Health and Safety Week 2015. 10 things

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After a week of promoting health and safety via a number of platforms, both physical and virtual, we have learned a number of things that I thought may be worth sharing. These are based on my observations of the week and reflect the messages I have taken.

  1. Safety is very often prioritised over health due to the obvious nature of the risk and the immediacy of the effects. This has to change.
  2. Safety related fatal injuries account for 2% of work related deaths. 98% relate to occupational health.
  3. Deaths resulting from exposure to asbestos, chemicals and silica are peaking due to historical exposure. We are going to some way to controlling exposure now due to the knowledge we have gained over the years but are we confident that we are preventing further exposure?
  4. New risks are emerging, but again are employers aware of and controlling the risks? An example being the reemergence of lead as an issue in refurbishment projects.
  5. It is one thing recognising health effects and treating the consequences but the intervention should be further up the chain at the preventative stage.
  6. 5 painters die every week as a result of occupational exposure to chemicals that have caused lung and bladder conditions.
  7. Nanotechnology and aerosols from new waste and recycling processes may well be two of a number of new substances that employees are being exposed to. Are they harmful? We probably won’t know for sure until years down the road, prevent the exposure now.
  8. There is an abundance of knowledge about health risks but it is often poorly applied.
  9. Management systems, monitoring and supervision are areas that require significant improvement. The paperwork is often good, but the implementation is poor.
  10. Sir Ranulph Fiennes really doesn’t like Norwegians!

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