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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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Member engagement gathers pace

3 Oct

The past week the British Safety Council has been learning more on how its members are addressing topical health and safety focuses – occupational health and the green agenda.

Global law firm Linklaters invited the British Safety Council for a tour of its London offices to understand first-hand what they are doing with their staff in relation to managing occupational health and safety issues. The focus on work stress is important given the firm has recognised ill health presents far greater risks than accidents to its employees therefore aligning its health and safety policy to reflect this.

With a workforce of about 1,800 in London, the health and safety team led by Peter Kinselley are focussed on engaging its large workforce with a variety of awareness-raising initiatives, training and support. The British Safety Council was given an overview of the team’s many initiatives covering mental health talks, confidential support services and well being road shows. A tour of the firm’s extensive catering facilities serving healthy meal options using local produce, a well equipped staff fitness centre and detailed waste management system, followed. 

Later in the week, the British Safety Council visited Panasonic UK to learn more about how the business is positioning itself in relation to environmental product engineering. Following the launch of  Panasonic’s ‘Green Plan 2018’ last year, the manufacturing giant has been working towards the business goal to be the number one green innovation company in the electronics industry by their 100th anniversary in 2018 . Together with the company’s health, safety and environmental affairs team, Keith Evans, Panasonic UK managing director, talked through the vision of not just products reflecting this ambitious environmental action plan, but employees. The plan outlines initiatives that all employees should take to become an industry leader in the green indexes the company has set covering areas like reduction of CO2, energy efficiency, resources reuse and recycling, and minimising water consumption. You can read more on Panasonic’s sustainability activities in the next issue of Safety Management magazine.

Both meetings discussed the role of the British Safety Council in supporting members implement their corporate occupational health and sustainability activities. Members expressed interest in outcomes of the charity’s campaigning, influencing and lobbying work, an area both members acknowledged is fundamental in ensuring their health and safety objectives aligns with. The charity took on board the feedback and will work on further engagement with members on important legislative development in the coming months.

The Scottish Perspective

22 Sep

 

Matthew Holder, head of campaigns and engagement at the British Safety Council visited Portcullis House last week to meet shadow secretary of state Ann McKechin (Labour, Glasgow North). Ann had made a valuable contribution to the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee’s  enquiry into health and safety Scotland and the British Safety Council was keen to discuss how we could work together on issues.

Having a background as a solicitor, Ann was very knowledgeable about the Scottish legal system when it came to non-compliance and imposing fines for breaches of health and safety law. In sum, she had a concern that the Scottish courts weren’t really set up to impose sufficient fines and act as enough of a deterrent to those who want to avoid making the investment to follow the law. This was in interesting contrast to the high level of debate around health and safety in Scotland, with few of the ‘silly’ myth stories that feature in the English press. Ann felt this was because there was a general recognition by the public that H&S is serious and worthy of public debate and consideration.

She was very interested in the British Safety Council’s schools programme. She explained that her constituency of Glasgow North did have social problems, with schools that do need help. She offered to help in any way that she could to help the British Safety Council engage schools and  provide free training for school children in the entry level qualification. She was also very interested in our Globe and Sword of Honour Awards that recognise excellence in managing health, safety and environmental pressures. She wanted to stay in touch and be part of our efforts to engage parliamentarians in order to affect the broader changes we want to make.

Paul Gordon reports from the World Congress in Safety and Health in Istanbul, Turkey

13 Sep

Good afternoon everybody. I am reporting from the XIX World Congress in Safety and Health here in Istanbul, Turkey.

It is one of the world’s largest, if not the largest, health and safety conferences. There are reported to be delegates here from more than 120 countries. And it’s hot, far too hot to be wearing a suit and tie.

Istanbul is one of the great cities of the world. Anyone visiting from Western Europe will notice the distinct change in feel and unique character of the place. Spread on either sides of the Bosphorus Strait it is the only city in the world to be situated on two continents, both Europe and Asia. Whilst more closely associated with Europe in political and sporting terms, the city nevertheless feels much more Asian than European.

It’s a lovely old city, dripping in history and culture. In fact, culture is one of the buzzwords at the conference – building a global safety culture.

I’m here to represent the British Safety Council in our public benefit work, and to give presentations in two of the conference symposia. We try to engage with as many stakeholders as possible in order to disseminate our key messages that no one should be killed, injured or made ill by their work, and highlighting the plight of young workers in particular. So far, it’s one down, one to go on the presentation stakes. A very positive reaction to my first delivery yesterday (I would say that I know, but its true), talking about the challenges of engaging with small businesses, with lots of interest in the role played by the British Safety Council. Tomorrow’s presentation will be looking at the British Safety Council campaign for young worker safety.

Some interesting topics throughout the congress. I have been talking with delegates from as far a field as Singapore and Azerbaijan. The UK is represented here by, amongst others, Judith Hackett, Chair of the Health and Safety Executive who spoke about the Global Challenge of a changing world of work and the global economy.

But for now from me its Güle güle (cheerio) from Turkey.

About our blogger

Paul Gordon is the British Safety Council’s policy and research manager.

Health and Safety Scotland – keynote speakers address major health and safety issues at Edinburgh event

8 Sep

Nearly 300 heard Dr Paul Stollard, HSE’s Director for Scotland set out progress the major reforms of health and safety currently taking place and the challenges facing HSE in Scotland. He made clear that the focus remained on preventing workplace injuries and ill health occurrences. The number of workplace fatalities under investigation in Scotland exceeded the number of operational HSE Inspectors.

Donna Hutchison of QuEnSH and Shaun Knott of Casella Measurement contributed excellent presentations on the work of health consultants and noise vibration respectively.

The seminars were rounded by Marion Lamb from Glasgow Housing Association (GHA), the largest social housing provider in Scotland, assisted by Partners from Strathclyde Police and Fire and Rescue Service. The risks faced by GHA employees are immense – indeed hard to comprehend ranging from preventing exposure to hazardous substances to fire and physical assaults.

Marion and her partners brought home powerfully the consequences of not dealing with risks posed to employees by anti social behaviour and the consequences which could lead to serious injury and death.

The British Safety Council will be feeding back important issues coming out of the Edinburgh event at its forthcoming meeting with Ann McKechin Labour MP for Glasgow North and Shadow Secretary for Scotland.