UK Safety News Roundup – September 2019

When it comes to safety and security, UK safety are leaders in planning and accident prevention. Unfortunately, there exists a minority who aren’t as safety conscious as the rest of us, so some accidents do occur.

Our monthly news catch up looks at accidents that have occurred, the outcomes and what could have been done better. In addition, we also comment on the latest safety and security news, including lone worker news.

Working at Height Injury

A construction company and contractor have both been fined at the start of September for unsafe working practices. The fine follows an incident where an employee fell through a mesh roof suffering fractures to his spine. He fell through the mesh roof because there was no barrier to prevent this from happening.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that because the construction company and contractor had both failed to prevent access to the fragile roof area, they, therefore, failed to plan and carry out the work at height in a safe manner.

The worker fell from a height of three metres, which isn’t a great height but shows just how much injury can occur even from relatively small heights. A simple barrier would have been sufficient to have stopped this accident from happening.

It’s also a good idea to equip employees working at height with a lone worker device featuring man down functionality. This tech can detect falls, even floor level ones and send an alert so that help can be accessed quickly.

image shows two men on a high platform to illustrate a paragrpah about lone working at height

London Underground Workers to Take Industrial Action

Tube workers on the London Underground District Line have voted in favour of industrial action as a reaction to the growing levels of violence and anti-social behaviour they encounter at work.

The safety concerns seem mostly related to lone working employees struggling with the number of violent and aggressive passengers they encounter whilst doing their jobs.

From today until further notice, RMT union members will only “work from a within a place of safety when lone-working and not to ‘detrain’ alone or attend incidents on trains alone”. As reported in Personnel Today, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the staff were living in a constant state of fear and had simply had enough of the “inaction” of local managers.

The action follows the assault of a female staff member, who was attacked in her office by a violent passenger.

Uber Up Safety Game

Uber has been in the news a lot recently – with concerns that the taxi company will no longer be able to operate in London due to their license not being renewed. However, it was confirmed this week that their license would be extended; but only by two months.

This is due to passenger safety concerns after a string of assaults against passengers and drivers. The two-month extension is to give the taxi app company time to address safety issues. Just this morning it was announced that Uber passengers in America would be able to use the app to send discrete emergency messages to 911 should they be in any sort of danger. It’s unknown whether this feature will be coming over to the UK too.

Vaping Concerns Grow

The last couple of months have seen a flurry of reports of people falling ill and even dying after using vaping equipment. Most reports have been from the US but the UK media have kept up to date with the news as vaping is also very popular in the UK.

image shows an e-cigarette which is used in the UK for vaping - an activity that now has some safety experts worried.

More than half of people who quit smoking in the UK have done so with the aid of a vape pen or e-cigarette.

It is still not known what causes the illnesses and death linked to vaping in the US, but it is thought it could be related to using vape pens to smoke cannabis extracts. Customers in the UK have been advised to only use their vaping equipment as intended and use only authorised products from well-known suppliers.