Week Commencing 27/02/2023 – In The News

Calls for building regulations to include mandatory sprinklers in hotels to improve safety

Two men who died in a hotel fire would have survived if sprinklers had been installed, an inquiry has found.

The incident at Cameron House Hotel near Loch Lomond, Scotland, in 2017 also saw three others treated at hospital.

The Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) found the hotel had a number of defects regarding fire safety and the deaths could have been avoided.

It has led to calls for sprinklers to be required in such buildings, which is not currently the case.

In his report Sheriff Thomas McCartney called for the Scottish government to “consider introducing for future conversions of historic buildings to be used as hotel accommodation a requirement to have active fire suppression systems installed”.

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) has also stated “the recommendation should be taken further and applied to all buildings used by the general public”.

The hotel has since reopened with improved fire safety systems including a sprinkler system.

Read more on the SHP website.

New regulator takes major step forward in ‘landmark moment for building safety’

Those responsible for the safety of high-rise residential buildings in England have six months from April to register with the new Building Safety Regulator.

The Building Safety Regulator was established to protect high-rise residents from unsafe building practices in England in response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

Under the Building Safety Act, high-rise residential buildings which are 18 metres tall or higher, or at least seven storeys, with two or more residential units are defined as ‘higher-risk’.

Across England there are approximately 12,500 of these buildings and the new regulator will require all of them to be registered from April 2023, with a named person responsible for maintaining their safety.

A new campaign aimed at owners and managers of high-rise residential buildings will highlight their new legal duties. It will call on those responsible for the safety management of higher-risk buildings to prepare for a new wave of regulatory change to ensure that they are ready to step up and comply.

For more information on the Building Safety Regulator, visit the HSE website.

Employees are increasingly calling in sick or working while ill – and still inclined to leave their role, a report has found

A report has found a dramatic increase in the frequency and volume of employees calling in sick or working while ill.

Fruitful Insights, which conducted a two-year study, believes the 29% increase in self-reported sickness absence and 18% increase in presenteeism is due to new working ways.

The company believes the figures are against a backdrop of less than 0.9% improvement in productivity since 2020 and the highest sickness absence rate for a decade – which they say rings warning bells for employers.

The data and analytics business also found 41% of respondents are still likely to leave their job if they were offered a suitable alternative – which is now 40% for generation X, compared with 34% previously.

Mike Tyler, Chairman and Co-founder of Fruitful Insights, said: “These numbers should represent a wake-up call for employers.

“Despite everyone’s great sigh of relief as we returned to business as usual, there are still fundamental challenges around workplace wellbeing.

“Significant investment in wellbeing initiatives is made by many organisations, but major issues remain.

“We believe that although employers have the best intentions, they are really struggling to understand and measure the drivers of impaired wellbeing in their organisations – not to mention connecting wellbeing with productivity.

“Even when they do know what the problems are, they still need help putting in place meaningful and effective programmes.”

Learn more about the research on the SHP website.

Hybrid working is healthier, data reveals

Despite fewer walks to and from work and lunch-time strolls, staying at home to work on a few days a week isn’t impacting our physical activity levels. Data, gathered by Banner, shows that Brits are maintaining their physical activity levels since before the COVID pandemic and the advent of hybrid working.

This could be thanks to hybrid working helping us cut down on non-productive work-related activities, such as commutes, affording employees more time to indulge in their health, fitness and wellbeing, while some are finding it easier to exercise during work hours. This conclusion is backed up by data showing home gym equipment in particular, such as under-desk treadmills, is trending.

Jason Thomas, strategic sales manager at Banner says, “We know some business owners still begrudge hybrid working, but it should be encouraged. Healthier employees are happier and more productive, which is absolutely critical not just for individual businesses but also the country as a whole, what with productivity being low and the threat of a recession looming.

For more, visit the HSM website.

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