HSE International

Thomas Cook Cabin Crew Back Strike Action over Health & Safety

Thomas Cook cabin crew have voted in support of strike action in a row over rest breaks – placing the threat of disruption over summer holidays.

Preparation, careful documentation and teamwork is key for sports event safety, says IOSH

Teamwork, thorough planning and knowing how to deal with incidents as they arise is an integral part of ensuring spectators’ safety at major sporting events, according to IOSH.

Facebook Activates ‘Safety Check’ Amid Brussels Attack Crisis

Facebook has finally activated its Safety Check feature for Brussels, after facing hours of calls to turn it on for deadly explosions there.

The tool is meant to allow people to easily tell their friends that they are safe in the wake of a disaster. If Facebook guesses that a user might be in an affected area, then they can mark themselves safe and have that message appear for their friends.

But the tool wasn’t initially turned on in the wake of the apparent attacks in Belgium. Many criticised Facebook for not doing so, especially given that phone networks are largely unavailable in Brussels.

Now the site has activated the tool, around two hours after it was first turned on. It will display for anyone that the site thinks is in Brussels, as well as for people who are friends with people who mark themselves safe.

“Quickly find and connect with friends in the area,” the message that shows up for users says. “Mark them safe if you know they’re OK.”

Heading to the page shows all of a person’s friends that have marked themselves safe.

Facebook turned on the Safety Check feature for a non-natural disaster for the first time last November, after the shootings in Paris. It has since been used for other terrorist attacks in Nigeria and in Turkey.

But its use has also proved controversial, with some people criticising the site for ignoring attacks that happen outside of the West or in developing countries.

Original Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/brussels-attacks-facebook-safety-check-activated-belgium-zaventem-airport-maalbeek-metro-station-a6945636.html

Military completes flood defence inspections

Military personnel have played a key role in reducing the flood risk by assisting the Environment Agency in their flood defence inspections.

Thirty military personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force were trained last month by the Environment Agency to act as flood defence assessors. The task was part of the Military Aid to other Government Departments programme.

The Environment Agency requested support from the MOD in order to speed up completion of their inspection programme by building capacity in their response as a whole. Some flood defences across England were put under significant pressure from the impact of Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank.

The Environment Agency deployed their own flood defence inspectors throughout England to the areas affected by flooding to carry out urgent inspections to assess their condition and to identify any necessary repairs. The support from the MOD helped to ensure that assessments in other parts of the country could be completed as quickly as possible.

Armed Forces Minister, Penny Mordaunt, said:

“Following an exceptionally wet winter our skilled men and women from the Armed Forces have been making a real difference, helping the Environment Agency to protect the public from future flooding. This continued assistance demonstrates the value of our military services not only in war fighting but in contingency operations as well.”

The military, who were tasked to undertake the inspections by the Armed Forces Minister Penny Mordaunt, helped with the inspection of more than 10,000 flood defences from the South of England to North Yorkshire since the beginning of February.

The military personnel travelled along coastlines and rivers using electronic tablets to record and report the condition of embankments, flood walls, outfalls and barriers to the Environment Agency.

Joint Military Commander for the operation, Brigadier John Ridge, said:

“Building on the strong relationships that we built with the Environment Agency over Christmas and the New Year, I judge that our collaborative work on flood defence inspections has been highly successful. The 30 personnel began their work to support the Environment Agency on 15th February and they have done well to help accelerate the completion of the inspection programme.”

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said:

“We have a strong partnership with the Army and worked with them closely to help communities affected by flooding during December’s record-breaking wet weather. Now our vital recovery work is underway, the military have worked with our teams in areas around the country to finish our routine flood defence inspections. This is essential work which enables us to prioritise any repairs needed and ensure that homes and businesses are well protected.”

Original Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/military-completes-flood-defence-inspections

Unsatisfactory training contributed to Lynx helicopter crash that killed five UK servicemen

The Lynx helicopter crashed in April 2014

Undermanning and unsatisfactory training contributed to a Lynx helicopter crash that killed five UK servicemen, a coroner has found.

A narrative verdict was delivered at the inquest into the deaths of Captain Thomas Clarke, Warrant Officer Spencer Faulkner, Corporal James Walters, Flight Lieutenant Rakesh Chauhan and Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas in Afghanistan in April 2014.

The inquest in Oxford had heard that the Lynx “disintegrated” on impact in a remote valley known as “the bowling alley” in Kandahar Province.

The coroner said: “The radar altimeter was set below the authorised minimum, it did not alarm in time to prevent the aircraft being accidentally flown into the ground.

“It was contributed to by undermanning and unsatisfactory training in the squadron. That led to potential fatigue and skill fade.”

Last year, an MoD inquiry ruled out enemy fire or a technical problem with the aircraft and said there was evidence to suggest the pilot may have descended rapidly to allow his colleagues to experience weightlessness.

Original Source: http://news.sky.com/story/1660142/verdict-in-lynx-helicopter-crash-inquest

High winds blow cladding off Ikea store

Fire crews were called to the Swedish homeware firm’s Ashton-under-Lyne store after ten metal panels became loose above the car park.

Shoppers faced a lock out at Ikea after part of the store’s cladding fell apart in high winds.

Fire crews were called to the Swedish homeware firm’s branch in Ashton-under-Lyne at 9.20am.

Eight metal panels at least 30ft long were left hanging off on fourth floor above the store’s car park.

It happened as high winds were sweeping across Greater Manchester this morning.

The Met Office issued a yellow warning of 60mph gusts across northern England.

It is understood a decision was taken not to open the store at 10am due to safety concerns.

Fire crews inspecting the damage at Ikea in Ashton


No shoppers were inside the store at the time and no-one was injured.

Around 10 firefighters from two specialist rescue units – the technical response unit and the major rescue unit – were called to the scene.

This morning they were working to fix the metal panels back to the building.

A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: “We are working with the store and the firm that fitted the cladding is sending people to help, so it’s a joint effort.”

Fire crews spent four hours securing the loose cladding. They have been using ropes and cutting gear to fix the cladding to the building from inside.

Station Manager Bob Pownell, who was leading the operation, said: “We had approximately eight sheets of metal cladding – each piece about six to seven metres in width – that were loose due to the strong winds.

“It was too windy for crews to get to the affected area externally so they have been drilling holes into the cladding from the inside and securing it to the internal frame of the building.

“We have been working with the site’s management and external contractors to make the building safe and hope it will be able to reopen later this afternoon.

“There were no reports that anyone was injured.”

Motorists faced delays travelling past Ikea. Police said the traffic was being managed by the store.

Ikea’s website said the store could not open due to ‘technical difficulties on the premises’.

Simona Buganza, IKEA Manchester Store Manager said: “The safety of our customers and co-workers is always highest priority for IKEA. We can confirm that IKEA Manchester store did not officially open this morning, 10 January, due to loose metal cladding hanging from the building which was a result of strong winds.

“We have been working hard together with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service to fix the cladding and we hope to open the store shortly. Customer can check our website www.ikea.co.uk/Manchester for the latest news. We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our customers.”

Original Source: http://bit.ly/1A2DAgj



Zookeepers banned from using ladders to put out food for tigers

Zoo keepers have been banned by Health and Safety officials from climbing ladders to put food out for tigers.

Barrow Borough Council, in Cumbria, says the practice is too dangerous because the keepers could fall off the ladders and injure themselves.

The inspectors served the South Lakes Safari Zoo, in Dalton, with a notice under section 21 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

It means they can no longer place food at the top of 20ft poles so their critically endangered Sumatran tigers can climb up and practice their hunting skills – a favourite attraction for visitors to the zoo for almost 20 years.

The ban follows an incident earlier this year when a keeper was blown off her ladder by a gust of wind suffered a broken collarbone.

Barrow Borough Council has told the zoo that it must stop the feeding event which is witnessed by thousands of visitors every year.

It is estimated that zoo staff have climbed ladders more than 75,000 times since 1996 “for the huge welfare benefit to the animals”.

“Even though the keepers now wear helmets, strap the ladders to the poles firmly and have permanent foot fixing points for the ladders, Barrow Borough Council wishes to stop us from feeding in this way as they claim it to be too dangerous for the staff,” said the zoo statement.

It added that the ban would completely stop the “exciting’ feeding time practice and our unique way of stimulating our cats”.

It added: “It is imperative we feed in this manner, a scientifically proven way of improving health, fitness and welfare for the big cats,” said the statement.

The zoo said it had tried rope pulley systems and long poles to get the meat to the top of poles but it did not work.

“We have made every effort to find solutions that benefit the staff and the animals and yet we are still in this situation,” added the post.

A Barrow Borough Council spokesman said an improvement notice was served under section 21 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

“This notice was served because the park had failed to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of its employees to prevent a person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury whilst undertaking the routine placement of food at height for big cat carnivores,” added the spokesperson.

“Barrow Borough Council has a duty to ensure the health and safety of persons employed at the park and also visitors to the park.”

Original Source: http://bit.ly/1urgU9r

HSE Inspector Stuart Charles will join safety campaigners during Gate Safety Week (October 2014)

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector who led the investigation into the death of a child in a South Wales automated gate accident will be playing a part in a national safety initiative next month.

Stuart Charles is to be a speaker at an event during Gate Safety Week from October 13 to 19: visit www.gatesafetyweek.org.uk.

Safety campaigners launched Gate Safety Week to alert the public to the dangers posed by poorly installed and maintained gates. In recent years three children and three adults have been killed in gate accidents and there have been many other serious injuries caused by unsafe gates.

Neil Sampson is chairman of the Door & Hardware Federation Powered Gate Group which is running Gate Safety Week. He said: “As an industry we’re determined to do everything we can to ensure tragic accidents like this do not happen again. In the run up to Gate Safety Week we’re partnering with a number of influential organisations in the safety, enforcement, inspection, education and security sectors who will be lending their support to the campaign.”

The seminar is being held at Fencex, the fencing industry exhibition at Stoneleigh Exhibition Park, near Coventry, on Wednesday October 15.

His presentation will major on the accident in South Wales where five-year-old Karolina Golabek tragically died after being crushed between the closing edge of the gate and the gate post. The two gate companies involved in the repair and maintenance were found guilty of serious safety failings and were heavily fined.

There will be a question and answer session following the seminar. Manufacturers, suppliers, installers and maintainers of powered automatic gates and gate automation equipment who make up the DHF Powered Gate Group, are supporting Gate Safety Week. Visit www.gatesafetyweek.org.uk.

Original Source: http://www.professionalsecurity.co.uk/products/physical-security/gate-safety-week-2/

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