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The interaction and explanations Andy gave to different areas, it was a very good course and I would recommend more people to do it.
Bison Manufacturing July 2010 (ABC Course)




Archive for the ‘Lighthouse Blog’ Category


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.

Competition Winner

November 9th, 2016[Comments Off on Competition Winner]

Lighthouse Safety attended the Construction Expo in Detling, Kent last week and held a competition to win a … See below the video of Pam picking the winner. … Lighthouse Safety works with clients across the UK.

The Confusion between Definitions

September 19th, 2016[Comments Off on The Confusion between Definitions]

Recently we have noticed the confusion that can be experienced when differentiating between a ‘hazard’ and a ‘hazardous event’.  Overcoming the confusion and getting these definitions correct is extremely important when carrying out risk assessment, both paper-based and dynamic, to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees is maintained at all times whilst at work

These definitions (from IOSH) may help;

A hazard is anything with the potential to cause harm

For a hazard to cause harm, a hazardous event must happen

There must be a hazard present first before the hazardous event is able to occur.  For example, a raised paving slab is a hazard, the hazardous event would be if a pedestrian was to trip on the raised paving slab

Hopefully this will help when trying to differentiate between the two

Is it a legal requirement for a risk assessment to be carried out for any hazardous work activity or task.  Failure to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment could mean prosecution by the HSE for failure to safeguard employees appropriately.

China, specialists in the flat pack skyscraper!!

September 19th, 2016[Comments Off on China, specialists in the flat pack skyscraper!!]

When watching some videos of China’s progression in to the world of modular building solutions showing tower blocks of various heights going up at an insanely rapid pace (30 storeys building completed in 30 days) I reviewed my opinion of the health and safety implications this could have were we to adopt more of this style of building in the UK.

Think about it, by creating most of the structure, the fittings and the finishes within a controlled environment it has the potential to bring certain benefits to the process including improved waste management and environmental sustainability, improved quality control of the final product, better time planning and lead delivery but above all else wouldn’t this improve the health and safety for the workforce with far less risks posed to them such as minimal working at height requirements, greater control of environmental risk factors such as sun exposure (melanoma and dehydration issues), cold (muscle injury, slips) lighting issues and so on. This increased control on all areas of the process may offer increased profitability for the company allowing for sustained rates for the trade workers instead of the up and down cycle we have seen in recent years as skill levels increase and dip. There are fears from some workers this would lead to a loss of skilled tradesmen but I don’t believe this would be the case in the grand scheme of things as the skills would still be required just in a different setting.

Obviously there are some drawbacks to modular build in that bespoke design is more difficult and costly, logistically there is a challenge to sending more and more lorry loads of prefabricated components around the country on our already jam packed network but with a little ingenuity and long term investment I think these challenges could be met, making the build process more eco-friendly and stimulating growth in our economy by setting us apart from other countries that are still yet to embrace this technology (as we currently are to a degree) possibly encouraging new trade deals to buy our technologies and export of these components bringing long term growth to the construction industry. With regard to the infrastructure problem of clogging up the roads perhaps we could look at reviving at canal networks and the fact we are an island nation to utilize our waterways as we did in the past as a means of moving the flat pack products around the country? What do you think?

To see the videos referenced above please follow the links below to see how China does it.


Happy building

NEBOSH General Certificate – Day Release

September 7th, 2016[Comments Off on NEBOSH General Certificate – Day Release]

Attention Campers, we have exciting news.


In 2017 will be running a new addition to our course line up, a reformatted day release NEBOSH General Certificate Course. This course is ideal for those looking to supplement their knowledge in a management role to ensure Health and standards are implemented and maintained for the sustainability of their company, those who are considering a move into a Health and Safety Manager/Advisors role, or simply as another accolade to add to your CV for the future.


The course will cover the legal, management and practical aspects of Health and Safety Management. As the internationally recognised standard for higher level training in Health and Safety NEBOSH is a must have in today’s climate to instil confidence in clients and trading partners that your company is working to the highest standards.


The course will be running on consecutive weeks starting in February of next year, the course including mock exams, revision days and national exam dates will total 14 days with availability still open for several candidates should you require it.


For more information or book please visit our website or call 01634 260 631.

Charity cheque presentation

July 27th, 2016[Comments Off on Charity cheque presentation]

As I am sure you are aware, Lighthouse Safety were honoured to host a quiz night at the beginning of the month for the fantastic Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity and managed to raise the tremendous sum of £2250.  Last week we had the opportunity to meet with the charity’s CEO, Bill Hill and our very own Andrew (MD) presented him with the cheque.


It was a pleasure to meet Bill and we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that was involved in making the night such a success.

Using the correct mask for the job

July 20th, 2016[Comments Off on Using the correct mask for the job]

Ok so the HSE are having a big push on Health, with the last 18 months predominantly looking at dust exposure. I’m not going to bore you with another explanation of what dust is and what it can do to you, instead I have found something on my travels that affects the unsuspecting.

If you’re working in the construction industry you should by now be wearing dust masks when creating dust, those who are really taking care will be having a FACE FIT TEST to ensure that it is the correct mask for you! Only seeing FFP2 or FFP3 masks on site is where my problem lies, as much as I fight for it not to be the sole focus of a decision it is inevitable that cost plays part in everything we do and buy.

I was in a well know DIY store the other day when I noticed at the front of the store the promoted PPE section. I had some timber cutting to do later that day and I thought I would grab myself a mask, as my wife and I got to the shelf there were 3 masks to choose from. Me being me, looked at them and immediately was drawn to the FFP3 without thought! My wife then said why don’t you get this one its only £2 as apposed the £5 one you have in your hand? I stepped and noticed that there were 3 masks on display 1 of each type: FFP1, FFP2, FFP3 and no stand out information for users on what these do or protect you from except from the product packaging of the FFP2 and 3, they were priced respectively at £2, £4.28, and £5.68. Which one would you buy?
FFP1 Dust Masks protect against low levels of dust, as well as solid and liquid aerosols. It protects against materials in concentrations up to 4x occupational exposure limit (OEL) or 4x assigned protection factor (APF). FFP1 Dust Masks are suitable for hand sanding, drilling, and cutting.

FFP2 Dust Masks protect against moderate levels of dust, as well as solid and liquid aerosols. FFP2 Dust Masks have a higher level of protection than FFP1 – FFP2 masks protect against materials in concentrations up to 12x OEL or 4x APF. FFP2 masks are ideal for plastering and sanding.

FFP3 Dust Masks protect against higher levels of dust. They also protect against solid and liquid aerosols. FFP3 masks protect against materials in concentrations up to 50x OEL or 20x APF. FFP3 masks are suitable for handling hazardous powders, such as those found in the pharmaceutical industry.


I know there are some who think that it’s over the top health and safety but here at Lighthouse Safety Training over the last 18 months we have been educating people on the affects and correct use rather than chastising people to wear them with no apparent reason, so I ask that you pass on this information to others who don’t understand or are unsuspecting like your work at home or the odd job we do at the weekend.


Is Health and Safety becoming a Hazard?

July 8th, 2016[Comments Off on Is Health and Safety becoming a Hazard?]

Over the past decade of working in Health and Safety, many, many times have I been in situations where I have been left ashamed of H&S. One such scenario was when I was working for a large house building contractor. A site manager was preparing his breakfast and couldn’t find a knife to butter his toast. So he used an alternative of a Stanley knife blade. To make this situation worse he then also cut himself. The reaction to this injury is what makes me cringe. The building company banned Stanley blades from all sites. Unreal, why didn’t the company just discipline the manager? H&S can only go so far to protect employees and more often than not requires staff to take account of their action.

But is H&S becoming a Hazard? On a recent conversation on an IOSH course I delivered, I admitted that I care for my children differently to what I would advise maybe a school or nursery to. For example, I was telling the story about how my eldest son fell into a pond, I had warned him that he could fall in as he was getting too close to the edge. I decided to stop warning him and allow him to make his own decisions, this way, I feel he would learn quicker and make better decisions in the future. I stayed close to my son and without much amazement, he fell in. Soaked, covered in green slime, we were about 45 minutes away from a change of clothes so he had to stay in wet clothes for something near an hour. Since that event, my son hasn’t fallen into any water again and now keeps a respectful distance. Lesson learnt I feel.

The reason I father my children in this manner is that I want them to learn that their decisions have consequences, (I must add, I do not allow them to get near life threatening risks like fire or rip tides! I make sure I have full supervision with them and make sure they are all safe at all times as any good parent should), I want them all to respect risk and manage themselves better. However, imagine I went to a school which had a pond, they were worried about that pond with children falling in. Now imagine that I sat in a meeting in the school and said- don’t worry let them fall in they won’t get that hurt and they will learn not to do it again just makes sure someone is nearby. I am not sure I would get any repeat business from that meeting. So what the school could do is remove the pond.

Here lies the problem. My professional opinion, I nod aggressively at the decision to remove the pond as it meets the standards of the principals of prevention and with all the other risks associated with a pond, this works! Now, I have a pond in the garden (which I actually don’t but just imagine), my partner suggests getting rid of it, in my fatherly opinion, I shake my head aggressively and say the pond stays!

What we are at risk of breading in the UK with H&S, is a generation of people fully unaware or risk. When I am in Dad mode, my kids need to learn risk and rightly so, but I cannot as a professional agree to exposing children to risks. But as a result, children and people now at risk of not becoming aware of what will hurt them as they have never seen or experienced risk. It is not just schools, it’s all children areas from parents to scouts to public parks. This is then the question in the blog, is H&S becoming a hazard?

In a QI episode the term Risk Compensation was brought up. Basically, if we remove risk from a human, said human will take greater risks. Hence a car manufacturer developed a car with a spike on the steering wheel, which in turn will make the driver more conscious, that if they were to even bump a curb or hit a pothole there was a risk of death. When a human can see risk they adjust their ways, when they can’t see risk they take greater risks.



Over the years have car accidents reduced? Consider the amount of drivers we now have and how many accidents there are. We still have them, even now, even when we have lane assist cars, or reversing sensors, or auto braking systems, or a car that parks itself!!!

The reality is that if we remove risk, we increase the chance of humans taking a bigger risk. So, should we allow people to be exposed to risk in order for H&S to work? I seem to think we do. But we need to expose everyone to controlled risk. For instance, going back to the pond issue, at a school we can have a pond, it can be in an enclosed area with a fence and a gate. We can have set visitation times with supervision from teachers for each class. We can also have a backup set of clothing and towel in the off chance a child falls in as well as medical provisions. Does that sound better? A controlled risk that lets children learn and develop.

The HSE is trying its hardest to ensure that all business are managing risks to an acceptable level and not becoming too risk adverse. The HSE, I feel are fighting a losing battle as many H&S advisors are not implementing what the HSE are saying.

So I suppose, in my opinion, the answer to the question, is H&S becoming a Hazard? Is YES, it can be.

If H&S is not sensible and managed properly it can lead to greater issues in the long run. If companies continue to mismanage H&S it can lead to greater risks being taken and creating more significant accidents.

However please tell me what you think, do you have an opinion on this?



Donations and fundraising

July 8th, 2016[Comments Off on Donations and fundraising]

After an amazing attendance at our Quiz night raising funds for the Lighthouse Club on Friday 1 July 2016, we were pleasantly surprised to receive a post event cheque on Wednesday 6 July 2016  for an additional donation of £250 from O S H Project Services Ltd. Obviously we feel humbled by their support and are very thankful, we will now pass this direct to the Lighthouse Club in addition to the sum of £2000 we have already raised, thanks again to O S H Project Services Ltd.


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