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Chippie fined £75k after workers burned by spilled oil

A fish and chip shop has been prosecuted after three staff members were burned by hot oil when they decided to change the fat during business hours.

On 26 September 2018 at Bizzie Lizzie’s High Street Car Park branch in Skipton, three employees including two managers changed the fat in the fryer at too high a temperature and when the store was open, both contrary to industry standards.

The incident was caught on CCTV and shows the fat being pumped out into a bin while customers were being served in the shop. The bin collapsed, spilling hot oil.

One of the workers suffered burns to his lower legs and was off work for two months, while the two other staff members were off work for a few days.

Yorkshire Magistrates’ Court was told the procedure was contrary to Bizzie Lizzie’s risk assessment for the task which listed the requirements for completing it in a safe manner.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching s 33 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, and was ordered to pay a fine of £75,000 plus costs of £1,980.

The judge gave credit to Bizzie Lizzies for its guilty plea and for the fact that they had taken steps following the incident to mitigate further risks. He also gave it credit for their co-operation in the investigation, that it was a reputable company and that it had no previous health and safety convictions.

Craven District Council, which prosecuted the firm, said the penalty reflects the seriousness of the injuries caused, the impact on staff, the number of people exposed to the risk of harm and the lack of proper training, supervision, compliance with procedures and absence of recent or updated training records for this activity.


New measures to improve building safety standards

  • Government committed to delivering the biggest change in building safety for a generation
  • Housing Secretary announces the new Building Safety Regulator within the Health and Safety Executive, to be established immediately
  • Government sets out clarified and consolidated advice for building owners, proposal to extend cladding ban, update on fire sprinklers
  • Response to Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry published
  • Building owners who have not taken action to make their buildings safe will be named from next month

The slow pace of improving building safety standards will not be tolerated, the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick warned today (20 January 2020), as he announced measures that go further and faster to ensure residents are safe in their homes.

To give effective oversight of the design, construction and occupation of high-risk buildings – a regulator will be at the heart of a new regime – and established as part of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Building owners are responsible for ensuring their buildings are safe and where there is no clear plan for remediation, the government will work with local authorities to support them in their enforcement options.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Jenrick also made clear that from next month he will start to name building owners where remediation has not started to remove unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding from their buildings.

While government action in this area has led to considerable progress to remove unsafe cladding, there are still some building owners who have been too slow to act.

Mr Jenrick confirmed the government will consult on extending the ban on combustible materials to buildings below 18 metres and we will seek views on how risks are assessed within existing buildings to inform future policy.

The package comes as the Prime Minister has written to the chairman of the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, updating him on the government’s response to Phase 1.

The Prime Minister and Housing Secretary also met with bereaved, survivors and residents of the Grenfell Tower fire in Downing Street last week.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

“The government is committed to bringing about the biggest change in building safety for a generation.

“Progress on improving building safety needs to move significantly faster to ensure people are safe in their homes and building owners are held to account.

“That’s why today I’m announcing a major package of reforms, including establishing the Building Safety Regulator within the Health and Safety Executive to oversee the new regime and publishing consolidated guidance for building owners.

“Unless swift progress is seen in the coming weeks, I will publicly name building owners where action to remediate unsafe ACM cladding has not started. There can be no more excuses for delay, I’m demanding immediate action.”

Today’s package of measures includes:

Building Safety Regulator

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will quickly begin to establish the new regulator in shadow form immediately, ahead of it being fully established, following legislation.

It will raise building safety and performance standards, including overseeing a new, more stringent regime for higher-risk buildings.

With a strong track record of working with industry and other regulators to improve safety, they will draw on experience and the capabilities of other regulators to implement the new regime. Dame Judith Hackitt will chair a Board to oversee the transition.

Chair of the Health and Safety Executive, Martin Temple said:

“We are proud the government has asked HSE to establish the new Building Safety Regulator.

“HSE’s vast experience of working in partnership with industry and others to improve lives will ensure people are confident the creation of the new regulator is in good hands.”

Advice on building safety for multi-storey, multi-occupied buildings

Recent high-rise fires, including that in a block of student flats in Bolton in November 2019, have highlighted that many building owners have still not taken sufficient measures to ensure the safety of residents in buildings at all heights.

The government appointed independent expert advisory panel (IEAP) has clarified and updated advice to building owners on actions they should take to ensure their buildings are safe, with a focus on their external wall systems, commonly referred to as cladding.

This consolidated advice simplifies the language, consolidates previous advice into one place, and – vitally – makes clear that building owners need to do more to address safety issues on residential buildings under 18 metres.

It additionally reflects the independent panel view that cladding material comprised of ACM (and other metal composites) with an unmodified polyethylene core should not be on residential buildings of any height and should be removed.

A call for evidence will also be published, seeking views on the assessment of risks within existing buildings. This important step will help to gather ideas and lead to research which will provide a firm evidence base to guide decisions for both existing buildings and future regulatory regimes.

Fire doors

The consolidated advice also makes clear the actions building owners should take in relation to fire doors.

The government welcomes the commitment by the Association of Composite Door Manufacturers to work with building owners to remediate their doors which failed tests.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure that this commitment is followed through.

Remediation of buildings with ACM cladding

To speed up remediation, we will be appointing a construction expert to review remediation timescales and identify what can be done to improve pace in the private sector.

To ensure cost is not a barrier to remediation, the government is considering different options to support the remediation of buildings. We are examining options to mitigate costs for individuals or provide alternative financing routes.

Combustible cladding ban

The government has also launched a consultation into the current combustible cladding ban, including proposals to lower the 18 metre height threshold to at least 11 metres.


The government’s consultation on sprinklers and other measures for new build flats concluded on 28 November 2019.

We have proposed lowering the height threshold for sprinkler requirements in new buildings and will set out detailed proposals on how the government will deliver the technical review of fire guidance in February.

Fire Safety Bill

The government has also set out further details of the upcoming Fire Safety Bill being introduced to Parliament, which we set out in more detail in our response to the Public Inquiry Phase 1 recommendations.

This will clarify the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – ‘the Fire Safety Order’ – requiring residential building owners to fully consider and mitigate the risks of any external wall systems and front doors to individual flats.

The changes will make it easier to enforce where building owners have not remediated unsafe ACM by complementing the powers under the Housing Act.


HSE to set up building safety regulator

A new building safety regulator is to be established within the Health & Safety Executive.

The building safety regulator is a new official post that is being created as part of the government’s Building Safety Programme, set up in response to the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London.

The legal standing of the building safety regulator will be established by building safety legislation that the government is planning to bring forward. Until then, the regulator will initially be in shadow form, housing secretary Robert Jenrick told the House of Commons.

Dame Judith Hackitt, the former HSE chair who led the government’s post-Grenfell review of building regulations, will chair a board to oversee the transition to the new regime.

“I expect the shadow regulator to be established within weeks, and we will be recruiting the first national chief inspector of buildings,” Robert Jenrick said.

Asked whether the hard-pressed HSE would get any additional funding to take on this new responsibility, the secretary of state promised: “We will, of course, give the Health & Safety Executive the funding required to set up the regulator. We chose the Health & Safety Executive, as opposed to creating a stand-alone building safety regulator, precisely because it has the expertise and the capacity and is ready to get going at pace, which I think we can all agree is essential.”

HSE chair Martin Temple said: “We are proud the government has asked HSE to establish the new building safety regulator. HSE’s vast experience of working in partnership with industry and others to improve lives will ensure people are confident the creation of the new regulator is in good hands.”

Turning the tide on construction transport

Tideway’s fleet of barges transports spoil from the tunnel to riverside receptor sites

The £4.9bn Tideway tunnel is using river transport to cut road congestion and reduce the project’s impact on London’s air quality. CM reports.

Tideway is London’s latest giant infrastructure project and the spoil excavated will total a staggering 3.7 million tonnes, of which 3.1 million will come from the 25km-long and 7m-wide main tunnel. Transporting all this material by road would normally mean chaos on the capital’s roads and pollution choking the air.

“Construction traffic not only adds to congestion, it poses a risk to the safety of other road users and pedestrians and can have a significant impact on local air quality,” says Daniel Marsh, from King’s College London’s Environmental Research Group, which provides air quality information and research in the UK.

However, the £3.8bn Tideway scheme is taking a different logistics approach – transporting over 95% of the spoil from the tunnel and riparian sites via the Thames.

This was a contractual obligation on the ‘super sewer’ scheme and Tideway says it is investing £54m in its ‘More By River’ strategy.

The spoil is being taken away using a fleet of over 25 barges, which are towed by tugs chiefly to landfill sites downstream. As well as freeing up roads, Tideway says a study it has commissioned indicates that transporting materials by river has reduced the impact of the project on London’s air quality.

“One of our largest 1,600-tonne barges, for example, can carry as much material as almost 100 lorries,” explains Tideway head of environmental sustainability Darren White. “This has obvious benefits for cyclists, pedestrians and other road users.

 “But beyond that, the new data shows that Tideway’s use of the river has dramatic effects on the impact of its work on air quality.”

Compared to a modern HGV carrying the equivalent cargo, a tug towing a 1,000-tonne barge will produce up to 95% fewer pollutants (see box).

The tugs are diesel powered, though White says Tideway is “looking into cleaner technology for the engines”.

“The air quality benefits of using tugs and barges [instead of lorries] increases when larger barges are used,” he adds. “Tideway’s barges range in capacity from between 800 and 1,600 tonnes.”

The dispersion of emissions from the tugs was also analysed. A comparison of the average tug emission rate with the emission rate from 50 HGVs travelling at 20km/h found the lorries to be 2.3 times higher, Tideway says.

“The study found that average emissions from tug ‘Felix’ contributed less than 0.13µg/cu m to concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, even at locations very close to the tug,” says White. “The European standard for nitrogen dioxide levels is 40µg/cu m.” (The concentration of an air pollutant is measured in micrograms – one-millionth of a gram – per cubic metre of air, or µg/cu m.)

White continues: “Given that the tugs will generally travel at distances greater than 50m from the bank of the Thames – and therefore from the closest receptors – the contribution to nitrogen dioxide concentrations from tug emissions at this distance is just 0.01µg/cu m.”

Overall, Tideway’s use of the river to transport materials has reduced its on-road freight requirement by 72%, a significant reduction in pollution exposure risk for London’s population.

Meanwhile, the excavated spoil will end up at riverside receptor sites in Rainham, Ingrebourne Valley, East Tilbury and Pitsea, with the majority being used for landfill restoration. Work on Tideway, which started in 2015 and is now under way at all 24 of its sites across London, is anticipated to be completed in 2024.

Construction Magazine

Urgent action is needed to reduce fatal and serious crashes involving at-work drivers, says IAM RoadSmart

Urgent action is needed to tackle the stagnation in the number of people killed or injured in collisions involving drivers working or travelling on business, according to IAM RoadSmart.

The road safety charity’s concerns about a worrying lack of progress in driving down the number of work-related traffic incidents are highlighted in its latest white paper, ‘The Role of Business Drivers.’

In the paper IAM RoadSmart calls on all groups – the Health and Safety Executive, drivers and their employers, government and police – to do more to address the fact that there has been virtually no change in the number of fatal and serious injury road crashes on UK roads in the last decade.

The number of collisions involving people driving for business has remained static, at one in four of all incidents, over the same period.

In 2009 there were 5,442 serious and fatal crashes in Britain involving an at-work driver; in 2018 this had risen to 5,506.

The paper also highlights some alarming practices and attitudes when it comes to employers and their drivers:

  • Nearly half of business leaders polled (49%) expect their employees to answer their phone at any time, including while driving for work;
  • Just over one in eight employees who drive for work (13%) and more than one in 20 leaders (6%) consider the hard shoulder a safe place to take a work call;
  • One in six UK employees who drive for work (17%) say they have been involved in an incident when driving for work due to a phone call from a colleague.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy and Research, says in the report: “Employers need to do more to drive change across their workforce and to take their responsibilities to keep staff safe, particularly when they’re behind the wheel for business.”

The report also highlights the issue of the so-called ‘grey fleet’ drivers – those using privately owned vehicles for work-related journeys. This growing sector is one in which employers still need to exercise their responsibility for staff health and safety, IAM RoadSmart claims.

Tony Greenidge, IAM RoadSmart business development director, says in the report: “The penny hasn’t dropped for many organisations that their responsibility for a grey fleet driver is exactly the same as for a company car driver.”

He added separately: “If companies are expecting their employees to use their own vehicles for business journeys, they must ensure they are doing so safely and with appropriate guidelines, if they are to stay within the law.”

IAM RoadSmart claims responsibility for the disappointing lack of progress in reducing the number of collisions involving people driving for business must be shared between government, HSE, police, employers, vehicle manufacturers and drivers themselves.

It adds that the Corporate Manslaughter Act introduced in 2007 was expected to underpin safer business driving and safer roads objectives – but to date, not a single person has been prosecuted or sent to jail under it in relation to death caused by a company car driver.

Tony said: “Where there is clear evidence of poor driving behaviour no employer of a driver involved in an avoidable death while undertaking a business journey has been anywhere near a prosecution. It seems the legislation has proved difficult to apply.”

IAM RoadSmart has called for road safety to be at the heart of procurement practice in UK industry. It says that if a business cannot demonstrate a strong commitment to legislation compliance with regards driving for work safety, then they run the increasing risk that they might be disadvantaged when bidding for contracts in both the private and public sector.


BOZP Pardubice – Training Provider of the month for January 2020

In this series of monthly posts Safety Pass Alliance are proud to spotlight our valued training partners who diligently and professionally deliver SPA passport training programmes to hundreds of delegates each year.

Firstly, we would like to introduce BOZP Pardubice Ltd, who are based in the Czech Republic city of Pardubice.

BOZP Pardubice is mainly engaged in the training of employees and the self-employed in the construction and engineering sectors.

BOZP have been doing business in this field for more than 15 years and wanted to extend their services to meet the demands placed on employees from the Czech Republic coming to work in the UK.

Their primary focus is on the training of employees in the field of safety and health at work, fire protection, load binding, work at height, handling platforms, forklifts and traffic education – such as is covered in all commercial driver training.

The requirements and levels of occupational safety are constantly increasing for employees, as their employers are set higher goals – for example before entering a construction site.

PC and E-Learning at BOZP

BOZP’s first cooperation in the field of education was established at the end of 2013 to meet a demand for Czech companies that work with their employees on construction sites. The company has introduced an occupational health and safety test for the Netherlands and Belgium and other countries requiring VCA BASIC or VCA VOL. These tests have been successfully held in the Czech Republic so far, where the e-learning and online exam can be passed in several languages.

In order to establish cooperation with the United Kingdom and to prove their competence, in 2017 BOZP sought and achieved accreditation by Safety Pass Alliance Ltd.

All BOZP clients and delegates are committed to training and examination, and benefit from the provider’s location in the heart of Europe just 100km east of Prague where transport links to the training centre is very convenient.

BOZP will continue to process documentation for companies in the field of occupational safety and health, and for those individuals seeking to work as a health and safety coordinator on the construction site as a competent person and to train in the field of handling technology and transport.

SPA Accredited Programs: Core Construction

Contact: Petra Kolmanova

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Telephone – +42 0777 652 092

Reducing Food Hazards

Over the past few decades, there have been significant improvements in health and safety on food and drink manufacturing sites, with the overall injury rate dropping by over 50% since 1990/91. However, the sector is still responsible for over a quarter of all manufacturing injuries – more than 5,000 incidents are reported to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) each year.

The need to reduce this figure further is perhaps more critical than ever. Not only do employers have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their workers, but there are heavy financial penalties in place for companies that breach safety regulations. The Sentencing Council’s Definitive Guideline, which came into effect in 2016, now calculates penalties based on company turnover rather than profitability. As a result, food companies have been on the receiving end of some of the largest fines since the Guideline was introduced.

As an alternative to traditional manual labour, progressive cavity (PC) pumps can automate some of the key processes on food manufacturing sites. Here, Lesley Eaton, Marketing Executive for PC pump specialist SEEPEX UK, explains how this is helping to de-risk six of the main food factory hazards…

1. Slips and trips

According to the HSE, slips and trips are responsible for 35% of major injuries in the food and drink industry. The vast majority (90%) of slips occur when the floor is wet or contaminated with food. Transferring liquids and pastes manually via buckets or tote bins brings an inherent risk of spillages, so pumping these products instead of physically handling them eliminates this risk and significantly cuts the likelihood of a slip occurring. It also has the added effect of decreasing the number of people on the factory floor.

While pumps are renowned for their ability to transfer liquids, they are not always considered for viscous products or those containing large soft solids; such as sweet and savoury pie fillings, or yogurts and sauces containing whole fruit pieces. Yet thanks to their gentle, low shear handling action, PC pumps are able to transfer such products efficiently without damaging them; further decreasing the chance of the factory floor becoming a slip hazard.

2. Conveyors

Conveyors are involved in 30% of all machinery accidents in the food and drink industry – more than any other type of equipment. By switching to a PC pump, food producers can transfer not just liquids and semi-solids, but also solid foodstuffs, such as whole chicken breasts. By automating the handling of such products and eliminating the need for conveyors, the risk of operator injury is significantly reduced.

In addition, pumps and associated pipework are much easier to clean and maintain than conveyors and require less exposure to harsh cleaning chemicals.

3. Manual handling

In the food and drink industry, around 1,700 acute injuries per year are attributed to manual handling. By automating food transfer duties, thereby reducing the number of people required to handle foodstuffs, this figure can be significantly cut.

One process which is particularly suitable for automation is waste handling. For most food operations, this is not a core business activity, so diverting labour away from this task towards more lucrative areas also makes sound financial sense.

For example, SEEPEX has delivered automated, fully enclosed, piped waste removal systems to a number of food manufacturing sites, including Natures Way Foods. Featuring an integrated chopping and pumping system which can handle large solid food items such as mango stones, cabbages and even whole chickens, these solutions can help to reduce manual handling-related injuries at food factories.

They are also safer to maintain. Traditionally-designed PC pumps contain heavy components but in the case of SEEPEX’s Smart Conveying Technology, for example, the weight of the stator is reduced by 75%. Instead of a single unit, the pump stator is comprised of two halves, making it much lighter and safer when removing for essential maintenance.

4. Workplace transport

The second highest cause of fatal accidents on food and drink sites is workplace transport. Each year, over 200 people in food factories are struck by fork lift trucks. Enclosed piped waste removal systems such as those mentioned above eliminate the need for fork lift trucks entering the food production site. Instead, waste can be piped directly out of the factory and straight into a collection vehicle, away from high traffic areas.

5. Corrosive and abrasive materials

Some ingredients contain allergic or irritant properties, making them harmful to the skin in their concentrated state; for example, fruit acids such as malic acid. Automating the dosing process by using a PC dosing pump, rather than manually dosing, reduces the risk of exposure to the skin.

Cleaning chemicals used to sterilise equipment – such as sodium hypochlorite – can also irritate skin and even cause respiratory problems. The HSE states that cleaning-in-place (CIP) systems are a safer option for the internal disinfection of plant and equipment. Many PC pumps now come with CIP as standard, meeting the exacting requirements of the food industry without compromising employee safety.

One such example is SEEPEX’s latest hygienic PC pump; the first to meet stringent European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG) standards under its new testing regime. The BCFH pump range guarantees residue-free cleaning at a lower temperature and with lower chemical concentration than is normal for other CIP solutions.

6. Noise

Industrial hearing loss is the occupational disease with the highest number of civil claims, accounting for approximately 75% of all claims. Averaging 85-95 decibels, pneumatic noise and compressed air is the fifth highest process particularly associated with high noise levels.

Such is the noise impact created by air-operated diaphragm pumps – exacerbated by the fact that they are often left to run continuously – that manufacturers supply them with sound screening. By contrast, PC pumps – which only run when needed – emit considerably fewer decibels. Requiring no sound screening, they pose a lower risk to employees’ hearing.

The cost of doing nothing

While replacing manual labour with intelligent PC pumps and automated waste removal systems will increase operational efficiency and reduce costs, it is also clear that it brings significant safety benefits to food manufacturing sites. With the average fine in the 10-month period following the introduction of the new sentencing guideline increasing from £40,500 to £221,700, can any food business afford to not make the switch?

Factory Equipment .com

Construction safety and the rising cost of non-compliance

Since the new sentencing guidelines were introduced in February 2016, health and safety failings have become increasingly expensive for construction companies, who must also keep on top of changing regulations. Ian McKinnon offers a solution.

Ian McKinnon

While prioritising health and safety is a moral obligation for any organisation, it also makes good business sense, especially as the cost of getting health & safety wrong continues to rise. 

Impact of legislation

Since the introduction of the new sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences in February 2016, which set out to ensure it wasn’t “cheaper to offend than to take the appropriate precautions”, fines for health & safety offences have skyrocketed.

The average fine per conviction pre-guidelines in 2015/16 was £57,735, while the average fine per conviction in 2018/19 soared to £107,000.

In the construction industry in 2018/19, there were 158 prosecution cases with 146 (92%) resulting in a conviction for at least one offence and a total of £15.7million in fines. Million-pound fines are now commonplace and, notably, since the introduction of the guidelines, a death no longer needs to occur for large fines of over £1m to apply. What’s more, it is now the risk of harm that is recognised as the offence so increasingly large fines are being handed down without any actual harm taking place.

Indirect costs

If hefty and rising fines aren’t enough of a cause for concern, indirect costs of health and safety failings must also be taken into account.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Accidents (RoSPA) suggests most organisations do not know what accidents and ill-health really cost them in time and money with a common misconception being that most accident and incident costs are recoverable through insurance.

Uninsured costs to consider include: the cost of incident investigation; business disruption; project delays; legal costs; repairs to plant & equipment and sick pay; extra wages and temporary labour. The impact of reputational damage can also be significant resulting in a loss of new or repeat business and deterring investment.

Cost to the economy

There are also implications of health & safety failings for the economy at large. Around two million working days were lost in construction each year between 2016/17 and 2018/19 with 19% due to workplace injury and 81% due to work-related illness. The total cost to the economy of workplace injury and new cases of work-related ill health in construction in 2018/19 is estimated at £1.2bn which accounts for 8% of the total cost.

Managing the supply chain

With the construction industry characterised by a large number of contractors and sub-contractors, one of the most challenging aspects of managing health and safety in the sector is ensuring compliance throughout the supply chain. Anyone engaging contractors has health and safety responsibilities, both for the contractors and anyone else that could be affected by their activities. Therefore a contractor assessment process needs to be in place.

Companies can carry out contractor assessment themselves but constantly changing rules and regulations make it a complicated and costly process so it is rarely efficient or effective for them to do so. This is where third party accreditation bodies such as CHAS come in. For example, CHAS’s alert system notifies contractors when insurance policies and health and safety qualifications are about to expire helps to ensure contractors’ qualifications are up-to-date.

CHAS recently introduced its Common Assessment Standard (CAS) available which offers businesses a single, complete risk management solution. Led by Build UK and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), the Common Assessment Standard replaces a multitude of prequalification schemes with a simplified process based on a single industry-agreed questionnaire. Over 30 of the construction industry’s biggest names have announced their support for the scheme since it was launched in May 2019.

Ian McKinnnon is managing director of CHAS. 

Construction Manager

New safety and health competency framework to “drive highest standards”

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has today revealed further details about the 69 competencies in its updated framework for the OSH profession.

Expectations of professionals working in health and safety have changed significantly in the past decade. As businesses strive to become more sustainable, OSH professionals must demonstrate a range of competencies to embed good health, safety and wellbeing effectively in workplace cultures.

Factors influencing change and transformation, including increased business complexity, technological advances, the gig economy and evolving platforms and processes, all challenge the capability of today’s OSH professionals.

This new competency framework – Professional standards for safety and health at work – expands on strong technical skills, to include the ‘soft skills’ and business skills OSH professionals need to influence and drive change.

The 69 competencies are divided into 12 areas across Technical, Core and Behavioural categories.

They are:

  • Technical
    • Health and safety law
    • Risk management
    • Incident management
    • Culture
    • Sustainability
  • Core
    • Strategy
    • Planning
    • Leadership and management
  • Behavioural
    • Stakeholder management
    • Personal performance
    • Communication
    • Working with others

The newly updated competency framework covers all the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed by occupational safety and health professionals.

It reflects the findings of an extensive research project which included focus groups, desktop research and analysis of over 250,000 data sets from Blueprint, IOSH’s first generation self-assessment tool.

Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher, Director of Professional Services said:

“As the Chartered body that sets the standards for occupational safety and health, one of IOSH’s key roles is to help OSH professionals keep pace with rapid change in the workplace.

“When combined with the enhanced tools coming from IOSH in 2020, the new competency framework will help to drive the highest standards of capability within the profession. In the meantime, it is a powerful resource that individuals and their managers can use to steer career development and optimise team performance.”

The release of the updated framework will be followed in 2020 by the launch of an enhanced suite of practical tools to assist employers and professionals.

These will include Blueprint 2.0, a new CPD scheme, new technical guides and a free Career Hub for members, with access to thousands of learning resources and career planning tools.

Visit the competency framework web page for more information.

Oil and gas needs to stop dragging its feet on digitising safety functions

Despite having some of industry’s most hazardous working environments, a sector that pioneered the adoption of digital technology has been slow to exploit artificial intelligence and machine learning in the area of health and safety.

It’s no secret – oil and gas industry leaders acknowledge they have been slow to embrace digital technologies. A recent Boston Consulting Group report sums it up well: “The oil and gas industry is not an easy place to go digital.” Digitisation brings with it the promise of improved safety and efficiency, yet many companies still have a long way to go. It may be surprising to learn that some businesses even lack the technology to locate their workers ‒ which has clear and potentially dire implications for emergency situations.

This is partly because most of the industry is still deeply rooted in 20th-century methodologies, systems and processes. A report by McKinsey & Company notes that oil and gas companies were actually pioneers in the first digital age of the 1980s and 1990s, making use of 3D seismic imaging to model refineries and advanced process control for operations. But more recently, digital advancements have been limited, occurring in silos. As a whole, the industry is barely digitised end to end, and for the most part relies on legacy technologies. Full digitalisation has proved elusive, but that is beginning to change.

Thirty years ago, ‘connectivity’ meant expensive satellites linking up remote locations. Now, coverage is both pervasive and cheaper thanks to mobile networks. With 5G, private cellular networks will soon be an option for oil rigs and fields in remote locations. What’s more, there are fully interoperable IP communication devices, compared to 20 years ago when such devices were proprietary and lacked the protocols to connect seamlessly to different devices. This has given oil and gas companies a new lease of life and the keys to an AI-based future.

Energy companies generate a huge amount of data, and yet historically have only used a small proportion. Thanks to artificial intelligence and advanced wireless networks – and soon 5G – data can be computed and analysed locally, at low cost and with no lag time. This translates into real-world advancements that can lead to better health, safety and security for a crew using smart sensors, poisonous fume detectors, IP cameras and vibration sensors, to name a few.

For example, wearable sensors can provide real-time monitoring to pinpoint workers who might be at risk and can alert the rest of the crew. IoT-connected wearables such as safety jackets and helmets are already being used by some oil and gas companies for the detection of hazardous gas.

AI, machine learning and robotics can also reduce health and safety risks by carrying out remote-maintenance operations, reducing or even negating the need for physical inspections. By deploying a fleet of digital agents, oil and gas companies can not only react faster when equipment fails, but also prevent failures from occurring in the first place.

Data modelling, which uses AI and neural networking to interpret vast quantities of sensor data, can reveal the exact impact of explosions and leakages. Many more companies could be using such analytics to assess the effectiveness of health and safety drills, predict malfunctions and increase efficiency within workflows. For enterprises with ambitious sustainability targets, AI, ML and related technologies will become increasingly important tools to achieve these efficiencies.

The benefits are easy to see, but digitisation brings with it challenges, too. Among these, algorithm design is perhaps the trickiest. To reap the benefits of technology advancement, oil and gas companies need to learn to trust AI while at the same time retaining accountability for any actions arising from its use or misuse. Algorithmic design needs to take into account how AI interacts with the people around it. It’s a modern twist on an age-old conundrum. Human factors are notoriously hard to account for, yet if anything goes wrong in an AI-driven world, blaming the algorithm won’t pass muster with regulators and political leaders.

Challenges also exist in the form of legacy technology and traditional mindsets. Forecasts suggest significant oil and gas production will continue through at least 2050. But the way the industry operates, its processes, technologies and workflows will change dramatically in the coming decades. Oil and gas executives must embrace the new digital dawn today to prepare their companies for radically different future.

Creating a multi-stage digitisation roadmap is a great start. Any such initiative needs to have clear outcomes in mind, a realistic assessment of potential return on investment and a plan for harmonising engineering systems from a health and safety perspective. This can be especially challenging in large siloed divisions and companies. Yet it is within these complex ecosystems that advanced analytics, AI and ML can have the most impact ‒ delivering improved health and safety, more sustainable operations and reduced costs. The key is to start planning now for a sustainable future that will arrive sooner than you think – as it has in most other industries.

Charlotte Brown is sector director for energy at consulting firm Tessella. Didier Pagnoux is director of Altran’s World Class Center for IoT Solutions.