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Health and Safety at Work - I think not.

health and safety advice needed

I have seen many photos over the years about unsafe systems but this takes the biscuit. I thought this might bring a smile .......

Could this be someone's idea of a different way of 'bringing home the bacon'? 

IOSH Managing Safely Training - Your questions - Our Answers.

Yes, safety is my business (my staff are trained in health and safety - but am I trained to manage it?)

We are often contacted by organisations with various questions regarding the IOSH Managing Safely Training. Our latest blog post covers the most frequently asked questions regarding this worldwide accepted qualification.


What is IOSH?

IOSH or the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health are widely accepted as one of Europe's leading Health & Safety awarding bodies. Their aim is to raise standards across all industries when it comes to health and safety, promoting accredited training courses, such as the IOSH Managing Safely training course, and general workplace code of conduct. 

Why is IOSH Managing Safely Training right for me?

The IOSH Managing Safely Training course is perfect for companies and individuals looking to obtain a better understanding of their managerial responsibility when it comes to health and safety in the workplace.

The course is considered as IOSH's lead health and safety training course, designed specifically for managers and team supervisors in all business sectors, whilst also being applicable to company directors and health & safety officers.

General teaching requirement for health and safety in schools

This statutory statement applies to science, design and technology, information and communication technology, art and design, and physical education.

When working with tools, equipment and materials, in practical activities and in different environments, including those that are unfamiliar, pupils should be taught:

  • about hazards, risks and risk control;
  • to recognise hazards, assess consequent risk and take steps to control the risks to themselves and others;
  • to use information to assess the immediate and cumulative risks;
  • to manage their environment to ensure the health and safety of themselves and others;
  • to explain the steps they take to control risks.

In addition to this general teaching requirement for the five subjects, the programmes of study for each subject contain specific teaching requirements on health and safety.

All you need to know about the new Purple Guide to Health & Safety

The new Purple Guide aimed at helping event organisers understand the legislation and guidelines of event health and safety was launched on the 18/03/14 in Portcullis House in Westminster. The launch itself was sponsored by IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health).

After 4 years of deliberation between the Events Industry Forum (EIF), which encompasses both professional and trade bodies from all areas of the events sectors, industry leaders believe that the latest edition of the document could act as a benchmark for events worldwide.

So what exactly is the Purple Guide to Health, Safety and Welfare at Music and Other Events?

Purple Guide Now Available Online

A resounding HOORAY!

The long overdue re-vamp has now been published but this time in an 'e' version. That is the good news. The cost though is £25 - whereas the previous version was (in later life) free to download. We do not think that the £25 yearly subscription is too much to ask, especially as the document will be kept up to date. 

You could of course pull all of the information together yourself for free. But then you would need to read it and interpret it, applying experience and skills. I suspect that this might take rather a long time and considerable effort. 

Please remember that this is a guide. It is a starting point. It takes you in the directions you need to go and does not replace competence. This 'roadmap' will take you to 'the doors' of what you need to do but no/little further. It is then for the reader to undertake the next stages and to get help when needed.

For more information of how you can download the Purple Guide, visit

For more information about health, safety and welfare support for events, please contact us.




Is vulnerability good? As a general question, normally the answer to this is a resounding NO!

But with health and safety at work, where recognising where you are vulnerable, people are exposed to harm, looking for vulnerability is a great quality. 

The talent then, to make yourself strong is an art. Four words sum up how to work with vulnerability:-

PLAN - recognise vulnerability and create a plan to sufficiently and effectively deal with it

DO - put your plan into operation

CHECK - did it work? If not, or if not effectively, PLAN AGAIN

ACT - Put your amended plan into action again.

These four words are the key to health and safety management systems and form the heart of how any organisation will operate. The common mistake is along the lines of, "I have a policy"." I have risk assessments". 'My staff are trained". This is often the view of people who might have made it half way through the process.  They are vulnerable but don't recognise it. The skill is to make it the whole way throught and to remain there. To do that, you must recognise vulnerability and understand WHY?.

We can help you with this, whatever your work area and we can support your workers, supervisors and managers by way of guidance, help with systems or training. To help us to help you, all you have to do is take that first step and make contact. 

The aloneness of a lone worker

Did you ever stop to think about how someone who works alone, even for a short time can be isolated from help? No means of making a phone call? Out of phone signal range? Unconscious? Attacked, ill, terrified?

But before we start, please look at the above graphic. What does this make you think? 

Have you made a quick conclusion that the person had been attacked? Perhaps then you may think that this person may not fall into the category of lone worker for your workplaces.

But now think again; might this be a lone worker with a pre-existing medical condition? Might they be electrocuted? Perhaps they have they fallen? Or is the lone worker the viewer and might the prone person actually be a threat, perhaps feigning injury? 

Many of us are lone workers at some time and the degree of exposure to harm and lack of ability to seek help can vary enormously.

Hopefully, some thoughts are now provoked, so here are five questions you should ask about the personal safety of employees (and that includes directors, managers, supervisors as well).

1     Do your employees carry out any tasks that could put them at risk? eg, do they deal with cash or carry drugs or expensive gadgets or maybe they may  have to refuse people something or give them bad news?

2     If they are ever alone, do you have a system for them to get help in case of accident, illness etc?

3     Could the location where your employees work put them at risk? eg, Do they work in remote locations or high crime areas? Are they in frontline positions, such as on reception, alone for all or part of the day?

4     Does someone in the company know where they are and who they are with at all times – and if they don't return to the office/respond to your calls/arrive at an appointment when expected, does their manager/colleagues know what action to take?

5     Have any staff who may have to deal with violence and aggression had insufficient training in how to defuse it or contain it until they can either exit the situation or help can get to them?


If the answer to any of the above is yes, or you are not sure,  you then need to ask, is there a suitable written personal safety policy in place within the company, which specifies identified risks to staff and how they are to be managed? And do the managers and staff know about it?

For more information about how to produce a written personal safety policy, carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment or provide suitable training such as the CIEH Conflict Resolution and Personal Safety, Level 2 award. Our trainer in this subject is not only a health and safety trainer, he is also a retired police officer. Or to know more about safety systems for lone workers, please contact us via the phone or our contact above.




Case study - Is professional health and safety support effective?

We recently gave some feedback to one of our newer retained clients on how far they had progressed in such a short time in terms of exposure to harm and vulnerability to enforcment. To be honest, it even surprised us a little but given their willingness to participate and lack of scepticism by the client, it shouldn't have.

In short, this organisation has moved on from one very aware and willing leader, with (effectively) a blank sheet in terms of safe systems of work, to having a very effective team and quite slick systms of making things work.

I don't want to say who they are or what they do because we value confidentiality but below is a little mind-map of what we have accomplished together.


 For more information about how we can support organisations, please click on this page link or just make contact with us. 


A few years ago, during a training session, the students created a 'mindmap' of important areas to which laws and guidelines applied, when planning an event. 

I thought that this might be very useful to others, if I was to make it more formal and I went on to present the list on our web site.

Today, the time came for an update and enhancement. For the moment, I have just attached the table below and we will eventually include it in our INFORMATION section.

The table is intended as a guide. A reminder. It is not a formal manual and it is not intended to cover everything. It does not replace competence and it does not include learning. What it does hopefully do, is to help the event planner towards the knowledge, skills and competences needed to plan and operate a safe, healthy and successful event.

Please contact us if we can help you with any of these issues. Relevant training for workforce towards awareness is Safety Passports for Live Events Technicians and for planners, managers and supervisors, IOSH Level 3, Managing Safely.


Legislation - Compulsory
The Public Order Act 
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order
Fire safety plans and risk assessments
Highly Flammable Liquids and Liquefied Petroleum Gases Regulations
May include heaters, cooking etc
Health and Safety at Work Act
Over-riding H & S requirements law
The Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations
Inclusion of workforce in safety representation
Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations
Responsibly re illness, injuries at work + training
The Control of Pesticides Regulations
Essential knowledge/awareness if having outdoor event
Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act
Events in sports stadia
The Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations
Information for employees (eg poster/card/leaflet)
Noise at Work Regulations
Safety of hearing for workforce
Electricity at Work Regulations
Electrical; Design, control, influence, maintenance etc
The Construction (Head Protection) Regulations
Repealed but hard hats still necessary as PPE
The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 
Hourly rate charged by HSE if breaches found. (£124.0)
Environment Protection Act
Integrated pollution prevention and control 
Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations
Wide range of health, safety and welfare topics.
Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations
Computer usage. Includes short and long term issues.
Personal Protective Equipment Regulations
PPE is last line of defence & must be assessed/provided
Manual Handling Operations Regulations
Relates to all human lifting, moving, pushing, pulling etc
Construction (Design and Management) Regulations
Construction sites, inc. events. Legal duties of all.
Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations
Recording, reporting etc re injuries, diseases, incidents
Construction (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations
Safe workplace and access / egress (construction work)
Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations
Requirements for and standardization of EU signs etc
The Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 
Employers’ duties re consultation with workforce
The Confined Spaces Regulations
Protection of employees in confined spaces
Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations
Duties re lifting equipment.
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations
Duties can relate to ANY equipment used for work.
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations
Re Install, service, etc  of - gas equipment and parts
Equality Act 
Equality policies and practices – now includes disability
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations
Includes; risk assess, policies, checks, actions & more
Road Traffic Act
Starting point re legislation for road safety 
Pressure Systems Safety Regulations
Pressurised equipment (eg. spraying, hydraulics etc)
Licensing Act
Covers licensable activities (need for licence etc)
The Fireworks Regulations
Importation, supply, possession / contols of fireworks
Civil Contingencies Act
Preparation and planning for emergencies
Building Regulations
Construction, usage, changes of use re buildings
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations
Safe management of hazardous materials
The Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) (Amendment) Regulations
Compulsory insurances
The Work at Height Regulations
Safety when working at (any) height
Guidelines - strongly advised as minimum standards – this really is just a few representative examples. There are many others. Not law but are regarded as best practice.
Guide to safety at sports grounds 
(The Green Guide) Relates to sports venues.
The event safety guide 
(The Purple Guide) Currently being updated (Mar 14)
Fire Safety Risk Assessment (series of books - 11 in all - HM Government)
Guides to fire safety requirements
Fairgrounds and Amusement Parks, Guidance on safety practice - HSE)
Self explanatory title

Working Together on Firework Displays (HSE)


Self explanatory title

Risk Assessments - Another Myth Busted

Employees Not Allowed to Use Own Soaps and Cleaning Products

Here is the latest myth, busted by the UK's HSE. It is a typical example of actions by people, probably with best interests at heart but lacking in knowledge of how to undertake a risk assessment. In this case, the default position appears to be, not sure - don't allow it. 

HSE Myth Busters - Case 257 - Employees asked not to use their own hand wash or cleaning products


Enquirer has been told that due to COSHH they cannot leave hand wash they have purchased themselves in the toilets and they cannot use any of their own cleaning materials e.g. furniture polish. They are not clear how hand wash and cleaning products purchased from high street shops can fall under COSHH regulations

Panel decision

It is commendable that the company is considering possible risks their employees could be exposed to at work but this is a risk averse and somewhat misguided interpretation of COSHH requirements. Products like hand wash are very unlikely to contain substances which are hazardous to health and so fall outside of the scope of COSHH. Furniture polish and other cleaning products purchased from retail outlets will be clearly marked with instructions for use, so provided the cleaning materials are in properly labelled containers there is no reason to stop their use.

A quality training course would appear to be the order of the day for whoever made the decision to ban the products. Suitable ones are; CIEH Level 2 Risk Assessments or IOSH Managing Safely. Result, a happy and clean work force.


Dad's Injuries


My Dad passed away just a few years ago and the anniversary of his death was a couple of days ago.

Oh, thanks for sharing that with us, how morbid you might think? But no, there is a lot of pleasure in recalling the memories as well. Which is what has prompted this 'blog' entry.

As a boy, I can remember Dad coming home from work, often with his latest stitched up injury. He worked in Lancashire cotton mills and was often struck by an item of machinery or suffered contact injuries from sharp items. Often it was his hands, sometimes his head. His most spectacular work related injury was a broken arm (I won't go into the nasty details) when he tripped over something. As kids, we revelled in the gore. Not so good for him; time off work, pain and recovery time etc.

I also use this story when delivering training to talk about how things were, pre-Health and Safety at Work Act, when people wanted to be cared for and valued and the expression 'bureaucracy-gone-mad' had probably never been uttered on the 'shop floor'.

I also go on to explain how this fits in to getting systems right today. My Dad survived without being really seriously injured but it was quite clear that his employers weren't too keen on improving their systems, even when they had the evidence to show that they were not safe and were not working, except to make money for the company. 

So what is the relevance of this today? Well, we now have lots of legislation to help people to stay safe and at the same time, enable businesses to work smarter, safer and as a consequence, have a great reputation. It is all about priorities, great systems, balances and developing as you go along. They are not bureaucracy gone made at all; if properly used.

These systems are easily learned and put into practice. At operator level, there are lots of courses, such as safety passport courses to get things 'running' and for business operators and supervisors, we would suggest the IOSH, Managing Safely Course. If your workplace is very large, complex or perhaps you have never had chance to get your policies and systems off the ground, we can help you with that too, either as a one off, or as a retained COMPETENT PERSON, with ongoing support.