What you read in 2014: the top stories of last year

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A round up of the most popular news, features and comment pieces from Safety Management in 2014.

Top news

1. HSE to launch construction inspection blitz targeting health risks

HSE launched an unannounced inspection clampdown in the construction sector targeting disease risks as part of a package of measures to improve the industry’s management of occupational health, the first such inspection initiative to focus primarily on health risks.

2. Boss banned from directorships in £8k corporate manslaughter conviction
The owner of a Hampshire road sweeping firm was ordered to pay out £191,000 while his company was fined £8,000 for corporate manslaughter after a casual worker was crushed to death while carrying out maintenance of a road sweeper.

3. HSE U-turns on scrapping CDM ACOP in face of opposition
HSE backtracked on its decision to go without an ACOP supporting the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, instead proposing to introduce a slimmed down ‘signposting’ document in the face of hostility from the health and safety and construction industries.

4. Maintenance failings ‘likely’ to have caused fatal 2009 Super Puma helicopter crash
A 2009 North Sea helicopter crash that left 16 people dead might have been avoided if agreed maintenance procedures had been carried out, the judge leading a fatal accident inquiry concluded.

5. ACOP reform: HSE releases new consolidated asbestos guidance
HSE released an updated ACOP on managing asbestos in non-domestic premises, consolidating two previous documents in a move it said will provide greater clarity to dutyholders.

Top features

1. HSWA at 40: the Act that changed our working lives

A special edition to mark the 40th anniversary of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, in which 20 writers – politicians, regulators, academics, trade unionists – celebrate the Act’s achievements in revolutionising the management of occupational health and safety and look to the next 40 years.

2. Gauging the new ladder guidance: a step in the right direction
With the publication of two new pieces of guidance, Cameron Clow of the Ladder Association examined the new documents and took at look the common sense rules for using ladders safely.

3. Auditory and non-auditory effects of noise on health and safety at work
Although the risk of hearing damage from exposure to harmful levels of noise is well known, studies also show that noise can impact on accidents, attention span and even be a risk factor in cardiovascular disease. Professor Andy Smith, director of the Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology at Cardiff University, explained.

4. The new standard for safety management systems: what to expect of ISO 45001
BS OHSAS 18001 is changing to meets international requirements and new business practices. The British Safety Council’s Joscelyne Shaw spelled out the inevitable administrative changes, and how the new framework should prove to be a useful business management tool.

5. Improvement through failure? Human and organisational factors in incident investigation
Assessing the way human and organisational factors interact is vital in any incident investigation. A failure to do so can lead to root causes being overlooked. Yet research carried out by John Bonner and Anne Stevenson suggested that some companies in the major hazard sector ignore the underlying factors, investigating people, not the systems.

Top comments

1. Resilience is not the answer to stress

Some employers think the only reason staff are stressed at work is that they're just not tough enough, hence the new buzzword – resilience. It is an employer’s responsibility to eliminate or minimise stressors, not employees' to ‘cope better’, said Unison’s Tracey Harding.

2. Flexible working: right to request, not right to have
While many employees welcomed the right to request flexible working, the Work Foundation’s Dr Zofia Bajorek had concerns about its implementation and management. Will it be an organisational help or hindrance?

3. Where now for the future of sentencing guidelines?
Ahead of the publication of the Sentencing Council’s consultation on a major revision to sentencing safety offenders, Simon Joyston-Bechal prophetically asked whether we might see new a new approach to setting the level of fines.

4. Employers should play their part in creating better driving practices
Figures released in November showed a rise in fatalities on Britain's roads. With winter almost upon us – and with it Road Safety Week – Joscelyne Shaw spelled out why and how employers should play their part in encouraging safer driving.

5. Lest we forget: the importance of corporate memory
Corporate memory loss is a growing danger for organisations dealing with the ever increasing pace of change. Peter McCormick explained why it is vital for organisations to capture and retain safety-critical knowledge. 



Home Working Istock 1208855996 Credit Fizkes

Home working: measuring the sustainability benefits

By Dr Keith Whitehead, British Safety Council on 01 May 2020

Home working brings a number of sustainability benefits, such as reduced travel-related carbon footprints and costs.

Istock 1218919415 Credit Prabhat Kumar Verma 430 Min

Lifting the lockdown: how to protect workers’ health and safety

By Gajal Gupta on 07 May 2020

Three experts give their views on how India can gradually lift the lockdown while protecting workers from the risk of catching or spreading the deadly coronavirus.

SM Cover Pic Istock Leonid Studio (002)

Home working: how are we coping?

By Belinda Liversedge on 11 May 2020

Coronavirus has made us a nation of home workers. But what’s it doing to our mental health and what should employers be doing to support their staff during dark times?