Archive by Author

New Years Honours for construction leaders John Armitt and Howard Shiplee

1 Jan

The British Safety Council is pleased to add its congratulations to those of many others to John Armitt, Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and Howard Shiplee the former Director of Health and Safety of the ODA on their New Year honours.

The award of a knighthood to John Armitt and CBE to Howard Shiplee are richly deserved not only for their significant contribution to ensuring an exemplary health, safety and environment record in the construction of the many London 2012  Olympic construction projects but for their achievements in the construction and rail sectors too in John’s case going back many years.

The trustees and staff of the British Safety Council send John, Howard and our member organisations who have helped to safely deliver the London 2012 construction projects our congratulations and best wishes for 2012.

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British Safety Council responds to HSE cost recovery consultation

24 Oct

The British Safety Council has submitted its views to HSE concerning its proposals to extend it power to charge for specific interventions including where action is taken by the regulator to address a material breach of health and safety law. The British Safety Council based its submission in part on the results of survey of its members and on the knowledge of health and safety regulation and management built up over the last fifty years. Generally, members were content with the proposal, recognising that HSE needs to address its costs and that in principle those who operate outside the law should contribute to the costs of regulatory action.

Alex Botha, the British Safety Council chief executive, said: “In our response we made clear that our members, in the main, felt that the compliant and committed had nothing to fear from these proposals – and were certain that this change would drive improvements and a higher level of compliance and consequently a reduction in workplace injuries and work-related ill health occurrences. Under present arrangements the non-compliant appeared to have an unfair business advantage by not making the investment necessary to effectively control the risk of injury and ill health.”

However concerns were raised by a small but significant number of members about how this change will impact on the regulator/duty holder relationship. Some thought it may create the conditions for a less open relationship between the two. The British Safety Council acknowledged HSE’s commitment to measure the impact of the proposed changes on the level of compliance. However it also though it necessary to measure any indirect impact on the incidence and number of workplace injury and work related ill health occurrences.

The new charging regime is planned to come into force in April 2012.

The importance of risk and hazard education: Professor Löfstedt and the British Safety Council contribute to the debate

21 Oct

The Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford, with the support of the British Safety Council, convened a workshop in October to examine a number of key issues concerning our knowledge and thinking on hazard and risk and how our policy, law makers and educators approach these issues. The panellists included Professor Ragnar Löfstedt of Kings College, Mark Tyler the leading health and safety lawyer and partner at Shook Hardy & Bacon, Lynda Armstrong, chair of the trustees of the British Safety Council and David Bench, HSE director with responsibility for science and chemical regulation.

Professor Löfstedt’s presentation focused on a paper he had published earlier this year, Risk versus Hazard – How to Regulate in the 21st Century, in which he explored the history of the risk versus hazard debate, focusing in particular on the regulatory approaches adopted by different EU member states in relation to two hazardous substances. Professor Löfstedt argued that there was no clear consensus across EU countries as to when risk or hazard considerations should be the basis of regulatory decision making.

In the recommendations set out in the paper Professor Löfstedt argues: “If European regulators are to be successful in increasingly basing health and environmental regulations on risk assessments then there is a need for the public and stakeholders to actually understand what risk assessment is, something that is clearly not the case at the present time. One way around this would be to push for the introduction of risk assessment as part of the science curriculum, in the final years at school as well as encouraging European universities to teach risk assessment as part of the undergraduate and graduate curriculums …”

Lynda Armstrong, in her panel contribution, agreed with the importance of risk education: “We believe it is time for a sea change in our approach to competence building around risk with a focus on instilling the necessary knowledge and behaviours in people at an early age. The British Safety Council will continue its work of helping young people develop an understanding of health and safety risks and appreciate the behaviours they should adopt in readiness for when they go to work. The benefits are twofold: firstly a better understanding of working safely will discourage inappropriate risk aversion; and second, these young people, the future workforce, will be our champions and will be key to ensuring we build our knowledge and use it wisely concerning hazard and risk.” Lynda also made clear where the British Safety Council stood concerning the effectiveness of our current regulatory framework: “We subscribe strongly to the view that our legislative approach to health and safety, carefully balancing the regulation of hazards and risks, is broadly the correct one and working effectively.”

Professor Löfstedt also gave an indication that the report of the independent panel he is leading on the review of our health and safety regulatory framework is likely to be published at the end of November.

British Safety Council welcome Labour frontbencher Andy Slaughter MP

2 Sep

Alex Botha, the chief executive of the British Safety Council, earlier this week welcomed Andy Slaughter, the Labour MP for Hammersmith and frontbench spokesperson on justice, to the organisation’s head office. 

Andy was meeting new faces and renewing acquaintances with an organisation he has known well for the last thirty years. Alex took the opportunity to brief Andy on what the British Safety Council is doing to deliver its vision that no one should be killed or made ill by their work both through its advisory, audit and training services and its funding of basic qualifications in health and safety awareness. Much of the discussion focused on the review of health and safety legislation being led by Professor Ragnar Löfstedt and the reforms to legal aid currently progressing through Parliament on which Andy is leading for Labour in the House of Commons.

Andy reflected on the fifteen months he spent as a journalist at the British Safety Council on graduating from university in the early ‘80s before going on to qualify as a barrister.  This was at a time when the new regulatory framework for health and safety enacted in 1974 was starting to impact particularly in preventing injuries and ill health occurrences.  Andy worked with an impressive team of journalists producing a weekly newspaper and monthly magazine for members – including Charles Leadbeater who went on to work for the Financial Times and a former adviser to Tony Blair and Mark Wheeler who went on to become a senior press officer at HSE.

The British Safety Council’s relationship with Andy Slaughter our local MP is an important one focusing not only on major issues concerning health and safety regulation and access to justice but on other issues too concerning the local community and environment. 

 

Just three weeks until the best health and safety expo and conference in Scotland – register now for your free place and build your CPD points

18 Aug

Health and Safety ’11 Scotland taking place on 7-8 September at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh, is a must attend health and safety event. More than 50 major providers and suppliers of health and safety products and services will be attending and ready to answer your questions concerning how better to manage the risk of injury and ill health in your organisation.

Increasingly health and safety practitioners, working across a range of professions and occupations, are seeing the health and safety exhibitions as an essential part of building their knowledge, developing their competence and keeping abreast of fast changing health and safety policy and law.

The speaker line up for the eight education seminars taking place over the two days is impressive. Dr Paul Stollard, HSE’s director for Scotland, Laura Cameron, one of the country’s leading health and safety lawyers and partner at McGrigors LLP and Ian Tasker from the Scottish TUC are just three of the speakers.

The British Safety Council is honoured to be partnering the seminar programme once again.  I look forward to seeing you in Edinburgh.

Register now at http://www.eventdata.co.uk/Forms/Default.aspx?FormRef=Hea91Visitor

Chinese delegation visits British Safety Council HQ

8 Aug

Alex Botha, chief executive of the British Safety Council, welcomed twenty senior officials from the State Administration of Work Safety of China to the organisation’s London headquarters on 4 August.  The officials, drawn from the chemicals, coal mining, metallurgical, nuclear and shipbuilding sectors including in Sichuan and Shandong, met with the British Safety Council executive team as part of their week long study tour of the UK.

The meeting provided the Work Safety Administration officials with the opportunity to hear first hand from Alex Botha and his colleagues about the work of the British Safety Council in helping keep workplaces and workers safe and healthy in the United Kingdom, the Middle East, India and the many other countries in which it operates.  The visiting state delegation were particularly interested in exploring the effectiveness of the health and safety regulatory framework and how the work of the British Safety Council assists in helping ensuring legal compliance.  Both the State Administration of Work Safety officials and the British Safety Council executive team were clear about the importance of maintaining contact, sharing knowledge and meeting again in the near future.

Worker involvement: the elusive piece in the health and safety jigsaw

29 Jul

Nigel Bryson has been a stalwart over the past thirty years in promoting the immense benefits of actively involving workers in preventing workplaces injuries and ill health occurrences. I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Nigel for the past ten years. The British Safety Council is honoured that Nigel regularly speaks at our events and ones that we partner. It is fair to say that the hundreds who have heard him never fail to be moved by his passion and persuasion.

You never quite know what you are going to get from Nigel in terms of what he will use to highlight the cost of not involving workers and the massive benefits produced when you do. Quite simply Nigel grabs your attention, engages your emotions and presents you with the stark evidence. In his words, “Workers are not the problem: workers are the solution to health and safety problems”.

Nigel has now brought a mass of material together in his new book, “Zero harm: worker involvement. The missing pieces”. Just reading his foreword, “Workers dying to live”, reminded me that for many people the consequences of workplace injury and ill health are not remote but have touched them directly and continue to impact on them and their families. Nigel was deeply affected by his father’s work as a trade union official and the memory of his father having to visit the bereaved families of dead workers. One such instance was a visit to the wife of a worker killed in a quarrying accident. The woman still harboured a faint hope that her husband would come walking through the door. She said to Nigel’s Dad, “You know Mr Bryson there wasn’t even a body to bury.” To obtain a copy of this book or talk to Nigel about his work in promoting worker involvement e-mail him at info@brysonconsulting.co.uk