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  • New public health plans introduced to ensure pubs, restaurants and cafes offer b...
    People using pubs, restaurants and cafes will soon have greater freedom to choose non-smoking outdoor areas following a Parliamentary amendment to legislation. The Government says a balance has been struck between protecting public health and not imposing additional red tape on businesses.smoking-397599_640-300x200.jpgUnder the Business and Planning Bill, the Government had already set out a range of measures to help these vital businesses safely reopen and get staff back to work by making it quicker, easier and cheaper to operate outside.The Government will not ban outdoor smoking. Since the existing ban was introduced, businesses have invested heavily in their outdoor areas and banning outdoor smoking would lead to significant closures and job losses. However, this amendment will ensure that customers are given more choice by ensuring premises offer separate seating for smokers and non-smokers outside.Laws already exist making it illegal to smoke in enclosed areas and business owners can already make their own non-smoking policies in places where food is served.Planning Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said: “We are supporting our pubs, cafes and restaurants to safely reopen and securing jobs by making it quicker, easier and cheaper to set up outdoor seating and stalls to serve food and drink, whilst protecting public health against the transmission of COVID.“These changes will allow everyone to enjoy outdoor eating and drinking whether they smoke or not, with appropriate provisions made for non-smokers and smokers.”The changes in the amendment aim to strike the right balance between protecting public health and not imposing additional red tape on businesses at a time when they need as much support as possible. The Government will not ban outdoor smoking in pubs, cafes or restaurants.Businesses can already make their own non-smoking policies for outside space without the need for regulations. This guidance will reinforce this point, making it clear that the licence-holder has to make reasonable provision for smoke-free seating.It includes:
    • Clear ‘no smoking’ signage displayed in designated areas;
    • No ash trays or similar receptacles to be provided or permitted to be left on furniture where a smoke-free seating is identified;
    • Licence holders should aim for a minimum 2 metre distance between non-smoking and smoking areas, wherever possible.
    The announcement also builds on measures to help businesses get back on their feet, including:
    • Simpler licensing process for outdoor seating for pubs, restaurants and cafes;
    • Councils encouraged to reduce red-tape and create more outdoor markets;
    • Part of comprehensive plan to revive high streets, support the hospitality industry and help get people back to work;
    • Helping councils and businesses transition from crisis response and lockdown, towards economic recovery.
  • Does motorway roadworks speed limit increase put roadworkers at added risk?
    Speed limits through most major roadworks in England will be increased to 60mph, Highways England has announced.Roadworks-300x199.jpgHighways England says the move to increase the speed limit from 50mph has been taken in order to ‘increase traffic flow’ and ‘ease driver frustrations’.It follows a trial, which looked at different ‘scenarios’ within roadworks on England’s strategic road network of motorways and major A roads.The move has been welcomed by many, despite many unions previously stating that any increase would put the lives of road workers at risk.In 2019, SHP reported that more than half of road users have admitted driving in ways that put themselves or roadworkers at risk, with 74% admitting to exceeding speed limits.This followed video footage, released by Highways England, which highlighted the danger reckless motorists can cause to road workers.The increase will only apply to certain sets of roadworks, depending on the road layout and the type of work being carried out.The AA has said that the increase will reduce journey times and help reduce tailgating by motorists.Safer Highways CEO, Kevin Robinson, has welcomed the increase, but urges caution, saying it must be followed with greater enforcement on law breakers.Speaking about the announcement, Highways England Chief Executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “All of our research shows that road users benefit from 60mph limits in roadworks. They have shorter journey times and feel safe.“Road users understand that roadworks are necessary, but they are frustrated by them. So, testing 60mph has been about challenging the norm while ensuring the safety of our people working out there and those using our roads.”

  • Deadly accidents: a timeline of recent crane collapses in the UK


    Deadly accidents: a timeline of recent crane collapses in the UK

    INSIGHT13/07/209:30 AMBY JACK SIMPSONA death linked to the collapse of a crane in Bow, east London, has once again shone a light on the potential dangers these machines can pose to construction workers and the public. Here Jack Simpson runs through a potted history of major crane accidents that have taken place in the UK in the past two decades17ihLinkedInIcon.svg17ihTwitterIcon.svg17ihFBIcon.svg17ihEcardIcon.svgCHANDLERS_WHARF_CRANE_COLLAPSE_GETTY_MINChandlers Wharf crane collapse (picture: Getty)Sharelines17ihTwitterIcon.svgAfter the latest death linked to the collapse of a crane, Jack Simpson runs through a history of major crane accidents that have taken place in the UK in the past two decades #ukhousingOn Wednesday last week, a horrendous accident in Bow, east London, saw a crane being used on a housing association development site collapse onto a home, killing one and injuring four more.The victim was identified later as 85-year-old June Harvey, while a worker for crane firm WolffKran was hospitalised and left fighting for his life.


    CHANDLERS_WHARF_CRANE_COLLAPSE_GETTY_MINDeadly accidents: a timeline of recent crane collapses in the UKBOW_CRANE_COLLAPSE_2_1200px_MIN__thumb.jHouses damaged in deadly crane collapse are owned by housing associationThe collapse also led to nearly 100 people being evacuated from their homes and placed in temporary accommodation and thousands of pounds worth of damage.The incident is a reminder of just how dangerous cranes can be. There have been a number of accidents with serious consequences in recent years, often leading to death or serious injury. Inside Housing has put together a timeline of some of the most high-profile crane incidents in the past two decades.

    May 2000: Canary Wharf, east London

    Working in Canary Wharf on the new HSBC tower, three workmen were killed after plunging 400 feet from one of the cranes being used to construct the huge skyscraper on London’s Docklands.The men, Peter Clark, 33, Martin Burgess, 31, and Michael Whittard, 39, were in the crane’s cab and attempting to jack it up to a higher level, also known as climbing the crane, when it crashed 25 storeys. The BBC described the crane’s cab as landing in a building crater while the crane’s arm landed in Canary Wharf’s North Colonnade. According to Construction News, it was the third crane scare at the site in six weeks.A coroner’s court returned an open verdict in 2003, with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) saying that despite extensive investigation, the technical cause of the accident may never be known. The inquiry did reveal that a special safety plug was missing on the crane and there was no anemometer in the cab to measure wind speed.

    February 2005: Worthing, Sussex

    WORTHING_CRANE_COLLAPSE_GETTY_MIN__thumbTwo crane erectors were killed and another suffered serious injuries after the crane they were dismantling collapsed on the construction of a new school in the Sussex town of Worthing.Gary Miles, 37, and Steven Boatman, 45, were working for rental company WD Bennett Plant & Services on the project. They died at the scene while the crane’s operator suffered severe injuries. It was later found that the root cause of the accident was loose bolts on the crane’s mast section.The crane also collided with another nearby crane when falling causing further damage. The site was 150 yards from Durrington High School but luckily no students were harmed as a result of the crash.WD Bennett were fined £125,000 in 2009 and were also ordered to pay costs of £264,000. WD Bennett was liquidated after the hearing meaning the costs went unpaid.The HSE would later say that the incident raised issues of operator competence and training in the UK crane industry.

    September 2006: Battersea, south-west London

    A crane operator and pedestrian were killed in Battersea, London, when a 50m-high crane collapsed onto a block of flats.The crane’s operator Jonathan Cloke, 37, died from severe head injuries after falling from his cab. Michael Alexa, 21, was also killed after the crane situated near the famous power station fell on him while he was changing the wheel on his car.The crane belonged to hire company Falcon Crane Hire. A later police investigation would find that the machine had been overloaded and 24 bolts had failed due to metal fatigue. The HSE also found that Falcon Crane Hire had an inadequate system to manage the inspection and maintenance of their fleet of cranes.In 2016, Falcon Crane Hire was fined £750,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100,000.In 2017, Falcon Crane Hire was dissolved. At the time, a spokesperson for Tower Crane Asset Management Holdings, the hire firm’s parent company, said the fine had no bearing on the decision to dissolve it and it was down to the fact that it did not engage in rental activities and staff retirement. Falcon Crane Hire ceased hire activities in 2016.

    January 2007: Elysian Fields, Liverpool

    Father-of-two Zbigniew Roman Swirzynski was killed in January 2007 after an incident that saw a 120ft crane crash on a site in Liverpool. Mr Swirzynski was working at the Elysian Fields site when bolts on the crane failed, resulting in the main part of the crane falling from its tower onto the building being constructed.The crane hire company Falcon Crane Hire was served with a prohibition notice by the HSE after the incident, meaning all of its 180 tower cranes had to be temporarily taken out of service. It was the second incident involving the company in less than a year after the Battersea incident.An inquest would later rule that Mr Swirzynski died when he was hit by a concrete counterweight weighing two tonnes.The HSE ruled in 2008 that it would not prosecute, concluding there was insufficient evidence to bring proceedings against those parties involved.

    June 2007: Croydon, south London

    Three people were left trapped in the tower of a crane for several hours after a crane collapsed onto the roof of a hotel in Croydon. The crane’s driver John Young, 39, also suffered severe injuries including a number of fractures when the crane collapsed. He was left in a body brace for 10 weeks following the incident.The incident happened as workers were trying to extend the mast of the crane but had not put in place essential bolts and washers to secure the cab. The plant hire company Select Plant Hire would be fined £100,000 after admitting health and safety breaches.

    July 2009: Chandlers Wharf, Liverpool

    CHANDLERS_WHARF_CRANE_COLLAPSE_GETTY_MINCrane driver Ian Gillham was paralysed when he was thrown from his cab while working on housing development in central Liverpool in 2009. The 200-tonne crane collapsed onto an apartment block at Chandlers Wharf in the city and saw Mr Gillham thrown from his cab, resulting in multiple injuries including a brain haemorrhage, fractured skull, spine fractures and broken shoulder. He was left paralysed from the waist down.Contractor Bowmer and Kirkland and Liverpool construction engineer Bingham Davis were found guilty of health and safety breaches. Their insurers would later settle out of court with Mr Gillham, paying him £2.7m.

    March 2014: Blackwall, east London

    A construction worker was hospitalised after suffering serious head injuries after a crane jib collapsed on luxury residential development site in Blackwall, east London. The incident happened at Ballymore’s New Providence Tower, with a member of contractor Balfour Beatty’s project team being taken to hospital.The incident resulted in road closures around the site and people forced to evacuate from nearby businesses and restaurants.

    June 2017: Crewe

    In June 2017, an incident on a residential development site in Crewe led to the death of three men. David Newall, 36, and Rhys Barker, 18, died immediately from crushing after their crane fell as the men were erecting it. A third man, David Webb, 43, would die from his injuries a month later.The three men worked for crane hire company Falcon Tower Crane Services. Falcon Tower Crane Services was a subsidiary of Tower Crane Asset Management Holdings which also listed Falcon Crane Hire as a subsidiary.Falcon Tower Crane Services said at the time that it would leave no stone unturned to establish what went wrong and would assist with the investigation and learn safety lessons.Following the deaths unions called for the government to review axed regulation on the use of tower cranes. This included a call for the sector to reintroduce a national register for all tower cranes which was scrapped in 2013 after a recommendation from the HSE. The register also placed a duty on employers to carry out thorough inspections following installation and re-installation and notify the HSE when these inspections took place.from: ttps://
  • Doubling maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker
    Anyone who assaults or attacks emergency workers could face longer jail terms, following the announcement of a consultation on doubling the maximum penalty for the offence.police-1665104_1920-300x155.jpgIn 2018 the Government changed the law (Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018) so that anyone found guilty of assaulting a police officer, firefighter, prison officer or paramedic faced a maximum of 12 months in prison. Judges must also consider tougher sentences for more serious offences – such as GBH or sexual assault – if the victim was an emergency worker.Earlier this year, SHP reported that there have been up to 50 prosecutions for assaults on emergency workers every day, according to CPS. In response, the Government is seeking views from stakeholders, including representative bodies from the emergency services and the judiciary, on whether the maximum penalty should be doubled to two years behind bars.The consultation will run for four weeks and, depending on the response to the consultation, legislation could be brought forward – which would see the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker doubled for the second time in two years.Assault can cover acts such as a push, shove or being spat at. When an emergency worker is seriously injured, prosecutions will take place under more serious offences such as ABH, GBH, or attempted murder that have far longer sentences.The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act modified the offence of common assault or battery where it is committed against emergency workers acting in the course of their functions, with a maximum penalty of 12 months imprisonment. This doubled the maximum penalty for common assault from 6 to 12 months for those who assault emergency workers, including police, prison staff, custody officers, fire service personnel, search and rescue workers and frontline health workers.

  • Figures reveal that numbers of people killed have fallen, yet agriculture contin...
    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today published a report that reveals agriculture has the worst rate of worker fatal injury in Great Britain. Last year, 21 people were killed in agriculture, one was a child.The report, Fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Great Britain 2019/20, has been published to coincide with the start of Farm Safety Week (20 – 24 July). Led by the Farm Safety Foundation charity, the week shines a light on safety and wellbeing in the sector. The HSE statistics highlight that agriculture continues to have the worst rate of worker fatal injury; eighteen times higher than the average rate across all industries.Transport-related incidents, such as overturning vehicles or being struck by moving vehicles, were responsible for more deaths than any other cause last year. Around half of the workers killed were aged 55 years or older, with older workers being disproportionately most at risk of fatal injuries on farms. The youngest person killed last year was a 4-year old child.HSE’s Head of Agriculture, Adrian Hodkinson, said: “Agriculture is a vitally important part of our economy and has played an essential role during the coronavirus outbreak. However agriculture still has the poorest safety record of any occupation in GB. Despite the very welcome reduction in numbers of deaths – 18 less than the previous year – much more remains to be done in this sector.“Each individual death is a huge and devasting loss to their family, friends and the wider community. It is not acceptable that agriculture and forestry continue to have such high rates of people being killed, and we will continue to push for a wholesale change of attitude and behaviours toward safety within the sectors.“Farm Safety Week is a timely reminder for the agriculture community to manage and control risk and not become complacent on farms. Death, injuries and cases of ill-health, including poor mental health, are not an inevitable part of farming. The safety and wellbeing of people working and living on farms must be treated seriously and things must be done the right way every day, not just this week.“The recent coronavirus outbreak at a farm shows how important it is for everyone in agriculture to take effective steps to control the risk of transmission and protect people from the virus. Inspectors are carrying out spot checks in workplaces to make sure they are COVID-secure and complying with the law and government guidance on social distancing, hygiene practices and supervision.”HSE urges farmers to keep children safe whilst they stay at home on the farm during COVID-19 restrictions. Children must not be allowed in the farm workplace unless very carefully supervised. It is illegal to carry children under 13 in the cab of an agricultural vehicle and it is unsafe.  For guidance on this, see what a good farm looks like. The full report and more information on working safely in agriculture are available on the HSE website.

  • Stay safe around rivers: warning as lockdown eased and temperatures soar

    Stay safe around rivers: warning as lockdown eased and temperatures soar

    The Environment Agency is urging the public to stay vigilant to hazards in and around waterways Published 26 June 2020 From: Environment Agency s300_west-yorkshire-101403_1920__1_.jpg The Environment Agency is urging the public to remember the hazards under water in rivers while spending time with friends and family As the government eases restrictions on movement caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the public is being warned to keep safe around rivers and canals.The Environment Agency, which manages many locks, weirs and bridges across England, wants people to remember the hazards under the water in rivers while spending time with friends and family.The message is clear: vigilance can save lives, and water-related accidents can be avoided by knowing how to stay safe.

    Top tips for river safety:

    • Don’t jump or dive in as the depth may vary and there can be unseen hazards
    • Don’t go in near weirs, locks, pipes and sluices. These and some other water features are often linked with strong currents
    • Inland waters can be very cold, no matter how warm the weather. Those going into cold water can get cramp and experience breathing difficulties very quickly
    Keep a look out for boat traffic. Boaters, especially on larger vessels, can find it very hard to spot swimmers.Toby Willison, Executive Director of Operations for the Environment Agency, said:
    It’s imperative that as the coronavirus restrictions are eased, the public are wary of the hazards around them when near or on the water.We urge people not to jump or dive into water and to stay away from weirs, locks and pipes. There can be unseen hazards in the water, cold-water shock can affect even strong swimmers on warm days and social distancing must be continued to protect the public, staff and boaters.
    Jo Talbot, Royal Lifesaving Society (RLSS) UK Director, said:
    We as a charity are certainly concerned about the impact of such a beautiful spell of weather on the number of people that are involved in fatal water incidents. It is a great time to get out and enjoy our beautiful waterways but it is crucial that everybody understands that no matter their ability, the water comes with risk, in particular the impact of cold water and falling from heights.Despite the warm air temperature, the water temperature is still dangerously and often fatality cold, it can debilitate the most competent swimmer. Many people simply do not have the experience to swim in cold water and if they aren’t used to it then, simply, our advice is that they should not go in. We are urging people to proceed with caution, take responsibility of their own safety and apply common sense.The right choices, at the right time results in an enjoyable day around the water. For advice on how to stay safe around the water, visit the RLSS website.

    Parents and guardians can help keep children in their care safe by:

    • Teaching them to swim
    • Warning them not to go into water alone, or unsupervised
    • Ensuring they know where the children are and what they are doing
    • Supervising them closely when near any open water
    Drowning can occur very quickly, even in shallow water, and the key to keeping safe is to take all necessary precautions to avoid getting into difficulty in the first place.Unexpectedly cold waters or strong currents can also catch bathers off-guard.Youngsters are often seen jumping off the many bridges along the Thames. While this may seem like great fun, there are hidden dangers in the water that can cause tragic consequences.Guidance on staying safe around water can be found on GOV.UK.
  • Tile manufacturer fined after employee suffered serious injuries
    A Colchester tile manufacturing firm has been fined £10,000 after a worker suffered three broken bones in his arm and crush injuries to his forearm when he was drawn into the in-running nip of a conveyor tail drum.Tile-manufacturer-fined-after-employee-sThe Spartan Promenade Tiles worker was removing sand from the inside of a conveyor belt in an attempt to fix the machine, when his left glove became caught in the in-running nip of the conveyor tail drum, pulling his hand and arm into the machine. The emergency stop button in the building did not work, so a colleague had to run to alert the operator at the control panel in another building before the machine could be switched off, Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court was told.The incident happened at the firm’s site on Slough Lane, Colchester, on 18 February 2019.The HSE’s investigation discovered that the company failed to suitably assess the risks, implement a safe system of work, and control the risks. Employees were not trained in the use of isolation or lock off procedures for the machinery on site, nor were employees made aware that such procedures existed. There were no arrangements for the supervision or monitoring of employees to ensure they were correctly isolating and locking off machinery before completing maintenance tasks, and there was no functioning emergency stop in the vicinity of the conveyor tail drum. The guard on the conveyor tail drum had been removed and the conveyor was put into operationSpartan Promenade Tiles Limited of Martells Industrial Estate, Colchester, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and have been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay full costs.After the hearing HSE Inspector Connor Stowers said “This injury could have been easily prevented and the risks should have been identified. Employers need to properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery, and adequately train their workers to use isolation and lock off procedures if they carry out maintenance work.”
  • COVID-19 pandemic: Virginia approves nation’s first emergency temporary st...
    Richmond, VA — Virginia became the first state to approve an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from COVID-19, after the Department of Labor and Industry’s Safety and Health Codes Board voted July 15 to approve the new rules.
    “Workers should not have to sacrifice their health and safety to earn a living – especially not during a pandemic,” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said in a press release announcing the standards. “In the absence of federal action, Virginia has just become the first state in the nation to adopt enforceable workplace safety standards for COVID-19.”
    The standard (16 VAC 25-220) will be in place for six months and can be made permanent through the process defined in state law. It requires the following:
    Social distancing measures and face coverings for employees in customer-facing positions and when social distancing is not possibleFrequent access to handwashing stations or hand sanitizerCleaning of high-contact surfacesNotification of all employers within 24 hours of a co-worker testing positiveProhibiting employees known or suspected to have COVID-19 from returning to work for 10 days or until they have two consecutive negative testsRichard L. Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, applauded the news.
    “The virus continues to pose a grave danger to working people, and this strong, enforceable standard requires state employers to improve working conditions through clear, science-based measures, preventing further outbreaks in our communities,” Trumka said in a statement posted online.
    State industry associations criticized the standard during last month’s public comment period.
    The Virginia Forestry Association wrote that “unfortunately, 16 VAC 25-220 shifts from voluntary adoption of common-sense measures that businesses can adapt to their own operating procedures to one-size-fits-all requirements that create regulatory uncertainty and threaten our industry’s small businesses.” 
    The Virginia Poultry Federation pointed to industry-specific guidance issued and updated by OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, claiming the state’s standard “is little more than a summary of existing OSHA and CDC guidance already in effect.” 
    Virginia DOLI developed the standard in response to an Executive Order signed May 26 by Northam directing the department to “control, prevent and mitigate” the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.