The CITB have recently changed their rules regarding their levy scheme- and users are being caught out.

Those who have signed up for, and are part of CITB’s grant scheme, can now only claim money back from training courses held at a training centre that has been awarded an ATO (CITB Approved Training Organisation).

HCS Safety is pleased to announce that we are now an ATO, proving that our teaching reaches an industry recognised standard, as well maintaining our ability to help you claim back as part of the CITB Grant Scheme.

The CITB grants scheme provides grants for employers in the construction industry to train their workers.

You can claim grants if you are an employer registered with CITB and you send a Levy Return by 31 December each year. Small employers that don’t need to pay the levy can still claim grants.

CITB grants are for training and qualifications completed in the grant scheme year (1 April of this year to 31 March of the next year).

You claim grants after your employee finishes their training or gains their qualification. If a course runs over more than one grant scheme year, you make separate claims for each year.

CITB has recently changed the way it supports training for the construction industry, including the introduction of ATOs.

CITB describes an ATO as ‘an organisation which provides construction training courses and qualifications to a defined and industry agreed training standard.’

If you book and complete a CITB course through a company that is not a registered ATO, you will not be able to claim anything back.

For more information or to ensure your places on any of our CITB courses, please contact our training team on 02380 894695.

  By Andy Bishop, Health and Safety Consultant

“What on earth?”, “there are no barriers”, “do they not know the risks they are exposing themselves to?”. ‘Why are so many people up there?’. My Safety Bloke brain was going into overdrive as I struggled to take in the image I was transfixed by.

I don’t like Mondays’ tailed off on the radio and Jeremy Vine mentioned something about gun law in the US and Bob Geldof. As he started his next item my ears pricked up. He mentioned a public awareness campaign taking place in London which aimed to get men talking about mental health.

It started to dawn on me, this was the picture I was staring at. Gradually, realisation sunk in – ‘every two hours’ – ’84 a week’ – ‘4368 a year’.

These figures are shocking, they refer to the number of men who commit suicide every day, every week, every year in the UK alone. The 84 statues represent those poor souls for whom life has proved too much. Men in their prime who don’t have anywhere left to turn, who think that the only way is down, looking for some way to end their pain, their torment, their anguish.

As I listened and Googled the information, I was haunted by this image and the powerful message that it portrayed. All the statues are clothed, some in casual hoodies and jeans, others wearing suits and ties, some in uniforms, some in work wear, some are black, some are white, some are young, some are older a cross section of men in the UK. The single common denominator that all of them share is the overwhelming, all consuming desire to end their lives.

I remembered my own journey which took me closer to the edge than I dare recall and all the feelings associated with it. At this point I started to weep as I remembered two of my close friends who found themselves in similar positions. Both gave no outward signs that they were suffering. I was reminded of my friend’s son at the graveside, sobbing uncontrollably as his Daddy was lowered. I remember how I felt seeing and hearing that, it is an image that will never, ever leave me.

I remember my daughter hugging me tightly and saying through tears ‘promise me you won’t ever do that’.

I have learned that suicide does not end the pain, it’s simply a transfer of ownership. Those that are left behind don’t get any answers, the whys and wherefores, the reasons.

…And I can see no reason, ‘cos there are no reasons, what reason do you need to be sure…

Talking about emotions and feelings, stresses and poor mental health is not something that comes naturally to men, we tend to see it as weakness until it goes to far. We are geniuses at hiding our emotions from people, putting on a brave face.

But every two hours of every day, somebody’s Partner, Mother, Father, Brother, Sister, Family and Friends take ownership of that brave face and have to wear it for the rest of their lives.
Gents, let’s get together and end the stigma associated with our mental health. It’s definitely not weak to speak.

For more information about Project 84 and CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), please see their website https://www.projecteightyfour.com

A couple of weeks ago, Uber hit the headlines when a test of one of their driver-less vehicles hit and subsequently killed a woman in the street in Tempe, Arizona.

Tempe police said the self-driving car was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash and that the vehicle hit a woman, who was walking outside of the designated crosswalk with a bicycle and later died in hospital. There was a vehicle operator inside the car at the time of the crash. The self-driving technology is supposed to detect pedestrians, cyclists and others and prevent crashes.

Uber has been testing its self-driving cars in numerous states and temporarily suspended its vehicles in Arizona last year after a crash involving one of its vehicles, a Volvo SUV. When the company first began testing its self-driving cars in California in 2016, the vehicles were caught running red lights, leading to a high-profile dispute between state regulators and the San Francisco-based corporation.

This week, Governor Doug Ducey released a letter he sent to Uber, forbidding the company resuming the self-driving tests in the state of Arizona.

A video showing the incident has been released. It shows the car’s operator looking down for about 5 seconds before it collides with the pedestrian.

“I found the video to be disturbing and alarming, and it raises many questions about the ability of Uber to continue testing in Arizona,” wrote Mr Ducey.

He added that he had ordered officials to suspend the firm’s right to drive autonomous vehicles on local roads pending the outcome of inquiries by national transport safety regulators.

The Governor’s tone contrasts with a statement given in 2016, when Mr Ducey said he welcomed the company’s self-driving fleet “with open arms and wide open roads”.

A 28 year-old woman is fighting for her life after a tower crane dropped its load next to Bow Corner in central London.

She was walking past a Higgins Homes site on Tuesday (27th March) morning when she was crushed by what is reported to be a pallet load of bricks, released from a five-storey crane.
Police officers from Tower Hamlets were called to the scene, in Burdett Road at the junction with St Paul’s Way, at 9.38am. The London Ambulance Service attended, and the woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries, a man was also treated for shock.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Police in Tower Hamlets are dealing after a woman was injured by falling debris. Officers were called at 9.38am. A woman has apparently been struck by debris falling from a building site crane.

“London Ambulance Service attended and the woman was taken to an east London hospital in a critical condition. Her next of kin have been informed.”

A spokesman said: “We sent a number of resources to the scene including an incident response officer, a motorcycle responder, two single responders in cars and two ambulance crews. We also dispatched London’s Air Ambulance by car.

“We treated a woman at the scene for serious injuries and took her as a priority to a major trauma centre. We also took a second person to hospital.”
Video footage showed a crowd of people rushing to help her as she lay injured on the pavement in Burdett Road. Witnesses said the woman was given CPR by passers-by until the emergency services arrived.

The HSE are working with local authorities to investigate the cause of the accident.

ELCAS is the MOD’s Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme (ELC) which promotes lifelong learning amongst members of the Armed Forces, and HCS Safety are delighted to announce it is now an ELCAS accredited training centre.

The scheme provides financial support for training purposes in the form of a single, up-front payment in each of a maximum of three separate financial years.

The aim of this support is to ease the transference from the armed services to civilian life and HCS Safety are proud to be a part of this venture.

Claims must be submitted before the 10th anniversary of the delegates last day of service if they left before 1st April 2011.

If they left between 1st April 2011 and 31st March 2016 (both dates inclusive), they will expire on 31st March 2021.

If they left as of 1st April 2016 or later, they expire on the 5th anniversary of their last day of service.

Any courses booked MUST start before this date.   

If you have any staff who have left the armed forces in the last three years, or know of friends or family that this could benefit, their training could be part or fully funded under this scheme.

Please contact the training team for further information, or visit the ELCAS website.

Who doesn’t love a good snowball fight? It’s one of the more widely accepted positives of the usually maligned snowfalls that hit our shores each winter, especially for children. However, one school has taken steps to put an end to this fun pastime, by banning students from even touching snow for “health and safety reasons”.

Jo Richardson Community School in east London has introduced the new rule, citing health and safety reasons and the decision has hit the headlines nationally.

Headteacher Ges Smith appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain and defended the introduction of the rule.

Mr Smith said: “The problem is it only takes one student, one piece of grit, one stone in a snowball in an eye with an injury and we change our view.”

“The rules are don’t touch the snow. If you don’t touch the snow you’re not going to throw it.”

He went on to claim it also makes the children wet and cold: “If the last thing you do before you go into school and into the classroom is have a snowball in your face, you’re not ready to learn.”

Presenter Piers Morgan, questioned the decision as well as the claims that it is a health and safety issue and asked whether the headteacher thought students at the school would be “prepared for a normal life if they were being wrapped in cotton wool.”

Mr Smith finished by claiming: “We’ve got a duty of care and that duty of care has got to extend.”

Snow has been covering parts of the country since the beginning of the week and the Met Office has upgraded its weather warnings for snow for later this week, putting more parts of the country under a ‘danger to life’ warning.

While Jo Richardson Community School has decided to use health and safety as a reason to ban snow related fun, the first annual HCS Safety snowball fight will commence the second the snowfall reaches 3-4 inches.

A 78-year-old woman has sustained life changing injuries after she was dragged into a tunnel by a London Underground train.

Her bag  became trapped in a Tube door at Notting Hill Gate station in London on January 31st, and despite receiving help from other passengers, she could not get free.

Passengers who saw the woman in distress activated emergency alarms on the Central line train, and the driver applied the brakes; but six of the eight carriages were already in the tunnel by the time the train came to a full stop.

Shabana Khan, who witnessed what happened, tweeted: ‘Horrified right now, woman has fallen under our train carriage at Notting Hill Gate station. ‘Heard the thud as the train moved we’re all in tears thinking she’s died under our feet. ‘But she’s alive and stuck under the train yelling help. We’ve been evacuated out of the train.’

Emergency services and London Underground’s emergency response unit rescued the woman from the space between the underside of the train and the tunnel wall by safely derailing the train to release the woman from underneath the carriage. She is still recovering in hospital.

British Transport Police at the time confirmed the incident was not being treated as suspicious.

The process of checking whether it is safe for a train to depart and the door’s obstacle detection system will also be considered during the inquiry as well as consideration of:

  • the actions of the people involved
  • the process of checking whether it is safe for a train to depart, including the equipment provided to enable the train operator to do this
  • the door control and obstacle detection system
  • the factors affecting the train operator’s task
  • any underlying management factors

In a statement, Nigel Holness, Network Operations Director for London Underground, said: “Our thoughts are with the woman injured in the incident at Notting Hill Gate.

“The safety of our customers and staff is our top priority , and we will co-operate fully with the RAIB and implement any recommendations that come from their investigation or from our own internal investigation.”

A ban stopping an 83-year-old lollipop man from high-fiving schoolchildren over safety concerns has been lifted.

Stockport Council hit the headlines when it ordered Colin Spencer to stop high-fiving the kids as they crossed the road to “concentrate on ensuring highway safety”.

Spencer has worked as the lollipop man at St George’s Primary School in Stockport for 14 years.

However, after making the national news and generating widespread interest, the council has now apologised and admitted it was “clearly wrong” to impose the ban.

Parents had described how they received a text message from the school asking them to tell their children not to high-five Mr Spencer on the road. A text the following morning said children could in fact high-five their Lollipop man, but only on the pavement.

In interviews since the story broke, Mr Spencer said the decision had left some pupils in tears and unable to understand why he could no longer high-five them in the road.

The council’s latest statement said: “Following the recent reports surrounding Stockport Council’s lollipop man, Colin Spencer, we want to apologise for the unnecessary concern caused by the issuing of an instruction that was clearly wrong.”

Sheila Bailey, the council’s executive member for communities and housing, added: “Colin has been an outstanding public servant and a popular member of his community for many years.

“It’s fantastic that he works with a smile on his face and brightens up the day for so many children.”

Ms Bailey added: “We try to make the service as safe as possible as well as maintaining the unique personalities that each member of the team brings to their school. We are sorry, that on this occasion, the council got it wrong.”

Dawn St Clare, whose children go to the school, told the BBC last week she thought the ruling was “ridiculous” and had annoyed parents and upset pupils.

We all know that if we have a bad night’s sleep, the next day we will not be firing on all cylinders.

 

We are often more irritable, find it hard to concentrate or don’t perform as well as usual – and the longer our sleep is disrupted the worse these impacts get.

 

These individual symptoms can directly impact on productivity, poor customer service both internally and externally and increased risk of accidents in the workplace.

 

Because of this, more and more businesses (in England and globally) are taking an interest in the specific impact of sleep deprivation or disruption on the health and wellbeing of their employees and the implications for productivity and competitiveness.

 

This is supported by reports such as that by Rand Europe using data from 62,000 people in five major economies which concluded that the economic cost of tired employees (being less productive or absent from work altogether) amounted to almost two per cent of GDP.

 

Sleep is a natural requirement- we need it to recharge, repair and restock.  Although we can cope with sleep loss for a couple of days, eventually our bodies will be unable to cope with carrying on without the essential recovery time.

 

When we think of sleep deprivation and work, night and shift workers spring to mind, but this is not the case. For example, stress at work or worries at home can keep us awake at night, and becoming a parent is a very common reason for sleep disruption, so it makes sense for all employers to think about the broad range of causes as well as potential action to help improve sleep quality and duration.

 

What can Employers do?

 

As part of the Government’s commitment to promoting healthier workplaces they have partnered with Business in the Community to create a range of toolkits for employers, co-produced with businesses.

 

Public Health England has therefore provided a sleep toolkit to assist businesses in ensuring they support their staff’s health as well as their safety.  The base of the toolkit is the key role of line managers and job planning to identify potential risks and support staff when required.  The Toolkit discusses actions that employers can take to create a healthier and more productive workforce, helping employees to be their best and ultimately strengthening the business at its core.

Almost 300 workers have downed tools and walked off a construction project in Hull due to health and safety fears, it has been reported.

Local papers the Hull Daily Mail and the Yorkshire Post reported that the incident is the latest in a series of walk outs by builders due to safety and standards concerns.

The 280 workers at the £200m energy-from-waste facility stopped working due to issues such as faulty fire alarms, the papers reported, as well as the state of facilities for contractors, including car parks and toilet facilities.

One worker told the papers: “The men working in these areas only knew there was an issue when members of their own workforce had to go back for them.

“The next day all of the contractors cabined up due to fears of safety on site.”

The worker claimed managers knew there had not been enough fire alarms across the site and blamed the cold weather for draining the batteries of the alarms that were installed. The worker said other concerns over leaking waste pipes in toilets on the site and the poor condition of a parking area set aside for sub-contractors had also not been addressed.

An independent health and safety audit was undertaken at the site, which Energy Works Ltd said had confirmed it was ‘being operated in a safe manner’.

In a statement, Energy Works (Hull) Ltd., said: “A representative from Energy Works (Hull) Ltd is in attendance at the energy-from-waste facility which is under construction on Cleveland Street, Hull, and can confirm the site remains operational and works are continuing.

“Furthermore, an independent health and safety audit was undertaken on Wednesday that confirmed the site is being operated and controlled in a safe manner.

“There has been an unofficial action which involved approximately 280 of the 480-strong workforce withdrawing their labour from the site.

“The Principal Contractor, M+W Group, anticipates a swift resolution to this matter, which will see the full resumption of works on site.”

Construction of the huge power plant is scheduled to be completed later this year.