marketable worldwide
  • A compelling economic case complements the strong legal and moral ones
  • OSH law is well-embedded into UK business, which calls for no disruption
  • Improving OSH policy and practice in line with evidence helps everyone
  • Leaders can secure stability and benefit from successful corporate systems
  • Sound regulation helps the UK to be a great country to do business with
  • It fully supports the UK’s domestic and international policy agendas
  • It helps the UK meet its UN Sustainable Development Goal targets

Last month IOSH called on the government to “get health and safety done” by providing assurance on health and safety for the 2020s; maintaining its focus on eradicating human trafficking and modern slavery; and delivering upon its sustainability commitment by ensuring safety and health is at the heart of its proposed ‘infrastructure revolution’ and creation of two million new, high-quality jobs in clean growth.


Brexit: How will chemical management be affected?

SHP speaks to Mike Harris, COSHH Management System Operations Manager, and Sam Roberts, Senior Marketing Manager, at Alcumus Sypol to discuss the implications Brexit may have on chemical management and UK’s safety regulations.

When it comes to chemical management, there are currently three sets of regulations governing the use of hazardous substances, which the UK abides to:

  • Control of Substance Hazardous to Health (COSHH) (Risk assessment in UK governed by COSHH));
  • Classification, Labelling and Packaging for supply (CLP) (regulation controls chemical classification);
  • Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) (Safety data sheet and chemical restriction falls under REACH – this is a European regulation). Read the HSE’s guidance on regulating chemicals (REACH) and Brexit.

Being a British regulation, COSHH is unlikely to change and so shouldn’t be affected from a regulatory point of view should Britain leave the EU. However, there will be parts which tie into CLP and REACH, which may be affected, because they are both EU regulations.

CLP creates the basis for the Globally Harmonised System (GHS) and so there is likely to be little impact on the way chemicals are packaged and labelled. That’s because Britain, the EU, the USA, Australia and several other major western nations are currently compliant with the GHS, so have all moved to the pattern of chemical classification.

The GHS dictates that all of those compliant nations use the same set of hazard statements, which determine the hazardous nature of a chemical, and they also use the same label elements, so the symbols and pictograms are uniform from country to country.

“If we do leave the single market, a big onus will be on trading with other big Westernised nations, all of which are currently using CLP, so it would make absolutely no sense for us to move away from CLP,” said Mike Harris.

The Government has released statements around chemical management, in which it has as good as confirmed this, a confirmation statement is expected to officially announce this.

REACH is the set of regulations which is expected to be most affected and where potentially some side effects could be seen. “As well as identifying and regulating extremely hazardous chemicals, the REACH regulations also govern in the information which is contained within safety data sheets, which have to be supplied from the manufacturer to let identify what is in the product, what to do with it and how to control it.”

That is all defined within the European REACH regulations, so there is the potential for that to change if the UK no longer abides by those regulations.

What the Government has said is that the most likely course of action is that an identical set of regulations will be brought into British law to almost mirror the REACH regulations state. The HSE has issued the following Brexit chemicals industry guidance.

“This would make it fundamentally different, but from a practicality point of view it would be almost identical,” Mike added.

Any authorisation to use a restricted chemical, that has already been granted to British companies, would therefore stand and would gain automatic authorisation into the British REACH regulations.

Perhaps the bigger implication is that, for the time being, the HSE would handle all decisions when it comes to determining the classification of extremely hazardous chemicals, restricting their use and making sure they are only used for certain work processes within industry and that it is properly controlled and properly regulated.

This would mean that if the European REACH regulations identified a certain substance and placed it on to one of their annexes for restriction or for authorisation, the UK wouldn’t be obliged to follow suit.

But what does this mean for health and safety practitioners? Mike hopes that with the decisions being made by British HSE will lead to an even a higher level of communication.

Sam Roberts added: “Brexit has obviously been a completely chaotic affair from start to finish. And I think there’s a lot of concern from businesses that, even if the HSE publish guidance, it’s going to be down to the businesses to interpret the guidance.

“With COSHH management being one of the more technical areas of health and safety and risk compliance, there is probably going to be a lot of organisations that still require a certain level of expertise to be able to interpret it.

“That’s one of the key things we’re trying to address to our clients at the moment, is that basically we do that for them, so they don’t necessarily have to interpret or translate the legislation changes themselves.”

The advice from Alcumus is to act now, its concern is that many businesses are waiting to find out what is going to happen post-Brexit. But, as we’ve already outlined in this article, out of the three main sets of governing regulations for chemicals, the actual practical and management side of two of them is going to change very little.

Alcumus takes all the information that comes out of the government and closely monitors what’s coming out of the ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency, to ensure everything is kept completely up to date for its customers.

“The good thing about most of these things is they do come with a grace period, so there is time to adjust. So, we would, where we can, make the relevant changes and do what we can for the customer. We then take that information, and apply it practically to a chemical management system, and downstream that in a format that’s easily understood.”


Are UK employers neglecting worker safety?

UK Solicitors call for greater accountability for employers who fail to report injuries caused by accidents at work

The latest annual statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that 581,000 people sustained a non-fatal injury at work during 2018/19 and that this resulted in an estimated 4.7 million lost working days in that period. Of those injured in an incident at work, 138,000 people were off work for at least seven days as a result of their injury. These figures are taken from self-reported injuries by employees via the Labour Force Survey.

Employers are legally obliged to report certain injuries that occur in the workplace (including those where the injury keeps an employee from working for seven days or more), accidents or near misses under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR), but in the same time period, only 69,208 such reports were submitted. This means that potentially around 50% of significant injuries that were sustained at work may have gone unreported by the employers responsible for safeguarding their workforce and ensuring that the company’s health and safety processes are compliant with the latest regulations.

Hampson Hughes Solicitors, who recently successfully represented a woman who had a serious fall at work, believe that many employers are simply not taking the safety and welfare of staff seriously enough.

Head of Personal Injury at Hampson Hughes Solicitors, Tracy Bond, said, “I think that these latest figures are very worrying, not only because the number of accidents at work every year are still extremely high, but also because it seems that not all employers are properly reporting all of the incidents that they are required to by law, which smacks of complacency to me. Unfortunately, I speak to clients every day who have been avoidably injured at work, sometimes seriously, due to their employer’s negligence, and we often see a blatant disregard for the safety and wellbeing of employees in workplaces across the country.”

In the recent case, which was won by Hampson Hughes, a 56-year-old woman, who worked in a well-known supermarket chain café in London, was awarded £17,000 in compensation after she slipped at work on water on the floor that had seeped from leaking bin bags left by cleaning staff. Her fall resulted in a compound arm fracture and ongoing damage that has left indefinite pain at the site of the injury and means she is reliant on painkillers. Her employer admitted liability for the accident.

Bond commented, “Sadly, this case is typical of many that we see. Our client was simply carrying out her everyday duties at work but because her employer didn’t take the proper measures to protect their workers, she has been injured, potentially permanently, as a result. We’re very pleased that our client was able to get a measure of justice with the compensation awarded, but it doesn’t change the pain and distress that this accident has caused. Nobody wins in situations like this, which is why we’re calling for greater accountability for employers when it comes to worker safety and the accurate reporting of injuries so that lessons can be learned. We would like to see the next annual figures show no such discrepancies again.”

Business Matters

HSE to oversee new measures to improve building safety

The government has announced that a new building safety regulator will be established as part of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Intended to raise building safety and performance standards, including overseeing a new, more stringent regime for higher-risk buildings, housing secretary Robert Jenrick announced the immediate establishment of a new Building Safety Regulator within the HSE as well as a proposal to extend the existing combustible cladding ban and accelerate its removal from buildings across the country. 

“Building owners are responsible for ensuring their buildings are safe and where there is no clear plan for remediation, the government will work with local authorities to support them in their enforcement options,” said the announcement.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the minister also made clear that from next month he will begin naming building owners where remediation has not started to remove unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding from their buildings. 

Jenrick confirmed the government will consult on extending the ban on combustible materials to buildings below 18 metres and we will seek views on how risks are assessed within existing buildings to inform future policy.

With a strong track record of working with industry and other regulators to improve safety, the HSE said it will draw on experience and the capabilities of other regulators to implement the new regime. Former HSE chair Dame Judith Hackitt will chair a Board to oversee the transition. 

HSE chair Martin Temple said he was “proud” the government had asked the HSE to establish the new regulator, describing it as “in good hands”, and while IOSH welcomed the commitment to accelerate building safety improvements, it called for “visible and tangible action” to be taken.  

“While it’s positive to hear the new government declare it won’t tolerate the slow pace of improvement to building safety in the UK, which IOSH and others have raised concern over, we now need to see visible and tangible action, with these announcements just the start of an extensive and active delivery-programme,” said Richard Jones, head of policy and regulatory engagement at IOSH. 

“Working with the HSE will be reassuring for many, given it’s a world-class regulator that secures near universal praise nationally. It has successful experience of co-regulation, as well as of operating permissioning and safety-case regimes and enforcing the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, so should be ideally placed for such a role.”

But Jones warned how vital it is that it’s properly resourced for taking on this substantial additional responsibility and workload for this new regime, which IOSH Magazine understands will be fully chargeable. 

“In IOSH’s response to the combustible cladding ban consultation, we emphasised the need to remove it from all high-rises in both residential and non-residential buildings,” he added. “We are pleased that the government is now reconsidering its position and have clarified its guidance for building-owners.”


IOSH calls for “visible and tangible action” on improving building safety

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has welcomed new commitments from the UK government to accelerate building safety improvements – and calls for “visible and tangible action” to now be taken.  

This week Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced new measures to improve building safety in the UK.

The announcement includes the immediate establishment of a new Building Safety Regulator within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as well as a proposal to extend the existing combustible cladding ban and accelerate its removal from buildings across the country.

Richard Jones, Head of Policy and Regulatory Engagement at IOSH, said: “While it’s positive to hear the new government declare it won’t tolerate the slow pace of improvement to building safety in the UK, which IOSH and others have raised concern over, we now need to see visible and tangible action, with these announcements just the start of an extensive and active delivery-programme.

“Working with the HSE will be reassuring for many, given it’s a world-class regulator that secures near universal praise nationally. It has successful experience of co-regulation, as well as of operating permissioning and safety-case regimes and enforcing the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, so should be ideally placed for such a role. However, it will be vital that it’s properly resourced for taking on this substantial additional responsibility and workload for this new regime, which we understand will be fully chargeable.

“In IOSH’s response to the combustible cladding ban consultation, we emphasised the need to remove it from all high-rises in both residential and non-residential buildings. We are pleased that the government is now reconsidering its position and have clarified its guidance for building-owners.

“We also look forward to further government action on sprinkler requirements and to the Fire Safety Bill and its clarification of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.”

Last month, IOSH urged the government to “get health and safety done” and pushed for urgent progress on all the key occupational safety and health public-policy areas, including national ‘post-Grenfell’ reforms on building regulation and fire safety.


Future Leaders: tackling the barriers to understanding safety and health

From taking selfies to posting memes, Faye Rockley, IOSH Future Leader and Health & Safety Advisor with IMG, found fun and inventive ways of engaging workers with safety and health initiatives

I will never forget being 19 years old, fresh out of a fitness instructor apprenticeship and loving the active life, when I started a job for a large health club chain. On my first day – indeed in my first hour – I was handed the “Health & Safety Bible” and I was asked to read it. This monster of a yellow folder was about 4 inches thick and I remember thinking to myself: how on Earth am I supposed to remember all of this?!

I can pretty much trace back my passion for breaking down the barriers of health and safety to this moment. This moment, plus the realisation that, as much as people wanted to get through to young and old alike, they just weren’t quite hitting the mark on engagement. Wielding a clipboard and adopting a condescending tone does not work. Neither does scaring people into health and safety with disciplinary action; and forcing people into it just creates a “tick box” mentality with zero understanding.

I wanted to do it differently… I wanted to make an impact…

My first opportunity to engage people in health and safety came in the leisure industry, where the age of the audience is relatively young, and the turnover of staff high. You did not have long to instill the important stuff and you knew you could not be everywhere at once.

I have always formed the basis of training anyone on the HASAWA Section 7, where it states that employees need “to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work”.

I always base how I train on getting across that all people who work there are responsible for health and safety – not just me. Getting this through to the lifeguards I worked with opened many doors with regard to hazard reporting, following safe systems of work, attending training and being engaged. It was not an effort to get them to be part of developing a risk assessment, as they understood the importance of their role within it.

When I moved into the retail industry, I applied the same logic in order to build a positive culture around health and safety. Getting people to understand and relate to Section 7 was half the battle won. Although people saw me as “the face” of health and safety – the person people came to with OSH queries – asking them to understand their responsibility meant that the change started to happen. I would count it as a win if a manager asked their team to complete desk assessments to make sure their work stations were set up well. Team members came to me to report something that before would have before been seen as “someone else’s job” and some even put themselves forward to be first aiders.

As part of my desire to shake things up I worked on breaking down health and safety terminology. Not using jargon or spouting legislation at people, instead looking for relatively simple ways to explain things to them – bringing health and safety into the modern world, engaging in ways that were effective, just much less formal. Things like using puns, memes and videos to appeal to my audience. Asking for selfies (with Snapchat filters of course) to demonstrate that a team had completed a fire drill, and making first aid flags for an office space where finding out who the first aiders were was a challenge!

The more accessible health and safety is, the fewer barriers there are to understanding. Of course, in the background, the formal “sign off” still had to be completed, but the teams had fun and the training presented ways to learn that engaged them along the way.

My journey continues, and as I learn more myself, I look at new ways to bring personality to different aspects of health and safety and continue to spread the word that we are not just “the clipboard mafia”.

  • Would you like to contribute a Future Leaders news item? Read more here
  • Learn more about the Future Leaders Community here
  • Join the Future Leaders Community Discussion Forum here


Tributes to IOSH’s first Chief Executive

John Barrell, OBE

Tributes have been paid to the first Chief Executive of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the global Chartered body for safety and health professionals.  

John Barrell OBE, who served as IOSH Chief Executive between 1981 – 2000, passed away last week aged 83.

John started with IOSH in 1978 as company secretary. He was awarded his OBE in 1996, and after retiring from his role as Chief Executive served as an Honorary Vice-President at IOSH until the time of his death.

IOSH was founded in 1945 when the Institution of Industrial Safety Officers (IISO) was formed as a division of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). In 1981, the IISO was renamed as the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health and in 2002 was awarded a Royal Charter.

Tributes have been made by former and current members of staff who worked alongside John:

 “John was an amazing person, he gave me a fantastic opportunity in my career and I will never forget him or his loyalty.”

 “John was a true inspiration and a lovely man.”

“John was an amazing lovely person, who was dedicated to Health and Safety and will be truly missed.”

Bev Messinger, who has served as IOSH Chief Executive since October 2016, said: “IOSH’s shared objective is a world where work is safe and healthy for every working person, every day. John’s legacy, leading IOSH from its inception and pioneering the importance of safety and health in the workplace at this critical time, was vital in shaping the organisation and wider profession we see today.”


Incompetent site management lands director with suspended jail sentence

A company and its director have been sentenced for failing to comply with an enforcement notice.

Image credit HSE

Between May 2018 and February 2019, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out a series of inspections at a construction site in South Woodford in London, after safety concerns were raised. During the inspections, the site manager and company director Tahir Ahmed was served with two prohibition notices and his company, All Type Electrical and Building, was served with two prohibition notices and two improvement notices.

One of the improvement notices, the HSE told IOSH Magazine, was served on 24 September 2018 with a compliance date of 30 November 2018 to ascertain competent advice. No request was made to extend the notice, and no evidence of an attempt to comply with the notice was ever received.

Ahmed, the director of All Type Electrical and Building who was running the site, had not received site manager training, the HSE confirmed. “We believe he had never received such training as he did not produce any training certification and he pleaded guilty to the breach,” the regulator told us.

At Westminster Magistrates’ Court, All Type Electrical and Building pleaded guilty to breaching reg 15(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, which states: “You have not employed or appointed a person to supervise or manage construction work who has the necessary training to carry out the tasks allocated to that person in a manner that secures the health and safety of any person working on the construction site”.

The firm also pleaded guilty to contravening s 21 of the Health and Safety at Work Act for failing to comply with an enforcement notice. The company was ordered to pay a £60,000 fine plus full costs of £5,216.

Ahmed also admitted breaching s 21 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was sentenced to 18 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months, 180 hours of unpaid work, plus full costs of £5,060.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector David King said: “This case highlights the need for suitable and sufficient planning, managing and monitoring, using the appropriate work at height equipment and having a competent site manager.

“Dutyholders should be aware that the HSE will hold to account those who do not comply with health and safety legislation, or who do not comply with enforcement notices served on them.”

IOSH Magazine

The switch to electric

A trial using electric and hybrid plant on a sensitive central London construction site has cut the risk of work-related injuries and brought wider environmental benefits

Sustainability, carbon emissions and greater awareness of impact on the global climate are driving the agenda of the construction sector. Cleaner, greener ways of resourcing, fuelling and managing our sites are becoming the focus during the planning and delivery of works. We have less time than ever to make changes to reduce the effects generated through 200 years of fossil fuel consumption, and the construction industry needs to play its part in this process. 

Construction and engineering company Costain is supporting its clients and its supply chain and enabling the uptake of low-carbon technologies, which include electric, hydrogen and hybrid plant, according to the contractor’s group carbon manager Lara Young. 

This move is in line with the company’s climate change strategy and ambitious carbon reduction targets, in support of the government’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero by 2050.

By putting sustainability at the forefront of construction projects, businesses can achieve savings and improve efficiencies. Key among these are the safety and occupational health benefits. 

Costain, as one half of the Costain-Skanska JV, has been working with its supply chain to explore opportunities to reduce risk and eliminate carbon from working processes. The team is now trialling electric and hybrid plant on urban and rural sites. 

Recent construction activities on the High Speed 2 rail link’s enabling works contract at Euston in central London provided the opportunity to trial and implement a diverse selection of new-to-market small, nimble electric plant to deliver safety, innovation and value for money (see ‘Safe by design’, IOSH Magazine, August 2019: By using these assets strategically, Costain engineered a sustainable approach to support a 200-strong construction and archaeological team working on the largest-ever excavation of a burial ground in the UK. 

All the work on the St James’s Gardens site was carried out beneath a substantial encapsulation structure, as required under Schedule 20 of the High Speed Rail (London-West-Midlands) Act 2017. The team brought in high-performing electric and hybrid plant as an alternative to conventional equipment, to limit exposure to potentially high emissions and noise. This approach also resulted in a reduction in manual handling, as small, ride-on, 1.1-tonne electric dumpers replaced the traditional archaeologist’s wheelbarrow. Using electric plant became a key way to deliver sustainable management of the 33,000-cubic-metre excavation.

Engaging the supply chain

Since 2012, Costain has been working with its diverse supply chain to examine how electric and hybrid plant can be adopted, improved and used on major infrastructure projects. A key driver is a determination to bring occupational health and safety benefits; another being to reduce impacts on the environment. 

The Costain plant steering group has played a strategically important role. By creating an open forum for plant suppliers and their end users, Costain has been able to follow and guide the successful development of electric plant and equipment. This ensures that the group is positioned to trial and adopt it as soon as suitable sites are identified. 

Collaborative working allows the joint venture to influence and engage during the early development of new products. An open forum limits duplication and ensures the right equipment is ordered for the project, thereby maximising the opportunities for learning and development. And the building of lasting relationships creates a high-profile platform for delivering excellence through sustainability.

Companies including Lynch Plant Hire, Flannery Plant Hire, A-Plant, JCB, Wacker Neuson, Speedy, Gap and M O’Brien Plant Hire have sought to bring products to market that can be trialled in live construction environments, thus ensuring a collaborative approach and direct, effective feedback from a prospective tier-one client.

Key to the delivery of many large infrastructure projects is the efficient, sustainable and safe management of materials and bulk excavations. Identifying the correct pieces of electric and hybrid plant at the earliest stages of any project ensures a sustained period for conducting trials, adequate time for operator familiarisation and feedback, and time for the team to adapt to the new technology on site.

Zero emissions ensured a clean, pollution-free environment in an enclosed area for the whole site team

Benefits and successes

Two JCB 1.7-tonne, fully electric, non-umbilical, 360° mini excavators managed localised excavations in over-consolidated London clay. Initial trials indicated that the tracked plant had excellent mobility and a raft of additional in-built safety features. However, the smaller one-two battery cells limited its use throughout the working day, even with the 15 rapid charge points. Feedback prompted the manufacturer to adapt the plant for not two but four battery cells, increasing the use-life to a full shift. More than 400 evaluation hours were generated by trialling activities on site, and the plant operators were interviewed to provide feedback on durability, efficiency, comfort and safety from an end-user perspective.

Use of these two machines at strategic locations provided a wealth of benefits. Manual handling for the site team was vastly reduced, permitting the archaeological specialists to focus on their key roles rather than ‘muck-shifting’ and logistics. All burials were excavated by hand, with plant operating only to remove spoil and clay from around the burials. Small plant was ideal for this task when fitted with a narrow, bladed bucket. Zero emissions ensured a clean, pollution-free environment in an enclosed area for the whole site team. 

When asked about the benefits of increasing electric plant use on sites, air quality consultant Robert Lockwood said: “Not only are the Non Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) emissions standards that have been adopted on the HS2 enabling works contract more stringent than any other construction project in the country, the use of electric plant goes even further to reduce the adverse occupational health and environmental impacts of the works. NRMM standards for our project are based on the Greater London Authority emissions standards but are more stringent, requiring the use of ‘cleaner’ machines. St James’s Gardens sits within London’s central activities zone, so Euro stage IV compliance is mandated for NRMM equipment, with road-going vehicles being Euro VI.”

The small, electric Wacker Neuson DT102 tracked dumpers were a success, and championed by all on site. Provided by Lynch, they were adapted to inhibit the scissor-lift function (unnecessary for our works but posing a potential entrapment and pinch-point risk), with a front-loading shovel arm added, to reduce the need for manual loading. The six electric dumpers and two small electric diggers increased productivity with outputs exceeding five times the predicted level on some working days (average productivity increase was three times the original anticipated level). These were used in tandem with six electric ‘e-muck trucks’ – smaller, lighter electric wheelbarrows normally deployed in more domestic settings.

The Kramer KL25.5e electric wheel loader was also trialled on site, with the team using both front loader and forks for spoil management and lifting. This device proved to be capable of all the standard activities you would expect of a telehandler of similar size, lifting up to two tonnes. However, the battery life was more rapidly depleted, working with the heavy London clay.

The quieter electric plant ensured we delivered our works without exceeding any of the thresholds stipulated under our section 61 or trigger action plans, making us better neighbours and the site a better place to work. Communication was easier, and our workforce was not exposed to unnecessarily high levels of noise or intermittent spikes in noise caused by multiple pieces of plant operating nearby. The two 1.7-tonne electric excavators deployed on site are 6 dB quieter overall (LWA 87 dB) and 10 dB quieter (LpA 68 dB) at the driving position than a diesel equivalent. This correlates to a significantly reduced risk for both the driver and other operatives in terms of the potential impact on hearing (the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 sets a lower exposure threshold value of LEP,d of 80 dBA).

The larger, 22-tonne hybrid excavator is also generally quieter than diesel-only equivalents, owing to the smaller engine sizes and time operating on electric while slewing. By dedicating the 22-tonne hybrid to the loading of wagons (static operations – electric while slewing), noise was greatly reduced. 

The lower plant noise emissions enabled us to reduce the impacts on site operatives as well as our neighbours and key stakeholders, by demonstrating best practicable means in the control of noise and vibration and compliance with s 61 consents.

Project director for the Euston area, Paul Snelson, said of St James’s Gardens: “We have pioneered the use of electric plant at all stages, and the benefits have been threefold: minimising manual handling; reduction in emissions mitigating the need for a complex ventilation system; and the reduced need to refuel vehicles, which is always fraught with the potential for slips, trips and fuel spills. The wider benefits to the workforce and communities in which we work are clear.”

Risks and challenges

Reduced engine noise is a benefit in terms of environmental impacts. However, the fact that this plant is almost entirely silent during operations has introduced a new risk: increased incidences of unexpected proximity to plant.

Accordingly, we placed management of plant and pedestrian interface high on the agenda, to ensure segregation wherever possible. On site we are used to deploying all senses, particularly hearing, to physically register the presence of plant and act accordingly to avoid it. In this instance, completing a visual check, sticking to pedestrian walkways and engaging with banksmen and traffic marshals at all crossing points became paramount. We carried out additional training, including Lynch ‘Thumbs up’ briefings, five times during the lifespan of the works, to mitigate the risk of complacency. Up to 180 operatives participated in the workshops given across a working day, at different locations around the live work site.  

One challenge that had to be incorporated into our site management plan and design brief from the outset was situating suitably placed, and sufficient numbers of, charging points. For future projects working along linear routes (such as highways, utilities and rail), particularly in rural environments, this is something that needs to be designed and planned during pre-start phases, as ‘stranded’ plant is a significant risk, and could incur loss of time and efficiency.


The industry is changing and there are some robust and user-friendly pieces of electric plant and equipment on the market. Numbers and availability are still limited, although increased demand and willingness to adopt new technologies will change this. 

Archaeological works have benefited hugely from the innovative application of electric plant, which has increased predicted work outputs by up to 500%. The combined effect of electric excavators and small electric dumpers has reduced manual handling hours substantially and, as a result, there were few reported musculoskeletal injuries over a one-year period. This was significant among archaeological contractors, who are prone to these owing to the nature of their work and use of more traditional hand tools.

Electric plant has been key to delivering a LEAN and streamlined approach to a challenging urban site in central London. By eliminating the need for regular refuelling, the impacts of noise, emissions and vehicle movements have been mitigated. Although it has not been possible to field a 100% electric and hybrid fleet, the benefits of selecting the right electric plant for the right job have provided demonstrable safety, health and environmental value throughout the duration of the works. 

New government must “get health and safety done”

The Chartered body for safety and health professionals has called for the Conservative government to “get health and safety done” by committing to the protection of workers’ rights and future-proofing the UK’s world-leading health and safety system following yesterday’s general election.  

IOSH calls on the government to provide assurance on health and safety for the 2020s; maintain its focus on eradicating human trafficking and modern slavery; and deliver upon its sustainability commitment by ensuring safety and health is at the heart of its proposed ‘infrastructure revolution’ and creation of two million new, high-quality jobs in clean growth.

Richard Jones, IOSH Head of Policy and Regulatory Engagement, said: “The UK ends this year and starts the next year and decade with a new majority Conservative government. It ran on a ‘get Brexit done’ slogan and has pledged high standards of workers’ rights.

“But as, concerningly, UK divergence could also allow a lowering of standards, IOSH calls on the Prime Minister to strengthen and future-proof the UK’s world-leading health and safety system and commit to get health and safety done.

“The 2020s need to see the UK substantially raise its performance on occupational safety and health, from improving mental health at work, to preventing long-latency diseases like occupational cancers; and from securing building fire safety to strengthening protections for the most vulnerable workers. It’s about ensuring long-term commitment and real action on health and safety that delivers a successful and sustainable future for all.”

IOSH pushes for urgent progress on all the key OSH public-policy areas, including:

  • Occupational health service reforms and subsidies
  • The right to request health-based modifications at work
  • Mental health at work improvements
  • Modern working practices reforms
  • Better transparency on preventing modern slavery in supply chains
  • National ‘post-Grenfell’ reforms on building regulation and fire safety

The IOSH Manifesto, Towards a safe and healthy world of work, highlights key OSH themes for UK and other Governments to help ensure a safe, healthy and sustainable future:

IOSH’s white paper, Tackling modern slavery together, outlines the role of governments, employers, professionals and the public in eradicating modern slavery:


The importance of independent certification and competency in fire performance technical assessments

The reliability of engineering assessments on fire performance in the construction industry has come under scrutiny recently, with the events of the Grenfell tragedy and the Bolton student accommodation fire still fresh in the mind. Here, Simon Ince discusses why assessment reports are both necessary and vital to the fire safety industry, and highlights the need for quality, competent justification when carrying them out.

“You can’t test everything!”

This statement might sound like lunacy when talking about products that have a fire safety performance requirement. However, it is often a reality, and where the same product has multiple variations such as, diameter, thickness, weight or even colour, the variation permutations could be almost endless and impractical to test. For example, if a decorative vinyl coated wallpaper comes in three different weights, and has three different patterns, in three different colours, the number of different variations to test would be 27. Add three different shades of the three colours and the number of variables increases to 54. Add in to that equation the three EN 13823 fire test samples that need to be burned, to provide a valid test result for each permutation, plus the minimum of 18 small scale EN 11925 flame application tests per permutation which are also required, and the number of individual tests would be in excess of 1,000. It would become prohibitive for manufacturers to test all their variations.

With this in mind, there has to be a way of range assessing products to provide a test regime that will cover the fire performance of all variations. Within Harmonised European standards for products (where they exist) there is guidance on range assessment; and there is also European guidance on providing extended application assessments for fire resistant and reaction to fire products and systems.

However, standalone engineering assessments do have to be used in some instances to allow manufacturers to limit their test commitments, whilst still offering a high level of assurance that the full scope of variations will perform the same way in a test and gain the same fire test classification.

Assessments are also used to justify variations that occur on site which may have some changes from the ‘as tested’ specification. For example, fire resisting glazing can be produced in larger sizes than can be tested on a fire test rig. So, in an end use application, an engineering assessment has to be made that the increase in size will not significantly affect the fire performance of the glazed screen.

Only when necessary

It is important to note that assessments should never be used to avoid testing. Engineering judgements should be based on test data and completed by experts, using sound engineering principles. If there is test evidence for the most onerous design a judgement can be made to cover those deemed to be less onerous designs.

“The immediate suggestion from government was to ban all assessments and test everything, though it was quickly pointed out that this was simply unfeasible.”

Unfortunately, this has not always been the case, and the validity and reliability of assessments has come into question following building fires, where assessed products and systems have failed.

Indeed, assessments are something that the Government (via the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government) has expressed concerns about following the Grenfell tragedy. The immediate suggestion from government was to ban all assessments and test everything, though it was quickly pointed out that this was simply unfeasible. There is not sufficient test lab capacity to do so, it would prevent thousands of products from being available for use and delay new products from entering the market; increasing costs for the entire supply chain.

Primary test evidence should be the ultimate in assurance – what was tested is exactly the same as what is going into the building. However, that isn’t going to happen for every specification of every product.

Defining a reliable assessment

One way in which the end user can have confidence in an assessment is where a product has been certificated through a third party certification scheme. Accredited Certification Bodies complete independent conformity assessments on products to provide confidence in that product or a system’s fire performance.

The end scope of certification will be formulated against recognised normative performance standards and determined by assessments which are underpinned by the actual tests completed and the specified extended application rules. The certification body will also have competent engineers with experience of the products being certificated, who will have to prove their competence to UKAS as part of their accreditation audits (as defined in ISO/IEC 17065, Conformity Assessment – requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services).

Where third party certification and extended application guidance cannot be followed, then the process of assessment is potentially less structured and can potentially offer less assurance. What elements are therefore required to offer good assurance?

The independence and competence of the organisation completing the assessment is paramount. The use of accredited certification bodies is normally deemed to be an assurance of the independence and competence of the assessment author. Indeed Building Regulations state:

‘Tests and assessments should be carried out by organisations with the necessary expertise. For example, organisations listed as “notified bodies” in accordance with the European Construction Products Regulation or laboratories accredited by UKAS for the relevant test standard can be assumed to have the necessary expertise.’ Amendments published in December 2018 – The Building Regulations 2010

The assurance being that a certification body will:

  • Have professional indemnity insurance to cover assessment activities
  • Operate a quality assurance management system (e.g. ISO 9001)

Within such a management system, there should be defined procedures for completing assessments, as well as a matrix of competences of those completing the assessments, with justifications for the sign off of assessors/engineers ability to complete the work. This matrix will take account of experience, qualifications and CPD records, to identify their current best practice knowledge.

In addition, assessors/engineers will follow existing best practice guidance, such as the Passive Fire Protection Forum (PFPF) Guide to undertaking technical assessments of the fire performance of construction products based on fire test evidence -2019 – Industry Standard Procedure.

Good assessment reports should include:

  • Supporting evidence, such as primary test evidence in full. If permission by the test sponsor has been provided, the assessment report should include the full test reports. If the sponsor wishes to withhold the full test report, the test reference numbers must be included. Primary evidence should be the basis for the assessment judgement and not secondary evidence.
  • Secondary evidence, such as test evidence for similar systems, indicative tests or standard performance data from codes or standards. All data and evidence used to make an assessment should be fully referenced within the report.
  • The report should be specific to the product as supplied and identified by the manufacturer, including all product/range /brand names.
  • The details of the applicant (company requesting the assessment) should be included and why the assessment has been requested.
  • The assessor must highlight how they have formulated their opinion and provide a clear justification for their decision. That decision should be reviewed and signed off by another member of the assessment body.
  • The report should state the test standard, against which the assessment has been carried out.
  • validity statement; stating the report may be superseded by primary test evidence if it becomes available. If the assessment isn’t for a specific project, the report should have a time limitation imposed – usually of around five years.

Assessment reports are an essential part of the supply chain of products with a fire performance requirement, and when done correctly should offer credible assurance of fire performance.


Keeping safe whilst working at height this winter

Stuart Pierpoint, UK Sales manager HCL, highlights some of the issues to be aware of and provides some top tips to help mitigate risks for those working at height at this time of year.

We all know working at height carries many potential risks. But after an autumn, that’s brought with it more than the average amount of rain for this time of year, and moving into the winter period, the risks of working at height can increase.

Setting the scene

Tragically, slips, trips and falls already account for 28% of all fatalities at work in the UK, at a cost to UK businesses approaching £1bn per year (according to And while we’re all familiar with a bit of rain here in the UK, wet weather can increase these risks, thus bringing to the fore the need for diligent preparation and quality training. Both should always be fundamental to a robust fall protection regime but are particularly pertinent when working in poor weather.

Impacts of rain

Inclement weather can impact building performance at this time of year, bringing with it issues such as leaking roofs and blocked gutters, both of which can put a dent in productivity and facility maintenance costs. After all, a building with issues is likely a building that won’t be fully operational.

With an increased number of buildings requiring attention and maintenance, we naturally see more people operating at height in potentially hazardous conditions – slippery surfaces, heavy rain, storm debris, leaves and poor visibility are all things to be aware of over the next few months. So how do we safely negotiate these challenges and mitigate risk?

Preparation is key

It may sound relatively straightforward, but proactive wet weather planning lies at the heart of any robust working at height regime. Ensuring buildings are equipped with the most appropriate and high-quality fall protection systems is the best place to start, followed by comprehensive risk assessments – including dynamic risk assessments, if necessary – and the robust training of all operatives that may need to work at height.

Annual checks and inspections will help to ensure fall protection systems remain fully compliant with the latest regulations and standards and that any proactive repairs, maintenance, or replacements can take place in a safe and timely fashion. This will not only help to protect your culpability in the unfortunate event of an incident but provide you – as someone responsible for safety – with all-important peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that your workforce is as prepared and well-equipped as possible.

When it comes to working at height, there’s no doubt that bad weather can bring heightened risk, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that ongoing essential maintenance needs to come to a complete halt. By considering these few key elements, we can help workers remain safe and well-protected and importantly, go home safely to their families at the end of every working day.


Standing out in the crowd

How to develop an effective mentoring partnership and the power skills that OSH professionals will require to wield influence in the boardroom and beyond were among the topics covered at the inaugural future leaders conference .

Jamie Laing, future leaders community steering group

It was an honour and a pleasure to chair the inaugural future leaders conference. The energy and buzz around the room were palpable, and it felt we were doing something different and exciting. I met lots of delegates from all backgrounds. They were at various stages in their OSH career journey, but all shared a desire to change the face of the profession.

We want to bring together future OSH leaders from across the world. The heart of the future leaders community will be the online discussion forum, where I hope the buzz and energy of the conference will continue. 

Members can share their personal experiences, ask questions, seek advice and – most importantly – learn from each other.

Join the conversation at

Businesses around the world are increasingly seeing the value in investing in safety, health and wellbeing, according to Jamie Laing, group safety business partner at Sainsbury’s. “Good health and safety makes good business sense, offering a competitive advantage and helping businesses prepare for a more sustainable future.”

That was Laing’s rallying cry at the first future leaders conference, held at the Crowne Plaza by Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre on 5 November. 

One of the eight peers comprising the first future leaders community steering group, Laing set the scene for the day by highlighting some of the emerging trends that will transform work environments, from changes in workforce demographics to more dynamic employment practices and the take-up of intelligent technologies. 

The future leaders community forms part of IOSH’s ‘enhance’ pillar in its Work 2022 strategy. Its steering group, which was formed earlier this year, has worked with IOSH’s professional development team to plan, develop and implement support and services for new and aspiring OSH professionals. Laing underlined the importance of arming the next generation with the right capabilities to help them ‘horizon-scan’ and prepare for the future. 

“As OSH professionals, we need to be aware of how the world of work is changing, and how we can work within our organisations to respond in order to create that safer, healthier future and better protect workers around the world,” he said.

Diversity pays

Keynote speaker Neil Lennox, head of group safety and insurance at Sainsbury’s (see our leader interview:, took delegates on a journey through his career, peppering it with anecdotes of how the OSH landscape had changed since the mid-1980s and offering advice to the younger generation (see box, below), including the future skillset that will be required to influence the wider business as well as some pitfalls to avoid.

The IOSH Retail & Distribution Group member told delegates that one of the major challenges facing the profession was how to attract a pool of younger, more diverse OSH practitioners. He admitted that at Sainsbury’s: “We have a team that is mainly white, middle-aged and male.”

Pointing to his own employer, Lennox said that historically he had sourced recruits internally because he couldn’t find the right candidates outside the supermarket giant. This, he reasoned, was because he could teach internal candidates about safety but not the other skills they would need to acquire, which could be gained only from working on the shop floor.

Asked later in the question-and-answer session what external recruits could do to strengthen their case, should he come looking, he responded: “Probably the biggest thing that I look for is somebody who I feel has got some passion, some enthusiasm and can sell something to me.”

One of Lennox’s first ever roles was as a sales engineer, and being able to ‘sell something’ was an attribute he encouraged delegates to foster. He recalled knocking on scrap metal merchants’ doors around Barnsley and Rotherham, and how the interaction with different people had taught him valuable life skills. 

“I guess in my heart I see safety as a sales job,” he said. “What I look for above everything else is somebody who can engage, coach and bring [safety] to life for someone else.”

He emphasised the need to build on the foundation of the technical skills that OSH professionals possess, and urged the 120 delegates to develop and sharpen an additional set of important capabilities that were referred to throughout the day as ‘power skills’. These would enable the next generation of OSH professionals to wield more influence in organisations through engagement and collaboration. On this note, he recommended that delegates consider doing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) to help them become more business-savvy.

“It’s a phenomenal qualification,” he said. “It teaches you all the language that you need to talk in a boardroom about spreadsheets, balance sheets and annual reports… If you get a chance to do an MBA or a management qualification, grab it with both hands.”

Lennox told the conference he got his first exposure to the plc board and non-executives when he moved to national flag-carrier British Airways in the 1990s.

“What it taught me was that their requirement for information and their questioning were different,” he said. “They didn’t question me at all about anything technical. My technical knowledge was expected. What they would challenge me on were the cost-benefits, the implications, the risk and the best decision for them. I had to change the way I presented significantly, to talk to the non-executives, the board and the CEO.”

Blueprint for success

Chartered member Tom Wike also presented his IOSH journey, and said he had benefited from using the 

IOSH grades as a framework to structure and move his career forward. 

The future leaders community steering group member works as health and safety manager (events) at the Football Association, and in his presentation he brought to life the multiple challenges thrown up by overseeing major sporting events at Wembley Stadium in London, and the shift in focus when the ground is converted into an entertainment venue hosting rock concerts during a hiatus in the sporting calendar. 

Plotting the course from student to chartered status and beyond to fellowship, he provided delegates with some nuggets of advice to help them navigate their careers.

Wike advised delegates that, should they find it difficult to get financial support from their employer to support further qualifications at the start of their careers, they should consider self-funding as an option. However, he urged them to emphasise that they had supported themselves financially on their CV and talk about it at interviews.

“It shows the dedication that you’ve got to really progressing your skills and knowledge, as well as dedication to the profession,” he said.

Wike also advised them to think about their careers as a pyramid: the bigger the base at the bottom, the higher their careers could climb, he explained.

“If you take one thing away from this presentation, grab every opportunity you can at the start of your career, because you never know where that is going to lead,” he argued.

“Once you’ve got that idea of what you like, you may find you’ve got some weaknesses in other areas that you can develop and expose yourself to, and that’s going to give you a much more rounded approach, CV and experience profile.”

For the really ambitious graduates who had chartered status in their sights, Wike told them not to be intimidated by the requirements of the Initial Professional Development (IPD) scheme and urged them to register as soon as they had achieved graduate status, and look through all the skill points.

“You might find straight away there are four or five things in there that you can do on a daily basis,” he said. “You just need to get that evidence together all in one place, send it off, and as a rule it will get accepted as long as you’ve fit the criteria.”

Linking to a later presentation on effective mentoring partnerships, Wike advised delegates to find a good mentor who has been through the IPD process and could offer guidance.

Robots are coming

Bridget Leathley, health and safety consultant and regular IOSH Magazine contributor, sought to dispel the perception among some that the introduction of robots in the workplace should be something to be avoided.

She said it was important to take a positive approach – similar to that of the OSH professional in the events industry who shouldn’t say ‘No’ to using pyrotechnics on the stage – and say, “Yes, we are going to use robots, and this is how we are going to manage them.”

After explaining the five categories on the market, she said that robots were ideal for use in work environments that were hazardous for humans, including confined spaces and work at height. Leathley also provided examples of robotic applications in sectors as diverse as agriculture, manufacturing, retail and transport, and explained how they could provide a supportive role.

Giving cleaning as an example, she said: “Going back to the concern about the loss of jobs, this doesn’t mean that the people who go in and do the cleaning would necessarily be out of work, because now they would be managing the robots. They can stay outside and the robots would do some of the cleaning work for them.”

She also used videos to demonstrate where businesses had designed the workspace to ensure a safe interaction between humans and robots.

“Yes, there will be a lot of change, but from my following of artificial intelligence, the technology is not going to be taking over our jobs. The co-operation and collaboration between people and robots is where the secret of the real success of robots comes from, and understanding what people are good at and what robots are good at.”

Mentoring partners

Blake May, compliance manager at Transport for Wales, and his mentor Lorenzo Visentin, group head of environment, health and safety at Arriva Group, offered a useful list of do’s and don’ts in the pursuit and development of a successful mentoring partnership.  

“I see it very much more as a human process,” said the 26-year-old May, who chose OSH as a second career after studying chemistry. “It’s not, ‘Go and find a mentor and it will work out’, like buying an iPhone. It’s more like trying to find a friend.”

Visentin advised mentees to talk to a wide range of different individuals throughout the OSH community, to find the right fit. The prospective mentor didn’t need to be 51 years of age or have 25 years’ experience in safety, he added. Nor did they need to be a chartered member. However, they could be a peer. 

“If they have an experience that is better than yours, see if what you want to get out of the partnership is what they are prepared to offer,” he said. “There are no clear-cut rules on whether you are going to click, so build your network.”

May said personality was an important attribute when determining if a would-be-mentor could be a good fit. Personality came in two varieties, he said – do you get on with each other, and what development opportunities stem from their personality?

He explained the dynamic underpinning his partnership with Visentin, using the Myers-Briggs personality inventory: “We are both large extroverts, so we get on well. We’re both loud, but looking at the different personality types, I am a feelings person so I tend to make decisions on ‘that feels like the right thing’ whereas Lorenzo is much more of a thinking person. He likes numbers, and does it because it makes sense.”

May, a member of the future leaders community steering group, added that their differing approaches were complementary and critical to the success of their relationship. “What that [relationship] allows me to do is see [situations] objectively as well as the feelings side, to get me more politically savvy around board members.”

Visentin told delegates that in the age of telecoms applications such as Skype, geographical distance should not be a barrier to picking a mentor. He urged them to “go shopping and be fussy”, but also to take a long-term view on development through mentoring partnerships.

“Eventually, you’ll find somebody who is right for you and right for you at that moment in time, because your mentoring needs will evolve as your priorities change,” he said. “[Take] a holistic approach to your consideration of the fit.”

The two presenters also returned to a theme that was raised several times during the morning sessions: how young professionals with limited experience could convince would-be-employers that they should be picked over more experienced OSH professionals.

May said that although he had been turned down for several roles in the past because “[employers] don’t look at level, they look at years”, he had noticed a shift in the past few years where recruitment was influenced by the perception of a candidate’s “ability to become something”.

His mentor concurred, and urged candidates to apply for jobs that required more experience than they had mustered. 

“You can tell them at the interview why you’ve got ten years’ experience,” said Visentin. “You crammed it into that first 18 months because you had a great job, with a great mentor, and you picked up more skills than some of the slightly more mature practitioners.”

Personal leadership

May also outlined some of the key attributes that underpinned his drive to succeed. Judith Underhill, executive coach at Underhill & Associates, picked up on this in the afternoon in an interactive personal leadership workshop. 

Drawing on the Transport for Wales employee and other examples from earlier sessions, she said: “Personal leadership for me is not that I am necessarily leading a team but that I am personally leading myself every time I come in to work. Every time I present in front of somebody, I am personally taking leadership for who I am, what I do and how I say what I do.”

A panel discussion, chaired by IOSH president-elect James Quinn, explored the issues raised during the workshop further. Drawing on questions generated anonymously through the polling platform Slido, which had been used throughout the conference, Quinn asked the four-person panel – comprising Lennox; Duncan Spencer, IOSH head of advice and practice; Shona Paterson, director at Shirley Parsons; and 

Sarah James, assistant health and safety adviser at Carney Consultancy – to consider how the profession could best respond to a changing world of work. 

Referring back to one of the workshop tasks, which had asked delegates to consider the key attributes that underpinned competence and capability, Spencer said: “I’d like you to go away and reflect that perhaps capability is much more important than competence.”

The latter, he argued, was more about looking back at previous experience, looking at the present world and how OSH professionals could solve those problems. 

“Capability,” he said, “makes us look into the future, make some kind of predictions of what might be coming, and get the right skills now that we might need in the future. There is a whole change in emphasis.”

Spencer explained that this thinking sat behind IOSH’s new competency framework, which was being launched in November, and where “60% of the competencies are much more about these power skills that we’ve been talking about”.

New resources

IOSH’s chief executive Bev Messinger’s closing address summed up the takeaways from the inaugural conference before outlining a suite of new resources that IOSH was providing to future leaders, including a new platform for mentoring. 

“It’s simple, it’s intuitive and it’s going to be available very soon,” she promised delegates.

“You will be able to register as a mentee, mentor or both, and we can connect you with like-minded individuals in this country and across the world where you can have that conversation about [the right] fit and if it’s going to work for you.”

Messinger reminded delegates that IOSH would be recruiting for the next future leaders community steering group in early 2020 and urged young OSH professionals to put themselves forward and help their peers.

She concluded with the new competency framework, which she described as being “a far better blend and balance for a much more rounded OSH professional to take forward in their career.” 

For more information about the future leaders community and how to get involved:


Hillsborough: match commander cleared of manslaughter

Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield has been found not guilty of gross negligence manslaughter over the 1989 disaster.

David Duckenfield

The former South Yorkshire police chief superintendent, 75, was in charge of the FA Cup semi-final in which 96 fans were fatally injured.

Duckenfield was cleared after a seven-week retrial at Preston Crown Court. The jury at the original trial earlier this year failed to agree a verdict.

The prosecution alleged the match commander had a “personal responsibility” for what happened at the match.

The court was told he had ordered the opening of exit gates at the Leppings Lane end of the ground at 14:52 BST on 15 April 1989 – eight minutes before kick-off, after the area outside the turnstiles became dangerously overcrowded.

More than 2,000 fans then entered through exit gate C, with many heading for the tunnel ahead of them, which led to the central pens of the terrace where the crush happened.

The defence said that Duckenfield, who was brought in as match day commander three weeks before the FA Cup semi-final, should not be judged by 2019 standards of policing at football events. 

In June 2018, Judge Sir Peter Openshaw lifted a prosecution ban, known as a “stay”, which had been imposed by Mr Justice Hooper in 2000 to prevent further legal proceedings being taken against Duckenfield. 

Speaking on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Sue Hemming, CPS director of legal services, said the verdict did not affect the findings of the Hillsborough inquests, which ruled the victims had been unlawfully killed.

“The disaster at Hillsborough 30 years ago has caused unimaginable suffering to the families of those who sadly lost their lives and to everybody affected by the tragic events of that day,” she said. “They were let down with the most catastrophic consequences imaginable. I know how important these proceedings have been to everyone, even though they came far too late.

“The events of 15 April 1989 have been considered on a number of occasions, including at the second inquest concluding in 2016. It is important to remember that criminal proceedings have a very different purpose to an inquest. The not guilty verdict does not affect or alter the inquest jury’s findings of unlawful killing or their conclusion that Liverpool fans were in no way responsible for the 96 deaths that resulted.

“It was vitally important that the facts and accounts of what happened leading up to that terrible day were heard in a criminal court and the outcome determined by a jury. This was a complex and harrowing case and presenting evidence about events of 30 years ago has not been straightforward,” she added.

Earlier this year, Graham Mackrel, the safety officer in charge of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club at the time of the incident, was fined £6,500 for failing to ensure there were adequate turnstile arrangements in operation to prevent the build-up of large crowds. He is the only person to be convicted of an offence relating to the disaster.


IOSH wants assurance from new government

THE GLOBAL Chartered body for safety and health professionals urges the UK Government to provide assurance and certainty on the future of the UK’s health and safety system.

The global Chartered body for safety and health professionals today urges the UK Government to provide assurance and certainty on the future of the UK’s health and safety system.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) urges any newly elected administration following the 12 December general election to prioritise workplace health and safety and publicly support the compelling economic case and social value of the UK’s world-leading health and safety system and regulatory regime.

IOSH urges the next administration to:

  • Reskill the UK for a safer, healthier, sustainable future
  • Radically improve the nation’s occupational health system
  • Design good work into all public investment and infrastructure programmes
  • Tackle exploitation of vulnerable workers and poor working conditions
  • Urgently implement national building and fire safety reforms

Richard Jones, head of policy and regulatory engagement at IOSH said, “With an ageing workforce, technological changes, more insecure and ‘gig’ working, higher numbers of small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and self-employed – as well as increased overall employment figures – the need for better workplace health management in the UK is fast-reaching a crescendo.

“As the UK heads for a new government, it’s vital that public policy focus on health at work is properly prioritised. We need to tackle the record numbers of cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety (last year reaching 602,000 cases) and the 300,000 people with long-term mental health problems losing their jobs each year.

“Good health and safety is good for business and effective regulation helps ensure many millions of lives and livelihoods are protected each and every day.”

Figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) highlight the urgent need for ongoing action. These put annual Great Britain failure in safety and health costs at around £15 billion, plus an additional £12 billion for new cases of occupational cancer.

An article by Richard Jones, Head of Policy and Regulatory Engagement at IOSH, on why the new government must prioritise workplace health is available here:


IOSH urges new Government to provide health and safety assurance for the 2020s

The global Chartered body for safety and health professionals today urges the UK Government to provide assurance and certainty on the future of the UK’s health and safety system.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) urges any newly elected administration following the 12 December general election to prioritise workplace health and safety and publicly support the compelling economic case and social value of the UK’s world-leading health and safety system and regulatory regime.

IOSH urges the next administration to:

  • Reskill the UK for a safer, healthier, sustainable future
  • Radically improve the nation’s occupational health system
  • Design good work into all public investment and infrastructure programmes
  • Tackle exploitation of vulnerable workers and poor working conditions
  • Urgently implement national building and fire safety reforms

Richard Jones, Head of Policy and Regulatory Engagement at IOSH, said: “With an ageing workforce, technological changes, more insecure and ‘gig’ working, higher numbers of small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and self-employed – as well as increased overall employment figures – the need for better workplace health management in the UK is fast-reaching a crescendo.

“As the UK heads for a new government, it’s vital that public policy focus on health at work is properly prioritised. We need to tackle the record numbers of cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety (last year reaching 602,000 cases) and the 300,000 people with long-term mental health problems losing their jobs each year.

“Good health and safety is good for business and effective regulation helps ensure many millions of lives and livelihoods are protected each and every day.”

Figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) highlight the urgent need for ongoing action. These put annual Great Britain failure in safety and health costs at around £15 billion, plus an additional £12 billion for new cases of occupational cancer.

An article by Richard Jones, Head of Policy and Regulatory Engagement at IOSH, on why the new government must prioritise workplace health is available here:


Building resilient health and safety systems

SHP meets Professor Erik Hollnagel

Ahead of his Keynote session at April’s EHS Congress in Berlin, SHP spoke to renowned university Professor, Erik Hollnagel about how to successfully implement resilient systems within an organisation.

Erik Hollnagel is an internationally recognised specialist in the fields of resilience engineering, system safety, human reliability analysis, cognitive systems engineering and intelligent man-management systems. He is a Professor at Jonkoping University, located in the city Jonkoping in Smaland, Sweden and has authored more than 500 publications, including 22 books, articles from recognised journals, conference papers and reports.

He told SHP that he ‘stumbled’ into safety in 1979. “My endeavour has always been to understand what systems are and how they function in general. Safety is one facet of that, but there are others that are just as interesting. Unfortunately, systems get more and more complex, so it is a never-ending pursuit.”

Professor Hollnagel defined safety as not something you can ‘have’, saying that safety is not a substance or a quality. “Being safe is something you can work towards – individually and as a society. It is not actually possible to manage safety. But it is possible to manage performance so that nearly everything goes well and very little does not.”

Building resilient health and safety systems

Having resilient systems in place enables an organisation to take those things that have gone well and learn from them. “This is essential,” Professor Hollnagel stressed. “Unless you know what goes well and how it goes well, you cannot possibly find ways to improve it.”

“We do need to understand go wrong for the same reasons that they go well. But it is a question of unexpected combinations of everyday performance variability rather than unique causes that appear like a deus ex machina.

“My advice is to look at what is stable, not at what is constant. Stable performance provides the foundation for the existence and growth of any organisation or business. Managing exceptions, the unusual, is not a good strategy in the long run, and being constant, remaining the same, is definitely bad in a turbulent world.

He advised organisations to know where they are, where they want to be and what they want to achieve, before putting any kind of structure in place. “This is important for everything you do, not just safe performance.

“If you don’t know your position, where you are, and don’t know your target, where you want to be or what you want to become, you have no basis for controlling what you do – except if you just want to maintain the status quo.”

Professor Hollnagel will be taking to the stage as a keynote speaker at April’s EHS Congress in Berlin. Building Resilient Systems 2.0 will look at how safety efforts usually aim to eliminate or reduce unacceptable risk and harm.

“Delegates can expect to hear arguments and evidence, as well as practical tips, on what you need to do to ensure that an organisation’s performance is resilient.”

Intriguingly, he concluded that, “some should expect to be a little confused.”


HSE chairman calls out cyber security ‘complacency’ during oil conference

Martin Temple, chairman of the Health and Safety Executive, spoke at the OGUK HSE Conference in Aberdeen. Pic: Abermedia

The chairman of the Health and Safety Executive has called out “complacency” on cyber security within oil and gas and other sectors across the UK.

Martin Temple was speaking as part of a panel at Oil and Gas UK’s (OGUK) HSE conference in Aberdeen last week, following a spate of cyberattacks against companies with North Sea operations in recent months.

Mr Temple said: “You talk to so many companies who actually don’t think they have anything to steal and they don’t realise that they are absolutely targets.

“They probably have got quite a lot to steal. If nothing else they will have lots of information on their employees right the way through to some of their technologies.

“The other element of it is their product or service may well be used in a very vulnerable area where there is a lot to steal.

“This complacency is quite remarkable in some areas across our whole economy.”

Last month, Malaysian operator Hibiscus Petroleum, which has assets in the UK sector, reported a cyberattack which forced the shutdown of parts of its IT system.

Earlier this year, Aberdeen-headquartered energy services firm EnerMech was hit by a major attack which impacted its global business.

Petrofac and Italian oil services firm Saipem have also been targeted in the last 12 months.

At Offshore Europe in September, the head of Saudi Aramco’s cybersecurity division warned of the “exponential” growth in the threat in recent years.

Speaking at the HSE conference in Aberdeen last week, Mr Temple added: “When you talk about cyber security, a lot of people think ‘they don’t mean me or us’. It is everywhere, the number of threats we come across is daily.

“Some are more malicious than others and people have just got to be extremely vigilant no matter what their business is.”

Energy Voice

Gaps in the guideline

Courts can be overreliant on ‘common sense’ in risk assessment cases. It is time for guidance similar to that which governs statistical evidence 

The sentencing guideline for health and safety offences ( observes that transgressions under the law centre on failure to manage risk. But neither the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 nor the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR), which contain the requirement for risk assessment, define ‘risk’. The sentencing guideline is silent, too. 

The prosecution process requires evaluation of the risk. The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Enforcement Policy Statement (para 2.1) ( states enforcement action should be “proportionate to the health and safety risks”. At trial, when the defendant organisation is seeking to prove it took all reasonably practical steps to control the risk (s 40 of the HSWA), this entails consideration of the extent of that risk. If convicted, the sentencing guideline requires the court to assess culpability and harm, the latter involving an assessment of the seriousness of harm risked and its likelihood. 

So, should the courts have guidance on assessing health and safety risks, or is it merely a matter of ‘common sense’?

Hazard and risk 

Although the HSE’s guidance on risk assessment is broad-brush, it does make clear that the process involves identifying hazards, considering who might be harmed, and then evaluating the risk. A more detailed approach was set out in the now withdrawn approved code of practice (ACoP) to the MHSWR. This defined hazard as “something with the potential to cause harm” and risk as “the likelihood of potential harm from the hazard being realised”, with the extent depending on:

  • the likelihood of the harm occurring;
  • the potential severity of that harm; and
  • the population that might be affected by the hazard.

The terms ‘hazard’ and ‘risk’ are different and not interchangeable. The courts have grappled with defining risk for the purposes of the HSWA. In R v Board of Trustees of the Science Museum [1993] 1 WLR 1171, the Court of Appeal held that risk was the “possibility of danger” (  

In the House of Lords case R v Chargot [2008] UKHL 73 (, Lord Hope said: “When the legislation refers to ‘risks’, it is not contemplating risks that are trivial or fanciful.” He added: “It is directed at situations where there is a material risk to health and safety, which any reasonable person would appreciate and take steps to guard against.”

There is no judicial guidance on how risk should be evaluated, nor any warning to differentiate between ‘hazard’ and ‘risk’.

Likelihood and risk perception

Another word for ‘likelihood’ is ‘probability’. The probability of winning the National Lottery jackpot is one in 45,057,474. It does not matter how many people win the jackpot; the probability remains the same. Consequently, the fact that there has been a workplace accident does not change the probability of one occurring; neither does it, in itself, change the evaluation of the risk. Therefore, the phrase sometimes used by judges when sentencing of “an accident waiting to happen” is unhelpful. Statistically speaking, all accidents have been waiting to happen. 

The psychologist Daniel Kahneman, renowned for his work in risk perception, argues that we estimate the probability of something happening based on how easily we can recall other instances to mind, rather than on how often it occurs. 

In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, he writes: “We are prone to overestimate how much we understand of the world and to underestimate the role of chance in events. Overconfidence is fed by the illusory certainty of hindsight.” 

Most prosecutions arise from a serious accident or fatality. This might lead to a perception of the risk that is unrealistic.

Expert evidence

It is not uncommon for the prosecution and the defence to rely on expert evidence in health and safety cases. Sometimes the risks can be understood easily and the correct control measures considered. At other times, the risks involved are complex and the approach to controlling them call for difficult judgements. How are the courts to assess, and the advocates to challenge, conflicting expert evidence if there is no baseline understanding? The approach to the use of statistical evidence is informative.

The incorrect application of statistics by experts in criminal trials has led to miscarriages of justice. In 2011 the Law Commission, in its report Expert Evidence in Criminal Proceedings in England and Wales (, identified that advocates tend not to “probe, test or challenge” the underlying basis of experts’ opinions, but attempt to undermine their credibility (para 1.21). 

Journalist and economist Tim Harford concluded in his article ‘Making a lottery of the law’ ( “It is the controversial cases that grab everyone’s attention, so it is difficult to know whether statistical blunders in the courtroom are commonplace or rare, and whether they are decisive or merely part of the cut and thrust of legal argument. But I have some confidence in the following statement: ‘A little bit of statistical education for the legal profession would go a long way’.”

In 2017, the Council of the Inns of Court and the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) jointly published Statistics and Probability for Advocates: understanding the use of statistical evidence in courts and tribunals ( The introduction notes that the RSS began work on statistics and the law after a series of court cases in which the interpretation of statistics, particularly by experts who were not statisticians, gave cause for concern.

Statistical evidence may form part of the consideration for evaluating risk (see for example R v Squibb Group Ltd [2019] EWCA Crim 227), ( but it is not the whole story.

There is no judicial guidance on how risk should be evaluated, nor any warning to differentiate between ‘hazard’ and ‘risk’

Why does this matter?

HSE’s Enforcement Policy Statement (para 3.1) states that one purpose of enforcement action is to promote and maintain sustained compliance with the law. Therefore, the HSE will prosecute if it believes health and safety risks are being inadequately controlled. The dispute between the HSE and the defendant organisation can be about the best way to control a risk. If convicted, s 174 of the Criminal Justice Act imposes a duty on the court to give reasons for the sentence.

The sentencing guideline requires an assessment of the risk. It is likely the sentencing judge will explain the reason for that assessment, and what measures could have been taken. This can have far wider implications beyond the prosecution.

The consequence is that, without a proper understanding of risk and its assessment during the court process, there is the potential not only for unfairness but also for disparity between the court’s approach and that taken in the workplace. Ultimately, this could have a detrimental impact on health and safety.

Common sense has its place, but guidance comparable to that for statistics would not go amiss. 


A Message from the IOSH President

Andrew Sharman – “Exciting times ahead”

Andrew Sharman – President, IOSH

On 17 September, at IOSH’s AGM, I had the great pleasure of taking over from Vincent Ho as IOSH president. It’s going to be an exciting year.

The president is an ambassador for our members and our profession, and I am being ably supported by Vincent, as immediate past president, James Quinn as president-elect and an excellent team of six vice-presidents.

IOSH is becoming more global and more connected. We are now in regular contact with like-minded organisations in more countries than ever before, and I want us to become even more successful at establishing our internationally influential voice.

We have much to do to ensure that workers go home without harm every day. I feel that now is a time we’ll look back on in future years and reflect how practitioners around the world really made a step-change in workplace safety. 

I want to work for continued change of perspectives about our profession. For far too long, it has been blighted by negative media attention and even ridicule. Our members have been standing strong against this and forward-thinking organisations are appreciating the valuable contribution investments in safety and health bring to their business and their people. 

As a result, perspectives are changing steadily. I’m determined that this continues to happen. Health and safety is not about rules and bureaucracy and creating burdens. The work we do enables success and builds future resilience. 

I want us to champion IOSH’s drive to support people and organisations in developing OSH practitioners to become professionals with the cultural, behavioural and leadership skills that add even more to their organisations and value chains. Our profession needs to lead change – in strategy and in culture – so practitioners need to move from the backroom to the boardroom. 

We need to think about the inputs required for great workplace health and safety and look at those elements that shape cultures and drive behaviours. What we do is never simply about preventing accidents, but rather creating safety through improved teamwork, enhanced understanding, increased morale and engagement and better leadership. When we focus on getting the inputs right, the right outputs will follow.

The same is true of what we all invest in our professional body.

Members who volunteer for IOSH really are our life blood as a professional body and charity. Not only do we initiate and co-ordinate lots of vital engagement work, strengthening and improving networks in regions and sectors, volunteers also add experience and expertise, alerts to current or emerging challenges, and new thinking to improve the work we do.

I have been consciously “giving back to pay it forward” through volunteering for two decades now. I began on the Edinburgh Branch committee, became vice-chair, then chair, served on committees, on IOSH Council and as vice-chair of the Board of Trustees. 

I urge you to get more involved. We have much to do, and we need every member to add their weight. Being a member of IOSH is eloquent testimony of what you offer as a safety and health professional. But being an active member, giving time to fellow professionals – by joining your IOSH branch or group committee, mentoring, peer-reviewing or putting yourself forward to serve on the IOSH Council – demonstrates a resolve to make a difference to those around you and to your professional body. 

I feel so deeply honoured to represent our global institution – and optimistic as we look ahead to 2020 – IOSH’s 75th anniversary and my 21st year as an IOSH volunteer.


Health And Safety in ‘Hot Works’ Environments

Not all workplaces can avoid creating a hot environment, where working with fire and naked flames is an essential part of the job.

These environments are often referred to as ‘hot works’, where anything associated with heat, sparks, naked flames, etc are a big part of the workload.

Hot work environments can include welding, glass blowing, and even industrial air arc gauging.

Abiding by Health and Safety at work regulations is vital to keep employees safe within these environments, and below, Active Workwear has provided some hints and tips for operating in these high-profile environments.

Helping to keep your workforce safe

Regularly service and maintained equipment – following a set process for maintaining equipment and making sure that it is not only used correctly but that it is also stored away appropriately, helps to avoid workers being inadvertently put at risk by damaged or faulty tools.

Tidy work areas – keeping workstations and work environments clean and tidy is vital in hot working environments. Spills and debris should be dealt with and cleared away immediately before an accident can occur.

Ensure appropriate training – it is an employer’s responsibility to ensure that all employees have the appropriate skills and knowledge to carry out their job to the highest standard and to do so safely. This includes basic Health and Safety training as well as tailored and more specific training relating to the role. It’s also assumed that employees will come with prior learning and experience too.

Access to safety equipment – within hot work environments, access to things such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits should come as standard. However, training will also need to be provided on how to use these. Records also need to be kept when accidents do happen as part of your legal requirement as an employer as well as to ensure that supplies can be replenished.

Make sure everyone has the appropriate safety wear – things such as safety boots, goggles, gloves, hi-vis clothing, and more, all depending on the job role and circumstances. The Apache clothing range is extremely popular within hot work environments, offering stylish, innovative, and technical workwear to suit a range of job roles across a variety of sectors. With safety boots, workwear trousers, waterproof jackets, and more available, Apache focus on providing clothing that looks good and helps keep everyone safe. The range is also well researched and tested to a high standard, making it a no-nonsense brand for all trades.

With workwear for even the harshest of hot work environments, make sure to check out the Apache Ranger Safety boot in particular. Full leather and waterproof, it also comes with a padded collar and tongue for extra comfort, as well as steel toe caps and steel mid safe protection. Providing room to breathe, this particular safety boot is versatile and suitable for a wide range of applications.

Carry out regular risk assessments – ensuring that the correct precautions are put in place to protect employees from potential accidents and hazards.

Provide adequate ventilation – ventilation should be provided either by fresh air (open windows) or artificial purified air. Keeping the temperature reasonable is also part, a big part, of H&S regulations.

Provide frequent breaks – a chance to refuel, cool down, and hydrate.

The 1974 Health and Safety at work Act states that a healthy working environment and safe systems must be provided to all employees. The guidelines help businesses set out what must be achieved, not how it should be done.

This is ultimately up to each organisation. Allowing each business to make sensible judgements with regards to their own risk assessments and actions they put in place to avoid hazards.

Hazards Associated with ‘Hot Work’ Environments

• An uncomfortable thermal setting

• High temperatures causing tiredness, leading to less awareness and dangers (increasing the risk of accidents occurring)

• Reduced efficiency, leading to poor decision making and errors

• Heat Exhaustion

• Heat Stroke

Hot Environments

For all, not an exhaustive list, hot work environments can include kitchen staff, maintenance staff, staff using personal protective equipment, process workers, and many, many more.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be provided and specific to all roles within a hot works environment. Protective clothing that helps to protect against chemicals, is fire-resistant, hi-vis, etc.

Bricklayer death — three Isle of Wight businesses and two men charged with health and safety breaches

Isle of Wight County Court
County Court

THREE Isle of Wight businesses have been taken to court following the death of a bricklayer, who fell from the first floor of a building and suffered a serious injury head injury.

David Shayler died following an incident on Atkinson Drive, Newport, Isle of Wight in 2016.

The Health and Safety Executive is prosecuting three companies and two individuals for alleged breaches of health and safety law.

HJ Bennett is charged with a self-employed person failing to discharge general health and safety duty to a person other than an employee.

Ryde Demolition Company and Stoneham Construction are charged with contravening a health and safety regulation.

Nigel Bennett, 52, of Foreland Road, Bembridge, is charged with failure to discharge health and safety duty to a person other than an employee.

Neil Harrison, 60, of Gordon Close, Binstead, is charged with contravening a health and safety regulation.

The case went before Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Monday) and was sent to Portsmouth Crown Court.

No pleas were entered. The case has been adjourned to October 29.

County Press

Taxi drivers in congested cities exposed to highest levels of harmful black carbon from diesel emissions, research shows

The lives of professional drivers working in congested cities such as London are being put at risk due to exposure to black carbon levels that are on average a third higher than would be experienced at a busy roadside, according to new research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress today.

The study, led by King’s College London researchers and funded by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), also found that taxi drivers experience the highest exposures to black carbon, an indicator of diesel engine fumes, compared to other professional drivers including couriers, truck drivers, waste removal and emergency service workers.

However, the study suggests that professional drivers can take simple steps to protect themselves from pollution, such as driving with their windows closed.

The research was presented by Shanon Lim, a research assistant and PhD candidate at King’s College London, UK. It was a collaboration between researchers at King’s and researchers at Queen Mary University of London and funded by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

Mr Lim said: “We know quite a lot about the dangers of exposure to traffic pollution. However, there has been surprisingly little research on levels of professional drivers’ exposure to pollution and its effects on their health. We believe there are around a million people working in jobs like these in the UK alone, so this is a widespread and under-appreciated issue.”

The researchers recruited 140 professional drivers from a range of occupations working in central London. The drivers were asked to carry black carbon monitors, which were linked with GPS trackers, for a period of 96 hours. The monitors measured exposure levels once every minute. Drivers were also asked about the type of vehicle they drive, their working hours and whether they drive with their windows or air vents open.

The results showed that, on average, professional drivers were exposed to 4.1 micrograms of black carbon per cubic metre of air (µg/m3) while driving, which was around four times higher than their exposure at home (1.1 µg/m3). Researchers say the levels recorded at home are similar to levels experienced by office workers at their desks.

Professional drivers also experienced extremely high spikes in exposure to black carbon, often exceeding 100 µg/m3 and lasting as long as half an hour.

During the same period of time, researchers found that pollution levels at a busy London roadside (Marylebone Road) were 3.1 µg/m3 on average and, away from the roadside, the average level in London was 0.9 µg/m3.

Taxi drivers had the highest levels of exposure on average (6.5µg/m3). Emergency services workers had the lowest levels of exposure on average (2.8 µg/m3).

Diesel fumes can contain up to 10 times the amount of soot particles than in petrol exhaust fumes, and can cause cancer. The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s No Time to Lose campaign to tackle occupational cancer focuses on diesel engine exhaust fumes and has provided guidance on its impact and how to reduce exposure:

Mr Lim said: “Our study suggests that professional drivers are exposed to high levels of traffic pollution while at work. Because these levels are higher than those we find at the roadside, this suggests that being inside a vehicle doesn’t necessarily offer any protection, in fact the opposite may be true: that air pollution can get trapped inside the vehicle for extended periods of time.

“We don’t know for sure why taxi drivers fare the worst, but it might be because taxis tend to operate in the busiest and most polluted parts of the city where ‘street canyons’ restrict the movement of air. On the other hand, emergency services can avoid congestion when they are attending an incident.”

The research also showed that keeping windows closed while working halved the levels of black carbon for professional drivers. The type of vehicle and the choice of route could also lower exposure.

Mike Hedges, 59, worked as a London taxi driver for 30 years driving a diesel taxi most of the time and has driven an electric taxi for the last 18 months. He has just completed a MSc. Master’s in Global Air Pollution and Health at King’s College and is currently studying for a PhD at the MRC Centre for Environment and Health jointly at King and Imperial Colleges.

Mike said: “As a London taxi driver driving in the most polluted streets in London I have always wanted to improve the air quality in London. I became involved in helping successive London Mayor’s develop their air quality strategies for London’s taxis and engaging with taxi drivers in helping them understand their own personal air pollution exposures through Unite, my trade union.

“Through research funded by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, I worked with taxi drivers to facilitate them carrying personal monitors to record their personal exposure, showing them the realities of the air they are breathing every day.

“Although the air pollution hasn’t had any impact on my health, many of my colleagues have been affected and I think tackling London’s air quality should be a priority to protect taxi drivers, who are the most exposed group of occupational drivers.”

Mary Ogungbeje, Research Manager at IOSH, said: “Although society as a whole is becoming more aware of environmental issues, the impact of diesel emissions on the health of professional drivers has been overlooked to date. Robust data will help to identify exposure levels among this group of workers and different interventions to improve their health.”

The researchers will continue to study the data they have gathered. They also plan to investigate possible strategies for protecting drivers, such as the use of air filters. “This is vital to help employers, occupational safety and health professionals and individual workers reduce exposure and minimise work-related health risks,” said Mr Lim.


Health and safety and the law: what we learned from legal expert at IOSH 2019

The Scales of Justice on top of the Old Bailey, London.

“How often have you had a contractor come to you and admit they have had a near miss?”

That was a question Tim Hill, a partner at Eversheds Sutherland LLP, posed to delegates at IOSH 2019.

“I would imagine it’s pretty rare,” he added. “Often when something happens, they will just say to themselves ‘that was close’ and move on.”

Tim reflected on key issues of safety and health management and how, by getting it right, they can prove to the courts they are a responsible employer if an accident happens.

Tim said that contractor management is a major concern for many organisations when it comes to safety and health. Key, he said, is being able to engage with people, to take the time to visit sites and work with them.

Speaking at a breakfast session on day two of the conference at ICC Birmingham, Tim went on to talk to delegates about how engagement can help to overcome a perception gap.

Managers, he said, often believe that things are being done safely when they are not. They will often be told procedures are being followed, however the reality can be very different.

He encouraged delegates to “interrogate stats”, to get behind them and find out what is really happening.

“It’s not good when someone turns up at a site, walks around, nods at a few people and then drives off,” said Tim.

He highlighted one client who knew the names of everyone on their site, despite their being hundreds of employees. “He took the time to walk around and engage with them,” said Tim.

Through engagement, people around sites can start to understand the importance of safety. Often this can lead to them challenging each other around unsafe behaviour.

“It’s time to have very different conversations,” said Tim. “Are people talking honestly on your site? Would they feel comfortable challenging someone about safety if they are not doing it right? If a manager came down to the site without PPE, would they challenge them?

“These little things are very important. You can have all the messages in the world around your business, but they start to become wallpaper as they don’t register.”

The safety process starts when someone joins the business, said Tim. He encourages staggered inductions, so new employees aren’t bombarded with information they are likely to forget.

Getting such systems in place can be crucial in the event of a safety and health incident.

“If you can show your systems are strong, you can be viewed by the courts to have low culpability, so would be likely to receive a much more modest sentence,” said Tim. “The more you can show that something is an isolated lapse and not a systemic issue, the lower a fine is likely to be.”

He closed highlighting three key points for delegates:

  • Dip testing: professionals need to take the time to visit sites and speak with people, to get a realistic view
  • Get involved in investigations: senior people need to be involved in an investigations from the start, asking questions
  • Have honest safety conversations: positive engagement leads to a deeper understanding. Big customers want to know this is happening.


Top five tips for managing your CPD

Continuing Professional Development

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) has been described as ‘like eating vegetables’ – something we might not always wish to do, but an action that is beneficial to us in the long-run and is significant to our development.

During IOSH 2019, IOSH’s Director of Professional Services Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher chaired a session with speakers Joe Chambers from Abintegro and Gary Latta from PepsiCo illuminating the importance of CPD and how it can improve your soft skills, leadership abilities and future employability.

Across the globe, there is a growing need for safety and health practitioners to be able to influence within their organisation through good communication skills and competencies in a broad range of areas.

Whether it is the ability to deliver presentations at a boardroom level, or the need to deftly demonstrate the business benefits of investing in safety and health, CPD can make a vital difference in enhancing the skills you already have and filling in the gaps where knowledge may be absent.

Ultimately, CPD is a personal journey, and self-assessment is key. You need to be open and honest about areas where you may be able to improve in order to see the benefits. You get out of CPD what you put in; and those who invest the time often see significant return for their commitment.

During the session, the following key tips were shared for getting excited about your CPD journey and staying motivated:

  1. Understanding the value of keeping a professional record – Keeping a record of your professional activity is a great way of keeping track of your successes and achievements. It’s very easy to undertake training and forget to log it. By logging as you go, you can keep track of the themes and topics you are learning and identify where you may need to undertake further training.
  2. Pushing yourself beyond your day-to-day – Those who invest time in their CPD are often those who are the most driven to succeed, pushing themselves beyond what is expected to ensure they are at the top of their game. Maintaining your core competencies and learning soft skills can make a huge difference, not only in how your organisation perceives you, but also in how you perceive yourself.
  3. IOSH is here to help – As an IOSH member, you have the opportunity to use our online CPD programme to develop your career plan and reflect on your learning and work. Maintaining your knowledge and competence is quick and easy, and linking the CPD activities you do to the goals you have set yourself is a great way to meet your objectives.
  4. Getting into the mindset – CPD is a very personal journey. While it is mandatory, maintaining your CPD is ultimately a way for you to assess your own abilities and to set the goals for your own development journey. It can be useful to view doing your CPD as a way of setting targets and thinking about your future. Where do you want to be next year?
  5. Demystifying the term ‘leadership’ – It isn’t just those in senior positions within a business who can demonstrate leaderships skills. Anyone can showcase their own leadership abilities by maintaining their competency and showing a commitment to innovating and learning new things. Whether you aspire to a leadership role or not, having the skills to engage and influence others is vital and can pay off in many areas of your professional career.


Wooden board sent flying by pipe fatally struck workman

An engineering company in Scotland has been fined following the death of an employee who was struck by a wooden bearer in the yard of a fabrication workshop.

James Longair suffered fatal head injuries at IODS Pipe Clad’s yard in Kelvin Industrial Estate, East Kilbride, Lanarkshire in September 2017.

The 52-year-old was helping a forklift truck driver to move pipes from one part of the yard to another by lifting them onto the forks. A long pipe needed to be repositioned, so they lifted it at one end using a side loader when it “rolled off” the forks. The steel tube hit Longair’s leg, and his feet became trapped by other pipes, so he was unable to move. The pipe then fell onto a wooden support, sending it flying into the air and striking Longair on the head.

CCTV footage showed the wooden board moved with such force that it was catapulted over a high fence after hitting him.

The system for moving pipes had been in place since 2009 with no incident, and in that time there had been 12,320 movements of the pipes and nothing was amiss, according to the defence.

CCTV footage showed the wooden board moved with such force that it was catapulted over a high fence after hitting him

The company, which supplies pipes to the oil industry, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act in that its system of work in relation to the movement of pipes within the yard was unsafe.

Earlier this month, at Hamilton Sheriff Court, IODS Pipe Clad – part of the Glen Almond Group – was fined £60,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Martin McMahon said: “This tragic incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.”

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

The incident had a “prolific effect” on the staff working that day, and all those persons working were ordered to attend at least one counselling session, the court heard.

IOSH Magazine

New IOSH President calls for continued change in perspectives around profession

Prof Andrew Sharman addressing the IOSH Conference 2019
IOSH President, Prof Andrew Sharman

Experienced global safety consultant Professor Andrew Sharman has become the President of IOSH and has immediately called on fellow members to “challenge rules and remove bureaucracy”.

By doing so, Prof Sharman believes perspectives around health and safety can continue to change and more businesses will see the “true value of what they offer”.

He said: “For far too long, our profession has been blighted by negative media attention and even ridicule. Our members have been standing strong against this and forward-thinking organisations are becoming wise to the valuable contribution the very best practitioners can bring to their business.

“As a result, perspectives are steadily changing. I’m determined that this continues to happen. Health and safety isn’t about rules and bureaucracy and creating a burden. We need to challenge this perception and demonstrate the true value of what we offer.”

The chief executive of RMS, a global health and safety consultancy which supports organisations in high-risk sectors such as mining, construction and oil and gas, Prof Sharman officially took over as IOSH President at its AGM on Tuesday 17 September.

He has vast experience in the profession, working with big-name brands around the world, including Apple, L’Oreal and Mercedes Benz. He is urging health and safety professionals to ensure they respond to new risks created by the changing world of work and new technologies.

He said: “Working globally, I see significant variation in how health and safety is approached. I’d like to explore how we can raise the bar across the planet, leveraging IOSH resources and networks, and member knowledge and expertise.

“We need to think about the inputs to great workplace health and safety, looking at those elements that shape cultures and drive behaviours. It’s not really about preventing accidents but rather creating safety through improved teamwork, enhanced understanding, increased morale and engagement and better leadership. When we focus on getting the inputs right, the right outputs will follow.”

Prof Sharman moved into health and safety after sustaining minor injuries when he accidentally tipped a bucket of acid over himself while working as a process engineer.

He has been heavily involved with IOSH, chairing its Edinburgh Branch and holding positions on its Board of Trustees and Presidential team. He now becomes its figurehead, taking over from Professor Vincent Ho.

He is also Chair of the Board of the Institute of Leadership and Management and Professor of leadership and safety culture at the European Centre for Executive Development on the INSEAD campus in Paris.

He added: “The President is an ambassador for our members and I feel so deeply honoured to represent our profession and feel excited about the year ahead. We have much to do to ensure that workers go home without harm every day. I feel that now is the time that we’ll look back on in future years and reflect about how practitioners around the world really made a step-change in workplace safety.”


IOSH President-elect Revealed

James Quinn has been nominated as IOSH’s next President-Elect by the Institution’s Council.

Former British Army, Warrant Officer James Quinn

Subject to ratification at IOSH’s AGM on Tuesday 17 September, James will become President-Elect for 2019-20, with Andrew Sharman becoming President and Vincent Ho Immediate Past President. James is due to become President in September 2020.

After a very successful 24-year career in the British Army, James attained the rank of Warrant Officer. He left the army in 2011. In his final six years of army service, he began to appreciate the benefits of health and safety as a second career. Using his army appointments, he started to train as a Health and Safety Advisor/Trainer in 2006.

Five years later, having worked on many army health and safety projects, he joined Babcock International PLC as HSE Trainer, then Advisor, before becoming a Health and Safety Manager for a large Middle East transport group. He then became Area OHS Manager, Abu Dhabi, for Multiplex, and is now Health, Safety and Environment Manager for Multiplex’s Chelsea Barracks construction project in London.

A Chartered member of IOSH and CIOB, James is also a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and part of IOSH Construction Group.

The nomination was made by Council when it met last week. During that meeting, Council also nominated three IOSH members to become Vice-Presidents.

They are Stuart Hughes, David Gold and Kayode Fowode. They will join existing VPs Tim Eldridge, Jonathan Hughes and Louise Hosking, again subject to AGM confirmation.

The AGM is being held at the ICC Birmingham, at 4pm, immediately following the close of IOSH 2019. All IOSH members are entitled to attend and speak, but only Corporate members are entitled to vote. Votes can be cast by proxy electronically before the meeting, up to and including Sunday 15 September or by attending the meeting in person. Members should have received separate email communications from Mi-Voice regarding this.

NEBOSH Gold for KeyOstas

KeyOstas has been awarded NEBOSH Gold Learning Partner status within the board’s Learning Partner Programme.

KeyOstas were the 9th Learning Partner accredited by NEBOSH

All NEBOSH Learning Partners globally are required to commit to 6 learning excellence principles as part of their accreditation, and the organisation may award Silver and Gold status to those who can demonstrate that they exceed these principles.

Commenting on the news, KeyOstas Managing Director Craig Gibbs said, “We’re delighted and very proud to have attained the highest partner status from NEBOSH, cementing our long-standing relationship. Our Accredited Centre number of 009 already underlines the experience we have in delivering NEBOSH training over many years and this recognition serves to highlight the quality of our work.”

Craig Gibbs, Managing Director

NEBOSH recognises that great learning experiences equip learners to make a difference to health, safety and the environment in the workplace. The Learning Partner programme introduces a standard that must be met by all Learning Partners and requires them to commit to continuously improving the learner experience.

Sales Director, Devon Glithero

The three tiers are Bronze, Silver and Gold with Bronze Learning Partners ‘meeting’ the Learning Partner Principles, Silver ‘exceeding’ and Gold ‘greatly exceeding’.


KeyOstas has been providing health and safety training at our venues in Southam, Bromsgrove and Birmingham since 1984. Environmental services were added to the portfolio in 2002. Our homes at The CourtThe Mount School and Perfecta Works are in central England at the heart of the West Midlands motorway network and provide a convenient location for our public courses

Almost 80% of KeyOstas training is done on-site for clients throughout the UK. Our In-company training courses can be tailored to meet the specific needs of a client and the industry in which they operate. Through consultation KeyOstas ensure that your staff receive the appropriate training for them and for your business every time

City of London strengthens wind tunnel planning guidance

City of London

The City of London Corporation is introducing stricter wind condition standards on new proposed developments.

The guidance, to be included within the City of London Corporation’s planning approval process, will primarily cover buildings of 25 m in height and above.

It requires the potential impact of issues such as wind tunnelling to be tested at the earliest point of scheme design possible, to prevent the need to retrofit wind mitigation measures.

The corporation has also asked for two separate consultants to be commissioned when wind testing is carried out, one to carry out testing and the other to cross-examine any discrepancies between the results.

Planning and Transportation committee chair Alastair Moss said: “With the number of tall buildings in the Square Mile growing, it is important that the knock-on effects of new developments on wind at street-level are properly considered.

“We hope these groundbreaking guidelines can create a blueprint for others by delivering safer, more enjoyable streets that meet the evolving needs of this great city.”

The guidance has been created in line with the corporation’s transport strategy which has also set out objectives to improve air quality and implement a 15mph speed limit within the Square Mile.

Construction News

Open letter to the farming community from Health and Safety Executive chair

“Large machinery is the norm and time is a precious commodity”

The chair of the Health and Safety Executive, Martin Temple, has written an open letter to the farming community following the release of recent figures showing the extent of fatalities and injuries within the sector.

Here is his letter in full:

“I was prompted to write this letter after reviewing the recently released statistics on fatalities in the workplace, where once again agriculture is shown to have one of the worst rates across all sectors. This year made even more poignant in the light of some of the recent deaths on farms involving young people.

I feel compelled to write this letter because it is clear there has been little real improvement in managing risk effectively on farms. While there have been some in-roads and improvements made by the industry, the recent rise in the number of fatalities, although subject to natural variation, concerns me.

The infrastructure of farms and the equipment used becomes ever larger and more sophisticated but is no more or less dangerous than that being used in many other industries where risk is being managed much more effectively. I wonder why agriculture cannot improve in the same way, especially when many of the incidents follow very similar patterns.

There is no doubt farming is a complex working environment where large machinery is the norm and time is a precious commodity. However, it is an industry where farmers and their families are at the heart of the operational decision making yet appear to put less value on the health and safety of themselves and their workers than other industries. The agriculture industry has a rate of fatal injury about 18 times higher than the average across all other industries. I can imagine that with around thirty deaths a year in a workforce of approximately quarter of a million, there is a feeling that despite the tragedy of such events, the calculation of ‘it won’t happen to me’ puts health and safety down the list of priorities. However, if one considers the figures for significant work-related injuries and ill-health, the odds become dramatically more worrying. The chances of someone working on a farm today receiving a work-related injury or health problem over a five-year period is around 1 in 10.

As a farmer’s son who grew up on the family farm in the 50s, 60s and 70s, I have a genuine desire for the agriculture industry to grow and thrive safely. As a child I once saw the result of an incident where all the onlookers felt the victim should have known better, but at the time I wondered why anyone hadn’t told him he was doing it wrong if it was so obvious. Since the time I lived on the farm, I see that many of the risks aren’t new and the ways to manage them are well known. For example, regulations to safeguard children on farms and guards that protect workers from parts linking machinery have been around since the 1950s, yet 60 years on children are still dying on farms and farm workers are still being killed by moving vehicles and equipment.

While some progress has clearly been made on these issues, the culture across the industry remains a problem. Farming organisations and agricultural colleges recognise there is a problem but collectively the question should be how we can get health and safety into the minds of everyone working on farms each and every day, as is the case in many other business areas.

The sentiments in this letter are ones of concern, and to some degree frustration, that messages are not getting through. When an incident happens not only is it usually a family tragedy or linked to someone in a close-knit working group, but it frequently has significant impact on the financial health of the business.

The Act under which the HSE carries out its activities, charges us to ‘prevent death, injury and ill-health at work’. The key word is ‘prevent’ but of course we have regulatory powers to reinforce this role. Far too often in HSE we arrive at a farm when it is too late, because an incident has occurred. In my experience as a duty holder in heavy industries, safer businesses are usually more productive and more profitable because people are doing the right thing at the right time.

My plea through this letter is for everyone working in agriculture to think every day about the ‘prevent’ word, listen to the help and look out for the guidance which is available not only from ourselves, but your industry bodies and colleges, so as you go about your business you think in ways that keep you and your workforce running a successful business safely.”

South West Farmer

How to foster a culture of site safety in construction

Despite health and safety being a staple of every company’s policies and procedures, accidents and injuries at work are still commonplace. HSE (Health and Safety Executive) recently published the results of the annual labour force survey, which revealed that between 2017 and 2018, there were 555,000 injuries at work. 144 of them were fatal.

But what about industries that consider safety to be at the centre of their work?

As it stands, the construction industry contributes to a large number of recorded workplace injuries. In fact, HSE found that an estimated 58,000 cases of work-related injury occurred between 2017 and 2018. Around 2.6% of construction workers suffered an injury in this time, roughly 50% higher than the average of 1.8% across all industries.

Below, industry experts at Vizwear explore what it is that construction companies are doing wrong and how you can create a positive safety culture in your business.

How can poor health and safety affect your business?

Having a bad culture of health and safety hits your profits as hard as it does your reputation.

In the construction industry alone, around 2.4 million working days were lost between 2017 and 2018 due to workplace injury and illness. To put that statistic into perspective, that’s the equivalent of 10,000 construction workers being absent from work for a full year.

These absences add up to a staggering £1.06 billion loss, accounting for 7% of the total cost across all industries (£14.9 billion).

What are the signs of poor health and safety?
If you’re concerned that your own health and safety policies aren’t up to standard, there are a number of signs you can look out for:

● Poor accident reporting – If your team aren’t properly reporting and logging accidents in the workplace, then nothing can be done to prevent it from happening again in the future. Accident and injury books aren’t just for serious cases: they should be filled with any occurrences in the workplace. Your staff may not feel like their injuries aren’t worth the hassle, but the next time it happens, it could have more serious consequences.

● Blame culture – If your company blames individuals for injuries and relies on disciplining workers for accidents, you’re promoting a negative view of health and safety. You may be influencing employees to avoid correctly reporting incidents due to a fear of being reprimanded.

● Profitability over safety – When a company values profitability at a detriment to proper health and safety measures, its culture of site safety will inevitably suffer. This attitude will actually end up costing you more in the long run, as you’ll be forced to cover staff absences when accidents occur.

● Lack of communication – Without openly communicating the reasons behind new safety measures with your employees, you’ll create the impression that health and safety is an afterthought. Your staff won’t take policies seriously and you’ll make it difficult to establish a positive culture of site safety.

How to foster a culture of site safety
When it comes to creating a successful culture of site safety, it’s not as simple as creating new safety procedures and calling it a job well done – business leaders need to motivate their staff to take safety into their own hands.

Only by ensuring everyone buys into their own safety can management be confident that their staff are taking the right measures to cultivate a culture of site safety.

Here are a few small steps you can take to make sure your business is optimising its culture of safety:

1. Communicate
A lack of communication can hamper any attempts to develop your culture of workplace safety. Being open and honest with your employees about why new changes are being implemented at work is the easiest way to help them understand the necessity.

The more transparent you are as a manager, the more likely your staff will help health and safety updates run smoothly. However, it’s not just about communicating changes to your team: all current health and safety guidelines should be easily accessible to ensure everyone remains knowledgeable and up to date.

2. Mental health support
Construction workers have seen a serious problem with the condition of their mental health which has been a continuous issue for the industry over the years. Whether it’s depression, anxiety or stress, the industry suffered 14,000 cases between 2017 and 2018.

If you’re making strides to improve your culture of site safety, it’s crucial to work towards aiding your staff’s mental health. By providing further education and creating an environment that employees feel safe to open up and speak their mind, your workers will develop their own support system to protect each other’s mental health and wellbeing.

3. Lead by example
It goes without saying that if an employee knows that their manager doesn’t care whether health and safety procedures are followed, then they’re not going to follow them. This toxic behaviour will quickly disintegrate any attempt to create a culture of site safety.

When it comes to safety, you need to walk the walk. Show your team how important it is to adhere to safety standards by following them to the letter yourself. Your employees are far more likely to follow in your footsteps than to just take your word for it.

4. Training
Making sure your team is fully trained in site safety is crucial to ensure that workers are fully knowledgeable in safety procedures. With the correct training, you’ll have peace of mind that they know how to perform their jobs safely and correctly.

Review key training sessions and organise refresher courses often to reinforce key safety issues. With a fully trained team of safety experts at your disposal, your employees will be able to spot potential hazards before they become accidents.

5. Reporting
Of the estimated 58,000 workplace injuries between 2017 and 2018, only 4,919 were officially reported; meaning over 90% of non-fatal injuries were left unreported.

Reporting incidents shouldn’t be something that employees fear or feel uncomfortable doing. You need to make it clear to your employees that accident reporting isn’t an excuse to scold but rather to find out what caused an injury and what can be done to prevent it from happening in the future. By making proper reporting a core value of your worker’s job description, it will become like second nature to them.

Incentivising accident reports through prizes or monetary bonuses is a common action that managers take but the results may be counterintuitive. Safety incentive programs become routine and many employees become entitled; believing they deserve rewarding for carrying out their jobs.

Rather than trying to ‘buy’ your staff with incentives, allow them to set their own safety goals. Employees are more likely to respond positively to working towards their team’s own targets, rather than those set by executives who may be out of touch with their day-to-day operations.

6. Get the team involved
As site safety affects everyone, it’s only right that your employees should get to help shape your culture. The more you give your staff the opportunity to participate in safety initiatives, the more likely they are to adhere to precautions.

By running regular safety seminars, your team can voice their own safety concerns. This open style of contribution gives workers the chance to help implement safety changes that affect their own roles, making them much more likely to follow them and encourage others.

How to manage change
Now that you’ve got an idea of some of the ways you can change your businesses safety culture for the better, you can start implementing. However, it’s not just a case of putting on a training session and expecting to see results. To develop a genuinely progressive culture of site safety, you need to be always aware of what health and safety measures are in place and what needs to change.

Following the generic model of change, you can see how it relates to your business and how it refers to successful safety culture:

  1. Recognise the need for change – This is the moment you realise that your current health and safety standards aren’t cutting it and that improvements need to be made.
  2. Diagnose what needs to change – At this stage, you’ll pinpoint specifically which health and safety measures and issues are causing problems for your business.
  3. Plan for, and prepare to change – With your problems discovered, you’ll then design exactly what you need to do to improve and how you’ll do it.
  4. Implement the change – This is when all your planning and preparation comes into place and you put into place the solution to the problems you discovered.
  5. Sustain the change – Often neglected, this stage is one of the most important. This is where you need to ensure your initiatives are followed and the culture of site safety you’ve created remains at a high level.

Each stage of this model plays a vital role in developing your company’s culture, but the ability to recognise the need for change and sustaining change are the most crucial. With these two steps, you’ll always be aware of the safety standards in the workplace and will be striving to make sure current policies are followed.

“Health and safety in the construction industry isn’t something that can be ignored and picked up later,” says Daniel Ure from online PPE retailer Vizwear, “it’s a vital part of everyone’s day to day work.

“By keeping workers up to date with safety procedures, health and safety will become a natural part of their roles, rather than something they need to remember. When your staff become more aware, they’ll take fewer risks and make sure any accidents are logged: two simple ways that will keep everyone safer in the future.”

RCI Magazine

Major construction projects can play a critical role in improving workers’ understanding of occupational health risks

London’s Tideway project

Major construction projects can play a critical role in improving workers’ understanding of health risks and championing ‘universally high standards’ across the industry, new research suggests.

A three-year research project, funded by IOSH, aimed to explore the management of health, safety and wellbeing interventions on the Thames Tideway Tunnel project.

Members of the research team from Loughborough University were integrated into each of the construction teams working on the Tideway project and monitored key health and safety processes, personnel, documentation, events and activities.

In a paper titled ‘Raising the bar for occupational health management in construction, published in the Institution of Civil Engineers‘ journal Civil Engineering, the research team highlights practical measures from the Tideway project to help stakeholders improve the management of health risks in construction.

The Loughborough team suggests major projects have an important role to play in upskilling the workforce, and that construction managers must take responsibility for health risk management, supported by skilled OSH and health professionals.

Interventions included working with occupational hygienists to improve understanding about health risks and how to manage them and coordinating training sessions for project managers, engineers, supervisors and others who contribute to risk assessments focusing on practical control measures.

Alistair Gibb, Professor of Construction Engineering Management at Loughborough University, said:“The construction industry faces many unique challenges when it comes to managing health risks and protecting workers. Across the industry there is poor understanding about the standards of health assessment which are legally required and low motivation among many employers to pay for health checks for workers who may soon move to other employers.

“Major projects such as Tideway are critical to developing universally high health management standards and are well-placed to champion good OH services and to use their expertise and influence to embed change within their own supply chains. To achieve long-lasting improvements, these standards must be adopted throughout the sector, particularly within the SMEs which employ the majority of the workforce.”

The study suggests a consistent approach to occupational health management and health surveillance is needed across the construction industry with a commitment to improved portability of OH data.

The researchers also argue that health needs to be given higher visibility and clarity at prequalification and in tender documents.

Steve Hails, Director of Health, Safety and Wellbeing at Tideway, said: “Our commitment to transformational health, safety and wellbeing standards at Tideway is intended to set a new benchmark for the industry. Achieving parity between health and safety is a strategic objective for our programme and understanding the specific challenges emerging in the course of construction is imperative to our future direction.

“The support from IOSH and Loughborough University has been invaluable in identifying our progress. This unique approach to conducting a longitudinal study with skilled researchers embedded into our construction teams, has allowed us to compile legacy information in real time rather than, as has historically been the case, at the end of the project. This gives Tideway objective feedback during our works and informs our future direction.

“There are additional wider industry benefits for future projects to learn from our experiences through this approach and realising the benefits of industry working collaboratively with academia during the planning and construction phases of work.”

Mary Ogungbeje, Research Manager at IOSH, said: “This research goes a long way towards addressing what is a very prevalent and complex issue in the construction sector.

“For health to truly be treated like safety in construction there needs to be a shift in the perception and practices of employers and workers, and acceptance in industry that high standards should not be an exceptional practice but the necessary norm.

“The study highlights practical measures to help all stakeholders address barriers and improve the management of health risks in construction.”

An additional recommendation from the research includes further training for frontline workers, particularly to compensate for low visibility of health hazards including noise and respirable dust, and greater awareness of health conditions with long latency periods, including those caused by silica dust and asbestos exposure.  

IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign aims to explain the causes of occupational cancer and help businesses take action. Information about the dangers of silica dust, asbestos and other carcinogens and how to prevent exposure is available on the website:

The paper, titled ‘Raising the bar for occupational health management in construction’ is published in the Institution of Civil Engineers journal Civil Engineering. The research is funded by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). The paper is available here:

In a second paper, published in the journal Safety Science, the research team explore in more detail the challenges to achieving lasting improvements to worker health in construction, this is available here:


HSE and LA co-operation key to more consistent regulation, says IOSH

IOSH has urged local authorities (LAs) to commit to working closely with regulatory bodies to strengthen safety and health standards across Britain.

The move comes after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and LA representative bodies developed a joint statement of commitment (SoC) in April, which sets out a shared vision for consistent regulation across HSE and LA enforced businesses. 
LAs regulate about two thirds of all business premises, covering the retail, consumer services, entertainment, and warehousing and supply sectors. This accounts for around half of the total workforce in Great Britain. 

However, “OSH management failures” result in more than 100,000 workers developing new cases of ill health, 5,000 major workplace accidents and ten fatal injuries in LA-enforced business sectors each year, according to the HSE.   

The SoC was developed as part of the ongoing work of the strategic group overseeing the HSE/LA co-regulatory partnership (HELA) and the supporting Practitioner Forum.  It has been endorsed by the HSE’s board, the Local Government Association, the Welsh Local Government Association and the Society of Chief Officers of Environmental Health in Scotland, and is aimed at councillors, LA chief executives and their heads of regulatory services.  

Now IOSH has joined the call for LAs to publicly commit to the statement and embed the principles within their service plans. Richard Jones, the institution’s head of policy and public affairs, said: “It’s important that co-regulation is adequately resourced and effectively delivered, to ensure the quality and consistency of enforcement across the regulatory landscape.  

“So, IOSH welcomes this joint-focus on promoting the benefits of good health and safety and the need to improve regulation and strengthen protection, particularly for vulnerable workers. “We urge local authorities to publicly endorse the joint SoC and embed its principles within their service plans.  “IOSH supports greater consistency of enforcement between HSE and local authorities and has previously called for ring-fenced funding for local authority occupational safety and health regulations, adequate training and resourcing of regulators and, over time, for a unified enforcement agency.”  

The SoC aims to strengthen and maintain a long term, senior commitment to delivery of their legal duty as enforcers of workplace safety and health and asks that LAs collaborate with other bodies to deliver effective and correctly targeted solutions to keep workers safe.  The statement commits LAs to:

  • working with other LAs to peer review activities
  • using national and local intelligence to effectively target poor performing sectors
  • annually reporting their safety and health enforcement activity to the HSE
  • championing their role as safety and health regulators. 

The HSE said it was working with LAs to develop supporting materials that will be available soon. 

IOSH urge local authorities to collaborate on safety

IOSH is urging local authorities to commit to working closely with regulatory bodies to strengthen employee health and safety standards across Britain.

City workers on London Bridge

With many local authorities dealing with challenging environments that impact how they deliver regulatory services, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has developed a Statement of Commitment.

Individual local authorities can now commit to this, supporting collaboration with other bodies to deliver effective and correctly-targeted solutions to keep workers safe and healthy.

Launched in April, the statement has been endorsed by HSE’s Board, the Local Government Association, the Welsh Local Government Association and the Society of Chief Officers of Environmental Health in Scotland.

And now IOSH has joined the call on local authorities to publicly commit to the statement and embed the principles within their service plans. Head of policy and public affairs at IOS Richard Jones said, “It’s important that co-regulation is adequately resourced and effectively delivered, to ensure the quality and consistency of enforcement across the regulatory landscape. So, IOSH welcomes this joint-focus on promoting the benefits of good health and safety and the need to improve regulation and strengthen protection, particularly for vulnerable workers.

“We urge local authorities to publicly endorse the joint Statement of Commitment and embed its principles within their service plans.

“IOSH supports greater consistency of enforcement between HSE and local authorities and has previously called for ring-fenced funding for local authority occupational safety and health regulation, adequate training and resourcing of regulators and, over time, for a unified enforcement agency.”

Local authorities predominantly cover the retail, consumer services, entertainment and warehousing/supply chain sectors, which account for two-thirds of all business premises, around half of the total British workforce.

Figures collected by HSE show failures in the management of occupational health and safety in local authority-enforced business sectors result in more than 100,000 new cases of ill health, 5,000 major injuries and the deaths of around ten workers each year.

Many of those harmed are vulnerable workers not provided with reasonable workplace protection, and around 15 members of the public, including children are killed each year in avoidable incidents because of workplace activity.


NEBOSH ‘heroes’ graduate

“YOU ARE my heroes!” That was the message from guest speaker, Louise Taggart, to Diplomates at this year’s NEBOSH Graduation.

NEBOSH Graduates

Workplace safety speaker Louise, delivered a powerful and moving speech to more than 900 guests. She outlined her ‘why’ for working in health and safety – the avoidable workplace death of her brother Michael – and encouraged those listening to share theirs. 

Addressing the NEBOSH Diplomates, Louise added, “You should be incredibly proud of your achievements each and every day. It’s not stating it too highly to say that you are among my heroes. You are illness preventers, injury stoppers, and environmental damage preventers.”

The Graduation celebrates those fantastic learners who have achieved a prestigious NEBOSH Diploma or Masters qualification in the past year. Among those celebrating were the winners of the 2019 NEBOSH Best Candidate Awards, recognising the achievements of the top performing candidates for Certificate and Diploma qualifications in the past year.

Over 16 countries were represented at 2019’s annual event at the University of Warwick. Attendees travelled across the world, from as far afield as China and New Zealand, to be part of the special occasion. 

NEBOSH’s flagship qualifications are recognised by organisations and governments across the world as a mark of excellence within the industry; nearly 9 in 10 vacancies ask for a NEBOSH qualification. 


*KeyOstas is one of the oldest accredited NEBOSH training providers in the UK. To find out more about our NEBOSH programme click here

New HSE Chief Executive announced

Britain’s workplace health and safety regulator has announced the appointment of its new Chief Executive.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed the current Inspector General and Chief Executive of the Insolvency Service, Sarah Albon will join the organisation on 1 September.

Ms Albon joined The Insolvency Service in February 2015, implementing its strategy to improve service to its customers, lower its costs, and further strengthen the UK’s insolvency regime.

She will be replacing outgoing Acting Chief Executive David Snowball who has held the post since June 2018 and will be retiring from HSE at the end of the year.

Sarah said: “I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead the executive of this important and hugely respected regulator. Working together with my new colleagues across HSE, I’m looking forward to getting to grips with the vital mission we deliver on behalf of Great Britain’s workplaces. My focus will be on continuing to deliver improvements in health and safety performance as our workplaces move into a future with new challenges, new technologies and new opportunities.”

Sarah’s previous roles in Government include, Director of Strategy and Change at Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service, Director of Civil Family and Legal Aid Policy at the Ministry of Justice, Deputy Director of Criminal Legal Aid Strategy, Ministry of Justice and has also served as principal private secretary to two Lord Chancellors.

Martin Temple, HSE’s Chair welcomed the appointment: “I am delighted to welcome Sarah Albon to HSE as our new chief executive and look forward enormously to working with her.

“Sarah’s CV speaks for itself and her valuable experience in leading organisations through change and planning for the future will stand her in good stead leading this world-class regulator of workplace health and safety.”

The appointment was made following an open recruitment process.

HSE is an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

HSE Press Release 27.06.19

Man trapped and seriously injured when wall in Luton building collapses

The Health and Safety Executive is investigating after a man was trapped and seriously injured when a wall collapsed inside a Luton property.

The incident happened on June 12 at around 3pm in a building in Grange Avenue, as neighbours were shocked to see the fire, police, and ambulance services rush to their street.

A wall had collapsed in the building, leaving a man trapped and seriously injured, and an air ambulance was called to take the patient to Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge.

It is understood that renovation works were being carried out inside the property, which has been given the nickname ‘The Grange’ by local residents.

Eyewitness Ian Darwood, claims: “It must have gone on for about three hours. The fire brigade was there to help with the rescue, the ambulance came down, the police, and when I looked up there was a helicopter there [an air ambulance].

“Inside, something must have collapsed. The fire brigade were helping to clear the entrance and one bloke was brought out on a stretcher. He was wired up and it looked like he was on a life support machine.

“There was police tape there and a policeman outside the door on the first night (June 12/13).

“There’s been work going on to the inside of the property for a while. I think it was one of the workmen who was on the stretcher.”

A Luton Borough Council spokesman, said: “The council was alerted to a serious incident on June 12 and an officer attended to assess the safety of the collapsed wall.

“As the incident related to the construction industry, details were passed to the Health and Safety Executive, which has responsibility to deal with such matters.”

A Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue spokeswoman, said: “Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to rescue a man who was trapped in a collapsed building on June 12.

“Having received an emergency call just before 3pm, two fire engines and two specialist rescue units were sent to Grange Avenue in Luton, where an internal wall in a building under renovation had partially collapsed.

“Working alongside ambulance and police, crews assisted in removing the debris and rescuing the casualty, who was left in the care of the ambulance service.

“A structural engineer was requested from Luton Borough Council and the scene was left in the hands of the police just after 4pm.

“This was a tough incident, in very challenging circumstances and 999 crews worked very well together to get the best care as quickly as they could to the casualty.”

An Essex and Herts Air Ambulance spokesman, said: “On June 12, Essex and Herts Air Ambulance was tasked to assist EEAST, Bedfordshire Police and Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service with a male patient fall in Luton.

“We landed approximately one mile from the scene.

“Teams worked together on scene to optimise patient outcome. The patient was transferred to a major trauma centre for ongoing treatment.”

An East of England Ambulance Service Trust spokeswoman, said: “We were called at 2.35pm on June 12 with reports of a person with traumatic injuries in Grange Avenue, Luton.

“We sent the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), ambulance officer, rapid response vehicle, ambulance and Essex and Herts Air Ambulance.

“One man was taken to Addenbrookes Hospital by air ambulance in a serious condition.”

A Bedfordshire Police spokeswoman, said: “We were called shortly before 3pm on Wednesday, June 12, to reports of a man having been injured in a property in Grange Avenue, Luton.

“Emergency services attended and a man was treated for serious injuries, but the matter is now with the Health and Safety Executive for investigation.”

Luton Today

Worker scalped in industrial accident at Cheshire Mouldings

A COMPANY director has admitted health and safety breaches after a factory worker was scalped in an industrial accident.

Paul Carney, from Woolston, was due to stand trial at Liverpool Crown Court this week to face the charges.

But on Monday, June 10, the 50-year-old pleaded guilty to two health and safety offences over the incident at Cheshire Mouldings and Woodturnings Limited in St Helens – of which he is a director – in June 2016.

Employee Karolina Lubieniecka was scalped when her hair became caught in a machine, as well as losing an ear and a thumb.

She was also left visually-impaired after being injured while working on a production line at the factory – which produces timber stair parts, balustrades, decking, flooring and mouldings.

Cheshire Mouldings and Woodturnings Limited had previous admitted health and safety breaches during an earlier court hearing.

The company and Carney, of Springburn Gardens, will be sentenced back at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday, July 2.

This accident had come only two years after another woman working in the same factory had three fingers sliced off in a horrific training accident.

In October 2014, Lenka Toperczer suffered the life-changing injuries during her first training session.

Her right hand was hit by rotating blades while being shown how to operate an inadequately guarded machine, with the middle finger on her left hand also being amputated.

Cheshire Mouldings and Woodturnings Limited was fined more than £350,000 over the incident in November 2017.

The company was also fined in 2001 and 2004 over workers suffering injuries during accident at the factory.

Warrington Guardian

Sensors on roller garage door in fatal crush were incorrectly wired

An electrical engineering firm that failed to identify faulty safety sensors on a garage door only a month before it crushed a woman to death has been sentenced.

Heidi Chalkley was drawn into the rolling metal shutter at the entrance to the carpark of Ruth Bagnall Court, an apartment complex in Cambridge, on 14 August 2016. 

 In what coroners’ officer Pail Garnell previously called an “act of silliness”, Chalkley held on to the grille and was lifted off the ground after pressing a clicker to open the door.  Garnell said: “[Chalkley] was meant to drop down but her arms got caught and it has [the shutters] pulled her up into the mechanism where it caused death immediately.”  

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the sensors at the top of the door were incorrectly wired and no longer functioned as the door opened.  B.S. Graves (Electrical) had carried out work on the roller shutter door since 2012, including an inspection only a month before the incident. It did not check the operation of the safety sensors and failed to identify the fault.  

The company pleaded guilty to breaching s 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It was fined £25,000 at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay costs of £6,500.  

After the hearing HSE inspector Graeme Warden said the accident “could have been avoided if the company had ensured employees were suitably trained to inspect the doors and the functioning of the safety sensors”.

IOSH Magazine

Building safety reform consultation launched by Government

The government has launched a consultation on building safety reform following the Hackitt Review, published in response to the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017.

Taking forward all of Dame Judith Hackitt’s recommendations and “going further”, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said it would consult on establishing “duty holders” who will be responsible for the safety of building occupants and ensuring that Building Regulations are followed.

They will also be expected to keep vital safety information electronically on how the building was designed and built and is managed, “for the entire life of a building”.

Her review also called for a culture change in the industry, “underpinned by changing how homes are designed, built, maintained and managed in the future,” MHCLG added.

Adrian Dobson, RIBA Executive Director Professional Services, said: “The Grenfell Tower tragedy shocked the world and exposed serious failures. Yet nearly two years on – aside from restrictions on the use of combustible materials – building regulations and associated guidance remain largely unchanged and inconsistent across the UK.

“We welcome this consultation and particularly commend the proposals for tighter regulation of higher risk residential buildings of 18m or more in height (rather than 30m+ which was recommended by the Government’s 2018 Independent Review of Building Regulations on Fire Safety) and the establishment of a single building safety regulator.

“However significant reform in building safety requirements is long overdue. We urge the Government to extend these regulations to other high risk buildings such as schools, hospitals, care homes and prisons, and adopt vital recommendations such as increased requirements for the use of sprinklers.”

The government has also proposed a new building safety regulator to take enforcement action – including fines or imprisonment – against those responsible for a building who shirk their duties. The building safety regulator will oversee the safety of new and existing buildings, MHCLG explained.

“The intention is that, the regulator and people responsible for a building’s safety will be working towards the common goal at the heart of the new regime – the safety of residents,” it added.

Alongside the introduction of the building safety regulator, the government wishes to implement clearer standards and guidance, creating a new standards committee for construction products and systems standards to provide impartial advice.

The government said the consultation “proposes a stronger voice for residents of high rise buildings to ensure their concerns are never ignored”. This includes better information about residents’ buildings “so that they can participate in decisions about safety, as well as clear and quick routes of escalation for their concerns if things do go wrong”.

Following the consultation, the government intends to implement the reforms in law.

Building a safer future: proposals for reform of the building safety regulatory systemcloses on July 31.

Specification Online

‘Longstanding failures’ at refinery that led to fatal explosion costs firms more than £6m

Two companies must pay more than £6m after “longstanding failures” to control the risks to safety from flammable atmospheres at the Pembroke refinery in south Wales eight years ago led to a fatal explosion.

Swansea Crown Court was told how the fireball explosion ripped through the roof of a storage tank that was being emptied in the amine recovery unit (ARU) by five workers.

The five-tonne tank roof was thrown 55 m into a butane storage sphere. It narrowly missed a pipe track used to transport several flammable materials. 

Dennis Riley, Robert Broome, Andrew Jenkins and Julie Schmitz died in the blast on 2 June 2011. The fifth worker, Andrew Phillips, was very seriously injured during what should have been a routine emptying operation in preparation for further cleaning and maintenance, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said.  Its investigation found that the explosion was “most likely” triggered by an ignition source inside the tank. There were “longstanding failures in the refinery’s safety management systems” that meant flammable atmospheres in the ARU were not “understood or controlled”, it said. 

Fuel company Valero Energy UK and tank cleaning specialist B&A Contracts, a long-term contractor at the refinery that was carrying out the work at the time, both pleaded guilty to breaching ss 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court last October.  

Yesterday (6 June) they were fined £5m and £140,000 respectively. Valero was also ordered to pay £1m costs, while B&A, which employed Broome, Jenkins and Riley, must pay costs of £40,000. The refinery’s former owner Chevron will pay the £5m fine and costs as part of an arrangement it reached with Valero, which acquired the refinery two months after the disaster. 

The HSE said the blast was “entirely preventable”.  It happened about ten minutes into a procedure to remove liquid and sludge from the bottom of the tank through a hose into a vacuum tanker, Wales Online reported.  

The court was told that an electrostatic spark from the hose was “overwhelmingly likely” to have caused the explosion, though it was not possible to say for certain. A reading of the tank’s flammable gas levels, taken just days before the incident, showed it had a lower explosive limit of 67%. A safe limit would be under 10%. Judge Mr Justice Lewis said these results should have “stopped everyone in their tracks”, but a lack of staff communication meant they were “not properly communicated” or “not understood” and created an “accident waiting to happen”, according to BBC News.  

Valero is classed as a “very large” organisation under the sentencing guidelines for safety and health offences, while B&A is a “micro” company.  

HSE inspector Andrew Knowles said: “This incident, which had devastating consequences for all those involved, was entirely preventable. Many opportunities to take action to control risk were missed that would have prevented the incident from occurring.  “It is important to realise that the incident could have had even more serious consequences had the butane sphere or pipe track been damaged by the flying tank roof.” 

Detective superintendent Anthony Griffiths added: “Officers from Dyfed-Powys Police worked closely with the HSE to support them in the very complex investigation to establish the cause of this tragic incident. We hope that the lessons learned ensure that a tragedy of this nature doesn’t happen again. Our thought remain with all the families involved.”

IOSH Magazine

HSE Launches new Dust Inspection Blitz

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is targeting construction sites in a new series of inspections focusing on dust control.

The HSE said it would visit sites over the next few weeks from Monday 10 June to see what measures have been put in place to protect workers’ lungs from the likes of asbestos, silica, and wood dust.

They will be looking for evidence of businesses and their workers knowing the risks, planning their work and using the right controls. Where necessary, HSE will use enforcement to make sure people are protected.

HSE’s chief medical officer, professor David Fishwick said: “Exposure to asbestos, silica, wood, flour and other dust can have life-changing consequences.

“Each year work-related lung diseases linked to past exposures are estimated to kill 12,000 workers across Great Britain. In many cases these diseases take a long time to develop after exposure, so the damage done may not be immediately obvious. Others, such as occupational asthma and acute silicosis, can occur more quickly.

“These conditions can and do have a significant impact on both the individuals affected and those closest to them, so it is imperative that workers take the necessary precautions to protect their lungs.”

Sarah Jardine, HSE’s chief inspector of construction said: “We are carrying out this series of inspections to ensure businesses are fulfilling their legal duties to protect workers from harm. This includes controlling the levels of dust in workplaces.

“We want to ensure employers and their workers are aware of the risks associated with any task that produces dust. Such work needs to be properly planned and use the right controls, such as water suppression, extraction and masks.

“The bottom line is we want everyone, workers and their employers, to be protected from harm and ill health so they can go home healthy to their families.”

Construction Manager

007 Explosion at Pinewood

The HSE is making initial enquiries into the “controlled explosion” that tore the walls off the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios, during the production of Bond 25 on Tuesday, 4 June.

The 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios

One crew member also sustained a minor injury in the incident that’s left the iconic soundstage exposed to the elements.

The HSE, an independent body whose mission is “to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health”, tells Yahoo: “HSE is aware of the incident and making initial enquiries.”

These enquiries are likely to see if the incident falls under their jurisdiction. Part of the HSE’s mission is to “hold employers to account for their failures and get answers for victims and make workplaces safer.”R

Event Horizon, the special effects company responsible for pyrotechnics on Daniel Craig’s four previous Bond films, was unwilling to talk to Yahoo about the “controlled explosion”, offering a simple “no comment”.

A special effects expert we spoke to said: “It sounds like something quite bad has happened and there is some structural damage.”

However, Bond expert Mark O’Connell – author of Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan – who visited Pinewood Studios last week, says the production will have taken every precaution to avoid this “unfortunate accident”.

“For good or bad the complexities of mounting big franchise films is ever precarious,” O’Connell tells Yahoo.

“More time and effort is spent on not letting accidents happen than shooting them, but sometimes they do. I was at Pinewood Studios last week and The 007 Stage is surrounded (as it always is) with firetrucks, safety units, medical teams and tight security.

“There are no headlines in the precautions always taken when shooting a Bond film – only the unfortunate accidents.”

According to reports, fire crews were called to the Buckinghamshire film studio yesterday after “a pre-arranged fireball rehearsal went wrong”, leaving some crew members requiring first aid assistance.

EON Productions, the company that makes the Bond films, quickly responded putting out an official statement that explained “damage was caused to the exterior of the 007 Stage. There were no injuries on set, however one crew member outside the stage has sustained a minor injury.”

Yahoo Movies

Falling timber from scaffold hits three-year-old in buggy

A self-employed builder has been given a suspended jail sentence after a three-year-old girl suffered severe head injuries when a length of timber fell on her while being hoisted up the outside of a scaffold.

An HSE picture of the accident scene

Brighton Magistrates’ Court heard how on the 6 July 2018, the girl, and her mother, who was pushing her daughter in a buggy, were walking along Preston Street in Brighton.

As they passed scaffolding, erected on the pavement for refurbishment work to a flat above, the length of timber fell from approximately ten metres in height striking the girl on the head.

The three-year-old suffered life changing injuries. While she has made a significant progress, it is not yet known whether she will make a full recovery.

An HSE investigation found that the builder in control of the works was Grzegorz Glowacki, who had tied the length of timber to a rope for lifting up the outside of the scaffold using a pulley system.

But the knot used was not suitable, and the timber slipped out, falling to the ground, but there was no exclusion zone in place to prevent persons being underneath the load, in case of such a problem.

Glowacki of Brighton, pleaded guilty to breaching lifting regulations and was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, plus 220 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to repay full costs of £5727.92.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Stephen Green said: “This horrendous incident would have been the last thing on the minds of this little girl and her mum as they set off for a fun day out at the beach.

“The impact this incident has had on the girl and her family was easily prevented by simply stopping people from walking beneath the suspended timber whilst it was lifted. This risk should have been identified by Mr. Glowacki.

“Companies and individuals should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action when members of the public are needlessly put at risk.”

Construction Enquirer


The government has announced £200 million of funding to replace cladding on about 170 privately owned high-rise buildings.

The government has announced £200 million of funding to replace cladding on about 170 privately owned high-rise buildings, saying that it has “stepped in to speed up vital cladding replacement by fully funding the work, eliminating excuses used by some building owners and protecting leaseholders from the costs”.

It’s the latest activity following  the fire in Grenfell Tower two years ago this month, which claimed 72 lives and threw the safety of high-rises all over England into sharp focus.

The funding will be made available to remove and replace unsafe aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding. The step has been taken after private building owners failed to take action and tried to offload costs on to leaseholders.

Action on building safety

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “It is of paramount importance that everybody is able to feel and be safe in their homes. That’s why we asked building owners in the private sector to take action and make sure appropriate safety measures were in place. And we’ve seen a number of private building owners doing the right thing and taking responsibility, but unfortunately too many are continuing to pass on the costs of removal and replacement to leaseholders.”

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

Communities secretary James Brokenshire said: “Although temporary measures are in place to ensure people living in these buildings are safe, too many owners are treating this as a permanent fix. Others are trying to pass on the costs to residents by threatening them with bills running to thousands of pounds.

“While some building owners have been swift to act, and I thank them for doing the right thing, I am now calling time on the delay tactics of others. If these reckless building owners won’t act, the government will.”

The latest figures show that work is yet to start on removing and replacing ACM cladding at 166 private buildings, compared with just 23 in the social sector.

Building owners will have three months to access the new fund. The government said it “will look carefully at those who fail to remediate and consider what further action can be taken”.

Response to the announcement 

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It is a source of deep concern that nearly two years after the devastating Grenfell fire this dangerous cladding is still on buildings.  

“It is vital that it is removed as quickly as possible. The first priority of any government must be to protect its citizens.”

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “This announcement will come as an enormous relief to leaseholders who are in no way to blame for the dangerous cladding on their homes. 

“Since the LGA first raised their plight in 2017, we have been working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government [MHCLG] to ensure the Treasury provided the necessary funding, and it is great that we have been listened to. 

“Reputable developers have done the right thing and paid for buildings to be fixed, but it would be wrong if the taxpayer had to pay the bills of those developers and contractors who are responsible for this crisis.

“It is right, therefore, that while the government has committed to cover the cost temporarily, it has also said it will do everything in its power to ensure those responsible for the installation of unsafe cladding and insulation on their buildings, or indeed their insurers, eventually pay the full cost for its removal and replacement.” 

The fund will be available for private high-rise residential buildings (those containing homes). The government is already fully funding the replacement of unsafe ACM cladding on social sector properties. Dame Judith Hackitt made the recommendation in her review of building regulations and fire safety.

Government’s measures ‘do not go far enough’ 

But others say the announcement did not go far enough – and even detracted from other vital issues such as lighting.

Emergency lighting company Tamlite said the emergency building regulations, which are almost 50 years old, also require 

“a major overhaul”. In a statement responding to the government’s declaration, it says: “By way of an example, escape levels were based on the technical capabilities of luminaires developed in the 1970s: therefore, these regulations need to be updated and change is required across all aspects of fire safety.”

The company points out that it is “important that we make clear we welcome the further £200 million bill to replace Grenfell Tower-type cladding (in private high-rise blocks)” but that it was also “very concerned that the focus has been driven by the media spotlight on cladding – as such, we feel there has been insufficient attention on the need to address all aspects of fire safety including auto fire detection, emergency and escape lighting”.

In conclusion, it adds that it wants to see “significant fines, penalties – and in the most extreme cases prison sentences – for landlords of high-rise and larger-scale buildings where safety standards are not met”. 

“We regularly see examples in the media of ‘private’ landlords being fined and facing prison sentences (often these individuals own/operate small apartments and buildings). All in all, more must be done to deter any organisation or individual who fails to protect the lives of those living in its building.”

A report leaked to Inside Housing magazine by a consultant from one of the groups working on Hackitt’s post-Grenfell suggestions also states that the recommendations do not go far enough. 

Ryan Dempsey, an electrical safety expert brought in to advise the working group on the competence of people installing fire protection systems, told Inside Housing he thought the changes that were being discussed were too limited and that participants “were trying to market the existing process”, not improve it. 

FACILITATE: 03.05.19

Blackpool hotel boss put holidaymakers’ ‘lives at risk’

Customers and staff at a Blackpool hotel were put in serious danger when its owner flouted health and safety rules.

The Cornhill Hotel

Conditions at the Cornhill Hotel, on the Prom, were so bad many customers walked out within minutes of checking in.

And a fire officer said conditions at the hotel put anyone staying there at risk of suffering serious injury or even death.

Owner, 46-year-old Alan Diamond, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Health and Safety legislation at Blackpool magistrates court.

He admitted failing to ensure the health,safety and welfare of his employees and guests.

Sharon Davies, prosecuting on behalf of Blackpool Council, said Diamond’s seafront hotel will remain closed until inspections by the local authority and fire service are carried out.

The court heard Diamond failed to produce reports that the hotel’s electrical system was safe.

He also failed to react to a legal notice requiring the hotel to have portable equipment such as kettles properly safety tested.

He also failed to manage risks of staff and guests who may have been at risk from Legionnaire’s Disease from the hotel’s water system and did not react to a prohibition notice about asbestos at the hotel. He did not respond to further prohibition notices about unsafe windows which would not prevent people falling from them.

There were further legal notice served on him about having the hotel lift safety checked; having cracked windows replaced and replacing cracked and damaged tiling replaced.

Sue Mugford, defending, said her client had been taken ill at the time of the offences and had brought in a company to run the hotel. She said: “He has taken back control of the hotel and wants to re open. He is currently refurbishing the hotel.”

The court heard Diamond allowed the hotel to remain open to guests despite the fire and health and safety prohibitions served on him last year.

The former publican and coach driver bought the Cornhill in 2013 and a probation report on him said he had remained open to get money to pay for repairs but he had been ripped off by cowboy tradesmen.

Diamond was placed on a one-year community order and must do 140 hours unpaid work for the community and £761 costs.

Chairman of the bench Jean Adam told him:”You put the public at a very real risk of harm. This is a serious matter.”

In January, the hotel was stripped of its entertainment and alcohol licence after councillors heard there had been ‘blatant disregard’ shown for public safety.

Management at the Cornhill Hotel continued to take bookings despite being ordered by the fire brigade to close the premises.

A statement by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service fire safety officer Stephen Simm said: “The issues were so serious that I felt the property would put anyone staying on the premises at risk of death or serious injury.”

These included a faulty fire alarm system and inflammable materials near exits.

A council licensing panel revoked the licence after also hearing the police had received 38 calls to attend incidents at the hotel during 2018.

The infringements came to light after Blackpool Council received a number of complaints from guests who had stayed at the hotel.

Ten improvement notices had been issued by town hall health and safety officers in 2018, but only one had been complied with.

In its decision notice following the hearing, the panel said Mr Diamond “demonstrated a complete disregard for the authorities by continuing to trade and failing to undertake the works.”

He had also “shown a blatant disregard for the licensing objectives and the authorities attempting to ensure public safety”.

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “The conditions discovered at the Cornhill Hotel were shocking and completely unacceptable.

“The owner repeatedly failed to respond to a number of prohibition notices and did not rectify staggering health and safety hazards.

“There is no excuse for businesses not to comply with health and safety regulations and put their customers and employees at risk of injury or even worse.

“Such flagrant disregard for people’s well-being will not be tolerated and we will actively pursue those who think that they are beyond the law.

“Blackpool Council has one of the most robust enforcement teams in the country and our efforts to protect the public and employees from potential harm will always be of the highest priority.”

Blackpool Gazette

Floor layer killed by toxic adhesive was wearing ‘completely ineffectual’ face mask

A property maintenance firm and a flooring manufacturer have been fined a combined £750,000 over the death of a floor layer in London. 

Paul Tilcock had been using an adhesive that contained toxic solvents to fix a bathroom floor at a house in Mitcham, south London. The 30-year-old was found dead on the floor by the homeowner on 4 September 2015

Altro, the flooring company that supplied the adhesive, admitted that it had failed to ensure so far as was reasonably practicable that the product was safe to use. It pleaded guilty to breaching s 6(4) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £500,000 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay £34,773 costs.  

The main component of the flooring adhesive was dichloromethane (DCM), which poses inhalation risks and is a restricted substance under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation.  

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said that the maintenance contractor, T Brown Group, did not have any systems or procedures in place to control the risks to its employees from working in an enclosed space with DCM.  Its investigation revealed that it was left to the employees to decide what type of respiratory protection to wear, or whether to wear it at all.  

When Tilcock’s body was found, he was wearing a “completely ineffectual” face mask, Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told.   T Brown Group was fined £250,000 and must also pay costs of £23,936 after it pleaded guilty to breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.  

HSE inspector Peter Collingwood said: “It is important that companies have an appreciation of their duties (whether to its employees or its customers) and have effective systems and procedures in place to ensure that those duties are fulfilled.”

IOSH Magazine – 30.05.19

Network Rail and Colas Rail Ltd achieve a 97% diesel-free “Site of the Future”

A project led by the Network Rail and Colas Rail has used solar lighting and power generation to prove the viability of a sustainable ‘Site of the Future’, achieving 97% diesel-free operation in support of a major rail renewal project at Llanwern, South Wales

The joint Network Rail and Colas Rail initiative used solar and battery technologies from Prolectric Ltd instead of diesel generators to save 6,000 litres of fuel, and more than 15 tonnes of CO2 during a 14-day project centred around a 72-hour possession over the early May bank holiday weekend.

The results are being viewed as a significant achievement that marks an environmental milestone towards clean, carbon-free off-grid working, in support of Network Rail’s target to reduce non-traction energy consumption by almost 20% and carbon emissions by 25% by 2024.  

Nick Matthews, Network Rail programme engineering manager, said: “In business improvement, generally a one or two percent gain is considered significant, so to achieve 97% at the first attempt is simply staggering. Saving close to 6,000 litres of diesel is the same as driving a family car at 40 mpg twice around the circumference of the world.

“It’s also very clear where we have learnt the lessons from Llanwern so we can close that small gap. We really want to get to that 100% fuel free-figure by the time of our next challenge, planned for a rail renewal project later in the summer.”

Solar lighting and power generation technologies were used across the site covering more than 21-acres. This included access roads, the welfare cabin area, car parking and the track working area itself, where the London to Cardiff main line meets the Llanwern steelworks spur, near Newport. The project spanned a period of 14 days leading up to and following 72-hour possession, with more than 70 rail staff employed on site. 

Three 25kW solar generators replaced conventional diesel generators providing light and heat for seven welfare cabins, including site offices, a canteen, toilets and a drying room.

A total of 21 solar tower lights illuminated the site compound, car parking and work preparation areas, as well as being deployed on the trackside, where 200m of battery-powered link lighting was also used and column street lights were positioned along the access road to the site.

Matthews continues: “It was just as important to explore and extend the range of renewable applications, including a new solar-powered camera security system. We were also able to demonstrate the versatility of using portable lithium battery packs, recharged as necessary from the solar generators to power dust suppression systems, water cooler stations and point motors.”

Using diesel generators to support rail renewal work has been the only option for reliable off-grid power. Now viable solar technologies are being seen as a vital contribution to non-traction carbon targets, as well as to reduce the noise, smell and air pollution from diesel exhausts, especially next to residential areas.

 “The environmental impact of running diesel generators all day on a major worksite like Llanwern is absolutely huge,” explains Matthews. “It’s not just about carbon emissions; our lineside neighbours are very important to us. By using solar harvesting, we’re not polluting their environment with unwelcome fumes and noise.”

Ryan Ballinger, production manager for Colas Rail, explains: “We have worked closely to drive the development of suitable on-site solar tower lights and walking lights.  Now at Llanwern we have been able to add solar generators for the first time and moving forward we want to add smaller plant and tools such as disk saws and band saws.

 “There’s no doubt these technologies are going to be a complete gamechanger. Now, we need to push on and get to the point where they are just business as usual.”

The Llanwern project not only provided feedback to help refine the solar and battery technologies, but also identified energy-efficiency initiatives that can contribute to 100% diesel-free operation.  


Maintenance company fined for Health and Safety failings

A telecommunication inspection and maintenance company has been fined after a forklift truck overturned during an unsafe lifting operation which could have exposed several workers to the risk of death or serious personal injury.

On 3 May 2019, Southend Magistrates’ Court heard that on 11 February 2017, two forklifts on Springwood Industrial Estate were being used to level a support column by repeatedly pushing it with one truck and then “catching” it with the other . This operation was high risk and one worker was left to carry out this unsafe work practice on his own.

As a result, the column rolled on its base and fell- pulling over the forklift truck it was attached to. The operator escaped injury as he was operating the other forklift truck at the time. The company then went on to use two forklift trucks to try to right the overturned truck which was also unsafe and put workers at risk.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Swann I&M Services Limited did not properly plan and supervise this lifting operation to ensure it was carried out in a safe manner.

Swann I&M Services Limited of Tonbridge, Kent pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and has been fined £54,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,442.80.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Tim Underwood said “The use of forklift trucks was both impractical and unsafe, putting workers at unnecessary risk. This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply having a competent person plan a safe lifting operation and providing adequate supervision to ensure the lifting operation was carried out safely. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

IP&E – 28.05.19

No exclusion zone allowed concrete pump hose to ‘whip round’ and kill worker

An Essex-based civil engineering firm has been fined after a construction worker was killed by concrete pumping hose.

Berth 7 at Trinity Terminal, Port of Felixstowe | Image credit:
Christine Johnstone (cc-by-sa/2.0)

The prosecution was brought following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which found RW Hill (Felixstowe) had failed to implement a danger zone around the hose.  The company pleaded guilty to breaching regs 15(2) and 15(8) of the Construction (Design and Management) 2015. It was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of more than £13,880 at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on 24 May. 

The court was told that RW Hill was the main contractor on the project to replace the roadway on berth 7 at the port’s Trinity Terminal. Two specialist companies had been subcontracted to pump and lay the concrete respectively.    

On 7 August 2015 the flexible delivery hose that was being used to pump concrete became momentarily blocked, then cleared under pressure, causing the pump to violently whip round, the HSE said.  Louis, who was employed by the concrete laying subcontractor, was killed and another worker sustained cuts and bruising.  

The HSE’s investigation found that RW Hill had failed to enforce an exclusion zone around the flexible delivery hose.  It found the company did not adequately supervise, instruct nor provide suitable information to subcontractors, and failed to monitor the pumping operations to ensure the ongoing safety of workers.  HSE inspector Glyn Davies said: “This tragic incident could easily have been prevented had the company involved acted to identify and manage the well-documented risks involved in concrete pumping by the implementation of suitable safe systems of work.  “As this case sadly demonstrates, poorly managed concrete pumping operations can and do kill construction workers when industry safety guidance is not followed.” 

In 2013 the HSE and the Construction Plant-hire Association published updated guidance on the safe use of concrete pumps following an increase in the number of accidents.  

The Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Concrete Pumps states that the diameter of the danger zone around a delivery hose should be “twice the length” of the hose itself.  “Until concrete is flowing smoothly out of the end of the delivery hose, or when a blockage occurs in the boom pipeline, all personnel should remain clear of the delivery hose and the placing boom,” it says.

Company and Director fined after ignoring HSE

A company and its Director have both been sentenced for failing to comply with health and safety legislation after being served with Improvement Notices.

Glamping Cocoon Ltd and its Director Nicholas Oaten were both sentenced for failing to comply with health and safety legislation after being served with Improvement Notices.

Beverley Magistrates’ Court was told how, on 20 March 2017, Glamping Cocoon Ltd was subject to an unannounced inspection as part of a targeted campaign of the woodworking sector. Four Improvement Notices were served requiring various matters to be rectified within a certain time. Following three extensions to the improvement notices, two notices remained outstanding months after the expiry date despite HSE attempts to work with the company to support improvements. The Improvement Notice relating to the assessment of risk to employees from exposure to noise remains outstanding, says the HSE.

Glamping Cocoon Ltd of Barmston Road, Beverley was found guilty of breaching Section 33 (1) (g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £5,506 in costs.

Director Nicholas Oaten of High Street, North Ferriby was found guilty to breaching Section 33 (1) (g) by Section 37 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Mr Oaten was fined £2,640 and ordered to pay £5,506 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Louise Redgrove commented: “Failure to engage with HSE exposes both employees and the business to risk. In this case health risks to employees from noise were not assessed or managed and the business will have to pay a substantial fine.

“The Company and director should have taken on board all the assistance available to them from HSE or obtained competent advice elsewhere. HSE will assist small companies but where there is a disregard for the law, specifically the requirements of Improvement Notices, prosecution will be sought.”

Two companies fined £310,000 over cladder’s 10 m fall

Principal contractor Weiser Construction had subcontracted Complete Cladding Systems to carry out roof repairs on a factory building in Mirfield, West Yorkshire

On 4 January 2016, roof sheeter Brian Robinson was fixing sheet metal cladding and capping to the gable end of an adjoining building. As he was tying the cappings to the roof, he fell to the factory floor below. 

Robinson sustained several fractures and underwent six operations to repair his leg and pelvis.  His legs struck a 2.4 m tall storage cage when he fell, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said.  Its investigation found the original scaffolding that had been erected on the roof was removed before the cladding works were complete.  

A Spandeck walkway with guardrails was the preferred control measure, the HSE said, but use of these boards meant workers could not fix the handrails in situ.  In addition, no safety nets were used on site.  

Weiser Construction, which has gone into liquidation, and Complete Cladding Systems pleaded guilty to breaching s 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and have been fined £145,000 and £165,000 respectively. They both must pay costs exceeding £5,000.  

HSE inspector Paul Thompson said: “Work at height, such as roof work, is a high-risk activity that accounts for a high proportion of workplace serious injuries and fatalities.  “This was a wholly avoidably incident, caused by the failure of the principal contractor to manage and monitor the works to ensure the correct work equipment was being used. This risk was further amplified by the cladding company’s failure to ensure suitable measures were in place to prevent persons falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.”

IOSH Magazine

Safe, Healthy and Sustainable travel has become more important for OSH roles

International trade and travel for work bring particular safety and health concerns, challenges and responsibilities for employers, managers and OSH professionals.

Vincent Ho – IOSH President

Ensuring people travel and do business away from home safely and healthily, effectively and sustainably, is becoming more significant to our OSH roles as we support the success of our organisations in going global. 

Although I am based in Hong Kong, my role and responsibilities as IOSH president take me all over the world. I recently returned from meetings and events in Singapore, and I will be attending the American Society of Safety Professionals’ Conference in New Orleans, in June, and speaking at the ASEAN HSE Excellence 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in July, as well as the National Safety Conference in Melbourne, Australia, in August. 

IOSH staff and volunteers also often attend events, conferences and strategic meetings in cities and countries worldwide. In mid-May, IOSH representatives met organisations and stakeholders that share our values, influencing good practice in very different economies and societies – from Baku in Azerbaijan, to Berlin, Brussels and Bulgaria in Europe, to Chicago in the US, and to Johannesburg in South Africa. 

As we collaborate to influence and enhance how organisations look after their employees worldwide, IOSH takes seriously its own duty of care. This is all consistent with our daily work as champion, supporter, adviser, advocate and trainer for OSH professionals in organisations of all sizes. 

How well we understand our duty of care for managing the health, safety and wellbeing of remote and distributed workers can reflect qualities we need when working with our supply chains, across borders and time zones

We anticipate potential hazards and risks to employees who work off site away from their colleagues, whether it is in their home country or overseas. For distributed and remote workers, we provide practical travel-safety support, as well as protect and promote their physical and mental health and wellbeing. Just as important is how we support and train line managers to do this as well. It is part of our duty of care.

You can also find good advice about this, including a toolkit, in our Out of Sight, Out of Mindreport and resources.

This year, our IOSH presidential team members are holding roundtable discussions with hundreds of directors of UK companies at Institute of Directors events. Two themes they are looking at are “The loneliness of the long-distance worker” and “Developing a robust supply chain”. 

There is a connection here with other ways in which we do business. 

Enhancing the “people” element of sustainability, alongside environmental and economic considerations, is a vital area where OSH professionals can work with others to develop new ideas and strategies.

I wish you safe travels and hope many of you will join me for IOSH 2019 at the ICC in Birmingham, UK, on 16-17 September.

IOSH Magazine

Fantastic delegate feedback!

Some fantastic feedback received from a delegate who attended and successfully completed the NEBOSH National General Certificate (Day Release) course.

“I just wanted to send you an email to say how much I enjoyed my NEBOSH training at The Mount School, Bromsgrove with Dave. It started on the 10th September and I’ve recently had my results – Pass with a Credit resulting in my promotion at work which I’m really pleased and excited about. Dave was really helpful and I really enjoyed the course and felt Dave’s guidance and approach really helped me”

One Great Course; Two Great Options

The NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health (NGC) sets the standard for managers, safety advisors and companies aspiring to health and safety management excellence.

This September we have two NGC courses being held: At our Southam venue we have the block release (Week 1: 10 – 14 Sept & Week 2: 17 – 21 Sept) course, and at our Bromsgrove venue we have the popular day release format delivered over 9 consecutive weeks every Monday with the examinations being held Friday 16 November 2018.

The decision is yours as to which format best suits your learning needs and that of your organisation.

We don’t just teach the course with the examinations in mind; we’ll give you the skills and toolkit to put what you’ve learnt in the classroom into practice in your workplace.

The door doesn’t close after the course finishes, as a KeyOstas student you become part of the family and we’re always here to help and assist you as you grow with your safety knowledge and responsibility.

For more information and to check availability please contact our sales team on 01926 813356 or email 

**SPECIAL OFFER** – NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety is established as a leading health and safety award for the construction industry. The course is aimed at Supervisors, Managers and CDM co-ordinators within the construction industry who are required to ensure that activities under their control are undertaken safely. This course will also prove useful for those concerned with the management of buildings who may need to ensure that contractors are working safely. The qualification is also appropriate for supervisors and managers working in other industries such as utilities, and even broadcasting, where temporary workplaces are a feature of their activities.

The NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety is a ten day endorsement for those who have gained the National General Certificate NGC1 (management element) within the past 5 years. If you haven’t already completed NGC1 (Management paper) or are out of time please contact us to discuss your options.

We would like to offer you a place on our forthcoming course starting 12th March at the special price of £995 (plus £66 NEBOSH Fee) + VAT. This represents a saving of £350 on our published price.

To take advantage of this offer please contact our sales team on 01926 813356 by Friday 9th March to secure your place.

Safety Day Success at Edgetech

On Friday 5th January 2018 Edgetech held their first Safety Day at their Coventry facility, working with their health and safety advisors, KeyOstas.

Michael Baker, Training and Advisory Manager at KeyOstas, explained ‘Initially discussions were held with Edgetech’s Operations Manager, Jason Blundred, to provide a short briefing session on Behavioural Safety, this developed into an idea to have a full day covering a total of 8 topics for the entire workforce to attend’.

Edgetech’s health and safety committee were involved to help decide on the subject matter to be covered on the day. KeyOstas provided 4 tutors to deliver each of the activities, and the workforce were divided into 4 groups rotating through each activity during the day’.

Activity 1 consisted of emergency procedures including incident reporting and investigation, Fork Lift Truck safety for drivers and pedestrians, and fire awareness including an evacuation drill.

Activity 2 was the original Behavioural Safety briefing which included the safety cycle, safety culture and human factors.

Activity 3 contained awareness sessions on manual handling, occupational health – focussing on specific site issues and PPE – the provision, use and defect reporting.

Activity 4 involved hazard awareness, perception of risk and the value of control measures. A hazard spotting exercise ended this session.

Each activity was designed to be interactive, with exercises, practical elements and group discussions. Specifically designed to be short awareness sessions, each of the four activities were scheduled to run for 90 minutes in four different locations within the facility, and each was followed by a break of either 15 minutes for tea / coffee or 30 minutes at midday for lunch, which was provided by Edgetech.

Jason Blundred, Operations Manager at Edgetech said :
“Thank you to the KeyOstas team for assisting us with our recent company-wide Safety Day. The day was well organised, material relevant and the session leaders had a professional but approachable and engaging presentation style which meant that all our staff remained attentive throughout. We had a few business specific requirements and areas we wanted to cover, and these were accommodated and presented effectively too. Feedback from staff following the event has been extremely positive. We would definitely recommend KeyOstas on-site safety training and look forward to working with them again in our business.”

Each attending staff member received a bound handout covering the material delivered on the day and a certification of attendance.

By working with Edgetech over a period of time, KeyOstas were able to develop and deliver a bespoke safety day that incorporated the clients policies and procedures. By doing so Keyostas were able to provide a solution that added value and relevance to the client, covering it’s complete business requirements in health and safety.  As a result this also enabled a larger return on investment by the breadth of subject areas covered.

If you feel that your company may benefit from the above or a bespoke solution please feel free to contact me at anytime.

Devon Glithero – Sales Manager
T:01926 813356/ 07714753362


KeyOstas delegate is top performing candidate for the NEBOSH Unit D 2016/17

We are delighted to have received notification from NEBOSH this morning that one of our delegates is the top performing candidate for the Unit D of the NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety during 2016/17. Our delegate will be presented with a Best Candidate Award for their Achievement at the NEBOSH Graduation and Awards Ceremony being held Monday 3rd July 2017 at the University of Warwick, Coventry.