‘Check your hard hat’, urges brain injury charity:

The brain injury association Headway has teamed up with safety manufacturer Centurion to raise awareness of the importance of using and maintaining hard hats correctly whilst on site.  Hard Hat Awareness Week will be running througout the 21st -27th September and will see a series of activities designed to drive awareness of brain injury and encourage best practice around PPE/safety equipment.

Headway has published the results of a recent survey of 486 respondents, which looked into the use of hard hats in the construction industry and understanding of concussion.  The survey produced some shocking results, revealing that amongst those who experienced a head injury at work:

  • 52% did not report an incident to their manager;
  • Just 6% sought medical attention for their head injury;
  • 15% stored their hard hat in an unsuitable way, such as in direct sunlight or extreme temperatures
  • 58% painted, marked or applied decals or labels to their helmet, which could cause a chemical attack and reduce its durability;
  • 24% were unaware that exceeding the expiry date of a hard hat can reduce the level of protectivity;
  • 28% did not know where to find their helmet’s expiry date or were unaware it even had one.

Dedicated Hard Hat Awareness Week

The chief executive of Headway, Peter McCabe, said: “Brain injury is more common than you think, and its impact can be life-changing for both the injured person but also their wider family. Ensuring your head protection is worn and cared for correctly is key to remaining safe.”

“To all those working on site or in the construction industry, we urge you to always wear your hard hat.”

Chris Tidy, from Centurion Safety Products, added: “We want people to understand the devastating effects of brain injury. It’s not just the individual that’s impacted – a brain injury can change the lives and futures of partners, family members and friends.”

“Centurion and Headway want to drive the awareness of brain injury but also help wearers of safety helmets and hard hats to understand the possibly lifesaving piece of PPE they are wearing.

“We would like a week dedicated every year going forward for all wearers to audit their safety helmet or hard hat for signs of wear and tear, make sure it is in date, remove any unchecked stickers and sanitise/clean this piece of safety equipment whilst in a safe environment. We would like to challenge other safety helmet manufacturers to get involved and publicise this event going forward.

“We also want wearers to understand that 30% of head injuries occur from slips, trips and falls from the same level where the wearer could suffer a rotational injury. We would like to educate the wearer on the risk of concussion and give them a concussion recognition tool that will help them to understand the early warning signs, showing the person may be at risk so they can seek medical attention.”

Liam’s story

Liam Jones, whose name has been changed for anonymity, was working as an overhead linesman when a metal bar fell and hit him on the head, causing what could have been a life-altering injury had he not been wearing his helmet.

Here, he shares his story as part of Headway and Centurion’s campaign to raise awareness of using and maintaining hard hats while on site.

35-year old Liam was working on an overhead line job late at night. It was dark and he and his team had been working all day long.

Liam was working on the ground while colleagues were installing a screw-in pin above him. Accidentally, the pin, weighing 1.6kg and measuring 14 inches, fell and hit him on the head. Thankfully, Liam was following proper protocol by wearing his hard hat.

He said: “Although using hard hats is second nature, seeing my hard hat perform so well and protecting me in a real situation gives me huge confidence in my PPE.”

Liam was left with minor bruising on his head, but he says that without wearing his helmet, things could’ve been far worse.

“The doctor in A&E was thankful I was wearing a hard hat. I feel very grateful to be alive. In my mind, there’s no doubt that the hard hat saved my life or at least from serious injury.”

So just how frequently should you change your ‘Hard Hat’?  – not sure: then check out the Centurion Safety Helmet Wear and Care Guide.

It’s Competition time again – yes, we are giving you another chance to win a training voucher courtesy of Goldcross Training up to the value of £399!  That could be enough to pay for your SMSTS course in full.

The voucher can be used in a variety of different ways i.e. you can take one course or you can take multiple courses (up to the value of the voucher) and you can spend it on either ‘online’ or ‘classroom’ based training.

Importantly you don’t have to be an existing Goldcross customer, the competition is open to all – so whether you are:

  1. An existing; tradesman, specialist, operative, labourer or first aider
  2. Someone who is thinking of entering the; construction, rail, engineering or safety related sectors

this may be an ideal opportunity for you to cover your current training expenses or perhaps take those first steps in gaining the required qualifications to enter a new industry/sector.

How can You win?

The competition will run from Thursday 17th through til midnight on Sunday 27th September and all you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is:

  • Like the Goldcross Training ‘Facebook Page’ (note page not post, but happy with both if you wish)  – visit: https://www.facebook.com/GoldcrossTraining/
  • Scroll down the page to our most recent competition post and:
    • Share the post
    • ‘tag’ two of your friends/colleagues in the comments section of the post.

That it – Good Luck!

The Prize Wheel

This time we have made it a two-stage process and the ‘Wheel of Names’ will be used to determine:

  • The winner
  • The value of the prize voucher which could be anything from £99 up to £399!

The video recordings of the ‘wheel spins’ will be broadcast on Facebook on Monday 28th September

Terms and Conditions

The voucher:

  • will be valid for 12 months.
  • can only be redeemed against a Goldcross Training provided training course.
  • has no redeemable ‘cash value’
  • can only be redeemed by the named winner of the competition.

During the Covid-19 Crisis –

The HSE permitted First aid certificate extensions in a number of circumstances i.e. if you held a a first aid certificate that expired on or after 16 March 2020 and could not access requalification training because of coronavirus, you may have qualified for an extension. This applied to:

  • Offshore Medic (OM)
  • Offshore First Aid (OFA)
  • First Aid at Work (FAW)
  • Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW)

To qualify for the extension, you must have been able to:

  • explain why you weren’t been able to requalify
  • demonstrate what steps you have taken to access the training, if asked to do so

Current Requalification Training Requirements in England

The first aid training industry in England is now confident that enough courses are now available for all required requalification training to take place. HSE has therefore agreed a final deadline for requalification for these qualifications of 30 September 2020.

If because of coronavirus your training was interupted and you were unable to complete the training for your first aid qualification within the usual certification timeframe, training can restart at a later date as long as:

  • a full recap of any training delivered prior to the Covid-19 interruption is undertaken prior to moving onto undelivered modules
  • the awarding body is content that you can show:
    • a full understanding of all aspects of the course content
    • the knowledge required and competencies at the end of the training

Requalification training in Scotland and Wales

It is accepted that training capacity in Scotland and Wales, and for some parts of the emergency services across Great Britain, might take longer to build.

The deadline for completing requalification training in Scotland and Wales (and in relevant GB emergency services), will therefore be reviewed by HSE over the coming months. Employers or certificate holders should still try to arrange requalification training at the earliest opportunity.

Annual refresher training

If first aiders are unable to access annual refresher training face to face during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, HSE supports the use of online refresher training to keep their skills up to date.

The HSE however still strongly recommends that the practical elements of the actual FAW, EFAW and requalification courses are delivered face to face, so that competency of the student can be properly assessed.

If you are working on the highway in any capacity then you should be aware that the new ‘Passport’ scheme has now gone live and that it may well impact you in some capacity, particularly if you operate in the construction sector.

The new highways passport scheme went live on the 01st August 2020 and anybody working under the control of a Principal Contractor for a Highways England funded project or scheme (online and offline) who would normally receive a project or scheme induction in accordance with CDM 2015 will be required to utilise it, although there are currently a few exemptions such as: delivery drivers, maintenance personel, etc at this time.

The scheme which has been fully endorsed by Highways England and the Supply Chain Safety Leadership Group, has been brought into force by ‘Reference Point and Mitie’ – the companies behind Network Rail’s Sentinel Safety Solution and service and HS2’s Validate Safety Scheme.

The aim of the scheme is to:

  • Create Safer Sites
  • Reduce Risk
  • Create Effeciencies and Cost Savings

whilst providing a powerful, comprehensive and feature packed mobile workforce management solution.

It will deliver a single smart solution for the highways workforce; transforming how the competency of those working on the road network is assured and consistently improve standards within the industry.  The scheme claims to utilise trusted and improved technologies to both capture and deliver real-time information enabling workforces to be more effective and safe whilst on site.

Workers will be required to carry a smartcard that will be linked to the ‘passport’ database which in turn will provide a single and transferable real-time competence record, that can be checked daily confirming each workers ability to work in real time.  The system will cover induction training and all other skills, licences and competencies held by an individual allowing training to be aimed at the right individuals at the right time whilst also allowing individuals to confirm their competencies through the presentation of their card.

A spokesman for ‘Reference Point’ (the providers of the SkillGuard system) stated that there are also plans in place to discuss the linking of the scheme with the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card software – so watch this space!

Further details with regard to how it may impact you as an individual or a company can be found here!

 

For the most part I am sure that we would all agree that the coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact within the UK.  Indeed, it is still being felt throughout most areas of the country, some more so than others, by both people and industry alike.

The government is now however looking forward and attempting to get the ‘country working again’ in an effort to boost the economy.

As a result, and in partnership with industry (TrustMark and the Construction Leadership Council) they have produced new guidelines for tradespeople/households in order to promote safe working in and around people’s homes.

The guidelines are easy to follow and recognise that providing for safety as a result of Covid-19 is not just the responsibility of the construction company/tradespeople it employs, but that homeowners and tenants also have their part to play with regard to staying safe and controlling the spread of the virus.

The campaign includes a video which can be viewed here: Work Safe – Safe Work.

Additionally, the Guide can be downloaded here.

As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, businesses and individuals in all sectors are facing the challenges of resuming business head on.  The maintenance of social distancing guidelines and the implementation of the necessary health and safety measures will be extremely challenging, which is one of the primary reasons we introduced our own online course options.

For many this will be a relief however we recognise that for some, particularly for those who have been furloughed without full pay and those that have lost their jobs/contracts, this will be an extremely difficult period.

So, we thought it was time to run a free competition to lighten the load just a little.

The prize

We are offering the chance to win a £399 Goldcross Training voucher – the voucher can be used in a variety of different ways i.e. you can take one course or you can take multiple courses (up to the value of the voucher) and you can spend it on either ‘online’ or ‘classroom’ based training.

Importantly you don’t have to be an existing Goldcross customer, the competition is open to all – so whether you are:

  1. An existing; tradesman, specialist, operative, labourer or first aider
  2. Someone who is thinking of entering the; construction, rail, engineering or safety related sectors

this may be an ideal opportunity for you to cover your current training expenses or perhaps take those first steps in gaining the required qualifications to enter a new industry/sector.

How can You win?

All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is:

  • Like the Goldcross Training ‘Facebook Page’ (note page not post, but happy with both if you wish)  – visit: https://www.facebook.com/GoldcrossTraining/
  • Scroll down the page to the one of our recent competition posts
  • Share the post and ‘tag’ two friends in the comments section of the post.

Good Luck!

Terms and Conditions

The voucher will valid for 12 months and the winner will be announced on 31st July.

The voucher can only be redeemed against a Goldcross Training provided training course.

The voucher has no redeemable ‘cash value’ and can only be redeemed by the named winner of the competition.

Rishi Sunak has continued to put construction at the heart of the ‘Covid-19’ recovery with a pledge to invest £3bn in order to support in the region of 140,000 jobs.

A £1 billion programme is to be put in place to improve the energy efficiency of ageing public sector buildings throughout the country and a further £2bn package will provide grants for ‘greener’ homes, enabling houseowners (including landlords) to play their part in meeting climate change targets by improving the energy efficiency of existing housing stock.

It didn’t stop there with the chancellor clearly recognising that the construction sector will play a vital role in driving forward the economic recovery post coronavirus he also cut stamp duty across England and Northern Ireland, raising the threshold to £500,000 on all property sales up to March 2021, stating:

“One of the most important sectors for job creation is housing.  The construction sector adds £39 billion a year to the UK economy, with house building alone supporting nearly three quarter of a million jobs – with millions more relying on the availability of housing to find work.”

“But property transactions fell by 50% in May and house prices have fallen for the first time in eight years.  We need people feeling confident – confident to buy, sell, renovate, move and improve.  That will drive growth and create jobs.”

Matthew Pratt (the Chief Executive at Redrow), said: “We welcome today’s stamp duty holiday as a positive step to stimulate the housing market and wider economy. The measures will have a much-needed domino effect, also supporting suppliers, subcontractors and consultants to the house building industry.”

Additional schemes were also announced to aid employment, with a particular focus on ‘youth employment’:

One scheme, the Jobs Retentions Bonus, is promising payments of £1,000 to companies for each employee that they bring back staff from furlough and keep them in work until the end of January 2021. Employees must earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (£520 per month) on average between the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the end of January 2021.

Another scheme, the Kickstart Scheme, involves the creation of a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements aimed at those aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.   The funding available will cover 100% of the relevant ‘national minimum wage’ for a 25 hours a week, and also cover the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.  That equates to a grant of around £6,500 for each placement.

Pledges were also made to provide £2,000 to employers for every new apprentice hired under the age of under 25 and £1,500 for apprentices over the age of 25 – between August 2020 and January 2021.

The Chancellor further stated:  “If you stand by your workers we will stand by you. Our plan has a clear goal: to protect, support and create jobs. It will give businesses the confidence to retain and hire. To create jobs in every part of our country. To give young people a better start. To give people everywhere the opportunity of a fresh start.”

Whilst there will always be detractors and some that think the chancellor should have gone further, here at Goldcross we think this is a good step in the right direction to getting the economy moving and boosting the all important construction sector.

We also think its time to start seeking and making the best of available opportunities, so make sure your training is up-to-date and that you are in the best position to take advantage of investment in the sector – who knows this may be the ideal time to consider a career change or a ‘step-up’.  If that is the case we can help, simply give one of our training advisors a call on: 0203 633 5505 or drop us an email at: bookings@goldcross-training.com to discuss your training requirements.  Alternatively go straight to our course schedule to book directly.

 

Provisional figures from the HSE indicate that fatal injuries to individuals whilst at work in Great Britain reduced by 38 this year to 111, the lowest annual level on record.

Clearly that is good news however statistically speaking it is likely that Covid-19 will have had an impact here, certainly throughout March and possibly February, as such it remains to be seen as to whether there has been a major shift in the ‘inherent dangerousness of workplaces’.  Notably as a result of Covid-19 these figures also don’t include those fatalities that may have occurred in workplaces controlled by local authorities, which will be provided for later this month.

Construction Stands Out Again?

Construction was one of the few sectors that saw an increase in the number of fatalities up from thirty one (31) in 2018/19 to forty (40) in 2019/20 which lifted it above the five year average of thirty seven (37).  Although importantly it should also be noted that a comparison of the ‘rate of fatal injuries’ by selected main industry groups (per 100,000 workers) places construction well behind: Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, and Waste and Recycling.

Fatalities by Sector

These figures do not include deaths resulting from: natural causes, road traffic accidents, any form of commuting or service with the armed forces whilst on duty. Neither do they include (importantly!) those fatalities that result from occupational diseases.

In addition, it was reported that ninety two (92) members of the public also lost their lives as a result of work-related activity.

Fatal Accident Type

The most common type of fatal accident continues to be the result of: falls from height (29) and being struck by a moving vehicle (20) or by a moving object (18) which accounted for approximately 60% of deaths in 2019/20.

Cause

Age and Gender Continues to Have an Impact

As in previous reporting periods the vast majority of fatalities 108 (97%) were reported to be male workers.
Significantly 27% of fatalities were recorded from individuals above the age of 60 even though they constitute only 10% of the overall workforce and individuals above the age of 65 were found to be 4 x more likely to suffer fatality in the workplace than an individual under the age of 60.

AgeandGender

Long Term Trend

Whilst there has been a considerable reduction in the fatalities that occur annually as a result of work place activity (there were 495 such fatalities reported in 1981), the last ten years have seen minimal improvement, with the average number of workers killed annually over the last five years being 137.

Occupational Diseases

It is difficult to ascertain these figures directly as they typically occur many years after exposure and although we are now better able to record deaths related to specific diseases such as asbestos related cancer (mesothelioma) of which 2,446 such deaths were recorded in 2018, other deaths relating to occupational disease still require estimation.
This year’s report estimates that in the region of 13,000 deaths occur each year as a result of occupational lung disease and cancer due to past exposure, primarily to chemicals and dust within the workplace.

Additional Key Facts

Key Facts

Conclusions

Whilst it may sound harsh – little appears to have changed over the last five years with the downward trend in workplace accidents plateauing. This year’s reduction in fatalities is clearly a welcome positive but it remains to be seen if it remains at this level once local authority figures are added and the full impact of Covid-19 assessed.

Once again there are clear statistical indications that fatalities in the workplace are heavily impacted by: industrial sector, gender, age and activity. The later being of particular concern as the state pension age is pushed back for individuals resulting in them inevitably being required to work until they are older.

The number of deaths resulting annually from past exposure to health-related hazards in the workplace are considerably greater than the headline figures surrounding fatal accidents but sadly these are often overlooked as individuals understandably look to the ‘here and now’ as the future seems a long way off.

The figures continue to suggest that employers must do more to challenge themselves and their line managers in a number of areas, not least:

  • Do your H&S procedures adequately address those activities highlighted in the report as high risk (i.e. working at height, traffic management, etc)?
  • How does your H&S policy provide for older workers? How do you determine their ability, fitness and competence to undertake tasks or operate in certain areas?
  • Have you fully considered the impact of: dust, fume and the variety of chemicals in use within your work place?
  • Are you undertaking the necessary monitoring to identify the true extent of the hazards your employees face in the workplace?
  • Are you providing enough health monitoring on behalf of your employees to ascertain the impact of exposure?
  • Are your H&S audits suitable and sufficient? Do you ensure that appropriate PPE is not only provided but in use and that activities are being undertaken in accordance with procedures?
  • Are you ensuring that your sub-contractors (where appropriate) are meeting their statutory duties?

Huge improvements have been made with regard to workplace health and safety over a number of decades but the fact that those improvements appear to have plateaued is cause for concern.

Employers of all sizes (in all sectors) must of course continue to ensure that they not only have a suitable and sufficient safety program in place but they must also ensure that they are also providing the necessary training to individuals within their workforce, at the right time and irrespective of age or gender.

*Review the full report produced by the Health and Safety Executive.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning against the use of KN95 facemasks as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

A safety alert has been issued today, Thursday 11 June 2020, urging all employers and suppliers not to purchase or use KN95 facemasks as PPE.

KN95 is a performance rating that is broadly equivalent to the EU standard for FFP2 facemasks. Products manufactured to KN95 requirements rely on a self-declaration of compliance by the manufacturer. There is no independent certification or assurance of their quality.

This respirator has been identified as suspect by HSE experts and locally arranged testing has confirmed they would not meet requirements, including to protect against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. About 90% of the PPE concerns and queries currently being received by HSE involve KN95 masks which are often accompanied by fake or fraudulent paperwork.

HSE has quarantined around 1.5 million KN95 masks, prevented 25 million items claiming to be FFP3 respirators entering the supply chain and prevented a further four lines consisting of many millions of items entering the supply chain.

Rick Brunt, HSE’s director of operational strategy said: “The KN95 facemask should not be purchased or used.

“KN95 has not been a principal source of PPE for the NHS, who has already made the decision not to supply this respirator to frontline clinicians fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have found that the lack of independent testing has contributed to there being a substantial quantity of inadequate and poor-quality masks on the market, claiming to comply with the KN95 standard.

“We understand a lot of people, mainly in sectors outside of healthcare, have bought these facemasks without realising they are non-compliant. We are concerned that people wearing them are not being protected from breathing in harmful substances in the way they expect. Protective equipment must protect.”

Domestic, European and international organisations continue to raise concerns regarding KN95 masks, including details of counterfeit and illegal products. HSE is working to remove them from the supply chain with colleagues in the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), Border Force, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Trading Standards to identify manufacturers and suppliers of these masks and prevent them entering the UK.

The safety alert does not relate to N95 masks which are manufactured to a US Standard and have been given permission for use specifically in UK healthcare settings.

Full details of the alert can be found here.

Full Copyright: HSE Press Release, 11/06/2020