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In 2022, The Health and Safety (HSE) launched a new 10-year strategy: Protecting People and Places. This is strategy that reflects HSE’s role at its broadest. ... Ver más
In 2022, The Health and Safety (HSE) launched a new 10-year strategy: Protecting People and Places. This is strategy that reflects HSE’s role at its broadest. ... Ver más

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  • Disability in the Workplace
    In this podcast, we discuss HSE’s simple principles and guidance to support disabled workers and workers with long term health conditions in the workplace.   Moya Woolley, Occupational Health Policy Team Leader at HSE and Rebecca Hyrslova, Policy Advisor at Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) discuss the guidance and Talking Toolkit to help businesses create an inclusive approach to workplace health.   For more information on the campaign visit Work Right for everyone - Work Right to keep Britain safe   HiEB Podcast: Disability in the Workplace Transcript   Mick Ord (Host): A warm welcome to you wherever and whenever you are listening to this HSE podcast on disability in the workplace. My name's Mick Ord, and over the next 30 minutes or so, we'll be looking into how businesses can support their disabled staff. And along the way, dispel some of the myths and assumptions that are knocking around about the rights of people with disabilities at work, including those with long-term health conditions. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, 25% of company owners are either disabled or have a health condition. And given that there are 5.5 million small businesses in the UK, that percentage amounts to more than 1.3 million disabled-owned companies. That's before you even begin to count the number of disabled people in work. In 2022, there were 4.5 million disabled people in employment according to the Department of Work and Pensions. And yet there is still a perception among many people with disabilities that companies could still do more to understand and support them in the workplace, even though they've undoubtedly been great strides over the past 20 or 30 years. Last November, HSE published a new guidance for businesses, which they called the Talking Toolkit. It's a really practical guide, which stresses the importance of making sure workplaces are accessible for disabled people and that staff communication is clear and inclusive with the appropriate occupational health support available. Moya Woolley is Occupational Health Policy Team Leader at HSE, and one of her priorities is to manage the delivery of this new guidance to benefit workers and managers. Moya, welcome to the podcast. Moya Woolley: Hello. Mick Ord (Host): Nice to see you. Rebecca Hyrslova is a policy advisor at the Federation of Small Businesses and is the FSBs lead on their disability and health policy portfolio. Last year, the FSB published a report Business Without Barriers, identifying the issues which affect business owners and highlighting what actions we can take to make our businesses successful for everyone involved, Rebecca, thanks for joining us in the podcast. Rebecca Hyrslova: Hi, Mick, great to be here today. Mick Ord (Host): Now, Moya, if, if I can start with you, why did HSE feel it necessary to produce the toolkit in the first place? Moya Woolley: Great question. So, the guidance we developed was in response to a government consultation that is called Health is Everyone's Business. And it also fits really nicely with HSE'S 10-year strategy to reduce work-related ill health. The Government's response to the Health is Everyone's Business consultation, which we also call HiEB, was published in July 2021. And set out some of the measures that government will take to protect and maintain progress made to reduce ill health related job loss and provide better workplace support for disabled people and those with long-term health conditions. The measures that government have taken forward include providing greater clarity around employer and employee rights and responsibilities. Addressing the need for employers to have access to clear and compelling information and advice that is easy to understand and is trustworthy and accessible. And also to encourage more employers to provide access to expert support services such as occupational health. At HSE, we know it's not always easy to recruit people that you need to help your business thrive, which is why it's so important to keep and develop talent in your business. And as part of that, we developed this in non-statutory guidance. It strengthens existing guidance and provides seven clear and simple principles that employees are expected to apply to support safer people and those with long-term health conditions in the work environment. The seven principles guide you through how best to create a supportive workplace and focus on the key elements to do this, including how you can develop your worker skills and communicate in an accessible manner. Our HSE guidance is just part of government's response. Our colleagues in DWP and Department of Health and Social Care Joint Work and Health Unit have designed a new digital information advice service to help employers and small and medium sized enterprises to support and manage disability and health conditions at work. This is a dynamic service, which provides a tailored journey for employer users and provides a high-level overview of information and signposting onto trusted resources for service support, such as HSE's new principles, and Talking Toolkits. The new digital service from the joint unit and HSE's non-statutory principle-based guidance are designed to work together and feel seamless. They provide additional support to employers on managing health at work with different formats available to be accessible for all employers, irrespective of size or digital capacity. Mick Ord (Host): Now, is it fair to say that the toolkit is designed to ensure that more disabled people gain employment and set up their own businesses and also that those in employment are retained in the workplace and don't leave because they may not be getting enough support at work? Moya Woolley: Yep. I think that's fair to say. At HSE, we considered a range of ways that you as an employer can support a disabled worker or a worker with a long-term health condition in the workplace. It's hoped the guidance may help prevent disabled workers or those with long-term health conditions falling out of work. It will help workers feel supported, valued and hopefully lead to happier, more productive work environments. The guidance may also help businesses retain key talent, which can save the resource and expense of recruiting. Advertising, interviewing, onboarding, and training new staff cost businesses significant amounts of money that can be saved if businesses can support their workers adequately and help them thrive and remain in roles. We base the seven principles of a non-statutory guidance on the Prevent, Promote, Support model, which aims to protect people in work and keep them healthy and productive. Promote to build their knowledge and understanding and transparency within workplaces, considering the health of the workforce and how that interacts with work and to support to help people get back into work and remain in work. We also develop the principles with disability charities, unions and business representatives in a task and finish group. So, we know that the principles work to those we want to apply them. The principles represent best practice and go beyond what the law requires, though following them will help you develop a supportive enabling workplace culture. And many of the principles require only small changes to be made, which can have a huge impact on an individual's experience at work. Mick Ord (Host): Now Rebecca, I mentioned the FSB report, which was published last year: Business Without Barriers. What would you say are the main barriers to more employment of disabled people, either running their own businesses or as employees? Rebecca Hyrslova: Thanks Mick. Also, thanks to Moya. It was great to hear a little bit of the HSE's perspective on the toolkits that we also were a part of creating. To answer your question, Mick, you ask about disabled employees and disabled business owners, and I think there's a great overlap in the barriers that they experience, perhaps from slightly different angles. So, in our report, Business Without Barriers that you mentioned, we found that 52% of disabled entrepreneurs have experienced some form of barrier due to their disability or health condition, and the three that were most commonly cited: 34% said that they were unable to commit consistent hours or meet very short deadlines. Then we had 15% of disabled entrepreneurs struggling to get or apply for even financial support. And then 11% cited access to equipment as a barrier. There were some other issues often around business support and accessible training. Now, I appreciate that it's not going to be every disabled employee's everyday battle to apply for finance, but that sort of issue around very strict deadlines or perhaps, you know, written applications, a strict format that may not suit them. That can be said for disabled employees as well. So, the barriers are around perhaps flexibility, whether that is to do with work pattern or even the format of the actual job that they have to carry out or even the application process. So that's the sort of retention and recruitment issue. I actually spoke to one of our members who is a disabled business owner and because of his disability, he has this key focus in his work to get more disabled people in the workforce. He told me a little bit about how he tries to tackle these barriers that he had to overcome himself to enter into the workforce, but also to get more people into his business. And he talked about how he recently hired a web developer, and it was through a standard hiring process, and the employee did not disclose any disability at that point. So, it wasn't until he was sort of well into his job that it became obvious that he's not really great when it comes to long conversations. So long meetings, generally group conversations, and also client interaction, direct client interaction. So, because he's aware just how important open communication is, he made sure that that's established in his business. And through that discourse, he basically found out that indeed this employee had Asperger's. And they kind of spoke about the ways to help him feel better at work because there is this human angle on managing sickness absence, and then there's the productivity angle for the business as well. So, they had a discussion. They decided that this particular employee didn't have to attend group meetings. Instead, he had a transcript afterwards that he could read through, that any sort of communication was not done through ad hoc calls on Skype, but instead was written communication. And these little tweaks translated into greater productivity of the employee, greater happiness at work for him, because he wasn't put on the spot in a way that maybe felt uncomfortable for him. And you know, these adjustments were really at no impact to the business. I mean financially, even performance wise, because the employee in this particular scenario was a web developer, so a lot of his work was done online. So yeah, it's just a great example to show that these barriers that we found were the most common, both for entrepreneurs and employees about accessibility and formats and deadlines, et cetera, are relatively easy and not often costly to overcome. Obviously, there is some more costly adjustments, but for that, there's government support schemes that employers can apply for to help facilitate that, which is very well addressed in the HSE guidance as well. Mick Ord (Host): And I think it's probably the first initial conversation that is most difficult, isn't it? Do you think Rebecca, I've been in similar situations myself, and you're thinking, how do I tackle this? But in the right end environment, once it's out there and everybody knows about somebody's disability and that, it's a lot easier than you might imagine, isn't it? Rebecca Hyrslova: Absolutely, and you're right in saying it's probably the first initial conversation, and I think that with small businesses, but it will be businesses generally speaking, you may not know what's appropriate for you to ask. Of course, you want to ask because it's your duty to make sure that a workplace is safe for an employee. But you also don't want to overstep the mark, and this is where the Talking Toolkit is particularly useful because you get direction in what questions can help you get to that desired outcome, which is to be aware of what's happening to your employees and how to facilitate a safe, healthy environment for them, but equally not perhaps overstep a boundary that may not be clear in terms of just how much your employee also wants to tell you. So, there's definitely. The perfect space for something like talking to toolkits or generally the guidance to, to come into play. Mick Ord (Host): Moya, do you want to give us an example of what that first conversation or really maybe the preparation for that conversation might be? If someone needs an issue to be addressed at their work but is not quite sure how to go about it. Moya Woolley: Yeah, I just want to say that Rebecca is spot on that conversation and that early conversation is exactly what those Talking Toolkits are there to enable. It's one of the things that came out of our user research that knowing what to ask and when to ask it could be a real barrier to kind of making changes that'll help an employee stay in work. So yeah, in response to what you were saying, yeah, we've created seven Talking Toolkits that each fit round a different principle. Which each start a different conversation or can help start a different conversation that you can have with your employee. They're also quite a useful tool as well for the employee. If you are trying to work out how to have that conversation with your employer, that Talking Toolkit can give you kind of the questions or some of the things you can start thinking about sharing and also give you a structure for it. So, I said there's seven of them. There's one around creating a supportive workplace, taking an inclusive approach, understanding barriers in work, making suitable, adjustments, developing skills and knowledge, using effective and accessible communication, as well as supporting sickness, absence of return to work. So, you can, depending on your employee, you can use one when you need it. You could rotate them around as part of regular check-ins. So, they're kind of, they're standalone, but they also work together and then you can print them out and also write on them. So, if you are trying to work in a place where you don't have digital capacity, you can take them and have a chat with your worker like that. So yeah, as I say there's seven of them and they're all just, they’re quite nice ways to start a conversation. And one of the most important things about using them is obviously to listen. There's no point having a conversation with your employee if you're not listening, you're not thinking, you're not thinking how to support it. And then they also help you do that by asking you what you've agreed and what points you're going to take forward. Mick Ord (Host): I think I'm right in saying there's still a misconception among some non-disabled employers that once they think about access to work or adjusting at work, it's going to cost them a fortune. And that's really not the case, is it? Moya Woolley: Really not the case. Adjustments can help remove barriers that are physical, organisational barriers and attitude or social barriers. But the adjustments you can make are as simple as alternative work patterns. So, for example, you might have an employee who's experiencing symptoms of menopause and struggles to sleep well. They can ask to start later in the day, so they get some rest. It can be as simple as assistive software, so screen readers or using the captioning service on an online meeting platform. It could be allowing a phased return to work or using, as Rebecca's outlined, different communication formats to fit the person. And all of those kind of things are quite simple and they don't take a lot of time or money to implement. It's just knowing what works for individual. For example, one of the things we found in our user research was a worker in a tech firm who was suffering from anxiety, and he found it difficult to predict when he would feel anxious, and he felt particularly anxious on public transport. So, the tech firm he was working for decided to try and create a more supportive workplace environment for them, and therefore, the worker felt more confident in approaching the management to talk about his condition. So, the company made some adjustments. The worker was allowed to work from home a bit more, and the number of meetings he had to attend in person was reduced. And when he did have to come to in-person meetings, the company paid for a taxi rather than the worker having to use public transport, which heightened their anxiety. And the benefits. Were quite significant for the company. The cost of taxis was met by the trade-off against not having to pay for office space for this person, and the worker also gets a grant for the transport through the access to work scheme. And the worker, since those adjustments were made, was more productive. So small changes can have big impacts, and you get to retain that talent that is very difficult to replace and replicate, and you get to help create this supportive environment that not only helps that one person but helps that culture across the business. And help people see that you are a business that wants to help people. And you know, people feel happier in their workplace. Mick Ord (Host): Sure. Rebecca, in the FSB report, you say that 34% of small business owners say their mental health declined over the course of the pandemic. Can you give us a few real life or maybe typical examples of how this manifested itself? Rebecca Hyrslova: Yeah, I mean, I think generally speaking, the pandemic highlighted the importance of prioritising mental health, and it's not exactly a new argument that there is a link between workplace and mental health, but often the discussion focuses around employees and generally what employers can do to help their employees' mental health. In regard to work. we've kind of seen there is a bit of a gap in addressing actual mental health of employers as well, because I mean, it comes as no surprise that it's quite stressful to run a business. And especially when in a way you are responsible for your employee's mental health as well. So, what we looked at is obviously you have the closures, restrictions, lockdowns, all that kind of stuff, of course would be very detrimental to one's mental health if their business is at stake. But there were some sort of other key issues where employers found that their mental health was deteriorating in Covid. You said it was 34%, and you're right, we found that a third of small business owners said that their mental health declined. But interestingly, that actually was two thirds, so 66% in those who had a mental health illness. So, you're already looking at, you know, mental health deteriorating generally, but for people that have already had a mental health illness, it's 66%. So quite a high number there. What we found is that 28% of small business owners said that it was managing their staff that had an impact on them because of course everyone was struggling at that time, so you kind of absorbed that as well. But perhaps, interestingly, 23%. So, a relatively similar amount of business owners said it was late payments that caused that decline in mental health for them. So that's quite a specific issue. One that was probably even worse in the pandemic and of course relates to everything. It relates to cash flow. It can have immediate impact, it can have long-term impact on how the business can grow, et cetera. So, it was quite a big issue on a number of different scales and timelines, and it's an ongoing issue actually. It's, it's one of our constant policy focuses, and just a couple weeks ago we've actually released a report on late payments called Time Is Money. So definitely something that we continue to look at, but that was perhaps an interesting takeaway that late payments was the second biggest contributor after managing and looking after their staff mental wellbeing as well. Mick Ord (Host): Interesting, yeah. Moya, an estimated 149.3 million working days were lost because of sickness or injury in 2021 in the UK – equivalent to 4.6 days per worker. Cutting this number will help to grow productivity in the UK, won't it? And presumably you’re hoping that your guidance will help contribute to this. Moya Woolley: Yeah, absolutely. Just to touch on what Rebecca was talking about, stress, anxiety, and depression are the number one reasons for work related illness in the UK and it's on the rise. So, if you want to look at some, some resources that can help support your staff. The HSE runs a Working Minds campaign, which can talk you through what you can do and help support your staff with their suffering from work related stress. So yes, we know that employers who invest in health and wellbeing of their workforce benefit from sickness absence, have increased productivity and improved workplace retention. And we also know that early intervention around workplace triggers for ill health reduces the risk of someone eventually stopping work altogether, and the risk of someone stopping work altogether increases the longer the worker has been off sick. So, the issues we've helped try to address with the Talking Toolkits, and the Talking Toolkits also offer a consistent approach. We know that there is significant variation on how employees manage work and health. So, the guidance does provide some advice on how to make contact during sickness absence, as well as the support you could offer. And the guidance also contains an illustrative example on what you can do, so you can help visualise how you can go through the process in your own situation through that illustrative example. Mick Ord (Host): Rebecca, what's your take on sickness absences? Rebecca Hyrslova: Thank you, Mick. I think that's really interesting what Moya was saying because I mean, sickness absence as we found costs 5 billion pounds annually to small businesses. Now, sickness absence is more than just statuary sick pay. It's also the cost of other staff pay, whether it's overtime or getting someone in part-time to cover long-term absences. It's also potential loss of business. If you have a very small business with only a couple of employees, long-term sickness absence can mean that they have to close down for a couple of days, for example. So, sickness absence is a massive issue, especially for small businesses. We have campaigned for a while now to basically extend the rebate that was introduced in Covid, so government covering sickness absence because that would hugely help small business employers as well. And I think, you know, we discuss sickness absence in terms of, it's not great for the business obviously, but it's also not great for the people. We currently experience a very tight labour market. We know that there is a great amount of people that are out of work or economically inactive because of ill health. There's this issue of retention, recruitment. We know that we need to help disabled people or people with long-term health issues to get into work. So we need to facilitate appropriate workplaces for them, but we also need to be able to help them stay at work because at FSB we run a quarterly confidence survey, and one of the questions talks about growth aspirations and on average in 2022, I think it was 30% of all small business owners said that access to appropriately skilled staff is one of the main barriers to growth. So, they're having issues accessing staff, which is not surprising because there's this great pool of economically inactive people often due to ill health, so we need to help them get back in, but then also help them stay at work. Generally speaking, the cost of replacing an employee is something like 69 months of their salary when you talk about, you know, training expenses and salary, et cetera. So cost-wise, it's efficient to help them stay at work. If you're currently struggling to access people, there's not enough people in the workforce. Equally, it's in your best interest to facilitate them to be happy and healthy at work. So yeah, sickness is a big one for small businesses. Mick Ord (Host): There's a huge untapped wealth of talent there, isn't there? If businesses play it right, they can tap into and really get the business firing, can't they? As you say, finding talented people, especially at the moment is difficult, isn't it? Rebecca Hyrslova: Absolutely. As I said, recruitment is one of the key barriers for small businesses and, has been for the past year. I think there's a caveat to that as well, so I can see how perhaps for some people with health conditions, disabled people, or perhaps generally, it may be difficult to find suitable employment, whether it's to the degree of flexibility they require, or for whatever reason it may be difficult. And that is the reason why they remain economically inactive. And this is where I think is a bit of a gap, a space that we should fill. Mainstream discourse about disabled entrepreneurship. I think it's very important that self-employment is discussed as a mainstream Bible option for disabled people to enter into the workforce because it does provide that flexibility. You can find what you perhaps are seeking in employment, but. Can't find a suitable option for yourself, you can create that for yourself. And we have actually found that more disabled people are likely to go into self-employment. And I think for the government it should also be an area of interest because of course, a lot of their recent announcements have centred around participation. And because we know that there's a great pool of disabled people that perhaps are staying away from employment for that reason. Yet a lot of the interventions are focusing on employees, and there's a slight lack in incentive, but also facilitating self-employment for potential new disabled entrepreneurs. Mick Ord (Host): Moya, do you want to add to that? Moya Woolley: Yeah. Thanks Mick, and thanks, Rebecca. I was just going to add that it's important also to think about it from a worker point of view. There's really clear evidence that good work improves health in an individual and their wellbeing too, and it can help prevent social exclusion. So, there's benefits for everyone involved in that kind of circle of work and employment. If you can keep people in good quality work for as long as possible. Mick Ord (Host): Is the greater incidence of home working and hybrid working, creating a more inclusive culture, do you think? Moya Woolley: The impact of home working has, I think, allowed businesses to see that the flexibility can be done and can be done well, and allow those people who benefit from it to benefit from it. Obviously for some people that's not the approach they want and in some businesses it won't work. But as we've spoke about before in some of the examples, allowing people to work at home can enable them to feel more comfortable in their work and allow them those breaks from social anxiety or interaction they find difficult and can make it a more comfortable environment and I feel like an easy environment for them to work in. Rebecca Hyrslova: I would absolutely agree with what Moya said, and perhaps add that whilst it's fantastic that some degree of flexibility is now significantly more mainstream than it was, which is great for people that require it, but also, it's much easier to ask. But I would say then again, this is where this guidance and this Talking Toolkit is incredibly important because when you are not physically present, whether it's with your manager or with a group of people you work with, that's when you need to communicate. It's great to be flexible in terms of where people can work from, but it means that you may not have that immediate interaction, which as we know, close-knit groups foster an open dialogue, a great communication. So, you need to, again, ensure that there is this rapport being built, that this communication is being fostered, so that if perhaps that doesn't suit some people, they can say that. So, yeah, I think great to see that flexibility being mainstream, but we also then need to really focus on still having these open, honest communications. Moya Woolley: I think Rebecca's absolutely right these toolkits could help you have those water cooler conversations that you might have in an office, but you can do it digitally as well, because if you're not bumping into someone, you can miss those social things that you think, oh, I should ask my employee about something. These toolkits can help facilitate that, even if you are having that conversation at a distance. Mick Ord (Host): Well, many, many thanks to Moya Woolley from HSE and the FSB's Rebecca Hyrslova, for joining us today. Some really good support available there, and it's all on the websites. And if you want to use the HSE Talking Toolkit we've been referring to in the podcast, then all you need to do is go onto the HSE website. That's HSE.gov.uk. and write 'Talking Toolkit disability' in the search box and the link will pop up. You can download the PDF and print it if you wish. We'll leave the links to that and to the Federation of Small Businesses Report: Business Without Barriers in the episode notes, too. That's all from me, Mick Ord. Until next. Thanks for listening to the podcast and I hope you found it useful. There's plenty of information and support out there whether you are a business owner with a disability or a worker. Bye for now.
    20/4/2023
    27:31
  • Transport safety in farming
    In this podcast, we discuss HSE’s agriculture campaign Your Farm Your Future, focusing on the risks of transport on farms with moving vehicles being are the highest cause of deaths in British farming. Adrian Hodkinson, Agriculture Sector Lead, at HSE and Brian Rees, Farmer and Safety Trainer discuss some of the most common issues and what farmers can do to make small changes to protect them, their families and workers. For more information on the campaign visit Work Right Agriculture - Work Right to keep Britain safe    PODCAST TRANSCRIPT Mick Ord (Host): If I were to ask you which sector of British industry was responsible for the highest rate of deaths and injuries per 100,000 workers, what would your answer? May the construction sector? No, it's the agriculture sector. My name's Mick Ord, and I'm here today on this HSE podcast to introduce you to some guest experts on the subject of safety in the agriculture sector. HSE has just launched its Work Right Agriculture campaign to encourage everyone who works on the farm to take a little time out and think about how they could improve safety. My word is it needed. Over the past five years, there have been 161 fatal incidents on our farms and 11,000, yes, 11,000 injuries each year. We want to make 2023 a much safer year on our farms, and you can play your part by really engaging with the campaign, looking closely at the way in which you work, and thinking about how you can make it safer for everyone. Joining me today are two people who'll be able to help you to do that. Adrian Hodgkinson is the head of HSE'S Agriculture sector and a Principal Inspector. He has many years’ experience and works with all the main agricultural organisations to improve the lives of everyone on farming. Adrian, welcome to the podcast. Adrian Hodkinson: Good afternoon, Mick. Really good to be speaking with you. Mick Ord (Host): And Brian Rees is a farmer in mid Wales and has been a safety instructor for nearly 40 years. Brian keeps sheep and hens on his farm and is involved in the Wales Farm Safety Partnership. Hi Brian. Brian Rees: Hello. Nice to be here. Mick Ord (Host): Adrian, can I start with you? Can we get down to the specifics straightaway? HSE has launched the Work Right Agriculture campaign to try to get those worrying stats down. Do you know what the main causes appear to be? Adrian Hodkinson: In agriculture workplace transport and moving vehicles are the biggest cause of fatal accidents in farming, people being killed in farming. And they account for a huge amount of the major injuries that we also see. Mick Ord (Host): As you say, you've split the campaign into three main sections. Talk to us, if you will, about the first bit: Safe Farms. What areas are you targeting here? Adrian Hodkinson: When we are talking about safe vehicle movements, we're talking about three things, really. It's the Safe Farm, having a Safe Environment, having a Safe Driver, and also a Safe Vehicle. So, in relation to having a safe farm, it's really about the layout of the farm, thinking about how you're segregating people from machinery. Really, really crucial to keep people – pedestrians – away from moving machines. It's a good idea to maybe have a marked route where you've got frequent crossings across a yard, put up barriers or posts when you're opening a barn door and walking out into the yard just to make you stop and think and look around for vehicles, putting up signs, warning people that this is where people are going to be walking. Having mirrors on the corners of building so you can see round and see what's coming. Maybe improving the lighting. Lighting's got a lot better nowadays with LED and all the rest of it, and you can really improve the lighting really effectively on farms and, um, making sure people are visible. At night, or when it's getting dusky, make sure you're wearing that high visibility clothing so you can be seen by drivers coming onto the farm or into the farm yard. Mick Ord (Host): And that's true in the mornings as well. A lot of farmers starting very early , and it's quite often very dark in the mornings. It still is now, isn't it? Adrian Hodkinson: Absolutely, Mick. Yeah. Well, when I say the evenings, I mean anytime when it's getting dusky and dark or just starting to be light in the mornings. So important to have good lighting, um, and make sure people can be seen. Mick Ord (Host): Now you mentioned signage there and that's one of the things when I've been on farms, sometimes something will just appear around the corner, won't it? You know? So, I guess you would say the more signage, the better? Adrian Hodkinson: Well, you don't want to go overboard, but having signs up just before, before you're approaching a busy area where people might be near the farmhouse or where children might be present, just to slow the driver down and think about what might be just around that corner, just putting up where it's needed. It really makes a difference. Mick Ord (Host): Now, as a Principal Inspector, you've obviously visited farms of all sizes over the years. Generally, what would you say is the standard, like in terms of safe farms? Adrian Hodkinson: Well, all farms are different. They do a fantastic job bringing in the food this country needs. We see a wide variety of different standards, so we, we see the huge farms that are really big commercial enterprises, and you get really good traffic arrangements in those sorts of places. And then you get the smaller farm might be one man and his wife and small family running a smaller farm. And the standards can be equally as good, but they're much simpler usually. But it's so important to make sure that when people are coming on with deliveries, when vehicles are moving around in a hurry, at silaging time or at harvest time, that um, people are kept away from all that moving activity. Mick Ord (Host): And you've got lots of walkers and hikers, haven't you? Everywhere. And it's quite easy, and I've done it myself to wander onto a bit of land that's private land, not knowing it necessarily, and all of a sudden you're on a private farm. Adrian Hodkinson: Yeah, and we're coming up to Easter holidays, so it's a really good point, Mick. We're coming up to Easter holidays. There'll be a lot more people out enjoying the, the great British countryside. There will be more people around. Um, some parts of the country are much busier than others. If you're in the Peak District or in South Wales, uh, in the Brecon Beacons or wherever it might be, there's going to be lots and lots of people around at that time of year. So, looking after members of the public and keeping them away from moving vehicles is a really, really good point. Mick Ord (Host): Now, Brian Rees, as I mentioned before, in addition to running your own farm and being a safety inspector for 40 years or so, you're also involved in the Wales Farms Safety Partnership. Have you got a real life example from one of the farms that you visited where there's been an accident as a result of poor safety procedure? Brian Rees: I could keep you going for two hours on these. Yeah, it's amazing. You may go into a farm to do some training and you, if it's a lift truck course, you're usually there a couple of days and some take it very seriously and some almost consider it, you know, proud of it. I know one friend of mine, a family who know very well, the son rolled a quad on an open hill and it rolled for about 150 meters and smashed up down by the side of the main road. That really sort of, uh, gets to me a little bit, a lot of accidents on farms and there's a variety of reasons really. Farmers are rushing around. When a farmer needs something that needs doing, they only have one thing on their mind, and that's to get that job done and they don't necessarily think of what's happening around them. A very good friend of mine, two years to now, he was calving. And one morning he went into his shed, the cow had calved, and there she was in the pen. They were lambing as well. So, they were busy doing other things. He went back by this cow in about an hour's time. The calf was looking a little bit hollow and he thought it hadn't sucked. So he gets his wife when they get a jug of water, and you know when a calf hasn't sucked you have to put a tube down his throat into his stomach to get him going. So, he went into the cow, and she was fine. He actually milked about a couple of litres of colostrum off the cow, and he just turned his back on the cow and he caught hold of the calf and he was just opening his mouth, and the calf makes a little, "urrrghh" sort of sound and this cow just went berserk! Now his wife was facing the cow. She could see what happened. So, she tried to throw the jug of milk that she was holding at the cow, and she managed to escape. But Rob got really, she really mangled him. Now then, he's still alive, and I keep telling him regularly, he's very lucky to be alive. The son appeared from somewhere fairly quickly and he's a fairly big lad, and he literally manhandled this cow off him. It was amazing. Now, Rob used to be six foot two, he's now six foot and half an inch, because it smashed one complete vertebrae out of his back and they pinned him all back together. He's okay. But uh, you speak to him on a cold morning and he can hardly move, you know. And that's just an example where it could have been cured so simply, you know, We actually filmed Rob on the farm and although his system was in place really, he had really quite good calving pens, the secret is you never get between the calf and the cow. Whatever you're doing, you've got to always be behind the barrier. Little things like that. But all that was on Rob's mind at that time, was getting milk into that cow's belly. Everything else goes out the window, and I think that happens with a lot of farm accidents. Another one not far from here in North Wales, where a chap pulled a tractor on a steep slope. Top quality farmer, you know, involved in the Royal Welsh Show and amazing bloke. But I know, I can just imagine all he would have in mind was putting fertiliser down on a steep slope. He wouldn't have thought it necessary perhaps to put his twin wheels on the tractor. He may not have thought to check the tire pressures. He may not have thought to put his seatbelt on, and if he'd done any of those three things, he'd probably still be alive. And that's the problem we have. Just making people stop for a few minutes and just think about what they're doing. Mick Ord (Host): And of course, if somebody has been working in the industry for many years, and this is true of any industry really, isn't it? Uh, Adrian, it sounds arrogant. It's not meant to me, but you think you know it all, don't you? Adrian Hodkinson: You get a bit complacent, don't you? You've been doing the same thing day in, day out. You've always done it that way. It's always worked out for you, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's the right way of doing things. And what we're finding is certainly with vehicles and drivers, if you're not doing things routinely correctly, you're going to get caught out. Something's going to go wrong. 60% of all the run over accidents on farms where you get run over, 60% of those could have been stopped by either the handbrake being on or the handbrake working. So many times, the handbrake just doesn't get maintained and doesn't actually work. One example I can think of is that a guy was unhitching an implement off the back of the tractor. The handbrake didn't work, it wasn't maintained as he was trying to undo the various bits and pieces at the back on the linkages, the tractor just slowly started moving towards him. He, he didn't know, he had no idea this was happening. Ian, most careful person going thinking, "oh, I'm okay.". Just squashed between the machine and the implement, and it's just a slow, creeping, silent way of dying. Is horrible. Really, really awful way. And that could be prevented so easily by maintaining the handbrake and putting the handbrake on. I'm sure Brian's got similar stories like that. Brian Rees: Yeah, yeah. He knows. It's so simple. So simple. Back to your point of saying that farmers think they know it all and we are a little bit, we are jack of all trades, aren't we? Some people would say you're jack of all trades and master of none. But I wouldn't go quite that far. But we do tend to think, and you have, people that may have been driving tractors for 30 years, no problem. Then they go out and buy a really nice posh telehandler. Oh, this is a nice type. Oh, similar to a tractor or, but they don't realise it's an entirely different piece of equipment. A few years ago, HSE did some visits through mid Wales and naturally they were going on to farms. And these are the sort of people I'm thinking about. People in their forties, fifties, sixties, probably never done the days training in their life. They'd been brought up on the farm and kept their skills going. They got improvement notices then, for training. And I went along to this one farm. There was this chap and these two neighbours had come in for two days to do the course. And the first thing I do, especially with people like that, the first person on the machine at the start of a course is always me. I always demonstrate what I want to see. Gives me a bit of cred because farmers are used to people coming onto their farms, telling them how to do their job when they've never done it themselves. So, the first thing I do is give a little 10-minute demonstration. And this one chap , he's had a telehandler for 20 years, and I got off after my demo and he said "how did you see to get those forks in the pallet?" And I said, well, you lined the pallets up and then you line them up and drive in. He said, "I've never been able to do that. I've always got to ask the lottery driver to guide me in." And anyway, in the conversation it came out that he didn't know that the telehandler had a self-levelling device on the forks. Basic stuff like that. Well, that's the first thing I do. Within half an hour I had him driving in the pallets on the lorry and it made his two days. You know, we think we can do everything, but little simple things like that. That could cause an accident. There was about 12 people altogether. I did over about eight days, and four of them actually rang the training provider up a few days after and said, "I like this training job. What else can we do?" And one group of them did a quad, then the following week. Quad training. They weren't asked to do that, but they'd never experienced training, you know, and when we compare us with other industries, say construction, they are training for everything really. You could dream of. And what is it? Adrian will know the figures better than me, but they kill something like 1.5 or 1.3 per hundred thousand, and we kill something like eight or nine per hundred thousand. So that's where the figure comes. You're seven times more likely to be killed on a farm than you are on a building site. Mick Ord (Host): Scary stuff. Brian. Safe driver. That's the second bit of the HSE campaign. And that's your particular area? That's your specialty. You've mentioned handbrakes. What other stuff are high on your list? Brian Rees: Well, yeah, the big thing is, training is a biggie and they say, well, you would say that because that's what you do. But I am so convinced that training and the safe stop whenever you stop the machine, as Adrian said, the machine has got to be maintained properly. But it's handbrake on, out of gear, key off, and out. If you look at people whenever you pull up in your car, you do safe stop religiously every time because the large majority of people were trained to drive a car when they were 17, and it's always stayed with them. But for some strange reason, when those very same people get out of their car and sit on a tractor or combine, whatever it might be, or telehandler, that safe stop goes out of the window. And I don't know why. And training is a really big one for that, to make them safe. If the machine isn't moving, it's not going to crash anybody and putting everything in neutral. No one's ever been injured in a PTO shaft when the tractor engine is stopped. It's never happened. So if, if you're doing anything to a machine, that engine has got to be stopped before you go anywhere near the machine. Mick Ord (Host): Adrian, this campaign, we're particularly aiming at younger farmers and farm workers, aren't we, from the age of 18 to say 44. Why are you particularly concerned about people that age or people that might be new to farming? Adrian Hodkinson: Well, we're concerned about everybody who's, uh, working on farmers and we, we really want to work with all the different stakeholders to make sure that we're helping people live long and healthy lives. This campaign has really been quite orientated towards social media and towards some of the, um, electronic means of communication. So we've been sending out , a lot of messages and a lot of information and films and things like that, which we know younger farmers will pick upon, perhaps more than the older farmers. Older farmers are still really, really important. In fact, a huge amount of older farmers suffer awful injuries and are killed. But if we get people younger, as Brian says, if we're educating people and training people earlier, the messages tend to stick a little bit more. It's a bit like, um, young children and, and grandparents. If you can get the younger people talking to the, the grandfather or the grandmother about, why are you doing it like that? I have not seen it being done like that for years. It gets, granddad gets granny thinking about it and maybe changing their ways if the younger person is saying it. The campaigns for everyone. We're concentrating on safe farm, safe drivers, safe vehicle. It's just that we're using social media and electronic means of communication and we just know that younger people are more likely to see that. Simple as that. Mick Ord (Host): Brian, from your experience, would you be able to sort of explain a differentiation between the various age groups? Because as Adrian has said, we are targeting younger and newer additions to the farming industry, as well as older. It's everybody. And you mentioned before how in some of the farms that you visit, the culture of safety isn't quite ingrained. Brian Rees: No, it's the culture that we want to try and instil into the, the movement a bit. You know, I've got two sons. One has basically worked most of his life in construction, and my other younger son is basically farming. Both went to college, but my eldest son in construction, he wouldn't ever dream of jumping out of a machine forwards. He always uses handles. And I think that's one thing where agricultural lack a little bit and where say, construction are safer, they do get supervised more. And there's someone keeping an eye on them. For instance, now in construction, you know, it's now the green light on the top of all their machines. And um, I passed , a site the other day and I could only see about half the green lights on. So it meant half those people didn't have their seatbelt on because that's what the green light tells you. Well, a farmer wouldn't dream of thinking about anything like that and very often the telehandler they buy wouldn't be up to construction specs or they probably didn't have a green light. So, it's that type of thing. What we want to instil in people, this training element. I was in America about three years ago, touring round California. We were looking at farms and different things, and we went to Sacramento and we had an hour with the, the local environmental minister. I mentioned safety to her and she said, "oh, it's not a problem here." and when I told her our figure, she couldn't believe it .Anyway during the week then we went to a few farms and the standard was really good. Anyway, I asked one of the farmers one day, what training do you do? He said, oh, they've all got their tickets in their machine, he said, but every month everybody on the farm has a one day health and safety course. One week, it may be machinery. The next month it may be CAT handling, the next month it may be medicine, so on and so on. And he said they have a touchscreen test at the end of each course and they've got to pass that before they can go back to work. And I said, God, that's amazing. He said, well, we wouldn't be able to insure the farm if we didn't do that in this state. It happens in this country with factories because uh, back in the nineties I was in factories more than I was on farms and they were doing it then because they could do their training and they could get half my feedback off the insurance company on the employee liability insurance. But I'm afraid that the agricultural insurers in this country don't want to know. I've been campaigning that one now for quite a while. So, I think there could something come in from that way to instil that culture into the industry if we could. Mick Ord (Host): Is that something that you would be able to comment on Adrian? Adrian Hodkinson: Training's so, so important. I mean, the major insurers in farming, like NFU Mutual and AXXA and some of the other ones are always looking to, uh, improve the risk management on farms and training is part of that risk management. Brian mentioned safe stop. It's really, really important part of this campaign, making sure that people are stopping things properly. Got the handbrake on, take the key out, stopping everything before you go around the back to try and adjust something, or before you attempted to stick your hand into something to try and pull something out. So many people have lost arms or had really awful injuries that have stopped them farming because they just haven't turned things off. And that's part of the training. It's part of making sure that, um, when you're operating machinery, that you stay inside the cab because that cab protects you should the tractor or whatever machine it is, roll over into the ditch. That cab stops you falling out and getting squashed by the tractor or by the machine. And it's so important to have that seatbelt on that Brian's mentioned and uh, Brian's right in construction the flashing green light on the top that shows the seatbelts being worn. I'd love to see that sort of thing in agriculture that shows that you're wearing the seatbelt and that you're going to stay inside that safety cab., because that's what it is. It's a safety cab, so that's all part of safe driver. And I think safe vehicle is part of that. Machines regularly maintained that you've got the safety features working properly. That you've got the, um, mirrors clean and not broken, that you can see where you're going and that you're wearing that seatbelt and, uh, it's keeping you in that safety cab. Mick Ord (Host): Brian, I can see you're nodding your head vigorously. Brian Rees: Just one thing on leading on to the vehicle thing now, as you might appreciate, it's about 10 years now since, there was an addition come into telehandlers. They've always had a warning light to tell you when they were becoming unstable. But about 10 years ago, 2012, I think it came in that they locked the hydraulics. When the track is potentially becoming unstable, it locks the hydraulics off. So the only thing you can do is retract the boom. Now, when this first came in, there was quite a lot of dissatisfaction, if you could say from the industry, because we were doing the SHAD events then, and we used to get a bit of flack back off farmers and the answer we had for them: if you don't overload your machine, you are never going to have a problem. And that seems to satisfy them now. And people have accepted that now, that if they want to do a three-ton job, they've got to buy a three ton machine. They don't buy a two and a half ton machine and try and make that do it. So making people buy things that are fit for purpose is crucial. But when you talk about safety devices, we had that one 10, 12 years ago, and I think I'm right in thinking that some of the telehandler accidents over the last, now three or four years, have reduced slightly. And I'm just wondering, those machines are all coming through the system now, aren't they? Now about five years ago it came in that if you get off the seat in a tractor now the PTO automatically stops unless you keep it going for some reason. So it'll be really interesting to see now in the next two or three years whether the entanglement, accidents start to reduce a bit because those tractors are now coming through the system. They've had that in horticulture for years. When you got up off the seat, they even stopped the machines. This only stops the PTO, but that is the one that kills people, naturally. Mick Ord (Host): Adrian in terms of ensuring safer vehicles. I guess now that spring's here, it's as good a time as any to ensure that all the farm vehicles are fully maintained and working particularly after the fairly long and cold winter we've just had. Adrian Hodkinson: Yeah, I mean, uh, farm vehicles have a, have a tough life. They need to be regularly maintained. They need to be properly checked, and they need to be working in decent condition. The obvious things I look for, I, I make sure that, um, farmers have got the windows clean on the cabs that the mirrors are in, are clean and, uh, aren't broken and they're actually fitted. Sometimes it's not even there. So how can you hope of, of keeping anybody safe around you if you can't see anything around the machine whatsoever. And, um, it's so important to make sure things like the brakes are working properly. We get a lot of incidents with quad bikes. Quad bikes rolling over and, uh, training's really important to make sure that you know how to stop a quad bike from rolling over, and obviously wearing a helmet reduces the risk of you getting a brain injury should the quad bike roll over. What I'm mentioning quads about is it's important to maintain them as well because they get used for everything. They don't get looked after particularly well. The brakes don't get checked, the tire pressures don't get checked, and they rely on quite low tire pressures. And if you've got the wrong tire pressure in one wheel, it really makes the machine unstable. And we've seen so many times where one of these has gone over and squashed somebody, and that person can't get out from underneath it, and they die! Because they haven't been trained, they're not wearing a helmet and they've not maintained their quad bike and so, so sad that we're still seeing that. One example I can think of, he was a work experience trainee and he, he suffered head injuries, awful head injuries after coming off his quad. He wasn't wearing any head protection and he hadn't been given any training. We prosecuted the farming business and they got a pretty hefty fine. I often hear that there isn't a law about helmets on quads in agriculture. That's nonsense. Everybody using a farm quad bike should be wearing head protection of some sort, whether it's a proper quad helmet or whether it's even a riding helmet, motorcycle helmet. Just make sure you are wearing a helmet whenever you're driving one of these things. So, so important. Mick Ord (Host): I guess you echo all that, Brian. Yeah? Brian Rees: I would agree with that. We used to use one on the SHAD events years ago. There was one year when 12 people got killed on a quad and the HSE did a bit more research into it and they got all the coroner's reports back from the 12 fatal accidents, and it worked out that if those 12 people had been wearing helmets, 10 of them would still be alive. We keep telling people it's the law to wear a helmet. And I think everybody knows , who uses a quad. They all know they should be wearing an helmet, but for some reason they can't be bothered. So, I, I tell that tale quite often. About 10 out of the 12 would've still been alive. And you can tell people, start to think a little bit then. Just a little bit, you know. Mick Ord (Host): Well, I mean, let, let's face it, that's the whole point of the campaign, isn't it? I read a powerful line on the WorkRight Agriculture website that for me, kind of encapsulates what the campaign is all about. Let me read it to you: "Take a moment to think about what would happen to you and your family if you were seriously injured and unable to work.".  And that kind of says it all, doesn't it? Brian Rees: It does. It really does. Because people think it's never going to happen to us. And I've heard that so many times. Adrian Hodkinson: Brian, you're so right. It's not just yourself that's going to get hurt. If you, for whatever reason, can't work, how's the family going to cope? Your whole world is thrown upside down. It means you're going to have to get help from friends, from colleagues. You're going to have to work out different ways of farming, and it might really affect your livelihood. It might actually stop you from farming. And that's so, so sad. And, um, these instances are so, so preventable. And usually by something really simple. So concentrate on safe farm, safe driver, safe vehicle. Things where you can really make a difference. And stop those really awful incidents from happening that are either going to affect you, going to have a massive impact on the family, going to have a massive impact on the local community as well. Bottom line is it could stop you farming. It's going to cost you that much. Mick Ord (Host): Many thanks to Adrian Hodgkinson, the head of HSE'S Agriculture Sector for joining us today and to farmer and safety instructor, Brian Rees. Thanks to you too for listening to this podcast. I hope it's encouraged you to think some more about safety on your farm and maybe act to make sure that it's a safe place to work for you, your family, and your workers. There are some really useful tips and checks on the website and some short and practical videos on farm safety. Just google "WorkRight Agriculture" and it'll take you to the campaign page. Or log on to workright.campaign.gov.uk, and both links of course will be included in our episode notes. So until next time, this is Mick Ord signing off on this HSE podcast. Have a safe and prosperous year.
    5/4/2023
    29:43
  • Work-related stress, mental health, and Working Minds
    In this podcast, HSE Chair Sarah Newton and Professor Cary Cooper, one the world’s foremost experts on wellbeing, discuss the importance of working in partnership to prevent work-related stress and to promote good mental health. Amongst other things, the podcast covers HSE’s Working Minds campaign, which aims to ensure psychological risks are treated the same as physical ones, that employers recognise their legal duty to prevent work related stress to support good mental health in the workplace, and that they have the tools they need to do achieve this.  For more information on the campaign visit ‘Working Minds'  PODCAST TRANSCRIPT Mick Ord (Host): A warm welcome to you whenever and wherever you are listening to this Health and Safety Executive podcast from me, Mick Ord, and our soon-to-be-announced guests. This podcast is the second in a series designed to help you to make your life a little easier, both in work and maybe even spilling over into your personal life, you never know. The Health and Safety Executive is committed to improving the health and safety of workers in Great Britain. And today we'll be focusing on an issue that affects all industry sectors, work-related stress, and its potential impact on mental health. In 2020/21, more than 800,000 people suffered from work-related stress, depression, or anxiety. The impact on workers and businesses is considerable. A recent report by Deloitte estimates that the total annual cost of poor mental health to employers has increased by 25% since 2019, costing UK employers up to 56 billion pounds a year. 56 billion! Last year, on the 16th of November, HSE launched its Working Minds campaign to encourage, promote, and support good mental health in the workplace and prevent work-related stress. And today we'll talk about the successes of the campaign, what still needs to be done and why this topic is still so important. Joining us today is Sarah Newton, Chair of the Health and Safety Executive. In addition, Sarah is currently a non-executive director of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. Prior to taking over the chair in 2020, Sarah's experience includes serving as a director for American Express Europe, Age Concern, and the independent academic think tank, the International Longevity Centre. Sarah was also an MP for ten years, and served as a minister in the Department of Work and Pensions, responsible for HSE and Health and Work Unit. And we're delighted to also have with us Professor Cary Cooper, one of the world's foremost experts on wellbeing, and a 50th anniversary professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at the Manchester Business School. He's the author or editor of over 170 books, has written more than 450 scholarly articles for academic journals, and is a frequent contributor to national newspapers, TV and radio. A big welcome, both. Sarah. First of all, thanks for joining us for the podcast. Now, your Working Minds campaign has just celebrated its first anniversary, so tell us about why you launched a campaign in the first place and what it's achieved.. Sarah Newton: First of all, thank you so much for inviting me on to your podcast this morning, Mick. You know, let's be honest about this. Any one of us can experience stress. It can affect people in different ways and different times, so it's a very prevalent issue. So why did HSE get involved with dealing with this? Well, it's clearly our mission to prevent work-related ill health, and as you said from those startling statistics in your introduction, many people are experiencing stress in the workplace, and we know it's the number one reason why people will have an absence from work is. So we were looking at a new strategy last year. We've developed a new strategy, which is protecting people in places and five strategic objectives. One of them clearly to reduce work-related ill health, with a particular focus on stress because it affects so many people. And we chose to launch this campaign because HSE, while we have a huge amount of expertise, we don't have all the answers. And we really wanted to work in partnership with a wide range of organisations who together, we could bring the big difference that we want to see. It's all about working in partnership, collaborating with others, making sure that employers have the knowledge, the tools that they need to really support their workers to prevent work-related stress and ill health. Mick Ord (Host): As we've heard the figures on people taking absence from work because of work-related stress have really increased over the past couple of years. What are your thoughts about that, Sarah? Sarah Newton: Well, I think a part of it, or probably a very large part of it, is to do with the fact as a society, we've been far more prepared to talk about mental ill health. There's been a huge amount of really positive work to de stigmatise mental ill health, which of course includes stress and anxiety and depression. And so I think as a result of that, people are more prepared to acknowledge that they're suffering from mental ill health. Mick Ord (Host): Professor Cooper, I guess that you'd echo everything that Sarah said there about the Working Minds campaign? Prof. Cary Cooper: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, HSE has always been at the forefront looking at stress at work. It was the only country actually, 20 years ago, set up the management standards for stress at work. I was involved in that 20 years ago. And it's gotten worse, a lot of the problems. That was really ahead of its time, but times have changed. We've had a financial crisis since then. We've had a pandemic. We have a cost of living crisis. We're about to enter a recession. This has really become even more significant and more important than ever before. And the HSE, by revising the management standards, by getting involved in this Working Minds campaign is really quite important. And by the way, it's not just the UK. Every developed country has between 50% and 60% of its long-term absence due to stress, anxiety, and depression. It's not just the UK. This is a kind of global problem, particularly in the developed world. Mick Ord (Host): Sarah, what are the next steps for Working Minds then? Sarah Newton: So Working Minds is a collaboration. It's a partnership of a number of organisations. We've already doubled the number of organisations we work with. We're so grateful to our partners. So some of our founding partners such as Acas, Ceca, Mind, Mates in Mind. Now we're working with different industry sectors, so working a lot with their representative bodies across a huge range of industries. And a huge benefit to us of that is to draw on their expertise, but also to reach out to their members. You know, big companies will often have HR departments, they'll have investments into all types of health and wellbeing type programs, but small and medium sized companies don't always have those resources available for their staff. So it's very important that we really reach out to every business right across the UK and provide them with some tools that really will make the difference. Most employers will understand that it's their responsibility to think about the physical risks, the physical health concerns that people can have at work, But what they don't often realise is they have an equal responsibility to the psychological wellbeing of their staff. So part of our campaign is to remind employers of those legal responsibilities. They do have a duty to do risk assessments of their employees for both physical and psychological risks to ill health, and then to provide them with the toolkits to enable them to assess the risk and then manage and mitigate the risk. And by working with so many different employers, really drawing on their experience what works in their workplaces. So an element of this is going to be peer-to-peer support. So businesses say in the agricultural sector, they come, share good experiences together on what works for them. That's a very different sector than say the NHS or working in an advanced manufacturing location. So while the principles are the same, the applications and probably the examples of good practice will be different. And so we'll be wanting to build on the huge success of the first year, have more people become partners, more people become champions, access the materials that are there so that they can take some really practical actions in their workplaces to improve the health and wellbeing of their staff. Mick Ord (Host): And as you've already said, it's not just big companies with HR departments, is it? It's the small, maybe a company with 20 employees or something like that. Sarah Newton: You know how right you are. But a vast majority of people in the UK are employed in small and medium size organisations. And actually recent data will show a lot of people are employed in, you know, what might loosely be called the gig economy, or platform workers. And platform workers, may be just part of their employment. Perhaps they've got a job with an employer, but then they actually supplement that income as a platform worker, and those companies are not in day-to-day contact with their employees, with the people that they are working with to actually deliver the services through these platforms. Now they really need to think hard about how they are going to reach out to those employers and make sure that they are undertaking their risk assessments, so to prevent people having physical or mental ill health at work. Mick Ord (Host): Cary, you wanted to come in there? Prof. Cary Cooper: Yeah, Sarah's really hit a really important issue. A lot of the bigger companies since the financial crisis of 2008-2015, have really treated stress at work and wellbeing much more seriously, much more strategically. There are now directors of health and wellbeing in many of the big companies and public sector bodies. Indeed, the NHS have. Every hospital in the NHS has a non-executive director on its board who's responsible for employee health and wellbeing. The real issue, and I think why this campaign is a really important one is for the SME sector, small and medium sized enterprises, because they don't have big HR departments, chief medical officers, and so on. Five years ago, I founded the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing at Work, made up of 40 global employers from Rolls Royce and BT and Microsoft, it goes on and on, BBC and so on, including the NHS Executive. Those people are treating this as a strategic issue. They have directors of health and wellbeing. They're increasingly getting somebody on the board who's responsible for health and wellbeing at work because we have to hold organisations accountable for ensuring that employee health and wellbeing, that stress and mental health is treated properly. That they are actually looking at the data on it, the metrics, which tells them that things aren't going so well, or that they do metrics to make sure that they understand what good looks like in terms of an employer in terms of mental wellbeing of their staff. But it's the SME sector that really needs quite a lot of help. The gig economy that Sarah talked about, I think is really important. And the more we get this out and the more we get the big employers, by the way, to help their supply chain, I think that's the way we're going to get the SME sector, Sarah. I think we've got to get them down to the supply chain or where they're actually physically located, so they have a plant in a particular area and there are other SMEs in that area. You know, we have to help because the big boys have the infrastructure. They have the HR departments, occupational health, and they know and they understand what the HSE is providing and what other people are providing in this space. And that's going to be, I think, our big challenge because our productivity, aside from anything else, our productivity per capita is pretty damn poor. We're set bottom of the G 7 on productivity per capita, tied with Italy. And we're 17th in the G 20 on productivity per capita. So it's health of employees, but it's about our nation. It's about the productivity of our country. And if we create the right kind of cultures where there's wellbeing and people feel valued and trusted and can work flexibly and have good line managers, we're going to make a real difference. Sarah Newton: Yeah. I think what I'd really, really like to pick up on that last point, Cary, it's not only the right thing to do. That companies have a legal obligation. But it's actually in their interests. The data that you get from large organisations will very clearly say for every pound they spend, they get it back 4, 5, 6 times in terms of the productivity of their staff. So there's been a lot of work done by Deloitte and others, which show the return on investment to companies that really invest, or organisations that really invest in the health and wellbeing of their staff. So I think that is a key message that we want to enable to get out. And it's often, I think, more easily received if it's company to company. People in your sector actually making that case rather than a regulator. But we want to enable that message to get across by creating the opportunities for employers to share this type of economic information as well as all the practical things that they're doing in their workplaces to really improve the health and wellbeing of their staff. And one of the things you touched on which I couldn't agree with more is about training line managers. They are absolutely critical. I agree with you. We certainly see at HSE and our duty holders, especially as a result of the pandemic, a lot of focus in the boardroom on health and safety and wellbeing of their staff. and a genuine commitment to do the right thing. But enabling that to happen in the organisation really requires line managers to be trained and well supported. Because without that support, it can be quite a scary conversation. You know, if somebody comes to you and wants to talk to you about things that are really distressing them and causing them stress and anxiety in the work – and that could be partly related to what's happening at home, things outside the workplace., As you were talking about though, the huge financial pressures that many people are under at the moment. It's not always an easy conversation to hear if you haven't been trained on how to hear that conversation and how to respond and understand that your organisation will support you in enabling you to do your job. To either signpost that person to some more professional support, or to give you the ability to support them in the way that you and the employer want to. So it requires, you know, quite a lot of effort and support for organisations into their line managers so that they can have those conversations. Prof. Cary Cooper: It's interesting, Mick, what happened when we formed the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing five years ago. it's made up of HR directors, chief medical officers, directors of health and wellbeing of all these major companies, public sector bodies. On our first meeting, they said the big issue for us – this is five years ago, this is pre pandemic – our big issue is people tend to get promoted to managerial roles or recruited to those roles based on their technical skills, not their people skills. Our big issue is that we don't have the cadre of managers all the way up the system and every sector where there's parity between their technical skills and their social skills. And so the EQ – the emotional intelligence of our line managers is really fundamental in creating a culture. Because listen, all of us in the workplace have a boss in our careers. That boss values you, listens to you, enables you to work flexibly if that's what you want. Understands what's going on in your personal life as well, because that impacts your work and treats you like a human being. Then that's going to create an atmosphere and create a culture where wellbeing will thrive and stress will not thrive. And so I think our challenge here, and by the way, the big companies and big public sector bodies know this. We've got to get the message across to the SME sector, to the gig economy, to the third sector, and that's why Working Minds means a lot to me because those are the organisations that we really have to get, you know, get on board on this and for them to totally understand. Because to be honest with you, they employ more people than the private sector. The SMEs employ more people than the big boys do. Mick Ord (Host): Have you got some examples of the kind of impact work-related stress has on workers and the actual impact it's had on their lives? Just give us a real life example if you could. Prof. Cary Cooper: Oh, there's so many examples. I'll tell you what is a big example. I hate to make this kind of contemporary, but I'm going to do it anyway – bullying at work has always been a big issue. Where we have toxic managers who bully people – command and control types. That's very damaging. I did a big study many years ago with the CBI, the TUC, there was 80 organisations in all. We looked at nearly a million workers, and in depth five and a half thousand. Almost every sector was involved in this, because we were trying to identify what the impact of bullying was, what the extent of it was, and we found that really at any moment in time, 10% of people are being bullied at work. By bullying at work, it means persistent devaluing of people. It's not physical bullying, it's psychological bullying. And the impact is that, the mental health impact is profound. And we are looking at all– by the way, they're in every sector from the NHS ,to universities, to IT companies, you name it. It's not just in what you think is the really fast moving high octane businesses, It's everywhere. And therefore that goes back again to an issue that we really have to tackle. By the way, companies now do have policies on bullying at work. Which they didn't have, and that followed the kind of studies we do, but people are affected by the workplace a lot. We can do things about that, and that's the important thing. When we're recruiting people for jobs now, particularly managerial roles, we have to ensure there's parity between their people skills and their technical skills. That will help not just bullying, but just bad management, frankly. And that will help create a culture because bosses do create cultures. Mick Ord (Host): And in terms of the way in which workplace culture has changed over the years, Sarah, are we in a better place now than we may have been 20 years ago? Or do you think there's still a huge amount of work to be done, particularly in relation to what Cary was talking about there? Sarah Newton: Oh goodness. What a question That is Mick, that's quite a long perspective, 20 years, isn't it? And all workplaces. I would say since my time at HSE over the last couple of years and really reflecting on the COVID pandemic experience, listening to people at HSE who have been inspectors and with the organisation for say, 20, 30 years. What they told me was it was a really positive response of all the different businesses that we've been in touch with and supported over the pandemic. They really did want to do the right thing for their employers. You know, big, small, all the different sizes of business. We were supporting all sorts of business at which we don't normally regulate to enable them to carry on providing the essential goods and services that we all needed during the pandemic to enable their staff to go to work as safely as they possibly could. And what they told me was, They really felt that employers were trying to do the right thing. There was a high degree of engagement, and we really found when we were doing spot checks, you know, high degrees of compliance with the advice that was put out for employers. And I think as Cary and others have reflected the. Because of the pandemic. There's just a heightened sense amongst the leaders of small companies, medium companies in the boardrooms of the big companies about the importance of the health and wellbeing of their employees. It's just the right thing to do. It makes good business sense, and what I want to do is use that as a springboard to really make further progress. Because while that may be the case that there is a greater awareness. Certainly looking at the data, the amount of people who are reporting that they are being ill at work, stress at work is causing them to be ill and they're having to take a day off work, those numbers are all going in the wrong direction. And you know, it's a very significant problem. So I do believe that it's the culture of an organisation that is the most important thing to change. It is about leadership. Whether, you know, you are the boss of 10 people, 20 people, or 20,000 people. You as the boss set the tone, you set the priorities for your organisation. And I know that part of our campaign is very much about that culture change and enabling leaders at all levels of organisations to have the tools, to have the information, to be able to develop that culture change. And just so I get a quick plug in here, Mick, I mean, there's a newsletter, there is a campaign microsite, people can join up, become champions, sign up to the newsletters. They will be given free information about what they can do. And as the campaign grows, as really it's going to be a movement that develops, there'll be sharing of good examples, sharing of good practice. So it's going to be an ongoing set of information and tools that people could use to help them to, you know, create better workplaces across the country. Mick Ord (Host): It really is an active contribution towards that, isn't it? Sarah Newton: Yeah. Mick Ord (Host): Cary, what specifically are the signs and symptoms that employees should be looking for in their workforce? Prof. Cary Cooper: Okay, well, there's a word called pressure, and there's a word called stress. So pressure by the way, for most of us, is stimulating and motivating, but when pressure exceeds our ability to cope, then that's stress. And the dividing line, normally, when you know you're getting close to going from the pressure zone into the stress zone, is usually behaviour change. So if you're a line manager and you observe your employee who normally has a good sense of humour, is really active, participates in team meetings actively. And all of a sudden they're more withdrawn, more angry, more negative and that's not the way they normally were, that's the first sign. So behaviour change is the first sign that you've gone from the pressure zone into the stress zone. Then you start getting the symptoms, the physical symptoms of it: lack of sleep, constant headaches, health changes as well. You start drinking more, smoking more. A whole range of issues. And those signs are really important to observe. But if you can get it early, it's like anything in the health arena, isn't it? The earlier you can identify the behavioural change in a human being. So if I'm walking down at Manchester Business School and somebody says to me "Cary, you haven't been yourself the last several months, is something wrong?" that should be an indication to me that something is wrong. That my behaviour's being perceived by other people as having changed quite dramatically. And that's because I'm now under stress, not under just the normal everyday positivities of pressure. Because pressure is kind of stimulating. You know, we all like a bit of that in our job. And you really have to then identify what the issue is that's driving that. And again, if you have a good boss who listens to you or a good work colleague who listens to you, or you don't necessarily need an EAP – an employee assistance program, counseling services. Many, almost all businesses have them, I think they're great. They do work. I did an evaluation for the HSE incidentally many, many years ago. Of all the EAPs in the UK, HSE has been part of my life, it looks like! My career life for so many years! But I did, I was commissioned to do a study of all the EAPs many years ago to look at them. How effective are they? And they are very effective. But the important thing is they help the individual, but they don't change the organisation culture. And that's why this kind of a campaign the HSE are doing and have always been involved in from 20 years ago with our management standards, is let's change the culture. Let's do prevention. EAP helps the individual cope with the problem they already have. And that's fine. And we need that. That's a part of the arsenal, the mental health arsenal that we need to have. But it would be really nice if we can start preventing some of this in the first place so we didn't have to do remedial work and treatment like EAPs and other things. Sarah Newton: Well I couldn't agree more. And the campaign is all about prevention by raising awareness amongst employers. And we do have, as part of the toolkit, a stress assessment tool that organisations can use because I absolutely agree with Cary. It's about identifying in your organisation, whatever the size of it, what is causing the stress in the workplace? You know, as Cary says, you can be really quite exciting to be in an environment where you feel that pressure to get things done, and lots of people like challenging environments. but when it tips over into causing stress in the workplace, the toolkit is there to help organisations identify where it's happening and what is driving it so they can look more systemically at what they can do differently. I mean, there are some really simple recent examples which have got quite a lot of media attention around saying to staff We don't want you to be looking at your emails, for example, beyond a certain time. I mean, not everyone can do this, but there's quite a lot of blurring of the lines between work and home going on in the workplace today. And so that in itself can cause stress because people aren't certain what their bosses are expecting of them to their working hours. And so some simple measures like that, being very clear that we really value you, we really appreciate you. We want you to have a separation between your work life and your home life and so we don't want you to be switching on your computer, your laptop, or looking at your emails beyond this time.. And then manager's not responding in saying, Look, I noticed you've sent this at a certain hour. That's not my expectation. I'm really happy to respond to this tomorrow. Let's talk about this tomorrow. So simple things like that can make a big difference, but you'll only know if this is an issue or not in your organisation if you undertake the toolkit. If you use the toolkit, you assess whether that's stressful or not, and then reach out. Have those conversations, put things in place, check in. Are they working? Are they having the desired effect? I think Sarah's raised a really interesting point. When my national forum was formed five years ago, the first issue was the line manager. Guess what the second issue was, Sarah? It was email usage. And now we have the Right to Disconnect law in France, Portugal, New Zealand. We have a number of countries doing that. Incidentally, a company was fined 60,000 euros for breaking it. So they actually use it. That means no manager can send an email out of office hours to their subordinates. That means at night, at weekends, or while they're on holiday. I do have a problem with that law in a way, because if we're to work flexibly, how the hell do we work? If you're picking your kids up at 3:30 and want to be with them, read with them, spend time with them, but then at night start to work, and like Volkswagen, you close down the server at 5:30 to try to stop people doing it or you say you can't do your emails at night, we have a problem. But we do need guidelines on the use of emails because it is interfering with people's lives. It's a whole field by the way, and tons of research on it now, called Technostress. You know, things like don't CC in everybody, don't send an email to anybody at on a Friday afternoon. Even if you say as a line manager, I've heard managers say to me, "I send an email, but I tell them not to respond until Monday morning. Well, why send it in the first place? Because they're going to worry about it all weekend. So we really do need simple things like Sarah said. So my national forum came up with a four page document. This is good practice. This is what you don't do to protect people's private lives. Yes. If the company's burning down, there's something going on that's really significant, yes out of office hours, fine. But try not to interfere with people's private life. They need time, They need respite away from the pressures of life because we have a lot of 'em honest. So that's a part of the puzzle. that's a part of the wellbeing puzzle. The line manager. Emails. The culture. Flexible working. All of that creates a strategic response to try to prevent people getting ill and being overloaded. Mick Ord (Host): So finally, Sarah, for people listening, whatever the size of their company, what do you think that they should be doing now to address the issues that we've been talking about today? Sarah Newton: First of all, I would really encourage them to become a champion. So we've got a really good website, which is workright.campaign.gov.uk/workingminds . They'll find loads of free information there. They can sign up to be a champion, and then on an ongoing basis, will get free really useful information. And then start today. Just think about how you can use those five R's in your workplace to reach out to a colleague. to recognise, to listen to their concerns. To respond. Then to reflect on how's that worked, what difference is it making? And then just make it routine. Check in with your colleagues to see how things are going for them. So those simple five R's are things that any one of us can do each day in our workplace. Mick Ord (Host): So Sarah Newton, Chair of the Health and Safety Executive and professor Cary Cooper, thanks a lot for joining us today.
    16/11/2022
    30:15
  • Manual handling in construction
    In this podcast, we discuss HSE’s latest construction initiative focusing on the risks of injuries and aches, pain and discomfort in joints, muscles and bones known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). With 40,000 construction workers reporting that they suffered with MSDs last year, Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics and Human Factors Consultant at HSE and Peter Crosland, National Civil Engineering Director at CECA discuss what the industry can do to promote change and protect its workforce. Amongst other things, the podcast covers HSE’s ‘Your health. Your future’ construction campaign, the impact that these injuries can have on workers and employers legal responsibilities and the sensible control measures that can be introduced regardless of the size of the construction site.   For more information on the campaign visit ‘Your health. Your future'    PODCAST TRANSCRIPT [00:00:00] Mick Ord (Host): A warm welcome to you whenever you are listening to this Health and Safety Executive podcast from me, Mick Ord, and our soon to be announced guest experts. This podcast will be the first in a series designed to help you to make your life a little easier, both in work and maybe even spilling over into your personal life, you never know. The health and Safety executive is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of workers in Great Britain. And today we'll be focusing on the construction sector, a key industry that employs more than two million people and includes employers and building workers, contractors and subcontractors, staff and freelancers alike in a range of organisations from sole traders to multinationals. Last year did the UK alone, 40,000 construction workers suffered from injuries and aches, pain and discomfort in joints, muscles and bones. Such injuries can have a serious impact on their ability to perform tasks, their quality of life, and in some cases their ability to stay in work and earn a living or having to take time off work as well. Many people suffer from long term pain and discomfort as a result of injuries sustained on building sites. So with such worrying stats in mind, the HSE are embarking on the Work Right construction campaign. This means that HSE inspectors will be performing a thousand inspections at building sites in the UK. So what will they be expecting from companies? Joining us is Matt Birtles, an ergonomics expert from the HSE Science Division, and a little later we'll be hearing from Peter Crosland, the National Civil Engineering Director at Ceca, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association. Well, first of all, Matt, thanks for joining us for the podcast. What should companies expect if an inspector does visit their site? [00:02:18] Matt Birtles: First and foremost, thank you Mick for hosting us and having us on this podcast. When an inspector comes knocking on site, first and foremost, expect the norm. So they'll be looking at safety as well as health issues. But what's happening during the campaign especially is there'll be an increased focus on particularly the kinds of risk factors associated with musculoskeletal disorders. So there's been an awful lot of effort ahead of this campaign within, you know, my regulatory colleagues in HSE to train them upon understanding the key risk factors. For musculoskeletal disorders, how to assess them and what kind of controls they might want to see in place. And so when the inspector does come, they'll be looking at the kinds of manual handling activities and maybe some repetitive work that commonly go on in construction sites and looking specifically at ways in which the risks are controlled. So there may be some of that manual handling activity happening during the inspection, and they'll just observe that and watch how it's done, where potentially improvements could be made. And also looking at the paperwork and the risk management system. If there aren't any manual handling operations happening at the time of the inspection, they're just more likely to ask principal contractors or ask them on site responsible for safety about manual handling, and ask them to show them their risk management systems, any risk assessments they have, any planned risk controls. Especially at those points where you'd expect increased manual handling. So moving materials around during deliveries, for example, during fitting or moving plant equipment. And so just an increased focus on musculoskeletal disorders in every inspection for the next six weeks or so. [00:03:57] Mick Ord (Host): And who specifically is the "Your Health, Your Future" campaign aimed at? [00:04:02] Matt Birtles: The target really is anybody involved in construction. And so while obviously anybody on the site, you're more likely to see colleague inspectors or regulatory colleagues, we'll be looking at those involved in the design and then planning of construction, and procurement, for example, and then certainly those on the managing sites and working on sites and doing the physical tasks on sites. And it's aimed at larger construction sites or smaller. And so we're going to try and focus on as many sites as we possibly can and as greater variance as possible. But everybody has responsibility for helping to manage MSDS or musculoskeletal disorders. [00:04:43] Mick Ord (Host): And why the focus now on the manual handling assessment? [00:04:48] Matt Birtles: Well, manual handling assessment. It's gotten easier over the years with the advent of the HSE tools like the MAC tool or manual handling assessment charts or the RAPP tool risk assessment for pushing and pulling. For, you know, barrows and the like, Manual handling assessment has gotten much easier. And while doing the assessment using the tile method or L23 method, it meant all the methods involved a checklist of looking at all the different risk factors. It could be quite arduous and not necessarily give you the answers that would lead neatly to potential solutions. Now, with the MAC tool, which is not new, there's nothing new in the MAC tool per se. It's much easier to actually do a quick assessment and wherever identifying manual handling operations. It's very quick and easy now – even using the online version, which is the new element of all this I suppose – to do a quick assessment and understand the key risks and level of risk. And so the barriers have gone for potentially, arguably, long and arduous risk assessments. It's now very straightforward to do a risk assessment, and so it shouldn't be a barrier anymore. [00:05:54] Mick Ord (Host): And how serious is the problem of injuries sustained in moving and handling construction materials? [00:05:59] Matt Birtles: Inevitably being who I am, where I'm from, I'm going to say very. But actually the stats do add up. As you mentioned, 40,000 injuries per year on average in the construction sector. But if you compare that to other industries or the rest of all industry, you’ve kind of almost got double the rates of musculoskeletal disorder amongst construction workers. So, while across industry, we might see roughly speaking about 1/100 workers getting injured with musculoskeletal disorder, in construction, it's around 1/50. So about 54% of ill health for the construction sector is musculoskeletal disorders. So it's far too common. It affects far too many lives. Then the other way of looking at how serious it is, is what's the impact on individuals and per individual? What happens to that person, and we may cover this a bit later, but it can affect every aspect of life. Of course, as you mentioned it can impact on your ability to actually go to work and earn a living. But also it can impact on your home activity, mucking around with your kids, the enjoyment you might get from normal stuff like going down the pub, going to the cinema, and those sorts of things. Because of the nature of the discomfort with MSDs, it can actually affect your ability to stand and make that uncomfortable, but also your ability to sit down and make that uncomfortable. So in those sorts of areas, it becomes very serious because it can really deeply impact on people's health and wellbeing, not just in work, but also outside of work. [00:07:28] Mick Ord (Host): Peter Crosland from Ceca, Peter, have you got some examples of the kind of injuries that workers have sustained and the actual impact it's had on their lives? [00:07:38] Peter Crosland: Well, yes. Thanks Mick. And I think yes, all too often where you get examples of people who have worked in the industry for a long time and then suddenly become unable to work. And coincidentally, I was at a meeting this morning up in the northeast where one of the previous site supervisors had worked for 20 years laying curbs. And actually had a back that was quite wrecked and he really was in a quite a difficult place. And I think we just hear that story all too often. So one of the problems has been the latency effect of all these issues coming to the surface, and I have to say that given the nature of our workforce, which is, I think we'll all know that demographics by now, they've been banded around. You know, many times that there are a cohort of people who have carried out those activities and are now suffering really quite badly, and they're having to move jobs. They're having to step down away from the work that they really, you know, they joined the industry to do and they can no longer carry out those functions. And as Matt says, that then starts to spill over into home life and it affects the quality of life of not only the worker, but also the family. [00:08:57] Mick Ord (Host): And in that particular example that you just quoted from the northeast, is there anything that you can do to help that particular person if they've been manual handling in a certain way for 20 or so years? [00:09:10] Peter Crosland: This is probably going to sound slightly negative, but I think sometimes we are a little bit reactive in the industry rather than proactive. Unfortunately, you have a whole host of workers who have operated in a slightly cavalier manner. Perhaps they didn't know better. And then as we have known, and certainly Matt's team have discovered through the statistics, that actually this is what's happening to the workforce and therefore we need to go and find ways of making sure that that doesn't happen again. And I think you can cite examples right and way throughout all the activities that certainly we were involved in, whereby, you know, we're always looking to see how we can improve matters for every worker. [00:09:55] Mick Ord (Host): Matt, with regard to the HSE visits, will companies being given prior notice or will they just turn up? [00:10:02] Matt Birtles: Generally we'll just turn up, There's not a specific requirement to give a prior notice. It may well be that a site's already got a planned inspection or a meeting with a regulatory colleague, and that will then turn into a musculoskeletal disorders focused inspection. But unless you've got already something planned in the next six weeks with a regulatory colleague, no, expect them to just turn up an announced. [00:10:26] Mick Ord (Host): How are the construction sites chosen beforehand? [00:10:30] Matt Birtles: Well, no sites are exempt, so any site could be visited by a regulatory colleague. Inspectors generally visit sites that are known to be higher risk, and there is some intel on that. There's a number of ways to identifying the sites to visit. The F10 notification database that we have on sites where we've had an instance before, perhaps sites where some concerns have already been brought to our attention through various means or sites, perhaps where they've received RIDDOR accident forms, or they've had RIDDOR reportable accidents in the past that have not previously been selected for investigation. There'll be some channelling with that along with a sort of local intelligence as well. Knowing where the sites are, but the sites, there's no specific requirement or desire to pick just on small or just on larger sites. Any site could be visited to be perfectly honest. [00:11:18] Mick Ord (Host): And what does the law say about what employees need to do to protect their workforce? [00:11:23] Matt Birtles: There are various laws. I suppose the one that's most specific to this campaign is the manual handling operations regulations. It's relatively straightforward, to be honest. In fact, if you ask any of my inspector colleagues – where I'm from in in the agency, it's our privilege to often train them – I imagine most inspector colleagues will say one of three words, and that's AVOID. ASSESS. REDUCE. So the law pertaining to manual handling is avoid hazardous operations. Now, that's important. It doesn't say avoid manual handling anywhere in the law. in fact, good manual handling is actually good for you. It does keep you fit, keep your muscular, and potentially there’s research that suggests you may live longer. So don't avoid all manual handling, but avoid hazardous operations wherever you possibly can. But if you can't avoid hazardous manual handling, then we don't immediately, you know. Put in a claim or something. We assess those hazards. We assess the risk using usually the MAC tool and the RAPP tool initially, and that's a five-minute task. It'll take longer to, you know, find it on the website maybe than actually to do an assessment. But I promise you the second assessment, you deal with will take five minutes, and then you assess those tasks to understand the risk in order to reduce the risk. This is where the rubber really hits the road, in terms of risk management. We can have lots of really nice – in terms of the MAC and the RAPP tool – very colourful assessments. But unless they're used to actually challenge the tasks and make those tasks easier to do risk reduction by making the jobs easier, then it's just from the paperwork. So avoid, assess, and reduce risk is what it's all about. [00:12:59] Mick Ord (Host): And Peter, what are the barriers to employers and workers on sites? [00:13:04] Peter Crosland: I, I think there are many barriers, but I think it depends what type of site that you are looking at. What we find within Ceca particularly, we have a very broad church of members. So ranging from tier ones through to SMEs, almost on to solo practitioners in some cases, although they're not direct members because we do have limits on that. But I think one of the barriers will be for those, I would say, down the supply chain to be able to access the information and training that they need to carry out the work properly. So, you know, we've already mentioned the fact that yes, there is a legal requirement and there are others that apply as well. Obviously, you know, not least the ‘74 Health and Safety at Work Act, you know, we have as employers, have a duty of care. So regardless of where those people are in the supply chain, there is somebody responsible for that person. I actually, a bit like Matt, I split the sort of desires into three parts really. There is a sort of like a MUST DO, a SHOULD DO, and a COULD DO.. And that's where the barriers are really, because most do apply the MUST because it is a legal requirement, obviously. There is the SHOULD, which perhaps includes specific training around those lifting requirements that might generate those MSDs. But actually then there's the COULD. You know, what could clients and organisations do to really help the workers make sure that they don't suffer or are made ill through their work? So things like that would be really trying to engage with them, almost a one-to-one, job specific level, to say “Well, look, this is what we've got to do. How do you think we are going to do it?” And I don't think that happens often enough. [00:14:49] Mick Ord (Host): And Matt, what do employers need to know and do now prior to the possible visit? [00:14:56] Matt Birtles: Look at their risk management systems they've got in place. That may be occasionally dusting those off or just making sure that they're up to date. And so that means, you know, looking at the paperwork they've got in terms of a local policy, a local approach to managing musculoskeletal disorders, having a look at the risk assessments that they've already done, and do they still match the tasks? One of the things obviously about construction is they have a changing environment. So do they need updating and do you need to re-challenge some of the work that's done?? It may have changed since the last assessment, and again, I absolutely agree with what Peter just said through engagement with the workers. So obviously the colleagues who are actually doing the work know what's changing in the environment better than any of us. Have a chat with them to make sure that the risk assessments are covering the right tasks in terms of, you know, risk profile or effectively, are they the hardest tasks that the people on the sites would prefer to avoid? If they can, are they looking at the right tasks? And if not, maybe add to the risk assessments. Make sure that you're assessing those tasks that are identified through engagement are the ones that potentially have the greatest level of risk. And then look again at the solutions they've got in place. You know, download those hire catalogues and have a look at what's available and perhaps challenge what is being done. Is there anything that can be done on the sites that would avoid or eliminate some of the heavier activity by putting things on wheels or using mechanical aids? Just sharpen things up. I'm sure you know, the majority of sites have got risk management in place. Just make sure that that's ready because they're the sort of things that the inspector colleagues will be asking for when they do come around. [00:16:38] Mick Ord (Host): And Peter, you've already mentioned that the guidance is relevant to small builders as well as large builders. What about subcontractors? [00:16:46] Peter Crosland: Well, that's even a more difficult to nut to crack, I think. And it's really trying to get that message right throughout the supply chain. So I don't think there's any easy answer to this. We certainly, within Ceca and also working with HSE, it's very difficult to try and get a common message out to all of the industry, and almost by saying that each part of the industry also almost needs a specific message as well. So we do really work quite hard at trying to get the right message to the right people at the right time. And obviously small builders, small organisations are part of that conundrum, if you like. So certainly not an easy answer there, Mick. And I think we're all searching for that holy grail in being able to, as I say, do exactly that – get the right message to the right people at the right time. [00:17:37] Matt Birtles: I concur. That is the challenge, isn't it? Getting the message to the smaller enterprises and the refurb kind of sites is a challenge. While largely the messages are the same for those sites, proportionality and practicability may mean that the kinds of solutions we would expect to see or hope to see under smaller sites would be far less than those on the larger. There’s just not enough money washing around to go to the higher companies and get the largest solutions. And so, we have to be quite pragmatic about what we should expect. But the guidance is still relevant. It's just proportionately, we may expect a little bit less in terms of expenditure on, you know, the various solutions that are out there for smaller sites. [00:18:18] Mick Ord (Host): If a company doesn't satisfy the criteria laid out by the inspector, then what are the penalties, Matt? [00:18:23] Matt Birtles: Obviously it depends, and it's still always going to be proportionate to the level of risk. And so, we'd look at the circumstances at each campaign inspection individually. We'll be looking at the relevant standards, the relevant working practices, you know, see how far we are from good practices. For example, using HSE's enforcement management model, which standardises enforcement activity across any sector, anywhere, and looking at the enforcement policy. It could be that, you know, generally speaking for lower-level breaches, verbal advice or perhaps maybe a notice of contravention letter will be used in some circumstances where the gap from good practice or the levels of risk that aren't managed are a bit higher. It could be an improvement notice, and yes, it could be a prohibition notice where there's a more significant risk involved. So we would expect it to be, you know, across the range of potential enforcements, but as far as I'm aware, there's not a target to, you know, suddenly increase the number of prohibition notices or something to be guided by the risk assessments. [00:19:25] Mick Ord (Host): And will the inspectors be speaking to individual workers on site? [00:19:29] Matt Birtles: Yes. I mean, not to try and catch them out or anything. Not to try and point any fingers or blame at any individual. But a part of risk management is making sure that individuals understand the kinds of risks they're exposed to. And have been, you know, informed about levels of risk of certain tasks, have been informed on how to use safe operation procedures, and that could be how to use plant equipment or mechanical aids, for example. And also being informed about the end of any risk management processes. Once we've fixed everything we can through mechanical means and engineering risk out, we'll always have some residual risk at the end that we mop up with training. And so just to find out how well the trainings worked, the manual handing training, for example: has it landed? Has it been successful? Has it changed behaviour? We'd find that out from talking to individuals on site, not trying to pick upon the individual or point a finger and blame anybody, but just to get the general picture of how risk is managed on that side. There certainly could be, yeah. [00:20:30] Mick Ord (Host): And is there anything in particular that individual workers will be expected to know? [00:20:37] Matt Birtles: Yes. I think in terms of risk communication, the kinds of risk factors that they're exposed on site, or the key risk, the higher risk activities, what they may be and how they should accommodate them through RAMS or through safe operating procedures. We would expect anybody on site to know who they need to speak to, if they see any issues that concern for near miss reporting, or for, you know, just reporting potentially hazardous activity, which can happen. We all humans make errors, and we always see something a bit wrong. Where would we go to report that and what would the expectations be on any site? And then yeah, absolutely. The general health and safety training in manual handling training, for example. God forbid they are quoting HSE sentences that we use. We've taken a lot of the words that are given in manual handling training and made them far less fun. So we certainly wouldn't be an examination – "can you quote our particular guidance?" But the general kind of approach to practices. You know, when was the last time that they were sort of reminded of those approaches and did it land? Those are the kind of things we do want people to know about so that they are empowered, as Peter mentioned, for that level of engagement's important. And that's kind of what we're looking at there to make sure that that side of engagement's happening successfully. [00:21:57] Mick Ord (Host): And how will you know if the campaign has been a success? How will you measure its success? [00:22:03] Matt Birtles: Well, this is the first year of a multi-year campaign targeting ill health in construction. So we'll measure the impact of this campaign using the information gathered by inspectors while they're on site. Things like material breach rates or the number of inspections that leads to finding material breaches will be one metric. And then others regarding awareness and behaviour change, as best we can, based on observation. How many sites do we leave having made an immediate impact or a subsequent impact in terms of behaviour changes? But because this is the first campaign in the sector targeting MSDs in quite a while, one of the core objectives of this whole campaign is to provide a detailed knowledge of the state of play across the sector to allow HSE to adapt its approach in subsequent years on how best to support employers and protect workers in the construction industry. So, A lot of the work is going to be about what was effective and that's going to really channel our efforts in future years as we run the next year of the campaign. [00:23:06] Mick Ord (Host): And I guess that's something that you would echo as well, Peter Crosland? [00:23:10] Peter Crosland: Absolutely. We can't solve the issue of MSDs in in one fell swoop. As Matt says, it's an ongoing process. MSD issues have taken a long time to surface. Hopefully it won't take us long to resolve, but as we become more aware of the issues and also I think particularly, not to miss out on the fact that we're becoming aware of workers' presenteeism. So even if they are actually suffering with an MSD, because of the financial crisis that we're running through and have been running through for a while, you know, people feel compelled to go to work. So they're forcing themselves to work when they're not actually maybe running at 90%. So we need to keep on top of MSDs and certainly as Matt outlined right at the start, we did some work about five years ago to try and identify the financial cost of MSDs In terms of ill health to the industry. And we worked out, it was round about the 75% mark. So, you know, when you then compare it to the likes of occupational asthma, silicosis, asbestosis, occupational dermatitis, noise induced hearing loss, etcetera, MSDs are simply huge. So it really is. And I'm pleased to hear what Matt said, that it is part of an ongoing campaign that will be repeated on a regular basis. [00:24:31] Mick Ord (Host): Well look, gentlemen, thanks your lot for that. Anyone listening needs to go onto the HSE site, don't they, if they want a little bit more information about the tools that are available for them and all the stuff you've spoken about. So Peter Crosland from Ceca and Matt Birtles from the HSE Science Division, many, many thanks for joining us on the HSE podcast. [00:24:53] Matt Birtles: Thanks very much indeed. [00:24:55] Peter Crosland: Yeah, thank you Mick.
    21/10/2022
    25:30
  • After UK Transition: Working with Chemicals - Episode - 6 - Questions and Answers session
    After UK Transition: Working with Chemicals - Episode - 6 - Questions and Answers session The latest episode of HSE’s Working with Chemicals podcast series invites industry voices to answer questions from organisations relating to the GB chemicals regulations. Whatever branch of chemicals industry you work in, we offer advice and guidance to support your business and point you in the right direction. Visit our website for further information and detailed guidance on the chemical regimes.  https://www.hse.gov.uk/brexit/chemicals-brexit-guidance.htm PODCAST TRANSCRIPT Good day and welcome to Episode 6 of the HSE podcast with me, Mick Ord. For today’s podcast we’ve got a line-up of guests whom regular listeners will recognise from previous episodes and we’ll also be hearing from a special guest who hasn’t appeared before – he’s the Director of the Chemicals Regulation Division of HSE, Richard Daniels. What we thought we’d do in this episode is go through each regime with the relevant experts and pick out some of the big themes and questions which have emerged from our discussions with companies since the transition period ended last year. So many of you have been logging onto the HSE website and getting in touch with us as Richard will explain a bit later and we thank you for that – please continue to do so. So whichever branch of the chemicals industry you work in, if you have questions relating to the GB chemicals regulations, we hope we can cover it here and reassure you that a) you’re not alone and b) we are doing and will continue to do everything in our power to point you in the right direction. So without further ado – the regimes we cover in this episode include Biocides, Pesticides, CLP – that’s Classification, Labelling and Packaging of chemicals, and REACH – that’s the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. Our first expert today, Dr. Nicola Gregg, is Team Leader for Biocides Operational Policy in HSE’s Chemicals Regulation Division.   Mick: Hi Nicola, first query for you.  I’m a small business that produces coatings and I have an application for a biocide product that I wish to register under Great Britain Biocides Product Regulation (BPR), what format do I need to submit an application in?   Nicola: First of all, it’s worth pointing out that as HSE no longer has access to R4BP, the EU systems, they will need to submit their application directly to us in HSE using our new forms and these forms are available for download from our website.   So they download the form, complete all the details and email them back into us and when we receive the form, we then send out a secure upload link and it’s into that that they submit all your data and information.   Don’t send the information and data in an email, wait for the secure link.  So the sort of information which we would expect to see uploaded would be for example the Active Substance Competent Authority Report (CAR), the Product Authorisation Report (PAR), Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC) all terms which people will be familiar with as well as all the supporting data.   Now for all those reports that I just listed there, we’ve got new templates for these as well on our website.  We’d very much like applicants to use these new templates, unless they’ve already got the information in the EU versions of those templates.  So in other words, if they’ve already got it in the EU version, we don’t expect them to repeat the process and fill out our templates.  For new applications, please do use our new templates.    We also expect that they submit their data in IUCLID - we would prefer IUCLID 6.  If they have got data in older IUCLID versions, submit them and we’ll see if we can access them and obviously if we can’t then we’ll get in touch and we’ll work out how to move forward. Now we do realise that some of the data that was submitted a long time ago might never have been in IUCLID and that’s OK for resubmissions that we’ve talked about previously, but probably if we receive an application from an applicant and see no IUCLID, our automatic response almost will be – where is your IUCLID file so you just need to explain that you never had a IUCLID file in the first place. There’s one final thing Mick that I’d just like to highlight as well – that we do need active and product reference lists.  So these reference lists for both the active and the product applications must be on the GB Excel template – that’s one area where we aren’t able to be flexible.   Mick: OK, another question.  I produce wood preservative products and wish to have my product on the market in the GB and NI.  What do I need to do?   Nicola: Well, applications for Northern Ireland, just like the GB applications, will be made directly to HSE using our new forms as I’ve just described and using the same submission methods.  There is one exception however.  That exception is if a company wants to apply for an EU Union authorisation so that would include Northern Ireland, and Union authorisations, these applications follow entirely the EU system so the applications are made using R4BP.  HSE will have no involvement in the processing of Union applications.  We are still discussing some details with ECHA about mutual recognitions and we can confirm that if a company applies to the EU and wants the product to be mutually recognised into Northern Ireland, they can do that via what we call Mutual Recognition in sequence process.  Now it’s not yet quite clear whether they can apply for Mutual Recognition in parallel into Northern Ireland and when we have a clearer picture on that, we will be able to confirm one way or another.  But mutual recognitions for Northern Ireland again are submitted directly to HSE.  If I could Mick, I’d like to expand a bit here to talk about the establishment rules because it’s a really important area we’re getting a lot of questions about.  So companies must adhere to the GB and the EU BPR establishment rules.  That means that for the GB market the authorisation holder must be established in UK, but for the Northern Ireland market they must be established in the EU or Northern Ireland.   For the GB market, there is a one year “period of grace” or transitional period ending on the 31st December this year for products already authorised.  So if you’ve already got a product authorised you’ve got one year to make sure that your authorisation holder is indeed established in the UK.    If an application had already been submitted into the EU programme, but a decision wasn’t made by the end of the transitional period, then companies would be resubmitting those applications to us and the establishment rule must be met by the time we’re ready to authorise that product.   Then the third option is, if you are submitting a completely new application to us under the new GB rules, then the establishment rule must be met at the time of making the application.   Just coming back to the Northern Ireland situation, the establishment rule should already be met now so for products that are already authorised, that establishment rule should already be in place.   We are aware that this has come as quite a surprise to some so we are making no immediate plans to start revoking products where this obligation hasn’t been met, but we are asking companies to get on with this and to get this in place as soon as possible.   For meeting the establishment obligation in GB or NI, companies may have to apply to us to make a change and if companies are familiar with applying for change applications, that’s exactly what they would do, again using our new forms as I just explained before.  And then just one last thing – sorry this has been a very long answer – companies can apply to HSE for authorisation in GB and Northern Ireland at the same time using the one application form if this route is relevant to both GB and Northern Ireland.  We hope that will be a bit of a saving where  there’s only one application needed, rather than two separate ones.   Mick: Ok Nicola, one last question for you.  The active substance in my disinfectant product is due to renewal in the EU.  Does HSE intend to conduct an independent review of active substances for biocides and if so, will the EU BPR deadline date for all active substances to be reviewed by 2023, be the same as GB BPR?   Nicola: Right, of course GB is outside of the EU review programme and we will responsible for taking decisions on active substance nationally ourselves.  So we will set up and undertake our own review programme for existing active substances.  The timelines for the GB active substance programme haven’t yet been decided and we will consider these once we know the extent of the work for the GB review programme and we will know that once the resubmission deadlines have passed and these deadlines are the 31st of March and 29th June this year.   So it’s only after those dates that we will have a feel of the extent of the work and we will start consider starting prioritising deadlines, approaches etc, etc.  The good news is that in the meantime Article 89 of GB BPR continues to apply and this allows via resubmission products containing active substances supported in the review programme to continue to be made available while the active substances are still under review.    Mick: Great thanks Nicola.  That was Dr. Nicola Gregg who’s Team Leader for Biocides Operational Policy in HSE’s Chemicals Registration Division.  Andrea Caitens is one of the Team Leaders and a Regulatory Scientist from the Chemicals Regulatory Division covering REACH, CLP and PIC, that’s Prior Informed Consent.   Andrea good to speak to you again.  I have an email here.  I am a small business that imports chemical products from other countries.  Will I have ‘importer status’ obligations when importing substances into GB from the EU/EEA?     Andrea: The simple answer is yes.  GB based companies will have importer obligations where they import substances or mixtures into Great Britain from the EU or the EEA.  For some companies this could mean a significant change depending on what role they played in the EU to GB supply chains before the end of the transition period.  For example, those who were previously considered to be GB based distributors or downstream users as they were supplied from companies within the EU or the EEA, will now be importers if the same supply arrangements continue.  Such companies should ensure that they are aware of the obligations placed on them as importers via the GB CLP regulation and they should have sufficient competence to carry those duties out.  I would just point out that the supply of qualifying goods from Northern Ireland businesses to Great Britain will not be deemed import under the terms of the Northern Ireland protocol though.   Mick: Thank you.  We have another one for you here.   I have multiple chemical products on the GB market which carry the same classification and labelling.  Can I upload CLP notifications for these in bulk?   Andrea: No is the simple answer.  At the moment, the notification form doesn’t have a bulk upload facility as such any notifications do have to be submitted individually.  However, we are looking at the development of the web form and the notification system as a whole and may make some changes to this in the future.  It should however be noted that there are some exemptions from the duty to notify under GB CLP and this includes for substances that have been registered under REACH or which were notified to ECHA for inclusion in the Classification Labelling infantry before the end of the transition period.  Full details about when the duty to notify applies in Great Britain and all these exemptions is provided on our website and I would urge anybody with the duty to notify to look at these details.    Mick: Thanks for that Andrea.  Another query now.  My company has chemical products on the market in both Northern Ireland and Great Britain.  Can I have both a GB and EU address on the label to maintain common labelling across the UK?   Andrea: Substances and mixtures placed on the market in Great Britain do have to be labelled in accordance with GB CLP and those placed on the market in Northern Ireland in accordance with EU CLP.  Now the supplier details that are included on the labels should meet their respective requirements.  That said it can be acceptable to include the contact details for both the GB and any EU based supplier on the label.  Where this is appropriate the additional address would have to be included as supplemental labelling information in accordance with the requirements of Article 25(3) CLP and in addition, the inclusion of the additional supplier’s details mustn’t cast doubt on the validity of the information required by Article 17 of CLP or make it more difficult to identify that information.  The additional supplier should be part of the same supply chain and it would be expected that contacting that supplier would provide appropriate information on the chemical.  Indeed, the supplier must be aware and willing to undertake that role.  Ultimately, I would say it must be clear to the user where to go for additional advice about the substance or mixture concerned and that the contact they go to is able to provide the advice and the information that’s required.    Mick: Thanks for that Andrea.  Another one now.  I’ve already submitted a REACH registration for my product, do I still need to make a CLP notification?   Andrea: No, as I mentioned earlier, if a substance is registered under REACH there is no requirement to submit a separate CLP notification also.  As I again noted earlier, there are other exemptions from the require to notify in Great Britain, and I would urge all potential notifiers to consider the guidance provided on our website if they haven’t already done so.   Mick: Thank you Andrea.  With me now is Rachel Brown who’s working on the Biocides and Pesticides Transformation Programme.  Rachel, I’ve got a query for you here.  My company is the authorisation holder for multiple fungicidal active substances.  I understand that for renewal of active substances in the short term,  only an administrative application will be needed.  When will the full dossier be required for submission in Great Britain?   Rachel: The GB legislation requires that the supplementary dossier be submitted 30 months before the expiry of the approval of the active substance.  This is exactly the same as previously when we followed the EU legislation.  However, we are going to seek to minimise the action required to meet this legislative requirement and we will provide some further information soon.    Mick: In circumstances where an EU MRL comes into force which is higher than the current GB MRL, will there be put in place a fast-track mechanism that will permit the GB MRL to be increased to match the increased EU MRL?       Rachel: There is no fast-track mechanism for adopting an MRL from another jurisdiction as a GB MRL and that includes from the EU.  There’s now an independent GB regime for the regulation of pesticides and we will be delivering our own decisions in GB.   So that means a specific application will need to be submitted to HSE to support a new MRL or an import tolerance.  If an application is submitted, standard processing times will be apply to the evaluation and that’s a 12 month processing time with an additional six months allowed to provide any additional information.  However, HSE will take into account assessments made in other jurisdictions as part of our independent decision-making process so where an MRL is supported by an extrapolation based on data already evaluated, HSE will try to assess the applications in a shorter time frame, but it’s important to note that if the MRL is related to a new product authorisation, then the MRL can only be implemented once the authorisation has been granted.  And for Import Tolerance applications, a proof of authorisation in the third country will also need to be provided.    Mick: I have a product which has authorised uses on crops to protect against weeds – herbicide – both in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  Is it possible to submit only one dRR – Draft Registration Report – for Great Britain and Northern Ireland?   A Core Dossier and specific UK addenda?   Rachel: Where a product can be authorised to the same regulatory standards in both Great Britain and Northern Ireland, a common dRR may be submitted and that should enable the product to be submitted in both GB and NI.  However, where the regulatory standards have diverged between GB and NI, for example if an active substance has been renewed in the EU and is applicable in NI but not in GB, then there may be different requirements that need to be met and where this is the case different submissions will be required.    Mick: Thank you Rachel.   Before we hear from our next expert, I need to define a term used in the first question to him – Grandfathering.  Grandfathering allows you to have continued access to the UK market.  It’s where the relevant EU REACH registrations have been recognised under UK REACH.  Alun Williams is the Lead for External Comms and Stakeholder Engagement in the Defra and Chemicals Team.   Hi Alan, first question for you is – We are a GB importer of an EU REACH registered substance.  Our EU supplier and EU REACH registration holder wants to grandfather the registration to UK REACH.  Can this be done, if so how and when does this need to be completed by?   Alun: Thanks very much for the question Mick.  I should clarify that it is not possible for EU based legal entities to have their EU registrations recognised under UK REACH.  So in the situation you described, if you’ve been importing a substance covered by the EU REACH registrations in the two years before the end of the implementation period, then it could be possible for you to use a downstream user import notification, colloquially known as a DUIN, that would allow you to suspend the registration duty for up to six years.  UK REACH only applies in the UK therefore legal entities based in the EU and EEA can have no obligations under this regime.  The grandfathering traditional provision is only available to GB based holders of EU REACH registrations, including GB based manufacturers and importers, GB based Only Representatives, ORs as they are also known, and GB based legal entities that held an EU REACH registration and transferred it to an EU based legal entity at any point after 29th March, 2017 which is of course the date the UK notified its intentions of leaving the EU and before the end of the transition period.   If a GB based legal entity transferred their EU REACH registration to another GB based legal entity, only the GB based legal entity to whom the registration was transferred, will be entitled to have that registration recognised under UK REACH.  The grandfathering provision is available until 120 days after the end of the transition period and the process will need to be completed by 30th April, 2021.    Mick: Thanks for that Alun.  Another query now.  I’m a small company which has multiple products which require REACH notifications.  Can multiple notifications be made, or does each one have to be done separately?  Can this be done using IUCLID files?   Alun: It’s a fair question.  So within 300 days of the end of the transition period you need to use the  Comply UK REACH service to indicate you are an existing downstream user or distributor.  It’s at this point your UK REACH downstream user import notification number which was mentioned earlier, that will be issued to you.   This only needs to be done once per legal entity and covers all substances that you wish to continue importing from the EU.  You then need to populate the additional information spreadsheet template with information about the substances that you wish to continue importing.  It should be noted that some information only has to be included, if it is available to you.  This spreadsheet should list individually, all of the substances which you want to continue importing from the EU.  One per line.  Where a substance is included in the spreadsheet, it must continue at least one of the following identifiers.  The substance name, the cast number, or the EC number.  After that, you should send the completed spreadsheet to the Agency at:  [email protected]   You should include your legal entity name and DUIN  notification number in the subject line of the email.  It may be easier to fulfil some of the information requirements by attaching a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to the email rather than including it in the spreadsheet, eg the Article 10(a) Part IV information pertaining to classification.  Where an SDS for a substance is attached to the email along with the spreadsheet, the spreadsheet must also list that substance.   To return to another part of your question, there is no IUCLID template for DUINs and we are not accepting IUCLID files for the substances.         Mick:   Final question for you Alun.   My company predominantly produces polymers.  What is the stance on polymers under REACH and are polymers exempt from REACH?   Alun:   It’s a great question.  So the exemption to the registration of polymers, which applies under Article 2 Part 9 of REACH, has been carried over into UK REACH.   However, the monomers of other substances that form part of the polymer are subject to registration and will need to be registered.   All GB based registrations which exist at the end of the transition period and all registrations held by GB entities at any point since 29th March, 2017, have been grandfathered.  If the monomers and other reactants are supplied to you from within GB, then the registration duty will be higher in your supply chain.  If you import the monomers or other reactants, then you may need to submit a registration or a DUIN.      Mick:   Great Alun, thanks for that.  Our guest now is the Director of the Chemicals Regulation Division in HSE, Richard Daniels.  Richard can you just give our listeners are quick introduction?  What is the nature of your job, what do you do?     Richard:   I’ve been Director of the Chemicals Regulation Division since the 9th March, 2020, so it’s been a really busy year for me.  I’ve got responsibility for all of the activities in the Division and the regimes to make sure that it operates perfectly well and that includes preparing for the situation we’re in now.  Just by way of background, I joined HSE in 1992 as a Factory Inspector when I finished my PhD at Manchester University and I’ve done lots of things in HSE and before joining the Division, I had the privilege to be Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Explosives and headed up our National Explosives Unit, so quite a different job now.      Mick:   Absolutely.  Do you have any reflections as to how things have been going since the 1st of January?     Richard:   From my perspective I think things have been going really well.  If I reflect back on what on what we’ve got in place and what we’ve achieved – we have an independent, regulatory framework now for Great Britain for chemicals.  That’s up and running and fit for purpose.  That’s been a lot of hard work by people in the Division and with colleagues across the piste.  And that independent system mirrors what people were used to when we were part of the EU.  Some of the EU functions have been taken out because they no longer apply in our context but that means we’ve got immediate continuity for businesses on leaving which was really important for us.         The Northern Ireland Protocol means Northern Ireland will continue to follow the EU chemical regulations and HSE is close to finalising agreements to support Northern Ireland so we can do their functions on their behalf.  And we’ve actually agreed revised arrangements with Scotland and Wales, so those are all in place now to support all of those devolved administrations.   In terms of support to business, we’ve put help desks in place for all of the regimes and we support the national telephone helpline.  For the first two months we dealt with over 1400 contacts across all the regimes.  We’ve also supplied and updated much of our web guidance on the new regimes that apply from the 1st of January and you may be interested – we’ve had over 390,000 views of the website over the first two months which I think is incredible.  In terms of our eBulletins and promoting that guidance, that currently goes out to 240,000 stakeholders.  The podcasts people are listening to now, we’ve got over 2,300 subscriptions and we delivered a number of seminars with Defra and joint events to get them ready for the 1st of January and that reached over 1750 businesses.  They are available on HSE’s YouTube Channel if people didn’t take part in them.  Over half of those actually hadn’t attended any previous involvement with HSE, so we got great penetration into new businesses.  And lastly, we have recruited -  we’ve filled over 110 posts in our new division in terms of the set up and we’ve got plans to recruit even further.   So I think Mick, we’ve done a lot and it’s operating well.      Mick:   Very impressive.  Could you outline any immediate priorities and plans for the medium to longer term?     Richard:   Thanks Mick.  I think it is important to take a step back.   We’ve heard a lot of immediate activity but at the heart of what we are about as a Division and where - as a Director I want to take us – at the heart of everything we do is about protecting people and protecting the environment through the safe and effective use of chemicals, supporting a sustainable future.   So that’s what I really want  to embed.  We are about protection and supporting the future growth.  Now where I want to get to is actually HSE, we act as a globally respected competent authority that supports the UK to prosper particularly in a post Brexit environment through science led regulation in the effective and safe use of chemicals and associated technology.  So I’m aiming for us to be one of the best if not the best in the world, supporting what the UK needs.    What does that mean in practice?   Well, we need to ensure that HSE delivers are chemical regulation effectively in that independent UK environment.    I am really keen on improving services to both UK businesses and the public.  I want to, where I can, drive down the costs of our regulatory delivery so what businesses have to pay to get the necessary approvals.  I want to, where I can, speed up the time it takes to issue our permissions to business.  I want to make sure that we have world class scientific and regulatory chemical expertise underpinning everything we do.   And I want to make sure that HSE on behalf of the UK, we are engaging and influencing on the global stage in terms of chemical regulatory regimes because many of our businesses don’t just operate in the UK, they operate internationally and I think it’s important we are there to help and facilitate that trade.    In terms of communication, and part of the podcasts, I want to make sure that all of our guidance is clear and that we do respond to businesses needs, and we keep updating that.   And I want to make sure that we are visible to our stakeholders, to our businesses etc, particularly small businesses and those that are operating in a research or innovation environment to make sure that as a regulator we are visible to them, we understand their needs and we are building for the future.   And podcasts like this we may well do more of in the future so I really would encourage people to watch this space and sign up to our bulletins.  Mick:   I was wondering if you had any take home key messages for those who listen to these podcasts?     Richard:      Sure, well I think firstly, and I hope it’s coming across that on behalf of HSE, I’d like to say that we are fully committed to our fundamental mission about protecting people and the environment and about improving the way that we do our regulation and how we provide those protections.  And just to reassure people at this time, HSE as a regulator, I believe we have a very good track record of being a modern, proportionate regulator and where necessary we do operate with a degree of pragmatism.   And we have got lots of experience in delivering new services and regimes. Whilst it may take us a little while on where I want to get the Division, bear with us.  Really, it’s about being the best we can to support businesses that protect people and the environment.    In terms of other take home key messages – I would just like to thank people for engaging and working with HSE during the past year and for example listening to these podcasts.  We really do value the feedback and input that we’ve had and we look very much forward to working with people as we develop going forward.    The UK Government is looking at future chemical strategy as part of the 25 Year Environment Plan and we will play a part in that and I think that at the heart of what we do now that independent regulatory decision making in the GB chemicals regime will allow HSE to regulate in a way that suits our economy.    So we’ll continue to support businesses, we’ll continue to provide guidance through the website, eBulletins, our helpdesks at stakeholder events.  I would really encourage people to engage with us, give us feedback, and keep an eye out for future podcasts if we run them, sign up to our bulletin services because we are there to help and support you.      Mick:   Great – thanks Richard.  That was Richard Daniels, the Director of the Chemicals Regulation Division in HSE.     A big thanks to all our guests in today’s podcast… that’s Nicola Gregg, Rachel Brown, Andrea Caitens, Alun Williams and Richard Daniels.   Remember to log onto the HSE website for more information and if you still need some guidance then contact the helpdesks which cover all the regimes and we’ll get back to you and soon as possible.    The email addresses are included in the notes accompanying the podcast and of course on our website – www.hse.gov.uk   Thanks for listening and we wish you a happy and successful year.
    26/3/2021
    33:12

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In 2022, The Health and Safety (HSE) launched a new 10-year strategy: Protecting People and Places. This is strategy that reflects HSE’s role at its broadest. A role that goes beyond worker protection, to include public safety assurance on a range of issues, as we adapt to new technologies, the government’s commitment to the net zero agenda, and HSE’s added responsibilities, including becoming the appointed Building Safety Regulator, and our extended role in chemical regulation, post Brexit. This Health and Safety Executive (HSE) series of free podcasts will cover a range of subject matters to help businesses and workers understand HSE’s strategic priorities, its campaigns and the main challenges we collectively need to address.
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