Archive by Author

Sample of members call for mandatory reporting on greenhouse gas emissions

7 Jul

This week the British Safety Council responded to a consultation run by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on whether regulations should be introduced to make it mandatory for some UK companies to report on their greenhouse gas emissions.

In October 2010 we launched a membership survey on environmental management which established that almost 90% of members who responded indicated that, within their organisation, environmental management is managed alongside health and safety.

Given that so many of our members and stakeholders would be affected by the proposed regulations, we therefore felt it right that we should respond to the consultation. To this end, we recently approached some of our members to share their views and experiences on greenhouse gas emissions reporting and to help inform our response.

The consultation posed four different options for reporting emissions; one voluntary option and three mandatory. Most respondents clearly expressed a preference for mandatory reporting of emissions for all companies whose UK electricity consumption exceeds a threshold. It was felt that this would align to firms’ measuring and reporting energy consumption and would minimise the regulatory impact upon businesses as a whole, whilst conveying the business case to reduce consumption and make “CRC look less like an additional tax and more like something that will encourage energy awareness”.

There was evidence that not all organisations believed in the value of measuring and reporting GHG emissions, although some were aware of a financial business case. There were concerns regarding the demands upon companies’ time and resources in addition to other regulatory pressures, especially in the current economic context. Respondents also clearly expressed a preference for additional guidance to assist them to better understand their reporting obligations and expectations.

Whilst a focus on reporting will not in itself facilitate a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, bringing the measuring and reporting of emissions into the mainstream will be a step in the right direction if the UK is to achieve its carbon reduction targets.

Advertisements

Youth Action Day inspires young people to speak up

22 Jun

Last Friday saw the British Safety Council host Youth Action Day at ZSL London Zoo.

This was a health and safety conference with a difference. No discussions about regulation, nor was there a suit and tie in sight. This was an event set to appeal directly to young people, and run by (relatively) young people, all taking place within the scenic and refreshingly laid back location of London Zoo.

The aim of the event: to get young people engaged and receptive to workplace safety, to encourage them to take action if they encounter unsafe practices in the workplace.

The day was opened by Hollyoaks actress Jessica Forrest who spoke about her own experiences of health and safety and who touched a nerve with the audience. Exercises throughout the day included a poster workshop, a health and safety quiz, a discussion about health and safety in the movies, a talk from a young explorer, question and answer session with a range of young experts from different backgrounds, and a live health and safety auction. There was also entertainment provided by a modern dance group and boy band who opened and closed the day with a bang.

Youth Action Day was free to attend for anyone under 19, and a number of schools and youth groups took advantage and benefitted from the experience.  Feedback was positive. One young person, Alfaz Dinmamoude, said of the day: “It was great, and was good to meet new people and learn new things. I enjoyed the whole day and I think it will help me be more aware of health and safety in the future.”

British Safety Council’s annual members’ survey

27 May

Good morning everyone. The British Safety Council’s annual members’ survey was launched on Wednesday. During the first 48 hours more than 200 organisations have completed this survey.

The survey asks a number of probing questions regarding the management of health and safety within organisations, from knowledge and attitudes towards risk, views on changes to the regulation, to public perceptions of health and safety and more.

This will be the first in a series of annual membership surveys which will track changes in these trends over time. The health and safety landscape in Great Britain has been undergoing considerable change.  We hope that this survey will provide a detailed insight into how our members are coping with and responding to this change. It will help us to better understand the issues of concern to your organisation and will enable us, the British Safety Council, to better represent your views.

The survey is open until 17 June and will take just a few minutes to complete. It can be accessed here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DJ3KMPS

Too many regulations?

20 May

Good afternoon British Safety Council members, and others. Today, the Department for Work and Pensions issued a call for evidence for the Löfstedt Review, inviting views from all interested parties on the scope for reducing the burden of health and safety regulation on UK businesses. Announced by the Minister for Employment in March, the Löfstedt Review will consider the opportunity for combining, simplifying or reducing the approximately 200 health and safety regulations in this country.

The British Safety Council will be submitting evidence to the review, but first we want to know what our members feel. Next month we will launch an online survey and this is your opportunity to tell us what you think. These findings will support the evidence which we present to Professor Löfstedt.

The call for evidence is available at: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations/2011/lofstedt-review-cfe.shtml

All UK members will receive an email invitation in June so look out for this important opportunity…

Tackling safety in Vienna

10 May

Hello from Sunny Vienna, former seat of the Holy Roman Empire and the Austro Hungarian Empire, home of the Wiener Schnitzel and Mozart, and all that…

The reason for my being here is the ‘Forum Prävention 2011’. This four day event, run by AUVA – the Austrian Social Insurance organisation, is one of the largest annual health and safety events in Europe.

I had the pleasure of attending the 2010 event in Innsbruck. The event, which is attended by several hundred health and safety professionals and other stakeholders from across Europe, provides an opportunity for those from different backgrounds to learn from each other, to share ideas and exchange best practice.

More specifically, I am here to take part in the ‘International Workshop: Safety and Health in SME’s’ at which I was invited to speak on behalf of the British Safety Council. 99% of all businesses in the UK are SMEs, as are a great many of the 6,500 member companies represented by the British Safety Council.

During my presentation on ‘the regulatory burden and health and safety practices in SMEs’ I look at the difficulties in engaging with SMEs, including a lack of awareness of the regulations, of the available resources for good health and safety management, and sometimes a lack of interest and willingness to engage due to a host of other priorities.

A British Safety Council survey of our members during the Lord Young Review revealed that many did not believe that the current framework of health and safety law was a burden. But these members are the ones that take an active interest in health and safety; there are a multitude out there who are difficult to penetrate and are likely to take a different view.

I also look at the more vulnerable groups of employees, within SMEs, including migrant workers and young workers; who are a cause close to the heart of the British Safety Council. A look at the injury and fatality statistics show that a high percentage of all incidents occur within SMEs. Within this percentage, you can be sure that these vulnerable groups are heavily represented because there are many small employers who fail to give proper regard to their safety. I also look at best practice examples including the British Safety Council campaign for young workers.

It’s amazing just how much of the good work that is taking place to improve workplace health and safety is duplicated across national boundaries. Many countries are facing the same set of health and safety issues and many are adopting similar strategies but so much time and effort could be saved if there were more cooperation and collaboration between stakeholders, as the nice people at the Forum Prevention are trying to encourage.

My lasting impression from this event is that the opportunities for collaboration are great, as is the potential to reduce workplace injuries and ill health if we can work together to achieve common goals. So for now, it’s goodbye from me and goodnight Vienna…

More than two thirds of members that responded support changes to RIDDOR

7 Apr

Our recent survey on the changes to the RIDDOR regulations received more than 1400 hits, and over 800 British Safety Council members completed the survey. The government is proposing to extend the amount of time before a workplace accident needs to be reported from three to seven days – the aim; to ease the administrative burden on employers.

More than two thirds (70%) of our respondents were in favour of this change. The most commonly cited advantages were that the proposed change would; reduce the administrative burden; allow more time for accident investigation; prevent the need to report an incident as a three-day reportable accident because it occurs before a weekend; bring reporting in line with the fit note requirement; and produce a more representative portrayal of the state of health and safety in the UK which is not obscured by trivial incidents.

Some concerns were also raised including that; employers might be inclined to treat health and safety less seriously; accidents will be less thoroughly investigated; and that national accident figures will be less accurate. But on the whole these views were in the minority.

More than two thirds of respondents did not believe that there would be any adverse consequences from the loss of national data. However, only half of respondents felt that the proposed change would reduce the level of underreporting (currently estimated at 50%).

We will shortly be communicating these members’ views to the government in our consultation response.

Huge response to RIDDOR survey

14 Mar

Well, since launching our online survey on the government’s proposed changes to the RIDDOR regulations at 12pm on Thursday (10 March) we have received….a whopping 1250 responses at the time of writing.

This is already the largest response we have ever had to an online survey, dwarfing the previous total of 600 who responded to our consultation on the Lord Young review, and it is still early days with the deadline not until 31 March. Not bad you might say, but this goes to show its importance to our readers and members. 

RIDDOR stands for the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations. The government is proposing to extend the amount of time before a workplace accident needs to be reported should be increased from three to seven days – the aim is to ease the administrative burden on employers.

We have surveyed our members to obtain their views. These will help to frame our official response to the consultation. So don’t forget to check out the survey if you’ve not yet done so and let us know what you think – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TBVF5MX

We really appreciate your input