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DOWNLOAD: The StaySafe Lone Worker Landscape Report

Are you confident you’re taking your lone worker safety seriously enough? StaySafe’s latest comprehensive investigation into lone worker safety reveals that nearly a quarter of lone workers feel unsafe at least once a year, with employers often over-estimating the effectiveness of their safety messaging, procedures and training. 

Download the report here

Lone working is a higher risk activity for a number of reasons. Lone workers may be more susceptible to attack, or to injury through over-exertion, and if they suffer an accident or an emergency situation occurs, no one is with them to assist or to call for help. 

The Lone Worker Landscape Report 

StaySafe surveyed over 1,300 lone workers and health and safety executives at nearly 500 organisations in our Lone Worker Landscape Report to find out what they really think about their lone worker safety and protections– and uncovered where they agree and where they starkly disagree. 

This important research reveals for the first time the disparities between the opinions of employers and lone workers themselves, with the hope that – through greater understanding – protection given to lone workers can be improved. The Lone Worker Landscape Report highlights how and where these discrepancies arise and what can be done to close the gap to keep everyone safe. 

Download the report here

Just a few of the findings revealed in our Lone Worker Landscape Report:

  • 97% of companies have formal lone worker policies in place, but 1 in 5 lone workers aren’t aware of them
  • Lone workers feel that current risk assessments and safety processes don’t focus enough on lone working
  • Organisations are over-estimating the effectiveness of lone worker safety communications and training
  • 68% of organisations have had a lone worker incident in the past 3 years
  • Lone workers are routinely under-estimating the risks they face

Now we know where the issues are, let’s work towards closing the gap to ensure lone workers are as safe as possible. Download the report here to discover how.

StaySafe helps over 1,000 organisations worldwide to protect their lone workers via an app and cloud-based hub.

Visit www.staysafeapp.com or call us on (+44) 020 8012 8455 for further information.

Robens will still matter over the next 50 years, says HSE Director

Lord Alfred Robens (pictured) was a prominent post-war industrialist. In 1969, three years after the Aberfan disaster, Robens was selected to chair a committee on workplace health and safety. The Robens Report of July 1972 led to the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, paving the way for the creation of Health and Safety Executive (HSE) the following year. Fifty years ago this week the report was tabled and debated. Philip White, HSE’s director of regulation, believes Robens has not only stood the test of time, but remains relevant to HSE in a crucial new phase…

Lord Robens set to work with the aim of finding a way to reduce Britain’s work-related deaths, injuries and ill health. At that time there were around 1,000 work related deaths each year, half a million suffered injuries, and 23 million working days were lost annually through industrial injury and disease. Fifty years on, few would argue his report didn’t meet this aim.

We should all reflect on this achievement with pride. I believe that Lord Robens’ report, and the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, is a great British achievement. It demonstrates how government can work with the consent and agreement of those in positions of responsibility across society. It’s one of very few pieces of post-war legislation that has stood the test of time – and delivered what it set out to achieve.

Moreover, the spirit of Robens has carried through in several key pieces of legislation that HSE helped introduce to keep pace with changing world or work as well as ensuring the principal of those who create risk must take responsibility for controlling it: the Control of Major Accidents Hazards Regulations (1983), the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (1988), the Construction Design & Management Regulations (1994) and the Gas Safety Management Regulations (1996).

But we don’t just believe in regulating by legislating. Our strategy, Protecting People and Places makes clear our commitment to finding new ways to address the most significant risks. As well as an expanding remit that now includes the Building Safety Regulator, which will enable people to feel safe in their homes, and heightened responsibility to the wider environment in our role in chemicals regulations, the economy itself and the way people work is also transforming. The drive to Net Zero will create new challenges, and the revolution in online retail means the model of regulating the retail supply chain may need to be reviewed.

We are under no illusion that some of these challenges are more abstract than those facing the readers of the Robens Report in the 1970s.

Look carefully through the report, and the transcripts of the subsequent parliamentary debates it generated, and you’ll find reference to two other issues that needed to be considered – work-related stress and apathy towards health and safety.

Both challenges persist in Britain’s workplaces today.

In 2020/21, 822,000 workers reported experiencing work-related stress, depression or anxiety – but it’s fair to say that the true figure is greater if you include those suffering in silence.

The Covid-19 pandemic created a renewed focus on health and safety for all of us. While many have positively sought to capitalise and harness this, I am troubled by even casual references creeping back into public conversations that associate health and safety with barriers to fun or innovation, overlooking the true mission of protecting people and places – and getting every worker home safely at the end of their day. If we need to challenge examples of this, we will do so without hesitation, but remembering Robens’ principle for controls to be practical and proportionate to the risk.

Robens still matters. And will still matter over the next 50 years.

Employers need to be disability confident, as reporting likely to become mandatory

Employers currently voluntarily report information on disability, mental health and wellbeing in the workplace – however the Government has consulted on making this mandatory, with the outcome due imminently.

Employers need to be ready for this change, and play their part in closing the disability employment gap within their own business, says GRiD, the industry body for group risk.  

Employers have been increasingly prioritising the health and wellbeing of their people, but this needs to go further, with more focus on supporting those with long-term health conditions and disabilities to enter and stay in the business.

The number of disabled people in employment
The Government’s manifesto commitment to increase the number of disabled people in employment by one million by 2027 has been achieved five years early: latest ONS figures show that between Q1, 2017 and Q1, 2022 the number of disabled people in employment increased by 1.3 million(1).

Overall, 4.8 million disabled people were employed in Q1 2022(1). However, in practice this means that only 54% of people with disabilities are employed, compared with 82% of people without disabilities(2). 

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson, Group Risk Development (GRiD) said: “The fact that the target to employ more people with a disability was achieved five years early could indicate it wasn’t ambitious enough. More is likely to be expected of employers, and they’ll need to deliver.”

What employers need to do
Under the Equality Act 2010, employers must make reasonable adjustments(3) to support disabled job applicants and employees. This includes ensuring they can overcome substantial disadvantages in applying for, or doing, a job and progressing in work. 

Many adjustments are easy to implement, and may cost little or nothing. This might include making changes to working patterns, providing parking, ensuring information is accessible, modifying recruitment processes or by allowing extra time for tests and assessments.

Employees themselves can get financial support through Access to Work(4) for extra costs they have at work because of their disability or long-term health condition. This might include adapting equipment to make it easier to use or money for travel costs if they can’t use public transport, etc.

Benefits to employers
Ensuring employees are aware of available support not only helps businesses hire disabled people with the skills they need, but it also helps them retain employees who develop a long-term health condition or disability while in employment. This keeps skills and knowledge in the business, saving time and expense in recruitment. 

Vitally, this also sends a clear message to other staff, that the business takes the health and wellbeing of their workforce seriously – and this has great benefits to wider business objectives.

Moxham continued: “This will be a new area for many companies, but it comes with a huge benefit: it opens up a previously unconsidered pool of highly motivated candidates offering the talent, skills and potential that all businesses need, particularly right now in this time of high employment.”

Utilise employee benefits effectively
Employers will find a great deal of help within their employee benefits package that supports employees already in work who develop a long-term health condition or disability, and GRiD is encouraging all to investigate what’s available.

Moxham concluded: “For example, group income protection policies provide long-term sick pay, and they also include access to help from vocational rehabilitation specialists, along with advice and support on making reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act. And it’s not unusual for insurers to help with extra costs to keep someone in work on an ex gratia basis, such as providing equipment.”

Employers need to be aware of what they need to do to meet the likely changes in reporting. The government’s Disability Confident scheme(5) is a good place to start, which is designed to help employers consider how to improve how they attract, recruit and retain workers with a disability or long-term health condition.

How the disability employment gap is calculated

The disability employment gap is calculated by comparing the percentage of people with and without disabilities who are in employment. In Q1 2022, the disability employment gap was 28.2 percentage points – a decrease of 0.2 percentage points on the year, and an overall decrease of 5.6 percentage points since the same quarter in 2014.1 

1. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-hits-goal-to-see-a-million-more-disabled-people-in-work#:~:text=The%20disability%20employment%20gap%20was,the%20same%20quarter%20in%202014.
3. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/part/2/chapter/2/crossheading/adjustments-for-disabled-persons
4. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-to-work-guide-for-employers/access-to-work-factsheet-for-employers
5. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/disability-confident-campaign

Do you specialise in Fire Saefty Management? We want to hear from you!

Each month on Health & Safety Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the health & safety market – and in August we’ll be focussing on Fire Safety Management.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help health & safety buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Fire Safety Management solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Charlotte Povey on c.povey@forumevents.co.uk.

Our Features List in full:-

AugFire Safety Management
SepRisk Management/Assessments
OctStress Management
NovOccupational Health & Wellbeing Services
DecHealth & Safety Software

123 workers killed in work-related accidents in 2021/22 

A hundred and twenty-three workers were killed in work-related accidents in Great Britain in the last year, according to figures published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The annual data release covers the period from April 2021 to March 2022, during which time most pandemic restrictions were lifted and the economy began returning to normal.

The industries with the highest deaths were construction (30), agriculture, forestry, and fishing (22), and manufacturing (22); though agriculture, forestry and fishing has the highest rate of fatal injury per 100,000 workers.

The three most common causes of fatal injuries continue to be falling from height (29), being struck by a moving vehicle (23), and being struck by a moving object (18).

The 123 worker deaths in 2021/22 is lower than the previous year, though it is in line with pre-pandemic figures. There has been a long-term downward trend in the rate of fatal injuries to workers, though in the years prior to the coronavirus pandemic the rate was broadly flat.

A further 80 members of the public were killed following a work-related accident in 2021/22. This is an increase on the previous year but below the pre-pandemic level. This is likely to reflect the various COVID-19 restrictions in place.

The release of the annual figures coincides with the 50th anniversary this month of the publication of the Robens report. The landmark report led to the Health and Safety at Work Act in 1974, which ultimately led to the HSE being set up the following year.

Since then, Great Britain has become one of the safest places in the world to work with the number of workplace deaths and injuries falling significantly.

HSE’s Chief Executive Sarah Albon said: “While Great Britain is one of the safest countries in the world to work, today’s figures show we must continue to ensure safety remains a priority. Every loss of life is a tragedy, and we are committed to making workplaces safer and holding employers to account for their actions, as part of our mission to protect people and places.”

The figures relate to work-related accidents and do not include deaths arising from occupational diseases or diseases arising from certain occupational exposures (including Covid-19).

The HSE has also published the annual figures for Mesothelioma, which is a cancer that can be caused by past exposure to asbestos. The figures show that 2,544 people died from the disease in 2020. This is in line with the average of 2,523 deaths over the previous eight years. Current mesothelioma deaths reflect exposure to asbestos that mainly occurred before the 1980s and annual deaths are expected to decline during the next decade.

Carlsberg fined £3m following 2016 ammonia gas leak

Carlsberg has been fined £3 million after a contractor died and another was seriously injured following an ammonia gas leak at one of its breweries.

The incident happened at Carlsberg’s site in Northampton. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Carlsberg hadn’t put proper controls in place.

Father-of-two David Chandler, 45, was killed and David Beak, now 57, was seriously injured.

David Chandler was a father of two, from Bridge North, Shropshire. His family today said they welcomed the end of the case against Carlsberg and hoped no other families would have to suffer as they have.

Birmingham Crown Court heard that at its Northampton brewery Carlsberg had failed to put in place appropriate isolation controls to prevent exposure to ammonia before work started to remove a compressor from a refrigeration system.

The Principal Contractor for the project was Crowley Carbon UK Ltd, which had appointed numerous contractors to assist in the works.

On 9 November 2016 while the compressor was being removed, there was a large, uncontrolled release of ammonia.

David Chandler and David Beak were both employees of sub-contractor Speedrite NE Ltd.

Twenty people needed hospital checks after showing symptoms of ammonia exposure. It was several days before the leak was contained and gas levels dropped to a safe level. David Beak, of Failsworth in Oldham, was seriously injured.

Carlsberg Supply Company UK Ltd, who were summonsed under their new company name of Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company, pleaded guilty to charges under Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company was fined £3 million with costs of £90,000.

Mr Chandler’s family, in a statement, said: “We welcome the conclusion of the prosecution case against Carlsberg UK Supply Company Ltd following the death of David five and half years ago.

“As a family we will never fully accept the death of David in such tragic but preventable circumstances and the legal process involved has been emotionally exhausting as well as frustrating given the length of time which has lapsed since the accident.

“We are pleased that improvements have been made at Carlsberg’s site in Northampton which will hopefully ensure no other families suffer the anguish we have endured since November 2016 when the failings at the brewery resulted in the deadly release of ammonia gas which caused David’s death.

“David was a loving husband, adoring Daddy and much-loved brother and Uncle. We are devastated that his young family will not be able to share their lives with him as they grow. He was a larger-than-life character whose loss has left a massive void nothing can replace.

“There have already been so many special and precious moments which David has missed out on and the fact that there will continue to be some many more as his daughters grow into young ladies breaks all our hearts daily. He is missed every day, and our lives will not ever be the same without him.”

HSE principal inspector Samantha Wells said: “Industry guidance on safe isolation of plant should have been followed. This would have ensured that a higher level of isolation was in place, for prevention of exposure to this highly toxic and flammable substance.

“Both the client, Carlsberg, and the Principal Contractor should have worked together to ensure that the risk was adequately managed. Not only Carlsberg had a duty here. There was also a very clear duty on the Principal Contractor.

“This underlines the dangers of not following industry guidance when working with toxic and flammable substances – HSE will take action against all who fail to ensure the safety of employees and others who may be exposed to danger.

“Projects involving multiple contractors require effective management arrangements, so it’s clear who is responsible for every part of the work and that safety checks are carried out before allowing work to start.”

The Health and Safety Executive also brought a case against Crowley Carbon Ltd in relation to the incident which led to the death of Mr Chandler and the injuries to Mr Beak, which were also due to be tried but for the company being placed into compulsory administration by creditors.

Importance of health & wellbeing support for recruitment & retention singled out in research

Health and wellbeing support is a major factor in the recruitment and retention of talent – in a survey of 500 HR decision makers in the UK, 42% stated their support for the health and wellbeing of staff is a key reason people stay with the company.

In addition, 31% said health and wellbeing support is a key reason people choose to work for them, based on results of a survey undertaken by Towergate Health & Protection.

Debra Clark, head of specialist consulting, Towergate Health & Protection, said: “The research supports our anecdotal evidence of the wider reaches of health and wellbeing support, and why it is so important that employers have a clear and well-communicated strategy. The wider the health and wellbeing support offered, the better the array of talent it will attract and retain.”  

On the flipside, nearly one in five (18%) employers stated that not offering enough health and wellbeing support impacts their ability to recruit and retain people: a stark warning for all.

Health and wellbeing
Support for health in general was viewed by 42% of employers to have increased the most in importance for enhancing the recruitment and retention of talent. Twenty-six percent of employers said support for mental health had increased most in importance, and 19% said it was the overall health and wellbeing package that had grown most in terms of priorities. 

Social interaction through work (11%), communication of support offered (9%), support for financial health (9%), and an environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy (8%), were also identified as increasing in importance. So the support offered needs to be wide and holistic.

Implementing a strong health and wellbeing programme

According to the survey results, and evidence seen by Towergate Health & Protection across its client base, implementing a strong health and wellbeing programme is vital in the recruitment and retention of talent. Moreover, the programme must be widely communicated to employees and easily accessed and managed by employees and employers alike if it is really going to make a difference. 

The four pillars of health and wellbeing
A strong programme must support all four pillars of health and wellbeing – emotional, physical, financial, and social health – to add the most value to recruitment and retention. The research shows that all four are not only important in keep existing employees healthy, and to retain their loyalty, but also to attract new employees. 

Clark added: “Employees’ needs and demands have shifted dramatically since before the pandemic struck. We have all had a realignment of priorities, and employers need to match these if they are to attract and retain the best staff, which is only going to become more important.”

Join peers from these firms at the Occupational Health & Safety Forum

Would you like to join 50+ senior health & safety professionals at the Occupational Safety & Health Forum? This is your invitation to attend for FREE as our guest.

Tuesday 31st January 2023 – Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted

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Add your name to the guest list HERE, where you’ll be joining peers representing the likes of:

Culina Group Limited
Först Global
GJF Fabrications
Grwp Cynefin
Rumenco Ltd
SIKA UK Limited
Thrive Homes
Touchlight Ltd

Click here to book you and/or a colleague a place. To find out more, contact us today.

Only a third of employers offer financial support to all staff in the event of ill health, injury or death

As the cost of living continues to bite, new research from GRiD, the industry body for the group risk sector shows that only a third of employers say they offer their entire workforce financial support if they are long term absent2 (i.e. for six months or more), diagnosed with a serious illness, or die while being in employment. 

The figures rise by a third if the number of employers who say they offer support to some, rather than all, employees is considered but those employers who only offer financial support to those at a certain level of experience, seniority, or pay, are leaving those least able to cope financially the most vulnerable.

One third of employees and their families are currently left entirety without any financial support during times of a health difficulty or crisis.

 If an employee…
 is long-term absent (for six months or more) due to ill health, disability or injuryis diagnosed with a serious illnessdies while being in employment
Employers who offer support for ‘all’ staff35%33%34%
Employers who offer support for ‘some’ staff33%33%33%
Employers who offer ‘opt in’ insurance benefits8%8%6%
Employers who do not offer any support33%34%34%

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said: “Wider industry statistics indicate that the number of employers who offer support is actually much lower in practice, and given the current squeeze on household finances, this highlights a woeful lack of financial support and security for many employees. 

“As individuals, we like to think that ‘it won’t happen to us’ and perhaps, as optimistic employers, the tendency is also to think that ‘it won’t happen to our employees’ but it can and does. Support for serious issues like absence, illness and death is affordable and accessible for employers to offer their staff. We would encourage those who don’t offer any support to do some investigation and those who only offer support to some staff to consider making it available to everyone.”

The UK Group Risk industry paid out £2.22bn in claims in 2021 to 30,932 employees – equivalent to £6.1m a day, demonstrating the extent to which these employee benefits help employees and their families to cope financially when their lives take a turn for the worse.

Debunking the myths on group risk protection insurance (employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness benefits)

·       Many employers wrongly believe that providing this financial support is expensive but the cover is found in some of the most affordable benefits and can start from as little as 0.1% of payroll.

·       Some employers believe that it is not their responsibility to provide financial support but increasingly staff are looking to their employer for help in all aspects of their lives. Not only is it the right thing to do, but employers who do not take suitable action risk their reputation which could lead to recruitment and retention issues.

·       Employers sometimes assume that staff prefer more tangible or immediate gratification. While this may have been the case, the pandemic has meant many employees have revaluated their position and are now more likely to value financial support of this kind.

Reflecting on the disparity of only offering protection benefits to some staff, Moxham added: “I cannot imagine being on the HR team that has to tell one member of staff that they are eligible for financial support and then having to tell another that, for whatever reasons, they are not on the same scheme. When two individuals face a health crisis, they both deserve access to financial support.

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the past two years, it’s that we should expect the unexpected. With the right support in place, however, when life does take an unexpected twist or turn, it does not need to have a detrimental financial impact on the employee or their loved ones.

Demolition company fined after fall from height fatality

A dismantling and demolition company has been fined after a worker fell 30 feet to his death when part of a pipe bridge platform gave way.

Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court heard that John Gary Robertson, known as Gary Robertson, employed by CBR02 Limited (formerly known as Brown and Mason) suffered multiple injuries following a fall from height at Longannet Power Station, Fife on 6 February 2019.

A joint investigation by the Health and Safety Executive and Police Scotland into the incident found that the section of metal grating on the pipe bridge which the deceased had been standing gave way under his weight, as it had been extremely corroded. By failing to record the extremely hazardous condition of the pipe bridge the Company failed to undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. In particular, the risk assessment, which formed part of the final, revised method statement, did not address the severely corroded nature of the pipe bridge, despite that being previously highlighted and requested by the client, Scottish Power. The Company failed to put necessary control measures in place, to inform employees of the hazardous condition of the pipe bridge, and to prevent access to it.

CBR02 Limited of Hertford Road, Middlesex pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined fined £5,000.

Speaking after the case HSE principal inspector, David Charnock, said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

“In this case, adequate communication of suitable information and instructions would have made employees aware of the unsafe condition of the pipe bridge platform.”