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Archive for the ‘Lighthouse Blog’ Category

WHAT WE ARE ABOUT AND HOW I FITTED IN – STEPHEN LAWS

July 12th, 2018[Comments Off on WHAT WE ARE ABOUT AND HOW I FITTED IN – STEPHEN LAWS]

 

I haven’t always done operational safety, my background is in quarrying, process operation and heavy plant starting as a Labourer, so as you could imagine I was the young lad who used to hide when I saw the health and safety manager or indeed my manager.

As I grew older and progressed in my career I decided to carry out my NEBOSH course 8 years ago and I learnt not only what, but why health and safety is in place, and this changed my thought process completely.

Shortly after successful completion of my NEBOSH course I was lucky enough to be offered an opportunity into this world we call health and safety by Lighthouse Safety Training a small company that were running just 1 course at a time and dealing with a handful of clients. Throughout my time at Lighthouse I have developed immensely as a person and a professional. At the beginning of my career I started off looking at PQQ’s and policies moving quickly to site inspections, DSE assessments and before I knew it I really had gained what we all strive for when starting out – “experience”.

I think it’s safe to say that because we were good at what we did, we received great feedback which resulted in repeat work and word of mouth about the quality of our service spreading.

One of my biggest experiences was my secondment to Willmott Dixon. 6 weeks that turned into 3 years as Health, Safety & Environmental manager where I looked after between 3 and 9 construction sites ranging from 3 to 40 million in value and covering everything from demolition to build to finishing.

It was my role to develop sites not just criticise them, ensuring they were compliant by carrying out audits, completing paperwork, managing the safety of subcontractors and delivering required training. My focus during this time was health (noise, dust, vibration) and overseeing all high risk activities like tower crane assembly and dismantle and then finally attending a monthly directors meeting to feedback on progress with the safety team.

Following my return to Lighthouse full time I started teaching more delivering CITB, IOSH and bespoke courses before becoming a Director and starting to manage the consultancy team, which to this day I learn from daily.

One thing I ensure is that we instil my / our ethos into all of our employees. I started to understand the health and safety persons side of the story (its not easy) and early on I realised that I knew what it was that I wanted to achieve and that was to “change the minds” of those who we engage with so that they don’t see us as someone who tells them that they are wrong but a team who are trying and are available to help by providing realtime realistic and practical information.

So what is it we do that you wouldn’t expect?

We aim to build relationships – build relationships with those who we engage with whether its directors, managers, supervisors or indeed employees.

To develop our clients and their company culture.

Inform – the key to this development we feel is “information” we don’t just tell you to do it and we don’t just stick it in a report. There is always an explanation and or advice for why something is in place as you are more likely to “change your mind” if you understand the risks involved (teach a man to fish and all that!) and we know we are achieving this. Last year we achieved the highest scoring NEBOSH candidate in the UK and our regular pass rates are very high.

We have a different approach to how we go about our business. We are based in the south east but regularly work all over the UK delivering courses and carrying out audits & inspections.

Our team who are all directly employed are selected based on our core values – honesty, professional, enthusiastic and go through our set development plan which includes certain training courses, NVQ level 6, teaching qualifications and gain practical experience, all with the backing and ability to work towards Chartered status with IOSH, just as we did, so why not get in touch and speak to the team. See if we can change your mind and shape your future!

 

 



WHY CHOOSE US?

May 25th, 2018[Comments Off on WHY CHOOSE US?]


It is fair to say that there are a great deal of Health & Safety Consultants & Trainers. All have great ideas, delivery and expertise. This is fantastic because at the end of the day, our opinion is that we are all working for the same cause – health and safety!

We believe at Lighthouse that good Health & Safety should be the minimum for all members of staff regardless of position in an organisation.

We believe totally in the protection of people, the future of people & the health of people. We work hard every day to ensure that people go home to their families each day, so they can enjoy life and go on enjoying it! Lighthouse Safety has the firm belief of Changing Minds of people we meet, for the better. Changing the mindset of people to work safer, be safer and live safer. As a result we shape the future of the people we meet, we help people to look after themselves to enjoy the life they have. We all feel very proud of what we do and as a result we have amazing working relationships with our clients and students, because we care.

We can offer a vast range of H&S help, from training, audits, advice, or risk assessments. We can deliver award winning NEBOSH Courses also IOSH, CITB, Bespoke Training, and First Aid Courses. We have fantastic classroom facilities at our HW in Rainham Kent and can cover any location in the UK carried out by a team off passionate tutors and advisors that we are very proud of. We  deliver results to any size organisation, we can even assist in improving legal compliance. But all of that comes from the reason why we do what we do, we believe that good H&S should be the minimum for all members of staff regardless of position in an organisation.

We believe in Changing Minds & Shaping Futures and we can do for you to.



HE-MEN ON THE CONSTRUCTION SITE

May 10th, 2018[Comments Off on HE-MEN ON THE CONSTRUCTION SITE]


For the majority of people, picking something up and putting it down again is an everyday occurrence.
An occurrence which does not take much thought. Pick up coffee mug. Take lifesaving sip. Lower coffee mug. (Repeat as many times as necessary).

With lifting being such a common task, you would have thought that injuries due to lifting incorrectly would be at a minimum… Wrong! Unfortunately, musculoskeletal injuries are quite common in the work place. We all know someone with a dodgy back! Surprisingly, manual handling is a leading cause for these injuries. Let’s have a look at a few statistics…

507,000 cases of musculoskeletal disorders in 2016/17 (Source: Self reports labour force survey)

Work related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD) account for 39% of all work related ill health (Source: HSE website)

8.9 million Working days were lost due to WRMSD, the highest rates being in the construction industry. (Source: HSE website, 2016/17)

As we can see, these figures are too high. One of the leading causes of WRMSD’s is manual handling injuries. So how is it something that we do day in and day out causes so many problems? Let’s set a scene.

Imagine you are on a construction site. You are tasked with moving bags of cement from point A to point B. You have no manual handling aids, but luckily you have a work friend to help you. You start off with picking up one bag and carrying it to point B, but as you turn around, you spot your friend carrying 2 bags! Who proceeds to give you a cheeky wink as he walks past you. Not wanting to be out done, you summon your inner He-Man and attempt to pick up 3 bags, putting out your back in doing so.

Behavior is one of the main causes for manual handling injuries. Whether it’s because workers don’t want to ask for help as they believe it will make them look inferior or weak, can’t be bothered to lift correctly, or underestimate the lift. Just because you can lift 40 kg above your head in the gym with a nice easy to grip barbell, doesn’t mean you can easily shift four 10kg bags of sand… Hello back injury!

WRMSD’s are no laughing matter, causing serious pain to people suffering from it. Just changing your behavior and approaching loads without your ego is a good step in the right direction.

Remember, don’t be a He-Man!


 



SOME ADVICE FOR TRAINING MANAGERS

May 3rd, 2018[Comments Off on SOME ADVICE FOR TRAINING MANAGERS]

This blog is aimed at Managers who organise and manage training requirements for their organisations, trust me this will help!
 
Whenever we deliver training here at Lighthouse, we always ask our students why they are on the course- what is the reason we are here? Almost every time candidates shrug their shoulders and say “no idea, got an email yesterday saying I had to”. Humph.
 
So what we have turn up to our halls are a lot of students who have no idea why they are here or what the course even is! It then takes half of our course convincing students the good reasons we are here and why they should listen. What makes it even worse is that someone/organisation has paid for that student to be there!
 
Please let me give you a bit of advice, if you manage training records & organise training courses, call the person you are sending on the course prior to them attending and tell them why they are there. Do not tell anyone its because a client wants it or because it is to tick a box. Training should be because you are investing in someone’s competence & skills. As Richard Branson once said Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don’t want to.”
 
Letting staff know why they are on a training course is vital to it being a success. Most students (I would say 60%) believe training is just box ticking and the other 40% are just grateful not to be working. Only once in 8 years of training has anyone from an organisation actually turned up to an introduction of a course and actually stated why the course was being delivered and it was amazing! The students from the start felt valued and intrigued. They participated in the course and were very happy to discuss, (usually that would be a battle which we eventually win, however it would just be nice not to have the battle in the first place).
If you organise training make it worth while and give the students the reason why they are there, you get more for your money
 
 



SECTION 33

April 24th, 2018[Comments Off on SECTION 33]

Section 33

Harry Collins our Training Director writes: “Following my last two blogs- Section 2 & Section 40 of the Health & Safety at Work Etc Act 1974 I am now writing about section 33! The last in this series and will hopefully help a few people out.

So section 33 of the Health & Safety at Work Etc Act 1974, what does it say? Well in short…

It is an offence to contravene any Prohibition or Improvement notice, It is an offence to obstruct an inspector, It is an offence to make false statements to an inspector, It is an offence to make false entry to any register, It is an offence to forge a document.

Now the above Law should not be a surprise to anyone, that forging a document or making a false entry to a register was a bad thing to do, but many do not realise it’s an actual criminal offence. In a recent prosecution by the HSE two scaffold inspectors were prosecuted for signing of scaffolding that they had not actually carried out. This caused the scaffold to be unsafe and an employee fell from the scaffold and was seriously injured.

On this note, I have been witness to and have heard many stories of paperwork being completed without actually conducting the requirement of the paperwork. One scenario that occurs a lot would be signing to confirm understanding of Risk Assessments and Method Statements, or delivery of site inductions and more often delivery of Tool Box Talks. As a rhetorical question… Have you ever or been in knowledge of signing of or forging paperwork with regard to H&S matters?

Add the above message to the other two blogs:

  1. Supervision & Monitoring- A legal & moral requirement to provide, conduct and document H&S Monitoring
  2. Burden of Proof falls to the accused– Should an accident & investigation from an enforcing authority occur the requirement to prove compliance falls to the accused
  3. Falsifying documents- Evidence of “tick box” practices could lead to hot water, legally, very quickly

So to summarise on the blogs in total, whilst paperwork may be a burden, it is hugely important. However you do not want to be doing paperwork for paperwork sake, or checks on the checks for the checks! You need in this modern world a robust, accurate and in date management system especially a H&S system and more often than not you may need help….. Which is where Lighthouse come in. We offer a consultation service / health and safety advisor service which aims to advise our clients on the dangers of and the legal requirements that govern their work.

To comply with Regulation 7 of The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, companies need to demonstrate that they have access to competent health & safety advice.

We provide this service via our retained customer service contract, where for a nominal monthly fee, our customers retain the right to quote our company name (interaction between us and our client dependant) as their retained health & safety advisers. This service is accompanied by certification and CVs of key personnel from Lighthouse Safety staff. We will also assist in the writing of health and safety policies, pre qualification questionnaires and safety scheme accreditation applications. We are a friendly, knowledgable team so why not give us a call to see how we can help!”



SECTION 40 & THE BURDEN OF PROOF

April 19th, 2018[Comments Off on SECTION 40 & THE BURDEN OF PROOF]

SECTION 40 & THE BURDEN OF PROOF

I have heard a lot of statements about the HASWA (Health And Safety at Work Act) 1974 that you are guilty until proven innocent, a change from what normally is understood with regards to innocent until proven guilty. This is not entirely correct. In all Criminal court cases the accused is always innocent until proven guilty, however…..

Section 40 of the HASWA 1974 states…..

In any proceedings for an offence under any of the relevant statutory provisions consisting of a failure to comply with a duty or requirement to do something so far as is practicable or so far as is reasonably practicable, or to use the best practicable means to do something, it shall be for the accused to prove (as the case may be) that it was not practicable or not reasonably practicable to do more than was in fact done to satisfy the duty or requirement, or that there was no better practicable means than was in fact used to satisfy the duty or requirement.

But what does it mean?

Hold on, hold on. Lets put this into perspective a bit…. You have an employee who hurts themselves falling off a ladder, the HSE charge you under the HASWA 1974, the court would expect you as the employer to prove you did everything that was reasonably practicable to prevent that accident happening.

As a result of this, it is does make a defence hard to prove, as if you did do all that was Reasonably Practicable, the accident should not have occurred. This is not to say you cannot successfully defend yourself in a H&S court, it just becomes very difficult. Just for a minute now imagine you have a work scenario occurring, picture it in your own workplace circumstances. Now if there was to be an accident, you may be needed to prove that you did all you could to prevent it. The responsibility of proving that you did all that was reasonably practicable is down to you, as the Senior Manager or Director. Now ask yourself, can you do more? If an accident was to occur could you have done more? If the answer comes back as yes, defence of a legal situation would become very difficult.

To clarify, you are not guilty until proven innocent, however you do have the responsibility to prove you did all you could to prevent an accident the prosecution does not.

Now, this not to scare anyone, just to highlight your legal duties and to make you more aware. A lot of misconceptions occur in H&S and it is a passion of mine to correct as many as I can of them.

Look out for my next piece on Section 33.



SUPERVISION SECTION 2 HASAWA (Health And Safety At Work Act)

April 17th, 2018[Comments Off on SUPERVISION SECTION 2 HASAWA (Health And Safety At Work Act)]

 

SUPERVISION SECTION 2 HASAWA

Most Employers and Safety Managers are aware of the legal requirement to provide a level of suitable supervision, if you didn’t, you do now! Regardless of what we do with regards to the line of work, Health and Safety Laws require Supervision to be provided, however no H&S Law will not specify exactly how or what that supervision will be.

When I deliver training, I go a stage further and add to supervision the word Monitoring. For both moral and legal reasons Monitoring staff with regards to H&S is an absolute must, allow me to explain…

Lets say, I was a machine operator and every morning I was required to pre inspect my machine prior to use. I would have to, after completing these checks, complete paperwork to confirm what I had checked and its condition. Now, it is quite common practice, to tick the boxes and get on with work, not even doing the checks correctly and carrying out this practice over a long period of time.

Two things to look at with this scenario

1. The human- A human will at some point without doubt take a shortcut, if an employee realises that a shortcut taken was not discovered the likelihood of repeating that shortcut increases after each time and then becomes a habit. Leading to the machine never being checked and being operated with potential faults and risking lives.

2. The Law- If this situation was to unfold into an accident, could you prove that you provided a suitable amount of supervision? Whilst paperwork can become a burden, when was the last time you checked that the checks are being completed correctly? Could you prove you did?

As a Training Provider, all our instructors regardless of how many years they have taught for will be vetted, we will attend one of their courses to ensure that standards are high, even this morning I audited the paperwork of a trainer, to ensure compliance. We complete compliance checks to maintain standards and to ensure staff are being vigilant. Why should you Monitor your staff for H&S? Well for the same reasons – maintain high standards of H&S and to ensure staff are vigilant to ensure H&S is a priority thus prevent accidents!

A secondary reason to prove legal compliance, if an HSE inspector ever came calling you may have enough evidence to show that you did all you reasonably could to provide supervision and prevent an accident.

As H&S Consultants, we are required by our clients to audit areas of work to ensure compliance and quality of H&S work- to check that the things that should be being done are actually being done. When was the last time you checked that the checks were being done correctly? If it has been a considerable time, can we rely on everyone doing what they are supposed to how they are supposed to do it?

Remember it is a legal requirement to provide supervision & monitoring, not only will it help with legal compliance, but more importantly it will help prevent accidents occurring.



Well being and mental health in construction

March 26th, 2018[Comments Off on Well being and mental health in construction]

‘In construction, more workers die by suicide than by falls’

(mates in mind)

 

As a health and safety professional, my primary concern is not profit & loss or project completion dates, but the health and safety of those in construction. As cheesy as it sounds (and you might roll your eyes) I care about people.

I used to think I was doing all I can and the right things to make a difference, until I read the stat at the top of the page. How as a health and safety consultant, was I not aware that mental health and suicide was having such a big impact for those on site?

Luckily, while attending an on-site health and safety meeting the safety officer brought up the completion of ‘mental health first aid course’ which was the first thing that got me interested in researching this subject. A few days later an article was published in the IOSH magazine which identified ‘Mates in Mind’ as a new programme being rolled out to site to help bring awareness to this issue on site. I have not looked back since.

The first thing people think of when health and safety is mentioned in construction is risk assessments and PPE, I believe that it is time this role changed and developed. Given the seriousness of this topic, we can no longer just concern ourselves with physical hazards and documentation. We need to be doing more for health and not just safety. How may risk assessments identify wellbeing issues as being hazards?

In 2015, there was 43 deaths as a result from work place accidents…….in that same year, 454 construction works committed suicide (office of national statistics). As a health and safety professional, and a human, this stat is pretty devastating. Considering this stat is from three years ago, how many of us are aware of the problem?

Stress, anxiety, depression, lack of sleep and excessive anger are all mental health issues that are common place on a construction site, at all levels, senior management to labourer.

So why has health been left so far behind safety in regard to knowledge, controls and awareness. Well I suppose we could ask how many of the 454 construction suicides in construction in 2015 resulted in any kind of criminal or civil law suits? I am going to take a guess at none? If fact, I haven’t heard of any company being taken to court over the suicide of one of their employees. It is of course very hard to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that a company is solely responsible for an employee suicide.

But I would like to think that unlike the safety aspects of workplace activities that can have heavy financial implications (supported by the HASWA) companies do have moral reasons to look after their employees.

I do believe that within the construction industry, a lack of understanding of mental health issues plays a hefty role in the attitude.

As I have previously discussed, construction is a very male dominated industry. The culture is to just carry on, keep going, don’t talk about it, it will go away eventually. It is harder for men to open up and seek help, it is not historically how these things are dealt with.

Are our construction sites doing enough to provide healthy workplace environments mental health?

Working hours have always been a concern to me. Part of being an external H&S consultant is that I am unaffected by company influences. When I attend site, I am focusing on one thing, the health, safety and wellbeing of those on site. Every inspection I completed I will ask, what hours are you currently working? How far do you have to travel? Are you currently working weekends? When was your last day off? The time pressures on project, companies and individuals can be immense and more often than not I am coming across 10-hour days 6 days a week, over weeks and months at a time. For me, this is unsustainable, and will over time have a real detrimental effect on anyone’s wellbeing. Plus, what affect is it having on their ability to complete work activities safety?

If I then approach excessive working hours like I would any other hazard on site, (working at height, dust, COSHH) I ask where the controls are? None. Are their managing directors, project managers, site managers, aware? I would like to think not, but realistically, they are probably working the same excessive hours.

 

Construction has a large number of workers from overseas. For them being in a foreign country, so far away from their home and family, with possible language barriers, there is a strong chance they will feel isolated and unaware of how they can get support. Are we doing enough to offer this group of people support? I believe there is defiantly ways we can reach out more. Could support information or packs be made able? Could we offer a support officer in the same way we have occupational nurses on site?

Between July-August 2017, Construction News completed a survey of 3,700 construction works, 73% said they felt their employers did not recognised early signs of metal health problem.

If I go onto a construction site I can easily talk to the supervisors and managers regarding their work process and procedures but talk about stress or depression and it is just not topics they have really thought about.  How many tool box talks cover mental wellbeing and health? How many contractors have a wellbeing policy? I do not believe that it is because the managers and supervisors just do not care, it is just down to awareness and understanding. We need to train our managers to be able to identify signs of mental health and give them guidance on how to deal these situations.

 

There is also a lot of incentives for companies to have strong wellbeing policies and procedures.

According to Health and Safety Executive figures, 15% of reported work-related illnesses in the UK construction industry are the result of mental health problems, such as stress, depression or anxiety, which accounts for 400,000 lost working days each year. (LFS annual average 2014/15-2016/17)

Poor mental health results in a reduction in productivity of 15.1 billion in productivity a year.

And companies spend £2.4 billion a year in replacing staff who leave their jobs because of mental ill health.

Taking simple steps to improve the management of mental health in the workplace should enable employers to save 30% or more of these costs a year. (Centre for mental health via mates in mind)

 

So, having a positive mental health culture, looking after the wellbeing of employees can result in happier, more efficient workforce that help to deliver stronger finical results.

And let’s face it, it is the right thing to do. Let’s start caring about our people.

Written By Louise Collins

 

Construction Industry Helpline

Call: 0345 605 1956

Provided by the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity and supported by the Considerate Constructors Scheme, the helpline advises on a range of matters including occupational health and wellbeing, support and advice for people with stress, and home worries such as divorce, tax and financial concerns. The services can also provide emergency financial aid to the construction community in times of crisis.

Samaritans

Call: 116 123 (UK & ROI)

Email: jo@samaritans.org

The Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – whatever you’re going through, call free any time from any phone. Available around the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You don’t have to be suicidal to call.

 Mind

Call: 0300 123 3393

Text: 86463

The team at the leading mental health charity Mind can provide information on a range of topics including types of mental health problem, where to get help, medication and alternative treatments.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)

Call: 0800 58 58 58 (UK) 0808 802 58 58 (London)

CALM provide a helpline for men in the UK who are down or have hit a wall, who need to talk or find information and support. The helpline is open 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. They also offer a webchat service between the same hours.

Prevention of Young Suicide – Papyrus

Call: 0800 068 41 41

Text: 07786 209697

Email: pat@papyrus-uk.org

Papyrus provide confidential help and advice to young people and anyone worried about a young person. Their HOPELineUK service is staffed by trained professionals who give non-judgemental support, practical advice and information to; children, teenagers and people up to the age of 35



FEMALES ON THE TOOLS

November 23rd, 2017[Comments Off on FEMALES ON THE TOOLS]

After 9 years in construction, am I wrong to have expected improvements by the end of 2017?

Construction is, and has been for many years, a very strongly male dominated industry. But I guess you could have said the same for law enforcement,  politics, finance, even technology and science in previous generations. So why is there such a lack of females working on the tools?

Prior to undertaking a career in Health and Safety 2 years ago, I spent 7 years working as a plumbing, drainage and heating engineer in the domestic world. Sure, I would get some surprised looks, maybe even a few sly comments, and yes of course manual handling would at times be an issue for me, but overall, I would say I was as capable as any of my male colleagues and I never received any complaints from customers, colleagues or my employers.

I did not see any reason why more girls like me do not decide to make a trade such as plumbing, tiling, electrician as their career choice. So, what exactly is it that’s stopping them? A recent survey showed that only 13% of women between 16-25 said they would consider a career in construction. The ‘Macho’ on site environment and the lack of flexibility with working hours given as the key reasons.  From my experience, the ‘Macho’ environment of a site is a myth from previous decades. In fact, most of my male colleagues actively went out of their way to make me feel comfortable and supported and took pride in having me working alongside them.  As for the working hours sites currently operate, they are tough, but for everyone. With working days starting early and travelling to and from site, it is possible that more flexible working hours may be to the benefit of all, regardless of gender.

It would appear, that the first obstacle is not to change the construction industry’s view of women operatives, but is to change the image of construction. To demonstrate to women that it can be a positive, welcoming environment they can enjoy and be successful within.

I’ve now spent 19 months is construction health and safety, visiting on average 10 sites a week.  In that time I have met a few female H&S managers, I have seen 2 female operatives working on site (digger driver and a painter) and I’ve heard of one female crane driver, but I haven’t yet seen any female site supervisors or managers. I have however seen various female cleaners, canteen workers and security members.

The fact is that official statistics show that at the end of December 2016, there were 2.3million workers in construction, 296,000 of these were women, which is the highest for 20 years, at just 12.86% of the work force.  Which leads me to ask, with a constant skills shortage is construction missing out on a valuable workforce?

Should construction be doing more to actively promote and encourage female skilled operatives? What exactly can be done to help change the image of construction and make it more appealing to females?

I know from personal experience that females are physically capable, and they introduce no more hazards then male operatives. I personally decided to change my choice of career and take up plumbing at the age of 24. The opportunity for me to gain a trade skill was simply not available to me during my younger school years. Even during my plumbing college course, which I took 10 years ago, I was the only female and was fully aware I was entering a male environment. I would like to think that this has now changed for young girls in our schools and colleges of today.  Maybe this apprentice level of training should be where the active focus of the skills drive should be initiated.

So, I guess I’m just wondering when and more importantly who, is going to be that company who takes the steps and leads the way in removing these barriers and might just unlock the hidden workforce that the construction industry is constantly in need of.

I am proud to say that Lighthouse Safety have assisted me in developing and promoting me as a person within my career.  At no point have they taken any interest in my gender, but in my capabilities and experiences in life and what attitudes I can bring to my role.

I can confidently say that Lighthouse are one of the companies that are taking the positive steps to remove barriers of gender issues in construction. We truly believe in the person, not the stereotype and we pass this attitude onto those we work with, in both our training and consultancy roles. Our ability to think forward think and bring a positive culture to health and safety within construction is just another reason why we at Lighthouse Safety are such a valuable company to those who we support and assist.

Louise Collins, Health & Safety Consultant



Is the NHS Making our Statistics look better than what they actually are?

September 29th, 2017[Comments Off on Is the NHS Making our Statistics look better than what they actually are?]

 

I would like to start this blog by stating that health and safety for me, is an absolute passion. Any student, friend, colleague or family member that knows me, will all agree that I 100% believe in H&S. I would also like to say that I am not writing this blog with any other intention than to help press forward with good H&S standards in the UK and beyond.

We at Lighthouse Safety have been teaching and advising on H&S for many years, we stand in front of many students each day ranging from NEBOSH Students to IOSH/CITB and at the start of every course, we normally explain the current situation of H&S in the UK. Of which we always explain the fatality statistics over the past few years and common fatality causes.

The current statistics are 144 fatalities in 2015/16, of which, falls from height, falling objects & moving vehicles are the biggest three killers. Most H&S professionals could probably have recited those statistics. Now it must be said early on, that 144 deaths in a year is far too many, one is too much and it should be the primary objective of any H&S professional to work as hard as possible to achieve ZERO!

But I want to look deeper into the statistics. There was, last year, an estimated 621,000 non-fatal injuries sustained to the UK workforce. Now keep that statistic in your mind for the next few lines.

I want to take you somewhere completely different. To the BBC! Particularly a programme called ‘AN HOUR TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.’ The programme is simply a camera crew following a paramedic unit to an accident. Producing a documentary insight into the care and medical effort to save someone’s life by the NHS. It really is a truly magnificent programme as you get to see how brave and amazing our NHS Service is, in all its glory.

I sat one night and watched a man’s journey after being hit by a bus. The casualty was suffering internal bleeding and severe head injuries. The Paramedic who attended the scene openly admitted on the programme, that he performed on the side of the road, a lifesaving technique that 5 years prior to that event, he would have never even considered doing due to lack of technology that was available at that time. I am no paramedic, so cannot tell you what that technique was or what it was called, but it was breath taking to watch and made me feel proud of our services. The casualty in question made a full recovery (SPOILER – SORRY) and continued his life happily. Amazing!!!!

What has this got to do with H&S Statistics? The figure I left you with was 621,000 non-fatal injuries 2015/16. My first question to put to you all is this- Are we better at preventing accidents at work or better at keeping people alive following an accident? One could argue that last year there was 621,000 potentially fatal injuries. So, I suppose the next question would be- How many had the potential to cause a death? I suppose all of them have the potential! But please think about it, there was over 621,000 injuries! Even if half of them had the potential to cause death that’s over 300,000 lifesaving medical provisions needed! Okay let’s dive deeper. All the stats that I have used are from the HSE, and a link to the publications is here, so I have broken them down a little:

 

In the 621,000 injuries last year:

37,000 Injuries from falling from height

44,000 Moving Machinery

61,000 moving objects

142,000 total injuries from the top three killers in the UK

 

So, as a H&S professional, I will stick my neck on the line and say that there were at least 142,000 potential deaths that could have happened last year, but what stopped them being fatalities? H&S Management?  Whose job it is to prevent the accident, or the NHS? Whose job it is to keep people alive?

I have another question to ask on these statistics, how many are permanently injured and how many cannot return to work? I sadly, have been a carer for my Father who for a period of time was disabled. It individually decimated the lives of my entire family. It was hard to watch someone who I held to be so precious to me, become so helpless. Having to help with that life changing event has left a mark on my family bigger than any other, and it still does today. How many of the 142,000 are permanently injured? How many have to rely on family to help them live? How many Cannot get out of bed without help?

These statistics, by the HSE’s own admission have remained similar for the last 6/7 years. For the past 6/7 years there has been the same amount of accidents but a falling trend of fatalities.  So I’ll ask again and I encourage a response from all H&S professionals, Is the NHS Making our Statistics look better than what they actually are?

At Lighthouse Safety, we have created a culture of dedicating our daily profession to keeping people safe. Our Company moto is Changing Minds and Shaping Futures, because that what we do. We potentially Change the Minds of thousands each year to a more positive embracing mind set and so we therefore Shape the Futures of everyone we help, it’s our passion and it is what makes Lighthouse Safety Training shine above all else, it is what will help us to eventually wipe out workplace accidents & illnesses.



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