Week Commencing 13/06/2022 – In The News

Sun safety – Outdoor workers at risk of the ‘invisible killer’

Bright sun in the skyAs occupational skin cancer cases increase, safety experts warn employers of the risks of UV radiation, as two out of three workers are unaware they are at risk of skin cancer, resulting in many not applying protection whilst working outdoors.

Whilst exposure to UV radiation from the sun can happen all year round, the arrival of summer is a timely reminder of the serious risks to outdoor workers’ health. The sun’s UV rays are a carcinogen, the primary cause of skin cancer. Unfortunately, outdoor workers are often unaware of the risks of excessive UV exposure, which is responsible for over 60 worker deaths a year in the UK. With the right guidance and safety procedures in place, 90% of these deaths are preventable.

Most organisations believe they are already implementing sufficient measures to combat the risk of sun exposure. However, many workers do not follow protocol and lack sufficient training on the risks of working outdoors. There is a common misconception that the weather in the UK is not sunny enough to pose a high risk, however up to 90% of dangerous UV rays still get through light cloud and the strength of solar radiation is not connected to temperature. A lapse in sun safety practices and education puts workers at serious risk of illness and leaves companies open to potential litigation and fines.

Read more on the SHP website.

Are you managing air pollution at work?

In 2019, pollution was responsible for approximately 9 million premature deaths worldwide. Air pollution (both household and ambient air pollution) remains responsible for the greatest number of deaths, causing 6-7 million deaths in 2019.

Toxic occupational hazards, excluding workplace fatalities due to safety hazards, were responsible for 870,000 deaths in the same year. An example of these is welding fumes, especially when welding nickel or chromium metals.

Therefore, occupational toxic emissions from organisations are a significant to the health and lives of not only workers, but nearby workplaces and residential areas. But what makes industries pollute their own local environment and others nearby?

  1. Lack of legislation and standard practices
  2. Lack of effective organisational policies and processes
  3. Using old and outdated technology
  4. Lack of internal control of emissions

So, what can OSH professionals do to control this hazard?

Find out what steps you can take on the HSM website.

National Forklift Safety Day highlights the importance of operator training

As part of its continuing commitment to raising safety standards across the material handling sector, the UK Material Handling Association (UKMHA) – the UK trade association for manufacturers, truck users and suppliers of forklift trucks and associated components and services – is once again championing the cause of National Forklift Safety Day.

Each year, the campaign, which this year takes place on Tuesday 14th June, highlights a different safety issue, with the topic for 2022 being Operator Training and Supervision. The intention is to reduce the number of workplace accidents in which people are killed or seriously injured after being struck by a moving vehicle.

According to Health & Safety Executive figures, ‘Struck by a moving vehicle’ was the second most common cause of workplace fatality in 2020/21, accounting for 25 deaths – 18% of the total number of workplace fatalities across the year. The data does not break down the type of vehicles involved, but each year there are fatalities and serious injuries involving forklift trucks, accidents which in some instances could have been avoided if staff had been properly trained and adhered to safe systems of work.

For more, visit the SHP website.

Pig feed deaths: Managers jailed after yard workers drowned

Managers of a food waste company have been jailed after two staff members drowned in a tanker of pig feed.

Nathan Walker, 19, died after falling into the tanker at Greenfeeds Limited in Normanton, Leicestershire, in December 2016, just 15 days before his son was born.

Gavin Rawson, 35, died trying to save Mr Walker.

Gillian Leivers was jailed for 13 years, with her husband also sentenced and the firm fined £2m.

Leivers was convicted of two counts of gross negligence manslaughter and a health and safety offence.

Ian Leivers was jailed for 20 months after being found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The firm, which is now in liquidation, was fined after being found guilty of corporate manslaughter, while manager Stewart Brown was given a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years, for a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The sentencing took place at Leicester Crown Court on Thursday.

Learn more on the BBC website.

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