I was excited about starting Unit B of the course because I find hazardous agents in the workplace a really interesting topic.
I got to Santia House a bit early and started chatting to some of the students I had become friendly with during the first two weeks of the course. Our Week 3 tutor introduced herself as Krys Browning. I was pleased to see a successful female delivering the course content, especially as the health and safety industry used to be dominated by male professionals.
Krys has a number of years’ experience in health and safety, and human resources management mainly in manufacturing and construction. She is also a Chartered Member of Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (CMIOSH) and a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (Chartered MCIPD).
We began on the Monday morning with element B1 of the NEBOSH National Diploma unit B. We spent the day looking at legal framework and how it applies to chemicals. REACH is the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation, EC 1907/2006. We covered the key elements of this regulation and what it does. Krys also talked through Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulations, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, as well as some other relevant regulations.
There was a lot to take in but I was familiar with aspects of these regulations already so it wasn’t all completely new to me.
The next day we began with the principles of epidemiology and the relevance of toxicological data. I was keen to learn about the alternatives to animal testing such as Ames Assay (In Vitro) and Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships (QSARs). “In Vitro” refers to testing which takes place in the laboratory rather than in the living organism and QSARs are mathematical models used to predict toxicity.
On Tuesday afternoon we covered element B2 looking at the assessment of risks. In my current job role assessing risk is a critical part but it was nice to have a refresher and look at an example exam question with a possible answer.
We started element B3 on Wednesday morning. This element concentrated on engineering controls and personal protective equipment. We learnt how to calculate the minimum protection required (MPR) when using respiratory protective equipment (RPE), which I found really interesting.
The next day Krys talked to us about element B4; monitoring and measuring. The role of an occupational hygienist is to identify, assess and control health hazards in the workplace. Krys explained how to interpret a hygienist’s report, ensuring the strategy and methods are suitable and that results are valid.
In the afternoon on Thursday we focused on element B5 which looked at the types and properties of biological agents found at work, this included anthrax, norovirus, e-coli and cryosporidiosis.
On Friday we covered B6; physical agents 1 – noise and vibration, including the effects of noise and methods of measuring noise.
The key things I learnt
During Week 3 I realised just how many different hazardous agents there are in the workplace. Some are more severe than others but as a health and safety manager it is my responsibility to ensure nothing is overlooked. I’m looking forward to returning to work and implementing what I have learnt.
Before starting Week 4 we were advised to look through our notes and complete all the homework questions from Week 3. I had already completed revision for Unit A so I was confident I could apply the same techniques to this new course content.
Check back for the next instalment of Jo’s journey through the NEBOSH National Diploma.
Today I took the Unit A exam for the NEBOSH National Diploma. I knew I had prepared the best I could, going through practice questions and completing the background reading, but I was still a little bit apprehensive about the day ahead.
When I registered for the exam I received an exam voucher which explained the examination regulations and included my examination entry confirmation. On this confirmation document we were told to arrive at least 10 minutes before the exam start time but I arrived at the exam venue in plenty of time because I didn’t want to risk being late. The familiar surroundings of Santia House made me feel more at ease but naturally I still felt a bit nervous.
I saw some faces I recognised when I arrived and started chatting with the other students. Some people seemed a lot more anxious than I was but I tried not to let it affect me. I wanted to go into the exam feeling confident and calm.
When we went into the exam room and sat at the desks we were asked to sign our entry confirmation in front of the invigilator. We were also asked to bring photographic ID with us to ensure we were the genuine candidates. Once we had signed our entry confirmation we were told it must be displayed on our desk throughout the exam.
We weren’t allowed to bring any notes into the room so our stationary needed to be in a clear plastic bag so the invigilator could see all the contents. Each student was provided with a personalised notebook to record their answers and we were told to check the student number on our book matched the number on our entry confirmation.
The invigilator explained the exam would run for three hours and that we wouldn’t be able to leave the examination room during the first hour or last half an hour. The invigilator also explained that we were allowed 10 minutes reading time before the exam started, but this was under exam conditions and we were not allowed to write anything during this reading time.
Ten minutes before the exam was due to start, the invigilator gave out the exam papers and I began to read through the questions and collect my thoughts. I was glad of this reading time as it gave me chance to think about the questions and get my thoughts in order. It also helped me to relax a little.
After the 10 minutes reading time had passed the invigilator told us we could start answering the exam questions. I planned to allocate 15 minutes to each of the questions in section A so I wrote down my expected finish time for this question as a reminder. I had also worn a watch specifically to help me keep to the time I had allowed.
The first six questions were relatively straightforward. I had revised hard and was prepared for the topics that came up. Section B of the exam was a lot more complex as I had a choice of answering three questions from a possible five.
I skimmed the five topics in section B and immediately picked one I was sure about. I started a new page of my answer book and wrote down the question number in the box at the top of the page. I spent five minutes reading through the question thoroughly and jotting down the key points I wanted to include. I reviewed these key points and ordered them on my plan. I had my answer structure all ready and all that was left to do was write.
During the exam time flew by as I was in full flow answering one question after another. The final question was the hardest as I was struggling to decide which of the choices I could answer best. I tried not to waste too much time and picked one of the remaining options. After I concluded my final question I looked at the clock and I had five minutes left. Instead of wasting this time I used it to go back through my answer book checking for mistakes.
Everyone seemed relieved when the invigilator announced the time was up and that we needed to put down our pens. There was nothing else we could do except wait for our results. As we left the room everyone was chatting about how they thought it went and most people were pretty positive, although a few people said they had struggled to keep in time.
After the exam I felt really pleased with myself. I knew I had answered each question to the best of my ability and by writing down the allocated time on each question I was able to finish my answers with a little bit of time left over to check everything through.
Check back for the next instalment of Jo’s journey through the NEBOSH National Diploma.
How is a business supposed to comply with the law if the rules keep changing?
This is a question which many health and safety managers have doubtless asked themselves from time to time. Health and safety legislation is a moving goal, so it’s vital that anyone with health and safety responsibilities stays up to date with the latest developments.
For example, one day, it’s a requirement to notify a tower crane - but the next it isn’t. One day, scalpings aren’t reportable but the next, they’re a reportable “specified” injury (if they require hospital treatment).
Clearly it’s important for firms to know about such changes so that they don’t inadvertently find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
It’s for this reason that Santia has been running a series of Legislative Update Seminars to help explain what’s been happening in the world of health and safety and how all the recent changes can affect you. The feedback from the seminars has been overwhelmingly positive, which shows just how hungry safety practitioners are for this kind of information.
With venues including the Williams F1 Conference Centre, the Kia Oval and the Museum of Science and Industry, delegates were provided with a vibrant backdrop in which to learn (and the opportunity to rub shoulders with a celebrity!).
Richard White, the group Health and Safety Training Manager at Saint-Gobain Building Distribution UK & Ireland, commented:
“My own view is that seminars such as this should be a MANDATORY element of all Health & Safety Practitioners busy diaries. I found the topics, along with the pace and manner in which it was delivered ideal for such a forum. Encapsulating key points and also enabling discussion from an enthusiastic audience is difficult at the best of times. Two words unfortunately often missing from H&S learning are ‘relevance and enjoyable’ – but not at this event.
“The Santia team should be congratulated after the delivery of such a professional day which I think also demonstrates the importance of training venue selection (it could not have got any better after we walked into Frank Williams).”
Details of all Santia events and seminars can be found here.
In stark contrast to the zero fatalities achieved during the construction of venues for the London Olympics, an investigation by the Guardian newspaper alleges that dozens of labourers have died during the construction of Qatari World Cup infrastructure.
According to the report, between 4 June and 8 August at least 44 workers died from heart failure or were killed in workplace accidents, with potentially thousands more working in dangerous conditions. The International Trade Union Confederation believes that at this rate, there will be at least 4,000 deaths in the run up to the 2022 World Cup.
What is perhaps more disturbing is that the debate about World Cup safety has centred on whether the footballers can play in the summer heat, rather than the multiple deaths that are occurring during the construction of facilities.
Throughout the Guardian report, reference is made to forced labour, migrant workers having salaries withheld, passports confiscated, access to drinking water denied and workers begging for food. In response, the real estate company in charge of the work commented:
“We will not tolerate breaches of labour or health and safety law. We continually instruct our contractors and their subcontractors of our expectations and their contractual obligations to both us and individual employees. The Guardian have highlighted potentially illegal activities employed by one subcontractor. We take these allegations very seriously and have referred the allegations to the appropriate authorities for investigation. Based on this investigation, we will take appropriate action against any individual or company who has found to have broken the law or contract with us.”
In an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live, Prime Minister David Cameron responded to these reports and said:
“We, in the Olympics, I think I’m right in saying, managed to build that entire Olympic Park with the best ever record on safety – no one dying during construction, keeping injuries to an absolute minimum.
“The British construction industry we really can hold up as a good example to the rest of the world.”
The contrast in reported safety standards between these two global events could not be starker and throws some real perspective upon the true value of the UK’s health and safety culture. Health and safety has its detractors, but when confronted with such reports, we’re reminded of why we have these “burdensome” rules and why they should not be cast aside. The legacy of the London Olympics is that it is possible to complete huge construction projects without a single life being lost through work related accidents. This standard should not be placed in jeopardy and is rightly held as an example to all others.
According to SHP magazine, the Prime Minister commented that while the British building industry didn’t have such a good record in the past, everyone had a duty to insist on the best safety standards. Has the man who famously vowed to “kill off health and safety culture for good” somehow been converted?
Workplace safety often gets bogged down in media trivialities, but is this case different? Does the health and safety record of the Qatari World Cup act as a reminder of what we do well in this country and why health and safety is of such importance? Let us know your thoughts!
Santia are experts in construction health and safety consultancy and management. We offer a wide range of specialist support with a strong emphasis in providing practical solutions and risk control strategies.
This week Santia employees are cycling 150 miles from Crewe to Cardiff to raise money for charity in the 5 C’s Challenge; Crewe to Cardiff Charity Cycle Competition.
After getting a bike through the ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme one of Santia’s field based employees made a comment in jest about cycling from his home in Crewe to Santia headquarters in Cardiff. What seemed like a joke at the time has now become a reality as four staff plan to pedal the 150 miles it takes to get to work.
Throughout the year Santia’s charity committee has been working hard to reach their £10,000 target and this cycle challenge is the biggest event to date.
Four employees will cycle together from Crewe to Cardiff in a trip that covers 150 miles over two days, from the 14th-15th October. Each cyclist has picked a charity to support and has created a Just Giving webpage to collect sponsorship. The four cyclists are:
Bill Bartley, Regional Operations Manager, Asbestos
Bill is riding for Mesothelioma UK. He said “having worked in the Asbestos team for 12 years I know the devastating impact this type of cancer has on families.” Sponsor Bill through his Just Giving page.
Joey Hoey, Key Account Manager, Health and Safety
Joey is cycling for Dementia UK. He commented saying the fact this cycle is for charity will keep him going. Sponsor Joey through his Just Giving page.
Mark Rowe, Business Development Manager, Health and Safety
Mark is riding for Action for Children, he said “being a father with 2 young children and seeing some of the horror stories on the news concerning neglected and abused children, you realise that some children are not as fortunate as your own and they need someone to stick up for them, Action for Children does just that.” Sponsor Mark through his Just Giving page.
Jas Kabba, Business Development Manager, Occupational Health
Jas is cycling for Velindre Cancer Centre. He said “As someone who has lost 2 grandparents to cancer, I felt it was time I did something to help the thousands of people in our communities suffering day in day out with this dreadful illness.” Sponsor Jas through his Just Giving page.
When the staff at Santia House found out what was planned they wanted to get involved and not just by donating. To support these four cyclists the rest of the staff have decided to cycle the same distance in a battle of the sexes sprint.
Teams of men and women have been recruited to cycle as part of a 150 mile exercise bike relay. Each team member will cycle a portion of the total in the fastest time possible and the first team to complete their 150 miles will be declared the winner. Who do you think will be victorious, the men, the women or the team on the road?
Show your support by donating via the roadies Just Giving pages or contact the Santia charity committee on 0845 5040 402.
A survey by leading allergy charity Anaphylaxis Campaign, has found that more than a third of people aged between 15 to 25 who suffer from severe allergies do not always carry their potentially life-saving adrenalin.
Every year there are believed to be approximately 20 deaths in the UK due to anaphylaxis, five of which are the result of food allergies. Epipen auto-injectors are used for emergency treatment, but it seems that many young people with such allergies do not routinely carry this device.
At particular risk are students who have moved away from home for the first time; almost a quarter of those who took part in the survey (23%) said that they require more information on allergy management independent of parental assistance.
Don Meredith, Technical Director of Santia Food Safety Services commented:
“When young people step out of their parents’ shadows for the first time, a sense of individual responsibility has to kick in. Anyone with a severe allergy should know how to manage it and where necessary, carry the appropriate emergency medication. Failure to do so is reckless and this places them at unnecessary risk. In addition to individual responsibility, food businesses have an enormous role to play in refining their manufacturing processes to ensure that labelling is as accurate and meaningful as it can be. Mistakes can be costly and not purely financial in nature.”
22% of survey respondents said that allergy management in a social context was a particular concern. Angela Simpson, professor of respiratory medicine at the University of Manchester has spoken of the social pressures that can be a factor:
“It’s about mums no longer supervising what they eat, it’s about drinking a bit too much alcohol and not wanting to embarrass themselves if they can’t eat somewhere when everyone else wants to.”
Earlier this year the University of Manchester embarked upon a major international study into the dramatic increase in food allergies over the last two decades. See our previous blog about the rise of food allergies and the pressure that this places on the UK health system.
Santia’s 1-day Allergen Segregation Training is designed to provide staff with a sound understanding of allergen management best practice, and offers an applied knowledge of how contamination can be prevented in a manufacturing environment.
As of 13 December 2014, the rules concerning allergen labelling are set to change.
Under the new system, information about allergenic ingredients will be located in a single place (i.e. the ingredients list). The use of allergy boxes providing statements such as “Contains nuts” will no longer be allowed, however, “may contain” warnings will remain unchanged.
On the new type of label, allergy advice statements will direct people to the ingredients list to obtain the necessary information. It will be up to businesses to decide how they highlight the presence of an allergen in an ingredients list, but this may include the use of bold text, underlining or contrasting colours.
Don Meredith, Director of food safety at Santia Consulting Ltd commented:
“The so-called ‘may contain’ warnings are used on a voluntary basis and are therefore outside the scope of forthcoming changes; nevertheless, food businesses should do all that they can to reduce needless warnings and protect consumer safety – this can be a tricky balance to achieve. Such warnings should only be used if thorough risk assessments show a significant risk of cross-contamination which cannot be adequately managed.
“Staff training, effective cleaning, the use of dedicated equipment and the physical segregation of high-risk ingredients are some of the methods that manufacturers can adopt to bring more confidence into the system.”
Rates of allergies have risen so sharply in the last twenty years that the UK is now one of the top three countries in the world for allergy incidence.
Since 1990, UK hospital admissions due to food allergies have rocketed by 500% and research indicates that the cost of allergy treatment in NHS primary care is £900m per year.
Don Meredith of Santia continued:
“Whatever the cause of this spiralling in allergy rates, it is clear that the food industry is a key player in reducing costs on the healthcare system. Clearer labelling on food packaging is crucial so that consumers can make informed decisions whenever they make a purchase.”
Santia Food Safety Services offers a comprehensive range of high quality, yet competitively priced training courses specifically designed for food handlers and manufacturers.
Unit A is the first module in the NEBOSH National Diploma and I wanted to do well. Peter and Andrew had taught us all the content for the unit in the first two training weeks and now it was down to us to revise and retain that information.
Santia had a number of online resources I was able to use when revising for Unit A. The NEBOSH National Diploma revision notes web page was extremely useful as it included a variety of helpful hints and tips. It explained the importance of background reading and provided a list of NEBOSH National Diploma study books.
The list of books on the Santia Training website was another fantastic resource. I read everything associated with Unit A and took down comprehensive notes. By studying these reading materials I felt more confident with the course content.
During the first two weeks of the course we were given detailed study notes and practice questions to take away. I started working through the questions at home using both the study notes from Santia and the notes I had taken from the background reading. At first I found applying theory to practical examples challenging but as I completed more of the questions it started to click.
I finished several practice questions provided by Santia and emailed my answers to Jane Cains, to be marked by a Santia NEBOSH National Diploma tutor. It took about a week to ten days for Santia to send back my marked practice questions. I was really grateful for the comments and feedback as it allowed me to focus my revision on certain elements in the unit.
I took on board some of Santia’s suggested revision techniques and created a set of prompt cards. The front of each card included a subject title and a number. On the reverse of the card were bullet points about that topic. The number on the front of the card corresponded to the number of bullet points. I kept testing myself trying to remember all the bullet points that referred to each topic until I could recite everything.I found revising for the Unit A exam challenging and frustrating at times as I put a lot of pressure on myself to do the best I could. I made sure I took regular breaks to help me focus and tried to plan my revision schedule in advance. With the amount of content associated with Unit A I think it is important to be organised and start your revision early. It would be impossible to learn everything only a week or two before the exam date.
Read how Jo got on when she took the NEBOSH National Diploma Unit A exam.
In June 2013, FoodManufacture.co.uk conducted a survey of food and drink manufacturing professionals, based in the UK, to find out how they felt about the state of the industry and what issues caused most concern. The results were extremely informative with 87% of respondents agreeing that the horsemeat scandal had damaged the reputation of the food supply chain.
During the survey participants were shown a range of statements and were asked to select from the following options:
These statements were grouped into five key topic areas:
1. Market conditions
2. Trading relationships
3. Environmental management
4. Investment and employment
5. Product development
Despite the problems these industry professionals have faced since the horsemeat scandal in January 2013 they remain very optimistic about the future. The survey results showed 73% are more positive about the future of their companies compared to last year and 89% agreed they saw a long-term future for the UK food manufacturing industry.
Trading relationships are a key area of concern for these professionals. 83% agreed that pricing pressure from retailers is threatening the quality of own-label products through excessive value engineering. They also agreed that this pricing pressure was cutting into resources devoted to new product development and innovation.
66% of respondents agreed that improving energy efficiency is one of the top priorities. These professionals also said that reducing packaging weight and recycling are key focus areas for their companies this year.
Investment and employment
The survey results showed that many companies will be looking to take on more staff this year than last year, but 60% feel their company finds it difficult to recruit people with the appropriate skills.
Even with a possible skills shortage, 71% of respondents said they aren’t looking to shift manufacturing outside the UK.
The survey showed companies are looking to invest more in new product development this year than last year. Part of this new product development strategy is to reduce saturated fat, salt and sugar.
However, new product development remains a conflicting topic as 72% of respondents said their customers are more concerned about the price of the product rather than ground-breaking new product development.
The FoodManufacture.co.uk survey shows whilst there are issues of concern in this industry, particularly with trading partnerships, these food and drink manufacturing professionals are still positive about the future and new product developments. Click here for more information and to download the full Food Manufacture State of the Industry Survey 2013.
Has “health” become the forgotten part of “health and safety”? What can be done to promote the importance of workplace health and wellbeing?
Politicians are being urged to place a greater emphasis on the importance of occupational health and wellbeing.
At the start of the party political conference season, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is calling for Government action to promote the enormous benefits of good health and safety management.
With more than 12,000 people being killed by occupational diseases, IOSH argues that this statistic is too high and that the Government and employers must do more to prevent further failure.
They point out that health and wellbeing at work can boost productivity, morale and profit – and this must no longer be seen as the ‘Cinderella’ of workplace management.
The Institution’s head of policy and public affairs Richard Jones said:
“We need better awareness, training for GPs, tax exemptions for employers and more recognition of the key role of the health and safety profession.
“The daily impact of getting it wrong on families, businesses and the economy is massive. Last year alone, over a million people suffered an illness they put down to their work, with 22.7 million working days lost to it. We need a national wake-up call to make sure health and wellbeing is taken more seriously.”
Mr Jones added:
“Health and safety professionals have lots of practical advice for making life better for everyone – helping improve health and preventing a multitude of disorders, including work-related cancers, hearing loss, chronic lung disease, skin disorders, disabling muscle and joint pain and stress related illness.
“Though less ‘instant and dramatic’ than injury, sometimes taking years to develop, illness is equally devastating and must be tackled.”
Santia’s occupational health and wellbeing services will help enable your business to effectively predict and manage workforce health and wellbeing giving you and your employees better health, better care and better value.
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