Week Commencing 15/05/2023 – In The News

HSE targets construction workers’ lung health with nationwide inspection campaign

Woodworking dustFailure to prevent life-threatening diseases caused by dust at work is unacceptable, says the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as it gears up for a summer targeting construction sites across Great Britain.

Supported by HSE’s Dust Kills campaign, which provides free advice to businesses and workers on the control measures required to prevent exposure to dust, the inspections throughout May, June and July will focus on respiratory risks from exposure to dust.

Each year in the construction industry, there are thousands of preventable cases of irreversible lung disease due to past exposure to dust at work. These diseases often have a life-changing impact and can result in an early death.

HSE’s chief inspector of construction, Michael Thomas, said: “Every year we see construction workers die from diseases caused or made worse by their work. This is unacceptable in the 21st century, when occupational lung disease is preventable.

“We are urging employers and workers to take the necessary precautions today to protect their long-term lung health, to avoid them and their families suffering from the devastating impact that can result.”

Starting on Monday, 15 May 2023, the inspections,  part of a respiratory health intervention initiative, will specifically focus on dust control, checking employers and workers know the risks, plan their work, and are using the right controls.

Visit the HSE website for more on the campaign.

The hypersonic hydrogen-powered jet aiming to cut flights from Europe to Australia to just 4 hours

A European start-up is partnering with a Spanish government programme to develop its hypersonic passenger planes.

Flying across the world from Europe to a destination such as Australia currently takes around 20 hours in a regular passenger jet.

But a European start-up is looking to cut that journey time down to just over four hours – with a hypersonic, hydrogen-powered passenger jet.

Destinus has been testing its prototype aircraft for the past couple of years, announcing successful test flights of its second prototype – Eiger – at the end of 2022.

Now the company has announced participation in a programme run by Spain’s Ministry of Science, as part of the Spanish government’s plans to develop hydrogen-powered supersonic flights.

The agency overseeing the ministry’s programme, the Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico e Industrial, selected the project as a strategic initiative under its Plan de Tecnologías Aeronáuticas (PTA).

Learn more on the Euronews website.

Birmingham wall collapse deaths: Directors jailed after five men lost their lives

Two company directors have been jailed after a wall collapsed killing five men – with both firms having to pay combined fines of £1.6million.

Wayne Anthony Hawkeswood and Graham John Woodhouse ran a Birmingham metal recycling business where a wall toppled over and killed five workers.

The pair were found guilty on multiple counts after a five-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court in November last year. They were back at the same court on Monday 15 May where they each received nine-month custodial sentences.

Ousmane Kaba Diaby, Saibo Sumbundu Sillah, Bangally Tunkara Dukuray, Almamo Kinteh Jammeh and Mahamadou Jagana Jagana were all killed when a 45-tonne wall collapsed on them. They were agency workers working at the site occupied by Hawkeswood Metal Recycling Ltd and Shredmet Ltd (now trading as Ensco 10101 Ltd), in the Nechells area of Birmingham.

For more on the incident, visit the HSE website.

Working group says employers must “sustain investment” in wellbeing during cost of living crisis

The UK National Forum for Health & Wellbeing at Work is urging employers to sustain investment in health and wellbeing during cost of living crisis.

In an open letter published across UK newspapers yesterday (19 May), the UK National Forum for Health and Wellbeing, which represents some of the largest employers in the UK, says budget constraints brought on by the cost of living crisis could have a detrimental impact on employee’s wellbeing programmes. “We are aware that as leading employers there is an onus on us to provide support to our people, now more than ever,” it reads. “But we are growing concerned that the financial pressures all businesses are facing is leading to a cessation or substantial scaleback in health and wellbeing provisions.

“After headcount, the next port of call for cuts are often in budgets for support services functions such as HR and training, and that means reduced health and wellbeing support for employees,” the letter says, published to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week.

“It cites 2022 research from the Health and Safety Executive revealing, that of the 1.8 million work-related ill-health cases in 2021/22, stress, depression and anxiety made up 900,000 cases. A statistic, the group says which is “detrimental not only to individuals, but to businesses themselves”.

Read more on the SHP website.

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