An inspiration to us all

The dark dank, evening rush hour streets of Sheffield are no place for the faint hearted. These thoughts crossed my mind as I battled with all other drivers to escape the city centre and make my way for home this evening. Included in the battle were the bravest of the brave; cyclists. Dodging and weaving their way between busses, HGV’s and gritted teeth car drivers. Wow; they all deserve a medal.

The Health and Safety Laws in our workplaces are designed to protect the vulnerable working amongst us. Hence the legal requirement for specific risk assessments for expectant mums and young persons. Evident also in the required general risk assessments and additional protection for lone workers and anyone with disabilities or pre-dispositions. The RIDDOR regulations state that an employer must report an accident requiring hospital treatment only to (a more vulnerable) visitor to our sites, whereas it only becomes reportable for our own staff when they have been laid up in hospital for more than 24 hours (that’s if it wasn’t so serious as to warrant an immediate call to the HSE). Therefore, why is it then that this generally accepted rule to protect the vulnerable is not transferred to the Road Traffic Act? Why do cars, wagons and busses take precedent over the more vulnerable cyclists and pedestrians?

The second amendment in the USA allows ordinary citizens the right to carry firearms. Americans are amazingly protective of this ancient 18th century law. The debate is played out at every election campaign and raised after every major atrocity. And yet Americans will not budge a US Inch. I have the same feeling that we British are just like that with our cars. Every car driver seems to have the opinion that it is their fundamental right to own and drive a car anywhere, as fast as they can get-away with and for as long as they Goddam like! I see it in the faces. I feel it when I ride my bike. Why do we drive like this? What is the motivation? What is the psychology. Mark Tovey’s study of obesity in the UK, 2016 states that the total net cost to the UK is 2.47 billion pounds and set to rise over coming years. An estimated 7.1 per cent of deaths (35,820) are attributable to elevated BMI in England and Wales in 2014. Each individual loses 12 years on average. And yet, faced with this type of hard hitting evidence, how many of us still use the car to drive to the corner shop? What is it that is in our psyche?

Each year, on behalf of Train to Safety, I consider out of all the health and safety managers I have encountered, who would deserve the award for the best. However, this year I am going to award it to a fabulous lady called Cynthia Barlow. Her story is amazing. She is a cycle safety campaigner and took on some of the most powerful and established transport organisations. It is David vs Goliath stuff. She is an inspiration to any of us looking to try and elicit change in our workplaces. If you are a cyclist or not, please look at her story, reported in the FT.  https://www.ft.com/content/ca1fca5e-9f6c-11df-8732-00144feabdc0

Maybe if I am lucky, I can secure her agreement to come and tell us more about how she managed to influence a large organisation at our seminar on 19th April 2018.

Would you put up with this behaviour in your work place? No, me neither. So whats the difference?

IOSH course dilemma solved

The IOSH Managing Safely course is without doubt one of the best courses for companies to put their Supervisors, line Managers and sometimes even senior Managers through. It is extremely popular. I have been delivering the course for twelve years now and looking back, some of the feedback from the course has been quite startling. For example, a local engineering factory manager who went on the course three years ago told me how uneasy he felt when he was on a night out in a restaurant with a large group of friends. The restaurant wanted to put two tables together, immediately in-front of the fire escape. He told the restaurant staff that it would be unacceptable to him if they did that. Fantastic! Small incremental improvements like this is what we health and safety trainers live for.

As Train to Safety Ltd complete more and more health and safety consultancy work in industry, we are beginning to realise how extensively it has been adopted. The method of risk rating, i.e. the 5 x 5, for likelihood x consequence matrix method has become so popular that we see it being used almost everywhere. The method has steadily become the industry default.

IOSH have now created a method  of being able to update their courses we deliver, enabling them to prevent the courses becoming out of date so easily. One of the recent changes has been to reduce the number of course modules from 8 to 7 by taking out the environment module. There are a number of reasons why they may have done this. However, IOSH now say it could be possible to deliver the course over three days or stick to four days if need be. This has created a dilemma. We piloted the courses twice over three days and twice over four days but the feedback  was not quite up to the usual high standards. The attendees to the three day course claim it felt the pace was too high. This was also reflected in some of the exam scores being close to the cut off point for success. However, despite the fact that the section on workplace hazards has now been extended, the attendees to four day course felt it was too long winded and drawn out. It seemed to be a no win situation.

And yet our policy with other high value courses such as the NEBOSH General Certificate, is to add in dates for revision and catch up to ensure the maximum standards possible are achieved. We are extremely proud of our exceptionally high pass rates for this course and therefore we considered why should we change our policy for the valuable IOSH course by trying to compress and rush it? As a result, we have now returned to delivering the IOSH course over four days once more to fall in line with our general policy to deliver a high quality training package. To ensure the pace is right we now spend a little more time discussing the case studies in the IOSH monthly magazine which are a vital component when introducing the course. In these, we discuss accident causation, legislation used for any criminal action plus we also discuss the various individual duties and responsibilities. Later in the course we expand and liven up the workplace hazards section with much greater reference to available film clips.

We now feel that once again we have the best application of the IOSH Managing Safely course to bring about the best effect for the organisation. We are confident that their personnel will return to the workplace full of smiles, confidence, complements and take an active role in their team.

Why not drive  your organisations health and and safety culture forward in one fell swoop by sending them onto this great course of ours?

Health and Safety seminar – resounding success.

Chesterfield, was perhaps the biggest health and safety seminar event in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire this year. It was by all accounts a resounding success. Invited guests, safety managers,  turned up from all over the country on a wonderfully sunny early summer’s day in May. Somerset, London, Durham, Lancashire as well as a good attendance from local companies, to hear and see a fast moving programme of a whole range of subjects. From the latest in fire precautions, stress management, developments in how courts determine the level of fines, through to how the human brain is easily tricked making us more prone to accidents, safety management software, moving vehicle detection and much more.

However, the presentation enjoyed most by the  audience, was the presentation on how to gain the co-operation of the workforce. The presentation was certainly well delivered by my colleague Mark Eastburn who not only has a vast experience in this area, but also possesses a higher level of teaching qualification than most. On reflection though, the huge demand by other HS managers to discover new and successful methods of gaining compliance is recognisable. Is this the greatest problem we are faced with I wonder?

The weather was also good to us on the day, allowing for a very relaxed chance to get together and discuss  work place issues with our colleagues outside on the patio while lunch was consumed.

The feedback I received from the seminar was overwhelmingly encouraging. Everyone found it to be useful in some way or other and took something away from the day. Some of us found the chance to catch up with old colleagues to be invaluable. Others found it useful in the way it enabled them to escape from the day to day grind of management and find the time to relax and reflect but in a professional atmosphere.

You will be pleased to note that next years’ date has already been set as we are now working towards the 19th April 2018. As always we will build on previous years to make subtle improvements. The next seminar is due to have a nationally recognised guest speaker. We will also look to lengthen some of the presentation slots although not all. We will continue to stick to the latest format of making the presentations wide and varying. Therefore if one presentation is of little interest, then the following one, being in a completely different subject area, should hopefully be of more interest to the individual and to successfully hold their attention.

Did anything disappoint us? Not really on the day, everything worked so well and managed to keep to the tight schedule. However, on the build-up, we were disappointed by the local paper, who despite requesting an editorial, still could not find space in their lightweight periodical for such a great and well attended event. Oh well, I guess this typifies the claustrophobic and depressingly inwardly looking paper it is.

Thanks to everyone who attended and made this day such an important and useful event.
See you again on 19th April 2018!

 

CCNSG safety passport constantly evolving

The CCNSG safety passport, awarded by the ECITB continues to move onwards and constantly evolve.

The latest news is regarding the capping of the fees being charged by training providers. It doesn’t affect Train to Safety as we already charged below the maximum cap now being imposed. However, some organisations are rather disgruntled and are refusing to renew their licence, claiming the course is just not viable. Be careful your “reliable” training provider isn’t going to leave you out in the cold.

Also new is the trial being conducted to complete just the renewal test as a touch screen type test, if employees can demonstrate they are the holders of a high level course such as a NEBOSH or an IOSH Managing Safely. I shall report back once we know how the trials went.

The CCNSG courses are constantly being reviewed and upgraded every few years. Both the renewal and the two day courses were updated last year. The central theme really does go along the route of trying to get contractors to accept that misbehaviour is a significant cause of accidents. The course also is also in line with the current theme to attempt to engage workers and look out for each-others safety and health while out on a site. The LATS course or Leading a Team Safely course aimed at supervisors is in the process of being revised. It is starting to look a bit jaded now, however the focus of the course on management skills as opposed to health and safety issues directly, hits the spot. It really is a valuable addition to any person looking to demonstrate a wider range of interpersonal skills.

For more information regarding course dates, go to the Train to Safety website at www.traintosafety.co.uk However next two day course in Chesterfield is set for 15th and 16th August.

Finally. Napo the cartoon character no longer appears on the CCNSG courses. Some people are relieved, whereas some are most disappointed to learn this when they turn up for the renewal. I’m in the latter group as for any training that has the impact of being memorable to smallest detail 3 years later has to be a very powerful weapon in the battle to create visual, engaging and humorous training. No laughing matter tries to redress the balance here.

Health and safety Seminar workshop 11th May

Imagine an Health and safety seminar where you can clock up plenty of kudos with your CPD, continuous personal development.

Imagine a networking event where you could meet up with old colleagues, meet new acquaintances and get carried away with the enthusiasm and passion of your subject.

Imagine taking half or a full day, away from the workplace to free your mind from the day to day toil, while allowing your mind to soak up new ideas and test new technologies.

Imagine giving some of your hard earned experiences and receiving the wisdom of many others.

Imagine no further. Join our Health and safety seminar on May 11th at Ringwood Hall Hotel near Chesterfield.

Ringwood Hall Hotel Gardens

Directors under fire

It is not easy being a director. I should know, I’ve been one. I still am one in actual fact. The level of responsibility and pressure to succeed are immense. Emerging technologies expand and grow at an exponential rate, effecting the field of business in ways we find difficult to imagine. The opportunities and threats have to be met head on and dealt with before there is a negative impact on the business. Health and safety is just one aspect of business which is hard to keep track of and harness in as useful a way as is possible. It doesn’t help when the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) turn their attention more and more to business directors if something has gone wrong in the workplace. In the most recent year end to April 2016 for figures being made available, director convictions leaped to 45 in comparison to 15 during the year before. The new sentencing guidelines imposed onto the criminal courts have pushed the value of fines for many companies into the millions (a ten fold increase for some business types). One utility company has set aside £26 million just to deal with the problem.

Taking no action and hoping for the best is not a wise option. However there are a few things that directors could instigate. By being proactive, they could start to demonstrate that their health and safety culture is an improving one. (Note, the HSE use under section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974 to gain a prosecution of an individual director if in their estimation, the company had a negative health and safety culture)

Action one: Attend the Train to Safety one day course – Directing Safety on 28th February specifically to help directors decide what they need to do and at what level to become involved. This course has been widely accepted as greatly beneficial to directors who have been on the course.

Action two. As well as the Directing course (but not instead of), directors could ensure they have access to adequate health and safety assistance. Many come to me and request my services for this however, it is far better for them to install these levels of competence working inside their organisation. Recruitment is one method but qualifying their staff to the NEBOSH General certificate will pay for itself by the end of the year.

The next NEBOSH course starts soon on the 7th March. contact: hello@traintosafety.co.uk

Don’t miss out. The business risks are just to great.

David Smith explaining how Asda became the top as a business performer.

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