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                     Newsletter
                                                                      October 2010

In this issue…

Lord Young‟s report published .......................................................................................................................... 1
First corporate manslaughter case delayed ....................................................................................................... 2
Asbestos „level of exposure‟ decision considered at Supreme Court ................................................................. 3
Asbestos employer‟s liability „chaos‟ ................................................................................................................. 3
Online office risk assessment from the HSE ..................................................................................................... 4
Occupational Safety Consultants Register (OSCR) ........................................................................................... 4
HSG168: Fire safety in construction .................................................................................................................. 4
Safety statistics updated ................................................................................................................................... 4
Information on older workers ............................................................................................................................. 5
Equality Act 2010 .............................................................................................................................................. 6
Advice on clearing snow and ice ....................................................................................................................... 6
Chemical information ........................................................................................................................................ 7
Harmful algal blooms have the potential to lay waste to coral reefs................................................................... 7
Cutting London‟s CO2 emissions ...................................................................................................................... 7
Species in decline ............................................................................................................................................. 8
Study IOSH managing safely by distance learning with us ................................................................................ 9

                                                                                          new professional standards for health and
Lord Young’s report published                                                              safety consultants with accreditation and a
                                                                                           web-based directory of accredited consultants
                                           Lord Young, the                                insurance companies to stop requiring that low-
                                           Prime Minister‟s                                hazard businesses employ health and safety
                                           adviser on health and                           consultants to carry out risk assessments
                                           safety law and                                 new pressure on councils that ban events on
                                           practice, has                                   health and safety grounds to put their reasons
                                           published his long                              in writing, and new routes for redress for the
                                           awaited report,                                 public to challenge decisions
                                           following a Whitehall-                         consolidation of health and safety regulations
                                           wide review on the                              into “a single set of accessible regulations”
                                           subject.                                       changes to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases
                                                                                           and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995
                                                                                           (RIDDOR), including extending the period
Entitled Common Sense, Common Safety, the                                                  before an injury or accident needs to be
report puts forward a plan of revised policies for                                         reported
health and safety in Britain, calling for:                                                a new consultation to improve the role of the
 changes to compensation claims, with                                                     Health and Safety Executive in dealing with
    restrictions on advertising for “no win, no fee”                                       large companies
    arrangements and changes in the way personal                                          combining food safety and health and safety
    injury claims are handled                                                              inspections in local authorities
 the extension of the simplified Road Traffic                                            protection for police officers and firefighters
    Accident Personal Injury Scheme to include                                             from prosecution under health and safety
    other personal injury claims                                                           legislation whilst performing their duties
 an end to the “plethora of forms” for school trips                                      the abolition of the Adventure Activities
    and instead a single consent form covering all                                         Licensing Authority.
    activities a child might undertake at school
 the simplification of risk assessment                                               David Cameron pledged his own backing and that
    procedures for low-hazard workplaces, such as                                     of the Cabinet for Lord Young, who he said would
    offices, classrooms and shops                                                     continue to work across departments to ensure his

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                 Newsletter
recommendations are carried through. Mr Cameron                       Geotechnical Holdings Ltd, in relation to the death
said: “Good health and safety is vitally important.                   of Alexander Wright, have been delayed.
But all too often good, straightforward legislation                   The case represents the first application of the
designed to protect people from major hazards has                     Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide
been extended inappropriately to cover every walk                     Act 2007.
of life, no matter how low risk.”
                                                                      The death occurred in 2008 when Mr Wright, who
                                                                      was employed by Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released a                      as a junior geologist, was taking soil samples from
statement “warmly welcoming” the publication of                       inside an excavated pit when the sides of the pit
Lord Young‟s report. Judith Hackitt, the HSE Chair,                   collapsed, crushing him.
said: “Publication of the report is a tremendous
opportunity to refocus health and safety on what it
is really about — managing workplace risks.
Getting this right is good for employers, employees
and Britain as a whole.”


The report was also welcomed by John Cridland,
the Deputy Director-General of the Confederation
of British Industry (CBI), who commented: “Lord
Young is right. We need a can-do, not a can-sue
culture. This report rightly criticises the tick-box
approach to health and safety for drowning people
in red-tape…Lord Young‟s report should put
common sense back into the system, reduce
bureaucracy, and improve our approach to
managing risk.”
                                                                      Peter Eaton whom has been charged with gross
By contrast, Brendan Barber, the General                              negligence manslaughter
Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC),
said: “The review's recommendations are                               Peter Eaton was charged with gross negligence
predictable but a grave disappointment all the                        manslaughter and with an offence contrary to the
same.” Mr Barber slammed the report for failing to                    Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974. However,
contain “a single proposal” to “reduce the high                       Mr Eaton‟s solicitors, Pinsent Masons, have now
levels of workplace death, injuries and illness” in                   argued successfully that, owing to ill health, the two
the UK, citing the 20,000 people who die                              charges should be permanently stayed.
prematurely every year as a result of their work,
and the two million people suffering ill-health                       The trial against Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings
because of their jobs.                                                Ltd will continue in January 2011, with charges
                                                                      under the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974
The report can be accessed at:                                        and the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate
http://www.number10.gov.uk/wp-                                        Homicide Act 2007.
content/uploads/402906_CommonSense_acc.pdf
                                                                      Commenting on the case, Sally Roff, a Partner at
First corporate manslaughter                                          Beachcroft LLP, slammed the delay and said: “At a
                                                                      time when there is so much scrutiny over the
case delayed                                                          effective use of public funds, one wonders what is
                                                                      to be gained from pursuing a „shell‟ company …
The first corporate manslaughter charges against                      The Corporate Manslaughter Act has become
Peter Eaton, the managing director of Cotswold                        tarnished with delay both by the time it took to


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                 Newsletter
come to the Statute books and now in its                              Asbestos - employer’s liability
implementation.”
                                                                      ‘chaos’
Asbestos ‘level of exposure’
                                                                      The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)
decision considered at Supreme                                        has predicted that a recent Court of Appeal
Court                                                                 decision will bring about insurance “chaos” and
                                                                      cause dying people and grieving families to enter
The Supreme Court on 26 October 2010 began                            “a lottery” when trying to claim damages for
hearing arguments as to why two families should                       asbestos exposure.
not be allowed to keep compensation awarded by
the courts following the deaths of family members                     The APIL was referring to the decision by the Court
from mesothelioma.                                                    of Appeal in October 2010 that some employer‟s
                                                                      liability insurance policies would no longer protect
Dianne Willmore and Enid Costello died as a result                    asbestos victims from the date they were first
of cancer, having both been exposed to quite small                    exposed to the substance. Instead, judges found
doses of asbestos dust. Ms Willmore was exposed                       that, in some cases, the responsibility lay with the
as a pupil at her school and Mrs Costello during                      insurers at the onset of symptoms, which, the APIL
her work at a factory making steel drums.                             notes, can be many years later when the company
                                                                      may have ceased trading and when there is in fact
                                                                      no insurance in place to meet the claim.
Medically, it is agreed that there is no minimum
threshold dose of asbestos below which there is no                    The Association says this means that in many
risk of mesothelioma. The Law Lords are being                         claims for damages, the exact words in the
invited to make a decision as to whether there                        insurance contract will be studied and many
should be a legal threshold.                                          asbestos victims could be left without
                                                                      compensation.

                                                                      The APIL says it will be a matter of chance for
According to solicitors John Pickering and Partners,
                                                                      claimants as to whether the employer against
the case is important for any persons who have
                                                                      whom they are claiming has an effective insurance
small doses of asbestos exposure and get
                                                                      policy to meet the claim — if their employer is no
mesothelioma. If the employers' arguments are
                                                                      longer in existence or is insolvent, claimants will go
accepted, fewer people will be able to claim
                                                                      uncompensated.
compensation.

Norman Jones, Solicitor for Mrs Costello‟s family,
said, “It would be manifestly unfair if the law was
changed to deny victims of one the worst fatal
industrial diseases from receiving fair
compensation.”

In July 2009, Ms Willmore gave evidence at
Liverpool High Court. The Judge found in her
favour and awarded her £240,000 gross of
Department for Work and Pensions benefits.
The Local Authority appealed to the Court of
Appeal which said, on 14 October 2010, that the
case should not be overturned. Ms Willmore died a
day later.
                                                                      Chest x-ray of a mesothelioma sufferer


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Karl Tonks, an industrial disease specialist solicitor                The register has been developed by the HSE and a
and a member of the executive committee of the                        network of professional bodies representing safety
APIL, said: “The Court of Appeal‟s decision means                     consultants across Britain.
an obscene windfall for some insurance
companies. It will cause chaos and uncertainty in                     Employers will be able to visit a single website that
many claims, particularly those relating to                           will help them to find local advisers with experience
mesothelioma. It leaves some insurers who have                        relevant to their sector.
received premiums able to get out of meeting
claims on a technicality.”                                            HSG168: Fire safety in
Online office risk assessment                                         construction
from the HSE                                                          Revised guidance, HSG168 Fire Safety in
                                                                      Construction, has been published by the Health
The HSE has published on its website an online                        and Safety Executive (HSE).
risk assessment for offices
                                                                                        The guidance explains how all
It has been launched with the aim of helping to cut                                     those involved in construction
time it takes to weigh up the hazards in offices to                                     projects can comply with their
just 20 minutes. The HSE says the web tool will                                         legal duties relating to fire risks.
help employers to consider relevant hazards in
their office and think about how they control them
to keep staff safe, whilst avoiding unnecessary
paperwork and bureaucracy for office-based
businesses, which tend to be low risk.

                                                                      Much of what is contained in the guidance is not
The online tool works by prompting employers to                       new, the HSE said, but the sections covering multi-
answer a series of questions about their workplace                    storey buildings and high-risk buildings (such as
and then generates a unique risk assessment with                      timber-frame buildings) have been strengthened to
actions required. Simplified risk assessments for                     include lessons learned from recent fires.
other low-risk workplaces are currently being
developed.                                                            HSG168 contains new and detailed guidance on
                                                                      the fire risks and precautions which should be
                                                                      considered from the earliest stages of such
The HSE has emphasised that safety officials will                     projects. It asks that clients and designers consider
take account of the results of the assessments                        carefully the specific site, location and development
when they carry out inspections, as evidence that                     and the fire risks posed to those on site and in
businesses have taken appropriate steps to                            neighbouring properties. They should then ensure
manage workplace risk.                                                that those risks are minimised.

                                                                      The document can be accessed at:
Occupational Safety Consultants                                       http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg168.pdf
Register (OSCR)
                                                                      Safety statistics updated
The HSE has announced that the new OSCR will
go live in January 2011, providing firms with details                 The HSE has published its latest statistics
of consultants who have met the highest                               reflecting the state of occupational health and
qualification standard of recognised professional                     safety in Britain, with the figures indicating that
bodies and who are bound by a code of conduct                         good progress on reducing injuries and fatalities at
that requires them to only give advice which is                       work but less progress is evident with regards to
sensible and proportionate.                                           work-related harm to health.
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However, overall the figures still confirm that Britain               The statistics can be viewed at:
has the lowest rate of fatal occupational injuries in                 http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics
Europe and one of the lowest levels of work-related
ill health.                                                           Information on older workers
The statistics published by the HSE show the
following for Britain between April 2009 and March                    In the past, the HSE has expressed concern that
2010.                                                                 health and safety can sometimes be used as an
 There were 152 workers fatally injured, down                        excuse for not employing someone. However, the
     from 179 the previous year. This is the lowest                   HSE says, it is unlawful to discriminate against
     level on record in Britain, with 0.5 deaths per                  young workers as well as against older workers
     100,000 workers.                                                 and stereotypes are damaging to the way age is
                                                                      perceived.
 There were 26,061 major injuries, such as
     amputations and burns, to employees — a rate
                                                                      This has led to the HSE publishing some facts
     of 101.5 per 100,000, compared with 27,894 in
                                                                      about the UK and its workforce:
     2008/09.
                                                                       The population of the UK is ageing. Over the
 There were 95,369 injuries serious enough to
                                                                         last 25 years, the number of people aged 65
     keep people off work for three or more days —
                                                                         and over increased by 1.5 million
     a rate of 371.5 per 100,000, down from 105,261
     the previous year.                                                The workforce of the future is likely to contain a
                                                                         higher proportion of older workers because of
 An estimated 1.3 million people said they were
                                                                         factors such as an ageing population, low
     suffering from an illness caused or made worse
                                                                         average birth rate, the removal of mandatory
     by their work, up from 1.2 million in 2008/09. Of
                                                                         retirement ages and raising the state retirement
     this, 555,000 of these were new illnesses
                                                                         age
     occurring in-year.
                                                                       In 2007, there were 20.7 million people in the
 A further 800,000 former workers claim they are
                                                                         UK aged 50 or older, which is an increase of
     still suffering from an illness caused or made
                                                                         50% since 1951
     worse by work.
                                                                       The percentage of people employed in 2009
                                                                         who are of State Pension Age (SPA) or older
                                                                         has increased from 8% to 12%
                                                                       There is no consistent evidence that older
                                                                         workers are generally less productive than
                                                                         younger workers
                                                                       Some studies have shown that older workers
                                                                         perform better in terms of accuracy and output
                                                                       Average injury statistics over the recent three-
                                                                         year period show that older workers are
                                                                         generally less likely than younger workers to
                                                                         have occupational accidents
                                                                       Research has shown that the majority of
                                                                         workers over 50 wanted to continue working
                                                                         beyond SPA
The construction and agricultural industries
                                                                       Many employers acknowledge that older
continue to report the highest levels of work-related
                                                                         workers have skills, knowledge and attributes
injuries and ill-health, with disproportionately high
                                                                         that benefit their business. They have life skills
numbers of incidents.
                                                                         and experience that enable them to mentor
                                                                         younger colleagues
The toll of injury and ill health resulted in 28.5
million working days being lost — an average of
1.2 days per worker (23.4 million to ill health and
5.1 million to injury).
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Equality Act 2010
                                                                                                           The guidance
                                                                                                           points out that
Most of the Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1                                                         last winter
October 2010, and the rest of its provisions will be                                                       many people
phased in over time to allow organisations to                                                              helped keep
prepare for them.                                                                                          pavements
                                                                                                           and public
The Act is intended to consolidate the nine existing                                                       spaces around
strands of discrimination law into one single Act                                                          their homes
and to update, simplify and strengthen the law. It                    clear of snow, but others were put off doing so
replaces the Disability Discrimination Act, Sex                       because of fears of being sued.
Discrimination Act, Equal Pay Act, Race Relations
Act and Age Discrimination Act, amongst others.                       The advice points out that there is no law
                                                                      preventing the public from clearing snow and ice.
Provisions that came into force on 1 October
include the basic framework of protection against                     If an accident did happen, the they say it is “highly
direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and                    unlikely” that those having carried out the clearing
victimisation in services and public functions,                       would be sued as long as they use common sense
premises, work, education, associations and                           to make sure that the pathway is not clearly made
transport.                                                            more dangerous than before.
The Act will make it more difficult for disabled                      DirectGov offers the following tips:.
people to be unfairly screened out when applying                       Start early — it is easier to clear fresh, loose
for jobs by restricting the circumstances in which                        snow compared with older, compacted ice
employers can ask applicants questions about                           Do not use hot water — this will melt the snow,
disability or health. In addition, the thresholds for                     but may replace it with slippery black ice
the duty to make reasonable adjustments for
                                                                       Help neighbours who are unable to clear snow
disabled people will be “harmonised”.
                                                                          and ice on paths from their property themselves
                                                                       When shovelling snow, consider where to put it,
The Government is still considering how to
                                                                          so that it does not block paths or drainage
implement the remaining provisions in the best way
                                                                          channels.
for business and for others with rights and
responsibilities under the Act.                                        Make a pathway down the middle of the area to
                                                                          be cleared first, so there is a clear surface to
Although employers‟ responsibilities remain largely                       walk on
the same, protection to certain groups has been                        Spread some salt on the cleared area to help
extended.                                                                 stop ice forming — table salt or dishwasher salt
                                                                          will work, but avoid plants or grass as they may
The Government Equalities Office webpage,                                 be damaged
Equality Act 2010: What do I need to know?,                            Pay particular care and attention to steps and
contains summary guides to the Act with practical                         steep gradients
examples. It also contains “Quick Start” guides for                    Use the sun to advantage — removing the top
organisations. It can be accessed at:                                     layer of snow will allow the sun to melt any ice
http://www.equalities.gov.uk/equality_act_2010/equ                        beneath (although use salt to prevent
ality_act_2010_what_do_i_n.aspx                                           refreezing overnight)
                                                                       If there is no salt available, sand or ash are
                                                                          good alternatives
Advice on clearing snow and ice
                                                                      The information can be accessed from:
The DirectGov public sector information service                       http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Nl1/Newsroom/DG_191
has published new advice on clearing snow and ice                     868
in readiness for winter.

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Chemical information
                                                                      Rapidly growing patches of microscopic marine
                                                                      plants starve coral of sunlight and oxygen.



The International Council of Chemical Associations                    Coral reefs are increasingly under threat from
(ICCA) has launched a portal for global safety                        environmental stress in the form of climate change,
information that provides free, public access to                      coastal development, overfishing, and pollution.
safety and health information on chemical
substances.                                                           Climate change is suspected of causing a number
                                                                      of coral bleaching events, as rising sea
It is provided under ICCA‟s Global Product Strategy                   temperatures stress coral communities. But the
(GPS), which addresses the product stewardship                        latest study, published in the journal Marine
components of “Responsible Care”, the chemical                        Pollution Bulletin, suggests that algal blooms could
industry‟s premier environmental, health, safety                      pose another significant threat.
and sustainable development initiative.
                                                                      Researchers from the United Nations University
To date more than 1200 chemical safety                                Institute for Water, Environment and Health
summaries have been made available and the                            undertook studies of coral reef environments at two
number of substances covered is increasing daily.                     locations in the Gulf of Oman. After their initial
                                                                      study, a large-scale algae bloom measuring over
The portal can be viewed at:                                          500 square kilometres occurred in the area. When
http://www.icca-chem.org/en/Home/ICCA-                                the researchers returned three weeks later they
initiatives/Global-product-strategy/                                  found the coral beneath the bloom had been
                                                                      almost completely destroyed.
Harmful algal blooms have the                                         Cutting London’s CO2
potential to lay waste to coral                                       emissions
reefs
                                                                      In what is described as a world-first for a city
                                                                      government, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson,
                                                                      is proposing innovative new standards for waste
                                                                      management with the aim of cutting the capital's
                                                                      CO2 emissions.

                                                                      Presently, local authority recycling rates are based
                                                                      on weight, regardless of which types or qualities of
                                                                      materials are being recycled. The Mayor‟s new
                                                                      proposals will instead encourage boroughs to focus
                                                                      on methods that achieve the greatest reduction in
                                                                      greenhouse gas emissions associated with the
The toxic algae starves coral of light and oxygen                     collection, recycling and disposal of their rubbish.

Scientists studying coral reefs in the Gulf of Oman                   For example, the Mayor hopes the new standard
have issued the warning after being shocked by the                    will be met by increasing plastics which have high
impact of one large-scale bloom, which destroyed a                    levels of carbon embodied in them but are lighter in
coral reef in just three weeks. Around 95% of the                     weight than other materials.
hard coral beneath the algae died off and 70%
fewer fishes were observed in the area.                               These proposals, taking account of savings from
                                                                      avoiding emissions involved in manufacturing virgin
                                                                      materials and generating energy from fossil fuels,

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could save London 1.6 million tonnes of carbon per                    of animals, with 41% of species at risk, while only
year. After maximising recycling, they could save                     13% of birds qualify for Red-Listing.
£90 million off the city's £4.4 billion electricity bill
and £24 million off London's £2.5 billion gas bill.                   The highest losses were seen in Southeast Asia,
                                                                      where loss of habitat as forests are cleared for
The detailed proposal forms part of the Mayor‟s                       agriculture, including biofuel crops, is fastest.
draft municipal waste strategy, “London‟s Wasted                      "The 'backbone' of biodiversity is being eroded,"
Resource”, which is now available for consultation.                   said the eminent ecologist, Professor Edward O
By 2015, Mr Johnson wants the capital to be                           Wilson of Harvard University.
recycling at least 45% of its municipal waste, rising
to 60% by 2031 and sending zero municipal waste                       "One small step up the Red List is one giant leap
to landfill by 2025. His draft municipal waste                        forward towards extinction. This is just a small
strategy and business waste strategy are open to                      window on the global losses currently taking place."
consultation until 14 January 2010 and can be                         However, the scientists behind the assessment -
accessed from: http://www.london.gov.uk/                              who publish their findings formally in the journal
                                                                      Science - say there is new evidence this time that
Species in decline                                                    conservation projects are having a noticeable
                                                                      global impact.
One fifth of animal and plant species are under the                   "Really focused conservation efforts work when we
threat of extinction, a global conservation study has                 do them - many island birds are recovering, lots of
warned.                                                               examples like this," said Simon Stuart, chair of the
                                                                      Species Survival Commission with the International
Scientists who compiled the Red List of Threatened                    Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Species say the proportion of species facing
wipeout is rising. But they say intensive                             "We can show for sure that when we focus
conservation work has already pulled some species                     conservation efforts and really address the threats
back from the brink of oblivion.                                      and put enough money into it, then you see
                                                                      positive results."
The report is being launched at the UN Biodiversity
Summit in Japan, where governments are                                Species that have benefited from such action
discussing how to better protect the natural world.                   include three bred in captivity and returned to the
                                                                      wild - the California condor and black-footed ferret
                                                                      of the US, and Przewalski's horse in Mongolia.

                                                                      The ban on commercial whaling has led to such a
                                                                      swiftly increasing population of humpback whales
                                                                      that they have come off the Red List entirely.

                                                                      Meanwhile, a parallel study, also published in
                                                                      Science, asks where trends of increased risk, but
                                                                      also increased conservation effort, will lead the
                                                                      natural world in future.



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Launched at the UN Convention on Biological                                         newsletter@hsqe.co.uk
Diversity (CBD) meeting, the report says that
amphibians remain the most threatened category
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                     Just
                   £340 +VAT

For more details call us on 084 5643 4279 or visit
http://www.hsqe.co.uk/iosh_managing_safely.html

Registered Office: Damer House, Meadoway, Wickford, Essex, SS12 9HA
Registered in England No: 4594120                                               Page 9 of 9
VAT Registration No: 820 5935 36

								
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