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  • 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.