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February 2018

Fire lessons not learned in new sprinkler-free schools

UK Ministers have been accused of a “shockingly cavalier” approach to fire safety after it emerged some new schools are being built without sprinklers. Since 2010, just 35 per cent of new schools have been fitted with sprinklers. The revelation has prompted union leaders to write to education secretary Damian Hinds to demand action.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and the National Education Union (NEU) say the Grenfell Tower fire “should have been a defining moment” on fire safety, but they warn a rush to build new schools cheaply is instead driving decisions. Andy Dark, FBU’s assistant general secretary, said: “The government’s attitude toward fire safety is shockingly cavalier. Sprinklers play an important role in preventing the growth of fire, limiting damage to buildings and saving lives.” He added: “The cost of fitting sprinklers represents a very low investment when weighed against the potential threat to life, the damage to buildings and the disruption of children’s education if there is a fire in a school. It is essential that the government act immediately to make it a legal requirement for sprinklers to be fitted in all new school buildings.”

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UK TUC alert on soon to be launched safety standard ISO 45001

A new international occupational health and safety (OHS) management standard which was heavily criticised by unions throughout the drafting process is due to be launched in March 2018. The International Organisation for Standardisation’s (ISO) certifiable ISO 45001 standard will replace the non-certifiable British standard OHSAS 18001.

The UK TUC is calling for unions to be vigilant as the ISO standard rolls out. “It is likely to be most commonly used in multinational corporations that will seek to have a standard OHS system across the entire globe.”

The TUC remains concerned about flaws in the standard, notably the absence of rights to necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) without charge, to refuse dangerous work with protection from victimisation and to OHS training in work time, all of which are in International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards.

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Hazards Campaign resources for 28 April 2018 International Workers’ Memorial Day

The national UK Hazards Campaign has produced new resources for International Workers’ Memorial Day, including commemorative purple ‘forget-me-knot’ ribbons, ‘union workplaces are safer workplaces’ car stickers, ‘organising for safety’ high-vis waistcoats and free posters. The campaign says safety reps can make use of the resources in preparing for their 28 April event.

More information:

See also the website created by Sheila Pantry OBE for Workers’ Memorial Day in conjunction with RoSPA:

Health and Safety Executive Science Division experts offer Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention Training

Bespoke in-company training for your organisation – HSE Science Division experts are in the unique position of having investigated hundreds of slipping accidents, and developed much of HSE’s guidance on managing slip risk. The experts have turned this knowledge into a unique one-day training course which is based on this front-line, practical experience of what goes wrong.

This training will focus on helping your employees understand the causes of slips, trips and falls, and highlight successful interventions that offer a great starting point for organisations looking to reduce falls.

Organisations that have received HSE slips, trips and falls prevention training courses have reported a reduction in incidents of up to 50%. The changes you need to make to prevent slips are often simple and inexpensive, once you understand the causes.

For more information on the work of the Health & Safety Laboratory including the training courses visit

Event: LPG Europe 2018

7-8 March 2018, Lisbon, Portugal

Have the opportunity to hear latest updates on the industry’s latest challenges and business opportunities and on LPG global supply and demand trends, bio LPG projects in Europe & newest technology advancements.

Booking includes attendance of the two-day conference, all speakers’ presentations, lunches and networking opportunities as well as documentation from the event.

All details and to book online

Event: The Future of Food Safety Conference – Hygiene and supply chain solutions

17 May 2018, The University of Salford

The Food Safety Conference will be where leading experts discuss the latest developments in the industry. Discover the latest innovations in hygienic food storage and transportation, identify the strengths and weaknesses in your organisation’s food safety strategy and learn how to check if your supply chain is delivering secure and sustainable products.

Discussion Points:

More information:

Event: Fire Information Group UK (FIG UK) celebrating its 30th Anniversary with a seminar “Mind the Gap”

11 October 2018

Book the date in your diary or calendar

The programme is being confirmed and list of speakers will be available shortly.

Meanwhile contact FIG UK Co-ordinator:
Sheila Pantry OBE BA FCLIP, IOSH Lifetime Achievement Award winner 2013
Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd, Sheffield S26 1JG, UK | Tel: +44 (0) 1909 771024 | Email: |

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UK Gig economy action not the ‘giant leap’ needed

The UK TUC has said the government action on gig worker rights is only ‘a baby step – when it needed to take a giant leap’, with 1.8 million workers left without key protections.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced this week the government is to give gig economy workers new rights, including holiday and sick pay, for the first time. Its Good Work plan is in answer to last year’s Taylor Review which recommended changes in conditions to reflect modern working practices.

The government has accepted most of the review’s recommendations. It adds it is going further than the Review’s recommendations by enforcing holiday and sick pay entitlements, giving all workers the right to demand a payslip, and allowing flexible workers to demand more stable contracts. It will also monitor and report on the quality as well as the quantity of jobs in the economy and take steps to make sure flexible workers are aware of their rights.

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Sexual harassment is rife in hospitality, survey shows

Nine out of 10 hospitality workers have experienced sexual harassment at work, according to the preliminary finding of a new survey by the UK based Unite. The initial findings of the union’s #NotOnTheMenu survey reveal that of those respondents who had experienced sexual harassment, 56.3 per cent said that they had been targeted by a member of the public and 22.7 per cent said that they had been harassed by a manager. Around half of workers who had been harassed said that the experience made them want to leave their job and made them feel unsafe and less confident at work.

The preliminary results indicate 84.7 per cent of hospitality workers had witnessed sexual harassment of other people. Over threequarters (77 per cent) did not know if their workplace had an anti-sexual harassment policy in place and 60 per cent were unsure or lacked faith in their management to deal with a complaint of sexual harassment. Unite said its survey, which has attracted hundreds of responses to date, is running until mid-February. Unite is hopeful that the recent media coverage of the issue inspired by the FT’s undercover Presidents Club investigation will encourage workers in hospitality from across the UK to participate in order to expose and tackle such abuses.

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UK Employers urged to let staff ‘rest’ during working day

Workers should be given places to rest at work to help boost productivity, according to new official guidance. Downtime at work can help employees switch off and get better quality sleep at night, says Public Health England (PHE), adding better sleep maintains cognitive function in employees, as well as cutting health risks. Companies should encourage better “sleep hygiene”, the public health body adds.

Central to ‘Sleep and recovery: A toolkit for employers’, produced by Business in the Community in association with PHE, “is the recommendation that businesses create an understanding environment, where employees can be open with their managers about any sleep-related issues that are hampering them at work,” notes PHE in a blog post. “That way line managers and employees can identify the risks to health and wellbeing in your workplace together and gather the right information to help you put plans in place to manage risks. This can be especially important when changes to your work schedule or significant changes like organisational restructuring are planned. The new sleep toolkit takes businesses through this process, with information on the importance of sleep, the business case for good sleep and actions which address the causes of sleep deprivation in employees.”

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New fire books

Enclosure Fire Dynamics, Second Enclosure Fire Dynamics, Second Edition

Enclosure Fire Dynamics, Second Edition explores the science of enclosure fires, and how they cause changes in the environment. The authors discuss mechanisms for controlling enclosure fires, and how to develop analytical relationships useful in designing buildings for fire safety.

Derivation of equations from first principles is shown, stating assumptions and showing comparisons to experimental data. The text provides readers with the skills needed to solve a range of engineering equations and models. Enclosure Fire Dynamics, Second Edition will enhance the knowledge of fire protection engineers, researchers, and investigators, and help build a strong foundation for engineering students.

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Fire Precautions: A Guide for Management

This title written by Colin S. Todd was first published in 2000. This new text tackles the allied subjects of fire prevention, fire protection and fire safety management and takes account of changes to the building regulations and associated guidance in England and Wales which apply from 1 July 2000.

The approach adopted is to divide the subject of fire safety into a number of discrete components, for example: fire prevention; means of escape; emergency lighting; fire safety signs; and fire detection and alarm systems.

The section of legislation has been extensively revised to take account of the major changes which have taken place since the first edition in 1992. Intended for the non-specialist, the book provides comprehensive guidance on all aspects of fire safety, constituting a reference for health and safety practitioners, facilities managers, building managers, building service engineers and others with responsibility for fire precautions in buildings. It may also be used as an introductory resource for fire safety professionals.

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London School of Economics says: “Union protection is ‘best antidote’ to sexual harassment”

Unions play a crucial role in empowering workers to resist sexual harassment, London School of Economics (LSE) researchers have found. LSE professors Sarah Ashwin and Naila Kabeer found organisations working in partnership with local trade unions or worker representatives are more likely to succeed in addressing sexual harassment and violence.

They say global codes of conduct, by comparison, have proven ineffective. “Where legal protection is weak or absent, a code of conduct will clearly be harder to enforce. But even in the presence of a suitable legal framework, a code of conduct is not a very effective tool for redressing a power imbalance,” they note in an LSE blog.

But unions did work, they said, citing research by Tufts University. This found that collective bargaining agreements had a direct impact on reducing concerns regarding sexual harassment and verbal abuse, improving worker satisfaction with the outcomes of complaints and encouraging workers to raise concerns with trade union representatives.

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