Week Commencing 25/04/2022 – In The News

MPs say asbestos must go from public buildings within 40 years

Pile of sheets containing asbestosMPs have called for a 40-year deadline for all asbestos to be removed from public and commercial buildings.

The Work and Pensions Select Committee said asbestos remained the biggest cause of work-related deaths in the UK.

More than 5,000 such fatalities were recorded in 2019.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that asbestos may still be present in 300,000 non-domestic buildings and in many more homes, despite long-term efforts to remove it.

There is currently no target date for the eradication of the material in public buildings, or private homes, in the UK.

Asbestos is classified as being carcinogenic, which means it can cause cancer and other dangerous lung conditions when fibres are inhaled.

The use of any type of the substance was banned in the UK in 1999.

Read more on the BBC website.

The Burnt Chef Project joins HSE’s Working Minds campaign

Black and white image of a wooden spatula and spoon crossed over eachotherThe Burnt Chef Project has joined forces with the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Working Minds campaign to tackle work-related stress in the hospitality industry.

The Working Minds campaign aims to help businesses recognise the signs of work-related stress and make tackling issues routine. The Burnt Chef Project will use Working Minds in its efforts to help hospitality professionals, who face long antisocial hours, tough environmental conditions and pressures to perform are just some of the issues on a daily basis.

Work-related stress and poor mental health risk becoming a health and safety crisis for Great Britain’s workplaces, the regulator has warned. Statistics published by HSE show in 2020/21 of the 1.7 million workers suffering from a work-related illness, 822,000 were due to stress, depression or anxiety.

The Burnt Chef Project conducted a survey of 1,273 hospitality professionals, which showed that eight out of 10 (84%) of respondents had experienced difficulties with their mental health within their career and 46% would not feel comfortable talking about their health concerns with their colleagues.

For more on the campaign, visit the HSE website.

Boris Johnson pushes to relax health and safety rules to ease cost of living

Nursery worker with child in playgroundBoris Johnson is pushing to cut the cost of childcare by allowing nurseries in England to take in more toddlers without employing extra staff, as part of plans to relax health and safety rules to ease the cost of living.

At a cabinet brainstorming session on reducing living costs, Johnson was on board with the idea of reviewing nursery ratios of staff to children, while Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, suggested pushing MOTs to once every two years, rather than one. Other ideas floated included scrapping tariffs for food imports, and scrapping net zero commitments.

According to one source, Johnson asked to speed up a review of childcare costs, which has been looking at how many children each adult can supervise. A cabinet source said Nadhim Zahawi, the education secretary, was looking at bringing England more into line with Scotland, which has looser ratios for two-year-olds.

Learn more on the Guardian website.

What is good occupational safety and health (OSH)?

Team of professionals in a meetingThis Thursday marks World Day for Safety and Health at Work. This year’s theme is ‘Act together to build a positive safety and health culture’ and will explore the topic of participation and social dialogue in creating a positive safety and health culture.

The day will highlight the importance of having a strong OSH system as demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes meaningful participation of governments, employers, workers, public health actors and all relevant parties at the national and enterprise level, which has been crucial in protecting working environments and safeguarding the safety and health of workers.

At the workplace level, a strong OSH culture is one in which the right to a safe and healthy working environment is valued and promoted by both management and workers.

For IOSH, good OSH focuses on protecting workers to ensure they return home safe and healthy after work each day.

It is all about sensibly and proportionately managing risks to protect workers and support:

  • a happier and healthier workplace
  • lower staff turnover
  • minimised risk of fines
  • improved productivity and
  • a better reputation

Good OSH management is characterised by strong leadership involving all managers, workers, suppliers, contractors and customers. In a global context, health and safety is also an essential part of the movement towards sustainable development.

For more, visit the IOSH website.

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