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June 2024

Data collected by the business insurer QBE suggests that batteries powering electric vehicles were involved in almost three fires a day in 2023, compared to under two fires a day in 2022. The findings show that 29% of lithium-ion fires involved e-bikes, but fires increased also for e-scooters, e-cars, e-trucks, and e-buses: A free e-book ‘Lithium-Ion batteries. A guide to the fire risk that isn’t going away but can be managed’ is available for download:

RIDDOR guidance has been improved, providing more direct links on types of reportable incidents; who should and should not report under RIDDOR; clarity on ‘work-related’ accidents; when an occupational disease is not reportable; ‘over-7-day’ absences:

Free tickets are now available for the Environmental Services & Solutions (ESS) Expo to be held at the Birmingham NEC from 11-12 September. The Expo will showcase cutting-edge technologies and strategies in net-zero, decarbonisation, resource management, circular economy, water scarcity and management, biodiversity conservation, environmental emergency response and emissions control:

Aberdeen-based MRS Training & Rescue has issued a free downloadable White Paper on working in confined spaces following Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) findings that 15 people die per year while working in such spaces in the UK. The Paper covers current legislation, responsibilities of CEOs, HR, managers and supervisors, and risk assessments:

In a report published on 5 June, ‘The Case for a National Chemicals Agency’, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) urges the next UK government to establish a dedicated chemicals agency. It states the UK’s current system for chemicals regulation and management is inefficient, poor value for money and lacks long-term planning. Download:

Openreach Limited has pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £1.34 million plus costs of £15,858.35 after an engineer drowned in the River Aber in Abergwyngregyn whilst trying to repair a telephone line. There had been no safe system of work in place for work on or near water, and no training, information or instruction for the team of workers.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has launched a manifesto, ‘Safer, healthier, happier’, calling for the next government to prioritise improving occupational health services in order to rebuild the economy and reduce NHS waiting lists. Download:

The lifting of the cap on civil sanctions that can be imposed by the Environment Agency (EA) on companies in breach provides a meaningful alternative to prosecution. Could this be an attractive approach for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to follow?

‘The control of legionella bacteria in evaporative cooling systems’ (HSG274: Part 1), has been updated. It includes clearer advice on testing of pH and biocide levels. Free downloads:

Middlesbrough-based Esken Renewables, which generates biofuel from renewable waste, has pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002, fined £160,000 plus over £5,000 in costs. The HSE brought the case over long-term risks to staff of excessive exposure to wood dust:

Nearly three quarters (74%) of employers offer more health and wellbeing support now than they did two years ago. However, it is not always effectively targeted, meaning that quiet quitting, high staff turnover, hybrid working, presenteeism, absence rates and early retirement are still threats to businesses:

The HSE has published its strategic approach to Artificial Intelligence (AI). The use of AI comes within the scope of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and so the principles of health and safety law need to be taken into account:

May 2024

Global advisory, broking and solutions company WTW’s 2024 Global Directors and Officers Survey Report identified health and safety as the top risk category in 2024 as measured across more than 50 countries:

Global Directors’ and Officers’ Survey Report 2024 - WTW (

Following this year’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work on 28 April 2024, which was based around the impacts of climate change on occupational safety and health, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and the UN Global Compact Network UK have united to call for corporate action:

Hull-based Niche Fused Magnesia Limited, a manufacturer of magnesium oxide, has pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and fined £366,500 plus costs of £7,325.82 after a worker suffered fatal crush injuries in 2018:

Company fined £360k after trapped worker loses life (

The US Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will ban most uses of methylene chloride which has been linked to dozens of deaths. All consumer use will be prohibited within a year, and most commercial and industrial use will be phased out within the next two years. There will be stronger worker safety protections for the remaining “critical” uses:

EPA to ban most uses of chemical linked to dozens of deaths | US Environmental Protection Agency | The Guardian

SHP’s bi-annual legislation update webinar on Wednesday 29 May (11.00 a.m. BST) will cover the latest Health and Safety guidance and forthcoming consultations including 50 years of the Health and Safety at Work Act; an update on Martyn’s Law; and changes around flexible working:

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued an improvement notice to Diamond Offshore Drilling for failing “to provide comprehensible instructions” ahead of the collapse of equipment on the GreatWhite drilling rig West of Shetland during a storm of 1 February this year:

A report by hygiene and workwear products provider RS Safety Solutions reveals that 82% of health and safety officials agree current female PPE is unsuitable for women due to sizing and fit issues:

Health and safety officials: suitable woman PPE hard to find (

In a related article, the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) discusses the responsibilities of buyers of PPE and safety equipment and explains how incorporating the Registered Safety Supplier (RSS) scheme into procurement processes can help: Are you meeting your responsibilities as a buyer of PPE and safety equipment?(

Having identified that thermites, and thermite containing articles, meeting the criteria for being classified for transport in Great Britain and the ADR area as Class 1 dangerous goods (as explosive substances and articles) are currently being transported either as non-dangerous goods or as Class 4.1 dangerous goods (flammable solids), the HSE has issued a new safety notice:

Manufacture, storage and carriage of thermites and thermite containing articles - Safety bulletin - HSE

Praxis42‘s Head of Fire Safety Rob Sherman analyses the main concerns of having an Electrical Vehicle (EV) fleet, and how to minimise risk:

The HSE has issued Guidance on its regulatory approach to Artificial Intelligence (AI), including regulating the use of AI where it impacts on health and safety in workplaces; regulating the use of AI in design, manufacture and supply of workplace machinery, equipment and products; and where AI impacts on HSE’s role to protect people and places, including building safety, chemicals and pesticides regulation:

HSE’s regulatory approach to Artificial Intelligence (AI) – News - HSE

April 2024

Britain is becoming a toxic chemical dumping ground – yet another ‘benefit’ of Brexit, says George Monbiot:

Stateside Foods Limited of Bolton, one of the UK’s largest producers of supermarket pizzas, has been fined £800,000 after two workers suffered serious injuries in 2020 when limbs became trapped in unguarded machinery. The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and 3 (1), of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act:


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published the second Post Implementation Review (PIR) of RIDDOR, with a view to expanding it to include areas where HSE regulatory intervention can add value. There are five recommendations, and work is already underway on the first two regarding guidance and online reporting:

After a detailed period of development, the much-anticipated Asbestos Network Technical Working Group (ANTWG) guidance on Personal Monitoring (PM) has been published and is available from the ACAD Technical Reference Library


America’s Environmental Protection Agency has announced a comprehensive ban on chrysotile asbestos, the only type of asbestos currently used in or imported to the country. The aim is to reduce cancer deaths and prevent cases of lung, ovarian, colorectal, laryngeal and other cancers:

For the second time in four years Hertfordshire-based Materials Movement Limited has caused the death of an employee. Most recently, it pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 after a fatal crush injury at a site in Brampton, Cambridgeshire:

The HSE has served an improvement notice on offshore drilling service company Valaris after an 85kg sheet of Perspex was dropped on one the company’s rigs in an uncontrolled manner which had the potential to result in a serious personal injury or a fatality:

The magazine ‘Private Eye’ no. 1620 29 March-11 April 2024 [no link available] has highlighted the lack of action within the Asbestos industry on making it safer for female Analysts to use decontamination units. Several have reported intimidation, assaults, and worse, as was highlighted in this 2021 article following the Faculty of Asbestos Assessment and Management (FAAM) Conference:

The HSE Recruitment Network’s ‘The 2024 HSE Remuneration Report’ delves into the average salaries, bonus expectations, and the most valued employee benefits across various HSE roles. It reveals a clear correlation between years of experience and salary levels across different HSE roles, and that a distinct gender disparity exists within the profession:

The HSE has warned Stork Technical Services Ltd. of Aberdeen after an inspection on the Shell-operated Nelson platform that respiratory equipment worn by their painters was compromised by their facial hair. The paint used contained xylene, ethylbenzene and 4-methylpentan-2-one (also known as methyl isobutyl ketone), all of which are hazardous to human health if inhaled:

March 2024

INEOS Chemicals Grangemouth Limited has been fined £400,000 after an employee’s leg was severely burned after he fell into a sump containing a caustic solution in November 2019. The company pleaded guilty to an offence under Section 2(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974:


More than 50 percent of all US medical supplies are sterilised by ethylene oxide, and there are significant health risks now coming to light:

Registration is now open for Health and Safety Matters Live Coventry 2024, a free-to-attend conference taking place on 27 June 2024. It will be co-located with a NEBOSH Alumni conference:

A look at the hazards associated with offshore decommissioning:

The UK’s House of Lords environment and climate change committee is to examine the impact of methane on climate change, the benefits of delivering reduction targets and the UK’s progress on its commitments. It seeks evidence up to 15 April from the waste and waste management sector, along with agriculture and fossil fuels:

Dame Carol Black, the UK government’s new Occupational Health Tsar, will head up a Taskforce producing a voluntary occupational health framework for businesses. Just 28% of employers provide some form of occupational health, with large employers (89%) nearly three times more likely than Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) (28%) to do so:

A safety-critical maintenance backlog has become a major issue for the offshore oil and gas industry, with some individual platforms having tens of thousands of outstanding hours post-Covid. The HSE warns of the risk of major accidents:

The UK’s Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s spring budget included a rise in the standard rate of landfill tax by 21% (from £103.70 a tonne to £126.15). The lower rate will rise from £3.30 to £4.05. This will take effect from 1 April 2025 and will raise around £50m a year for the Treasury:

Scrap metal recycling company F.J. Church and Sons Ltd of Rainham, Essex, has been fined £200,000 after an employee’s right arm was severed in June 2021 when it was caught in a catalytic converter sampling machine:


The winners of the SHE Awards 2024 and the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) Award will be announced at a gala ceremony hosted by comedian Dara Ó Briain at the Vox in Resorts World, NEC Birmingham on 1 May. The 2023 event was a sell-out, and 2024 tickets are selling very fast:

Four out of five of the world’s workforce are estimated to lack access to basic occupational safety and health services. A two-year study part funded by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) will seek to gain a better understanding of the scope, reach and effectiveness of OSH around the world:

February 2024

The UK’s regression from EU environmental standards are on such a scale that environmental legislation in Britain is facing death by a thousand cuts:

The government has rejected - on the grounds it already has sufficient legal powers to enforce higher standards of air quality under the Environment Act 2021 - a private member’s bill calling for a new Clean Air Act. The government’s claim has been disputed by, amongst many others, the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA):

The HSE has issued an improvement notice to the Chinese state-backed operator CNOOC over its inspection routines for process equipment on the North Sea Buzzard platform:

UK workplaces are facing “a perfect storm” when it comes to wellbeing at work, with sickness absence barely improved since the pandemic, according to the Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey by Vitality and the Financial Times. Employers lost the equivalent of 50 days of work per employee last year because of poor physical and mental health:

Liquidated waste firm Ward Recycling Limited has been found guilty of breaching Section 1 of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £2.1mn after an agency worker was killed by a loading shovel in January 2020:

An article by fire safety experts SOCOTEC on how to safely use and store lithium-ion batteries in the workplace:

Peterborough-based Electrostatic Magic Limited has pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and Article 67 of the REACH regulation after a worker died from multiple organ failure, chemical pneumonitis and cutaneous burns from exposure to dichloromethane, hydrofluoric acid and methanol:

Tickets are now available for the WEEE Conference 2024 to be held on 21 March at the Royal College of Physicians NW1 4LE, which will focus on the latest breakthroughs in the recovery, reuse, recycling, and treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment:

A retired draughtsman who had worked at the former Engelhard precious metal factory in Cinderford and subsequently at GlaxoSmithKline, died from malignant epithelial mesothelioma, the effect of asbestos exposure, in January this year:

The HSE has put Petrofac on notice after it found poor COSHH risk assessments left offshore workers on the North Sea Kittiwake platform at risk of exposure to hazardous fumes, in particular welding fumes - a known human carcinogen:

January 2024

A New Year reminder that the HSE provides an extensive collection of free updates on a vast range of topics (from Asbestos to Workplace Transport) and industries (from Agriculture to Woodworking) via an eBulletin:


An estimated 4% of the world’s annual GDP is lost to workplace accidents and diseases. This cost the global economy c. £4 trillion in 2021; and in the UK, the annual cost is around £30 billion. A new tool, which can be used on a site with 40 employees, provides calculators to help put a cost and value on safety performance at business or even site level:

A new study by non-profit organisation the Alliance to End Plastic Waste highlights potential pathways to significantly increase waste collection and plastic recycling rates globally. The Plastic Waste Management Framework has policy levers and actions that can be used to develop national action plans for advancing waste management systems.

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery fires are on the rise. Firechief Global have provided an eight-step action plan on how to mitigate the risk:

The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) has published a new guide for individuals undertaking auditing to determine whether appropriate health and safety management systems are in place and that suitable risk control systems and workplace precautions are being implemented. The NEBOSH Quick Reference Guide to Auditing for Health and Safety is available from:

Plastics recycling is vital to fight the deluge of plastic waste and plastic pollution. While mechanical recycling has been around for decades, chemical recycling is the new kid in town. But do they compete or cooperate?

There were 29 fatalities in the UK in 2022/23 caused by contact with moving vehicles or machinery. HSE guidance can be found at:


More than 100,000 people in the UK could be at risk of developing long Covid in the coming weeks as infections and hospitalisations are rising sharply during the winter months:

Alex Spencer, COO chief operating officer of energy industry-owned not-for-profit standards and training organisation OPITO examines why safety, skills and sustainability are all key for future energy workers:

A reminder that entry is now open for The Safety & Health Excellence Awards. Free to enter, the deadline is 16 February 2024. The winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony at the NEC Birmingham on 1 May 2024:

December 2023

The HSE has reminded employers that temperatures in indoor workplaces are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. The Approved Code of Practice suggests the minimum ‘reasonable’ temperature should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsius, or at least 13 degrees Celsius for work involving rigorous physical effort:


Staffordshire-based lift maintenance company Lift Monitoring Systems Ltd has been fined £200,000 after an employee died while working on a goods lift at a factory run by Muller Yogurt and Desserts:


Comprehensive analysis ranking 38 member states of the OECD according to the environmental impact of their waste management has been published: The UK comes 18th. The report also draws attention to the fact that high recycling rates for plastic waste are misleading as the number is taken from the volume of waste that arrives at the recycling plants, but not everything is recycled through material recovery.

A look at how the European waste industry is preparing for the challenge of recycling millions of discarded e-vehicle batteries, and the revision of the EU Battery Directive:

The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) is launching a new series of occupational hygiene qualifications as part of a significant overhaul of pathways into the profession:

Cider manufacturers H Weston and Sons Ltd of Ledbury has pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and fined £1.4 million plus £26,756.50 in costs after a driver was killed by a horizontal security barrier:


The HSE has issued an Improvement Notice to Apache North Sea Ltd after finding nearly 26,000 hours of safety-critical maintenance work left outstanding across seven Apache North Sea platforms:


On 30 November 2023, Directive (EU) 2023/2668 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 November 2023 amending Directive 2009/148/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work was published in the Official Journal of the EU:

The HSEs annual statistics on work-related ill health and workplace injuries report that of the 1.8 million UK workers suffering from work-related ill health, 875,000 said they had suffered stress, depression or anxiety; 473,000 were suffering from a work-related musculoskeletal disorder; there has been 2,268 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures; and 135 workers killed in work-related accidents.

Entry is now open for The Safety & Health Excellence Awards. Free to enter, the deadline is 16 February 2024. The winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony at the NEC Birmingham on 1 May 2024:

November 2023

A report from Advance Market Analytics shows strong growth in the Environmental Health and Safety Market between 2022 and 2027. The report covers EHS Software:

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) explain why the King’s Speech failed to include societal wellbeing legislation that would deliver decent living and working conditions. They highlight seven key measures - ‘The Secret Seven Go Missing’:

A landmark scientific article, ‘Work-related causes of mental health conditions and interventions for their improvement in workplaces’, presents sound epidemiological evidence based on large-scale international cohort studies that adverse working conditions contribute to an increased risk of onset of depressive disorders:

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a warning to Stena Drilling of Aberdeen relating to potential risks of legionella bacteria exposure on its Stena Don installation: HSE guidance on Legionella and legionnaires' disease is here:

KPMG has released its 2023 Net Zero Readiness Report. It concludes that governments and industry are hamstrung by significant barriers to delivering transformative change on net zero, including global public debt, domestic tensions, increased opposition to decarbonisation plans, and the need to guarantee energy supply:

Electric vehicles (EVs) may reduce emissions, but the lithium-ion batteries on which they run pose a unique sustainability challenge. Here are five innovators working on making them more sustainable:

An Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) report on Preventing Fire and/or Explosion Injury from Small and Wearable Lithium Battery Powered Devices:

On 25 October ACAS launched a consultation on a draft Code of Practice on handling flexible working requests, which is intended to sit alongside the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023. The consultation ends on ACAS has also launched a “Flex at Work” toolkit which includes guidance, resources and training to support the implementation of the Act:

A survey by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has revealed that more than two-thirds of neurodiverse workers have not told their current employer about their condition. It is estimated that as many as one in seven people are neurodiverse, with conditions including ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia: IOSH webinars on neurodiversity are free to view on YouTube:

October 2023

If you are a ‘Responsible Person’ on whom duties are imposed under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, find out what new responsibilities you have as the result of amendments made to the Fire Safety Order by Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022. These new requirements came into force on 1 October 2023:

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has opened entries to its flagship Health and Safety Awards. Award categories include: Industry Sector Award, Achievement Award, Fleet Safety Award and Leisure Safety Award:

Bin Busy Recycling Limited, of Erith, Kent, has pleaded guilty to breaches of Regulation 9(3) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 after a worker was fatally crushed in July 2019:


According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), there were an estimated 1 million serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs) in 1999 and 2.78 million in 2017. It is a global problem overly represented in agriculture, construction, forestry, fishing/hunting, manufacturing, mining, and transportation/warehousing. Dr. Dom Cooper investigates:

From 6 April 2024, it will become law for all businesses, charities and public sector organisations in Wales to sort their waste for recycling. It also applies to all waste and recycling collectors and processors who manage household-like waste from workplaces:

Workplace recycling | GOV.WALES

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued its second warning in six months to the offshore oil and gas sector in the wake of the investigation into an incident involving 50-year-old Jason Thomas. The worker went missing from the Valaris 121, 100 miles off Aberdeen, during a rig move in January. It is believed he fell through a hole in the deck arising from a dislodged grating:

Crediton Dairy Ltd, of Crediton, admitted two charges under the 2012 Control of Asbestos Regulations and the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 relating to the storage, distribution and spread of asbestos, and has been fined £300,000 plus £3,215.25 in costs and statutory surcharge:

On 3 October 2023, the European Parliament plenary session formally adopted at first reading a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2009/148/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work. 78% of occupational cancers recognised in EU member states are related to asbestos exposure, killing more than 70,000 people a year in Europe:

Research by the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) has led to calls for more supportive working cultures to reduce employee absence - which is at the highest rate in more than a decade. UK employees were absent an average of 7.8 days over the past year, compared to the pre-pandemic rate of 5.8 days:

On 6 September 2023, at Loughborough Magistrates’ Court, Valencia Waste Management Limited, formerly known as Viridor Waste Management Limited, was prosecuted for two fatalities. In relation to the first, it admitted breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £1 million. In terms of the second, it pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £2 million:

August 2023

Louise Hosking, Executive Director at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), says a strong collaboration between the health and safety and environmental health sectors could create safer, cleaner and healthier environments for the benefit of all:

HSE guidance on working with electric and hybrid vehicles (E&HVs):

Electric and hybrid vehicles (

BP Exploration Operating Company Limited has been found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 after a worker died when he fell about 22m into the sea through an open grating on the Unity installation, about 112 miles (180km) north-east of Aberdeen, on 4 September 2014. The company has been fined £650,000: &

How plastics are poisoning us: They both release & attract toxic chemicals, and appear everywhere from human placentas to chasms thirty-six thousand feet beneath the sea:

A total of 135 workers died in work-related accidents in Great Britain in 2022/23, according to the HSE’s latest data. The figure is an increase of 12 on the 123 workers who sustained fatal injuries in 2021/22:

Nick Wilson, Director of Health & Safety Services at WorkNest, attributes the latest figures on work-related fatalities in Great Britain to a combination of factors, including a culture of complacency and poor leadership:

This HSE alert aimed at wind farms and off shore platforms is worth reading if you have industrial polymer floor grating systems:

An HR alert from law firm Taylor Wessing on employees’ entitlements during heatwaves:

In the survey Gender Disparity in HSE, collated by HSE recruitment Network, which canvassed 200 health and safety professionals about gender imbalance in the sector, 71% said there was an issue. Download the report:

IOSH have called for action to improve & enforce laws around human trafficking. Download their free report “Tackling #modern #slavery together: the roles of governments, employers, professionals and the public’

July 2023

6th July marked the 35th anniversary of the 1988 Piper Alpha production platform explosion in the North Sea 120 miles NE of Aberdeen in which 167 men died. Subsequent legislation sounded the death knell of ex-side trawler standby vessels close to rigs. By 1992 these had been almost entirely replaced by ex stern trawlers, and these in turn have been superseded by purpose-built Standby Safety Vessels: (PDF)

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) documents have exposed a series of concerning safety failures on 15 North Sea platforms, with operators receiving warnings. A freedom of information request has unveiled 28 inspection letters sent by HSE to North Sea firms since October.

A “devastating” flat fire that killed a woman and two young children in Cambridge in June was started by an e-bike that had been left charging:

There is significant fire and explosion risk associated with lithium-ion batteries. TÜV SÜD provide safety guidance for their use in commercial and industrial environments:

The independent UK Covid-19 Inquiry has launched a listening exercise, ‘Every Story Matters’, which seeks individual’s stories about experience of the pandemic. The stories will be submitted to each relevant investigation as evidence:

Just launched, the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) Global Safety Report 2023, covering 2012 - 2022 data, analyses the main causes of serious injuries and fatalities occurring when using powered access machines to conduct temporary work at height:

Optimising Offshore Renewables Projects, is a new guide from Black & Veatch to help organisations reduce risk and ensure successful outcomes for offshore wind and marine energy projects.

HSE inspectors have begun a targeted inspection initiative focusing on manufacturing businesses where materials that contain respirable crystalline silica are used. This will include brick and tile manufacturers and foundries:

Should occupational mental health and wellbeing form part of the role of OSH professionals? That’s one of the questions posed in the 2023 Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) member survey which all members are urged to complete:

A summary of key points made by Alison Margary, British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) Past President, at the Safety & Health Expo in May this year, on why she feels women’s workplace health is neglected:

According to the HSE, an estimated 2 million tonnes of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment recycling (WEEE) items are discarded by householders and companies in the UK every year. This article explores why recycling it is so important:

June 2023

In response to a written question from Baroness McIntosh of Pickering to the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and rural Affairs, the Minister of State Lord Benyon estimated the cost to the UK chemical industry of simultaneously (1) adapting to the UK REACH programme, and (2) maintaining compliance with the EU REACH programme, as £2bn over six years:

The OECD has reported on two projects to support the socio-economic analysis of chemicals by helping to better quantify and monetise their morbidity and environmental impacts, the so-called “Surveys on Willingness-to-Pay to Avoid Negative Chemicals-Related Health Impacts (SWACHE)” and “Socio-economic Analysis of Chemicals by Allowing a better quantification and monetisation of Morbidity and Environmental impacts (SACAME)” projects:

The North Sea Chapter of the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) is developing a mental health charter after research by the International SOS Foundation found 40% of North Sea onshore and offshore rotational workers experienced suicidal thoughts some or all of the time while on duty, and that offshore workers are 15x more likely to commit suicide than those onshore:

A global workplace insights report by Unispace, which surveyed 9,500 employees and 6,650 employers across 14 industries in 17 countries, has found that 72% of firms surveyed have mandated a return to the workplace and that this approach risks higher levels of employee attrition and reduced ability to recruit:

PSV Glass & Glazing Limited, of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, has pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 after a worker was crushed beneath a 700kg crate in June 2021. The company was fined £200,000 plus £4,897.05 in costs.

The University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences, with funding from the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), have created a SIM card-sized technology that could be used in sectors such as food and drink manufacturing, water monitoring, pharmaceutical development, agriculture, and aquaculture to detect toxic chemical contamination in liquids:

Details of an Oxford-based clinical trial into the efficacy of neurodynamic exercises for patients with a diagnosis of mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome:

Illegal vapes confiscated from school pupils in Kidderminster have been found to contain 2.4 times the stipulated safe exposure level to lead, 9.6 times the safe amount of nickel, and 6.6 times the safe amount of chromium, amongst other toxic substances including formaldehyde and acetaldehyde:

Every year, millions of tonnes of waste are dumped in UK landfill sites. Panorama reporter Amber Haque investigates a Staffordshire landfill which residents claim has affected their health and examines the potentially toxic legacy of historic landfill sites:

Gates Engineering & Services UK Ltd of Cramlington, Northumberland, has pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 after a worker trapped his arm in an unguarded 60-metre lathe. The company was fined £200,000 plus £3,653.70 in costs:


Pesticide companies, including Syngenta, Bayer, Nissan Chemical Corporation, and ISK failed to disclose a series of studies assessing brain toxicity to European regulators, according to research by Stockholm University, despite the same studies having been submitted to US regulators:

The idea of circular economy in the plastics industry is often cited as the magic bullet, but a report by Greenpeace has found that recycled plastic can be even more toxic than it was prior to recycling, and is no fix for pollution:

A new report, “Global Corporate Social Responsibility Software Market Size, Share & Industry Trends Analysis Report by Deployment, Application, Regional Outlook and Forecast, 2022-2028”, states that the market is expected to reach $1.4 billion by 2028, rising at a market growth of 9.7% CAGR during the forecast period:

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is calling on businesses to ensure they use the new workplace standard BS 30416 designed to support employees experiencing menopause or menstruation:

May 2023

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released its report “Health and Safety at Work - Summary statistics for Great Britain 2022”. It shows that 123 workers were killed in work-related accidents in 2021/22; 565,000 workers self-reported they had sustained a non-fatal injury; 61,713 employee non-fatal injuries were reported by employers under RIDDOR; and 6mn working days were lost due to non-fatal workplace injuries.

Risk safety consultancy Salus Technical has collated 147 inspection letters the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued during 2019, revealing recurring safety problems for the UK North Sea. A total of 1,062 non-compliances were found across 18 different inspection topics from the letters issued to 56 operators:

Trucking company GCS Johnson Limited of Richmond, North Yorkshire, has pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £140,000 plus £18,355.07 in costs after the death of a worker in August 2018:

E-bike and e-scooter fires have injured at least 190 people in the UK and killed eight in a more than quadrupling in blazes since 2020. Overheating lithium-ion batteries create fierce fires, releasing toxic smoke, and are now occurring at the rate of at least six a week:

Hawkeswood Metal Recycling Limited and Ensco 10101 Limited (previously Shredmet) of Birmingham have been found guilty of breaching section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 after a wall collapsed killing five agency workers in July 2016. They have been fined a total of £1.6mn plus £775,000 in prosecution costs. Two company directors have been jailed for nine months:

Work Right, a campaign by the HSE aimed at helping smaller businesses and workers, has issued guidance on asbestos. Around 5,000 people in Great Britain die every year from asbestos-related diseases as a result of past exposure, making asbestos the single greatest cause of work-related deaths:

A comprehensive look at the environmental impact of forever chemicals (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)) and the urgency of finding replacements for the aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs) used in firefighting to tackle flammable liquids or Class B fires:

An article on the numbers of UK workers affected by poor or non-existent local exhaust ventilation (LEV); there are estimated to be around 13,000 UK deaths each year linked to past exposure to oil mist, dust, and fumes at work:

Throughout May, June and July HSE is undertaking a respiratory health intervention initiative which will focus on respiratory risks from exposure to dusts including from wood and silica:

At the Safety & Health Expo on 16th May, James Ramsay spoke about his headfirst fall from 7m on a North Sea oil platform which left him with a lifelong brain injury: and

April 2023

UK unions and campaign groups have called for an overhaul of whistleblowing legislation to close loopholes which mean many offshore workers receive next to no legal safeguards when raising alarms:

The University of Strathclyde is to launch the Strathclyde Centre for Occupational Safety and Health (SCOSH), a new centre focused on education, research, and professional development in occupational health and safety:

The HSE inspected more waste sites than planned under its waste and recycling sector workplan for 2022-23, with 610 visits against a planned 500. Inspectors discovered material breaches at 43% of sites:

Trucast Limited, of Ryde, Isle of Wight, a manufacturer of turbocharger wheels for the automotive industry, has pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for failing to assess the health risks to employees using vibrating equipment, failing to control employees’ exposure to vibration, and failing to put in place an adequate health surveillance programme to monitor its workers’ health:

PD Ports, which owns and operates Teesport, the sixth largest port in the UK, as well as 11 other key ports and logistics centres nationwide, has earned Gold Status from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) for the third consecutive year:

A survey of 250 facilities managers commissioned by Watco, a leading manufacturer of industrial strength paint, repair, and maintenance materials, has identified concerns around health and safety and the role it plays in productivity and output:

Mike Stevens, CEO of H&S specialists Praxis42, writes on ways Health & Safety specialists can confidently lead conversations at board level to drive safety culture objectives:

IOSH Research Programme Lead Dr Karen Michell writes on how organisations can meet government aims to safely retain people in the workplace as the number in the economically active age group who are no longer in employment continues to rise: - and yet The Treasury has been accused of hypocrisy after figures showed the average age of its staff is 33.6, while it is currently pushing for more over-50s to return to the workforce:

Terrill Bros. (Founders) Limited, of Hayle, Cornwall, has admitted breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017, and Regulation 8(1) of the preceding Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 after putting its employees at risk of exposure to high dose rates of ionising radiation over a ten-year period:

HSE guidance can be found at: Health and Safety: Ionising Radiation (

Almost half UK oil spills breach permitted limits, far more than the government’s safety benchmarks, and beyond safe levels for marine life. The top five spillers were Dana, Repsol Sinopec, CNR, Shell and Apache, with each of these spilling at least half of their spilled oil beyond the limits of the permit:

March 2023

The TUC has released a report, co-authored with Long Covid Support Employment Support, into 3,000 workers’ experiences of Long Covid. It reveals that they face lack of reasonable adjustments, discrimination and unfair treatment, and one in seven lost their jobs because of the condition. They call for everyone with Long Covid to be recognised as disabled under the Equality Act 2010, and for it to be recognised as an occupational disease:

Honeywell has released Safety Watch, a real-time wearable location tool for industrial applications that uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to monitor an employee’s health, detect and sound an alarm if they have gone idle for a long period of time, and identifies if they have entered a restricted area:

According to research by Unchecked UK with support from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) among others, seven in 10 (69%) businesses are not willing to accept lower health and safety standards as part of the Retained EU Law Bill which is in the House of Lords at committee stage:

Former HSE Employment Medical Adviser and Consultant Physician, Dr Chris Ide, sets out some of the key physiological issues for employers to be aware of at a time when approximately one-third of the UK workforce is over the age of 50, pushing the average retirement age beyond 65:

A Norwegian study of offshore oil workers found those on “rollover” shift patterns working both day and nights had a markedly higher risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer to colleagues who worked only days:

Exolum Pipeline System Ltd (formerly CLH Pipeline System (CLH-PS) Ltd), a major pipeline transportation company, has been fined £2.3mn plus costs of £157,431 after workers were exposed to a leaking pressurised petrol pipeline near Holme, Lincolnshire in March 2018 in breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and an offence contrary to Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. (HSE)

A prosecution against the owners of the UK's largest power station has been dropped by the HSE. HSE alleged health and safety failings at the Drax plant relating to workers' exposure to wood dust with five employees developing asthma. However, a causal link between the occupational asthma and handling of the biomass could not be established to the criminal standard:


In celebration of 70 years of preventing worker ill health, the British Occupational Hygiene Society’s Faculty of Occupational Hygiene has brought together for the first time free technical guidance on occupational hazards for scientists, health and safety professionals, and industrial disease lawyers:

The British Metals Recycling Association is urging the government to lead a new campaign as figures show that the number of fires caused by exploding lithium-ion batteries in e-scooters and e-bikes soared by almost 150% in 2021:

Glasgow South West SNP MP Chris Stephens has called for the government to do more to ensure people with disabilities can work from home. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), people with disabilities make up c. 1bn, or 15% of the world’s population, about 80% being of working age:

November 2022

‘Personnel Today’ has provided a helpful guide to the workplace implications of the World Cup in Qatar which will see 32 nations taking part in 64 matches from Sunday 20 November until Sunday 18 December. It covers staff mental health and morale, flexible working, productivity, human rights concerns, race discrimination, and behaviour outside work:

A call from Dr Iván Williams Jiménez, IOSH policy development manager, for urgent attention to climate change within OSH standards and frameworks. ‘A joint effort will be needed – from regulators and public health surveillance systems, to employers. We will also need to integrate OSH into long-term planning, systems and practices.’:

To make people aware of the current state of knowledge about our changing climate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has produced a straightforward summary from one of their recent assessment reports:

Mandatory wellbeing reporting could stimulate action to support employee mental health, but it could also encourage undesirable ‘box ticking’ behaviours, employee wellbeing experts said during a session at the 5th annual MAD World Summit in London in October: On a similar theme, in the past month, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has released new guidelines for employers on preventing work-related mental health conditions and promoting mental health at work:

An investigation has been launched by the Petroleum Safety Authority after a worker suffered a serious crush injury on an offshore drilling rig in ConocoPhillips-operated Tommeliten field in the North Sea on 10 November:

As many as 6.8 million workers are concerned about their personal safety every week. This doesn’t just apply to lone and vulnerable workers but extends to every part of life, including commuting. A watch-on-demand ‘Personnel Today’ webinar asks how this affects employee wellbeing and retention:

Logistics company Eddie Stobart has been fined £133,000 after excavation work at its freight port in Widnes exposed staff to asbestos. No asbestos survey or staff training had been carried out, and the company failed to report the incident under RIDDOR 2013. The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 of The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and Regulation 11(1) of The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. (HSE)

Sheffield-based transport firm Arnold Laver & Company Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and fined £400,000 plus costs of £19,841.99 after one of its drivers was struck and killed by his vehicle’s crane during unloading in November 2020. (HSE)

Dutch decommissioning specialist Petrodec has been taken to task by the Petroleum Safety Authority after it failed to remove oil from the Rose pipeline ahead of decommissioning the Amethyst A2D platform in the Southern North Sea. A release of “condensate and fire” subsequently arose:

July 2022

The latest release of workplace fatalities by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showed that between April 2021 and March 2022, 123 workers died in work-related accidents in Great Britain. The industries with the highest deaths were construction (30), agriculture, forestry, and fishing (22), and manufacturing (22). A further 80 members of the public were killed following a work-related accident:

The HSE also published figures for Mesothelioma, a cancer that can be caused by past exposure to asbestos. The figures show that 2,544 people died from the disease in 2020. Current mesothelioma deaths reflect exposure to asbestos primarily occurring pre-1980s and annual deaths are expected to decline during the next decade.

Midland Steel Reinforcement Supplies (UK) Ltd, of Motherwell has pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Regulations 5(1) and 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 9(3) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 after HSE inspections in 2019 revealed injuries to two workers on separate occasions. The company was fined £450,000 plus £41,23.51 in costs:


The Work and Pensions Committee published its Sixth Report of Session 2021–22, The Health and Safety Executive’s approach to asbestos management (HC 560) on 21 April 2022. The Government’s Response was received on 18 July. The government has rejected the Committee’s key recommendation that policy makers should commit to removing all asbestos from public buildings within 40 years

Given the record-breaking temperature attained in mid-July, employers must make sure indoor workplaces remain at a reasonable temperature (there is no maximum) and manage the risk of working outdoors in hazardous heat. Indoor temperatures are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to undertake a risk assessment. (HSE)

Around 110,000 people are missing work because they suffer from long Covid, according to the think tank Institute for Fiscal Studies. According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of people in the UK with long Covid hit 2 million in May – or 3% of the population:

Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company has been fined £3mn with costs of £90,000 after pleading guilty to charges under sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act, and regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations after a fatal accident involving the release of ammonia gas at its main UK brewery in Northampton in 2016:

The HSE recently published the UK REACH Work Programme 2022/23 which sets out the activity that HSE, supported by the Environment Agency and other relevant agencies, will carry out to operate UK REACH. To complement this, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has published the rationale used for identifying particular substances for potential regulatory action under UK REACH in 2022 to 2023:

Steve Rae, a survivor of the 1988 Piper Alpha explosion, the world’s worst ever offshore disaster, spoke at the Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) HSE conference in Aberdeen in June. He urged energy bosses to share impactful ‘personal stories’ to inspire a safety culture, and alternative energy technologies must not suffer the “harsh lessons” that oil and gas has learnt:

SafetyOn, the health and safety organisation for the onshore wind sector, has released its incident data report for 2021. 593 incidents were reported across a total of 7,083,375 worked hours. There were no fatalities. 71 incidents occurred during routine maintenance; 59 working with electrical systems; and 56 working with access/egress: (PDF)

June 2022

More hot weather is forecast. Employers are advised to refresh their understanding of their obligations under The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 which deal with the control of temperature and ventilation, and with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which place an obligation on the employer to carry out a risk assessment of the workplace and act accordingly:

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published its 10 year strategy ‘Protecting People and Places: HSE strategy 2022-2032’ which sets out its objectives with regard to enforcement for the next decade:

This was supplemented by the publication of the HSE Business Plan 2022/23 which covers the first transitional year of the strategy:

The senior managers of UK food waste recycling site Greenfeeds Ltd, which is now in liquidation, have been jailed and the firm fined £2mn after being found guilty of two counts of corporate manslaughter following the deaths of two workers in a tanker of pig feed in December 2016:

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has expressed disappointment about the lack of engagement and collaboration from the HSE with its key regulatory partners, particularly local authorities, as the HSE developed its new 10-year strategy to help cultivate safer workplaces:

The HSE has published its Annual Science Review. This year’s review illustrates the mix of activities that has helped to ensure that HSE’s response to the pandemic was informed by the best available evidence. It has also assisted HSE as an enabling regulator, and to secure justice against those who breach the law:

A study by the Co-Op and New Economics Foundation found that loneliness costs UK employers more than £2.5 billion a year: from increased sick days and time off to care for others, to lower productivity and staff retention levels. Three in five employees admitted to feeling lonely at work:

The HSE has warned TotalEnergies over a series of failures in its maintenance processes on the Gryphon Alpha Platform, leading to risks of “fire and explosion”:

In the year since Amazon pledged to become “Earth's Safest Place to Work,” the serious injury rate at the company's American warehouses rose 15%:

Seafood processing company QA Fish Ltd of Scalloway, Shetland has pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and fined £80,000 after a worker died following injuries sustained when she was run over by a forklift truck in January 2018:

April 2022

A brief run-down of April’s changes to employment legislation, including increases to National Minimum Wage, National Living Wage, SSP, maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental and parental bereavement pay; the gender pay gap reporting deadline; the right-to-work checking process for biometric residence card holders; new limits on employment statutory redundancy; and IR35 checks:

The European Commission’s long-awaited proposal on corporate sustainability due diligence has been published. Under the draft law, companies with more than 500 employees will be required to prevent and mitigate harm to people and planet – such as child labour and pollution – throughout their global value chains:

A case study on Brisko Scaffolding in Ipswich, which pleaded guilty to multiple safety failings and was ordered to pay more than £515,000 after an employee sustained a life-changing crush injury in November 2019 while using a forklift truck to move a bundle of steel weighing around 1.1 MT:

Innovations in health and safety training is the topic of the first in a new series of free webinars offered by IOSH and the European Network of Safety and Health Professional Organizations (ENSHPO). It is on 7 April at 1 p.m:

BW Offshore has been served an improvement notice by the HSE after crew on the Harbour Energy’s Catcher field floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel were put in serious danger of exposure to lethal levels of toxic gas:

Research shows that women are more susceptible to burnout caused by the stresses of coping with the COVID pandemic, and one in three women has considered downshifting or leaving the workforce in the past year. Occupational health professionals need to work proactively to support women to thrive in the workplace:

The Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO) has taken an important step towards the possible inclusion of occupational safety and health as a fundamental principle and right at work. The matter will be discussed at the 110th International Labour Conference in June:

Able UK Limited of Cleveland has pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2(1) of The Health and Safety at Work act 1974 and been fined £200,000 with £20,991.24 costs after a contractor suffered life threatening injuries in a fall during the dismantling of the Brent Bravo, a former North Sea oil and gas platform:

A quick look at five serious books for HR and Occupational Health professionals - with subjects ranging from tackling stress with mental resilience, creating successful hybrid workplaces and tackling worker isolation, confronting racism by encouraging anti-racist leadership, and how to embed purpose as a business ‘must-have’ at a deep level into organisations:

ACAS have published useful advice on Long-COVID for employers and employees.

Firstly, advice on sickness and absence because of Long-COVID: and, secondly, whether Long-COVID is treated as a disability:

Scientific evidence from Dr Theo Compernolle explains that since our thinking brain can only focus on one thing at a time, for work that requires sustained attention and concentration, all task-switching and distractions should be eliminated – especially those coming from walkie-talkies, phones and screens:

Regulations have been published which will amend the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (PPEWR). Certain self-employed workers not previously entitled to free PPE will need to be provided with it by the business that they work for:

A & S Metal Recycling Limited of Stourport-on-Severn has pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, fined £66,000 plus costs of £8,192.55 after a 15-year-old employee suffered 22% burns following an explosion and flash fire. (HSE)

International SOS, the world's leading health and security services company, and the Workforce Resilience Council, commissioned Ipsos MORI to survey c. 1,000 risk professionals across 75 countries on health, security, and COVID-19 risks in 2022:

A study of a million individuals in Rome over a 15-year period identified a positive association between long-term exposure to air pollution (NO2, PM10 and PM2.5) and risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism:

A systematic review and meta-analysis of 16 studies identified that people residing less than 5 km from a petrochemical facility (refinery or manufacturer of commercial chemicals) had a 30% higher risk of developing Leukaemia than residents from communities with none:

January 2022

Experts warn that post-Brexit UK rule changes on chemicals would change the way ‘substances of very high concern’ are dealt with by the regulator:

The Policy paper “Approach to including substances of very high concern on the UK REACH candidate list”, which was published on 9 December 2021, is available here:

AeraMax Pro AM3 and AM4 air purifiers manufactured by Fellowes have been proven to be effective in eliminating aerosolised concentration of SARS-CoV-2 by 99.9999% through a single air pass test of the purifier:

Employers need to consider any additional risks to water hygiene arising from adopting hybrid working:

Safety & Health Practitioner present their annual video round-up of the 10 biggest health and safety prosecutions of 2021:

The Society of Occupational Medicine have a large number and range of free recordings and slides of previous Webinars on key topics of interest to occupational health professionals:

There remains no removal plan in place for the cold-stacked oil rig “Ocean Princess” in the Cromarty Firth which has been boarded by thrill-seekers posting videos on YouTube:

More than 20 past and present employees of PSV Glass and Glazing Ltd of High Wycombe diagnosed with hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) have instructed specialist lawyers after the HSE brought criminal proceedings against the company for breaching the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005:

For older news items see the news archive