Button Battery safety campaign

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is again raising awareness of the potential hazards posed to children by button batteries, which have become commonplace in our homes.

Working with The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, the Child Accident Prevention Trust, and the British and Irish Portable Battery Association, OPSS has produced safety messages on how to keep children safe.

Larger lithium ‘coin cell’ batteries (about the size of a five pence piece) are the most dangerous

Smaller batteries can be inserted into places such as ears and noses, causing serious injuries for children if undetected.

Store spare batteries securely

Store spare button batteries securely and out of children’s reach. Be careful when opening multipacks of button batteries to ensure they do not fall on the floor.

Know what products use button batteries

Ensure that you know what gadgets and toys use button batteries and check that the button battery compartment is secure. Put products with unsecured button batteries out of children’s reach. Under product safety regulations, button battery compartments in toys are required to be secured.

Educate older children about button batteries

Communicate with older children about the dangers of button batteries including why they should not play with them or give them to younger children.

Discard dead button batteries straightaway

Dead button batteries can still have enough power to badly hurt a small child. When you remove a button battery, store it securely, and recycle it properly and promptly.

Act promptly if you suspect a child has swallowed a button battery

If you think your child has swallowed a button battery, take them straight to the nearest A&E department or call 999 for an ambulance. Take the battery packaging, toy, or gadget if you can to help staff identify the battery. Symptoms may not be obvious. Your child might be coughing, gagging, or drooling, or pointing to their throat or tummy. Unclear or fluctuating symptoms mean it is important to be vigilant. Do not let your child eat or drink or make your child be sick.

Groups, businesses, and individuals are encouraged to support the button batteries safety messages by retweeting and posting them on social media, using the hashtag #buttonbatteries, or using the shared campaign materials.

The campaign materials can be obtained from here.

A company has been fined after a worker was fatally injured by steelwork, which fell from a telehandler forklift truck during loading.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard how on 4 April 2019, an employee of South East Galvanizers Limited had visited PCR Steel Ltd at their premises in Star Industrial Estate, Essex to collect a load. He was performing an unplanned lifting operation, loading a metal balcony base frame onto a flatbed trailer, when the incident occurred. The load was not secured and the balcony frame weighing approximately 400kg fell and crushed the 47-year-old man, who had been standing on the back of the trailer bed.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to ensure that the lifting operation was properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised, and carried out in a safe manner. There was no lift plan for the manoeuvring of balcony frames that could have considered the load’s security, size and weight. There was no plan for how the load would be set down, nor for how to exclude people from the danger zone.

PCR Steel Ltd of Star Industrial Estate, St Johns Road Grays, Essex pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,900.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Jill Mead said: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the host company to implement safe systems of work. Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.”

Source:  HSE Media centre

A scaffolding company has been fined after scaffolding collapsed across the entrance to the car park of Coventry Skydome.

Coventry Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 3 March 2020, scaffolding, which was approximately 13 metres in length and four metres high and had been erected to protect the public from falling debris, had blown down in high winds.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the scaffolding was not adequately fixed into the structure and was not designed and installed to withstand foreseeable wind loads. The management of the scaffolding operation was well below the expected standard because it did not identify the need for a bespoke design, required to ensure the strength and stability of the proposed scaffolding structure.

Climar Scaffolding Limited of Widney Avenue, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 19(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company has been fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,532.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Edward Fryer said: “Scaffolds need to be adequately tied, in line with the recognised health and safety requirements or a bespoke design should be created based on established engineering principals. In this case the scaffolding was not properly designed or adequately tied into the permanent structure.

“It’s only a matter of fortune that nobody was seriously injured, the collapse presented a significant risk to the safety of the public.”

Source: HSE Media centre

There is growing evidence in business of the returns from investment in workplace safety and health.  For example the International Social Security Association, estimates a 120 per cent dividend, and the ratio is even higher for return-to-work programmes for people following injury or illness.

Organisations that invest in health and safety are seeing a positive impact on their workers’ effectiveness and a range of business benefits, such as a positive, caring work culture, increased productivity and an enhanced reputation. These employers are also mitigating the risk of huge costs to their organisation and society as a whole of poor health and safety at work – a recent report estimated the total cost to society of a workplace fatality in Britain at nearly £1.7 million.

In 2019–20, IOSH partnered with market research specialists YouGov to survey mainly small and medium-sized businesses, excluding any sole traders, on their approach to ensuring their managers have the knowledge, skills and understanding to manage their teams safely.

Participants agreed (96 per cent) that: Line managers are important in ensuring the people they directly line manage are safe and healthy, in the workplace.  That being said one in five participants (19 per cent), and predominantly SMEs (companies with up to 250 employees), said they had no form of health and safety training at all for their line managers.

There is a natural hierarchy in organisations that gets more defined the more employees an organisation has and co-workers at each tier of a business have an important role to play in creating work culture that protects its people. In smaller organisations (companies) directors and or managers can find themselves fulfilling many management roles and responsibilities across this hierarchy.

A truism however in all organisations, no matter their size, is that ‘responsibility for risk’ lies with the decision makers.  Those who decide on workplace design, the equipment provided, how it is to be used (systems of work) and how well people are to be educated to do the tasks safely (safe people), are managers. It is fundamental: the decisions of every manager influence the safety, health and welfare of all. They must take ownership for this.  The final accountability lies with Directors, so organisational structure and delegated authorities are an important aspect of this picture.

Whether they are a director, middle manager or first line supervisor, all are taking daily decisions that affect the health, safety and welfare of employees, contractors, suppliers, customers and even the public.  These are not the same responsibilities but related to the responsibility of their role and hierarchical position.  The nature of their responsibility is different for each.  To be efficient and effective they all require a knowledge about health and safety risk, and its control.  Get it wrong and it’s costly.  Get it right and it can bring brand, reputation, productivity and even investment benefits.

Competence is the key to running any business well or performing in any role with confidence and skill.  Knowledge results from experience, but too often it’s the school of hard knocks that delivers this learning and when it comes too health and safety that usually means someone has been harmed, which is morally unforgivable.  Good health and safety training can boost knowledge to a level that not only facilitates prevention of accidents but also drives business benefits.  The problem is that a lack of health and safety knowledge reduces confidence and often results in needlessly stringent controls being implemented that can introduce unhelpful bureaucracy and diminish business performance. The right training can help find the happy balance ……….. Delivering a safe operation with healthy employees is simple when you know how…

Here at Goldcross Training we are specialists in the delivery of the IOSH Managing Safely course so why not give us a call to see how we can help you improve your health and safety knowledge and assist you in driving your business forward.

You can read the full IOSH/YouGov report here.

The director of a construction company has been handed a suspended jail sentence after a subcontractor who was working for them was injured as a result of a stack of plasterboards toppling over on a construction site in: Thames Ditton, Surrey.

Mr Siamak Samyani, the sole director of SS Reforms Ltd, Eastcote Avenue, West Molesey, Surrey, pleaded guilty to breaching: Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974.  Mr Samyani was sentenced to 20 weeks in custody suspended for 12 months and was also fined £3,400 and ordered to pay costs of £600.

The Magistrates’ Court at Brighton were told that builders were moving sheets of plasterboard weighing 32kg each from the ground floor to the second floor of a house undergoing refurbishment when the accident took place.

As there was no staircase in place, they were stacking the plasterboard against an unsecured ladder and sliding them up to the floor above.  As a result of the process the plasterboards fell on to one of the workers resulting in a fractured pelvis.

The incident took place on 12th April 2019 and a subsequent investigation undertaken by the Health & Safety Executive discovered:

1.  There was no safe system of work in place

2.  Inadequate supervision of workers was being provided/undertaken

3.  Stairwell openings were not guarded appropriately and that they were also being inappropriately spanned with scaffold boards resting on insecure scaffold poles, resulting in a significant ‘fall risk’.

Andrew Cousins, a HSE inspector, stated after the hearing:

“This was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the director to devise and implement a suitable safe system of work.  Companies should be aware that the HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those who fall below the required standards.”

As reported on the HSE Media Centre on the 16th January 2021.

HSE is continuing to conduct spot checks and inspections on all types of businesses and workplaces.

With the increase in the number of coronavirus cases and the national lockdown restrictions now in place, all businesses that continue to operate must ensure their workplace is COVID-secure.

To protect workers, visitors and customers, employers must make sure that everyone is following the measures that have been put in place to manage the risks from coronavirus.

During lockdown, HSE will continue to carry out spot checks and inspections on businesses and will be increasing the number of calls and visits to check COVID-secure measures have been implemented in accordance with government guidance.

This includes all businesses which are continuing to operate with people coming into the workplace during this critical period.

During the calls and visits, HSE provides advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers and visitors, but where businesses are not managing this, we will take immediate action. This can range from the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe and, where businesses fail to comply, this could lead to prosecution.

Being COVID-secure means businesses need to keep up to date with the latest guidance and put measures in place to manage the risk and protect workers, visitors and customers.

Please ensure your workplace is safe by following the guidance on being COVID-secure. Further information on spot checks and inspections is available on the HSE website.

The British Safety Council is launching a new programme to help employers improve the mental and physical wellbeing of their workers.

Being Well TogetherThe British Safety Council is rightly proud of its heritage. We look back to our foundation over 60 years ago by the inspirational James Tye and we see an unbroken thread from that time to this.

James is rightly famous for his early campaigns on seatbelts, flammable nightwear for children and life jackets for passengers on boats. He is known for calling for leaders to set an example, at the very highest level – he was not shy about telling the Queen to wear a riding helmet. It was James’ perseverance that led to Lord Robert’s inquiry into workplace health and safety and its ultimate fruit, the Health and Safety at Work Act.

During the last year, we have wondered aloud what James would have said in response to coronavirus. We can’t know for certain, but I suspect he would have been early to call for facemasks in public places, and vocal in demanding that politicians and other public figures set a good example. I suspect he would be creating posters (or more likely memes) on home working and display screen equipment (DSE) and creatively reminding people to stay two metres apart. He casts a long shadow, as people who are ahead of their time often do.

And he was truly ahead of his time when it comes to the importance of workplace wellbeing. Back in the 1980s he recognised that workplace stress was increasingly damaging people’s health and wellbeing and he founded the British Wellness Council to produce messages on how to stay physically and mentally healthy. Being Well Together, a newly launched programme by the British Safety Council, is in the best traditions of the British Safety Council, but it also brings together the latest thinking from experts and draws on the experience of our sister organisation Mates in Mind.

We hope that James Tye would share our excitement at its launch. We know that he would share our passion for helping organisations to champion employee wellbeing and to put it at the heart of how they enable their workforce to thrive.

Wellbeing – what are we talking about?

We have defined wellbeing as “an individual’s ongoing state which enables a person to thrive”. Definitions and matrices when applied to people are not exact, but we have adopted the same five domains of wellbeing as used by CIPD: health, good work, values, collective/social and personal growth.

Employees need to be healthy to thrive, which means they need to be safe from accidental harm or from long-term damage over time. We all understand the need to protect workers from slips and trips or from exposure to harmful dust, and we are growing in our appreciation of subtler health risks, like exposure to environmental air pollution over time.

Our understanding of the importance of good mental health has vastly improved since the 1950s, and in many workplaces where physical risks are low (e.g. offices) employers will be thinking more about employees’ mental wellbeing than any other factor. Work which helps people to thrive must include a good workspace, meaningful autonomy, fair pay and good management. And to thrive workers will want to work somewhere which reflects their values – employers have been slow to recognise that diversity in the workforce is not about fairness for individuals alone (important though that is), but about creating a diverse workforce that benefits every worker.

It flows from this that employees need a voice, to be able to communicate collectively and to be part of the decision-making process. Finally, we all need positive affirmation, the chance to shine and to be creative and to be praised for good work. Wellbeing should foster a culture of lifelong learning and self-improvement, as well as good teamwork and shared endeavour.

The organisational benefits

The benefits of wellbeing can also be broken down into those things that are positive for the individual and so for the whole organisation. Happy workers are more productive, more effective and more likely to be consistent in their performance. They will be more likely to stay in post, saving recruitment costs and increasing the return on investment in each hire. Overall wellbeing means fewer days off sick, but it also means reduced presenteeism and leaveism – healthier employees making their best contribution for more of the time, doing the job they want to do and for which they have been contracted.

A happy workforce will strengthen an organisation’s reputation, just as employers who treat workers badly can see their image badly tarnished. Implementing a comprehensive wellbeing programme is good for workers, which is reason enough to do it. But it is also good for your organisation. It happens to be true that what is good for people is good for business.

Being Well Together

This new programme brings all the disparate aspects of workplace wellbeing under one umbrella helping people to move their workforce from one which is sporadically unwell and underperforming to one which is thriving, creating businesses that can thrive in turn. The challenge for most organisations is that wellbeing is multi-dimensional and multifaceted – and an effective programme needs to be ambitious in scope to deliver real outcomes. The good news is that although the combined impact of multiple interventions has significant positive impact, the individual interventions themselves are relatively simple and modest in scope. Our programme sets out appropriate, co-ordinated and sustained interventions, including elements that we are all familiar with: engagement, training, benchmarking, company-wide resources and best practice.

Built around the timeless health and safety principles of ‘Plan, do, check, act’, this programme sets out a step-by-step approach to help organisations assess their current requirements, evaluate the gaps, develop a strategy, implement, measure and sustain. Of course, if it were easy then everybody would do it already – we recognise the challenges and we have built in resilience to overcome them. Our programme starts from the premise that organisations are time poor and that resource is always finite – especially in these uncertain times. We know how to embed wellbeing, so that it is not an add-on that can be dispensed with when events overtake us. Our resources are digital by default, geared to an increasingly flexible workforce. We can also help to engage employees, so that you can win them over to new ways of working.

Seize the day

Earlier in 2020, when coronavirus was barely registering on our consciousness, we were planning our major new offering on worker wellbeing. We were not to know that 2020 was going to be a year in which employers and employees were put under unforeseen stresses. We also know that as we look ahead the future is very uncertain. The peculiar circumstances of lockdowns could have been a reason to delay, but instead we accelerated our work to get Being Well Together ready as soon as we could to support employers.

As people slowly return to a semblance of normality, workers will be reflecting on the experience of more workplace flexibility, more time with their families, as well as financial uncertainty and anxiety about the future. Some managers and business leaders will be tempted to focus solely on the bottom line, to push on in 2021 and then take stock.

They would be mistaken. Now is the time to embrace worker wellbeing, to demonstrate commitment to the workforce and to champion employee wellbeing. It will be the employers who want their workforce to thrive that come through this global pandemic stronger than before.

This article was originally published by British Safety Council.

NETWORK Rail have been fined £135,000 after admitting health and safety breaches which led to a 13-year-old boy suffering serious injuries from an electric shock. The boy and two friends had managed to reach the track after climbing over fencing that was subsequently found to be “of an inappropriate type, of insufficient height and poorly maintained”.

Network Rail were fined for the safety breach after pleading guilty to an offence under health and safety law.

The incident happened on 19 August 2016 on the railway track near Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh.  The teenagers entered the gap in the railway fence before the 13-year-old climbed onto the roof of a tank wagon on a freight train that was stopped at a set of signals.

He came close to the 25,000-volt overhead cable and received an electric shock that caused serious burns.

A resulting Office of Rail and Road (ORR) investigation revealed that although there was clear evidence of trespass and graffiti in the area, the fence provided by Network Rail was substandard and poorly maintained, such that unauthorised access to the railway was straightforward.

HM Chief Inspector of Railways Ian Prosser said: “Network Rail has done a lot of work to limit the number of trespass issues on the railway and raise awareness of the potential life-threatening dangers that can follow.

“But on this occasion, it failed to maintain an adequate boundary to stop people getting onto the railway track and preventing an incident like this occurring.

“The railway is an extremely dangerous environment and I would urge parents to talk to their children about its hazards and remind them to stay away from the tracks.”

As we enter our third period of ‘lockdown’ we thought it might be useful to refresh your memories with regard to ‘remote learning’ after all most schools are now delivering it.

When the Coronavirus pandemic first hit the country back in March 2020 most of industry including vocational training establishments and schools came to a grinding halt.  Over the months that followed, whilst some restrictions were lifted many remained in place limiting face to face contact and tuition.  As a result, what was at the time a relatively little used or known concept, ‘remote learning’ became increasingly popular, particularly as a result of improvements in video conferencing services such as Zoom and MS Teams which facilitated the capability.

Goldcross Training were leaders in this field and having embraced the technology available we rapidly developed systems in order to allow us to provide our customers the opportunity to continue to undertake the necessary mandatory training and hence continue working.

So, What is Remote learning?

Remote learning (often called: virtual learning and or online training) is quite simply training or teaching provided live in an online environment.  Here at Goldcross we utilise the Zoom platform which enables our trainers to deliver course content in a very similar manner to which they would do in the classroom.  The Zoom platform provides for all delegates to be connected via video link with the instructor.  This facilitates a good level of interaction and the undertaking of training activities such as quizzes and toolbox talks are just as they would be in the classroom.

How does it work?

Once an individual delegate signs up for a remote learning course they will receive their course joining instructions in the normal manner. The joining instructions provide all of the necessary detail required by the delegate such as course dates, timings, etc.

All required course materials, such as books, will be provided as a PDF or direct download depending on the type of course being undertaken.

The delegate will then be emailed a link directly by their tutor which will contain the ‘Meeting ID’, their ‘Pass Code’ and the time that they will be required to join the meeting (training session).

Once delegates are ‘logged in’ they will as normal be required to show the required form of identification to their tutor prior to the start of the initial training session.

Do I still have to undertake an Exam on a Remote Learning course?

Delegates will be required to complete the necessary exams and assessments as specified by the appropriate awarding body.

This is commonly provided for through the use of an online form (exam template) that delegates complete under the invigilation of their tutor using the webcam facility provided on the Zoom Platform.

Are Remote Learning Courses Accredited in the same Way?

All of our accrediting bodies: CITB, NEBOSH & IOSH have approved the course’s we offer through remote learning.  As a result all delegates that successfully undertake training in this way will receive exactly the same certificate that they would if they had undertaken classroom-based training.

What Hardware do I Require?

Delegates need to ensure that they have appropriate access to the use of a functional: desktop computer, laptop/notebook or IPad/Tablet for the duration of the course.  The hardware utilised must also have a built-in or supplementary webcam and a microphone.  We do not recommend the use of mobile phones.

They must of course also have access to the internet.

Why should I do Remote Learning?

There is no definitive requirement for the majority of delegates to undertake remote learning most have the opportunity to choose the type of training they wish to undertake.  It really does come down to personal choice and whilst there are clearly some advantages to remote learning these must also be balanced against what some delegates consider to be disadvantages:

Advantages:

  • No commute required –  saves time and money.
  • Convenient & Comfort – You can undertake the training dressed as you wish in an environment of your choice, even down to the chair you sit in.
  • Home environment may be less stressful (not always the case however particularly if you have young children at home) – For many delegates going back to the classroom can be rather intimidating.
  • Teaches time management and new learning/social skills – time management skills are essential to remote learning as they are in every aspect of life.  The use of new/modern technologies also enhances your existing learning skills, many of us will not have studied in any meaningful way since we left fulltime education or were mandated to undertake specific classroom based training.
  • Cost Savings – eliminates the costs associated with commuting, hotel accommodation and meals
  • Eco-friendly – remote learning provides an alternative to paper-based learning and students don’t have to travel to and from lectures, meaning the CO2 emissions are reduced substantially.

Dis-advantages:

  • Lack of Social Interaction – Learning in a ‘bricks-and-mortar’ training establishment presents delegates with the opportunity to meet and interact with people from different locations on a personal level.  All of whom are normally focused on successfully completing the training they are undertaking.  Though delegates can interact through: chat rooms, discussion boards, emails and the Zoom platform directly, the experience cannot be compared to that of a traditional training establishment.
  • Opportunity for Distraction – remote learning may not be a good option for delegates who procrastinate over things or those who aren’t able to stick to deadlines.  If you are undertaking the training at home and have a young family you will need to be able to segregate yourself from them and their needs, whilst the training is taking place. Note: If you are undertaking the training at work you can face similar issues albeit through the needs of colleagues/management.
  • New (Complicated) Technology – this learning method requires access to current and functional technologies throughout the course.  Whilst younger delegates may be very familiar with the hardware and software requirements some delegates could struggle through their unfamiliarity with the technologies in use.

What courses do Golcross deliver via Remote Learning?

All of our CITB site safety plus courses can be attended online via Remote Learning including:

CITB Health & Safety Awareness

SSSTS

SSSTS Refresher

SMSTS

SMSTS Refresher

Additionally we are also providing IOSH Managing Safely via Remote Learning.

The FormScore app is the brainchild of Rob Stephenson and is a designed to help individuals monitor their mental health.

From its inception it was created as a simple way to track mental wellbeing, on a daily basis, using a simple scoring mechanism from ‘one to ten’.   The FormScore app has however evolved over time to be much more than a simple mood tracker and it now connects people with their: friends, family and work colleagues in order that they can provide support to each other when feeling low and celebrate when riding high.

For many reasons individuals frequently fail to give sufficient consideration to their own mental wellbeing or that of their friends and colleagues until ‘crisis’ occurs and now more than ever in the midst of this pandemic we all need to give more thought to our mental health and also be in a position to support those around us.

The stigma of mental ill-health often makes it hard to share how we are feeling and the impact of the pandemic is likely to ensure that the vast majority of us will at some point struggle with our mental health to some degree or another. The measures that have been put in place to combat the pandemic (social distancing, etc) will almost certainly help to keep us physically safe but correspondingly they may also have a greater impact on our mental wellbeing.

The FormScore app was designed as a simple way to measure your mental wellbeing. It’s a way to track your moods and be open about how you’re feeling on a scale we can all understand and better still it is Free.

Check out FormScore for more detail or grab the app from the App Store/Google Play.