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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

News from around the World

News Archive

July 2019

UK HSE releases annual workplace fatality figures for 2018/2019

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released its annual figures for work-related fatal injuries for 2018/19 as well as the number of people known to have died from the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, in 2017.

The provisional annual data for work-related fatal injuries revealed that 147 workers were fatally injured between April 2018 and March 2019 (a rate of 0.45 per 100,000 workers).

There has been a long-term reduction in the number of fatalities since 1981. Although 2018/19 saw an increase of 6 workplace fatalities from 2017/18, the number has remained broadly level in recent years.

Following the release, HSE Chair Martin Temple commented:

“Today’s release of workplace fatality statistics is a reminder that despite the UK’s world leading position in health and safety, we cannot become complacent as we seek to fulfil our mission in preventing injury, ill health and death at work.”

The new figures show how fatal injuries are spread across the different industrial sectors: Agriculture, forestry and fishing, and Construction sectors continue to account for the largest share of fatal injuries to workers (32 and 30 deaths respectively in 2018/19).

The figures also indicate those sectors where the risk of fatal injury is greatest: Agriculture, forestry and fishing and Waste and recycling are the worst affected sectors, with a rate of fatal injury some 18 times and 17 times as high as the average across all industries respectively (annual average rates for 2014/15-2018/19).

More information:

Event: UK National Hazards Conference

26-28 July 2019, Keele University, Stoke-on-Trent

The 2019 National Hazards Conference, billed as the UK’s “biggest and best educational and organising event for trade union safety reps and activists”, will be held in Stoke-on-Trent from 26-28 July. The theme this year is ‘Cleaning up toxic work’ in increasingly insecure workplaces.

Australia: Union wins inquiries into spate of mine deaths

The government in the Australian state of Queensland has announced two reviews of mining health and safety after a union called for a full inquiry into recent workplace deaths in the sector.

The mining union CFMEU called for an inquiry into deaths over the past two decades, as the industry reels from its sixth fatality in 12 months. Mine operator Golding Contractors ceased operations at its Baralaba North Coal Mine after a 27-year-old “experienced mining operator” was killed early on Sunday 7 July 2019.

Queensland mines minister Anthony Lynham confirmed the new reviews the following day. “Two expert independent reviews are now underway to identify changes needed to improve health and safety in the state’s mines and quarries,” he said. “I have broadened this review. It was originally coal mine incidents only to the end of 2018, but will now include mineral mine and quarry incidents, and all fatal incidents this year.”

More information:

Global: Samsung facing charges over ethics failures

Samsung Electronics could find itself in court in France for not abiding by its own ethics pledges, such as a ban on under-age labour and dangerous working conditions at its factories.

The prospect of legal action against the tech giant comes as a result of a complaint filed against the company’s French subsidiary by activist groups Sherpa and ActionAid France. An investigating magistrate in Paris has now filed preliminary charges, they said. The groups presented the court with evidence of human rights and safety abuses at some of Samsung’s factories in China, South Korea and Vietnam, breaching pledges that Samsung makes on its website. They argued that under French law such pledges are legally binding.

More information:

Germany: Unions want ‘siesta’ break during heat waves

The German trade union federation DGB has called for an extended lunch break for workers struggling to cope with record temperatures. The union body said it will press for workplaces in Germany to offer employees a siesta-style midday break while temperatures remained high.

“Southern countries already do it – during heat waves, we also need a siesta in Germany,” said DGB spokesperson Annelie Buntenbach. She said it was the employers’ responsibility to make sure workers had a place to recuperate during the hottest parts of the day. “It helps, for example, to have rest areas, where one can shut one’s eyes for an hour or so,” she said, adding that a proper siesta meant more than just the usual half an hour lunch break. She added people need “to turn off for a longer period of time” in periods of intense heat.

Last month, Germany saw the highest ever recorded June temperature, with the mercury reaching 38.9 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas. Several heat-related deaths were reported in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain as temperatures spiked.

UK Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group comment: Government risks missing ambition as rates of smoking during pregnancy not falling fast enough

New NHS data published 2 July 2019 shows that the Government is at risk of missing its target to reduce rates of smoking in pregnancy to 6% or less by 2022. The Annual Smoking at Time of Delivery (SATOD) data show there has been no significant decline in rates of women smoking over the last year, with prevalence at 10.6% for 2018/19 compared to 10.8% in 2017/18.

Just 28 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have met the Government’s 6% ambition and there remains substantial geographical variation with 8 CCGs reporting SATOD rates of over 20%.

Dr Clea Harmer, Co-Chair Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group and Chief Executive of Sands, said:

“Today’s figures show a worrying lack of progress in supporting all women to have smokefree pregnancies. Smoking is a leading cause of still birth and neonatal death and without urgent action the Government is at risk of missing not only the ambition of the Tobacco Control Plan but also its aim to halve rates of still births, neonatal and maternal deaths by 2025.

“The Challenge Group is calling for increased support for women from disadvantaged backgrounds where smoking in pregnancy rates are highest. This should include greater use of financial incentive schemes, supporting women between pregnancies and providing support to fathers and other household members.”

More information:

HSE Training and Events news

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has extended the HSE brand. Whilst HSE will continue to provide Guidance and Research on the main website to help you comply with health and safety law, it also offer paid-for solutions to help with your management of health and safety.

HSL products and services are now offered under the HSE brand and include:

Event: Developing Effective Procedures

24 July 2019, HSE Science centre, Buxton

Organisations commonly rely on procedures to control health, safety and business risks.

Procedures can only achieve this if they are well designed and people follow them; this is especially important when operating in safety critical environments.

On Wednesday 24 July HSE is running a brand-new course, ‘Developing Effective Procedures’ at its Science and Research Centre in Buxton, Derbyshire.

This one-day course will help delegates to develop effective procedures, or assess and improve existing ones, and achieve compliance with them. It focuses on safety critical activities that impact on occupational safety and major accident hazards.

Although aimed at managers, supervisors and technicians responsible for developing and using procedures in a variety of scenarios, the course will also benefit those who are required to follow safety-critical procedures.

More information:

New Reports and Books

Women’s health and safety at work: A guide for union reps, by Andrea Oates

The UK’s 15 million working women now make up around half the workforce. But the risks they face at work are often described as hidden or invisible, and “women’s work” is sometimes seen as safer. There are a number of reasons for this.

The UK labour market remains highly segregated on gender lines, with male and female-dominated occupations and sectors. For example, the charity Close the Gap, which works in Scotland on women’s participation in the labour market, found that around 80% of administrative and secretarial workers and those in personal service jobs are women. So too are 97% of childcare and early years education workers. In contrast, it found that less than three per cent of chartered civil engineers in Scotland are women. Women also account for just two per cent of construction apprentices, compared with 97% of childcare apprentices and 93% of hairdressing apprentices. At the 2018 Women’s TUC conference, train drivers’ union ASLEF reported that there were just 27 women freight train drivers in the whole of the UK.

More information:

Mental Health in the workplace: strategies and tools to optimize outcomes, by Michelle Riba and others

This book offers a guide to better understanding models of workplace mental health, as well as best practices for mental health professionals, employee assistance groups, employers and employees alike.

The cost of depression at the workplace is staggering, both in terms of absenteeism and productivity loss while at work, and in terms of human and family suffering. Depression is highly prevalent and affects employees’ concentration, decision-making skills and memory, contributing to accidents and quality issues. Analyses indicate that the returns on investment for workplace mental health programs are significant, with employers reporting lower productivity-related financial losses and less need staff turnover due to mental health conditions. The book also addresses substance use and misuse, and ways to address such problems.

More information:

Transformative Propaganda: Opening the archive of the British Safety Council by Mike Esbester

What do seat belts, life jackets and anti-jack knife technology have in common? They were all the subjects of campaigns run by the British Safety Council since its inception in 1957. James Tye, its charismatic founder and leader for nearly 40 years, created the British Safety Council to bring about a transformation in how Great Britain viewed safety and health. In 1957, hundreds, if not thousands, of workers were killed in accidents and James marshalled every conceivable technique to save lives, including PR stunts, training, lobbying for better laws and, crucially, what he called ‘propaganda’, in the form of posters and other communication tools.

In 2014, a long-lost collection of posters, papers and letters were found gathering dust in a warehouse. The British Safety Council, wanting to mark its 60-year history and its role in reducing deaths at work, decided to preserve the collection and commissioned historian Mike Esbester to trace the history of health and safety in Britain from the late 1960s through the posters and photographs of the time.

This book offers a fascinating and vivid insight into the social and political realities of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s through a wealth of historical documents, press cuttings, correspondence, photographs and posters. It offers a truly extraordinary window onto the evolution of health and safety within the UK and richly deserves a place on the bookshelf of every safety professional.

More information:

Bouncy castles: Safety advice

These simple precautions can help you avoid serious accidents, whether you supply bouncy castles and inflatables, or you are hiring one for your event.

Buying or hiring

If you’re buying or hiring an inflatable for private or public use, you should make sure it has either a numbered PIPA tag or an ADiPs declaration of compliance (DoC).

It should also have:

You can check that safety tests have been carried out and to find out what to do if the equipment has no tag on the PIPA website or no DoC on the ADiPs website.

Before anyone uses it

When it’s inflated and before you use it, carry out safety checks, which include the following:

Safe use and supervision

The operator should follow the instructions, including making sure:

Hirers and operators must follow our more detailed guidance.

More information:

UK slavery network ‘had 400 victims’

Members of a gang behind the biggest modern-day slavery network ever exposed in the UK have been jailed.

Police believe more than 400 victims were put to work in the West Midlands by the organised crime gang. They said one person injured while working was forced back to the factory without hospital treatment, suffering long-term health problems as a result. The gang tricked vulnerable people from Poland into England with the promise of work and a better lifestyle. But their victims were made to live in rat-infested houses and to work in menial jobs.

The modern slavery network collapsed when two victims fled their captors in 2015 and told slavery charity Hope for Justice of their ordeal. Victims had been transported to the UK by bus and forced to sleep up to four in a room in squalid homes around West Bromwich, Smethwick and Walsall. The slaves were made to work long days at rubbish recycling centres, farms and turkey-gutting factories and given as little as £20 a week by their captors.

More information:

HSE’s new Chief Executive - Sarah Albon

The UK 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 2019.

Sarah 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).

Further information about the HSE and its Board can be found at:

New Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Research Reports

RR1135 – Summary of the evidence on the effectiveness of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training in the workplace

The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training programme was first developed to train the public in providing help to adults with mental ill-health problems. Recently there has been an increase in undertaking MHFA training in workplace settings.

RR1144 – Measurements of burning rate and radiative heat transfer for pools of ethanol and cask-strength whisky

Large storage sites for alcoholic spirits are regulated under the COMAH Regulations by HSE, and the site operators require Hazardous Substance Consent to permit them to store these flammable liquids. HSE needs to consider the magnitude and extent of harm to people from potential incidents involving these substances, including that caused by thermal radiation from spirit fires.

RR1137 – A health risk assessment of working in hypoxic atmospheres

Hypoxic atmospheres - those in which the ambient oxygen level is lower than normal – may be specifically generated in some workplaces, particularly for fire prevention. Such atmospheres potentially present a health risk to workers who are required to enter the hypoxic space. This report reviews the impact of hypoxia on human physiology, behaviour, and cognitive function, in order to provide information about the potential occupational health risks arising from working in hypoxic atmospheres.

RR1141 – Comparative analysis of manual handling practices in kerbside collection of recyclable waste

Government targets for reducing waste going to landfill have led to an increase in the processing of domestic waste to reclaim recyclable materials. Manual sorting tasks can occur at the kerbside during waste collection and, if poorly designed, can introduce manual handling risks.

RR1146 – Measuring and controlling emissions from polymer filament desktop 3D printers

Affordable desktop 3D printers are being widely used in businesses, schools and colleges. Some of these printers use filaments to deposit polymer through a heated nozzle to build three dimensional objects. This type of desktop printer is generally unenclosed and some published studies have raised concerns that they may release potentially harmful fumes and particles. The scientific evidence base on exposures and potential health endpoints is being developed internationally.

Taking action to climate-proof our work #CPOW

People from around the world have been participating 17 June 2019 international day of action to “climate-proof our work”. Together with their unions, workers from over 1,000 workplaces from dozens of countries are getting involved in the first event of its kind.

“Workers recognise the existential threat that is before us and the need for action. We are challenging business models and providing the momentum to align them with the transition effort. Amid the growing anxiety, we are reaching out to businesses to build together a net-zero future from the ground up,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

Climate scientists have given the world until 2030 to stabilise the planet with a maximum 1.5 degree temperature rise. More than 83 million climate refugees are now on record as fleeing from disaster or loss of livelihoods.

“Workers and employers want a sense of security, and climate change is a driver of a more uncertain future for us and our families,” read the initial letters sent to employers. People were encouraged to ask their bosses three questions: Do you measure CO2 emissions? Will we have net-zero emissions by 2050, or have a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030? What will we do to get there?

“Getting all hands on deck to face off the climate crisis requires a just transition. That means planning, with short-, medium- and long-term objectives as well as a robust monitoring framework. It means consultation, with workers having the right to know about how and when the transition will take place at their workplace level. It means training, so that people build on their skills and are equipped to contribute to a sustainable world of work,” explained Burrow.

While feedback from the ongoing action continues to come in, initial indications suggest that employers have been receptive to meeting on the issue. Dialogue is the first step for unions, who are committed to achieving sustainable jobs on a living planet. A number of global mobilisations will take place around the UN Climate Summit on Monday 23 September, starting with a global student strike on Friday 20 September and culminating with a global day of action on Friday 27 September.

News from HSE

HSE has published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2018/19 highlighting varied achievements over the last year.

Three new non-executive director HSE Board appointments have been confirmed by the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions.

UK Consultation Launch: Building a Safer Future

On 6 June 2019 , the UK Government launched its consultation on Building a safer future: proposals for a reform of the building safety regulatory system following the Grenfell Tower tragedy and Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.

The consultation builds on the recommendations from the Hackitt Review and proposes fundamental reform of building safety requirements so that residents are safe, and feel safe, in their homes.

To coincide with the consultation, the UK Home Office has published a Call for Evidence on the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This is the first part of a process to ensure that the Fire Safety Order is fit for purpose for all buildings it regulates.

Both consultations close on 31 July 2019.

Working Platforms

Temporary Works forum (TWf) has published free to download guidance on Working Platforms - Design of granular working platforms for construction plant: A guide to good practice.

Temporary granular platforms for construction plant (including haul roads and general hard standings) are a necessary feature of almost all construction sites but the need to ensure they are adequate for the intended use is often overlooked. This guidance is intended to supplement current guidance.

Event: From Age Management to Life Course Management

27-29 August 2019, Kurhotel Skodsborg, Skodsborg, Denmark

Best practices in age management embrace organizational level actions, such as age-friendly HR-policy together with individual level career management approach, such as enhancing employees’ preparedness to manage their own career (e.g. skills, work ability and employability). This comprehensive approach requires more resources and know-how of organizational actors but will yield greater benefits than narrower one measure approaches alone.

Course objectives

This course will focus on life-course management concept and practices in work organizations comprising not only organizational level activities, such as top management, HR-policy and line-management practices, but also individual level activities, such as peer-support groups, self-help tools and work ability coaching.

The purpose of the course is to provide participants clear insights of current empirical evidence of effectiveness of organizational and individual level activities in supporting longer and better working careers among employees with all ages. Participants will gain understanding of theoretical background concepts and their practical application in form of concrete tools for work organizations as part of life-course management practices.

Target group

HR-professionals, managers, occupational health professionals, occupational safety officers, work ability coordinators, as well as researchers interested in interacting with enterprise level actors.

More details:

Event: Physical Exercise at the Workplace – from research to practice

10-12 September 2019, Hanaholmen, Helsinki area, Finland

Musculoskeletal disorders such as back and neck-shoulder pain is a major problem in the working environment and is associated with reduced work ability and sickness absence. Physical exercise at the workplace – and especially simple strength training exercises, e.g. with elastic bands – have shown promising results in preventing and reducing musculoskeletal pain and improving work ability in different occupational groups. Several factors are required for a successful implementation of physical exercise at the workplace.

Course objectives

The objective of the course is to provide the participants with theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience on how to design, perform and evaluate workplace interventions for increased physical exercise and reduced sitting time for improved musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health.

More details:

Event: IOSH19 – For the practitioners, the leaders and the innovators in safety and health

16-17 September 2019, ICC, Birmingham

Join the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health at IOSH 2019, the global conference for safety and health professionals.

Attend this year’s conference to:

More information:

Event: The 11th British Safety Council Annual Conference – health, safety and wellbeing in the modern workplace

16 October 2019, Congress Centre 28 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3LS

Is your organisation prepared to manage health and safety effectively in a rapidly changing environment? There are significant challenges on the horizon for businesses in the UK. British Safety Council conference features expert speakers, case studies and thought leadership sessions to help you and your business prepare for the challenges ahead.

Book your place now

Book now for the early bird price of £175 exc. VAT for members and £195 exc. VAT for non-members until Friday 6 September 2019.

Who should attend?

From CEO to beginner, wherever you stand on the spectrum of HSE, the conference has something of interest for you.

More information:

Events: Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents Occupational Safety Training events

Looking for affordable, reputable occupational safety training?

As the UK’s leading safety organisation, RoSPA’s wide range of occupational safety training courses reflects our passion, expertise and leadership in the area. In fact, last year alone RoSPA has trained more than 10,000 delegates – many returning again and again.

RoSPA’s trainers are our biggest asset. Not only health and safety experts – they also know how to engage with delegates to get the very best results.

If you think you can’t afford safety training, you certainly can’t afford an accident - the financial benefits alone may far exceed the initial outlay for essential safety training, while the focus on employee safety and health demonstrates your dedication to staff welfare.

More details:

New Research Paper: Cyber Insurance for Civil Nuclear Facilities – Risks and Opportunities

This paper sets out a roadmap for how organizations in the civil nuclear sector can explore their options and review their cyber risk exposure.

Civil nuclear facilities and organizations hold sensitive information on security clearances, national security, health and safety, nuclear regulatory issues and international inspection obligations. The sensitivity and variety of such data mean that products tailored for insuring the civil nuclear industry have evolved independently and are likely to continue to do so.

‘Air-gaps’ – measures designed to isolate computer systems from the internet – need to be continually maintained for industrial systems. Yet years of evidence indicate that proper maintenance of such protections is often lacking (mainly because very real economic drivers exist that push users towards keeping infrastructure connected). Indeed, even when air-gaps are maintained, security breaches can still occur.

Even if a particular organization has staff that are highly trained, ready and capable of handling a technological accident, hacking attack or incidence of insider sabotage, it still has to do business and/or communicate with other organizations that may not have the essentials of cybersecurity in place.

Regardless of whether the choice is made to buy external insurance or put aside revenues in preparation for costly incidents, the approach to cyber risk calculation should be the same. Prevention is one part of the equation, but an organization will also need to consider the resources and contingency measures available to it should prevention strategies fail. Can it balance the likelihood of a hacker’s success against the maximum cost to the organization, and put aside enough capital and manpower to get it through a crisis?

All civil nuclear facilities should consider the establishment of computer security incident response (CSIR) teams as a relevant concern, if such arrangements are not already in place. The existence of a CSIR team will be a prerequisite for any facility seeking to obtain civil nuclear cyber insurance.

Preventing attacks such as those involving phishing and ransomware requires good cyber hygiene practices throughout the workforce. Reducing an organisation’s ‘time to recovery’ takes training and dedication. Practising the necessary tasks in crisis simulations greatly reduces the likelihood of friction and the potential for error in a crisis.

Full paper:

New Book: Solving Cyber Risk – Protecting Your Company and Society

The non-technical handbook for cyber security risk management Solving Cyber Risk distils a decade of research into a practical framework for cyber security. Blending statistical data and cost information with research into the culture, psychology, and business models of the hacker community, this book provides business executives, policy-makers, and individuals with a deeper understanding of existing future threats, and an action plan for safeguarding their organizations. Key Risk Indicators reveal vulnerabilities based on organization type, IT infrastructure and existing security measures, while expert discussion from leading cyber risk specialists details practical, real-world methods of risk reduction and mitigation.

By the nature of the business, your organization’s customer database is packed with highly sensitive information that is essentially hacker-bait, and even a minor flaw in security protocol could spell disaster. This book takes you deep into the cyber threat landscape to show you how to keep your data secure.

New Book: The Cybersecurity Playbook: How Every Leader and Employee Can Contribute to a Culture of Security

The real-world guide to defeating hackers and keeping your business secure. Many books discuss the technical underpinnings and complex configurations necessary for cybersecurity – but they fail to address the everyday steps that boards, managers, and employees can take to prevent attacks. The Cybersecurity Playbook is the step-by-step guide to protecting your organisation from unknown threats and integrating good security habits into everyday business situations. This book provides clear guidance on how to identify weaknesses, assess possible threats, and implement effective policies. Recognizing that an organisation’s security is only as strong as its weakest link, this book offers specific strategies for employees at every level.

Drawing from her experience as CMO of one of the world’s largest cybersecurity companies, author Allison Cerra incorporates straightforward assessments, adaptable action plans, and many current examples to provide practical recommendations for cybersecurity policies. By demystifying cybersecurity and applying the central concepts to real-world business scenarios, this book will help you: