GB consult on RIDDOR
Published: 03 Aug 2012
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has opened a 12-week consultation on proposals to simplify and clarify how businesses comply with the requirements under the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations SI 1995/3163 (as amended).
The review is part of HSE's work to make it easier for businesses and other users to understand what they need to do to comply with health and safety law, following recommendations made in Professor Löfstedt's "Reclaiming health and safety for all: An independent review of health and safety legislation."
The proposals also seek to implement the changes recommended in the 2010 Government Report, "Common Sense, Common Safety", by re-examining whether RIDDOR is the best approach to providing an accurate national picture of workplace accidents.
For more information, see the:
Olympic safety is not plain sailing
Published: 31 Jul 2012
The London Olympic Games has excelled in safety, with no fatalities during the construction of the Olympic Park. A workforce of 46,000 spent over 80 million man-hours constructing the park and there were only 126 RIDDOR-reportable injury accidents. As construction is one of the most dangerous occupations, this will undoubtedly be welcome news to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
However, the praise for health and safety seems to end there, with some spectators complaining about strict restrictions in the Olympic venues. For example, only 100ml of liquid can be taken into any venue, forcing many to spend more on food and drink on-site.
The sailing event has particularly come under scrutiny, as spectators were banned from taking in folding chairs so that they could sit on the grass banks. Ticket-holders were told that fold up chairs and cool boxes were banned, but were encouraged to bring picnic rugs and small snacks instead. A spokesman said, "For health and safety reasons fold-up chairs are not permitted in the Nothe Gardens, which is an exposed and steeply banked site. We were clear about the site specifications at the point of sale. However, we will have limited fixed seating available for those that most require it."
Going for gold in green games
Published: 30 Jul 2012
As millions of spectators land in the UK over the next two weeks for the Olympics, the Olympic organisers, Locog, face a constant battle to keep the games sustainable, environmentally friendly and green.
Already the London games' green aspirations have been called into question because of the environmentally un-friendly nature of some of the sponsors. This argument, however, only serves to undermine the efforts that have gone into making the 30th Olympiad "green".
For example, Locog has employed 100,000 contractors to deal with waste, cleaning and catering. They are also working closely with the site's caterers, packaging suppliers and waste management providers to try and keep an eye on what comes into the park, and what leaves it.
In addition, they have placed 4,000 colour-coded recycling bins around the Olympic park which, when full, are taken to a recovery facility in Barking. All of the food and packaging used is recyclable or compostable; all part of the aim to make sure that zero waste goes to landfill from the games.
The organisers have also thought hard about other types of waste, ensuring that the Olympic Park's 362 toilet blocks are sustainable. In the Velodrome, for example, there are low-flow appliances and waterless urinals, and some venues have rainwater collection facilities. A new water treatment plant also helps to reduce the amount of water used.
CO2 emissions have also been targeted. Recycled materials were used in the building of the venues, reducing the amount of CO2 used in construction. Energy to the Olympic Park is being supplied from renewable sources, including biomass boilers and solar power.
As Locog's head of sustainability, David Stubbs, explained, keeping the games green has been no easy task, "You're dealing with 205 nations competing; that's more than there are United Nations members; you've got 10,500 athletes; double that number of media; a workforce of 200,000; 11m ticket spectators plus all the broadcast interests and sponsors, so it's a massive undertaking. On food alone, it's 14m meals."
New GB fees legislation published
Published: 27 Jul 2012
The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations SI 2012/1652 have been published, and will come into force on 1 October 2012.
They set fees payable to the HSE for carrying out certain functions relating to licensing, equipment approval, inspection and approvals regimes and will revoke and replace the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations SI 2010/579. Almost all of the fees in the previous Regulations are reproduced by these Regulations without increase.
Two new fees are however introduced:
- a fee payable in respect of certain functions contained in the Borehole Sites and Operations Regulations SI 1995/2038; and
- a fee for intervention (FFI) payable by those who are found to be in material breach of relevant statutory provisions to enable the HSE to recover costs which it incurs as a result of carrying out functions in relation to those breaches.
The fee for intervention reflects the cost of the HSE performing its functions; this is currently £124 per hour. An explanation of how the hourly rate has been calculated and further information on the cost of the fee can be found in HSE47 - Guidance on the application of Fee for Intervention (FFI).
Two new marine protection areas announced
Published: 27 Jul 2012
Northern Ireland Environment Minister, Alex Attwood, has announced the designation of two new marine areas as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).
The SACs include the sea and seabed surrounding the Maidens Islands off Larne and those adjacent to the Portrush Skerries and Giant's Causeway.
The protected features at the Maidens SAC include sandbanks, reefs and grey seals, while the Skerries and Causeway SAC includes numerous sea caves as well as sandbanks and reefs. Protection will also be given to the harbour porpoise, the smallest of the whales and dolphins occurring off the coast of Northern Ireland.
Mr Attwood said of the designations, "These two sites represent the completion of the programme to identify and protect those areas of our coastal waters which are of international importance for their marine habitats and biodiversity. They demonstrate my Department's ongoing commitment to protecting our seas and the wildlife and ecosystems that they support."
In the Autumn, the Northern Ireland Assembly is due to debate the Marine Bill, which aims to protect the coastal areas.
The two new sites are in addition to those previously designated as marine SACs including Strangford Lough, Rathlin Island, Red Bay and Murlough Bay (Dundrum) and complete the Northern Ireland suite of European protected sites. Designation limits only those human activities likely to damage the protected features.
For more information, see the:
- Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations SI 2007/1842.
Northern Ireland firefighters tackle biggest blaze in years
Published: 27 Jul 2012
A fire at a clothes recycling plant in Newry, County Armagh has been described by the chief fire officer in Northern Ireland as "one of the biggest incidents for years."
At the height of the fire, 23 fire engines and 115 fire service staff from across the region were involved in tackling the serious and rapidly developing blaze.
Reinforcements, including crews with specialist high reach aerial appliances, water tankers and high volume pumping units were called in as the flames started to spread to a nearby lorry car park.
The warehouse at the plant was saved but a clothing storage area has been destroyed in the fire. The cause of the fire is now under investigation.
Sinn Féin councillor for Newry Packie McDonald said it was thankful that no one was injured but the damage was a "serious blow to the local economy" as over 100 people are employed at the recycling plant.