Important Rule Changes for CITB Site Safety Plus Scheme

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The CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) has recently announced an important change in the rules for the Site Safety Plus Scheme. The new change to bring the scheme in line with other Cskills Awards products by doing away with the six-month grace period on certificates.

Currently, there is a grace period after a CITB certificate expires, which allows delegates to attend a refresher course within six months of the expiry date. Soon, this grace period will be removed, so delegates must now ensure that they attend a refresher course before their certificate expires.

CITB are removing the certificate grace period; currently the grace period is six months after a certificate expires This means that instead of the 6 month grace period after a certificate ends, delegates need to ensure they attend a refresher course before the end date of their certificate instead of having to sit a full course.

The current grace period process will continue until the 31 December, 2015. After this date, the grace period will not be valid without a formal appeal to the CITB. If any of your staff or contractors have Site Safety Plus certificates that will have expired by this date, book them on one of our SSSTS Refresher or SMSTS Refresher courses now.

If you would like to book a refresher course click on the above link or call our Head Office on 0121 333 7232. You can also email us at [email protected]

Health and Safety Basics For Business Owners

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It is Business Safety Week in the United Kingdom, as the Chief Fire Officers’ Associations (CFOA) aims to highlight the importance of protecting staff members from fire hazards and other types of health and safety risks. To mark the occasion, British Safety Services is offering business owners comprehensive advice on how to mitigate any risks in order to protect the health and safety of their staff, customers and any visitors.

Exercise Comprehensive Fire Safety

The main goal of Business Safety Week is to reduce the risk of fires. To help business owners prioritise their fire safety measures, the CFOA has coined a ‘simple’ message:

  • Store stock safely. Corridors, stairs and exits should remain clear.
  • Identify alarm points.
  • Make sure doors are closed to stop fires from spreading.
  • Place flammable objects away from sources of fire.
  • Let someone know if you notice any fire hazards.
  • Ensure everyone is aware of what to do in case of a fire.

Control Health and Safety Risks In Your Business

It is important to carry out a risk assessment of your business and its premises. This will determine if there are any potential threats to the health and safety of your staff and any visitors. Many smaller businesses can use the Health and Safety Executive’s Risk Assessment Tool, which helps ‘low-risk’ business owners comply with health and safety law.

Higher-risk businesses may need to enlist in the help of a professional. At British Safety Services, we offer Health and Safety Consultancy, which includes risk assessments, inspections and audits for businesses in a wide range of fields.

Provide Training to Employees

Once any risks have been identified, it is time to train your staff. All employees should be notified of the potential health and safety risks in your business, and how they should react in the event of an emergency situation.

All staff members should be made aware of the following information:

  • Any hazards that they may face
  • Measures that are in place to deal with these hazards
  • Relevant emergency procedures

Many businesses can conduct training in-house with a staff meeting. The information should be presented clearly, and all employees should leave knowing exactly what is expected of them both on a day-to-day basis and in the event of an emergency. For higher-risk and larger businesses, health and safety training from an external source may be required.

Ensure that all new staff undergo health and safety training, and remember to provide refresher training to all employees, especially those that assume new responsibilities or job roles. To stay on top of this, be sure to keep detailed training records.

Maintain Facilities for a Safety Working Environment

As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure a safe working environment for your staff. According to the HSE, these are the basic facilities required to keep your employees safe and healthy at work.

To address health issues, ensure that your workplace has:

  • An effective ventilation system
  • A comfortable temperature in the workplace (the HSE recommends a minimum 16°C, or 13°C for strenuous work)
  • Suitable lighting
  • Adequate room for seating
  • A clean working environment

To address safety issues, ensure that there is:

  • Proper maintenance of work equipment and the property overall
  • Floors that are free of obstructions
  • Windows that can be safely opened

British Safety Services offers a wide range of health and safety training and consultancy services businesses around the world. For more information on how we can help you mitigate health and safety risks for your business, browse our health and safety services or call us at: +44 (0) 121 333 7232

Surviving exam stress

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Everyone has a life and responsibilities outside work: they may have children or other caring responsibilities, or simply want time to pursue other interests. In 2000, the Government launched a campaign to improve the work-life balance for employees in the UK. Employers are encouraged to introduce flexible working practices which enable their employees to achieve a better balance between work and the rest of their lives.

However, while the emphasis from the Government is on a work-life balance, many employees are also studying while working full or part-time, which adds an extra element to the work-life balance equation. This can make it very difficult for those studying to allow themselves enough time to ‘have a life’ outside of their work and studies, particularly when revising for exams.

People approach revision in various ways: some will thrive on the stress and adrenaline rush while others will struggle to open a book and get started. The tips should help people focus their mind and help them achieve the desired results.

Planning is the key to successful revision. Examination dates are published well in advance and you should use this knowledge to plan your structured revision programme.   Don’t leave it to the week before.  Research past papers and examiner feedback, learn from the successes of others and avoid obvious candidate pitfalls.

As part of your revision plan, ensure that you make time for your revision. This is essential in achieving a work-life balance at this time. Often demands from family, friends and work colleagues can seem unreasonable. Put time aside at home when the house is quiet to revise – this can be in the morning or at night depending on when you are most awake.

To make your revision effective, ensure that you organise your revision plan. Avoid doing the same thing all the time – adopt different techniques to keep your interest in the task at hand.

Six Simple Revision Techniques

  1. Condense. Fitting notes onto one side of paper makes the volume easier to stomach, so rewrite and cut down as you go.
  2. Highlight. Target key areas using colours and symbols. Visuals help you remember the facts.
  3. Record. Try putting important points, quotes and formulae on tape. If you hear them and read them, they’re more likely to sink in.
  4. Talk. Read your notes out loud, it’s one way of getting them to register.
  5. Test. See what you can remember without notes, but avoid testing yourself on subjects you know already.  If you have a very patient friend or partner it may help to ask them to test you.
  6. Time. Do past exam papers against the clock; it’s an excellent way of getting up to speed, particularly with exam boards putting added pressure onto you by requiring you to address a wide range of subjects in a very short period of time.

By taking regular breaks and eating properly, you will maintain a healthier mind and body, which will give you a greater chance of successful revision. A breath of fresh air or some other exercise will loosen up your mind as well as your body.

Eating a variety of healthy foods doesn’t just give your body a boost; it also benefits your brain cells. Skipping meals may well give you extra cramming time, but it can also leave you hungry and unable to concentrate, so, eat regularly and sensibly. Think wholemeal bread sandwiches and fruit, rather than cakes and biscuits!

Finally you should adopt a positive approach to taking exams. It is much easier to memorise and recall information if you have a relaxed open mind. A few tips when taking exams are given below.

“Read, Plan, Write, Avoid

Training – get it right!

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Experience is no use without knowledge – training may be flawlessly delivered but it’s no use if it is ten years out of date. Knowledge without experience is equally bad – understanding how knowledge is applied in practical situations is almost as important as the knowledge itself.

To help overcome the issues around safety in the Middle East, region-wide action has been taken by governments to encourage director-level responsibility for safety management. They have also applied indirect pressure, tightening existing laws by creating ‘corporate killing’ or ‘corporate manslaughter’ offences, and addressing the concept of the ‘controlling mind’ within the health and safety ethos of a company.

The need for senior executive and board members to become actively involved in safety programmes has been underlined by worrying research: Safety specialists in the UK found that the majority of serious safety failures in the Middle East (amongst other places) are caused by management failure. The European Union says that the current 6,000 deaths in the region each year from work-related accidents are not only the result of carelessness, poor training and negligence but also ‘bad management and incompetence’.

Increasingly companies are ‘biting the bullet’ and sending senior staff on high level training courses. Recently more than 50 directors and managers from Al Futtaim Carillion – a regional leader in design, construction, facilities management and maintenance services through joint ventures in Dubai, Oman and Abu Dhabi – undertook the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health, the NEBOSH National General Certificate – an extremely rigorous health and safety training course, with more than 80% of attendees achieving a credit or a distinction.

Regional differences and requirements

Understanding the specific requirements of a particular region is the bedrock upon which all training must be built. Teaching someone in Bahrain in the same way you teach someone in Birmingham UK is a recipe for disaster. The training provider must understand the cultural and linguistic realities of the area they are working in, and the local practicalities of the industry.

As a safety organisation NEBOSH (The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) is beyond reproach. Formed in 1979 as an independent examining board and awarding body, their qualifications are recognised globally and are designed to meet health, safety, environmental and risk management training requirements for both the private and public sectors.

Management need to be able to demonstrate that their worker’s training is credible, realistic and applicable to the real world. A piece of paper from a university no-one has heard of will do them no good at all when they are facing a corporate manslaughter charge.

Developing a safety culture through training

The Middle East is what is described as a ‘relationship driven culture’, a place where personal relationships form the basis of most social and business interaction. Relationship driven cultures are usually collectivist in nature, where the interests, opinions and decisions of the group carry more weight than those of the individual.

Cultures of this kind often have highly developed hierarchical structures that trainers have to be able to work within to achieve the desired outcome, and this can act as a major stimulus in improving working practices.

In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, for example, the legislation on health and safety has been revised so it no longer has the ‘grey areas’ that afflict the laws of other parts of the region. Dubai currently has around 8,000 construction sites and more than 80,000 workers, most of them from outside the country.

During 2008 local inspectors made nearly 30,000 site inspections and found a compliance rate in excess of 75%. This is a good example of the proper application of legislation, training and cultural expectations to make the workforce safer.

In the light of changing world economic circumstances, a widely used theory for accident causation has been given a vital update – by adding a sixth domino to the classic Five Domino Theory.

The Sixth Domino

At a recent conference in Kish, Iran, the Managing Director of British Safety Services (BSS), Pat McLoughlin, unveiled BSS’ new theory on accident and incident causation, as initially set out in 1931 by HW Heinrich.
Heinrich’s traditional 5 Domino Theory on accident causation is the standard model used by health and safety professionals. The theory works on the basis that, if a domino falls, it will be a matter of time before it will knock down the others next to it. This, he says is the way with workplace health and safety, where one undesirable event in the workplace will lead to others, and eventually to an accident.
This theory was further developed by Bird and Loftus in 1976, and includes the influence of management in accident causation. This modified version of the sequence was:
1. Lack of management control (leading to)
2. Basic causes (which give rise to)
3. Immediate causes
4. Accident/Incident
5. Loss/Injury
BSS recognise that in 2010, the domino theory should be updated, and therefore has now developed this process further, showing that there are in fact, six stages of the accident causation process, rather than just the traditional five, placing ‘External Factors’ at the very beginning of the process.
External pressures provide a major impact on any business and should be considered from a health and safety perspective. Issues such as international recession, business environment, low prices and high competition, inheriting staff from previous contractors, and remote locations –all need to be assessed in developing and implementing a health and safety strategy.
Pat said: ‘In today’s fast moving environment, especially with the current financial climate, BSS believe that recognising and managing ‘sixth domino’ is vital to improving performance and standards in the world of Health and Safety.

The Case for Training

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By Steve Burke, British Safety Services

‘Failure to train is training to fail’ was a popular saying a few years ago. Nobody disputes that teaching someone how to do their job is a good thing, but too little weight is given to the value of continuing training. Learning is development, and without development you get stagnation, and that isn’t a good thing for any business. In terms of health and safety, training is not only important, but essential for workers’ continuing competence and safety.

Why Train?

Just about the only way to learn how to do a job, especially the more complex and technical ones, is to be properly trained. This can be as simple as the person working next to you showing you how to do something – although that has its own particular drawbacks – to spending time in education learning something more complex. Learning the basic skills of a working environment – essential for new staff – is induction training.

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