Week Commencing 12/09/2022 – In The News

Workplace wellbeing charity says communication key in suicide prevention

Construction helmets“No one should be afraid to ask or tell someone that they are struggling,” says Mates in Mind Patron.

The charity, Mates in Mind, which aims to promote improved mental health in the workplace, says organisations must encourage conversations around mental health to help prevent suicide. 

The message to employers comes as World Suicide Prevention Day is marked (September 10), an opportunity – it says – for employers to establish a safe and healthy workplace, which can play a vital role in suicide prevention. 

With an average of two construction workers taking their own lives every day, Mates in Mind is encouraging companies to break the stigma and silence around mental ill-health. 

Michelle Wiles, Patron of the charity and whose own husband took his own life following a severe bout of stress is adamant that construction firms must quickly establish clear lines of communication among their employers. “…it’s important to reiterate that early intervention is key regarding reducing the suicide rate within construction. It’s vital that individuals who are struggling with their mental health feel they are able to talk about how they are feeling and seek support before reaching that crisis point.  

Read more on the SHP website.

Venue prosecuted for safety breaches

Hands holding ticketsThe owner and general manager of a Mid Ulster entertainment venue have been fined £20,000 and £5,000 respectively, for breaches of health and safety and entertainment licensing legislation for overcrowding and a crushing incident at the ‘Teen Elk’ children’s disco event on 5 November 2021. Costs of £8,086 were also awarded to the Council.

In a prosecution brought by Mid Ulster District Council, Creagh Concrete Products Ltd, which owns ‘The Elk Bar and Bistro’ and its general manager, Mr Aaron McHenry, both pleaded guilty to breaches of health and safety and entertainment licensing legislation following an investigation into complaints about the event.

Underage events were immediately prohibited at the premises and the entertainments licence was suspended by the Council.

Council officers had contacted the organisers in advance of the event and sought copies of the event management plan for the event, and been assured that the necessary measures were in place.

However, the investigation concluded that prior to the event the organisers had knowingly sold tickets in excess of the maximum number permitted by the entertainment licence.

The permitted number of children in the premises on the night was 1,041, whereas some 1,800 children were admitted.

For more on the case, visit the HSM website.

New fire safety regulations to implement majority of Grenfell recommendations

Fire exit signPersonal emergency evacuation plans not taken forward following consultation.

Recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry will form part of the new Fire Safety (England) 2022 regulations, however, two recommendations on personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEPS) will not be ratified. 

The decision came from the government’s initial 2021 consultation on the event. Speaking in the House of Lords earlier this year building safety manager, Lord Stephen Greenhalgh, said that mandating PEEPs in high-rise residential buildings showed “substantial difficulties…around practicality, proportionality, and safety”. 

An alternative consultation considering an alternative package of measures – referred to as emergency evacuation information sharing (EEIS+) – closed last month. 

Meanwhile, updates to the regulations will see new duties for building owners and managers under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order 2005.  

Learn more on the SHP website.

Mental health support for construction apprentices

construction apprentice in officeCITB is investing £90,000 to fund a pilot scheme which will provide mental health support for apprentices from the start of their construction industry careers.

Optima UK Ltd will train further education construction tutors to be Mental Health First Aiders so they can support construction apprentices during their learning. Apprentices will also be given mental health awareness training in bite size four hour sessions. This will mean the apprentices have the knowledge and education during learning, at the start of, and throughout, their career in construction. There will also be one-to-one support.

The team at Optima UK are all set to go and will begin training both instructors and apprentices in September.

The courses will be run by trainers accredited by Mental Health First Aid England and deliver 29 courses, all with 16 delegates, to hubs of colleges across the UK. In the space of a year, they will have trained 464 tutors and 464 apprentices, as well as offered one-to-one support to around 100 apprentices.

For more information, visit the HSM website.

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