RoSPA has appointed its first youth liaison worker, Cassius Francis, to help reduce the number of accidents which affect young people by getting them directly involved in spreading the safety message.
A third of all deaths of young people in the UK are as a result of accidents and Cassius hopes to raise awareness of accident prevention amongst people aged under 25. He will work with schools, colleges and other youth organisations and look at all aspects of safety including the road, home, leisure and the workplace.
A Canadian campaign to raise awareness of workplace safety amongst young people has attracted controversy because of the gory images it uses.
The campaign, Bloody Lucky, was produced by the Alberta state government in Canada and its main focus is a series of videos portraying accidents in the workplace. The videos have been shown in cinemas and online, with posters in public places directing people to the website, www.bloodylucky.ca
The video clips depict young workers having accidents in six different places of work, including a supermarket worker losing a finger while slicing cheese and a shoe shop assistant falling off a ladder.
There is also a checklist of “5 questions to ask your boss”, such as “who will give me safety training?” and “do I need any safety gear?”
Some local politicians objected to the graphic nature of the videos, whilst others complained that the campaign puts too much blame on the employees rather than their bosses and reinforces stereotypes of young workers as distracted and apathetic. The creators of Bloody Lucky argue that they are trying to get young people talking about the issue and take some responsibility for their own safety.
Trainee tradespeople are being warned about the serious health risks from asbestos during a series of talks by the HSE this month.
Taking place at colleges all over the country, the talks reinforce the message that young workers are personally at risk of mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer, if they are exposed to asbestos as part of their work.
Despite the substance being banned in 2000, asbestos may still be present in any building constructed or refurbished before this time and can be inhaled as dust if disturbed by building work. According to HSE, 20 tradespeople are dying each week in the UK because of previous exposure to asbestos dust.
See: Asbestos: The Hidden Killer campaign at: www.hse.gov.uk/hiddenkiller
More apprenticeships will be on offer in the UK after an increase in funding and opportunities, paving the way for a massive shift of focus onto work-based learning in the future of education, according to the government.
The launch of the National Apprenticeship service was announced by ministers Ed Balls and John Denham, along with a commitment to offering 7,000 new apprenticeships in the construction industry. Companies such as Phones 4u, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Superdrug have also announced that they intend to substantially increase their numbers of apprentices.
Meanwhile, from February 2009, Sir Alan Sugar will front a TV advertising drive aiming to promote the benefits of apprenticeships to businesses and encourage young people to get involved with work-based qualifications.
HSE has updated its guidance on hand-arm vibration (HAV). Regular use of vibrating equipment, such as drills, sanders and chainsaws, can lead to serious health problems if you are not aware of the possible risks and symptoms.
HSE’s HAV leaflet is a handy guide for employees and tells you what to look out for. Access it at: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg296.pdf?ebul=cons/nov08&cr=22
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.
“It’s not about wrapping young people up in cotton wool, it’s about equipping them with the skills to assess risks and make informed decisions about safety throughout their lives.”
Cassius Francis, RoSPA youth liaison worker
“Young tradesmen and women do not understand that the risks of asbestos are real, they think it's yesterday's problem but the reality is that here in Great Britain we are in the midst of an epidemic. Numbers of deaths are likely to soon exceed 5,000 a year. Asbestos is still present in about half a million buildings and when disturbed by tradesmen there is a real risk of inhalation which may cause their early and painful death."
Mike Ford, HM Inspector of Health & Safety
"Young people need choices that motivate them - not everyone who leaves school at 16 has the drive to succeed that I did. The fact is that some people learn better on the job or by seeing how their learning applies to the real world - that's why I'm backing apprenticeships.”
Sir Alan Sugar