Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

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News Archive

October 2005

Accidents and Agenda: new report from the Royal Academy of Engineering

The Royal Academy of Engineering has just published a report, Accidents and Agenda, that highlights the UK's relatively low incidence of major industrial and transport accidents (excluding road transport) but examines improvements to the established culture that can be made if the demands of the future are to be met.

The working group looked at seven industrial sectors: aviation, rail, chemical, construction, marine, nuclear and offshore oil and gas, commissioning individual reports by experts in each sector. It questioned, but ultimately endorsed, the UK's current post-accident processes and sees no need for a radical change. It does, however, recommend that the Attorney General consider how the process of deciding whether to prosecute and whether the police or another agency should lead a particular accident investigation could be made faster and more transparently. As a default before decisions are taken on prosecutions we recommend that the HSE, or the appropriate Accident Investigation Branch, should be the lead investigative agency in all major accident situations. The primary aim of any post-accident investigation must be to allow accidents with similar causes to be prevented in the future and this starts with an objective and thorough investigation.

The current UK accident rate is not a given or stable state. The increasing use of software to control plants and equipment makes understanding the associated risks of departures from the normal more difficult. Systems may behave unexpectedly when stressed in certain ways or operators may do things unintentionally that create instability. Meeting these challenges requires better education.

It used to be almost sufficient for engineers to receive one burst of formal education and then to rely on experience - but this is no longer the case. Experience still has its own value but designing, applying and managing complex computer control systems require focused education. We believe that all engineers who aspire to professional qualifications should receive formal safety management and accident prevention training before they qualify plus formal education in the safety aspects of particular systems before they are expected to use them operationally.

The working group felt that the acid test is whether we prevent future accidents by applying what we have learnt. In the major incident area there is evidence that we do. In aviation a constant stream of innovations traces much of its background to accidents around the world. The Piper Alpha disaster and the subsequent public inquiry brought fundamental changes to the offshore oil and gas industry. However, a vast amount of indifference to learning and improvement still persists. Accidents happen time and again for reasons that we have already seen explained and understood. Better approaches to learning from the misfortunes of others are needed, from both actual accidents and from incidents that had safe outcomes - but might not have done. Alongside this we need to improve the culture of safety in companies and learn more generally that short cuts in safety are dangerous, expensive and bad for business.

Accidents and Agendas was compiled by an Academy working group comprised of:

The work of the group has been materially assisted by other advice and we should like to mention particularly:

The Academy has taken a keen interest in matters of public and industrial safety, in particular through its statement on the safety of Ro-Ro ferries in 1995 and its then President's report to the government on rail safety systems in 2000 following the Ladbroke Grove train crash.

Further details:

www.raeng.org.uk/news/publications/list/reports/Accidents_and_Agenda.pdf

www.raeng.org.uk/news/publications/list/reports/Accidents_and_Agenda_Full_Sector_Reports.pdf

Strong unions needed to tackle workplace injuries, new report claims

Workers are paying a high price for successive governments' drives to 'deregulate' business, a new report from the Crime and Society Foundation claims on Monday, 17 October 2005.

According to the report, Criminal Obsessions, more than a thousand employees die from occupational fatalities each year, and hundreds of thousands are injured. Yet health and safety inspections are low and successful prosecutions lower still. The report argues that greater employee protection would most likely come about through a stronger union presence in the workplace and increased business regulation

Another chapter in the report reveals that people living in the poorest neighbourhoods are nearly six times more likely to be murdered than those living in the richest areas. And while the richest members of society are now less likely to be murdered than was the case in the early 1980s, the poorest in society are far more likely to be murdered. This inequality in life chances is related to the social and economic polices of successive governments over the past twenty years, which have seen the gap between rich and poor increase, the chapter argues.

More generally, this innovative and groundbreaking report challenges conventional thinking that sees the criminal justice system as effective in preventing and tackling crime. The narrow focus on particular categories of crime deflects attention from other more socially damaging harms, the report authors argue. And the increasing dependence upon the criminal justice system to address the visible symptoms of society's ills obscures our understanding of the social and economic remedies to those ills.

Professor Steve Tombs of Liverpool John Moores University, author of the chapter on workplace deaths and injuries, said, 'Criminal law, if it were actually enforced can help reduce the scale of death, injury and disease caused by work. But this would take an enormous hike in resources and a radical shift in the regulators' mindset. The most effective improvements in health and safety at work have been, and will continue to be, secured by genuinely empowering those who face risks on a day-to-day basis - workers and their representatives.'

Professor Daniel Dorling of the University of Sheffield, author of the chapter on murder, said, 'The rate of murder in the Britain can be seen as a marker of social harm. The rate has risen most for those demographic groups and in those areas, for whom and where people have become relatively poorer over time. The rate of murder represents the tip of an iceberg of violence.'

Christina Pantazis of the University of Bristol, and joint author of the report said, 'A social harm approach might allow greater consideration to be given to appropriate policy responses for reducing levels of harm. The aim should be to reduce the extent of harm that people experience from cradle to grave. On almost any publicly stated rationale upon which legitimacy has been sought for them, criminal justice systems are ineffective in achieving this.'

Richard Garside, director of the Crime and Society Foundation, said, 'Certain individual crimes, and certain categories of crime, tend for all sorts of reasons to grab our attention. The result is that we overlook crimes and other harmful behaviours that are actually far more damaging to our society. To redress this imbalance we need to address our obsession for applying criminal justice solutions to complex social problems and develop a broader perspective on what actions and activities cause the most harm and damage.'

The Crime and Society Foundation is a social policy and criminal justice think tank based at the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King's College London. The Foundation stimulates debate about the role and limits of criminal justice and enhances understanding of the foundations and characteristics of a safer society.

Crime and Society Foundation, 26 - 29 Drury Lane London WC2B 5RL | Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 1698 | Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 1686 | info@crimeandsociety.org.uk | www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/harmandsocproject.html

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JISHA 2005

The latest Annual report from the Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association (JISHA) shows that the number of Japan's work related accidents has been on a downward trend for decades, annual statistics show 1,620 deaths, the smallest number in the country's history.

But the lack of safety awareness on the part of many companies, has severely been called into question.

JISHA's many activities to promote good health and safety standards are reported in the Report.

With these projects, JISHA will accelerate the introduction of an occupational safety and health management system (OSHMS), forward the zero accident drive, promote the Total Health Plan (THP), back up safety and health measures at small and medium-sized enterprises, and furnish the latest information about safety and health.

To read more and about other JISHA activities see the Annual report and contact: Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association, 5-35-1 Shiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0014 Japan | Tel/Fax: +81 3 3454 4596 | Email: kokusai@jisha.or.jp | www.jisha.or.jp

Corporate Manslaughter is the topic of Mike Welham's talk at EurOhse2005 conference

Michael Welham is a director with Total Control Risk Management. He was first employed with military special-forces before working in industry both in the UK and many parts of the world. His skills were utilised as joint expedition organiser for the Norman Croucher Peruvian Andes Expedition. Following a period with Britoil Plc, a major oil and gas exploration and production company, he joined the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as an operational inspector.

In addition to managing a team of inspectors, he was a member of the HSE 'Manslaughter at Work' Project Group. He has a wide experience of working with senior and middle management, supervisors and the workforce of small, medium and large undertakings in matters of safety in the workplace.

Mike is a Fellow of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, a Fellow of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management, a Member of the Expert Witness Institute and a Registered Safety Practitioner. In addition to his work activities he is a Justice of the Peace. He is the author of Tolley's Corporate Killing: A Manager's Guide to Legal Compliance, and co-author of The Poacher and the Gamekeeper - Leadership for Risk Management in Occupational Health and Safety.

So if you want to update your current OSH knowledge then take some time to attend EurOhse2005 conference: creating a winning OSH culture that will be held on Wednesday, 30 November 2005 and Thursday, 1 December 2005 at the Stratford Manor Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire UK. This is the third year for the popular EurOhse conferences organised by Angel Business Communications Ltd and Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd.

This conference is especially relevant for anyone seeking to be up-to-date in the latest occupational safety and health (OSH) legislation, trends, arguments, thinking, emerging technologies, strategies and also offers excellent networking opportunities.

Two days of in-depth analysis of key issues affecting the OSH WORLD!

And why not come a day earlier to the Masterclass on Fire Risk Assessment and Business Continuity Planning and Management

This One-day Masterclass is to be presented on Tuesday 29 November 2005 at the Stratford Manor Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire by Les Moseley - Director of the Coventry Centre for Disaster Management and Programme Manager - University of Coventry, UK and Dennis Davies CBE, OStJ, QFSM, CEng, CCMI, FIFireE(Life), MEI - Independent Fire Adviser - International Committee for the Prevention and Extinction of Fire (CTIF) and formerly HM Chief Inspector of Fire Services, Scotland.

The Masterclass aims to build on existing knowledge and skills in Risk and Hazard Analysis for Fire Risk Assessment and develop further knowledge in Continuity Planning.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of the workshop participants will have:

The Masterclass is aimed at:
OSH managers, risk managers and emergency and business continuity planners in industry, commerce and local and central government.

Content of the day:

We look forward to hearing from you with your booking for these events, apply online or contact:

Stephen Whitehurst or Jesse Bhadal, Angel Business Communications Ltd, 34 Warwick Road, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 1HE, UK | Tel: +44 (0) 1926 512424 | Fax: +44 (0) 1926 512948 | email: stephen@angelbc.co.uk or jesse@angelbc.co.uk
For details of all the speakers and the programmes see www.eurohse2005.com

HSE announces launch of Ladders week - 14-18 November 2005

Last year 13 people died from falls while working on a ladder, and over 1200 people suffered major injuries. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced a national initiative to promote safe use of ladders. Beginning on 14 November 2005, the initiative includes a week of events when HSE inspectors will work with ladder users and their employers, look at the current use of ladders and suggest sensible measures to improve safety.

Ian Greenwood, HSE Falls from Height Team Leader, said: "With a little more planning and assessment of the risks, understanding of the limitations of ladders, proper maintenance and checking that users are competent, many of these accidents could be avoided".

"A major injury, such as a broken bone or fractured skull, can often be a life changing event for the person concerned and their family. Quite apart from the personal suffering, an injury of this sort can adversely affect earning power and job prospects for a long time after the accident."

During Ladders Week 14 -18 November each HSE local office is organizing its own events, many in partnership with trade associations, local employers and equipment hire companies. These events include Safety and Health Awareness Days, practical demonstrations of alternative equipment to ladders and breakfast meetings with employers and health and safety professionals.

To coincide with Ladders Week, HSE will be producing free guides to help raise awareness of the risks associated with ladder use and giving advice on how to use them safely.

Further information to help people who work at height, employers, and others with responsibilities under the law, is available free on the HSE website www.hse.gov.uk/falls

The website includes a number of "from experience" case studies of falls from ladders, together with advice on the precautions that should be taken to prevent such accidents.

Falls from height are the number one cause of workplace deaths and one of the main causes of major injury in the workplace. Almost a third of falls are from ladders.

The aim of Ladders Week is to increase general awareness of the risks involved in ladder use and promote sensible health and safety. Subject to evaluation, HSE plans to hold similar initiatives in May 2006 and in 2007.

Information about events during Ladders Week and contact details for more information will be available on the HSE website from the beginning of November. Alternatively, information is available from local HSE offices whose contact details are on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/contact/maps

The key points to achieving increased ladder safety are:

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 came into force on 6 April 2005. The Regulations introduce a hierarchy for use when planning and risk assessing work at height. Duty holders should consider how to avoid work at height. If this is not possible, they should take steps to prevent a fall occurring. Where they cannot eliminate the risk, they should take steps to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall.

A ladder should only be used where a risk assessment demonstrates that the task is low risk and of short duration, or where there are existing features on site that cannot be altered and the use of other equipment is not practical. Such features include restricted space preventing other equipment from being put in place correctly or ground conditions that mean that there is no suitable area to set up alternative equipment.

HSE has published a brief guide to the Work at Height Regulations 2005 www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg401.pdf

The Framework of Actions on Gender Equality

The Framework of Actions on Gender Equality has been produced by the European Social Partners UNICE/UEAPME, CEEP and the ETUC and approved by the ETUC Executive Committee. The Framework of Actions highlights the ongoing inequality between women and men across the EU, in the family, the workplace and society at large and argues that overcoming this inequality will accelerate the implementation of the Lisbon strategy aims for economic growth, the creation of more and better jobs for all, and increased social cohesion.

The Social Partners identified four priority areas that required particular attention and action in each of the member states: addressing gender roles; promoting women in decision making; supporting work/life balance and tackling the gender pay gap. The Social Partners have requested that the national social partners (such as the TUC and the CBI) to disseminate the Framework of Actions widely, and to draw up a national annual report on progress in each of the four priority areas. It is anticipated that the annual report will be required in Spring 2006. The impact of the Framework of Actions will be evaluated after four annual reports have been submitted.

Copies can be downloaded from: www.etuc.org/IMG/pdf/framework_of_actions_gender_equality_010305-3.pdf

Annex of the case studies: www.etuc.org/IMG/pdf/Annex_fram_of_actions_gender_equality_0103051.pdf

Ban Bullying at Work Day, 7 November 2005

The TUC is supporting 'Ban Bullying at Work Day' on 7 November. The event is to raise awareness of workplace bullying and to try to ensure that employers take responsibility for tackling bullying in the workplace. The day has been organised by the Andrea Adams Trust, the main charity dealing with tackling bullying at work. The trust is providing activity packs and related materials. TUC says unions can use the day to raise awareness, survey members or even seek agreement with employers on preventing bullying.

TUC bullying resources

OSH UPDATE keeps everyone informed and healthily and safe

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Sheila Pantry OBE BA FCLIP, Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd, 85 The Meadows, Todwick, Sheffield S26 1JG, UK | Tel: +44 (0) 1909 771024 | Fax: +44 (0) 1909 772829 | Email: sp@sheilapantry.com | www.sheilapantry.com | www.oshworld.com | www.shebuyersguide.com | www.oshupdate.com
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NIOSH website on Asthma and Allergies Prevention of Occupational Asthma

This Web site is designed as a resource for individuals interested in the prevention of occupational asthma (OA). This introductory page will guide you through the information that can be found on the site.

www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/asthma/OccAsthmaPrevention.html

A+A 2005: Safety Solution for head to toe protection

This year's most important trade fair for Personal Protective Equipment and Occupational Safety, the "A+A 2005" www.AplusA-online.de, will take place with the slogan "Safety + Health at Work" between 24th to 27th October 2005 in Düsseldorf / Germany.

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