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2012 Health and Safety Review – Gangnam Style

Category: Health & Safety | Bryan Richards Twitter | Published on: Dec 21, 2012 | Updated: Dec 12, 2016 Read more: Health & Safety

Gangnam Style was in the top viewings on Youtube Rewind 2012. Felix Baumgartner’s space jump was also in the top ten and this featured in Arinite’s October Blog. 2012 also had its interesting health and safety highlights. Here is Arinite’s selection of some of the key moments.

January

  • The HSE and IOSH welcomed Professor Loftstedt’ report on Health and Safety Legislation, but the TUC said the report was a missed opportunity as the report focused on the burden on business and not the burden placed on the health of workers.
  • The Prime Minister, in his surprising letter in the London Evening Standard, pledged to cut back the Health and Safety Monster and free business from its stranglehold of red tape.

February

  • In response to the Loftstedt Report, the Government revealed the first health and safety regulations for the chop, although these were obscure regulations not in common use.
  • There was a key ruling by the Court of Appeal on risk assessment in the Tangerine Confectionary Case. The judge said “It is therefore imperative that when conducting a risk assessment, assessors go beyond the obvious risks and consider the risks that could arise as a result of individuals acting outside their training and instruction, and to subsequently consider ways that such risks could be controlled”. It can be concluded that the quality of risk assessments and risk control measures are KEY in defending prosecutions. All too often risk assessments are inadequate as they merely seek to justify existing control measures.
  • The TUC produced a good bulletin called Defend Health and Safety. It argued the benefits of the legal framework and that legislation was not a burden to business, it was a responsibility.
  • The Journal of Occupational Economic reported that the economic crisis was linked to major rise in Stress. One in four workers experiences stress in times of recession according to new research.

March

  • In a landmark fire safety trial a Hotel and Director were Fined £210,000.
    In 2008 there was a fire in a Finchley Hotel. This was the first jury trial of a case under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005. There had been a failure to make suitable and sufficient assessment, provide staff with training, ensure emergency routes kept clear and provide adequate fire detection.
  • Network Rail received a massive fine of £1 Million over level crossing deaths involving two girls in Essex over 6 years ago.

April

  • The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) were changed. The changes included definingincapacitation as “cannot do your normal work”; records must still be kept for over 3-day injuries in the accident book and over 7 Day events to be reported within 15 DAYS of the event.
  • Teachers Condemned H&S Cuts as Reckless at their annual conference of NASUWT (largest teachers union). They said that children being put at risk as a result of Government proclamations of the common sense approach. Excessive classroom temps were raised as a key and common concern amongst teachers.
  • Chris Grayling (Employment Minister) narrowly avoided his own health and safety myths trap. He was intending to cite an EU Ban on high heels in hairdressers at a Policy Exchange Conference on 18th May 2012. However, on establishing the facts, high heels were not mentioned, merely that `appropriate footwear’ should be worn. It was the media that had `sensationalised’ the story.

May

  • Chris Grayling warned that redundant H&S Rules thwart business growth.
    Chris Grayling stated that if we want people to have jobs, we need to cut bureaucracy. He added that he wanted to cut health and safety regulation in
    half.
  • There was a record fine in the first Northern Ireland Corporate Manslaughter Case. JMW Farms Ltd was fined £187,000 after the death of a worker when struck on head by metal bin which fell off a fork lift truck.

June

  • There was a major outbreak of Legionnaires Disease in Scotland.
    This resulted in two deaths and 61 other cases. Two improvement notices were served.
  • Minister Chris Grayling hailed the progress on H&S regulatory reform.
    He said getting rid of regulations will not undermine the UK’s good record on health and safety, but will improve its bad record on red tape. ( SHP online)

July

  • We saw the second, and largest, Corporate Manslaughter fine. Lion Steel Ltd was fined £480,000 after the death of a handyman who fell through a roof.
  • A major NAO survey showed that businesses still see H&S as a burden. (SHP online)

August

  • Judith Hackitt (HSE Chair) questioned how safe is safe enough in response to a conference question she recently received. She said the real purpose of H&S is stop people being made unwell or being harmed by their work. HSE news
  • The (H&S) Sitcom that Writes Itself. The BBC announced that it was to bring a new sitcom (written by Ben Elton) to our screens about a Health and Safety team in a Local Authority called `Slings and Arrows’.
  • The HSE’s complaints panel had already tackled 50 cases of H&S complaints since April 2012. HSE Myths Bulletin 31st Aug 2012. ( HSE News)

September

  • The Government announced that health and safety Inspections were to be cut. Routine inspections to offices and shops were to be axed in April 2013 through proposed government legislation. BBC News Sep 2012

October

  • HSE began recovering costs from business breaking the law. The HSE Cost recovery scheme started on 1st October (Fee for intervention). SHP online
  • RIDDOR requires proper review not simple slimming down. Health and safety enforcers and specialists called for a full review of the RIDDOR Regulations in order to clarify rather than simplify them, accusing the HSE of having no evidence to back up the “deregulatory” proposals in its recently concluded consultation. SHP online
  • Consultation of First Aid Law Change. The proposal to remove the requirement for first-aid trainers to be approved by the HSE went out for consultation. SHP online

November

  • Fatal Explosion. A manufacturer of military flares was ordered to pay £376,000 in fines and costs following a fatal explosion at its factory in Hampshire. SHP On line
  • Loss of Fear of Prosecution. The TUC believed that a growing number of employers have lost the fear of being caught for health and safety failings, as a result of the Government’s scaling-back of regulatory inspections.
  • Removal of Strict Liability Row. A proposal to remove the principle of strict liability, relating to many health and safety regulations, was the subject of heated debate in the House of Lords. SHP online

December

And finally….

Even at Christmas time there are health and safety excuses not to do things and Council Christmas trees are always under attack. In response the HSE has highlighted its H&S myth on Christmas trees:

Myth: Traditional shopping centre Christmas trees scaled back or replaced by artificial alternatives

The reality

We often hear excuses about the way shops and town centres have (or haven’t!) been decorated, especially if they appear less festive than in previous years.

These include traditional Christmas trees being scaled back or replaced with artificial alternatives for ‘health and safety’ reasons.

A traditional Christmas tree will probably cost a bit more and perhaps that’s one of the real reasons behind these decisions – but let’s be clear, health and safety laws exist to prevent people being seriously injured or made unwell at work, they are certainly not there to ‘cut down’ the festive spirit! HSE

Well that’s it for 2012. I hope you have enjoyed my blogs over the year. I look forward to writing more in 2013.

The Arinite Team would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. It has been a busy and exciting year for Arinite and we look forward to more partnerships with some of you in 2013.

Contact us

In 2012 I have been pleased with the positive feedback from our clients. They appreciate we provide practical, no-nonsense advice about what you need to do to establish and maintain a safe and healthy working environment.

If you need to call upon our expert assistance, or just for an informal chat, please call me on: mobile 0780 361 2948, office 0207 947 9581, or drop me a line at b.richards@arinite.com.

Bryan Richards 20th December 2012

Arinite Ltd, Warnford Court, 29 Throgmorton Street, London EC2N 2AT

 
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