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January 2020

Contents
  1. Exhausted bus drivers prepare for strike action
  2. Electric bus sound could pose dangers warns Unite
  3. Fire Brigades Union (FBU) response to the Grenfell tower Inquiry Phase 1 Report
  4. UK Hoax ambulance calls are stressing out call handlers
  5. Teaching union launches new work health drive
  6. Suffering stonemason’s plea for action on deadly silica dust
  7. Investing in worker health leads to ‘productivity boost’
  8. Making women visible in health and safety
  9. UK Government announces building safety reforms
  10. New UK publications on Fire
  11. Cambodia: Concern as building collapse kills 36 workers
  12. Canada: Mountie’s suicide exposes ‘deficient’ management
  13. USA: Call for employers to act on work suicides
  14. UK safety charity responds to workers’ rights and building safety announcements in Queen’s Speech
  15. Prosecution for work-related stress “just matter of time”, law event hears
  16. UK Rail staff volunteer one million hours to support Samaritans
  17. Event: IIRSM Annual Conference 2020
  18. Diana Memorial Playground ranked among the best playgrounds in England
  19. RoSPA launches unintentional product-injuries survey
  20. Watson joins fire dog detectives Sherlock and Simba
  21. London Fire Brigade responds to Whirlpool washing machine recall
  22. Northern Ireland Quarry Workers five times more likely to die from COPD
  23. Bangladesh: Second deadly factory fire in days
  24. India: Government inaction criticised after factory tragedy
  25. Global: Tech giants sued over child Mining deaths
  26. Event: Engineering Solutions for Fire Protection of Cultural & Heritage Sites
  27. Event: Safety & Health Expo 2020
  28. FRS inspections 2018/19 – tranche 3
  29. Improving health and safety at work: European Council adopts conclusions

Exhausted bus drivers prepare for strike action

UK Bus drivers’ union Unite is warning that London could face gridlock if exhausted bus drivers have to resort to industrial action later this year.

The union is preparing for a consultative ballot of over 20,000 members employed as London bus drivers later this month and, provided a yes vote is secured, a full industrial action ballot will then follow. Unite is demanding that London bus operators and Transport for London (TfL) take decisive action to tackle the chronic levels of fatigue being experienced by bus drivers.

It is sharply critical of individual bus operators who have suggested that the solution is simply about ensuring drivers get more sleep. Unite is instead demanding a ‘revolution’ in how bus driving is scheduled to ensure that drivers can finish on time, are able to utilise all of their breaks, work to proper schedules, have enough running time to complete their journey, are treated with respect and receive proper training.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-930-18-january-2020#_Toc29892592

Electric bus sound could pose dangers warns Unite

The new sound chosen for London’s electric buses creates dangers for road users and pedestrians as it sounds nothing like a traditional bus, the drivers’ union Unite has warned.

The sound, which is being trialled this month, has been described as “like a spaceship”. Unite says the reason given for adding an artificial sound is that electric buses are very quiet and so can potentially pose dangers for blind and partially sighted pedestrians.

The union says it was consulted last year on some potential sounds for London buses, but ‘firmly rejected’ the selected option because it did not sound like a bus. No further consultation took place and Unite, which represents over 20,000 London bus drivers, was not aware a trial of the “spaceship” sound would begin in January.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-930-18-january-2020#_Toc29892593

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) response to the Grenfell tower Inquiry Phase 1 Report

The Fire Brigades Union has welcomed the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, but has criticised the chair’s suggestion that a mass evacuation would have been straightforward on the night. The union’s detailed response to the Inquiry’s phase one report also says “personalised” criticism of individual firefighters and control staff “detracts from the real failures” at Grenfell.

The union’s official response urges the Inquiry to go further in its recommendations, applying those directed at the London Fire Brigade to all fire and rescue services in the UK and calls for the Inquiry to be more critical of government-mandated evacuation guidance.

In December 2018, the FBU called for a national review of evacuation policies in its closing submission to the Inquiry, which the government ignored. More than one year on, this work has only just begun.

The FBU has also criticised the Inquiry’s failure to make any recommendations on the width of the staircase at Grenfell Tower, which caused problems on the night, or to recommend a ban on building materials below Class A1 fire-resistance, as suggested by the inquiry’s expert witness Dr Barbara Lane.

The union strongly criticises the Inquiry for the suggestion that an evacuation would have been straightforward on the night and that it would have saved more lives, a conclusion reached without evidence from the inquiry’s firefighting expert, Steve McGuirk.

More information: https://www.fbu.org.uk/news/2020/01/24/fire-brigades-union-detailed-response-grenfell-phase-one-report

UK Hoax ambulance calls are stressing out call handlers

Ambulance trusts have been flooded with at least 42,000 hoax calls in just three years leaving overloaded staff stressed out, a GMB investigation has revealed.

Responses to Freedom of Information Act (FOI) requests by the union also revealed more than 2,000 calls that were classed as ‘vexatious or abusive’. One trust – South Central Ambulance Service – refused the request, meaning the true number could be even higher.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-930-18-january-2020#_Toc29892598

Teaching union launches new work health drive

Scottish teaching union EIS has published a new resource to promote health and wellbeing for teachers.

It says its online guide is intended to support the union’s current Time to Tackle Workload campaign. EIS said excessive workload demands are one of the most frequently cited concerns amongst Scotland’s teachers. It said its survey last year found 88 per cent of respondents reported that their stress levels had either stayed the same or increased over the past year, while 76 per cent said that they felt stressed either ‘frequently’ or ‘all of the time’ in their jobs.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-930-18-january-2020#_Toc29892601

Suffering stonemason’s plea for action on deadly silica dust

A UK former stonemason suffering from lung disease is calling for the UK national authority The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to introduce a tighter occupational exposure standard for crystalline silica dust.

In 2014, David Wood was diagnosed with silicosis, a condition caused by inhaling crystalline silica dust that leads to hardening and scarring of the lungs. Batley resident David, 64, who had worked in several quarries and stone yards across West Yorkshire, was forced to retire aged 59 when his health deteriorated. He has now joined with his legal team from the personal injury law firm Irwin Mitchell in calling for stricter occupational exposure limit for silica dust to prevent others from suffering the life-threatening condition.

David said: “I had to retire in 2014 after my diagnosis and I have found it incredibly hard coming to terms with the fact that I can no longer work as I used to really enjoy it. Retirement is not something that I ever considered as stonemasonry was always in demand. I hoped to go on for a lot longer.”

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-930-18-january-2020#_Toc29892604

Investing in worker health leads to ‘productivity boost’

Over 90 per cent of companies investing in employee health and wellbeing have seen workforce productivity increase and an improvement in workforce relations, research by the manufacturing employers’ group Make UK has found.

The lobby group also found the same proportion of employers “are investing in professional occupational health (OH) services, including counselling, health screening and mental-health first aiders.” Make UK said against an “alarming backdrop of ever-increasing skills shortages, rapid technological change and an ageing workforce, manufacturers are investing more than ever before in their employees’ health and wellbeing.

Counselling, health-screening and mental health first aiders are the norm in factories across the UK with modern and flexible working opportunities sitting at the heart of British industry.” It added: “This investment in people has brought with it a boost in productivity for 90 per cent of manufacturers along with improvements in workforce relations. Manufacturing companies also saw a reduction in absenteeism alongside a strengthening of staff retention as a return for wellbeing spend on staff.”

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-930-18-january-2020#_Toc29892605

Making women visible in health and safety

Greater efforts are needed to make sure occupational risks to women are taken into proper account, the global food and farming union federation (IUF) has said.

It says while trade unions help make workplaces safer and healthier for all workers, women and men, “women’s occupational health and safety (OHS) is neglected, putting workers at risk of injury and ill-health.”

Launching its new guide, IUF notes: “Many women trade union members have raised concerns that health and safety issues particularly affecting women at work (such as gender-related violence, pregnancy, menstruation and menopause) are not being adequately addressed.”

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-930-18-january-2020#_Toc29892611

UK Government announces building safety reforms

The government has announced a package of building safety reforms designed to raise standards and improve the pace of change. The announcement follows the tragedy at Grenfell Tower in 2017, in which 72 people lost their lives.

A significant measure is the establishment of a new Building Safety Regulator within the Health and Safety Executive, initially in shadow form pending legislation. The Building Safety Regulator will provide effective oversight of the design, construction and occupation of high-risk buildings, and publish consolidated guidance for building owners. The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government will also take forward immediate action to appoint a Chief Inspector of Buildings. Dame Judith Hackitt will chair a board to oversee the transition a more stringent regime for higher risk-buildings. Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, also announced plans to name building owners publicly where action to remediate unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding has not started.

The government’s consultation on sprinklers and other measures for new build flats concluded on 28 November 2019. It has proposed lowering the height threshold for sprinkler requirements in new buildings (from 18 m to 11 m) and will set out detailed proposals on how the government will deliver the technical review of fire guidance in February. The government has also launched a consultation into the current combustible cladding ban, including proposals to lower the 18 m height threshold to at least 11 m.

The government has further set out details of the upcoming Fire Safety Bill being introduced to Parliament, which has been formulated in response to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s Phase 1 recommendations. The Bill will aim to clarify the scope of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – the ‘Fire Safety Order’ – to put beyond doubt that building owners, or managers of multi-occupied residential buildings of any height, are required to consider fully and mitigate the fire safety risks of any external wall systems and front doors to individual flats.

More details about the government’s new measures to improve building safety standards are available on the following UK Government websites:

New UK publications on Fire

The following will be of interest to all readers with responsibility for fire in their workplaces.

Fire prevention plans: environmental permits, Guidance, 9 January 2020, Environment Agency

Research and statistics

  1. Fire statistics guidance, 16 January 2020, Home Office, Statistical data set
  2. Fire statistics data tables, 16 January 2020, Home Office, Statistical data set
  3. Fire statistics incident level datasets, 16 January 2020, Home Office, Statistical data set
  4. Response times to fires attended by fire and rescue services: England, April 2018 to March 2019, 16 January 2020, Home Office, Official statistics
  5. Fire and rescue workforce and pensions statistics: England April 2018 to March 2019 second edition, 14 November 2019, Home Office, Official statistics

See more research and statistics in this topic

Policy papers and consultations

  1. Fire safety: risk prioritisation in existing buildings – a call for evidence, 20 January 2020, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, Open consultation, Closing date 17 February 2020
  2. Proposed fire and rescue services inspection programme and framework 2020/21, 22 October 2019, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, Closed consultation, Date closed 29 November 2019
  3. Sprinklers and other fire safety measures in new high-rise blocks of flats, 5 September 2019, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, Closed consultation, Date closed 28 November 2019
  4. Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report: government response, 21 January 2020, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and Home Office, Policy paper
  5. Building regulations and fire safety: government response to the Select Committee report, 21 October 2019, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, Policy paper

More Fire Prevention and Rescue policy papers and consultations

Cambodia: Concern as building collapse kills 36 workers

The collapse of a seven-storey building in the small coastal town of Kep in Southern Cambodia on 3 January 2020 has killed 36 workers, authorities have confirmed. The incident came just over six months after the collapse of a building in the Cambodian town of Sihanoukville that killed 28 people.

“We want to express our sincere condolences to the families of those who perished in this tragic accident which can have been avoidable had institutional safety measures been put in place,” said Ambet Yuson, general secretary of the global construction union federation BWI. “We strongly call on the government of Cambodia to work closely with the Building and Wood Workers’ Trade Union Federation of Cambodia (BWTUC) to hold those responsible accountable and to increase and strengthen safety and health inspections to prevent further accidents across the country.”

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-930-18-january-2020#_Toc29892613

Canada: Mountie’s suicide exposes ‘deficient’ management

An internal report that reviewed the suicide death of a constable in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and its aftermath has concluded the force doesn’t know nearly enough about the problem of suicide in the ranks.

Jean-Pascal Nolin – a father of two who had served nearly 12 years with the force – died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on 17 March 2016. Nolin’s suicide came more than a year after he took part in the police response to a fatal Parliament Hill shooting in Ottawa in October 2014.

An internal report on his death, its aftermath and the underlying factors found the RCMP lacks awareness about Mountie suicides – and its ability to prevent suicides in the ranks probably falls short as a result. “Sadly, the force must sometimes learn and grow in the wake of a tragedy,” noted the report, obtained through an access to information request. “The fact that the employer has not developed a strategy to closely monitor and adequately detect any decompensation in its employees’ mental health contributed to putting Nolin at risk.”

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-930-18-january-2020#_Toc29892614

USA: Call for employers to act on work suicides

A trio of US advocacy groups is calling on employers to take a proactive role in suicide prevention in the workplace.

The National Guidelines for Workplace Suicide Prevention were developed by the American Association of Suicidology, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and United Suicide Survivors International – with input from experts, union and safety leaders and workers who have experienced a suicide crisis on the job.

In 2018, the groups conducted an online survey of 256 people from 41 states and found that 46 per cent of the respondents said they knew at least one friend, co-worker or family member who had attempted suicide, while 43 per cent reported having lost at least one friend to suicide. Additionally, a 2018 analysis from the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that suicides among the US working age population rose 34 per cent from 2000 to 2016.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-930-18-january-2020#_Toc29892615

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.

More information: https://www.rospa.com/Media-Centre/Press-Office/Press-Releases/Detail?ItemID=891

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.”

More information: https://www.britsafe.org/publications/safety-management-magazine/safety-management-magazine/2019/prosecution-for-work-related-stress-just-matter-of-time-law-event-hears

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.

More information: https://www.iosh.com/more/news-listing/rail-staff-volunteer-one-million-hours-to-support-samaritans

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.

More information: https://www.iirsm.org/events/annual-conference-2020

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.

More information: https://www.rospa.com/Media-Centre/Press-Office/Press-Releases/Detail?ItemID=890

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.

More information: https://www.rospa.com/Media-Centre/Press-Office/Press-Releases/Detail?ItemID=884

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.

More information: https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/news/2019-news/december/watson-joins-fire-dog-detectives-sherlock-and-simba

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.

More information: https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/news/2019-news/december/brigade-responds-to-whirlpool-washing-machine-recall

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.

More information: https://www.hseni.gov.uk/news/quarry-workers-five-times-more-likely-die-copd

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.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-928-21-december-2019#_Toc27738762

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.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-928-21-december-2019#_Toc27738763

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.

More information: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/risks-928-21-december-2019#_Toc27738764

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.

More information: https://www.sfpe.org/mpage/Rome2020

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.

More information: https://www.safety-health-expo.co.uk

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:

More information: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/news/news-feed/frs-inspections-2018-19-tranche-3-service-press-releases

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.

More information: https://www.shponline.co.uk/occupational-health/improving-health-and-safety-at-work-council-adopts-conclusions