Week Commencing 20/11/2023 – In The News

Time to tackle “plague” of work accidents and ill health, says new IOSH President

The new President of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is calling on the profession to challenge itself to develop new ways of tackling the “unacceptably high” number of work-related deaths, fatalities and ill health.


With an estimated 7,500 people dying because of unsafe and unhealthy working conditions every day around the world, Stuart Hughes says the occupational safety and health (OSH) profession has an obligation to combat this by working together with businesses, governments and other professions.

“We need to challenge ourselves, ask ourselves if what we’re doing to protect people is working as effectively as it can,” he said. “We need to focus on ensuring we’re doing the right things, for the benefit of society.”

Stuart was confirmed as IOSH President for 2023-24 at its Annual General Meeting this week (Wednesday 15 November). He takes over the role from Lawrence Webb.

An experienced OSH professional and chartered member of IOSH, Stuart is currently Head of Health and Safety for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team.

Read more on the SHP website.

Priory Healthcare fined following patient death

The company that runs The Priory Hospital has been fined for failing to ensure the safety of patients on the hospital’s Emerald Ward following the death of 21-year-old Francesca Whyatt.

Francesca, from Knutsford in Cheshire, was found unconscious at The Priory Hospital in Roehampton, London. She died three days later.

Priory Healthcare has been fined £140,000 after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Francesca died on 28 September 2013. She had been transferred from a local hospital to the Emerald Ward, a specialist unit at The Priory Hospital, in March 2013.

She was found unconscious in a patient lounge on the top floor of the hospital on 25 September.

Francesca had managed to make her way to the lounge as the hospital responded to an incident involving other patients and used the tights that she was wearing as a ligature.

An investigation by HSE concluded Priory Healthcare Limited failed to ensure the provision of in-patient psychiatric treatment was carried out in such a way that patients were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

For more on the incident, visit the HSE website.

How can we reduce and prevent occupational hearing loss? UKHCA Conference 2023

The annual UK Hearing Conservation Association (UKHCA) conference, Listen Up!, took place in Sheffield this month, providing an overview of hearing health, risk management and control with noise at work. SHP looks at some of the key takeaways.

Correct advice needs to be provided to duty holders

Chris Steel, Noise and Vibration Specialist Inspector at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), pointed out key areas for those who survey or assess workplace hearing protection. These included identifying the risks, examining the controls in place and continuing a ‘health surveillance’ afterwards – checking periodically whether the controls in place are working efficiently to prevent and reduce noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

Steel mentioned an area the HSE is looking to focus more on is advice given to workers and duty holders on hearing protection and whether this is correctly provided by the advisors, and if not, the HSE can prosecute the advisor. He added: “If you are doing health inspections…there is an expectation about how that should be done. If you are doing that incorrectly, that is a problem for us.”

He also called for delegates to know the legal limits when assessing risk; including how many workers need to be there for the work, how many are exposed to noise, and for how long. He put an emphasis on checking if workers are exposed to toxins as well when working with noise, as this is often including tasks such as drilling, sawing, or working with compressed air.

Learn more on the SHP website.

Rory Kinnear calls for improvements to health and safety on set

As Hollywood returns to work following the recent writers’ and actors’ strikes, industry figures are calling for health and safety to be made a priority to avoid any more lives being put at risk.

A series of high-profile accidents has raised questions about the hazards involved for actors and crew members while shooting films and TV shows.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed by a live bullet fired from a prop gun being used by actor Alec Baldwin on the set of the film Rust in 2021.

In the UK, filming on BBC motoring series Top Gear was suspended following a crash which injured presenter Freddie Flintoff.

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive, the national safety regulator, looked into the accident and said it would not be investigating further. Flintoff and the BBC reached a settlement last month.

BBC News has found widespread concern about poor safety practices in the UK’s film and TV industry.

Hollywood star Rory Kinnear’s father, actor Roy Kinnear, died after being thrown from a horse while filming The Return of the Musketeers in 1988. Rory was just 10 years old when it happened.

Visit the BBC website to read more.

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