Tradesmen and women are being warned to protect themselves against a ‘hidden killer’ in the workplace – asbestos.
Around 4,000 people are dying from asbestos-related diseases each year in the UK. Tradesmen such as plumbers, joiners, electricians, painters and decorators are most at risk as they more likely to be exposed to asbestos fibres during repair or maintenance work.
Asbestos is found in many products used in buildings, including ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, boilers and sprayed coatings. Although it is now no longer used, any building built before the year 2000 is likely to contain asbestos.
To raise awareness of the risks, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has relaunched its Asbestos: The Hidden Killer campaign. Building on the success of last year’s campaign, Asbestos: The Hidden Killer will run throughout November and will see adverts in newspapers and on the radio, information packs sent out to 500,000 workers and a special website devoted to publicising the risks and how to protect yourself.
Visit www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/hiddenkiller to find out more.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families has published a guide on employing children.
The guidance sets out the key legislation on child employment for local authorities, employers and parents, covering the types of work young people can and cannot do, work experience, hours and health and safety requirements.
A new campaign to tackle workplace bullying has been launched by trade union UNISON and Company Magazine, after a joint survey revealed that a third of young working women have been bullied at work.
33% of the young women responding to the survey said that they had been bullied during the last six months, with the majority being bullied by an older female at a more senior professional level.
Three quarters of those who had experienced bullying said that it had affected their physical and mental health, causing stress, depression, insomnia and loss of motivation and self-confidence.
The Bully Busters campaign is calling for the government to introduce anti-bullying legislation to make it as serious an offence as harassment.
Find out more at: www.unison.org.uk/safety/pages_view.asp?did=6076
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has released a report and accompanying factsheet on preventing risks to young workers.
The report explores how the occupational safety and health of young workers can be managed at policy and practice level. It includes a range of case studies and examples of good practice and examines training, work experience and mentoring, offering strategies and ideas on how to keep young workers safe.
The report, Preventing risks to young workers: policy, programmes and workplace practices, can be found at: http://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/reports/TE3008760ENC
The summary factsheet can be found at: http://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/factsheets/en_83.pdf
The information on accidents and prosecutions featured in this section comes from a number of different sources including the Health and Safety Executive and regional and national newspapers.
“More women are working now than ever before, yet one in three young women are victimised and suffer in silence.
“Many people do not realise that a drip feed of bullying behaviour can be as devastating as a major incident.
“Serious mental and physical illness is a common result for those being bullied and this can have a damaging effect on these women for the rest of their lives.
“Our research has shown that bullying is accepted in many organisations – we need to change this attitude now”.
Dave Prentis, UNISON’s General Secretary.
"Young employees are particularly vulnerable to accidents, so it is vital they are adequately supervised, especially when working around high hazards such as overhead power lines. Too many people are dying in needless accidents on British farms. In the last ten years, 455 people went out in the morning and never came home".
HSE Inspector, Joanne Williams.