We were delighted to make our Excellent Practioner Award to Satbir Gill, Highways Asset Manager at the London Borough of Hounslow on 1 July 2010. We reported on this last month and attach photograph here.
We would like to add our congratulations to Satbir for the outstanding work he is doing, using our software and consultancy services to enhance the standing of CDM management.
The London Borough of Hounslow generously organised the hosting of our 2010 Major Account Review Meeting. This is annual event that gives our clients the opportunity to meet with the representatives of the Company to share their views of the ToolKit CS™ product and the direction being taken.
We provided a presentation on the new QCF award and invite all our client organisations to consider how the award can help them move forward. The main presentation and discussion was about the opportunity to use the latest IT devices and technology in general, to help improve the efficiency of health & safety processes. This was against the backdrop of the current financial, political and cultural changes that are taking place around us. The ongoing discussion was very helpful and will help steer the ongoing product development accordingly.
As we explained in the presentation, as software designers & developers, we cannot act in isolation, trying to 'best guess' how users might react to new technology and the opportunities such advances offer. We need to get feedback from our users to find out their needs 'in the field'. As such, this was a very helpful session and we would like to thank everyone involved including LB Hounslow for their generous hosting of the event.
08 June 2010
Too many employers are still not taking health and safety seriously enough, despite tougher laws and harsher penalties, a survey of company lawyers has found.
Some 80 in-house lawyers for a range of firms in such sectors as construction, chemicals and utilities were asked by Manchester-based law firm Pannone LLP whether further duties need to be placed on directors in order to get them to really focus on health and safety.
Two thirds of the lawyers, representing some of the UK's biggest companies, said directors' duties in law are necessary to ensure they take health and safety seriously, and 65 per cent believe they are needed to protect workers.
Despite widespread hype over the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act in 2008, it prompted just 38 per cent of organisations to take health and safety more seriously, said their lawyers.
Interestingly, they also revealed that rather than the prospect of an unlimited fine for being convicted under the new Act, they are more fearful of the publicity resulting from the case. Publicity orders will be an option in the case of corporate manslaughter convictions, and may require offending organisations to publicise the fact of conviction, particulars of the offence and the level of fine in a specified publication or website, at a particular size and location.
Just over half the lawyers questioned (53 per cent) were concerned that this media coverage could cause immense damage to their employer's reputation.
Despite the potentially catastrophic effect this publicity and a multi-million-pound fine could have on their employers, most of the lawyers felt the new sanctions are fair enough - 70 per cent deemed them "not too harsh".
John Gollaglee, regulatory partner and health and safety specialist at Pannone, said: "The last decade has seen a growing trend for prosecuting bodies to target individuals and, as a result, we are seeing a large increase in the number of investigations focusing on individual company directors and managers.
"More recently, the net is widening to include advisors such as health and safety professionals. In fact, we have one case where a senior health and safety officer is facing criminal charges simply because an accident happened 'on his watch'.
"However, despite the rise in criminal investigations and charges, it seems that the majority of in-house lawyers believe a legal duty on directors is still necessary to ensure that they take health and safety seriously."
We have read recently that construction may not be as adversely affected by government spending cuts as anticipated. With the recent announcement from Chancellor George Osborne that there will be over £6 billion worth of cutbacks as the new government seeks to redress the country's considerable budget deficit. These cuts include the scrapping of transport infrastructure projects and a £150 million cut in the housing budget.
This is all scary stuff and we are all affected by these cuts in one way or another. However, there are some that say that the cuts are actually positive for the construction industry. This is because of the investment in social housing and reallocation of funding for millions of adult apprenticeships.
According to Richard Diment, director-general of the Federation of Master Builders, these are examples of positive steps for construction taken by the chancellor. He also stated that "it is encouraging that the Government recognises the need to invest in growth and the importance of training and housing in delivering this"
Well it is good to see investment in the future of the construction industry. However, we shall all have to wait and see the long term effects of the new budget.
We saw an interesting article promoting Improving Health in Construction and a very useful web site on free information on health at work.
It is good to see that more and more information and guidance is becoming available within the construction industry.
Go to http://www.constructingbetterhealth.co.uk/Health-Topics for more information.
We have all heard in the news that a review of UK health and safety regulations is now in progress. The review, headed by Lord Young repackages an ongoing review by the former Tory employment and trade secretary. David Cameron has been quoted as saying 'The rise of the compensation culture over the last ten years is a real concern, as is the way health and safety rules are sometimes applied. We need a sensible new approach that makes clear these laws are intended to protect people, not overwhelm businesses with red tape.'
Yes, there are areas where health and safety has been taken to extremes and we are sure that some good will come from the review. However, let us hope that Lord Young ensures that all the good work done for CDM and Asbestos management over the last 10-15 years is not undermined.
The review findings are due in July, watch this space!
We regularly receive updates from our customers and contacts about changes to legislation, the latest rumours and so on. We try to be selective with what we pass on and acknowledge our sources as appropriate. If you have information of general interest in the Health & Safety, and particularly, CDM and Asbestos Management arena, then please let us know by e-mail if possible.