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  • 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.