News: Fire Service Safety; Workers are Happier; Carpentry Boss Fined

Fire Service Receives Safety Award

The Devon and Somerset Fire Service, covering 85 fire stations and 2,300 staff,  have received a Diamond award in the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Quality Safety Audit scheme. After implementing RoSPA's recommendations on employee safety, the Fire Service managed to reduce the number of staff injuries by a massive 37%, with 136 in 2011 – 2012, compared with 216 during the previous year.

The chief fire officer of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, Lee Howell, said, “The Service is a much safer workplace for staff and the people we serve. It means employees have confidence in our health and safety systems, and in turn, they are more confident in what they do”.

Workers are Happier Despite the Recession

Firefighters putting out a fire | SG World Crewe21,000 employees were surveyed by the UK Government in 2012, 20% of whom reported that they were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with every aspect of their job, an rise of 4% from a similar survey in 2004. An increased number of people also reported feeling a commitment to their employer. They reported good communication from managers - including team briefings and information about company finances - as well as being given more independence during their work as factors which led to them feeling happy in their roles. More workplaces were also offering training to more of their staff.

Jo Swinson, the Employment Relations Minister who announced the results of the survey, said, “This important study gives us a valuable insight into what is going on inside the workplace. I am very pleased to see that job satisfaction levels have increased and that more employees report that they share the values of the organisation […] Engagement of employees is key to building stronger workforces which will in turn drive economic growth. The results of the study show us in a new light just how workers and businesses are affected, how they are changing and what the workplace of the future might look like”.

Carpentry Boss Fined for Unsafe Construction Site

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) this week judged that Richard Morgan, of Davies and Morgan Carpenters, had failed to undergo adequate training about safety on construction sites, which was discovered when they were investigating an incident where one of his employees had had a fall from height causing severe back injuries. The carpenter had been using an unsecured ladder, and the HSE also ruled that Morgan had not appointed somebody to manage or supervise the work, he had not undertaken proper risk assessments and he had allowed work to continue on scaffolding which was found to be unsafe.

After Morgan pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 13 (2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, he was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs. Phill Nicole, a HSE inspector, stated after the case had concluded, that, “Small construction companies cannot ignore their responsibility to effectively manage health and safety. Reliance on experience is not enough. Managers and supervisors must be suitably trained to enable them to fulfil their duties and ensure the safety of their workers. When using scaffolding, contractors must ensure that it has been erected by a competent person and has been inspected prior to use and at least every seven days afterwards. Any modifications to scaffolding must also be undertaken by someone with appropriate training and experience".

(Photo Credit: Cwal000)

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