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December 2019

RoSPA safety and health charity welcomes Baroness Jolly as President

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has welcomed Baroness Jolly as its new President.

She was elected to the position at the family safety charity’s annual general meeting in Birmingham on 15 November 2019 and succeeds Lord McKenzie of Luton, who held the post for six years.

Baroness Judith Jolly is a Liberal Democrat life peer and a champion of the health agenda. Baroness Jolly made her maiden speech on health within a week of being introduced to the House of Lords in 2011.

Since then, she acted as co-chairman of the Health and Social Care Team in the coalition government, became a government whip with responsibilities for Health, Defence, Equalities, and Culture, Media and Sport, and became health and social care spokesperson after the general election in 2017. At present, Baroness Jolly serves as a health spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords.

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Event: Westminster Health Forum policy conference – Reducing health inequalities in England

Morning, Tuesday, 10 March 2020, Central London

Learning from local approaches, supporting system-wide collaboration, and next steps for policy

This conference will assess next steps for reducing health inequalities in England.

It is timed to follow the publication of Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On and will bring together key stakeholders and policymakers to discuss the way forward for system-wide collaboration to tackle health inequalities and close the life expectancy gap between the richest and poorest in society.

There will be keynote contributions from: Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology and Director, Institute of Health Equity, University College London and Professor Paul Johnstone, Regional Director, North of England, Public Health England – as well as from Sara Bainbridge, Head of Policy and Influence (Health and Care), Macmillan Cancer Support; and Kevin Holton, Head, Experience of Care and Equalities and Health Inequalities, NHS England.

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Event: Toxic Products – Management, Mitigation and Emergency Preparedness

16 December 2019, London, UK and via LIVE WEBCAST

This full-day Technical Meeting is organised jointly by FABIG and the European Process Safety Centre (EPSC) as one of a number of collaborative activities taking place during the last quarter of 2019 to facilitate the cross-sharing of knowledge between Members of the two safety-focused industry groups.

Register for the event:

Record high stress shows UK bosses need to fix bad jobs

The root causes of record high levels of stress-related ill-health at work must be tackled by employers, the TUC has said.

The union call came as latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics revealed a shocking 602,000 workers in Great Britain are now suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety, with workload cited as the most common cause.

The TUC’s Kathryn Mackridge said we spend a significant amount of our adult life at work, with UK workers working longer hours than any other country in Europe. In a blog posting, the policy officer added the rise in insecure work can impact on workers’ stress levels, mental health and wellbeing. She warned young workers could be particularly at risks as they are overrepresented in low-paying jobs and insecure work, such as zero hours contracts, agency and casual work.

TUC figures show 40 per cent of workers on agency contracts or in casual work are aged 16–24, and 36 per cent of workers on zero hours contracts are aged under 25. She added employers are increasingly signing up to “awareness days” and “wellbeing initiatives” without investing in the resources, policies and training to support the workers being harmed by bad management practices.

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Stark warning to employers on the cost of work stress

Employers must ensure that they are investing in their people rather than paying lip service to addressing work-related stress, a mental health charity has warned.

James Rudoni, managing director of Mates in Mind was commenting after new Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures revealed work-related stress, depression or anxiety was at an all-time high. HSE said it now accounted for 44 per cent of all work-related ill-health cases. The human cost of these trends “cannot be ignored,”

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Working at heights: information from the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Employers and those in control of work at height must first assess the risks.

Before working at height, you must follow these simple steps:

You should:

Much more information and advice from HSE on Working at Heights:

Union calls for safety assurances after theatre ceiling collapse

Theatre technicians’ union Bectu has said it will work with its sister unions and a theatre owner to ensure safety is prioritised after several audience members were injured when a London theatre’s ceiling collapsed.

The incident occurred at the Piccadilly Theatre during a 6 November 2019 performance of Death of a Salesman starring US actor Wendell Pierce. The collapse, which led to the performance being abandoned and over 1,000 people being evacuated from the venue, is believed to have been caused by a water leak.

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Drone registration scheme will help improve safety, say the UK pilots

UK pilots’ union BALPA has said a new drones registration scheme will help improve safety in the air.

Under the new arrangements, UK drone pilots have until the end of November to register their details with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The mandatory requirement to register covers owners of drones or model aircraft weighing more than 250 g. Owners of unregistered drones could then face the threat of a fine. As well as the CAA drone registration scheme, drone users must also take an online test.

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Australia: Another state to get a safer silica standard

Workers exposed to silica dust in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) will be protected by a new, more stringent exposure standard, the state’s government has announced.

NSW minister for better regulation and innovation Kevin Anderson said the initiative is good news for those working in the manufactured stone, sandstone stonemasonry, as well as the tunnelling and domestic construction industries.

“To reduce the possible exposure to silica dust, the NSW government will support SafeWork Australia’s recommendation to reduce the Australian Workplace Exposure Standard from 0.1 to 0.05 mg/m³, and will also support SafeWork Australia undertaking further research on whether a reduction to 0.02 mg/m³ is achievable,” Mr Anderson said.

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) continues to defend its 0.1 mg/m³ limit, a position strongly criticised by workplace health advocates and unions.

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