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January 2020

UK safety charity responds to workers’ rights and building safety announcements in Queen’s Speech

Responding to the Queen’s Speech, RoSPA chief executive Errol Taylor said: “We were pleased to hear that the Government is set to create new measures to protect tenants through building safety.

“Given the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017, these measures inevitably focus on fire prevention. However, it is important to remember that for every fire-related hospital admission in England, there are more than 200 that are caused by accidental falls. These falls could be prevented by zero and low-cost design features and specifications. We must take this opportunity to not only protect residents from fire but also the other, far greater numbers of deaths and serious injuries that are caused by falls.

“We urge the Government to consider adopting measures outlined in RoSPA’s Safer by design framework. It provides house builders, architects, housing associations and others with financially- and practically-viable options for designing out the causes of falls and other accidents, which occur at huge rates amongst the population, not least to the most vulnerable – older people, the very young, and the poorest.

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The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) could be building up to take legal action against an organisation for failing to manage work-related stress, according to a UK government advisor on mental ill-health.

HSE had been expected to attend the Health and Safety Lawyers Association annual conference, where panellists were invited to discuss wellbeing, stress, mental health and the future of regulation among other topics. But owing to the general election, a speaker could not attend.

However, Dr Paul Litchfield, chair of the UK’s What Works Centre for Wellbeing, stepped in to share his views on what can be expected in the future from HSE and stress.

Explaining how he has heard that HSE inspectors are being given training in the stress management standards and how to enforce them, he commented: “That would suggest to me that the HSE is gearing up for a potential prosecution.”

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UK Rail staff volunteer one million hours to support Samaritans

In the lead up to Christmas, the season of giving, the rail industry has big updates from the Million Hour challenge volunteers who have pledged one million hours to help the Samaritans.

Earlier this year, Ian Prosser, HM Chief Inspector of Railways, ORR Director of Safety announced that over the next five years employees will volunteer with the charity in a call to prevent rail-related suicides.

IOSH is pleased to report that new figures released by Network Rail show a 20% increase in the number of times the public has acted to prevent suicide in the rail environment.

Network Rail, The British Transport Police and the Transport for London are just a few of those supporting the Million Hour Challenge: uniting the rail industry.

Mental health is of particular concern in the rail industry, where the rate of suicide in the workforce is 1.6 times higher than the UK average, and 60% of workers have experienced mental health issues.

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Event: IIRSM Annual Conference 2020

Thursday, 26 March 2020, London, UK

IIRSM’s conferences always feature a programme with a difference – a new perspective, fantastic speakers and practical takeaways.

Their next annual conference is no exception. In 2020 they look at the importance of encouraging everyone within an organisation to take responsibility for managing the risks it faces. How do we build leadership capability in ourselves and others and create a climate of empowerment and a workplace community that is supportive and able to understand, communicate and manage the risks that we face in today’s world of work?

Speakers will share their knowledge and provide practical and transferable tools and techniques that delegates can take back to their workplace to improve their culture and processes.

The conference will conclude with a complimentary networking drinks reception.

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Diana Memorial Playground ranked among the best playgrounds in England

Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens, one of London’s eight Royal Parks, was named as one of the best playgrounds in England at the first-ever Play Value Awards, held at the RoSPA Play Safety Conference 2019.

The awards recognise excellence in the provision of children’s playgrounds, with the quality and variety of play opportunities being assessed. The winner was chosen by an open vote by delegates at the conference, most of whom manage playgrounds on behalf of local authorities or charities.

The Diana Memorial Playground is instantly recognisable because of the huge wooden ship, inspired by the children’s novel Peter Pan, at its centre. The playground is also home to a sensory trail, tepees, and a whole host of tactile objects. The Diana Memorial Playground receives more than a million visitors a year and is free to access.

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RoSPA launches unintentional product-injuries survey

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has launched a survey to find out more about the causes of the hundreds of thousands of unintentional injuries that happen in the UK every year.

RoSPA’s survey – to be delivered online and in hospitals and GP surgeries across the country – will be gathering data specifically with regards to those injuries caused by everyday household items and consumer products, and will help to fill a huge gap in unintentional injury data.

At present, no detailed data collection process exists for the thousands of life-ending or life-changing accidents that happen every year, which place huge burdens on our health and social care services, and cause heartache for those affected.

It is hoped this pilot survey will enable safety and public health practitioners and authorities to develop programmes that can tackle accidents caused by products.

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Watson joins fire dog detectives Sherlock and Simba

A new four-legged trainee has joined the ranks of London Fire Brigade’s dog detectives.

Watson the English springer spaniel is going through an intensive training programme with the hope he will be put to work alongside his canine colleagues Sherlock and Simba early next year.

In a first for the Brigade, Watson has come from a litter bred by the Metropolitan Police Service and has been gifted as part of a blue light collaboration scheme. Watson in turn, can look forward to a career of helping both the police and LFB, by sniffing out evidence of arson.

The one-year-old pooch was officially handed over to Fire Investigation Officer Darren Woodhams, who will be his handler, at the force’s dog training establishment in Keston on Wednesday (18th).

Fire Investigation dogs are trained to detect the presence of ignitable liquids at fire scenes, which are known as target substances. They will identify an area of interest, which is then documented before samples are taken for analysis by police. As well as sniffing out crime, the fire investigation dogs are also ambassadors for the Brigade, promoting fire safety messages to a wide range of communities.

Watson was initially selected by the Metropolitan Police Service based on his drive for play. His intensive reinforcement training programme rewards him with a tennis ball each time he detects one of his target substances.

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London Fire Brigade responds to Whirlpool washing machine recall

Following the announcement that Whirlpool are recalling 500,000 faulty washing machines, London Fire Brigade’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner Charlie Pugsley said:

“We have highlighted the issue of door switches causing fire in different white goods to Whirlpool, Government and in our evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, so we are pleased to hear that Whirlpool have decided to take the step to get these potentially lethal washing machines out of people’s homes. We would like to reiterate Whirlpool’s advice that anyone with an affected machine should unplug them and not use until the fault has been fixed.

“Our Total Recalls campaign is calling on the government and manufacturers to implement a number of changes to make white goods safer including a centralised database to make it easier for consumers to know whether they have a recalled appliance.”

Total Recalls safety advice

Nearly one fire a day in London involves white goods such as dishwashers, washing machines, tumble dryers, fridges and freezers. Here are some simple things you can do to keep yourself safer.

6 firefighters tips for safer whitegoods

  1. If your white goods start making a strange noise, don’t ignore it – if you suspect there might be a problem, always unplug it and contact the manufacturer or a qualified repair technician.
  2. Check your appliances haven’t been recalled – most fires, where white goods are the source of ignition, are not down to anything you’ve done. The most important thing you can do to make sure you’re safe is to regularly check your appliances haven’t been recalled. This can be more difficult than it sounds. At the moment, you need to check the Government’s product recall site, the manufacturer’s website or Electrical Safety First’s recall register.
  3. Always keep your white goods in a safe place out of the way – don’t be tempted to put that freezer in the hallway. If a fire does break out in your home, you need all escape routes to be clear.
  4. Fit smoke and heat alarms – fit an alarm in every room where a fire could start, and make sure they are tested regularly. Find out more about smoke and heat alarms here.
  5. Register your appliance – by registering your appliance, you’ll be informed if the manufacturers identify any issues with the product you have bought.
  6. Take action for everyone – if you really want to make lasting change that could make us all safer, support our campaign today.

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Northern Ireland Quarry Workers five times more likely to die from COPD

A Quarry Worker is five times more likely to die from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), than a worker in the general population.

These are the shocking figures which were recently communicated during 12 workshops delivered by HSENI Inspectors to the Quarry Industry across Northern Ireland. Workshops were hosted by the Quarry Industry and supported by the Mineral Products Association and the Institute of Quarrying.

These workshops are part of HSENI’s focus on occupational health in the quarry industry and highlight the potential for quarry workers to be robbed of their old age and retirement. Workshops were attended by approximately 150 quarry workers from around 80 quarries.

Workers have been instructed on the importance of taking protective measures to look after their lungs. Whilst COPD is the main killer, other respiratory diseases can stem from exposure to dust such as silicosis, lung cancer and impact on other vital organs.

Safeguarding health requires cooperation between the employer and employee with health surveillance and good communication between both parties essential.

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Bangladesh: Second deadly factory fire in days

At least 10 workers died and several others were injured in a fire at fan factory outside Dhaka after the compound was hit by a deadly blaze on 15 December 2019.

The latest tragedy came only days after 17 people died in another factory fire. In the latest tragedy, rescuers found the bodies in the charred structure. It was not immediately clear how many people were on the premises when the fire took hold.

On 11 December 2019, a fire ripped through an illegal plastics factory, which was also located near Dhaka. The blaze, possibly started when flames from a gas stove reached highly flammable production materials, killed 17 people and injured 35. Police said they would press murder charges against the factory owners.

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India: Government inaction criticised after factory tragedy

A deadly factory fire in Delhi on 8 December 2019 exposes the vulnerability of India’s informal workforce as well as the government’s passive attitude towards workers’ safety, unions have said.

At least 43 people died in the fire, 39 from asphyxiation. Most of the victims were young migrant workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the poorest provincial states in India. The fire spread quickly due to the large amount of flammable materials used to make toys, jackets, school bags and paper.

Victims could not escape from the four-storey building as materials blocked the exits. The illegal factory did not have the necessary permission from the fire safety department. The building did not have enough ventilation or a fire safety plan.

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Global: Tech giants sued over child Mining deaths

The world’s largest tech firms are being sued by Congolese families who say their children were killed or maimed while mining the cobalt used to power smartphones, laptops and electric cars.

Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla have been named as defendants in a lawsuit filed in Washington DC by human rights firm International Rights Advocates on behalf of 14 parents and children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The lawsuit accuses the companies of aiding and abetting in the death and serious injury of children who they claim were working in cobalt mines in their supply chain. The families and injured children are seeking damages for forced labour and further compensation for unjust enrichment, negligent supervision and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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Event: Engineering Solutions for Fire Protection of Cultural & Heritage Sites

3-4 June 2020, Rome, Italy

The world has been astonished by the destructive fires that have occurred recently at the Brazilian National Museum in September 2018, Notre Dame in April 2019, and Shuri Castle in Okinawa, in October 2019. SFPE is organizing a symposium in Rome to discuss adequate fire protection engineering solutions that should be adopted to avoid future catastrophic fires.

Join industry leaders and cultural organizations from across the world on June 3-4, 2020 at Istituto Superiore Antincendi, and help in the protection of our cultural and heritage sites.

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Event: Safety & Health Expo 2020

19-21 May 2020, ExCeL London, UK

Register for your free ticket.

Safety & Health Expo takes place on 19-21 May 2020 at ExCeL London, UK alongside a family of events attracting tens of thousands of engaged visitors each year: IFSEC International, FIREX International, Workplace Wellbeing Show, Facilities Show, Intelligent Building Europe, Counter-Terror Expo, Ambition, and Forensics Europe Expo.

Registration is open now, so sign up today to make sure you become part of this unique global conversation.

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FRS inspections 2018/19 – tranche 3

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services has published the third, and final tranche of the first independent inspection into fire and rescue services (FRSs) for 12 years. There are 15 reports in this release (the first 14 reports were published in December 2018, and the next 16 in June 2019).

Services were assessed against the following areas:

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Improving health and safety at work: European Council adopts conclusions

The European Council has adopted conclusions inviting the Commission to present a new EU strategic framework on occupational safety and health (OSH) at work for 2021-2027, and offering the Council’s input into that strategic framework.

The conclusions recognise that some positive results have been achieved, as many member states have adopted national action plans based on the existing framework. The Commission, the member states and social partners are invited to intensify their efforts in the area of the changing world of work, including on:

In particular, the Council states the following in order to address the challenge of the changing world of work:

Suggestions are also put forward with respect to:

The Council invites the Commission to adopt a new EU Strategic Framework on Occupational Safety and Health for the period 2021 – 2027, paying particular attention to the challenges identified in these conclusions.

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